Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Switch Witch and Spooky: Tudor blouse in a Hallowe’en cat print

I stepped away from my #makenine2023 challenge list to create this fun item. I have had an eye on the Stitch Witch Tudor blouse for a while. My initial thought was that it should be made in a plain linen, but I got distracted and fell in love with this cute hallowe’en print.

Stitch Witch Tudor blouse
Stitch Witch Tudor blouse in spooky cat fabric

The fabric

The fabric is from Like Sew Amazing. It is a Ruby Star Society print and features a medley of spooky cats, some as skulls and others with a third eye. I was also taken with the colour combinations of teals, blues and purples against the black background.

The pattern

The Tudor blouse is apparently inspired, by the square, sixteenth century necklines. I think this gives the top a unique flavour. In other respects it is a modern pattern, there are bust darts and the sleeves use elastic. The best thing about the Tudor blouse, however, is that is comes in two versions; there is the standard one with the buttons at the front, and a wrap hack. There is also a short version, which has five buttons down the front. I made the long version with the seven buttons at the front. Although I would say that the long version isn’t very long, it isn’t a blouse you can tuck in. I imagine the short version would be quite cropped.

I did make quite considerable adjustments to the pattern to get a good fit. The design means that a reasonably tight cut is required. I used the A/ B cup as a starting point. First of all, I made sure that the front was adjusted to according to the bodice sloper I have made previously. This essentially meant that the bust darts were raised and increased slightly. For the back, I substantially increased it to accommodate my wide shoulders. I suppose, you might think I should have gone for the large size and / or used the full cup version. When I looked at the cup size it was way bigger than needed and the wide back adjustment is something I always do on smaller sizes. Essentially, I’ve always added with my adjustments rather than subtracted. Is this the easiest way to do things, I don’t know. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Stitch Witch Tudor blouse
Stitch Witch Tudor blouse

The sewing instructions are easy to follow. The only drawback to this pattern is that it isn’t possible to try it on easily until you get close to the end of the construction. You really need those sleeves in place to get a realistic idea of the fit. So, I had to have a lot of faith in my adjustments.

I deliberated a long time over the buttons, and made my own covered buttons using left-over bits of the fabric. I chose to make buttons specifically using the pentagrams from the fabrics design. Was this overload? Probably, but there isn’t anything subtle about this print.

I grit my teeth through making the seven buttonholes! I used up some metal self-cover buttons from my stash, which were actually a little larger than the recommended button size. I think that the buttons would probably look better smaller, but then I wouldn’t have been able to get the pentagrams sited so well on them. It’s a compromise I can live with.

I attempted to pattern match throughout. Unfortunately, in real life I move and the cats at the front slip out of alignment. It’s probably a result of those very large buttonholes. Perhaps fiddling with the button placement might help.

Stitch Witch Tudor blouse
Stitch Witch Tudor blouse: Behold the slightly off pattern matching and the pentagram buttons

The Outcome

I am really happy with the fit of this make. I made it snug around the bust, but with enough expansion around the belly for it to be comfortable.

I’m not used to wearing short tops, it is quite a deviation in style for me. But I think the long version of this blouse isn’t very short on me, and rides just slightly above the waistband height of most of my trousers and jeans. I am very short-waisted so I suspect that most people will find the long version quite short, and the short version very cropped. I did look extensively on Instagram to try to work out how this would look on my body, but of course, there is no substitute for trying it out for yourself.

The inaugural outing for this top was to a local gig. It was a warm evening and it was just the right thing to wear in the hot venue. I think the top looks good with the teal cargo trousers, but also with jeans.

All in all, this was an enjoyable make (apart from the buttonholes). I think the pattern has the potential to be made into really versatile garments, that can look casual with jeans, or more dressed up. There are loads of versions on Instagram and it really is a very inspirational to just take a look at them. This top works great in so many people’s individual styles.

Finally, I would like to make another version, this time in a sensible plain linen. I would like to choose a colour that would work with these wrap trousers. Yep, those trousers that I have yet to find a top that I feel works well with!

Stitch Witch Tudor blouse
Stitch Witch Tudor blouse: Cut worn with jeans?


#MakeNine2023 Black woollen hat with a pom-pom

I knit so very very slowly. When I buy wool, even Meg in No Frills Knitting says, “See you in six months time”! This means that I like to start my knitting projects in spring, because if all goes well I will finish in the summer, or if it goes pear-spaced I still have six months to sulk and then fully turn things around. This time though, all was well (ish – of more later) I made this without too much swearing (although Mister Steely might testify otherwise).

Finished Rowan Madison Hat with pom-pom

The yarn and the pom-pom

My yarn came from No Frills Knitting and is an alpaca / wool blend. I chose it for its delicious softness. It is officially black, but with a little teal fluff in it. The pom-pom came from Bath Christmas market, and is a TOFT alpaca wool pom-pom

Rowan Madison Hat: Shortly after starting the project: pom-pom and yarn

The Pattern

I used the Madison pattern from the “Beanie Style” booklet from Rowan. I was taken with the easy-looking cables, and the very wide ribbed brim. I have a very small head and I thought the adjustable nature of the brim might work in my favour.

Rowan Madison Hat: A deep ribbed brim

I seem to have a special ability to find patterns with problems and this was no exception. For working in the round the cast-on is wrong, it should be 108 stitches (a multiple of 3) and then this should be increased to 110 stitches (a multiple of the 22 stitch cable repeat) as suggested here. What is even worse is that there is an errata for this pattern is also wrong! There is also a mistake in the round 3 of the crown, which is easy to work out because the repeat should be symmetric (actually palindromic) and the instructions aren’t. Again, not corrected properly in the errata. Anyway, they weren’t catastrophic errors, irritating, but I was fully able to sort them out. It’s a shame because as a hat pattern it is good pattern for a novice like me, but if this had been my first attempt at a hat I would have thrown my toys out the pram. What I can’t understand is why these patterns can’t be checked properly. It doesn’t mean you have to knit the item either. Most errors in knitting patterns seem to be the maths errors, which can easily be checked e.g. are the number of stitches a multiple of the repeat? if I decrease by x stitches is this reflected in the total count for the row?

Rowan Madison Hat: A Lego figure villain’s hat?

The outcome

Yes, I have made a few errors in my hat, but it has ribbing and it has cables! It is beautifully soft, as planned. I tried it on first without the pom-pom and I think it may have a bit of a “Lego figure villain” vibe. But with the pom-pom it looks much better.

The pom-pom has a popper attached to it. I think this is a great idea, because it means I can remove the pom-pom, which will come in handy when it rains. I don’t want this lovely fluff of furriness to get wet and hang limply, a sad shadow of its former plumpness!

Rowan Madison Hat: A removable pom-pom!

It’s too warm to wear it now, but it’s rather wonderful to have a hat waiting for me when the cold weather arrives.

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Me Made May 2023

The first time I took part in this challenge it was 2014 and I had very few me-made items in my wardrobe. I remember standing and taking selfies with my camera perched on a litter bin in the park to record my participation! Roll on 9 years and I feel like a real veteran of this challenge.

Since most of my clothes are now me-made I’ve tried to put some thought each year into how to keep this challenge fresh and relevant for me and also to provide interest for my readers. In 2021, I tried a capsule wardrobe type theme. Last year, I started recording the weather alongside my outfits. There is usually a seasonal transformation in May in the UK; often starting off quite chilly and towards the end of the month there is frequently an upturn in the temperatures. It is useful to see what I reach for during these different temperature spells.

This year, I’ve decided to add an extra dimension to my record keeping. I pondered last year, whether I should keep an eye on the age of the outfits that I wear. After all, Me May May is about establishing a relationship with your wardrobe and figuring out how to get the best from it. So, for each outfit I will be asking when was each garment made, bought or refashioned? Then I shall score the item one point for each year. Therefore, if the garment is five years old, it will get a score of 5. Since I started sewing my wardrobe about ten years ago, this means that any RTW item will score a 10. I will use the score of 10 regardless of when the item was bought, simply because I made no record of garment purchases. It will be easy to pinpoint when I made a garment as it will be documented on my blog.


Steel blue cotton trousers

I’ve been trying to make more jeans and trousers for my wardrobe as I have a number of garments that are on their last legs; a much-worn pair of RTW jeans that have already undergone major crotch restoration work and there are two other pair of jeans that are wafer thin in many areas.

One of my favourite pairs of jeans is a pair that I made back in 2016. They were a hack of the long-gone Peter and the Wolf Trousers from Papercut Patterns. The trouser legs are unusually made from four pieces each, and each leg has a seam down the centre front and the centre back as well as the side seams. I did wonder when I first made this pattern whether I would find all those seams irritating, but actually they don’t worry me in the slightest. I found the original trousers a comfortable fit and reach for them time after time from the wardrobe. The other features of this pattern include deep pockets at the front which that extend to the centre front seam (and therefore never ruffle up, like some pockets do). The trouser leg hems are also interestingly shaped. My hack from the original pattern was to make a conventional zip fly at the front, rather than adding a zip at the side.

I must apologise at this point for these photos. The weather in the UK has been wet to say the least over the last few weeks and I have found it extremely hard to find a dry window in which to take photos. Added to this, when I finally got round to taking these photos, these trousers had got very wet the previous day, got dried on the radiator and have ended up really wrinkled. Could I be bothered to iron them before I took these phots? Absolutely not!

Papercut Patterns Peter and the Wolf trousers: Enjoy the wrinkles!

I bought my fabric from Like Sew Amazing. It is a peach stretch cotton which has a lovely slightly brushed feel to it. They still have some of this still in stock in the same colourway, and in chilli and teal.

Papercut Patterns Peter and the Wolf trousers: A comfortable pair of trousers

It was interesting sewing this pattern again after such a long time, because I did find the pockets a bit tricky. I made the pocket lining from some left-over cotton lawn from my stash and of course, I wanted to make sure that I had the right side of the fabric placed correctly in the pocket sandwich. I got it wrong to start with and had to unpick. I don’t remember I had this problem last time, but then I did make this pattern twice before in quick succession, so perhaps that helped. But I did make sure I put extra marks on the pattern (such as marking the top/ bottom of the pocket to make sure it is easier to use next time round.

Papercut Patterns Peter and the Wolf trousers: Don’t think I mentioned the top-stitching, but suffice to say as usual I did loads of it!

I feel a bit sad that this pattern is no longer for sale, because having made it three times. It really is a great pattern, with an interesting design. But I suspect when it came out (possibly as far back as the early 2010s), I suppose that not that many people were making their own trousers or jeans.

Papercut Patterns Peter and the Wolf trousers: Here’s a photo I took the next day. Looks like a much more intentional outfit!


#MakeNine2023 Ambitions for the new year

I’m a little late with this years plan, and in fact I have already posted about one of my makes! Still, I suppose that means that I’ve got off to a good start!

Like most years I have managed a few items from my previous year’s #MakeNine, but not all, so I will carry over some of the ideas that I still plan to do.

Clockwise from top left: Clair Skirt (Liz Haywood) eventually made in green see below, Tartan Skirt, Black Sweatshirt (pattern to be decided), Palisade Trousers (Papercut Patterns), Nikko top hack (True Bias), Dropje Vest (Waffle Patterns), Bobble Hat, Peter and the Wolf Trousers (Papercut Patterns), Cortland Trench (Grainline Studios)

The items I intend to continue to make are as follows:

1. A Long Wool Skirt

This will use the Clair pattern. Actually I’ve already made this, see my post here. So a good Strat for my Make Nine!

Clair Skirt

2. A Skirt with Scottish tartan

Tartan Skirt

I don’t know how many years my precious souvenir tartan fabric has languished in my stash. I am scared of this fabric, and I’m not sure exactly how I can use my limited yardage. It will be a headache of a project which is why I’ve found every excuse not to do it previously! Let’s see if I can manage this in 2023.

3. Black Palisade trousers

I don’t know why I keep on putting off making these trousers. I know I like my shorts version in a cotton-linen blend. I suppose it may be that they are such an ordinary useful pair of trousers; all the more reason for doing this project. Plus the pockets are supreme!

Papercut Palisade Trousers
Papercut Palisade Trousers

4. Dropje Vest

This is absolute necessity for working from home. It may be a difficult project, but at least now I have the fabric.

Dropje Vest
Dropje Vest

5. Cortland Trench

One of things that I would really like to try is making a coat. I’ve always been a bit stuck because in the south-west of the UK, a warm woolen coat just wouldn’t get much wear. I have lots of coat patterns in my magazines, but I’m wary of sewing a first coat using the inadequate instructions from Burda. When the Cortland Trench by Grainline Studios was released I was immediately drawn to it; I like the short style and it has many of the trench coat details that I was looking for.

Cortland Trench by Grainline Studios

And below are the new items to add to my list:

6. Nikko Top

I made lots of t-shirts last year, including a Nikko Top. I would like to make more of these, or more specifically make Nikko top hacks. I would like a short sleeve tops, but with the high neck line. I have also seen the Terry pattern by VikiSews. The cut-out detail on this pattern interests me, so I may decide to make a Franken-pattern t-shirt with that detail.

True Bias Nikko Top
True Bias Nikko Top

7. A Black Sweatshirt

This isn’t the most interesting make, and I have yet to decide on a pattern. I have quite a few Lekala credits so I could use this pattern. Or I could use a men’s pattern, because there’s no fancy stuff involved, like bat wings or cowl, The I AM Men’s Rainbow looks the part with good variations, like different pockets and with or without hood.

I AM Rainbow Sweatshirt

Essentially I am look for a hooded top with kangaroo pockets. I intend to make this make a little more interesting by adding an interesting design on the back. I haven’t yet decided on the design or how to apply it to the sweatshirt. I’m still at the initial thoughts stage with this one!

8. A Woolly Hat with a Big Pom-pom

I bought a beautiful fluffy TOFT pom-pom at Bath Christmas market and I would like to knit a new hat for it. I bought a book of beanie hat pattern booklet a while ago The one on the far right at the bottom appeals to me.

Rowan Beanie Hat Booklet

9. Peter and the Wolf Trousers

Peter and the Wolf Trousers (Papercut Patterns)

I suppose this is a replacement for my pair of Peter and the Wolf jeans. These are nearly a decade old and are “wafer-thin” in places. I am literally waiting for the holes to appear. I bought some stretch-cotton twill from Like Sew Amazing in an steel blue colour for this purpose.


#MakeNine2023 Clair Skirt Part 1

One of main ambitions for #MakeNine2022 was to create some really warm clothing. So, I added garment plans that included lots of wool fabric. However, due to some constraints in my ability to buy fabric in-person this year, it was only when I attended Sew Brum towards the end of the year that I finally got the fabric that I was after.

I bought this window-pane check fabric in 100% wool from Barry’s in Birmingham (they do have a good selection of wool fabrics) and I was finally able to make my wool skirt.

The pattern

For this make I used the zero-waste pattern, the Clair skirt designed by Liz Haywood. I decided to go for the mid-length skirt, which I hoped would fall to a below knee to mid-calf length depending on where in the circumference of the skirt you look.

At first I was a little intimidated by the pattern, as there really isn’t one at all! There are just instructions, which is daunting departure from my usual modus operandi. Essentially, the instructions are to draw two quarter circles templates – one for the waist and another for the hem and use these for cutting out. The novelty of this approach made me read and re-read the instructions half a dozen times (even though they were well-written and clear) to make sure I was on the right track. I admit that I breathed a sigh of relief when I had done the cutting out without any mistakes and I was onto the sewing stages.

The construction

Once underway with the sewing, everything was a lot simpler, The skirt falls into two halfs; the top half attaching itself to the waistband and the lower half joins to make the asymmetrically shaped hem. Because I have a checked fabric, I offset my lower skirt so that there was pattern-matching, at least at the front. At the back the checks don’t match but are reversed (the yellow stripe matching with the black stripes).

The pattern is clever because the piece of fabric cut out for the waist becomes a pocket. For some unknown reason, this ended up on the left rather than the right as intended, but I’m not that bothered about this. I will recluse this as an “intentional design deviation” on my part.

As my fabric was a few centimetres wider that the pattern requirements I had a little left over and decided to make some belt hoops. I haven’t actually used these for a belt, as for once my waist circumference and finished skirt seemed to miraculously coincide measurement-wise, although I suspect that this won’t last and a belt may be required at some point. Generally speaking I usually include belt loops on everything I make because of my fluctuating waistline.

Clair Skirt
Clair Skirt: Interesting asymmetry

The outcome

I’m wearing my skirt today and I’m working from home. The weather is cold (below zero at night) and being stingy with the heating, we have kept it between 14 and 17 degrees during the day. So, not warm by most people’s standards. I must admit that I do feel like I am wearing a blanket; my legs have been warm and I think it works well worn with my Lett lopi wool jumper. There is a kind of luxury to wearing so much wool, I find. Anyway, I’m not sure what aesthetic I’m aiming for here. I like it, even though I am getting some distinct Viking vibes wearing this ensemble!

Viking chic
I’m clearly missing the most vital of accessories – a sword!
Clair skirt
Clair Skirt: The other side of the skirt showing the pocket

Keeping it real, it was so cold at home I also put a hoodie on over the top. Not so elegant now, but I was the right temperature.

Clair Skirt
Clair Skirt: Wool skirt and jumper, topped with a hoodie

Of course, I haven’t really finished by make, as the remaining fabric can be used on one of three different projects; an apron, a hat or a bag. I’m going with the bag. I am glad that there is a choice of projects here because it really makes this pattern far more versatile.


True Bias Nikko Top in cream ribbed knit

This particular make had been on my radar for some while, but I have sewn lots of different t-shirt patterns and I was beginning to wonder why I needed to invest in another. By invest I mean buying the pattern, but also committing time to getting the fit right too.

The pattern

The Nikko Top and Dress has 4 views. The top in sleeveless and long-sleeved versions and the dress, again in sleeveless and long-sleeved models. I used the the long-sleeved top version (View B) here.

I traced the pattern on Swedish tracing pattern, fully expecting to do a variety of adjustments on the flat pattern, especially around the shoulders, and armscye. But surprisingly when I started to compare the size 6 I had traced with the shoulder width from my adjusted Cashmerette Concord pattern, it was spot on and didn’t need altering at all. The length was a little long, compared to the intended length shown on the True Bias website, but I didn’t adjust it. I’m quite willing to have extra long t-shirts in the winter. The sleeves again were a bit long, but I can pull them down tortoise-fashion which again is no bad thing in the winter.

I was rather shocked at this point that the job of tracing had taken me next to no time and the next evening I was ready to sew.

True Bias Nikko top: Worn with True Bias Lander trousers and RTW cardigan

The Fabric

I purchased one metre of MeetMilk ribbed knit from Guthrie and Ghani. I chose the colour described as “Shell” which seems like a cream colour to me. This fabric is a good pairing with the True Bias Nikko pattern as it has just the right stretch and recovery requirements. Although I only bought one metre, I managed to squeeze out the long-sleeved top in a size 6 from the fabric.


This was an absolute breeze. Most of the sewing was achieved on the overlocker. I had to change my thread to white for this project, but even this didn’t involve too much swearing. I picked up a really good tip from the Concord: tacking the neck binding together in its folded position prior to inserting it into the t-shirt. This really makes the process easier and the result tidier. I did this again on this t-shirt.

True Bias Nikko Top: Apologies for the camisole clearly visible underneath, but it is a cold day!

The outcome

I absolutely love this new top. The pattern has fitted me perfectly out the packet so this t-shirt took next to no time to make. Despite the expense of the fabric (£23.90/m at the time I write this), I am convinced that I made a good choice because it had just the right stretch for the garment. The fabric also comes in a variety of colours, so there is plenty of room for future fuss-free Nikkos in my wardrobe because I won’t need to adjust for different stretch percentages by buying the same fabric.

I’m glad I chose this colour too. This t-shirt can easily be paired with all manner of garments in my wardrobe. Here I’m trying it out with the Lander trousers, and a much-loved RTW cardigan. However, I can see it working well with lots of the blue items in my wardrobe too.

I always feel that a simple t-shirt pattern needs to work hard to justify the price. This pattern has separate body pieces for the dress and also the sleeveless versions. I expect this is to take into account the arm hole bindings for the sleeveless version and the looser fit around the waist in the dress version. I think these considerations make the pattern very good value and elevate it above similar offerings.

I’m really interested in taking this pattern to a new level, by making some customised versions of it. Watch this space!

True Bias Nikko Top: Back View


#MakeNine2022 Final Update

I must admit I have been struggling with my nine projects this year. My completed count is currently at 2 and a half. I managed to make the underwear and also the Lander trousers. I have also started on the Nikko top.

It isn’t because I’m not excited about my selection, it is mainly that I haven’t been able to do much in the way of in-person fabric shopping. If there is anything that my chosen Make Nine have in common it is that they use fabrics that I haven’t sewn much with before, which for me necessitates the need to make decisions based on fabric stroking.

But fear not, I told myself, when Sew Brum was on the horizon! The Birmingham emporia are sure to provide for my every whim! It was one of the highlights of my year to finally get out and be among like-minded sewing enthusiasts, after two years of Covid restrictions. We enjoyed the day mooching around the Rag Market, Fancy Silk Store, Barry’s Fabrics and Guthrie and Ghani. The fabric shops didn’t disappoint either and I now have fabric to make some of the more challenging projects on the list. Here is what I bought:

1. A window pane checked green wool fabric. This is going to be made into the Zero Waste Clair Skirt. A proposed make that has been on the cards for a while. This fabric pairs well with my super-warm green jumper. This is definitely going to be a warm but elegant outfit.

Clair Skirt Fabric (Green windowpane check)
Clair Skirt Fabric (Green windowpane check)

2. A tartan checked wool fabric in muted shades of fawn, mauve and blue with an orange accent. I think this will be great for my hooded Dropje vest. This is going to be one a wearing-round-the-house item, since anything to be worn outdoors in the south-west of the UK needs to be waterproof. I haven’t bought any lining for this garment yet, but that will be an easier online purchase. This fabric looks super with my recent Lander trousers.

Dropje Vest Fabric (Muted shades of green, fawn and blue with an orange accent)
Dropje Vest Fabric (Muted shades of green, fawn and blue with an orange accent)

3. A cream ribbed jersey. I have made a few t-shirts this year, but I really would like a Nikko top and this will be to replace a much-worn RTW cream t-shirt that has a hole in it and rather nasty looking armpits.

Nikko Top Fabric (Cream rib jersey)
Nikko Top Fabric (Cream rib jersey)

4. A striped silk fabric. This was an impulse purchase; surely I was allowed one? I loved the idea of making a top that positions the stripes in an interesting manner. I like the idea of this Burda top, but I fear I may not have enough fabric for it, but you never know.

Striped silk fabric
Striped silk fabric

In essence these are all projects I have probably already talked about, but I may actually get to make now I have the fabric. I’m really looking forward to finally getting on with these. And as I have knocked nearly three items from my list, I can come up with a new three to add to my list. I’ll post soon with my new ideas too!


Making Cargo Trousers Part 2 (Lekala #5066)

I finished my my Cargo Trousers a few days ago. Here is my Part 1 post where I talk about the inspiration for the trousers and their construction. Unfortunately, I got very dispirited when I tried them on. Lekala supposedly make a custom-fit pattern according to the measurements that you supply to them. So, why is it that when I tried the trousers on the waistband is huge? The rest of the trousers are a perfect fit! I don’t know, I could agonise over the measurements I took, I could make some judgement on whether the waist band sits in relation to my natural waist. But none of this fully accounts for being about 4 inches too big! I’m suspecting some assumptions in their algorithm about waist measurements being x distance from the hip measurement, or assumptions about the circumference being equally distributed between the back and the front of the body. This is the first time I have made trousers with a Lekala pattern, so I think this is a lesson learned. Always measure!

Lekala #5066

After much cursing, I did the following:

  • Took off the centre back belt hoop
  • Took the waistband part at the centre back
  • Cut it in half at the centre back
  • Reduced the circumference at the waist by about two inches, but cutting out a load of excess at the centre back
  • Sewed it all back up, adding the belt loop back in

I put the trousers back on and they are still loose, but adjusting the button position at the front and the use of a belt means that they are fully wearable.

Lekala #5066

I wore them to see a friend yesterday in town, and wore a wide leather belt. This turned out to be a rather uncomfortable combination as the belt tried to pull the trousers up to my natural waist and it was a little restrictive in the bum department!

Today I have been wearing a thinner elasticated belt with the trousers. They sit lower down, below the natural waist and they are now far more comfortable. In fact, they nicely adhere to the more slouchy look and feel which is more in harmony with their style.

Lekala #5066

I love the colour of these trousers though. In the back of my mind I the colour reminded of something? And then I realised where I had seen this exact shade before. It is a wife’s colour from The Handmaid’s Tale! Taking into account the lighting in these photos. Thank goodness I didn’t make this into a dress!

Handmaid's tale wife

Would I make another pair of these? Yes. I love the pockets and now I have worked my way around the construction I won’t find it so challenging a second time round. I can see a black pair would be a great addition to my wardrobe, obviously making sure the waistband fits properly.

Lekala #5066


Making Cargo Trousers Part 1 (Lekala #5066)

Possibly two decades ago, I recall I had a pair of shop-bought cargo trousers that I used to love and wore a lot. They were grey, straight-legged and with loads of pockets. Although I don’t buy clothes from shops anymore, I do sometimes visit the “Inspiration Emporia”, as I now call them, just for a look around. Anyway, I kept on noticing a pair of red cargo trousers in Urban Outfitters. They ticked all my boxes – loads of pockets, straight-legged and with cool top-stitching.

Urban Outfitters cargo trousers – the inspiration

The Pattern

I looked around for a pattern to use. A couple of months back there was a pattern for cargo trousers in Burda magazine. I liked them, but the number of pockets just wasn’t up there. There weren’t any back pockets. Then I remembered that I had some credits left on the Lekala website and I spotted this pair. Are these not the coolest cargo trousers? I was salivating at the prospect of sewing all those pockets!

Lekala #5066 line drawing

I put in my measurements and the website comes up with a proposed fabric requirement now. Definitely a handy feature, as I’m sure it didn’t used to do that.

Lekala #5066 Artist’s impression

The Fabric and Notions

I bought the fabric at Like Sew Amazing. They only had a couple of different colour choices for this cotton canvas fabric. They still have some of the lilac in stock. The colour I chose though was this bright turquoise. I felt it was rather bright, but then it is very much in the same spirit as my inspiration – those red cargo trousers from Urban Outfitters. For the top-stitching, again, I was quite unsure, but settled on a cream colour. I found some cream-coloured buttons too, to complete the look.

The Construction

Lekala pattern instructions are sparse and very much in the same style as the average Burda magazine instructions. But these instructions were particular bad. Half-way through it just directs you to a Youtube video on the So Sew Easy website for inserting a zip. The video itself is great but it inserts the zip in a skirt. No problem, except that there are no instructions for sewing either the fly guard on, or for doing the crotch seam as a result. I did look at the instructions for the Burda trousers, mentioned earlier, but sadly that didn’t help either as the two patterns were quite different in the way they tackled inserting the zip fly. So, I just swore a lot and muddled through.

Next problem was that I made a mistake on the pockets. Between you and me, let’s just call it a style change. In the useless instructions, which I was increasingly failing to follow, it tells you to sew the top-stitching on the side pockets so that the pockets concertina. However, mine are just sewn so they no longer do this. Actually I don’t care. It means that my pockets won’t get overfilled and look all baggy. I maintain this is a style change, not a mistake!

And, here we are! The finished trousers….. well, almost. I still have the hems to finish and the button and buttonhole on the waistband.

Cargo Trousers: Back View. Got to have back pockets too!

I’ve decided to write a second post in a few days once I have worn them for a bit and can comment on fit and comfort. I will also report back on the outfit choices I have made with them.

Cargo Trousers: Front view. Obviously more pockets!