The Sasha Pants, by Closet Case Patterns, has long been on my radar. There’s something about them, in their simplicity, that’s very appealing. To top it off, they’re made in fabric with a slight stretch. What a dream!
I added them to my Make 9 2020 plans, as I’d already ordered the fabric late last year. I had known for a while that I wanted corduroys, but it’s not so easy to find stretchy corduroy fabric that doesn’t contain polyester. This is 97% cotton, 3% spandex from myfabrics.co.uk and it is messy, fray-y, but actually supremely comfy. When the fabric arrived I liked it, then I washed it and I didn’t, and while working on it I was sure I was making a pair of grandpa trousers. I’m back to liking it now, I think, but time will tell how much the fabric bags out with wear. If it stays good, I am definitely going to purchase some of the caramel corduroy too. Really enjoying my first ever corduroy trousers!
Following my measurements, I cut out a straight size 10, checked the legs next to an old pair of lovely, long jeans, and lengthened the pattern legs by 4 inches. I divided the extension between two points – the official ‘lengthen here line, and the hem line for the cropped trousers. This meant that length was added to the ankle and the leg, about the knee.
I decided to split it in this way as I thought that, as I was adding so much, it might skew the balance of the legs, and I didn’t want that to happen. The important thing was to keep the neat look of the leg, but just have them fitting my tall frame. The length added was more than I needed, but I like trousers to be too long, rather than falling the perfect length (maybe a fall-back to trousers never being long enough?!), and I love those little folds at the ankle.
Once cut out, the instructions have you do the welt pockets first. Eek! I have never sewn welt pockets before, so did a quick practice run using some scrap fabric. Amazingly, it turned out pretty nicely. Heather Lou’s (the designer) instructions were good, and although there were a few head scratching moments, it all went fine. Joey was working away in the craft room while I was sewing, and he kept asking who I was talking to as I read the instructions aloud: “no one, just myself, obviously!”
Once the practice welt was completed, I moved onto my proper trousers and inevitably I then made several mistakes with my real welts. Firstly, I missed the markings for the welt pockets prior to doing the dart, but that was okay; I just added it on immediately afterwards. But… the markings looked really squint. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to eyeball the placings, get them the same on both sides, but following the corduroy lines of the leg. Well, that was a mistake! I think I should have made them perpendicular to the dart, if anything, but never mind. Of course, once you get to a particular stage with your welt, you can’t reverse any mistakes as you’ve cut into the fabric! Whoops! So, I had to leave them. It’s really not that big a deal – while I was making them I realised that the pockets are tiny and for all that work, I doubt they will be used for anything than breaking up the expanse of green corduroy across my rear!
Second mistake was that I lined the lining material up with the top of the trousers rather than the edge of the welt, which means that the pocket bag is squint. However, I was right: they are tiny, and really ineffective as pockets. They’re purely decorative, and as I can’t see the squintness (of the welt or the pocket bag!) while wearing, I am going to pretend they’re as they are meant to be.
While writing this, I have just realised that if my openings were straight, then my pocket bags would be too – probably they only seem off because the opening is off!
The front pockets were the next stage after the welts, and jings, I could not get things right! I had planned for a sewing/ crafting weekend after a very busy week at work, and thought all would go swimmingly. Well, it was a nightmare. I couldn’t get anything to work properly and I was getting worked up in frustration. Eventually all went well, but to be honest, reference to the right and wrong side of the lining and fabric was just not working out for me: the method of putting these pockets together was so unintuitive that I had to read everything four or five times for it to fully sink in. It didn’t help that for the right side of the pocket lining, I was using the wrong side of the chosen fabric! Never mind, I got there in the end, but what an effort.
I suspect the difficulties were more to do with me, than the instructions. Everything worked out in the end, but after a full on work week, it was probably just too much for my wee brain to make sense of. Sunday sewing after I’d had a bit of a break went much better, so I think I was just being too hard on myself.
After that, I quickly basted the legs together and found that the trousers were far too big overall. I’d basted loosely at 16mm, as the pattern recommends, and ended up with a twist in one leg. Did I cut one off the grain? But no, it was just my quick (unpinned) basting, and when I sewed them together carefully all sat as it should. Except… my welt pockets are, of course, at a jaunty angle!!!
To sew it up, I decided to take the seams in a bit. The centre back seam was sewn at 2cm (remember the actual seam allowance is 16mm for all), and then sewed the inseam and the outside legs at 18mm each. The fit was much better, but I decided to take a further wedge of 2cm out of the centre back, grading to nothing within 7cm. I then overlocked and finished all the seams.
After that things went more smoothly. The waistband needed some adjustments to fit after I’d made changes to the seams. I just moved the circles across 1.8cm in opposite directions from the centre back: I’d taken 2cm and a few millimetres out of each side, and I hoped this would be sufficient. To ensure the waistband didn’t stretch out, I also attached some mending tape that I found in my sewing basket. It’s stiff and doesn’t stretch, and it feels firm and good around the waist.
My machine (a very basic Janome 1560) managed with all the layers like a champion (except one thing – see below). It was an absolute trooper, but I do think finishing the seams by overlocking is a real winning move, as it reduced bulk remarkably. I managed to get both machines set up on my desk, which was fantastic, and it is great being able to move from one to the other. I received my overlocker as a gift for Christmas from my parents, and although I am still trying to get the tension perfected, it is wonderful. I absolutely love it, and it’s already made a huge difference to my sewing practice.
To make room for the storage of it, a few weeks ago I spent the entire day(!) tidying my craft corner. I threw out a ton of stuff, and emptied three squares in the bookcase – two for Joey and one for the overlocker to live in. All my fabric is now on show, and all haberdashery items within easy reach. It’s a literal dream to have everything organised and it’s delightfully easy to start and temporarily store a project.
Confession time: I’m wearing these trousers and I have been since ‘finishing’ them this morning, but they’re still not finished. I couldn’t get my machine to sew a button hole – literally could not get the fabric under the foot! – and I don’t have a hook and bar large enough. While out and about, I had them fastened with a safety pin, but now, I’m hanging loose (don’t worry, the zip is up), and they still feel secure, comfortable and safe – these trews aren’t falling down any time soon.
I took them down to the local nature reserve for photos. I was planning on doing it just by a lochside, but the wind was bitter today and I couldn’t bring myself to wear my shirt sleeves with no shelter. Well, I had fun taking photos in the woodland, but they are really over exposed, not helped by my choosing to wear a pale top, which I thought looked lovely with the trousers. So the photos absolutely do not capture the colour of the trousers, which is a dark green. Definitely not the brown most of the photos show. The closest photo is the one where I took the photo looking down into the leaf litter. That’s the image that most closely matches the colour of the trousers.
After taking photos I then wore them to the beach for a walk, and then received a message for a friend asking if I wanted to go for a walk, so I walked to her house and then went for another walk (so many walks!). Which was lovely. We walked through wind, rain, snow and hail (her wee baby wasn’t sure what to make of it!), and I was so sure that the trousers would be all loose and baggy looking when I got home. Nope! Perfect, still. Except for that strange crease across my right buttock, and the knees are a bit too loosely sewn still, but other than those wee niggles, they are a well-fitting, and extremely comfy pair of trousers. I am utterly delighted, and can’t wait to see what I can make next.
Have you made trousers yet? Do you think you’ll give them a try?
Howmore beach looking spectacular today. I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful place.