With the Sewing with a Plan it is generally Planning first, then after Christmas Sewing starts. Sometimes one or two garments can be made ahead. I “planned” to start these trousers early as I had had great success with the toile. But moving into our new holiday home, and then entertaining most of the family over Christmas, meant I was doing more laundry and cooking than sewing. Never mind.
For these trousers I used the Make My Pattern Slimline Pants.
As I had toiled it already I was fairly confident of the pattern. It is based on Winifred Aldrich, but digitised and made to your individual measurements (if you are a man). I was very pleased with the design, which is just a very classic pair of mens’ trousers. Gus likes a relatively high waist and was pleased with the way these come up a fair way at the front. The trousers fit well across the front and back – not too much ease, but certainly not an overly “trendy” look. The width of the legs is pretty classic too. We didn’t look at the fuller pants pattern – I think these might appeal to an older man, but not for Gus.
I was keen to get Gus to try wearing brown. Although he has cool colouring he also suits the more muted shades. So while brown is generally a warmer colour (as it has a fair amount of yellow in it) I was looking for more of a grey-brown (taupe) which is a particularly nice shade. So I searched quite hard for the right shade of corduroy. I wanted a thicker whale, and to avoid the very bright/cheaper looking shades. I found some fabric I really liked, on sale from My Fabrics (now sold out in brown). The piece I got had a few small faults in it, but I got 3m for about £12 so I was pleased with it. As I hadn’t made up the pattern before I figured I could sacrifice these pants if things did not go according to plan.
For lining the pockets etc I recycled the terrible trousers I made with my cling film pattern. I used an iron-on interfacing for the waistband and pockets.
Before I started I examined carefully a pair of cords my husband wears. Here are a few close up of the details.
Many aspects of the construction of these trousers were new to me, as I had never made mens’ trousers before. For example
- split waist band
- double welt back pockets
- front pocket construction differs from my experience
- use of lining material on the back of the waist band
- very unusual fly construction
So I was learning lots on my first pair. I was tempted to go and do my own thing, especially with the fly, but in the end I just trusted the pattern and the very extensive written documentation. There are videos too if you need more help. Joost de Cock has tried very hard to make the trouser making experience one that a beginner can tackle. I loved that about the whole package. However it is worth mentioning, politely, that there are a few errors in the labeling, instructions and descriptions. Not too bad but there is room for confusion if you are actually a beginner. I wondered why Joost had not called for pattern testers and got a range of people to go through the pattern with a fine tooth comb. I imagine lots would have volunteered (me for example!)
As I am making these trousers at least twice more for the SWAP I am going to persevere.
Everything worked out pretty well, although I am not happy with the fly. I didn’t like the method and the finish is not very good – it looks amature. I commented on this on Instagram, and the dear designer responded. Joost De Cock was open to looking at other approaches so I recommended my old favourite as it creates a great finish every time. However it needs a grown on fly facing which this pattern doesn’t have. And it doesn’t include a fly shield.
I find making my own clothes that I have a good feel for whether an item will fit or not as I have an internal map of my own body in my head. Making for Gus has seemed like my map is way out – Gus is much bigger than I am. So everything I have made so far seems huge. Because Gus is not always available – whereas I am when I am sewing for myself – I pressed on with the construction without fitting at every stage. I relied on the fact that the toile was a good fit.
However once they were sewn up to the waist band, but not finished, I got Gus to try them on. Unfortunately they were a little bit tight. I was very disappointed and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. I had sewn the seam allowances at 1.5cm as required yet they needed some ease across the body (the legs were fine). What had happened?
I think the main reason was that the toile was made in calico, and the corduroy is much chunkier. Also once I had got pockets and pocket bags in I guess that took up another centimetre or two.
So I thought I would undo all the seams and use a 1cm seam allowance instead. Then I had a brain wave.
The trousers are constructed with an extra wedge at the CB seam to allow for a little bit of weight gain. I put this in, mainly for the experience. The fact they were too snug gave me the ideal excuse to use the extra fabric to let the pants out. I will try this and report back!