Sewing with a Plan requires 11 items. Having done a grey skirt and a yellow jersey I needed to get back to sewing.


Moving on to my second neutral – navy – I decided on a basic pair of trousers. Although I have a few vintage trouser patterns I went back to basics and made a new trouser block.

I dug out Winnie, and got to work. This book costs about £12 – the cost of one modern “Indie” pattern.

It has been a while since I made a trouser block, but it was really easy. If you struggle to get trousers to fit just go for it.

You may remember that I have fairly wide hips and a small waist. I was never able to buy trousers that fitted well over the years.  Making pants to fit was what drove me into dressmaking classes in the 1980s.

I often think making your own patterns is time-consuming, but only took an hour or so (a bit longer to trace off the pattern), and I was able to make a pair of pants that fitted really well. Because I am paranoid about my hips being too big (for most commercial trousers) I measured really loosely around the hip area. Consequently the pattern was a bit too curvy and I had to alter the pattern slightly by shaving an inch or so off the outer leg/hip/thigh area but that is the only alteration I made. You may be able to see that on my pattern (compared to the book diagram) the hips are excessively curved.

Although Aldrich suggests making the trousers wider or narrower in the leg to match current fashions, I left them at the middle position (“alternative leg shaping” on the right of the diagram). This is a little wider than I generally wear, and also a little longer. But I felt ready to try a middle-of-the road classic shape on this occasion.


Four pieces only, and the most simple approach.

I am not keen on waist bands. They either cut in or feel sloppy. As with my grey skirt I left the waist band off. I drafted a couple of facings, but after consideration of bulk issues, I just finished the inside of the waist line with a nice piece of Liberty bias binding, made by my friend Linde Carr. This is such a comfortable finish.

It is always possible to make garments directly from the blocks and get a nice fit. But when I tried these on, in plain navy cotton fabric (with a little elastane in it), they looked so boring I wanted to do something to make them a bit more exciting.

Worried that the SWAP this year favours TNT and neutrals and (frankly) dull but wearable capsules, I didn’t want to jazz them up too much. But then I thought they had a nautical look and that maybe a couple of buttons on the front darts would give a bit of interest. I had four nice vintage buttons from the charity shop and I used these.

Nautical trousers
Nautical looks

Bonus knitwear

Thinking neutrals I decided to knit up all my small left over pieces of neutral merino yarns – two beiges, a couple of creams and some grey, and a couple of pastels – lemon and pink. I was inspired by Neapolitan ice-cream. But when I put it on Nick suggested it looked like a rock formation and named it Lyme Regis. This jumper may be part of the SWAP or not. We shall see.

The photos below do not show off the trousers very well. All they demonstrate is that the fabric contains stretch. And that my husband has bought a boat. Oh well. They are nice trousers and I have no doubt I will include them in the SWAP. It is just anonymous dark pants are not my usual choice of legwear.

Nautical but nice
We got a boat!

Next week we are going up to see my Mum who is in hospital again (dislocated hip). So I may not get something made for SWAP next week. At the moment my outline plan is

  1. Grey pencil skirt (done)
  2. Grey evening circle skirt or trousers
  3. Grey Chanel jacket
  4. Navy trousers (done)
  5. Navy pleated skirt
  6. Navy jacket or coat
  7. Westwood skirt in navy plaid
  8. Yellow jersey (done)
  9. Red jersey or maybe a striped (patterned) jumper
  10. Painted silk blouse
  11. Another top

Eleven weeks for eight items is realistic. Especially as I could use a Ready to wear navy jacket (item 6) and a previously made top (11), which means six items in 11 weeks. All good.

9 Responses

  1. Karen

    Love these trousers. In fact the complete list I suspect is going to provide me with inspiration for some time to come. I have had a hankering for a pair of Jean Paul Gaultier sailor trousers since the exhibition in the Barbican a few years ago. I started sewing because I couldn’t find a dress to fit. I’m a bit upside down triangle / cylindrical but also quiet short/petite. Neck lines sitting just above my waist, waist bands cutting me in two, hips flapping about in the wind, hem trailing around in the mud! Although my sewing skills haven’t quite got as far as the dress yet. However I have cut out crisps & biscuits, a whole food group of their own with me and discovered that I can now buy a dress that fits, sort of. Still would like to make one though. K x

  2. The Demented Fairy

    Some sewing HAS to be boring if you make all your clothes, doesn’t it? I have two pairs of fairly dull black trousers waiting to be made up, and I really need them as my current small stock of plain black or grey trousers is getting really BORING to wear- still perfectly comfortable and wearable though!
    I’m trying to maintain slight SWAP discipline [although I’m well ahead] and make something dull for every one or teo fun garments. Two crazy fun skirts in the bag, so it’s time for dull trousers. Ah well.
    I like your idea of the slightly nautical buttons, and personally, I like a mid-width trouser leg as long as it’s lean on the hips and thigh. So bootcut then Fairy? Well, yes.

  3. Mary Funt

    Nice job on the pant draft. Although darks can be hard to photograph, they look like the fit is good. Perfect nautical wear for the boat; I assume for cruising the lake at your house. I hope you are able to complete the SWAP plan. The combinations sound so interesting and wearable. Hope your mum feels better.

  4. Annie

    Well now, what a surprise, I’ve been looking at sailor trouser patterns to make up in a navy wool, I’ve seen very few, I want a bib front with buttons, we’re thinking similarly here. Re waist facings, they’re ideal If you don’t want to tuck your top in, I always chose to do my waist finishes that way, it’s quick and very neat. If I am using a lining I cut it the same as the outer and stitch the facings on top, the lining does away with the need of interfacing and inside is bulk free. It’s a lovely finish.

    Sorry to hear that your mum has been in the wars, dislocated hips are a nuisance but alas too common in the elderly, I hope she’s not too uncomfortable.

  5. Kathryn Dahn

    Love the pants. I like the mid-size leg width, always in style as opposed to skinny or wide.

    I have to ask what is your drive made with? It looks like maybe some kind of mat with gravel over? Very neat looking.

  6. Sue

    I’ve used Aldrich for nearly all my blocks and find her good, but keep buying other books to explore. Your trousers are lovely; very classic, but my eye was drawn to the boat. What absolute fun you are going to have in it! Bravo Nick.

  7. ceci

    Sorry to hear your mom is in the hospital – you will probably knit another sweater in the car – the Lyme Regis one is lovely. On a totally different front, I am fascinated by the gravel pad you are standing on – an option under consideration in one of my garden problem spots. I guess this is new so no intel on how it holds up over time….?


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