Sunday, 22 February 2015

Deep-Seated Issues: Ultimate Trousers (Work in Progress)

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone's had a good weekend? I had a great time hitting the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road for the first time with a couple of friends. We were there all afternoon and still didn't manage to check out every shop! I think we only did 2/3 of what's on offer at best! We all had a pretty good haul, and had a lovely break in a really old-fashioned diner, Zippy's, which was charming (and amazingly cheap).  I hope it won't be my last trip though- the owner of Classic Textiles was telling me that all the shops were due to close in the Autumn to make way for regeneration. So definitely worth another trip or two before this gem is lost for good...

 Here's what I got- (clockwise from centre bottom) some Liberty needlecord for a Megan dress (the '70s blue floral), some polka dots for either a midi skater skirt or a pair of trousers, some wax print chickens for a shirt for my bloke, some wine-coloured ponte for one of my vintage pattern pledge dresses, a kind of 'Sleeping Beauty'-esque Liberty tana lawn for an Anna,  and some cotton lawn elephants for a pair of pyjamas! Almost all of these are planned projects so I was pretty sensible, only giving in to whim with the extra Anna fabric. 

So here's my work in progress- my first muslin for a full-length pair of Ultimate Trousers. These are a size 12 with an extra inch added to the rear seam to make room for my rotund rump. This worked pretty well- the waistband is pretty much level- but you can see there are still some issues to be addressed in the next muslin. 

I had a week break making in between starting these and putting in the zip to test the fit. Although they're such a quick make to construct, I had a quick try-on just holding the sides together and could see it was going to be a bit of a strain getting them over my pot belly. 

Fitting trousers is hard not only because it's technically complex, but it's hard to confront your own body quirks and work around them. It's just not enjoyable having to work out how something's going to go nicely over your weird lumps and bulges! I basically need all the FBAs- full bust adjustment, full bottom adjustment and full belly adjustment.  

After my week's 'insulted vanity' break I decided to just let out the centre front seam a little to make room for my tum. As you can see although I can put the trousers on there's still a lot of work to do- and I think letting out this centre seam (rather than the sides) was a mistake because it's also given a bit more unnecessary width for the crotch. 

 If anyone can see what other adjustments I need to make any hints will be gratefully received! I've been piecing together info from my Gertie Sews Vintage Casual book, which has a decent section on 'Pants Fitting' and the Colette online tutorials for their Clover trousers. 

What I *think* I need to do is the following, but only making another muslin will tell:
- Add a smidgen more length to the front crotch seam
- Add more width to the side seams over the hips
- Add a little more width to the top of the inner thigh
- Swayback adjustment to take a little width out of the waistband at the centre back
- To make them look a little more like the cover art on the packaging maybe taper the legs in a little more below the knee?
- These will be a bit shorter once hemmed, although I think they're supposed to be anke-swingers. I might draft in a little extra length to have the full coverage option though. 

 My one consolation with these trousers is that I've finally managed to insert a reasonable invisible zip! This isn't great as it was done pretty carelessly as it's just a muslin, but it's the best I've done so far and it's all down to actually using an invisible zip foot rather than a standard zip foot. I wish I'd got this foot ages ago, it would have saved me so many headaches. In fact I've taken out a couple of zips from previous dresses to re-insert the invisible zip now that I have this magical gadget. 

 So, I'm on my way with my fitting 'resewlution'! I've still got a way to go but I'm glad I've started. I think getting over myself has been the biggest challenge so far- hopefully with a few more tweaks I'll have a great-fitting and flattering pair of trousers. And you know what? Even this pair beats anything in my RTW wardrobe for fit. 

Talking about fitting I'm also planning on a couple of new Anna dresses. I love the style so much and I know the bodice needs a little work for me. I emailed the team at By Hand London with a few (horribly taken) selfies and they have suggested a few things for me to try. I can't wait to get it nailed so I can get creating with that lovely Sleeping Beauty lawn! 

Have a good week everyone, and wish me luck on the rest of my fitting mission!

NorseOtter xxx


  1. Not looking too bad, pants are such an accomplishment. I have 3 different patterns waiting to be muslined. Hope I do at least one this year! Love the fabrics you got from Goldhawk Rd. Hope everything is still there in August. I get to come to the UK (from Oz) and Goldhawk rd sounds like my Mecca!

    1. Thank you! Yes once I've nailed them I will be truly proud. Reckon it will take a few more test versions first though. Goldhawk Road really is a mecca for fabric shopping! The prices are good and there's a great range- you will need at least an afternoon there if you're keen on stocking up on lovely things. I hope it will still be there in August (and beyond!).

  2. Re fitting trousers, I can recommend a book called Pants For Real People. It's a great book, so please don't be fooled by the cheesy cover! Love your fabrics, especially the blue and white 70s print; and yey to the invisible zip foot - I couldn't do without mine.

  3. Thank you! I think the blue '70s print is my favourite too. Thanks for the book recommendation - I think I might be tempted! I wear trousers a lot so it will be worthwhile getting my head around it so the next pair won't be so daunting. What's your favourite trouser pattern?