Tag Archives: Ultimate Trousers

The ever developing trouser fitting story

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’.trousers

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.

trouser fabric

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.

trousers (8)

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.

trousers 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.

crotch seam

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?

Not another pair of Ultimate Trousers…and a giveaway

Hohoho!  Guess what?  I have made another pair of Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. Yes.  Not content with a pair in denim, ditsy drill, linen, suiting & houndstooth enter my navy sateen Ultimate Trousers!

Ultimate trousers

I bought this beautiful sateen from the Fabric Godmother – read on for a special offer & a giveaway!

Ultimate trousers

It won’t take long to read this post, because there are no surprises – the pattern worked its usual magic, but let me tell you that the fabric seems to have elevated, what I consider to be a top trouser pattern through sheer virtue of its quality.  It sewed so easily, it’s a semi crisp but at the same time is soft with some give from the lycra.  It holds its seams once pressed (& OK, might hold onto creases through wear a bit too, but that is easily forgiven.)

Ultimate trousers

I wouldn’t say it is warm enough to make up as proper winter weight trousers, & I am not the kind of gal that wears tights under trousers (I think I might be missing out here).  However, on days that feel the warmth of the sun rather than our current freezing temps, these trousers are warm enough for me, with socks of course.  They will truly come into their own in Spring and Autumn.

Ultimate trousers

But, hey.  It’s another navy revelation as well.  Don’t you just love navy?  Isn’t it so smart, yet softer & less severe than black?  And this is a proper deep luscious navy too.   (There is a downside- white cat hair/ fluff).  Is that contrasting overlocker thread an affront or a delight?

Ultimate trousers

Onto the special offer & giveaway.  Josie, the Fabric Godmother will post the winner 2m of sateen in the colour of your choice (go & check out the red & beige as well as the navy and please someone buy the silver & make disco pants!  ).  What’s more, this is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Ultimate trousers

Just leave me a comment telling me what colour you’ll pick & what you’ll use the fabric for.  I’ll pick a random winner in a week’s time, out of all comments left by midnight 13 February GMT.

*** This Giveaway is now closed, but  ….Josie is offering 10% off any fabrics (apart from sale) at the Fabric Godmother by using the code


at the checkout.  This fabulous offer is valid until the 10th April!  Woo hoo!!

(Wearing my Ultimates with my Merino Coco. )


The Contingency Pants: more Ultimate Trousers

“It’s about time”!  Another pair of Ultimate Trousers. Yes, these trousers were made way back in September & I have only just got around to posting about them.    That’s mainly due to not having taken photos of them in action – as you will see they crease a little following a day’s wear- & so any post work photos are just plain out of the window since I am highly unlikely to feel the urge to iron straight after a day at the office & a two mile power walk uphill.

Ultimate trousers

OK, rewind.  The Contingency pants were born for OWOP (One Week One Pattern), when my pattern of choice was the Ultimate Trouser pattern.  The only shortfall I had was trousers for work.  But why did I call these the Contingency pants?

Ultimate trousers My deviation from the pattern – lapped zipper, not an invisible zip.

Well, I had actually cut out another pair of Ultimates in work appropriate autumnal suiting, however, when I came to sew them up, discovered I hadn’t the right coloured thread.  This fabric – a mini dogtooth check (100% silk remnant from Mandors in Edinburgh) was always tucked away at the back of my mind as a potential pair of ultimates, & when called on for OWOP, therefore became the “Contingency Pants”.  I might be doing myself no favours referring to them as “pants” because I really don’t want you to confuse with “incontinence pants” .  But there you go.  Please do not be confused.

Ultimate trousers

So, you know by now that I love the Ultimate trousers by Sew Over it. My OWOP adventures this year chart their versatility & my love of their cut & style.  The sewing of these Ultimates is a cinch- as I always say- once you get the fit just about right.  But I have made quite a few pairs of these now (5 pairs) & I  have to say that allow for fabrics to behave differently.  Do not assume that because your last pair was body perfect that you have no need to try on as you sew – different pairs have given me a different fit experience.  These are made in a silk that behaves almost like a light weight polyester (I have the label though to prove that it is silk!), these, came up huge.

Ultimate trousers

I had to wear them, realise during the day that they were not snug enough & take some more in afterwards.  I think I altered the CF & CB about three times.  I still feel when I look at them in these photos that they are not the most flattering  on me. (I mean it would help if I wore better underwear – apols about that! Just pretend that you can’t see any vpls please, for me…)  But even still I am not 100% sure that I have finished them…I may take the lower leg in a bit more ….but then I do need enough calf room to be comfy & tasteful (!)….what do you think?  I mainly wear these with flat shoes & am not after a skinny look, but maybe they could look better a bit more skinny than this?

Ultimate trousers

I don’t tend to wear them with tops like this – I have just pulled this together for the photos since this is about the trousers & how they fit.  I don’t actually like tucking tops into trousers – I always wear things untucked on the outside unless trousers have belt loops & are pleated.  (Like my Vogue Baggy trousers). And this is my first Pavlova top that is too short unless I wear a cami/ vest underneath.  I’m always fussing with it – too much gappage even though I lengthened it from the original pattern.

Ultimate trousers See those post wear creases?

But I do wear these often.  It’s the time of year for trousers like this – t-shirts & cardigans, socks & flat lace ups.   Can’t wait to show you my next pair!  They are a huge success too 🙂 (Dare I say *even* better than these??)

OWOP 2014 #Ultimatetrousers

I know….you don’t hear from me for nearly a week then all of a sudden I get active again!  What’s happening, well, what’s happened should be the question.  Time is of the essence.

So we have just had OWOP (One Pattern One Week) , the initiative started by Tilly & The Buttons & gracefully taken on by Jane of Handmade Jane this year. The aim is to take one favorite pattern & wear it throughout one week – showing its versatility in how you wear it in different ways.  I joined hundreds of others, putting their fave pattern through its paces between September 6th and September 12th.

Last time I chose Colette Violet blouse pattern.

Now this time I was a massive procrastinator, it has to be said. I think I only made my decision at the eve of OWOP itself, plumping to wear the Ultimate Trousers, a Sew Over It pattern, for the entire week. Why was my decision so apparently hard? It’s true I have lots of choice, & these are the patterns in my short list that I knew would see me through the week:

Simplicity 2154 – I have made two blouses (polka dot & black/white), a skirt as well as the cardigan (the Tweed skirt & sweet paper skirst would have been too hot)

The Deer & Doe Chardon skirt – I have made it in red denim, black & white polka dot cotton & pinstripe

Chardon skirtsThe Pavlova patterns by Cake– I have made a navy top, a red top, a linen floral skirt & my essential purple jersey skirt. This was actually second choice in the end.

PavlovaThe Laurel top & dress by Colette Patterns – I have the recent Liberty top here, my turquoise striped version here, then three dresses here.

Laurel dressesMaria Denmark Edith dress & tops – three blouses – a white, a blue & a striped plus the dress.

And Ultimate Trousers – having made a denim pair, a linen pair & a ditsy floral pair (but nothing work appropriate) but shorts if hot & at home!

This was effectively my shortlist, but I had to make my decision based on weather (we had just seen temperatures that were a tad chilly) & a pattern that would see me through officewear, a flight & weekend to Newcastle, bumming around home & an evening out.

Choosing Ultimate Trousers, therefore, was conditional upon my ability to sew up a pair of work appropriate trousers on Monday evening. I have already extolled the speed of making this pattern up, once you have sussed your fit, so I just had to make sure that I had space & time. Funnily enough, I had cut some out of a mole-coloured suiting the week before, but had forgotten to get thread in town at my last opportunity to purchase it! By that time though I was committed & fell back on some other fabric I had in my stash to make, what I lovingly term as my “Contingency Pants” – not to be confused with incontinence pants.   I will share more about these darlings later on in a post of their own, but for now, let’s get into some outfit pics.

Day 1:


Off to Newcastle on the plane – denim Ultimates, my Breton Coco with elbow patches & a handmade scarf.

 Day 2:


Most of the day was spent in sweaty lycra, but once showered I turned again to my denim ultimates with my Great North Run t-shirt, plus a Named Blair top in sweatshirting to see me through the journey home.  The photo above was taken after all this fun & games (my excuse for the blur …)

 Day 3:


At home which meant wearing my linen Ultimates with a Deer & Doe Datura top ….sewing Ultimate trousers in the evening :o)

 Day 4:


The Contingency pants were let loose upon a day at the office with a black sleeveless Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape top. My McCalls cardigan seemed to match the blacks & beiges perfectly. (The Contingency pants are cream & black mini dogtooth check in silk.  Strangely I after a day at work they really felt too big, so I am still tweaking the fit – above are the un-tweaked with version)

 Day 5:


The contingency pants again – this time with an Edith blouse. I felt I was channelling Betty Draper in my ballet flats & my Julia cardigan. It was rather a warm afternoon, & my silk trousers would not have been first choice for that heat!

 Day 6:


Working at home in linen Ultimates with a Colette Violet blouse in dobby white.

And then, the evening out! Another occasion to revel in Ultimates!

OWOP 6 eve

My ditsy floral trousers, worn with that Satsuma Named Blair top – this top is such a brilliant evening top- I love it with a camisole underneath!

 Day 7:


Another working at home day, so I wore my denim Ultimates with a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee (with birdies) & my By Hand Victoria knit blazer.

 What did I learn from the OWOP experience?

Well, the Ultimate trousers are incredibly versatile & were a good choice – except when it was hot & I would naturally have opted for a dress or skirt – but that’s the way it is. The Ultimates also see through different seasons – it’s end of summer now moving into autumn – & I have trousers that won’t get packed away at season change time. Lovely. And of course, if I had the time & inclination, I could have made up a pair for every day of the week, such a quick make are they- but I didn’t have the time & that would have been spoiling the spirit for OWOP for me, as for me, it was about making a staple piece work in different ways. I think I have shown that?

How have you got on? Did you survive OWOP?

Ultimate Coco weekending

Over the bank holiday weekend I was in Cornwall.  I know.  I get there a bit, don’t I?  Well it helps when your family lives there.   So, as usual, I kept back some recent makes in order to make the most of the scenery down there, & the availability of a tame photographer.  These photos are all taken by my Mum with my new to me DSLR.  It’s extremely exciting – but I feel so ignorant as well.  But, starting simple – the presets are already making me squeal with joy.

This weekend (rather a long weekend- I was there for five days) was only going to be casual- but not overly warm – and my newly made Coco top (my fourth now) was the ideal wear – not only due to its long sleeves & slightly heavier cotton fabric, but also due to its seasiding nature (oh yeah!  can’t resist some themes here!!).

Ultimate CocoThe fabric is genuine Breton fabric bought from Brittany, so kindly organised for me by my IG friend La Mouette Au Sec.  It’s a kind of cotton interlock (I think that is how you describe it), & has a real Breton shirtness about it.  I chose burgundy, as I have never had a burgundy Breton before, & believe me, in my time I have had a ton of Bretons, but only ever navy striped.

Ultimate Coco

I departed from the true spirit of the Breton shirt however, clearly using Tilly’s Coco Top pattern for all apart from the elbow patches.  For these I stole the size & shape from the Deer & Doe Plantain top.  The fabric is a cute ditsy jersey (no longer available) from Clothkits that I have since made another top out of – but more of that another time.

Coco elbow


How I love the Coco top – I can whip one up in less than 2 hours start to finish. It’s an overlocker make for me, with just the neck & hems that use either my regular zig zag or coverstitch respectively.

Ultimate Coco

But what about the natty trews? Way hey!  They are another pair of Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It – this time using a stretch denim.  Oh my but these are comfy.  I have to say that Ultimates are unusually comfortable for a fitted pair of trousers even without any lycra content, but when you add lycra, wow.  Super comfy almost like jeggings (I guess, never having worn any, but they must come close).

Ultimate Coco

Once again I made the Ultimates with a regular lapped zipper – my haberdashery’s invisible zips are ludicrously expensive compared to a 30p regular 8″ zip and in such limited colours too.  I like using lapped zippers so much, it’s so much more predictably finished than an invisible zipper too.

Ultimate zip

I am so addicted to this pattern- it’s another really simple make, once you are confident you know what you’re doing with the fit.  So I’ve got three pairs (& a pair of tester shorts) – but my Twitter friend @Ali_Goddard has 8 pairs!  Yes – she has fallen for Ultimate Trousers bad- but in a good way, clearly.  And that’s just for summer!!

Ultimate Coco

So this is my seasiding outfit for late summer.  I am still verging on Ultimates being my OWOP, but I would need to make a pair for work, & I am not sure I have the time (with other more pressing deadlines to meet).  And I know I need to decide like real soon, as it starts later this week!

Coco party

Tell you what, if I was on hols Coco would be my OWOP pattern – look- I took all four with me to Cornwall, & they all got worn!

As well as the one you’ve just seen there is:

Turquoise Merino CocoSpotty Coco and the nautical Coco Dress