Hello…I feel like I’ve been mentally writing this post for sooo long, having sewn up four pairs of these Eleanore Jeans by Jaliesince the earlier part of this year; a pair for my young daughter and three pairs for myself. If you’re looking for an intro to sewing trousers, or jeans specifically, I think this faux fly pattern is a really good place to start. The pattern has a lot of standard jean details, like the yokes and the finish of the inside leg seam. If you’re simply looking for a quick sew that results in a pair of pants you’ll wear constantly – if you’re anything like me – then you’ll also find this pattern a winner!
The pattern size range is extensive – starting at a child’s size 2 up to a women’s size W 44″ H 53″ – and calls for a denim or twill with 20% cross stretch. I’m quite sure I will make many more of these just as long as I can get my hands on …
I was delighted to be asked to join the Book Tour, following some of my favourite sewing bloggers, for Wendy Ward’s new tome ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabrics’. This was originally scheduled to happen earlier in the year but was delayed whilst the book went to reprint, as the original run sold out within two days!
I made two garments from the book by way of a review… Read More
Hi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : Read More
This make is still very much in the theme of ‘Summer Sewing’ as I made them to take on our family holiday. Even in the heat, I don’t want to wear dresses or shorts everyday. I wanted lightweight breathable casual trousers with pockets and preferably cuffed ankles, along the lines of the SOI Carrie Trousers but without needing to buy their online trouser course just to get that pattern. After some searching, I found Simplicity 1887.
These trousers have some nice features – whilst the waistband is elasticated, they have a flat central panel which is way more flattering. Plus there are several variations in terms of length – including the option to make shorts – a pretty waist tie and a very simple skirt pattern all in the same envelope.
Be warned : there is a spectacular amount of ease in this pattern! When I’m reunited with my sewing machine I may yet alter these again but for now they’re still getting plenty of wear. I made View A, with the elasticated cuffs in a lovely soft and reasonably opaque viscose.
So, following on from happily fitting my McCalls 6696 Shirtdress , I really wanted to fit a basic trouser / pant; I felt I’d learnt a lot about fitting the upper half of my body but that the lower half was still shrouded in mystery. I say ‘shrouded in mystery’, what I mean is shrouded in massively oversized RTW boyfriend jeans – or lets be honest, PJ bottoms. I had no idea just how littleidea I actually had about the size and shape of what lurked beneath!
I thought I was slim hipped, perhaps a bit short legged and with a backside not as pert as it once was (no doubt getting off it now and again would help in that department!) But that was about the sum total of my analysis. Just how hard could pant fitting be I blithely wondered? I’d found the perfect fabric; a gorgeous mid weight stretch cotton from a local shop and I was raring to go!
Well let’s just say I thankfully know more now than I did then. Now, straight off the bat, I have to say HUGE thanks to Anya (@anna.zoe.sewing) for helping me out so much. I’d emailed her a couple of very unflattering close up pics of my behind encased in my first pants toile (a #buttfie no less 😉 She sent back an incredibly detailed and helpful response. Gah, does that women know how to fit pants! If she ever designs her own range, get it!
A rather lessunderwearrevealing Instagram shot of my first toile than the one I sent Anya…which also garnered so many helpful responses!
Anya’s advice was spot on! She very delicately pointed out that I perhaps had ‘athletic calves’ which was leading to excess fabric getting stuck above on the thigh and gently let me know that some of the issues with fabric pooling under my backside was due to it being a tad low and flat.
She wasn’t wrong! I slashed one of my pant legs from hem to the top of my calf to see just how much extra width was needed there. Immediately the whole trouser leg just settled much better – I needed over an inch more!
And yes, my backside is indeed a bit low and flat. Anya advised that I needed to take out the excess fabric there and then add it back in at the widest part of my calf (so that front and back leg pieces remained the same length).
I’ve also learnt that my inner thighs are disproportionally smaller than the rest of my leg. My waist is generally in a higher size bracket (*tuts*) than my hip and I already knew I had swayback issues. Mmm tricky trickster in terms of fitting then!
Toiles 2 and 3 quickly followed. I was using the basic Cigarette Pant pattern from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book simply because I had it to hand and it’s such a basic draft. Altogether, I graded between three sizes overall, reshaped the back crotch, slashed a ‘Y’ incision in the back leg to create the extra calf room, moved out the excess fabric from under my bum and did a swayback adjustment to make the waistline at both pant back and front parallel to the floor.
Of course I also did a bit of online research into ‘low seat’ and ‘flat butt’ adjustments. Can we please just take a moment to look at the variety of recommended modifications out there for these two issues…from the simple looking to the not so simple!
I wasn’t totally happy with toile 3 but figured I was now wasting my time, procrastinating and faffing as much as anything. And my toile fabric was markedly different to the stretch cotton I was planning to use, which I hoped would be fairly forgiving, so I figured I needed to just bite the bullet and get on with it. Quite frankly toile No 4 would have had the Men in White being called for. So I attached the pockets and pocket facings and then literally basted in all other seams to check fit. I was fairly happy so proceeded to sew them together properly.
The pattern calls for an invisible centre back zip and a waist facing. I put in the zip but drafted a waistband instead of the facing. I basted it on, decided it was too high and didn’t allow enough room for pasta binges and so drafted another. I left a fairly wide tab at the back so the waistband can be adjusted a bit too. Again, pasta. (I married a Sicilian!)
So there we have it. I’m happy enough with them. They’re super comfy and decidedly more flattering than my baggy jeans. Though they’re not at all perfect, I love ’em. They actually look better (less wrinkly) in real life than they do in these pics. I might tweak the pattern again (if I can be arsed, every pun intended) but I’m much more likely to try another. In fact I’ve got one altogether different summer trouser pattern coming to my cutting table (aka the dining table) very soon. And for the first time ever I feel I can justify making my own jeans…just got to decide on which pattern! A whole new world of sewing possibilities has just opened up now I’ve got a more considered view of myself and some idea of the techniques involved in altering pants to fit.