Ultimate Trousers – two pairs in denim and crepe

Ultimate Trousers – now there’s a pattern with a lot to live up to. What a name.

I was actually one of the testers for this Sew Over It pattern, way back at the beginning of the year. You might have spotted my denim version during Me Made May, if you can remember that far back.

ultimate trousers me-made may

I’ve worn these a lot since making them.

I really like the fit of this pattern, especially with the deep darts at the back, but I did have to make a few changes:

  • I cut a size 14
  • Added 0.5cm to the rise
  • Made the back waist about 1.5cm higher in the centre, tapering out to the beginning of the dart
  • Lengthened the legs 4 (yes, 4) inches.
  • Added about 1cm to the front crotch seam

Here’s the battered looking pattern for visual reference:

ultimate trousers pattern changes 2

I’m pretty happy with my first denim Ultimate Trousers. They’re really comfortable for non-stretch trousers, and I like the fit.

ultimate trousers denim 2More recent photo with bonus new hair

I think the back view, (not pictured because I couldn’t face putting it online for posterity) could do with some welt pockets to break up the vast expanse.

But that would make them more time-consuming to sew, and as drafted they’re incredibly quick. There are only 4 pattern pieces!

The denim is just cheap stuff from my local fabric shop, Ultimate Craft (DOUBLE ULTIMATE) but it’s holding up well.

For my second pair I was determined to add pockets. The only way I could think of doing this was by adding a waistband as well. So that’s what I did.

ultimate trousers crepe 2

This fabric is from Fabric World on Goldhawk Road, and I was bullied into buying it by Clare, Nicole and Sally on the big sewing meet-up earlier this year. It’s an amazing, silky viscose, and I love the print.

Here’s a closer view of the waistband and pockets:

ultimate trousers crepe pockets

It was a bit shifty and annoying to sew, but I wrangled it into submission in the end. I can’t believe how well I matched the pattern across the front. It was a complete fluke. I didn’t even cut the pieces on a single layer.

It’s not matched at all across the side seams because, well, who can be bothered with that.

Here’s what the waistband and pocket pieces look like. For the pocket, I just drew a slanted line across the side of the trousers, and then traced off a vaguely pocket shaped piece to match it.

Ultimate trousers waistband pockets

To add the waistband, I just drew a line about 1.5 inches from the top of the trousers, and then traced this piece off (you can see the line in the photo). I then took this piece, folded out the dart lines, and extended it at the top. Then I added seam allowances.

This second version are so comfortable to wear. They’re definitely a step up for my lounging wardrobe, which up until now has consisted of a holey old pair of American Apparel yoga pants and some unfortunate promotional t-shirts.

I have worn them out of the house a few times, when it was really hot. They’re very lightweight.

My one reservation is that they look a bit like something you’d wear to go backpacking in Asia. This is particularly noticeable from behind for some reason:

ultimate trousers

Not saying I have anything against this look, I’m just not sure it works when you’re commuting on a rainy London bus rather than trekking through Thailand.

ultimate trousers crepe 1

I know I look like I’m telling someone to piss off in this photo but my hair looks good, so it’s staying in.

Anyway, hopefully I will be going somewhere hot and sunny next year, and then these will come in handy for public use. Until then I can reserve them for autumn nights in watching Don’t Tell The Bride and eating cheese on toast.

I definitely recommend this pattern. It’s an easy one to fit as there are no pockets, so you can quickly whip up a muslin and test the fit. And it’s comfortable without relying on stretch fabric. A good way to dip your toe into trouser-making for beginners.

You can buy the Ultimate Trousers pattern from Sew Over It here.

Minerva Blogging Network: Burda polka-dot trousers

This month’s Minerva project sprang from my wish to make a pair of trousers that involved no topstitching whatsoever. It was also inspired by the totally awesome pairs that Rosie from DIY Couture makes, and these overpriced Moschino polka dot trews.

Here’s the result:

polkadot trousers 1

You can see more about the project and the fit changes I made on the Minerva Blogging Network here.

These trousers have caused no small amount of controversy within my household. My husband thinks they look like pyjamas. I do own a pair of pyjamas made from extremely similar fabric, so I can see where he’s coming from, but hopefully the fabric is sturdy enough not to look like I’ve just woken up and strolled to the corner shop in my loungewear.

spottytrousers 3

The pattern is from Burda magazine 11/2013, available on the Burda site here, and it’s pretty good, with a shaped waistband and well-drafted pockets. I didn’t bother making a muslin, just compared them to my existing jeans pattern, and the fit isn’t bad, if a little bit tight.

If I’m totally honest, the main reason I chose this pattern is because there are four pieces to trace, and no welt pockets. Although this doesn’t help to support my ‘not pyjamas’ case.

They also have a turn-up cuff thing going on which I like although it’s not that noticeable in this fabric.

polkadot trousers 2

I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing these much, but I’m glad I made them. They might be more use in the spring.  I’m not convinced this is the most flattering style for the pear-shaped of us. Also, I think this pattern might work better in a slightly heavier wool fabric, as the knees tend to bag out a bit.

Still, I’m counting these as my first win for 2014. I made a wearable pair of non-jeans trousers! Hooray!

polkadot trousers 4

Read my Minerva post about these trousers here.

You can buy the polka dot stretch fabric here – I think it would make an amazing fitted dress.

Or buy the full kit with zip and fastening is available here.

Download the Burd pattern (11/2013 #110A) from the Burdastyle website here.

(sorry for the terrible photos. This is about as light as it gets in Britain at the moment.)

Burda 7863 version 2 – brown jeans of glory

I made some more jeans! Hooray!

Once again, I’ve totally struggled to get any decent photos of these. I couldn’t wait any longer to show them off though. Hope you can get the general idea.

brown jeans 1

Burda jeans

They’re made of brown fabric from Mandors in Glasgow. According to the label it was used by Burberry to make jodhpurs, and it really is ridiculously stretchy. It’s almost like a cross between a jersey and a woven, with great recovery.

Top-stitching on fabric as stretchy as this was what you might call an interesting experience.

pattern pieces

My pattern pieces look so terrible. I must get them traced off. I am embarrassed to admit I used brown parcel tape in desperation when I lost my scotch tape. Do you trace off your pattern pieces? I didn’t even realise that was a thing people did until this year. Shameful.

I made a few alterations from last time, including scooping out the back curve a smidgen, shortening the crotch by 2cm both front and back, and attempting a tiny bow leg alteration at the knee.

brown jeans 3

brown jeans 2

You can see I’ve still got a few folds under the bum but generally I think the fit is a lot better. Not sure what those drag lines are on the back thigh but I’ve decided not to worry about it.

trousers and hair

I used a new find, a double jeans needle, to do most of the topstitching. These jeans were total THREAD HOGS. I used up two and a half spools! Of course I managed to sew over the metal zipper halfway through construction and broke my lovely and expensive new needle, but it was fun while it lasted.

Like last time, I sewed them in a different order to the pattern envelope – first the inside legs (and topstitched), then the fly, then the outside legs (and topstitched down to thigh level), then the back seam.

I copied the pockets from my RTW Uniqlo jeans again and I’m super happy with them.

brown jeans back

I wasn’t sure if these jeans would get worn or not. It’s all because of my school uniform which was brown and ‘camel’ (ie. sickly yellow). If you made it to A-levels, you could wear any clothes you liked, as long as they were brown, white, or cream. I’m sure you can imagine how uplifting we all looked sitting in the sixth form common room. Truly a rainbow of beige.

Anyway those two years put me off brown for life. I think the last time I wore trousers of this hue I was 16 and off to see Blur at Bournemouth International Centre dressed in my best corduroy flares.

But times have changed! Damon Albarn is not nearly as fresh-faced, I can buy a pint without any fake ID, and I no longer have to worry about revising for my maths GCSE.

So I think these jeans have broken the curse. It helps that they’re unbelievably comfortable. I’ve already planned the next version in bright blue stretch twill. And this time I’m thinking RIVETS. Oh yes.

Friday Fabric Fun: Peter Jensen sample sale and stretch denim

Attention, London-based sewing types! I have some Friday fabric news for you. Ready?

Designer Peter Jensen is having a fabric sample sale (this link now works properly, sorry!) next Saturday, the 27th October, at 10am. This is rather exciting. He’s known for his unusual prints, like this umbrella fabric:

Photo via Style Bubble

Or this bird print, which you might have known I’d be a fan of:

Or this slightly over-the-top-but-amazing-with-it alpine cabin print:

Now of course there’s no guarantee that they’ll be selling any of this stuff – it may just be a load of old calico they need to shift. But I’m definitely going to go down and find out! Is anyone else interested? Slightly concerned that it will just be a horde of 20 year old fashion students with sharp elbows, so would be nice to have some fellow home sewists along.

On the same topic (sort of), I have a fabric dilemma. Where you can buy interesting stretch trouser-weight fabrics, online or in London?

I’m not saying I would wear these, necessarily, but I’d at least like to have the ability to make them

Coloured and patterned jeans have been all over the shops for ages now. But fabric stores don’t seem to have caught up yet. Everywhere I’ve been just has a small, sad selection of cheap-looking stretch denim in dubious shades of blue.

I’ve got the pattern already – Burda 7863, inspired by Handmade by Carolyn. And I’ve got some practice/wearable muslin fabric from Tissu. But I need more! Any suggestions? (I did find this Ebay shop but that’s about it).