Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


15 Comments

Hacking it in Batsford

I’ve just made another pair of Peter and the Wolf trousers from Papercut patterns. I made a pair last year and have enjoyed wearing them. I have been looking forward to making another pair. This time I chose to make a denim pair with grey top-stitching. The fabric came from Ditto fabrics and is a dark indigo stretch denim.

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I usually find that I have to rely on belts to keep trousers sitting at the waist. So unfortunately, a side closure and waistband with no belt loops was always going to be a bit of a risk for me.

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This new pair are therefore also a pattern hack. I’ve married the Grainline Moss Skirt front fly closure and shaped waistband with the Peter and the Wolf legs and yoke for this pair. I also added more top-stitching and belt loops, using the Ginger jeans tutorial instructions to give a more jeans-like look. There are more details on my hack on my Monthly Stitch post.

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I decided to give my new pair of trousers their first outing on a visit to Batsford Arboretum. The arboretum is home to one of the largest private tree collections in the UK, and is famed for trees which originate in Japan and China, including the Handkerchief tree.

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There are some beautiful views across the Cotswold countryside.

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The arboretum dates back to the early part of the 17th Century. It was created to look like a wild garden. There is an artificial stream that runs through the gardens and our walk took us over wooden bridges and past a waterfall. Batsford Park’s most well-known residents were probably the infamous Mitford sisters, who lived there during World War I.

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Being a weekday, it was very quiet and tranquil.

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13 Comments

In wolf’s clothing

The Peter and the Wolf pattern by Papercut patterns is a design that I’ve admired for a long time. I haven’t seen another pair of trousers quite like them; they are certainly a unique design. In fact, I don’t see many interesting trouser patterns out there, possibly this is because so few home sewing enthusiasts are also enthusiastic about trousers. Having just finished MMM ’15, I’ve  noted that I do spend a lot of time in my ready-to-wear jeans. And before any of these jeans bite the dust (some are getting quite threadbare), I’d really like to make a few more pairs of trousers.

Peter and the Wolf Trousers

By rights, this pair of trousers should have been a disaster, and I’m amazed that it got to the stage where I am actually wearing them to work! There were some firsts for me with this make. I have been vigorously sewing for nearly two years now, so the firsts don’t come thick and fast anymore, but I was contending with my new overlocker and stretchy denim.

I chose a stretch denim in beige from Minerva Crafts.  I did want to make the yokes in a contrasting colour and I decided that the easiest way to do this was to dye some of my beige fabric in the desired contrasting shade. I chose a dark brown from Dylon to do the dyeing. I’m quite pleased with the results of this and there is a good contrast between the yoke and the rest of the trousers. It also saved me from worrying about finding another fabric of similar weight.

In the construction stage, the first problem I needed to tackle was to make a custom-fit pattern (I don’t make toiles – I’m too lazy and the one time I made a toile, it told me nothing that doing the maths didn’t tell me). I decided to go with making the S (small) size, but made a few adjustments on my custom pattern. I made the leg length 3 centimetres longer and made the waist a little more accommodating (about 4 centimetres). My main problem was that I had very little idea about working with fabric which is stretchy and I didn’t know how much ease I would need. So I just sewed the trousers up and hoped for the best!

It was at this point that I was a little too enthusiastic with the overlocker and made a nasty hole in one of the legs (oops!) After throwing a mini tantrum (yes, the trousers did get thrown across the room!), I thought I could salvage the situation. I thought I had enough unneeded ease that I could manage to place the hole in the seam allowance, provided that I moved the side seam allowance slightly. This means that the side seam allowance is not quite at the side, but about 1 centimetre nearer the front. No-one will know! I did think that I might have needed to do something more drastic. I didn’t have enough fabric to make another leg piece, but I could have made a half-leg piece and made a dramatic curved seam just above the leg. Fortunately, in the end I didn’t need to go with this solution, although it could have worked quite nicely.

Whoops!

Drama over, I sewed up the rest of the trousers. To get the final fit I just tacked the leg seams and tried the trousers on. They did need a little tweaking and I took in the legs by about 1 centimetre and the front crotch seam, by about the same. I think that possibly the size smaller would have been a better fit all round, but I’ll make the necessary changes to the custom pattern and hopefully it will mean I won’t need to make any fit changes next time I make a pair.

Peter and the Wolf Trousers

I did make another mistake with this project. Not quite as serious, but nonetheless just as difficult to resolve. I forgot to read the instructions at one point and missed out the top-stitching on the front yoke. Strange really, I don’t usually miss an opportunity to top-stitch! It isn’t the end of the world, but it does mean that there is top-stitching on the back yoke and none on the front, which to my mind looks a little odd. I’m debating whether the take out the top-stitching on the back yoke, just to even things up a bit.

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Peter and the Wolf Trousers

I’ve now worn these trousers to work and they are definitely a hit. They are very comfortable, but I still feel smart in them, or perhaps that’s just because they are new! The pockets are deep and even though I was concerned with the comfort of a seam running directly down the front of the trousers over the knee, that doesn’t bother me at all. I even like the scalloped hem, although it is a fiddly detail just at the end of the project, when I was impatient to get on and wear the trousers.

I can imagine myself making another pair of Wolfie trousers. I could probably make them a little tighter even, because I’m not 100% sure about the fit. I like the gold / black pair sported on the Papercut website and also Kat’s denim / blue pair. I’m also wondering whether I could make a front fly zipped version instead. I’ve seen a few versions using patterned fabric, but I personally feel that they look rather too busy, although this version looks great!

I’m not that happy with the photos I took in the park above, mostly as I tried to keep the tops short so you could see the trouser yokes. I’m not too fond of my waist so I usually wear longer tops, so here’s a photo of a more usual ensemble:

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