I feel I have struck Chino gold, but in order to explain why, I need to go back in time to a less positive place. Do you remember when I made *those Burda* trousers (Burda 7017) after being convinced by how awesome Katie and Karen looked in them? The trousers that just did absolutely nothing for me, just looked like someone had taken a bicycle pump & inflated my rear? And my stomach? Not to mention the jodhpur style legs I’d already had to slim down. Well the funny thing is that it was one of those blog posts that I accidentally deleted when I had my laptop problems & was working off my ipad. (I know you don’t believe me, but every cloud as they say …) So therefore I can’t link back to it, nor the very helpful comments, & those that laughed along with me too.
So I am going to show you only one picture of the offending trousers as a baseline. And offer up some hope to other people struggling to find the right fit. After baring my balloon I received so much endorsement to *avoid pleated pants*. I could not ignore the swell of opinion!
I had an old McCalls 9233 in my pattern stash, but I was tempted by the newer “Perfect Fit” Simplicity 1696 pattern. Flat front chino style narrow legs. Was that welt pockets on the back too? (actually they are welts, not pockets).
But good none the less to break up the expanse behind. So after consulting Vicki at Minerva about chino suitable fabric & being led to the selection of Gaberchino I determined that I would add this pattern to my March make for the Minerva Blogging network.
I have not used any Perfect Fit patterns (but you since know that I have also bought the jacket as an option for my Tweedy hacking jacket). I sat down & read through – what makes this so different? Well there are three different body shapes, & instead of self diagnosing, there are some key measurements to take to determine which shape to go for. In this case, hips and the crotch length. (I would have self diagnosed wrongly btw, it was worth reading the instructions!)
What else do Perfect Fit pants have that other trouser patterns don’t necessarily have? Well, side seams are larger, to allow for better fitting. Also the inner leg seam, at the top has excess in order to play around at fitting time. As you would expect, there is guidance in the instructions for fitting, & combined with “Pants for Real People” I would say this pattern gives you enough grace to mess around with the fit, even if it involves multiple basting/ trying on/ unpicking. So you have a very good chance at getting a good fit.
There are also “Perfect Tips” scattered within the instructions, such as applying bias to the bottom of the cut bottom edge of the zipper to make it smooth, that you can incorporate into your sewing, or not, as you choose.
OK, so that’s what’s different about Perfect Fit patterns in my humble opinion, based on a solo experience – for what that’s worth!! How about the normal stuff, like, steering through the whole trouser with front fly making process? Well, what do you think? Do they look OK to you?
I found the instructions really easy to follow & enjoyed making them up.
The only irritation I had, following the instructions came with the waistband. It is a four piece with two pieces for the back (like the Thurlows, making it easier to fit) & a right front & left front – all with doubles as facings. The instructions have you finish the lower (waist) edge of the facing before attaching, & finishing with bias binding is an option, which I chose. You then attach the facing to the waistband- some nice corner turning action which I did appreciate, however, I did not like the finish I got by stitching the facing down in the ditch.
Usually I would fiddle around by pinning in the ditch to make sure my stitching in the ditch follows an even line with my facing – tweaking as necessary in the pinning process. You can see here that the stitching line, governed by the “ditch” does not follow the already bias finished edge uniformly. But that was my only niggle.
Fitting? I compared myself to the finished measurements and shortened the leg length before cutting, and confident with the 1” seam allowances cut the size based on my hip (not my sausage waist). I did baste them to fit.
And found that I needed the slightest tweak at the waist/ upper hip to get rid of those pesky draw lines. I did not narrow the legs at all, and like how they fit.
What about the wearing? Well, so far so good. They are really comfy, like ever so nice to wear. They are the kind of trousers that you feel you need in several colours. They really are for me, the perfect chino pattern. Minerva have a lot of different colours in this Gaberchino, which does feel soft & has a nice level of drape.
OK, you see from the photos it creases a bit after being worn, but I kind of expect that in trousers like this (& I did have some major league loafing around on the day that these pics were taken!) I shall be making more, as they clearly show that I do need to avoid pants with pleats!
And photo credits this time, Handmade Jane, who really knew without being asked, how to focus on those all important butt/ crotch close ups!! Thank you so much! – on location in Cirencester.