Smartening Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReaders, I know you will be surprised and shocked by the revelation to follow but I feel it is time to divulge to you the true horror of my evening wardrobe.  By evening, I don’t mean going to the theatre, an intimate dinner for two at an expensive restaurant or even a night on the tiles.  No, I’m referring to ordinary, everyday evenings, the sort of evening where getting home, eating dinner and crashing out on the sofa is the height of my ambition.

For these evenings I have a series of increasingly bedraggled pairs of stretchy trousers in various stages of dilapidation.  Exhibit 1, bought from Country Road in 2008, made out of grey velour (!) which has now gone stiff with age and washing, I can’t work out whether the knees or bottom have sagged the most.  Exhibit 2, Sweaty Betty, must be about ten years old. Made out of a once lovely grey, sweatshirting, now stretched beyond all hope of redemption, even the elastic waistband, which means they are in constant danger of ending up around my ankles. I could go on, but I suspect you are beginning to get the picture. Comfortable? Yes.  Suitable for being seen by anyone other than immediate family?  Definitely Not.

Top Shop – Moth Joggers

I have been thinking about replacing these trousers for sometime, but haven’t really been sure what to replace them with.  Then my friend bought a pair of these fabulous moth print joggers from top-shop.  Actually it’s a bit strange because she ordered them on-line and when they appeared the moths were upside down, so she sent them back and got a replacement with the moths the right way up.  Looking at this picture I can see that the moths are upside down here too!

Tessuti Fabrics – Suzy Pant

At about the same time Tessuti Fabrics in Australia released the Suzy Pant pattern and  Fabric Godmother sent me an email telling me they had a sale on.  It was as if the fates were telling me what I needed to do.

The Suzy Pant is one of the simplest patterns you could imagine.  I knocked up a toile in less time than it took to print the pattern out and paste all the pages together.

The pattern itself is well thought out.  I like the styling of the two pairs of pleats around the front.  There are lots of notches to help you line things up, always useful when sewing with slippery fabrics, and all the pieces fit together well.

I found the instructions for the pockets a bit overly complicated, so I abandoned them around page 3 and didn’t go back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, being me, I decided to make some changes.  The pattern has the pleated trouser attached to an unlined waistband/yoke with a length of elastic running through a channel at the top to hold it in place.  The pattern instructions include a rather odd mix of imperial and metric measures so for a size small it indicated a 74cm waist and a piece of elastic 26″ long.  Once you had taken made the elastic into a circle the length was 25″which is about 4-5″ less than the waist (even tighter as the trousers don’t actually sit on the waist).  I wrote to Tessuti about this and they replied that it was because the 12mm elastic specified was less stretchy than normal elastic.  Well, I don’t know about that but my 12mm elastic seemed just as stretchy as thinner elastic and having something so tight was unbearably uncomfortable.  I also thought the idea of just having the elastic sitting at the top of the waistband looked a little, well, amateurish.  A bit like the sort of trousers my Mother made me when I was three.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe answer was to remove 4cm from the width of the waistband at the front, reshape it to make it fit well across my tummy and interface and line it.  On the back I replaced the waistband with 5cm elastic which is comfortable and I think looks good.

I also lengthened the trousers a bit.  I liked the idea of having them pooling around my ankles, so I added about 4cm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the first time I used my overlocker’s narrow hemming function.  I think it looks nice on this style but I can’t imagine using it much in the future.

I’m really pleased with these trousers (sorry, trouser,  the singular is the more acceptable term in fashion parlance).  I haven’t had much time to do any sewing recently.  On top of that I seem to have lost interest in a number of projects very close to their completion  – the Kelly skirt that only needs it’s button holes opening up (yes that close!), the stretch dress which needs hemming and so on.  I think I need to make something complicated next, I could do with a challenge going into the Autumn.