A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: trousers

I’m happy to say that my second sewing session at Sew Over It went well, and I managed to come out with a pair of Carrie trousers  that I’m pretty pleased with.

Pocketses!


The first step this week was sewing the inside leg of each trouser leg, then the side seams.

Constructing the waistband was quite a lot of work. First stitching the two parts, then lots of precise folding and pressing.

One of the final steps was elasticating the back waistband, then testing the fit before stitching the elastic down and finishing the front waistband.

The last thing of all was the cuffs. I lengthened my trousers by a couple of inches but still had to do a tiny hem. The challenges of having long limbs! The only thing I didn’t have time to do during the workshop was finishing the cuff hems, so I hand-stitched them.

Pattern: Carrie Trousers by Sew Over It

Fabric: 2m Liberty tana lawn in Tiny Dancer print.

I would say it wouldn’t be possible to squeeze these trousers out of a smaller amount of fabric. So far I think tana lawn is a surprisingly good choice of fabric for these trousers. They’re not creasing too badly. Oh no, suddenly I can see lots of Liberty print trousers in my future…

I made the size 10 with no mods except lengthening the legs by about 3cm. I’m happy  with the fit and I think the slim leg helps these trousers to look quite smart. An advantage of the pattern is that the fit on the waist is easy to adjust using the length of your elastic. If I was to make them again, I would actually lengthen them even more.

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Last Friday was the first session of my Carrie Trousers workshop at Sew Over It. It was a three hour workshop and most of it was spent cutting out, which is one of the stages of sewing I find most stressful. The pinning. The endless smoothing of fabric. The fear.

Managed to get a pile of pattern pieces without much fabric left over. I hadn’t realised before that this cotton lawn is pretty transparent so I will have to make careful underwear selections when wearing these.

The first step was constructing the pockets, which are the most important part of any pair of trousers. This stage was a lot more challenging than it should have been because there was something wrong with the sewing machine I was using. It kept making long stitches and the thread broke loads of times. My fabric is very fine so I don’t like unpicking as I’m scared of making holes. It wasn’t until I had to leave to catch my train that the instructor realised the bobbin thread had something wrong with it that had caused the problems.

I left feeling really frustrated as I’d hoped to get further, and very small things I tried to do had taken ages because I had to keep re-threading the machine. I wished the problem had been picked up on sooner.

Anyway, despite everything my pocket is looking pretty good and I’m hoping this week’s sewing will go much more smoothly.

I’ve also been continuing work on my Aubergine Rainbow sweater. Not long after my last post, I joined the front and back at the armpits and began working in the round, which made the knitting go a lot faster.

The stripes are also helping to keep up my motivation.

I’ve got to say I’m feeling relieved as the stripes progress. I was hating colours at first and worried that 2016 is just the year of bad yarn colour choices (far from the worst thing about 2016 but still). However, I’m liking it more with each additional colour and hopefully the sleeves will add to the effect. I just love the little speckles within the stripes.


So far the fit of the sweater is pretty good. It’s slightly tight, but the swatch relaxed a bit when I blocked it so I am imagining this will happen with the finished garment too.


Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page


I went to visit my dad in France a couple of months ago, wearing my trusty blue jeans. These are a pair I picked up as a happy accident in TK Maxx. They’re made with a special process that uses less water, so they’re the kind of denim you’re meant to avoid washing. I’ve had these jeans for well over two years and I think I’ve only washed them twice. To some, that’s gross, but I quite like it. For me, these jeans are pretty perfect. I like the fit, they’re long enough for my legs and they’re comfy.

Anyway, to my horror, I discovered that my beloved dirty jeans had developed a hole in the inside leg. I wore them with extreme caution for the next few days as I hadn’t brought any other trousers with me. And since then, they’ve been languishing untouched on my ‘to mend’ pile.

I looked up a few tutorials online for how to repair jeans. I now can’t find the link to the tutorial that I semi followed to patch them. A lot of methods recommend trimming the hole in the jeans to ease the transition to the patch fabric. However, I couldn’t see the sense in voluntarily weakening the fabric further. I don’t mind there being a worn patch that can’t be seen 99% of the time. What I care about is giving my jeans a few more months of useful service.

1. Using pinking shears, cut a patch of denim in a similar colour to your jeans

It should cover the hole plus about an inch all around it.

2. Fuse bondaweb all around the right side of the patch 

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3. Fuse the patch over the hole 

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4. Stitch over the patch and jeans

This can be done by hand, by machine or a combination. I hand-stitched mine first.

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Here’s how the hole looked on the right side at this point.

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If you have access to a sewing machine, you can reinforce the patch by stitching back and forth over it a few times.


I used the pins to mark where I should sew up to in order to make sure the stitching overshot the patch- this should reduce fraying and make the patch feel less noticeable on my skin. 


 Here’s how it looks on the right side. Since the holes are on the inside leg (this is nearly always where my jeans wear out) it is almost invisible. 


I’ve been meaning to add belt loops to my Sew Over It Cigarette Pants since the first time I made them. Even though they fit pretty well, the way my body is just means that they don’t stay up properly without a belt. One of the blogs I follow mentioned Mend It May, and that idea has actually worked to inspire me to get some work done on my mending pile. That, and it’s the kind of weather at the moment where these trousers will be useful workwear.


If you have a pesky pair of trousers that slip down, it’s actually very easy to add belt loops without a sewing machine. You will need less than a metre of ribbon and it only takes about an hour.

Materials

  • 1/2metre ribbon
  • Lighter or matches to seal the ribbon (optional)
  • Needle and thread

Step 1: Cut your ribbon to length

I made my belt loops the width of my waistband. If you prefer wide or skinny belts, bear this in mind when deciding how long to make your loops. Most pairs of trousers have five loops, two at the front, one at the centre back, and two more at the sideseams, towards the back.

Each loop should be desired length + 2cm

Step 2: Stitch down the bottom half of the loop

Fold over 1cm at the top and bottom of each belt loop. This is what will anchor the loop to the trousers.

Position the first belt loop. You will stich in the fold line of the 1cm allowance you have. I stitched into the line between the waistband and the trousers, for neatness.

If hand-stitching, try to make your stitches small and keep them in a straight line. Use a double thread and do as many stitches as you can for strength. Use a couple of stitches to tack down the extra allowance, as pictured.

Step 3: Stitch down the top of the loop

Repeat step two at the top of the loop. I positioned my extra allowance on the main trouser material, rather than inside on the facing (I did this because that’s how it was done on the jeans I was looking at). Stitch under the loop so that none of the stitching is visible. It’s a little fiddly, but looks pretty good.

Here are the finished trousers, indicating where I placed my loops.


Last Thursday I braved crossing strike-struck London for the third leg of my sewing workshop at Sew Over It. It was another intense evening of sewing, but I came out with a little something special.

Week One

Week Two

There was lots to be done on Thursday. I think the first step was to sew the inside legs. I next made my waistband. Julie had a good tip for clipping curves and notches: use the tip of the scissors to avoid clipping too far, and clip a line, not a wedge.

Next I pinned the side seams so my trousers could be fitted.

I like the way they look inside out! I was tempted to sew them up like this. I’m also rocking my waistband as a statement necklace. The fit was pretty good, so it was time to stitch the side seams and attach the waistband. I decided to hand finish it so there wouldn’t be visible top stitching. Here’s how it looks finished.

I also hand finished the hems at home.


Thursday was day two of the Cigarette Pants workshop at Sew Over It. I wrote about day one here. Again, I  really enjoyed it and the three hours flew. This week focused on making the front of the trousers, which included pocket construction, sewing the fly and a butt load of overlocking.

I didn’t take many pictures because I was so busy sewing. Here are all my prepared pocket facings.

…and here is the completed front part of the trousers.

Apologies for the dodgy pic, there’s not much good light in my house.  
You can just about see the navy blue around most of the legs, which is the result of about half an hour of solid overlocking.

At the top corners you can see my pockets. But this is the most exciting bit.  

Pretty fly for a white guy!

My first ever fly, and actually my first ever independent zip insertion. Mum has lost her zip foot, which is part of the reason I normally let her do them.

Check out the inside of these pants! 

So snazzy.

There’s a lot to finish next week. As well as the final fitting and construction, there is a lot of work to be done on the waistband.

I fall a little bit more in love with the colour of my fabric every week and I can’t wait to get these babies finished.


Thursday was the first of my three evening sewing sessions working on Sew Over It’s Cigarette Pants. I feel a little less anxious about being massively underqualified for this workshop. My processes seem to take me longer than some others in the group, but I’m hoping I can manage to come out with some serviceable trousers.
The first week focused mostly on fit. The lovely instructor, Julie, had toiles in every size, which was helpful. She first took all of our measurements and compared them to the pattern measurements. I was pretty horrified that, according to my ‘natural waist’ measurement, I needed a Size 14 trouser! Part of the reason for doing this course is that trousers don’t fit me and this is the inherent problem- my body shape bears little resemblance to the model they use for making trousers. My hip measurement was equivalent to a Size 10, and here I am rocking that sexy toile.

Fit. Pun intended.
Despite my panic about the sizing, we didn’t make too many modifications to the pattern before cutting. I lengthened the legs by 5cm.


We also added some wedges to the waistband pattern, to account for my shape. This only adds half an inch, but hopefully will mean that the waistband will sit better.


The next step was cutting out.


I also measured the amount of fabric used for future reference- pretty much spot on 1.3m, as specified in the pattern. This was really helpful- if you are paying £17/m for quality fabric, knowing the exact yardage affects the cost of your final items significantly.

I did a little homework on Saturday, cutting out all of my lining pieces.


Next week we’ll start to put the pieces together, and I’m looking forward to it already!