Wednesday 19 June 2024

TPC 12 Trend Utility trousers review/debrief

This project was a daunting prospect, and that stress level really never let up.  The pants didn't take that long though - definitely a one-day project. 

I must mightily thank Katie and Susan who wrote very helpful blogs about their experience with these trousers.  I made use of every tidbit of info, and had both blogs open to help me streamline my approach.  I had some confusion at the hems, regarding the final step of exactly where you topstitch.  (I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as the facing bits aren't flapping.)  Up to that point, using the instructions and my two guides, I was doing fine.  I was going to use Katie's pocket modification for side pockets inset into the seams, but at the last minute decided to go with one bellows/cargo pocket using the pieces in the pattern.  If I make these again, I would do Katie's mod and have two side seam pockets because I feel a bit funny when I have nowhere to put my hands and other things.  

Using those instructions and advice, I shortened the rise by a shocking 2".  I made size 8, noticing that the waist is a bit small for my measurements, but trusting the intel that these are very roomy overall and sizing up would be a bad choice.  


My heavyweight linen was a good choice and was well behaved.  Most steps came together beautifully, even though I had to focus on what I was doing at the time.  The fly really is a piece of art.  The main drama was at the end, because you don't sew the crotch of the pants together, but have put in the entire fly, and there was a misalignment of 1cm at the centre crotch point.  I had felt some suspicion prior - a few jeans patterns do things in that order, but it seems to be rarer and rarer.  More often now you sew the crotch pretty early in the process - and THIS IS WHY.  So I had to finagle like mad to get the literal most obvious, eye catching bit of these pants to not look ridiculous.  Swearing abounded.  I think you could reasonably sew the crotch seam of the pants first to avoid this.  I suspect the reason for the mismatch lies somewhere in my crotch/rise shortening but I can't account for why it's 1 cm that was offset.  

I like the final pants.  The fit is spot on, and they are not droopy at all since I shortened the rise so much.  I feel oddly like a fashion maven when I wear these.  Just don't stare at my crotch, all the ironing in the world couldn't quite make it perfect. 

I haven't put on the pocket button yet because the rest of the buttonholes gave me a conniption and I needed to recover, though I did wear them around before the weather turned to winter.  I seriously want a new sewing machine so badly but my house has just sprung a leak, so I guess that comes first.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Friday pattern Co Saguaro set and a long, subsequent elastic pants comparison binge sew

 I made this set in a time crunchy state of urgency just before leaving on a trip (and I wanted to wear the set on the trip obv).  For this reason I had everything on my floor: the lovely red fabric I thought I would use plus about 7 alternative fabrics in a mix-and-match free for all to come up with enough yardage for these *hungry* pants.  The issues were that I wanted the set to still be a set, so I wanted the top and bottom to go together.  Considered 3 colours of raw silk in a jester-style mix and match but decided it would be too comical for me.  There was a lovely flowered linen for the bottoms, but didn't have anything that would be a good top, and I think the red fabric I had initially planned was not enough enough to make the pants.  

Lesson: really high waisted, wide hem pants take a LOT of fabric.  I can't fit them on 1 meter of 110 wide!!  Rare!!!

It was with a weird shock that I pulled out the super amazing high quality linen from Tessuti that I have been stashing.  I love it so much that I bought more than a meter.  I didn't have enough to make the entire set, but the white raw silk was a close enough match to be the top.  

Onward!  Size S and no modifications because I didn't have time.  I was accepting the potential for a HUGE DISASTROUS fail with one of my most coveted recent fabric purchases (to be considered distinct from the so precious deep stash I am just unable to cut into), and just flying with it. 

I did make the tactical decision on the top to go with a tighter elastic that grips my chest, rather than a loose elastic which skims without sticking.  I reckoned this way I could go without a bra.  However, in reality I hate the clinging feel - the loose elastic would have been a better choice.  So the top is kind of uncomfortable for me to wear, though I think it looks pretty cool.  I overlapped the tops quite a bit, trying on as I went, to get the amount of coverage I was content with.  This way even when I lean forward there's a bit of coverage.  

The result is that the pants are amazing.  I think it's the linen that does it - this linen just wanted to be a pair of swishy pants, and the length of them suits it perfectly.  High waisted loose pants have been the thing this summer, with cropped tops, and I actually have a few cropped tops that have gone really nicely with these, so they turned into an absolute win.  The crotch is too low and the pockets are annoyingly small, but despite that I adore these pants. 

This is with a Victory Frances tee hacked out of a very old tshirt - but my most judgy eye felt that the armscye fit is horrible (the pattern offers a back tie as a cheat so it won't keep falling off your shoulders) so I didn't do any more variations of this.  In fact I never kept the original ones I made for similar reasons.  Maybe I'll get more inspired this summer, it could be as simple as adding in the very necessary sloping shoulders adjustment that I know I need but rarely do.

I don't think I'll wear the top due to the tight elastic.  I think it's quite cute though and before giving it away I will probably take some notes in case I want to make it again as a stand-alone piece.  Sadly with my crazy travel schedule I thought I'd taken photos but I didn't (or I threw them away.)  No photos of the top.  But it was cute.

In the meantime I thought it would be fun to make the adjustments I should have made the first time around.  I was near The Fabric Store so I could even buy fabric for the experiment.  I wasn't sure whether these stripes would yell "clown pants" or be great. No way to know but to try, right?  I shortened the rise by 1", increased the size of the pockets by 1" all the way around, and changed the hem to an Anna Allen style 2+1 inch foldover (1 inch, then 2 inches) lengthened the hems to make up for that (maybe not necessary, they are longer).

All my thinking about these pants and modifications of them and some future shorts vision all got conflated together into a great big elastic pants binge, which follows: 

I moved onto the Peppermint Samford Pants 

Great pattern info, says it's for a 5'8" human. 

shortened crotch 1", and length 2", made size C 

Adjusted back pockets so I didn't need to double them- I thought the instructions were a bit silly. 


These are functionally identical to the Saguaro pants - a wide leg pant with a self made waist tie and 2" elastic.  Seriously SO similar.  However, these are FULL length and again, I had very few fabric options here.  I spied some drapey rayon that I bought recently and had completely forgotten about.  Not sure what the vision was for the rayon, but I bought 2m.  These pants feel like they run the show, but they also feel like something I might cheerfully wear to swan about the house.  I had some thoughts about whether to stabilise the pockets with interfacing.  Should one always stabilise pockets?  I don't remember what I ended up doing. 

Learning to shorten the rise on all these high waisted things has been a game changer.  So much that I'm considering going back to the Florence pants .

Anyway then I made the Peppermint Loungewear set pants.  (Incidentally the fit looks so similar to my old pictures of those Florence pants, but it isn't - the rise on those was terrible for me.)

These pants do NOT tell you what height human they are made for. 

I made size B and shortened the pants 1" but left the crotch height alone. 

It was really interesting to compare patterns which appear superficially quite similar - in terms of fit, of course, but also in terms of the information provided in the patterns ahead of time.  It seems like a mark of the quality of the pattern designer to share as much relevant info as possible.  Lately there are so many people designing patterns and selling them on etsy, and there is no longer a good, clear repository of new patterns and people's opinions on them - so it's hard to know whether to try out a new designer when you spy a cool new pattern. 


Sorry these are a bit rubbish, it was too cold for this.

Anyway these pants used a bit less fabric, so I could fit them on 1.5m of delightful drapey viscose twill, possibly from Blackbird fabrics.  Also, this pattern is SUPER easy, because there's no waistband. You just attach the elastic to the top of the fabric and fold down.  It's nice, for once, to have an elastic that won't be able to roll up or be obnoxious, although it was a bit tricky to sew down as you have to make sure not to fold over the pocket edges.  These pants have a much different shape to the previous selection - bigger pockets, cropped styling.  Way too cold for these now, they are going straight away for spring, but they are a surprise winner - I really love them! 

None of these pants are suitable for the shorts I have been dreaming about but luckily it's winter now so I can save that for next summer.


Monday 17 June 2024

Sew Liberated Chanterelle pants review

 These were, in a way, the final of a binge of loose linen pants, and the hunt for the perfect pattern to make a pair of shorts out of (I think I'm resisting how I'm going to absolutely make linen lounger shorts, because my pattern pieces are a catastrophe and will need to be reprinted.)  But they were also kind of their own idea, as a friend of mine recommended them to me as climbing pants.  I had a really perfect piece of grey linen that I bought from The Fabric Store awhile ago, and thought it was a nice match.  

I cut out size 6, though I could have gone with 4 or 6, and shortened the legs 1" but didn't change the crotch.  Ends up I could have shortened it just a bit if I wanted.  I do feel like the smaller size would have been fine too, as overall these are quite roomy.  I was making these right before leaving on a trip, but for once not taking them on the trip, and for once they were the only project I was working on, so I actually took the effort to make the cardboard pocket jigs and I can now report they definitely make curved pockets look better than the usual steam and swearing.  

No mishaps or confusion in the instructions.  The hem action, with the pleats etc, was fun.  Sadly I got to the final two steps (sewing on the hem bindings, and inserting the waistband) and had to leave these while I went on my trip without even trying them on, though it meant I was really happy to sidle straight back into a project when I returned.  


Verdict: winter has happened and these are out of season and I will see them in the spring. Sorry for the strange lighting etc but it was freeeeezing outside.  I wasn't going to tarry. 

I like these, though I might have preferred them a size tighter, it's hard to say.  I'm not sure whether I need to shorten the crotch just a tiny.  The linen will probably shrink a bit more in the next few washes, but we will see. The pockets are fantastic and big and lovely.  The shape is pretty good, but I'll wear them around to see if I should make a second pair in some lightweight softshell and actually use them as a climbing and outdoor adventure pants.  The softshell is only 1m and it has been around for awhile so it would be nice to use it for something - it's my last piece from Seattle Fabrics, and they have become so weird (no in-store sales, and a very small selection compared to the past, at least online)  that even an upcoming trip to Seattle isn't enough to entice me to buy from them, sadly.

Onward to some season-appropriate sewing!