We Can Sew It: Trousers for beginners

Who’s ready to tackle some trousers?

If you’re still ambivalent, check out these patterns for inspiration. They should all be suitable for beginner/intermediate sewers making their first pair of trews.

Sewaholic – Thurlow

sewaholic

Thurlow is a great pattern from Sewaholic which comes in two versions – you can either make a pair of cuffed shorts or full-length, slightly flared trousers. According to the pattern’s description, the centre back seam has extra-wide seam allowances, which should be handy if you have issues with trousers fitting properly at the waist.

A more challenging aspect (which takes it up to the intermediate zone in my opinion) is the front fly zipper. But if you’re ready for a challenge, then there’s no reason you can’t have a go.

Butterick – B5895

butterickgertie

You all know I’m a big Gertie fangirl, so I couldn’t not include these trousers from Butterick’s Patterns by Gertie range. Probably not an ideal length for the UK’s plummeting temperatures, but the cropped length on this pair is really cute. An extra bonus is no fly-zipper, hurrah! Instead, the zip’s at centre back of the trousers. There’s also a great cropped shirt with kimono sleeves included to boot.

Rochelle made a pair of these not so long ago and it’s definitely worth reading her review of the pattern - it seems there can be some sizing issues if her experience is anything to go by, so be sure to make a muslin.

Vogue 8604

V8604

I’ve wanted to make this pattern for absolutely ages, though I’m not entirely sure I could pull off such a huge flare! As you’ve probably guessed by now, a high-waisted trouser is well up my street. The front is shaped with a pair of pleats and, once again, there’s no need to make a fly zipper because the zip is at the back. These would be great as a pair of jeans, as

Colette Patterns – Clover

clover

And I’ve saved the best ’til last. Well, the best in my humble opinion. I’ve decided to go for Clover from Colette Patterns – I love the shape, I love that it comes in two lengths and, well, I’d already bought it before I wrote this post. Ha! So Clover it is. I’m hoping they won’t be too much of a nightmare to fit, but the pattern is classed as suitable for beginners and – you guessed it – there’s no fly to worry about here either.

Anyone making one of these patterns? Or are you planning to go for something else entirely?

And in case you’re interested – I made a little Pinterest board of these patterns made up by other sewing bloggers.

Join me – We Can Sew It!

Last week, I told you all about my lovely new project, in which I’m basically trying to sew all the things I’ve been telling everyone I definitely can’t make. 

And it seems I’m not the only one with a few sewing no can dos – one especially. Who knew trousers could inspire such fear? Oh – and guess what I picked out of my can’t jar first.

Well that’s just DANDY.

Now, remember how I threatened to get you all involved? I’m just going to leave this here…

(see what I did there?)

See what I did there?

See what I did there?

Folks, it’s time for a bit more positive sewing. We all need some upbeat stitchin’. And that means SEWING SOME TROUSERS and maybe doing some pushups to prepare. I don’t know. I’m new at this.

Borrowing heavily from our pal Rosie the Riveter, this project/sewalong/whatever this is shall henceforth be known as WE CAN SEW IT. Because if you’ve got some fabric, a sewing machine and some thread, you can probably sew just about anything – you’re just telling yourself you can’t.

I’m not going to put a time limit because it’s probably going to take me an absolute age to make my trousers. But, to help you along, I shall be posting some tidbits on patterns, fun tutorials I find in panicked google searches (I foresee interesting results when it comes to fitting the crotch) as well as the heap of mess which will spew forth from my beleaguered machine.

Want to join in? Well I only bloody have a hashtag for you to use, don’t I? Lovely! It’s #wecansewit. Even if you’re not sewing trousers this time around, do share if you’re tackling a particularly tricky project.

Oh, and I made a banner button thingy you can put on your blog should you want to get involved:

wecansewittrews

 

The code for that is as follows:

[a href=”http://seamlessblog.wordpress.com/we-can-sew-it/&#8221; target=”_blank”>[img src="http://seamlessblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/wecansewittrews2.jpg" alt="We Can Sew It" /]</a] (replace the [ ] with < >)

WATCH THIS SPACE! Those of you who do follow me on Twitter probably already know which pattern I’ve chosen, but I’ll stick a post up with some good beginner trouser patterns later this week.

Tomorrow, I promise* I will drink less caffeine.

*I can’t promise anything

Getting back on the Seamless Pledge wagon with a new challenge

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One of the best things about sewing is having complete freedom over your wardrobe.

You don’t have to make concessions for fabric and fit when you’re the one making the things you’re wearing.

But, I don’t know about you, I find I still have a long “no can do” sewing list of garments and techniques I won’t touch.

Sometimes it’s because it’s too time consuming, other times it’s because I feel like I’ll make a right old mess of things.

And when you’re taking a pledge not to buy any new clothes, it can lead to some difficulties.

Confession time: while I haven’t returned to my shopping habits of old, I have broken the pledge a few times in the last couple of months.

It all started when I foolishly decided to do the Cardiff Half Marathon (I DON’T EVEN LIKE RUNNING ARGHH).

My running gear is threadbare to say the least – basically, I’m the person who will happily run in her pajama bottoms if they can pass for joggers at a distance.

Yep this is a pretty accurate depiction of how I run

Yep this is a pretty accurate depiction of me trying to run

And that is totally fine when you attempt a half-hearted run around your local neighbourhood before returning 10 minutes later, panting and wheezing even though you stopped every 30 seconds.

A half marathon is serious business. Holey pajamas and my brother’s stolen hoodie would not do.

Except I ended up getting beyond frustrated hunting for the right fabric and patterns for what I wanted, simple as it was… and one lunch break I popped into a sports shop and gave in.

The guilt is pretty much going to power me through those 13 miles in a few weeks. I didn’t even break my pledge on something pretty – I broke it for some cutoffs and fluro racerback.

OH THE HUMANITY

And it’s amazing how quickly you can start slipping into old habits once you’ve had your first lapse.

Never fear! I’m back on the wagon now – but it got me thinking.

I basically gave in because I thought to myself: “I just can’t make this.”

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised just how long my “can’t sew” list is.

Let’s see, we’ve got trousers, sequin fabric, coats and jackets… I’m all about the “make do and mend” ethos, but I haven’t exactly got a can-do attitude when it comes to sewing.

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So I wrote all my “no can sews” down and popped them in a jar – appropriately labelled as the “Can’t jar”.

The plan is to pick out one at random until I’ve got through the whole thing – and hopefully come out a better seamstress by the end of it.

I won’t lie, I’m a little daunted! One of the challenges in there is to sew a faux-leather jacket – probably the most complicated thing I’ll ever attempt.

Oh, and for those of you who may be wondering – sewing fitness stuff is most definitely in there!

Over to you: what would you put in your can’t jar?

Although before you respond… beware! I may well rope you in to the challenge too…

BRB

It’s been a bit quiet in these parts of late because I’ve just moved house and I’m Internetless for a little bit. Until I’m hooked up, here’s a peek at my new makeshift sewing hall space. When needs must!

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The three year blouse

I think I can safely say this is the longest it’s taken me to finish a sewing project – ever.

red peplum blouse 1

In the midst of my big “I’m moving out” clearout, I came across a project I started way back in 2010 – while I was still living in Germany. I discovered it scrunched into a plastic envelope tucked amongst my sewing patterns.

Continue reading

Meet Dorothy – my floral dressmaker’s dummy

You may have noticed a certain floral addition to my sewing arsenal…

mannequin collage

Meet Dorothy, my lovely sewing assistant – or mannequin, if we’re going to be formal about it. I’m only getting around to blogging about her now because, when she first arrived, I was in the middle of a horrendous bout of tonsilitis and didn’t really care to open up the huge box she came in, let alone write about it.

I’d been mulling over buying a dummy for a while. I think every sewist can make do without one, but you can’t really deny the benefits. For example, it was so much easier to visualise the ‘80s blouse refashion after I popped her on Dorothy and had a look at how I could change up the neckline and work darts into the front. It’s just so much easier to fit a dummy with your measurements rather than become a human pincushion as you try to awkwardly make alterations while still wearing your muslin.

The body itself is split into eight parts, which can be adjusted using one of 12 wheels - three on the front and back and three on either side. If you’re thinking of buying a dummy, do check the measurements – the minimum measurements shouldn’t be bigger than yours, otherwise the mannequin is no good to you. 

Dorothy’s slightly padded, meaning I can stitch pins in on an angle. There’s also a great hem marker on the bottom – hems are my least favourite part of the dressmaking process, so hopefully it’ll come in handy.

So far, I’m a happy customer! And I just love the design on the fabric. If you want one like this, you can buy it here.