Finished: Sew Grateful Week 1941 trousers

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my pinafore skirt! I actually can’t quite believe I’m here 3 days later to post another finished sewing project. But friends, I did it. I finished a project for Debi’s Sew Grateful week! Keep reading and you’ll find out why these are for Sew Grateful, as there’s a whole slew of reasons and people to thank!

Now, I managed to space out that Sew Grateful week was coming up until Monday when I was reminded about it on Debi’s blog. Monday afternoon, I said, “Rats, too bad I don’t have time to finish a project in time for Thursday’s project day.”

An hour later I was washing 4 different fabrics and trying to decide on a pattern and a fabric combo.

A few hours after that I was cutting fabric.

Tuesday night before bed I was prancing around in these.

Behold, my new favorite trousers, in lightweight corduroy. A totally appropriate vintage fabric choice and great for cooler months. (I’m pretending the blue is closer to cadet blue than it probably is, it was a very popular wartime color for women’s clothing in the 40s.)

The pattern is Simplicity 3688, a reproduction pattern from 1941. If you read any sewing blogs, odds are you’ve seen at least someone make or talk about these trousers. Prevailing opinion is they’re easy to sew and they’re flattering.

And my opinion on the prevailing opinion? AGREED.

Because I intended to sew these faster than the speed of light I pretty much followed the pattern instructions to the letter. I think the only things I did different was to change the zipper application and to hand stitch the waistband shut on the inside instead of stitch in the ditch.

I also sewed one size down from what I would have normally after measuring the pattern pieces and realizing they’d be gigantic!

I love them. LOVE THEM. I’m totally making them again and again.

I did a centered zipper instead of lapped as I thought the fabric might be too heavy for a lapped zipper to look nice, so I took a queue from the Wearing History Smooth Sailing pattern. I have no idea where the instructions came from because I wrote them out by hand in my sewing notebook when I made my Smooth Sailing trousers, but wherever I got them, the results are great.

I love the vintage button that closes these. I have several more, so someday they’ll make it onto another project. Though I may need to add a hidden snap on the inside of this pair to keep the button from meandering over the edge of the waistband.

I cut off about 3 1/4″ off the length of the pattern from the bottom, turned up 1/2″, then 2″ again for the hem, and blind stitched by hand. I may do a folded up cuff next time but it wasn’t in the cards with my tight deadline.

Now, here’s the lengthy Sew Grateful elements!

I think I first saw this pattern when Debi sewed them, but have also seen them on the likes of Jane (twice!), Karen and Lauren over the last 2 years. I bought the pattern at some point after reading about them so many times, but hadn’t sewn them yet. Fast forward to early January this year, when Rochelle personally recommended the pattern to me. That stuck in my mind and when I was trying to come up with a project, I remembered Simplicity 3688 and what she had said. So I owe a huge thanks to Rochelle for putting up with my last-minute emails about fit and sizing, these wouldn’t fit as nicely as they do without her!

As for the fabric? I bought it during our Chicago blogger meetup last summer, with Liz, Lauren and Meg. That was such a wonderful day and I knew the fabric had to turn into something special.

Last but not least, I was inspired by several of the deadlines Debi herself has set for some of her sewing projects. I channeled Debi to get these trousers done and photographed in time! If you haven’t been following her posts this week, you simply must go check them out. Her Sew Grateful project is stunning!

This project also marks a really important milestone for me: I’ve officially sewn more garments in 2013 than I sewed in all of 2012. I know. It’s only February 7th. I think my sewing demons have been left behind for good. And I couldn’t be more grateful for the online sewing community to help make that happen in so many ways. Tutorials, inspiration, friendship and support.

Thank you ALL!

(p.s. I promise you I haven’t forgotten about knitting! ;)

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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Golly, 57 Comments!

  • They’re lovely. Think I may need to keep an eye out for this pattern now :)

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  • Tasha, the trousers are absolutely FANTASTIC! I just love the colour and the centered zipper! YOu are zooming right through 2013! That is AWESOME! I cannot wait to meet you… We will have to wear our simplicity

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  • Meant to say we will have to both wear our simplicity 3688 trousers :-)

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  • They look great! Love that bright blue color. Next time I’m in Chicago, we’ll have to both wear our twinsie pants haha :D

    Also, I need to know if you knit that sweater, and if so, what is the pattern? It is gorgeous!

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    • I did indeed and you can too! It’s Olivette, on Ravelry and super well-written. I think the smallest size is too big for you (36″) but it’s totally easy to modify b/c there’s large stockinette panels on the sides of the lace and cable fun. If you decide to knit it LMK and I’ll help you through that part if you need it. :)

      I just recently re-fashioned the sleeve caps (I knit it 2 years ago and never wore it), so I’ll be posting about that soon too!

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  • Okay, you’ve inspired me to make a million pairs of these for myself. I love them!! I think I may even have this pattern in my stash? If not, I’m going to pick it up this weekend. Looks fabulous!!

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    • That was the moment I had– “wait, I think I have this pattern” LOL! I totally am going to make a wardrobe FULL of these, you definitely need to sew up this pattern too!!

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    • Sarah Beckman February 7, 2013 at 10:47pm

      After Tasha highlighted this pattern, I did a search for other patterns on the simplicity site then went into JoAnns. My store had them all. Even more, one of the employees told me that on 2/15, they will be 5/$5 (max. 10 patterns). You can buy the patterns 7 days ahead of time and get your $ back during the sale. (I’ve picked out 10 1940s patterns for skirt, blouses, these pants, aprons, and baby clothes.)

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  • Those are adorable! Is this a current Simplicity pattern?

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    • Thanks Molly! I think the new version of the pattern was originally released in 2007 so it’s been around awhile. It’s available on their web site but I bought it sometime last year at JoAnn’s, so I’m sure you can still get it easily. :)

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  • These pants are a triumph. Not only do you have a confident sense of your own style, but these reflect your new confidence in sewing too. I’m a new follower of your blog, but you’re super inspiring to me.

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  • Wooot! How speedy you’ve become with sewing projects, and they all look so good too!!!

    These trousers are wonderful and seem like thy would be a great staple in one’s wardrobe. Are you going to make a few more pairs after these?

    You make me want to give this pattern another shot. :)

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  • YOU look great and those trousers turned out marvelously. I’ve been wanting to make a pair of these but am afraid they won’t look good on my because I have a bit of a belly. I’m big on wearing pants around the house and these would totally work for me.

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  • Love the trousers….and the shoes! Very drool-worthy.

    Off topic as it is totally outside your preferred era of vintage, but there is a new sewing blog I came across about recreating historical patterns. It is Victorian/Civil War era, but anything regarding sewing old stuff is fascinating to me and I thought of you while perusing it. Might have some useful tips or something. http://victorianneedle.blogspot.com/

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  • Oh yay glad to see these made up and so lovely!! I chose these pants to make for Rochelle’s 1940′s sew along. Glad to know they can easily be made on a tight deadline because I’m quite the procrastinator!

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  • Those trousers are lovely! I’m so impressed with how many projects you completed already. It’s good to read your sewing demons are gone now!

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  • Such a nice colour! I’m another fan of this pattern, though I’ve only made it up once so far. I’m planning on another pair for Rochelle’s sewalong too, in either a black or navy wool. I have plans for a red linen pair for summer too, if we ever get weather warm enough for it this year! I think I’ll drop a size on my next pair as I found they are excessively wide fitting. Quite unexpected as I so often have to add width to accommodate my thighs. It does mean my current pair are super comfy for slouching round the house in mind you, lol.

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  • Your trousers turned out lovely! I used that same pattern (with some adjustments) for my own 1940′s dungarees. I love the fact that you made them out of corduroy, especially that lovely blue color!

    Brigid
    The Middle Sister and Singer

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  • great job and I love that they are cords.

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  • FANTASTIC! Man, those look great! I wish I had the build for those lovely wide-legged trousers, but they look SMASHING on you! You did a great job with them. And I too love the color. It reminds me so much of those Alfred Palmer photos of the female factory workers in WWII. In fact, this lady appears to be wearing almost the same trousers! http://www.shorpy.com/node/6882

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    • OMG Moe! You are so right, thank you for showing me that! Oh man, I may have to try and recreate her outfit just for fun… of course the only elements I already have are the trousers and red socks. lol

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  • Wonderful! I’m convinced this pattern is magic, you just ain’t go wrong with it! Your whole outfit is gorgeous. x

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  • They’re thoroughly fantastic! I love that versatile, classic shade of dark blue – and in corduroy (a personal fave) to boot. I think one could get as much wear and use out of a pair of trousers like this as they could from jeans. Awesome job – not only on this project, but on the volume of sewing you’ve already completed in 2013. Way to go, girl!!!

    ♥ Jessica

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    • Thanks so much Jessica! You know, that was in fact *exactly* what was in my head when I made these, that I wanted a pair that would be as versatile as jeans!

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  • These look amazing Tasha, well done!
    I’ve been pining after some cord trousers for some time, and as luck would have it, I recently bought this pattern. So glad to know it’s quick and easy to sew up! X

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  • Tasha, you are so quick and the pants look great! I love that you used corduroy, what a great idea! I also have the pattern in my stash. Maybe I will make them for Sew For Victory :)

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  • You look absolutely stunning in those!!! The blue cord is fabulous and will definitely keep you cozy in the freezing Chicago weather :) I have this pattern and LOVE it!

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  • Love love LOVE! Your hair looks adorable, too!

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  • Tasha they’re AMAZING!! The fit is really spot on if I do say so myself ;) I like the look of the centered zipper much better. The direction of the cord on my lapped zipper looks a bit funny since the fabric folds over on a curve. I’m definitely going to try a centered zipper next time. Also, I LOVE your shoes! Fabulous outfit, my Dear, as per usual! :)

    xo

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  • They look great! I really need to get that pattern.. I saw them on Jane too and really really want to make some as my first pants :)

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  • I have this pattern and I definitely need to make a pair for the coming winter.

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  • this makes me want to really get serious about my sewing. I’m only a strong beginner, but I love these and the shoes are Fantastic.

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  • Wow, they look great? I know you said they were easy to make, but you’re experienced. I’m pretty new to sewing and pants always seem so complicated and difficult – think I would be able to tackle these?

    Thanks!

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    • I think if you consider yourself a confident beginner you sure could! The actual sewing part and the instructions were pretty easy. They way they have you construct them is very straight-forward. I think the only thing that might be difficult if you haven’t done it a lot is the zipper but there’s lots of zipper tutorials online. :)

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  • Ohmygosh! What awesome possum trousers. They are stunning!

    The colour looks amazing with your fabulous nails and it suits you beautifully.

    ~ Cerridwyn

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  • They look great! Love how you styled them, very 40s war-time factory girl chic =)
    I’m really impressed with your sewing productivity this year! It’s strange how sewing mojo can just suddenly disappear and the garments come pouring out. I’ve also been a bit more productive, but that’s very much a consequence of re-organizing my life to make more room for sewing… Less working for the dance society, more hours at the sewing table ;)

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  • Your trousers are awesome and I love the colour and your fabric choice. I’ve been wanting to make some trousers and I just bought this pattern last week. Now I can’t wait.

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  • Super cute! I love the color you made them in!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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  • Too funny, just as I read this, I am wearing my own pair made from this pattern. Unlike you, however, I actually had to ADD length ;) They are great, aren’t they?

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  • “finally”!! :-D i bought this pattern two years ago when i was in the states for the first time and it didn’t sew these tousers yet. the last weeks i’v been discussing with my friend inka that we REALLY need those trousers but we both weren’t sure how they would turn out. “i would be great to see them how they look finished” is what we always said….well, and here they are! and they look so great on you (or you look so great in them!) :-) i think that sealed the deal: i need need need to sew those…
    now, i’m off to my fabric closet; picking the right fabric ;-)
    thank you so much, tasha! i enjoy your blog a lot :-) i am always waiting for a new post – and celebrate it with a nice cup of tea :-)
    love from germany
    nadine

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  • Wow love these, I’ve just finished some swing pants. Love your styling btw, following now :)

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  • Great trousers and great outfit/styling as always. I have been checking out this pattern after having seen several versions of the trousers around the interwebs so maybe I should finally bite the bullet and get it. Never really thought about corduroy much but I actually love it. Thank you for being such an inspiration. Can’t wait to see more of your knitting either!!!

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  • Oh my goodness, you’re talented! I love these trousers, and your whole look is perfect! Love love love!

    Jordan
    http://jordansvintagekitchen.blogspot.com

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  • Hi Tasha. Every decision to make these trousers was the right decision.
    The period styling is awesome.

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  • A fantastic pair of trews! I’ve not worn a pair in four years or so, this is the perfect inspiration to get me back into trousers :)

    Ruby xx

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  • Love those! I finally sat down and planned out my spring sewing and this pattern is my first place to start. Great to know it’s an easy patter!

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  • Way to go! These pants are fantastic!! Great color and fabric choice too. I haven’t made the pants from this pattern, but I DID take a stab at the suit this spring, which would have gone well if I could have gotten the lining to hang right and hadn’t bungled the fusible interfacing (hello, puckers…). I’m still bummed, because I really want a smart 40s suit, and they cost mondo $$$ on Etsy! Think you’ll try the suit? If you did, it would totally inspire me to have another go!!

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  • Great trousers. I love the colour and they style. I’ve got this pattern in my stash and haven’t got round to making it up yet, but you’ve just inspired me to move it up the sewing list!

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  • Well, you’ve inspired me to get off my rear and try making this pattern too (I had it in my stash, along with several yards of mystery olive fabric) and you are SO right, it’s pattern perfection! Yours are absolutely delightful, and oh-o-flattering. I think a corduroy pair will have to go on my to-sew list next!

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  • They’re wonderful! I went straight out for fabric and the pattern and am wearing mine now. It feels so strange to have the waistband on my actual waist…and it feels great! Mustard fine wale corduroy for me; thanks for the inspiration!

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  • They look amazing.I have the same pattern but haven’t sewn it yet.Now I need to get busy.love the color of the material.

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