Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Klaxon! The Ankles Are Out! Navy Twill Cropped Trousers

Here are my new trousers, which began life on the cutting table all the way back on Mothers Day intended as a wearable toile.  I had a couple of hours of sewing time 'gifted' to me in the afternoon while dinner was was being prepared for me, which was lovely.  Cue me with glass of wine in hand, scampering off to the studio pronto!  These are made as a prototype pair ready for Spring (pffft! Like, whenever it decides to turn up!).  They are a navy cotton twill, quite a substantial cotton fabric, so thankfully should be able to withstand some low temperatures still while we all wait for less arctic conditions to arrive. 

I wanted a pair of pegged or narrower trousers, slightly above the ankle, ready for sandals or heels, when I can bear to go without socks.  Until then they are happy to partner up with my converse looky-likes.  Only very minimal ankle is exposed to the elements just now and the trainers are earning their keep still.  Although I did brave it today with a rare glimpse of open toes for an equally rare lunch out, as at least the weather is dry and this afternoon temperatures were managing to stagger weakly towards double figures.  Whoohoo!

This dark navy fabric is almost black unless you see it in true daylight.  I'm especially loving grey, navy and black together at the moment and am happily wearing blue and black mixed together willy nilly!  I'm wearing these navy trews with a blue and black striped breton t-shirt and a black leather biker jacket.  

I used to have an old pair of narrow leg navy trousers from H&M that I wore and wore to death, and eventually I caught them when stepping over something sharp in the garden and they ripped at the front.  Sadly they were the sort of trousers that didn't look good in a distressed state and neither were they repairable, so they were chucked.  I've missed them though as they were very easy to pair with neutral shades or equally with spring colours.  I actually love these ones more though as they fit just perfectly.

These trousers are taken from Simplicity 1430, a pattern of coordinating pieces I've had for ages.  I've actually made the top from this set of separates quite a few times, (see examples of a yellow version here and the same in coral here), but this is the first attempt at the trousers.  The pattern described them as being drafted just underneath the waistline, but they didn't look too low waisted.  I've come to dislike a very low cut trouser waistline as it limits what I can wear over the top of it.  I also think a higher waist is a more flattering for me and more comfortable to wear.  This waistband does indeed hit me about an inch under my natural waist, which is just fine.

I usually cut a size 14 in the big name patterns as this ensures a good amount of ease where I need it around the hips and then I take in as necessary, but this pattern only goes up to a size 12. (I think I remember making  mistake and opting for the smaller version when I bought it a few years ago).  I was prepared to let out the seams to the max if necessary, but hoped the relaxed fit would give me a some wriggle room.  In the end I just let out the top couple of inches of seam allowance a bit around the waistline on the trousers as it was a little tight on me.  Similarly I sewed the waistband together with minimal seam allowance to give me an extra half an inch or so.  The rest of the fitting was fine at a straight size 12. When I make these again I'll add the necessary bit of extra ease to the pattern.

So they fit really well overall now and I'm especially pleased with the adjustments I've made, as it always seems to be the waistband that doesn't sit properly when I buy ready-to-wear trousers.  I usually end up having to wear a belt with most trousers.  If they are the right size around the hips and leg the waistband will gape.  Or else if they fit around the waist then the rest of them will be too tight.  The back of these is a flattering fit too (possibly would have been even more so if I'd ironed out those back darts properly!  I was in too much of a rush to wear them out for lunch, food is always my priority).  

I decided to cut the hems so that they hover just above the ankle.  After experimenting with a few lengths, this felt the most comfortable and versatile length to wear just now.  Like I say, the ankles haven't seen much exposure for the last six months, so even though there was a very fleeting ray of sunshine a couple of days ago, we're still taking it slowly and going up one inch at a time in the hem department.

This fly technique was new to me and I really like it.  So neat.  I only had a beige coloured zip in my stash for this toile, but actually it has proved how well concealed the zip is in the end because it is totally invisible when they're on.  It gives a very tidy and flattering, flat front and the wide band at the top is very comfortable to wear.

Double gold buttons at the top!  Bling!

I used black thread for the whole thing, including the button holes and other visible stitching.  Partly this was because this was a toile so I was just using thread I already have lots of in my stash, but also I wanted to test black stitching against the blue fabric.  I think I'd do this again.  

So I finished these off last night and after a quick snip over the loose threads, an even swifter iron (avert your eyes from the back darts if you don't mind) and they served very well indeed for a treat lunch out today.  I even matched the decor at Carluccio's, how very coordinated of me!  We decided a mid week treat was in order as it has been a particularly busy month so far, with Mothers Day followed by two very special birthdays, number one child's first school residential and then family to stay for a week.  Add to that a mountain of work to do, including me travelling away for a few days and a big project launch, and the usual end-of-year admin rush and now we're all careering hell for leather towards Easter.   Hopefully some down time is likely during the Easter break as things have, quite frankly, been a bit bonkers lately.  I love it when there's lots going on though.

So anyway we had a lovely leisurely bite to eat and a chat about how much we were looking forward to the weekend, and then we were aiming for a stroll back through the park.  This quickly turned into me sacking off the stroll and legging it for the warmth of the car - brrrrrrr!  Get a move on Spring, we're all flippin' freezing out here!

Navy twill trousers made by me
Breton t-shirt from Gap
Black leather biker jacket from Reiss
Nude cut away shoes from Clarks
Black fringed bag from Oasis


  1. Great Spring outfit, shame the weather didn't oblige! Trousers can be a bit tricky, but theses are a triumph, a lovely fit, you must make another pair from the same pattern so you don't wear these out. I note you used black thread throughout instead of navy and this worked well. I remember reading a tip from a keen sewer (male) who said he always uses mid-grey for all seams, only using matching thread for top stitching - he said it saves time and you can't tell. I'm not convinced about that, I love to see all the different coloured reels of thread in my sewing box and choose the right shade for the project. What do you think?

  2. Thanks! Yes absolutely, it always has to be the right coloured thread for the whole project for me. Apart from basting and tacking, and neatening seam edges maybe. I'm looking for some nice fabric to do my next pair, and I'll get matching thread too! Sarah X