Unbelievable and yet true: the second episode of my little tailoring escapade is actually up!
As you might remember, after making my Francine Jacket, I had precious little left over fabric but the idea of a short-trousered suit had tickled my fancy and I could not let it go.
I spent quite some time looking for the right pattern, as I wanted something quite specific and was surely not up for drafting it myself being the first ever pair of trousers I had ever sewn and the idea of drafting the crotch line gave me the jitters.
I had considered several patterns but none quite made the cut, until I saw a version of the M7726 up on Instagram and it immediately ticked all my checkboxes.
Lose fitting in the leg, high waisted, delicate pleats at the front and back and a minimalist fly front. Born as paperbag trousers, the pattern provides as usual several options for the demanding sewist: wide legged, tapered and short – each with a slightly different waist (the pleats are sewn closed to create tucks with a flat facing, or with a pleated facing; belted or not. The tucks in the waist were particularly appealing, as I had recently lost a considerable amount of weight and was expecting to find it again any moment, so I wanted to sew something that would fit me properly while at the same time being able to expand with my size fluctuations.
Speaking of sizes, I made a size 8 – but I have to say I chanced the choice quite a bit. I’m usually a size 10 or 12 for fitted bottom garments, but the pattern has no indication of the end waist measurements – only the hips. I have a hip circumference of 97cm/38in and the 4 inches of ease that I would have ended up with sewing a size 10 sounded a little excessive. I made a toile before hand, as with no waist measurement around there was no way I was going to chance it.
The toile was a success and I only had to take in the waist of about 4cm, which I took 1cm each from the darts in the back. I didn’t touch the ones in the front at all and, surprisingly, the whole thing is still pretty balanced.
MAKING IT UP
I invite you dear readers to look at the picture below and have a guess at how much fabric I had left over from making my Francine Jacket:
I was incredibly lucky the pattern pieces for these shorts had such regular shapes or there was no way in hell I was going to make it. With a little pattern tetris I managed to squeeze these shorts out of scant 65cm of fabric! Of course, this is a very small size, but what a win!
I did have to split the pocket facing and cut it in two pieces (that’s the little rectangular piece up at the top), and use leftover from the Jacket lining for the pockets… but nothing that compromised in any way the wearability of the garment. Actually, once I had the lining in hand I went full on and made oodles of bias binding that I used to bind all the inside seams (I still refuse to own an overlocker) and it makes me disproportionately happy seeing it all pretty on the inside. You’ll have to take my word for it because I did not think of taking pictures of the inside!
One more thing I will take care to note here is that the short version is that it doesn’t give a lot of room to roll the hem up properly. And by properly I mean without the side seam showing.
The pattern instructions only say to finish the seams, sew up the hem and roll it all up… but this will mean that on the roll the inner seams are showing, which isn’t to my liking in this particular case. What I did instead, was to finish the hem with some more bias facing, so that I could lose as little length as possible for the finishing. After deciding how short I was willing to go I knew I had about 7cm to play of “excess” I could use for the roll. I then stitched what is basically a 5cm wide hem, of which 1.5 stays on the inside and 3.5cm is rolled on itself towards the outside and kept in place by a few invisible hand stitches on the side seams (totalling up to the 7cm I had to use).
I’m afraid I’m making this sound much more complicated than it is in reality… I promise to update this post with clearer information if I find a better way of explaining myself!
OUT IN THE WILD
The one benefit of blogging about a garment after having finished it for this long is that I inevitably end up with a little collection of pictures in which I am wearing said garment in different outfits. Click on the pictures to see them bigger!
In my eyes, evaluating how often a piece I make is worn, and in how many combinations and styles, is a huge telltale of its success. Surely, there are clothes I’ve sewn that will always catch admiration and compliments (which is flattering to no end!). They are often unusual or quirky enough to stand out as not ready to wear and friends and family will immediately recognise them as me-made.
And then there is a second category of handmade clothes… much subtler but in my mind perhaps even more successful. The ones that are so detailed, so perfectly curated, so effortlessly put together… that they look store-bought. I get the sam feeling of pride when people look at what at a ready-to-wear garment I wear and start complimenting its design assuming it’s mine. First, this implies that to their eyes my skills are such that it’s perfectly likely I could have sewn it myself. Secondly, it is a great sign of a piece of clothing that suits my personality so well that people find it “in tune” with the rest of me. Well, these particular shorts are the the ones people often look at twice wondering quickly before ending up asking “are they…? Did you….?”
YES. I made them. *smug face*