Here’s something that doesn’t tend to appear on this blog – trousers! For me!!
I’m being pushed out of my usual style, thanks to February’s challenge over at The Monthly Stitch was Smarty Pants.
Since I’ve seen so many great versions around the interwebs, I thought I’d try the Thurlow trousers by Sewaholic.
I must admit that I nearly gave up right at the start though – the tissue paper was horribly thin, and there were So Many Pieces to trace and cut!!! It took ages!!! (Seriously. About three times as long as it usually takes me to trace a pattern. Erp.) I’m not entirely sure (will need to check the pattern again, but the idea of unfolding and then refolding that thin tissue paper doesn’t fill me with joy), but I think there was a bit of unnecessary extra work tracing and cutting as well. I’m pretty sure the pattern said to cut out two fly extensions, two fly facings, and two belt loops. But you only need one of each. Also, there are separate pieces for the right and left front legs, which seems a bit unnecessary, since the only difference between the two is a 1cm additional allowance down the fly seam on one side – easy enough to cut them both out together, then have a line marking where to trim down one side, and far less work that having to trace and cut two individual pieces.
But I persevered, and I’m glad I did, as I am rather fond of my new trews. 🙂
Since Sewaholic is designed for a pear-shaped figure, and I’m more of an hourglass (with a very small bust, which is kinda the opposite to an hourglass, but it’s the closest figure match I seem to get measurement-wise), I wasn’t sure how well these would fit me. I had to do a bit of grading while tracing, grading the hips down a size from the waist. With so many pieces, I was a little worried that I’d make a mistake when grading, but it all went smoothly and there were no fitting issues around the hips at all. Yay!
One interesting feature of the Thurlows is the way the waistband is constructed. There’s a centre back seam on it, and there’s also a ‘back extension’ on the trousers themselves, giving you lots of extra fabric to play with if you need to make adjustments. And let’s face it, almost all of us are likely to need to adjust the centre back of trousers to get them to fit us properly, right? While I’m not a huge fan of a centre back seam on a waistband, the way Sewaholic has done is it very clever – it means you’ve got the perfect opportunity to fit them exactly to you at the back, and adjust the waistband at the same time. (And yes, I adjusted mine – took them in by an extra 1cm along the centre back seam (i.e. a total of 2cm across).)
Speaking of the waistband, one bit of the instructions that confused me was sewing the pointed bit of the waistband together. They get you to sew the two sides together at the pointed end, all the way down to the long edge. But I found that when I went to attach the waistband to the trousers, I had to unpick the last 1.5cm of that seam so I could fold the edge of the waistband under properly. Next time, I’ll just stop stitching 1.5cm (5/8″) before I reach the long edge, save myself a bit of unpicking effort.
My original plan was to make these in a blue denim – I haven’t had any jeans that fit me for quite a while now, and every so often I feel the lack of them in my wardrobe. But although I hunted high and low, I couldn’t find the blue denim I thought I had in my stash anywhere. I did, however, find a heavy black denim, so decided to go with that instead. 😉
And then I figured I may as well follow the black-with-leopard theme that I had going on a couple of makes ago, and use leopard-print quilting cotton for the lining sections – inner waistband, fly front, and front and back pocket bags.
(Next time though, I’ll use a fabric that’s the same colour as the shell fabric for the fly facing – it’s the only part that risks accidentely peeking out at the world while wearing the trousers and would be pretty easy to spot if you used a high-contrast colour for it.)
Since the denim is so heavy, I omitted the interfacing from everywhere except for the fly facing as some of those seams were going to be plenty bulky enough for my sewing machine to deal with already. (The fly facing was cut out of the leopard print, so it needed interfacing.)
One area where the pattern didn’t fit me so well was the back of my upper thighs. I’m not sure how much of this was to do with my fabric choice – after all, denim can hang quite differently to lighter-weight trouser fabric. Or it could have been because the pattern is designed for a pear shape, which I am not, so that part of the fit may have been doomed from the start. No idea. (Those who have made these and aren’t pear shapes, how did you find the fit just under the bum? I’m curious to hear!)
Anyway, whatever the cause, I ended up with a fair bit of extra fabric pooling just under th’ bum. (Random things to utter online. Whatever.)
With the help of my lovely sister (thanks, Jen!) we solved the problem. Can you spot the difference below? One leg is basted with the alterations, the other is left untouched. (Plus a bonus toddler photo bomb.)
Here’s another pic to show the difference. (Please ‘scuse the basting thread peaking out of the centre back seam there. Oops.)
To get rid of that pooling fabric, I ended up taking them in by 1.6cm at the outer thigh, and 1.1cm at the inner thigh. So a total change in each thigh circumference of 5.4cm.
I’d probably have been better off doing a fish-eye dart to get rid of the excess, but since they were already made up I just went with taking them in at the side seams instead. And hey, it seemed to work fine. 🙂
One very happy surprise – even though I did my usual lengthening of the legs by around 5cm when cutting out, it was totally unnecessary. These trousers are loooong!! (I approve!!)
Once I got that thigh fitting issue sorted, these trousers fit well. I likes them! I’ve already worn them a few times, and they’ll be getting plenty more wear in the future. (And possibly another pair of Thurlows to keep them company…. Hmmm….)
Since we could, the lovely Mel ad I did another twinsies creation! (You can read all about her pair of Thurlows over here.)
We ducked out one lunchtime to catch up with some of our lovely Wellington-based sewing blogging friends, and got some pics at Frank Kitts park in the CBD. (Thanks to Sandra for playing photographer!)
Gotta show the contrast details, right?
We love our new Thurlows.
Twinsie photos 4 eva, yo!
I never thought I would say this, but your post made me want to make pants!! Also, super jealous that you have a twinsie sewing pal. Love the trousers!
Aww, thank you! 🙂
Oh yes, twinsies sewing is so much fun!!! (And, it must be admitted, Mel is making me sew things I would usually avoid. Eek! Wonder if I’m doing the same for her…. Hmmm…..)
These look great! It’s fun to see you in trousers! I love that top, too!
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WOW! I’m so proud of you, making pants and stuff! Your welt pockets look really good! 🙂 You got them to fit really well in the end too – bravo!! Thanks for the heads-up on the many many pattern pieces, and the differences you found in making them for a non-pear shape. I wonder how many fit issues I’ll have? I am more of a pencil than a pear – HAHA! Also, I always have to lengthen legs too, so it’s good to know they are built long – yay! 🙂
Very cool, and I love the leopard print facing! Well done on conquering trousers!