Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Corduroy Trousers Knock-Off and the Joy of Top-Stitching

This pair of trousers have been a long time in the making. At the end of last year when I was contemplating the magnitude of spending a whole year without buying a single item of clothing, this pair of trousers was near the top of the to-do list. Why? Well, for starters they are a direct replacement for a favourite pair of trousers that were worn so much that they became thread-bare. Also, for me, the ability to just make a copy of a ready-to-wear item either an old favourite or a copy of something I see in a shop window has got to be the pinnacle of sewing. On top of that, they are almost a pair of jeans in terms of design. All that top-stitching, all the pockets….. But, I knew at the beginning of the year I wasn’t able to tackle this project. I made a brief attempt to get started in May when I took the thread-bare trousers apart and made a pattern from them, but then the pattern just sat on my shelf waiting for me to have sufficient courage .

I then made some trousers (to make sure that I could do a fly zip) and also a corduroy skirt, which helped me practice flat fell seams and finally I was ready!

Of course, I had no instructions for this project either, so I had to make it all up as I went along and make sure I didn’t do things in the wrong order and have to unpick.

I’m very pleased with the result. The fabric colour is stunning and really brings to mind these autumnal days.

Autumn Trousers 2

I got to use my new toy top-stitching foot. It worked a dream. I had struggled on my Grainline Moss Skirt with doing all the top-stitching by eye. The new foot makes my stitching so much more reliable.

Everyday trousers tend to wear out the fastest so I will make another pair, perhaps in blue next year.  My self-imposed shopping fast is definitely continuing. There are a few things I will change. I can’t actually remember how tight the original ready-to-wear trousers were, I took them apart so long ago that I can’t remember, but the fit is probably a little more comfort fit than I had intended. I think this was due to the extra seam allowance I gave to myself when I was cutting out. I felt convinced that I needed to be more generous to get the fell flat seams right. The original had faux fell flats, by comparison. Next time I’ll just stick the the pattern’s seam allowance and I’ll get a slimmer fit.

I also religiously followed the top-stitching on the original trousers. I think next time I’ll cut back on that a bit. Perhaps do two lines of top-stitching down the outside leg seams to the level of the bottom of the pockets and then just have a single line after that. I’ve seen that in quite a few ready-to-wear jeans and it looks good. Also using two different colours of top-stitching looks attractive too and I may dabble with that.

Autumn trousers pockets

At one point I did make life difficult for myself by making the seam (outside leg seam) that I was top-stitching the second leg seam that I sewed. Thank goodness the legs weren’t any slimmer otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to top-stitch all the way down! I won’t make that mistake again! But I suppose that is the danger with having no instructions to follow. Speaking of which, instructions are not only a good guide for doing things in the right order, but also stop you forgetting things. I completely forgot to add interfacing to the waistband. I’m annoyed, but actually it isn’t too major a problem as with all the top-stitching and belt loops the waistband could hardly be described as floppy. I’ll always wear it with a belt anyway. I can give myself a hard time over these oversights, but my trousers are definitely wearable and comfortable, what more could I ask for?

Autumn Trousers 1