Friends, I finally sewed my very first pair of trousers!
Now, I’ve been talking about wanting to sew trousers for over a year. They are definitely a staple in my vintage wardrobe. Last summer I bought the pattern for the 1930s Smooth Sailing trousers and blouse from Wearing History but just could never work myself up to sew them.
As you know, this last weekend I went on a blogger adventure, and bought several lovely fabrics at Vogue Fabrics. One was a very inexpensive (less than $4 a yard!) pinwale stretch corduroy. I decided I had nothing to lose at an attempt to finally sew up trousers. Talk about motivated—I bought the fabric Saturday and finished Wednesday!
But let’s point out two important facts: I don’t own a serger. And I’ve never sewn with stretch fabric. So for my very first go at sewing with trousers I was using fabric that frayed if you sneezed near it, was stretchy and didn’t press well. Did I mention that once I washed and dried the fabric, I discovered it was kooky and the wales of the corduroy were woven on the bias and not straight like normal? Crazy, huh? Fortunately, it did not end up a recipe for disaster!
trousers made by me, blouse from Nudeedudee
Due to my fray-prone fabric, I bound the exposed seams with what felt like a million miles of rayon seam binding. This alone probably took longer than all the rest of everything related to sewing up these trousers combined. Seriously, those bound seams nearly did me in. But I persevered. And how pleased am I with the crotch and inner leg seam intersection?!
(By the way, if you ever do this, just snip your notches instead of clipping them out like I did, since this make some really ugly spots when sewing over them with your binding. Whatever, it’s inside my legs.)
When I was looking at this fabric at Vogue, Lauren Lladybird advised sewing a size down because of the stretch content, but since I’d never sewn this pattern and wasn’t sure how they’d fit, I went with my normal size. In the end they’re definitely roomy, even after trying to shrink them a tad in a hot washer and dryer.
They’re the bunchiest at the level of the highest point of my bum all the way around, but you can kind of see it in the side and back views. I think if I’d used a drapey fabric this would just look nice and flowy, but since this is thick but non-drapey corduroy, the excess fabric just kind of sits there in space, standing at attention. (It feels like if I had drapery weights in my hem they’d lay better. Ha!)
The back has some pooling of fabric which I’m sure I would never in a million years have noticed if I didn’t read sewing blogs.
From what I’ve read I’d possibly benefit from a flat seat adjustment (though I didn’t think I had a flat derriere!), or changing the crotch curve (read the Coletterie pants fitting cheat sheet), or doing a fish eye dart in the pattern (read Liz’s post on fish eye darts). I should mention I took in a full extra inch on each back dart when it came time to attach the waistband (probably the cause of the horizontal line towards my waistband in the above photo) because I had forgotten to stay stitch so I think the pieces stretched out a bit.
Of course, these might all be non-existent issues with fabric that drapes better, so I’m tempted to make a second pair without any more alterations in some gabardine in my stash to see the difference, then think about tweaks. (Bonus = stashbusting!)
Seriously though, I’ve spent way too much time contemplating my mid-section since making these trousers, so these are just little nitpicks, nothing for me to lose sleep over. I’m still quite pleased with these!
The construction was a breeze and were it not for my seemingly endless binding of all those seams, these would really have taken me no time at all! The instructions were very clear. A big A+ to Lauren at Wearing History. I can’t wait to try more of her patterns.
In the end, I think the Smooth Sailing trouser pattern needs a fabric with more drape than mine. But in spite of the fit issues I mentioned, I love these trousers. The pinwale corduroy is just divine against the skin, and even though they’re a little baggy, I’m going to get a lot of wear out of them. They can dress up or down since the fabric is casual but classy, so I wore them both to work and to lounge on the sofa after.
And I’m no longer scared to sew trousers. I may or may not even have danced around the house singing “Pants I made!” but you didn’t hear it from me…
I’m definitely going to be sewing more vintage-styled trousers! Any pattern recommendations?
(And by the way yes, I’m definitely buying a @#?*#$&! serger.)