Trend Patterns TPC12 Utility Trousers

Strange, cool, functional, stylish: a totally random leg flap and ankle vents I never knew I needed in my life or my trousers. Is the Trend Patterns TPC12 Utility Trouser a masterpiece? I think it just might be...
Trend Patterns TPC12
I bought the TPC12 from Trend's stall at last year's Knitting and Stitching Show in London because I really liked the unusual design, but in the immediate, it was mainly to add to my decorative collection of Trend Patterns that sits on a shelf. I also picked up a rich blue denim from Cloth House with the pattern in mind, but felt like I needed to try out a (hopefully wearable) muslin before taking the plunge, as it was quite an investment piece! Including the pattern in my #2019makenine has been a good incentive to get to work with it.

My Cloth House denim and stash corduroy
The pattern requirements state 2.3m, though as with the other Trend Patterns I've tried, the yardage is only given for the largest size. I managed to squeeze my pair out of 1.6m of this orange/red corduroy from B&M in Leeds which had been in my stash for a while. It really was a squeeze and I have learned a thing or two about nap as a result... mainly that corduroy is napped. Sooo the pile runs in different directions on some of the pieces - yep I'm looking at the lower leg piece below the random flap - but oh well! I'd say it would fit more comfortably from 2m in future!

In terms of sizing, my 72cm waist put me just outside of the finished garment measurements of the size 10, but I decided to risk it anyway having found my last Trend make (this TPC16 dress) too big at a size 12. I could have graded down a bit at the hips, but I didn't fancy messing with that shaping!

The trousers were one of the most involved and engaging projects I've made in a long time! The weird construction details, alongside the new-to-me technique of a concealed button fly, meant that I had to put a lot of trust in the pattern instructions. Whilst instructions from Trend often assume some previous knowledge and could be a bit more descriptive in parts, I found these ones to be pretty great! My only comment is that it's sometimes a bit difficult to tell the right side from the wrong side in the construction photographs as the demo garment is plain white!

So lets look at the details...

Leg flap
The Leg Flap: completely pointless yet totally necessary? It serves no real purpose other than looking sort of fun. There's the option to topstitch around it and the front seams of the leg too, but I skipped this as it wouldn't really be visible on the corduroy. It probably wouldn't be impossible to hack this into a real pocket - something to consider for next time!

Leg vents
The Leg Vents: the easiest to make and maybe the coolest trouser addition you could ask for! It's actually a bit cold for such levels of ankle flashing at the minute, but I'd seriously consider applying a similar hack to other trousers in future.

Closure details
The Concealed Button Fly: I hadn't realised the fly had a button closure until I'd fully committed to the project, and I might have let it put me off had I have known (I imagine you could swap this out for a zip, but as a warning, you'd need a big ol' zip the crotch is longgg). This was my first attempt at a concealed button fly and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined. I was worried that this sort of closure might look bulky, but it lays really flat and the finish is super professional. I took my time with the button holes and made sure to use plenty of fray check. The only thing I changed was using hook and bar fasteners for the outside tab rather than another button.

The pattern doesn't highlight the need to attach the fly together at the bottom so it lumped up a bit strange when sitting, but a few hand stitches sorted this out.

Back view
Having been worried about the waist measurement originally, I actually found that they came up a bit big. I adjusted them for a closer fit by unpicking the waistband and back to take a 2cm seam allowance (rather than the regular 1cm) along the centre back. The resulting fit is much better, though in future I think I'd take a bit more out of the bum and could shave a bit of volume from the hips. It's worth mentioning that the waistband itself is curved, which supports the depth of it and really improves how it hugs the body - now I finally get why sewists love a curved waistband!

The crotch is very deep and sits quite low, but as a certified member of the #longcrotchclub I'm all for it! The trousers sit really high on the waist, which balances the silhouette. They're even comfortable to sit in, unlike some high-waisters! The only thing they're missing is pockets - quite surprising for a 'utility' trouser to be lacking in this area don't you think? I'm sure they could be easily added into the side seams for future pairs.

As you may already be able to tell, I love the finish garment, but even more so because of the process of making it. The pattern really pushed my boundaries and I learned some game changing stuff, both design and technique-wise - I so need to make a pair of Persephones now I've mastered that concealed button fly. Thanks Trend Patterns for continuing to stretch my style and creativity! I hope more people try out this pattern as it's just so good - plus the more inspiration the better!

I'm filled with confidence for a second pair in the Cloth House denim, and hoping to go all the way with contrast top stitching too! It took a bit of thinking to style this pair into an outfit as they are quite different, but I can see them falling into regular rotation.

How would you style them?

Stay in touch!

Sewing Leftovers: a Jazz Jumpsuit mash up

Here's the final hangover from 2018, an experimental and show stopping Sewing Leftovers effort that cut its teeth as my party-wear of choice for the festive season! I drew upon some of my favourite patterns from my collection and of course, the leftovers of this bargain bin fabric, and was proudly able to dance around my work's Christmas do telling everyone my jumpsuit cost less than a fiver. January's pretty low on the party front, but it's dying for another spin - please someone give me a reason to celebrate!

A Jazz Jumpsuit mash up!
Original garment made: This True Bias Nikko Dress

Leftover fabric amount:  Just over a metre, with a sticky out chunk on the end!

Sewing Leftovers make: A jumpsuit mash up using the bodice from the Ready to Sew Jazz with the view D of the B6178 Culottes (lengthened)

Leftovers-wise what did I learn?: Sometimes you have an idea in your head and you just can't let it go, even there isn't enough fabric left to bring it to life, so... all the cutting rules go out the window. The pockets were the first sacrifice and after a bit of pattern tetris, I started using the grainline and cross grainline interchangeably. This meant some neatening up during the project in order to make my wonky masterpiece work!

About the make:
I'd decided that I needed a pair of luxe, wide-leg party trousers and this fabric came to mind. But surely there was enough to make a jumpsuit? There wasn't, really, but my mind was already set. Cue the most frustrating afternoon of the year, trying to somehow make my pattern pieces fit. The leg pattern pieces of the Jazz Jumpsuit were too wide for my leftovers but the B6178 culottes were a good swap - they're straight and a little narrower so I could squeeze both legs onto my fabric when placed on the cross grain. I had no worries about this as I'd cut my Nikko Dress in the same way so that the ribbed texture of the crushed velvet/velour ran vertically rather horizontally. 

The loose Jazz bodice needed narrowing quite so the culotte bottoms could be gathered in to the waist. I skipped the darts on the trousers in favour for a little more fabric to gather in too. The bodice front was squeezed out of the fabric left between the crotch curves of each leg, but I struggled to tetris the two back bodice pieces in place and that's why - you may notice - the ribbing runs horizontally across the back. I'm all for switching between the grainline/cross-grainline, but I wouldn't normally recommend mixing the two! I definitely had even out the bottom of the bodice, which sagged all over the place when sewn together.

I got the fabric from a grab bin for really cheap because it has some pretty big flaws in it. I'd managed to avoid some of the bigger ones with my Nikko Dress, but just had to go with whatever fabric I could for the jumpsuit pieces. It's not ideal - you can probably spot some of the flaws in these pictures - but maybe there's something about it that adds character? On the upside, I used every last bit of my fabric apart from a few tiny slithers.

Back view - and horizontal stripes across the back bodice!
Having made both patterns before, the construction was really simple, especially as I had to give the pockets a miss. The fabric has some stretch to it, so I had to stabilised the centre back edge with interfacing before inserting the zip. I also tried to stabilise the shoulders with a scrap of selvedge fabric as there's quite a lot of weight hanging from them, but I ended up having to redo the neckline and shoulders as this made it too bulky.

The project did become more involved towards the end, with quite a bit of hand stitching required to finish and neaten it up. Despite understitching the neckline facing, this fabric was desperate to roll through to the right side, so it's carefully tacked to the bodice. I used satin bias binding to finish the armholes, hand stitching it in place for a neater finish. I also constructed little thread belt loops using this YouTube tutorial to hold the waist tie in place.

A Sewing Leftovers win!!!
All in all, it was worth the headache of cutting it out, the risk of dodgy pattern placement and the patience required to finish the jumpsuit because it's SO GOOD to wear! I wasn't sure the statement wide leg trouser would 100% work for me, but it feels and looks so fancy (whilst still maintaining the comfort level of pyjamas). The drape and movement of the fabric has made this idea just as good as I imagined, if not better. I would happily make the same pattern mash up all over again if I had the leftovers for it. I'd maybe even consider sourcing some new fabric for a second version, should the occasion call for it. 

For now though, I have my go to - send those party invites my way!

Stay in touch!

Behind the Scenes at Love Sewing - M7661 Reader Review

Back in November, I had the pleasure of going 'behind the scenes' at Love Sewing Magazine HQ for a 'Reader Review' photoshoot and I can finally show you what I made for it, as well as give you a little peek into the process! I didn't hesitate when asked as the pattern in question is one of my favourites of last year, the M7661 trousers (here's some I made earlier)! Issue 62, featuring my review and a free copy of the M7661 pattern is on sale now so go and grab a copy!

M7661 Trousers for Love Sewing issue 62

Amy kindly asked me if I'd like to be involved a month before the photoshoot, so this has been quite some time in the works. I'd already planed to make another pair with a contrast side panel, so it slotted in well with my sewing plans at the time. I had plenty of freedom to select the version and fabric I wanted to use, which Amy helped me source - thanks to Minerva Crafts for providing both of these. It was quite a tight turnaround to get the trousers made and ready for the shoot, but me being me, I obviously had to give myself extra work by making a Reeta Shirt to match (see previous versions here) from the contrast panel #sewingleftovers.

On set!
On the day
After a bit of home posing, I travelled to the Stockport-based studio with my garment bag in hand. I had my make up and hair done by Nina and Amy helped to prep my outfit for camera - amongst her many skills, she's also a talented top tucker and bow tier, who knew! Amy had offered to source tops/shoes for the shoot too and I had my pick from the accessory wall, but I chose to go with my own. Once I was ready, I got to go on set where Renata took many, many pictures! It's quite a different experience to my usual DIY picture taking set up - though similarly embarrassing at first - but it was fun once I got into it!
With Amy for the editors welcome!
After getting some review shots and pictures with Amy for her editor's welcome (hey guys I made it to page 3...!) I got the chance to get some extra snaps of the details and a headshot just for featuring on the blog.
Professionally avoiding fringe separation since 2005
Post-shoot, just checking what my make up looked like
Post production
And then there's the wait... The issue came out on December 27th (though I think subscribers received their copies a little earlier), so I had to keep quiet about the shoot until then! After the Christmas break, I got chance to go through the contact sheet and pick some of my own favourite images from the shoot, so you'll see some of these below spliced into my review.
Love Sewing issue 62

The review (and pictures!)
If it isn't the 'year of the trouser' for everyone else, then it certainly has been for me. The McCall's 7661 might just be my favourite trouser pattern of the ones I've sewn up this year - this is my third pair and I'd say they're the best yet!

The high-waisted trousers are really easy to both put together and wear, with the different views offering a few variations for the legs - either a more voluminous culotte and full length style, or the slimmer, but still fairly loose fitting leg with the option of contrast side panels. I opted for the latter and a tie waist for this pair with View A.

With winter in mind, I picked a soft, textured charcoal flannel suiting from Minerva Crafts priced at £7.99 per metre. I wanted a side panel that popped, so I had lots of colours to choose from with the luxurious Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe. I eventually picked the 'Tangerine' colourway, priced at £15.99 per metre and also from Minerva Crafts. The crepe was a little lighter than I anticipated, so I got around this by doubling up my fabric for the side panel. (Eagle-eyed readers might also notice that I managed to squeeze a matching Reeta Shirt out of my leftovers too)!

The pattern has a lot of included ease, so I picked my size based on the finished garment measurements for the waist: a size 12, despite my measurements aligning more closely to the size 14. The fit through the hip is nice and relaxed, especially as the trousers are quite heavily gethered into the front waistband, so it's really only the waist that needs to fit snugly. A little tip for finding the finished waist measurement: check the waistband pattern pieces closely as you won't find it on the pattern envelope!

I made the pattern straight from the envelope with no adjustments. The trousers fasten with a centred lapped zipper at the back, but I swapped mine out for an invisible zip as I prefer the method and finish. From wearing my other pairs, I've also found that using a 10" zipper makes them much easier to wiggle on and off than the recommended length of 9".

This pattern is definitely a good introduction for anyone feeling a little tentative about trouser making, but with plenty of options for the bolder wearer to get creative with. The loose fit around the hips makes them both flattering and easy to fit. I love the contrast side panel and I can see myself playing with this again for version four, five and maybe more!

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into how things went - and a change from my regular red brick backdrop! Do you have your copy yet? Does the pattern tempt you? 

Stay in touch!

2018 in Sewing vs 2019 in Sewing Plans

I've been contemplating the 'make nine' concept. For me, it's always going to throw up some difficulties - I only put down the things I want to make NOW, rather than looking ahead for the year. This means some things are left unmade due to changing my mind over time (not necessarily a bad thing), but I also tend to do a big rush to make things from the list before giving myself enough time to consider them, the less-good outcome being that I find myself unsure of the pattern/garment once it's finished.  

Whilst on the surface, my 7 out of 9 makes for the #2018makenine challenge looks like quite a positive, when you unpick the aftermath: the wears and the fate of each garment, this pictured 'success' actually looks quite different'...

#2018makenine: 7 out of 9, but it's not all as rosy as it seems...
Papercut Patterns Kyoto Sweater in green sweatshirting (unblogged)
January 2018
Fate: recycled
This was a real fail: the fabric looked cheap and the neckline gaped to an unwearable extent - something I found with other Kyotos. I'm giving up on this pattern.

Simplicity 8459 in orange corduroy
January 2018
Fate: charity shop
I really enjoyed making this and I was even pleased with the finished product, but surprisingly it just didn't fall into regular rotation. Maybe the corduroy was a bit thin for the project. I'm hoping someone else gets more love out of it than me!

Lander Pants, multiple pairs
February-May 2018
Fate: Two worn, one charity shopped
I had a real bee in my bonnet over the Landers at the beginning of the year, determined but struggling to get the fit right. I learnt a lot about making adjustments, but mainly that I have a long crotch (!!!) and the two that are still in the wardrobe (one in black cord and this pair in yellow denim) are just almost spot on! I'll probably return to this pattern at some point in 2019, with just a few more tweaks.

Named Clothing Nascha Mini Skirt in mustard denim

DP Studio le 809 Coat in grey leopard print wool
January 2018
Fate: worn
This was very much a challenging make, but a coat which got a lot of wear early in the year. Unfortunately I haven't been as tempted to put it back on this winter, feeling it looks that bit too oversized, but it survived the big end of year clear out at least.

République du Chiffon Elisabeth Blouse in khaki crepe (unblogged)
April 2018
Fate: charity shop
This was a clunky make, mainly starting with the wrong fabric choice (too heavy) and extending to my poor efforts with the details (see this Instagram post). The finished blouse looked ok, but the volume and swing of it just didn't suit me.

DP Studio le 915 Shirt Dress in bottle green viscose
Unmade but fabric reallocated
Perhaps one of my best decisions of this year's make nine was to reallocate this bottle green viscose to making one of my favourite garments of the year: the Pretty Mercerie Sayan Blouse

Wool and the Gang Relax Knit Through it Sweater
December 2018
Fate: worn
It took almost a year, but I finished my first knitted jumper and it felt all new kinds of rewarding!

Trend Patterns Side Drawstring Dress
August 2018
Fare: worn
A massive challenge, a bit of a headache, but it's still hanging in the wardrobe and gets the occasional wear!

So onto this year's plans, and still using the #2019makenine concept, but thinking of ways I can better make it work for me. Similar to last year, I already have the pattern, and in some cases the fabric for all of my chosen projects, so I'm investing in my stash. I've tried to include choices that are (hopefully) more timeless, leaning towards the bigger projects like jackets and bags, and another knitted project as I enjoyed last year's so much.

1) Fibremood Carmella Jumpsuit
2) Joe Ready to Sew Blazer in grey pinstripe wool with matching trousers (pattern TBD)
3) Sarah Kirsten Fennel Fanny Pack
4) Trend Patterns TPC12 Utility Trousers, first in corduroy (hopefully a wearable muslin) and then in rich blue denim
5) Sew Over It Cocoon Coat in Maculloch & Wallis mohair, which I finally took the plunge on
6) Fibre Mood Tara Knitted Jumper
7) Pretty Mercerie Sayan Blouse in yellow crepe bought at Tomato in Tokyo
8) Making Backpack by Noodlehead (this one is by @notaprimarycolour)
9) True Bias Nikko Dress hack to match this Phoebe Philo for Celine dress

I plan to be thoughtful with these makes and flexible with myself and my choices - if I change my mind on something, that's totally fine. All the projects should present a bit of a challenge, even the Sayan which I'm revisiting and the Nikko Dress, which will need a bit more consideration due to the hack. Hopefully this will help me to take things more slowly.

Have you been rethinking your sewing plans this year?

Stay in touch!

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