Well hello! Here is a progress report on my trouser block, started at one of the brilliant workshops at RayStitch in London last autumn with Jane. My quest to understand how to sew trousers that fit is a long one with the Ultimate Trousers being the best out of the packet pattern that I have used. But there is still this urge to rid myself of any uncertainties & I aspire to my own custom fitted trouser block.
OK, it’s a slow burner, but I feel I am making progress. This was my first draft. My puppytooth check straight legs in an unhelpful viscose mix. Jane also made her first pair in this fabric & had fabric issues (preparing me as she sewed hers first 😉 ). I made these without the aid of a full length mirror when camping sewing, & it was only at the photo blogging stage that I saw how the fit was not there yet. And I mean really not there yet. But I wore them a bit despite this. Saggy crotch and dragging hemlines and all, telling myself they were ‘vintage fit’.
But they weren’t. I knew work was still to be done. With a fabric though that was more compliant to give me uncomplicated fitting. And that’s where this fabric came in.
This is some kind of a viscose mix, warm, but not drapey & without stretch. And guess what? It was a jubilant purchase from my new discovery – a fabric shop 10 mins drive away from my new home. I never knew it was there, secreted in a larger craft shop, Rose Crafts of Midsomer Norton. (Yes, I live near a Midsomer !! but no Inspector Barnaby 😉 ) It’s a well stocked craft shop, but I have to admit I honed in on the haberdashery & the fabric. I will be well served. The fabric section is pretty good – both reasonably prices, and good selection considering there is limited space & therefore a smaller stock & it is only part of the overall craft shop. But I even saw fabrics I have bought myself (eg in Goldhawk road) at the same price if not slightly cheaper! And haberdashery is not the size of that purveyed by the Bath Guildhall Market (I have been so spoiled having that on my doorstep!) but pretty wide ranging. Still, a car journey away, albeit 10-15 minutes.
So this fabric is a darkish blue with a faint stripe & nice & warm to wear. I cut out my trouser block again & sewed them up, fitting them in front of a full length mirror this time with fabric that I knew would behave. I feel I am closer to a perfect fit now. The darts, side seams & crotch curve are not causing any obvious creasing. I also took in the leg width below the knee as the width I drafted originally really is too wide.
What I love about this particular trouser block, & it comes from the method used at the class I am certain, is the way that the waistline sits perfectly on my waist. So often I have made things (& obviously lie to myself) with a waistline that does not correspond with my natural waist. But this is really good now, sitting there all snug, in its natural dips & rises.
I repeated the grosgrain ribbon detail instead of a facing & it also has a nice effect of cinching in & stabilising the waist – & when wearing it feels really nice & secure.
So do you like seeing the Sarah shirt under a V neck – it’s such an easy look …loving it! Wear, wash, dry (no iron) wear, wash, dry …..
Inspired by this fit I looked at the original draft pair of puppytooth trousers with the saggy crotch & uber wide legs, stood in front of the mirror armed with pins, & pinned out where there was excess – mainly around the front crotch curve.
Playing around with pins (but oh so carefully around that crotch 😉 Tip – do it on the outside 🙂 ) I saw that taking some of this excess out would probably give me a much better fit, which would feel nicer to wear as well. I translated the leg width changes to this pair also & raised the hemline.
I do think I may have rescued these now! My tips for trouser fitting are to have a resource available to you such as Pants for Real People (I do think this is the trouser fitting bible!) as this helps identify enough of the issues to give you a reasonable understanding about creases, pulls & sagging to diagnose common problems. But by going through this learning I believe you have a better chance of trying out your own adjustments, eg playing around with pins to tweak the crotch seam & darts / sideseams so that you can see when you’ve got it wrong & new creases appear, what they mean…what to try next ….
So I now have a trouser block which needs to be traced onto a more sturdy form. In theory I should be able to play around with fastenings, leg widths, pockets, waistbands….the lot!
I am likely to use this block to create the pattern for my posh wool fabric – I want to make a straight leg pair of front fastening trousers with back pockets that have flaps. Maybe narrower legs, almost cigarette style….
Are you on the never ending trouser fitting journey? Do you think you are there, then discover more or find that a fabric throws such a spanner in the mix that you have to relearn everything you thought you had got through?