Work in Progress Wednesday 2/19

Last week I found a bargain at a local charity shop – 3m of what I suspect is a wool and silk herringbone fabric in sage green and off white.  It was just hanging on a hanger in the curtains and duvet covers section, looking sad and unwanted.  Well, not by me!  It didn’t take me long to decide I was having it, even though all I’d gone in for was a couple of books.

I popped it in the washing machine straight away and let it dry.  It was when I ironed it that I thought it might have a silk content, and a bleach test on the fibres confirmed that.  Woo!  But what to make??  I didn’t think too long, I realised it would be perfect to make another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers B-a.  Not for now, it’s too cold, but for the spring they’d be great!  I though I could line them, or have a Hong Kong finish on the seams, put in jetted or welt pockets at the back instead of the patch pockets – and generally just fancy them up a bit.  All because the fabric was so nice!

The fabric frays quite badly, so the first thing was to overlock all the edges and then interface where necessary asap.  I don’t always interface the hip yoke pocket opening, but on this stuff with it’s tendency to wiggle around, interfacing was definitely called for.  The pocket facing in understitched and then I topstitched too – just to make sure it was all secure and wouldn’t stretch out when I over use the pockets.

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Interfacing on the opening edges of the hip yoke pockets

Hong Kong finish was scrapped, this fabric is too drapey and that would stiffen the seams too much.  I also didn’t line them in the end because the colour needed didn’t exist in the stash with enough meterage.  I didn’t want to buy anything, it would cause delays (shock – horror!) and I’m trying (not very hard!) not to buy stuff!!  Oh dear, that didn’t last long, did it??

But I did make fancy pockets on the back!  I cut the standard patch pocket out of the outer fabric, and another from the limited lining.  Then I cut 2 bias strips 6cm wide by 16cm long.  I wanted narrow jetted pockets, possibly with a loop and button to hold them closed.  For the loop I cut a bias strip 15cm long and 3cm wide.  This I fed through a bias tape gadget and then folded double and topstitched shut.  Much easier than making a strip and then trying to turn through.  I just knew this fabric wouldn’t like that very much.

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Starting the jetted pocket

To construct the pocket, these are the steps I followed.  First, interface the bias strip for the welts, then interface the fabric on the trouser piece, wider and longer than the pocket opening.  I drew a line with blue chalk down the middle of the bias strip – on the wrong side, marking the begining and end of the pocket opening.  Then I stitched, starting and ending exactly on those markings with the edge of my sewing machine foot on the blue line, one line on either side of the centre marking.  Next, I cut down that centre line and cut diagonally to the end of the stitching.  Make sure you cut straight!  You don’t need to stitch a box, in fact, that can hamper things.

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Making the welts

Now turn one side at a time up and press well, all along the fold.  Once that’s done, turn the bias strip to the inside and press those little triangles back well. Now you have to use the “seam allowance” as the “stuffing” for the welt, and fold the bias strip down to the inside over it.  Make sure you’re folding straight and accurately, it will show on the outside if you don’t.  Pin and press and baste as you feel necessary to get the right shape/line.  Make sure the welts aren’t overlapping or smiling at you, the folded edges should be touching “kissing”, as my tutor used to say.  Now you can stitch in the ditch along the length of the welts.  Then turn it all upside down, fold back those triangles and stitch along the fold, securing the edges in well.  Now you’re ready for the pocket bags.

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Finishing off the welts

Start with the lining, line the fabric up with the bottom edge of the bias strip on the lower welt, right side of lining to wrong side of trouser.  Lift the seam allowance up and pin and stitch from the welt side, not the lining side.  I tend to stitch twice, once roughtly down the middle of the allowance, this could be called either a holding stitch, or a reinforcement stitch, it does both jobs!  Then I go back and stitch again as close to the welt stitchline as I can.  Fold the lining down and press well.  If you’re going to use a button loop, now’s the time to get it in.

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Adding the pocket lining

Mark the centre of the pocket opening and pin the loop to the inside of the welt, centred on that marking.  (I usually use a pin to mark.)  Again, lift up the allowance and stitch the loop to the bias strip.  Now you need to whipstitch the welts together.  This keeps the pocket closed while you fiddle in the inside sewing the pocket bags together.  Now line up the pocket fabric with that allowance and stitch as you did for the lining, right side of pocket fabric to wrong side of trousers.  Once you’re done, smooth the pocket bags down and line up the sides.  You will have a longer lining piece than pocket bag, just trim it to the same length, pin all round and stitch.  I then overlocked the pocket bags together.

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Finishing off

All that’s left is to sew on your button, and voila!  You have a fancy pocket!  Now I just need weather suitable to wear these in, it’s a bit chilly here at the mooment, but not half as cold as it is in the States!  Keep warm guys!!

Sewing Japapese in January – Part 3

 

On a roll here!!  This time I’m using the Clean & Natural book and making the puffed sleeve pullover, pattern S.  It’s a loose fitting top with boat-neck(ish) that finishes mid hip and has a yummy, puffed sleeve.  The fullness in the sleeve is at the hem, rather than the sleeve head.  This book has a handy size table and the pattern sizes are S to LL.  I graded the LL up two sizes, going by the body measurements and the finished measurements of the top.  Remember, I don’t like too baggy…

 

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I toiled the pattern in some remnant cotton sheeting and made the following conclusions.  I needed more ease across the bust and length of about 2-3cm.  I also wanted the top to finish at the length it was un-hemmed.  So I needed an FBA of 3cm and to lengthen the top 3cm.  The sleeves are ok, finished at the right place and weren’t tight at the hem.  On creating the dart and FBA, I rotated it all out and am left with a no-dart top, just like the original.

Fabric is newly in the stash, after being bought last year at the NEC in March/April.  To be fair, I’d sort of allocated it to this top from the beginning, I just never got round to the grading and tracing and toiling last year.  The cotton is a woven gingham check, black and white.  I thought it would look pretty good with all the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, and now I’m thinking it might be worn in the winter with a long sleeve layering tee underneath too…

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Construction is fairly straightforward, I overlocked everything first, and used ordinary seams.  The seam and hem allowances have to be added, by the way.  The facings are interfaced with fine sheer fusible.  The sleeve is pretty big, and only just fitted on the width of the fabric!  You gather the long curved of the oversleeve onto a pleated straight undersleeve.  This is what creates and holds the puff.  That’s the only time consuming part, gathering and evenly spreading all the gathers!

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I like how the back looks here, as if I’ve used a contrast neckband.  Maybe that’s the answer.

I had a quick try-on before hemming and decided it was too long!  I’m blaming the fabric here, the pattern.  It blinded me…  So I duly chopped off the 3cm I’d added to the length and turned up a 3cm hem.  Then I popped it back on over my head and – whoa!  I shouldn’t have done that…  I probably didn’t need to remove the whole 3cm.

I also had a problem with the neckline.  On the toile I didn’t add the facings and I was happy with where it sat.  On this garment, with facings added, it was too high!  I don’t like feeling crowded against my neck, and the other issue was all that pattern!  I think I could have done with less.  So I decided to change the shape of the neckline in the front, put the toile back on and drew a scoop to the depth I wanted and transferred that to the gingham.  I added seam allowance and chopped again.  Then I realised I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new facings.  Not going well, right?  Anyway, I cut bias strips and sewed them together and made a bias trim for the neck.  I actually like this better than the original facings anyway.

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I think there’s just tooo much patterned fabric here for me.

As it’s ever so slightly chilly here in the UK this week, I decided to wear it today with a long sleeve scoop neck tee, and I rather like it like this.  I think it would also look good with a rounder neck tee, or even a floppy poloneck.  I also think it needs slim fitting pants, looks good with the Birkin Flares, not so pretty with pleated, fuller trousers.  It’s the second Japanese pattern that hasn’t turned out quite the way I had imagined in my head.  I know I’m not the same shape and size, but I thought I was picking patterns that are similar to those I like in the Burdas, so I was hoping they’d come out the same too.  Guess I’ll be sticking to the trouser patterns! 😀

 

Sewing Japanese in January – Part 2

As far as the resolution “take it slower this year” goes, I’m not doing that well…  I’ve made three garments and two toiles, mended/fixed/altered a bag full and I’ve got a LIST for the month that really should be quartered.  Ah well, if I can’t have fun in January, when can I have it??

So, the next garment in the sewing from Japanese sewing books saga is another pair of Kana’s Standard trousers from the first book.  I had intended to use the wide leg pattern from the second book, I graded up two sizes, toiled and fitted (it worked perfectly!) but when it came to laying the pattern on the fabric, I didn’t have enough.

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Kana’s Standard trousers B-a

The fabric I wanted to use has been lurking in the stash for a long time.  I’d bought it from Fred Winter in Stratford on Avon years ago in the remnant bin.  It was 1.8m, pinstripe navy English wool, but with a problem.  It was labelled as a second, and I found the flaw straight away, running the full width of the fabric about 15cm in from the one cut end.  I figured I could deal with that, depending on what I was making and bought it anyway.  Then followed various attempts at fitting various patterns onto the fabric, which, it turned out, had more flaws than the one I’d seen in the shop.  There was another flaw running the full width about 30cm from the first one, as well as two holes about 10cm in from the selvedge on the opposite end of the fabric.  So nothing fitted, even though I tried.  I thought I could get this pattern to fit, heaven knows why, it’s a wide leg pattern, needs length!!

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But I was determined, this time the fabric was getting used!  So I pulled out the pattern for  trousers B-a from the first book and did a little tetris around the flaws.  I had to shorten them by 2cm to their original length to fit the legs into the area between the end and the first flaw, and cut really close to the fold, shifting the pants pieces as far from the selvedge as possible to avoid the holes, but I managed it!  The pockets fitted into the 30cm between the two flaws, as well as one of the waistband pieces, and the other waistband piece fitted between the first flaw and the end of the fabric.  DONE!

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I overlocked all the pieces before starting to sew, and then it was easy.  The pattern instructions are easy to follow from the diagrams, I’d already added the required 1cm seam allowances & 4cm hems when I traced the pattern.  So on Sunday, while hubby was working checking drawings, I was happily making a new pair of trousers.  Now, if you remember, the corduroy pair I made last seemed a little too roomy.  So to combat that, I decided to increase the seam allowance to 1.5cm on the inside leg seam and from the base of the pocket to the hem on the outside seam.  This wool is not as stiff as the cord, but I like the more streamlined look.  Makes me wonder why I graded up two sizes! 🙂

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But that takes you into the realms of fitting, and what you personally like.  The pants are supposed to be baggy, and not necessarily sewn in a stiff fabric like corduroy.  The thing is, I don’t want them too baggy on me, so I slim them down.  I have the same issue with the tops in these books.  If I actually graded up to the right size and proportions, I’d feel like I was wearing a massive tent, I just don’t like that amount of baggy.  Even though it looks great on other people, and in the books.  I can do baggy, just not tent.  That’s why I never use the Burda Plus patterns.  They’re just too big, too long and too “cover everything over”.

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Anyway, I digress.  This is my third version of this pants pattern, I might venture in to the shorter versions and maybe the jumpsuit version in the summer.  It might be nice for wearing on the allotment with a Basic Instinct Tee underneath.  Even the “dungaree” version might have legs 😉  So – so far, the purchase of the book has been vindicated by the use.  Especially if the toile for the gathered sleeve blouse works!!

Sewing Japanese in January -Part 1

So, by the title, I am hoping (planning) on there being more than one post of a Japanese pattern this month.  I had a little re-think of one of the tops I posted about last time, the viscose for the Sailor Top in the Simply Sewn book.  I think it’s going to be too drapey, so I’ll be re-thinking and digging though the stash to see what else I can find for that.  I also just may have found fabric for the wide, cropped pants from Kana’s Standard.  Just need to be sure the pattern fits on the fabric!

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Gown/Jacket E-a from Kana’s Standard

But – I have made the first item!  Woo!  I started with the Gown/Jacket E from Kana’s Standard.  Why that one?  Because I had planned on making it last year, the fabric’s been hanging around since 2016 and it looked quick and easy. What else could you want for a sewing day on New Year’s Day??

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Gown E-a in reversible double gauze

It turned out to be very easy to make, and relatively quick.  I didn’t rush it, there is an awful lot of double turning of long hems and edges to keep it all neat and tidy.  That’s because you really do see the insides while you’re wearing it, so it’s got to be done properly.

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Spotty, inside and out! Decent sized pockets too.

The instructions are all in Japanese, but the diagrams are pretty clear.  Once all the pieces are traced – main body, sleeve and pocket, you need to add seam and hem allowances.  So that’s 1cm for seams and 4 for hems and edges.  The main body is one size, with an option of size 9 or 13 for the sleeve and armhole.  I went for the 13.  Now, in hindsight, I could/should probably have added 2-3cm on the fold to the centre back.  I think it would have helped to have had extra room in the back portion of the jacket.  I’ve made that note on the pattern pieces for the next time.

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The “how to make” part in the book.

Order of construction is simple, make the sleeves, make the pockets, sew the pockets on at the marked placements, sew the sleeves into the armhole and hem everything.  Done! 🙂  I’d love to make this again in a soft, washed linen.  I found this shop on Etsy with lovely looking linen.  And Daughter no2 has looked accquisitorially at it already!  It used just under 3m of the double gauze I had in the stash.  It came from Organic Cotton Plus as part of a prize package.  I have a bit leftover which I think I’ll use for a kid’s outfit of some sort, there’s not enough for a grown-up!

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I like the look of this jacket, I had in mind for it to be a light covering in late spring and the summer, especially when sitting in my garden and the breeze gets a little nippy.  But it would also make a lovely dressing gown, and at least it has pockets for your phone and morning biscotti!  I just can’t quite get comfortable wearing it.  Because it’s basically a rectangle with armholes and sleeves, it doesn’t sit on the shoulders nicely.  I end up with it wither hangind down the back or having to haul more of it up around my neck.  If anyone else has made this, please let me know how you manage to wear it comfortably!

 

gown 1

I thought, maybe it’s just because I’m wider than the pattern is meant for, so I tried it on Daughter No 2.  It does look better on her (in my opinion) but she has the same issue with getting it to sit and stay!  I have a feeling I’m going to need to make a couple of darts in the neck edge to give it some shape.  In a jersey or fabric that has more give, I think it would eventually form a shape over the shoulders, but this just isn’t.  And it’s such a shame, because we both love the gown/jacket.  It’s just not nice to wear!  And we both have a problem with the armhole, it feels like it’s in the wrong place, either too low or not low enough!

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But I have a feeling this garment will be going home with Daughter No2, although I like it – I just don’t think it’s me…

gown me 2

 

Book Review – Kana’s Standard

 

I thought it might be helpful, if you’re inspired by some of the garments seen in the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag, to go through the books I have and will hopefully be using using this month.  One thing this community sew-along has shown me is that there are loads of good books out there that I had no idea about!  I’d love to have access to a bricks and mortar shop so I can browse these offerings properly.  And do some serious shopping….   I’ll start with Kana’s Standard, the first book, as that’s what I’ve been using first!

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Kana’s Standard

The patterns are drawn to Japanese sizes 7, 9, 11 & 13.  There is NO size chart in this book!  Each pattern does have, however, a list of finished measurements for each of the sizes, so I combined that with the size chart in the Clean & Natural book, and checked online to figure out where I fitted (or didn’t fit…).  I worked out that I needed to be a 15-17, depending on how much ease I wanted.  And there is a lot of ease, especially in the tops!  You also have to thing about height – or length.  The patterns are generally drafted for a height of 1.6m, so if you’re taller, you’ll need length.

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All the styles overview

There are 5 groups of patterns, with variations.  Section A has two basic tops, on of which is on the front cover, and 4 dresses, which are variations of the tops.  B is pants, including a pair of shorts, dungarees and a jumpsuit.  There are 6 patterns in that section.  Skirts are in section C, there are 7 – the waistband needs to to be fitted to the measurement of the waist, but the skirts are full/gathered so all you need worry about after that is length.  Section D is camisole, you get a top and a dress there.  The last section is E, gown or jacket.  There are 3 patterns in this section, making a grand total of 24 patterns.  Not bad for £15.

So far I’ve made the pants B-a and the gown/jacket E-a.  I’m not a skirt person, especially a full, gathered skirt, so that section will be largely ignored by me.  But the tops interest me, the gathered frill on the sleeve on the cover pattern is such a simple addition, yet makes it more desireable.  Here are some of the photos of the contents.  If you decide you need more technical info, please pop over to this site.  It’s full of interesting info, help to translate the instructions, etc.  For buying Japanese books, I use this Etsy shop (no affiliate links!!!) because she has loads to choose from, is so quick to post out and is reasonable in her charges too.  I’d look in her shop before checking anywhere else.

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All the tops & dresses in Section A
collage ks pants
Pants – Long, cropped, shorts and a jumpsuit & dungaree version
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Skirt styles, including a reversable skirt and a wrap version (bottom left images)
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Cami dress & 3 versions of the gown

At the end of each section there are some “action shots” of the author and model styling the garments in different ways.

 

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Styling the tops & dresses
collage ks style 2
Styling the pants
collage ks style 3
Styling the skirts
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Stying the cami dress & top and the gowns

Sew Japanese in January

Who’s got their 2019 sewing plans started?  There have been a lot of “themes” going round in the last week or two of December to get us all started, and I’m keen to jump onto a few of them.  This one. however, will get me finally using those Japanese Sewing Books I’ve been hoarding.

I spotted the #sewjapaneseinjanuary hashtag on instagram mid way through December and I thought it might be a good way to start the new year.  It’s hosted by @bloglessanna & @craftyjane_makes & runs for the month of January.  I’ve got a few Japanese sewing books now and so far have really only made the trousers from the first Kana’s Standard book & the short jacket from the second book successfully.  There are many, many other patterns I’d like to try, some for me and some for the girls.

I have all the Pattern Magic books, but might to use those this time round.  There are plenty of others to use with patterns already available!  I will have to grade up a couple of sizes.  Starting with the Clean and Natural Book, I’ve always liked the bell/puff sleeve pullover top.  I have some black & white gingham with a 1cm square that I thought would look fabulous in that pattern.

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Clean & Natural
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Puff Sleeved Top

 

Next up are the Kana’s Standard books.  From the first one I still want to make the first top with the ruffle on the sleeve – A, the “gown” E and the cropped version of the pants B.  I’ve also loved the top on the cover, and it’s all because of that ruffle, there’s nothing fanccy about the rest of it at all!  I have a reversible double gauze earmarked for the gown, which I plan on using as a lightweight summer jacket.  I haven’t identified fabric for the other patterns just yet.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 1
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Jacket/Gown E
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Ruffle sleeve top

From Kana’s Standard II, I’d love to make another version of the jacket A and I still want to make the wide pants, E.  I haven’t allocated any specific fabrics yet, but I’m sure I’ll dig something up!  I also love the wrap dress on the front cover, but that I will have to grade up and toile carefully.

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Kana’s Standard, Book 2
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Wrap dress
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Cropped, wide leg pants

The gathered blouse from She Wears the Pants has been on the list to make for Daughter No 1 for a while, but I still haven’t made it, and I’ve always wanted to make the top with Epaulettes for myself.

Then there’s a book I’d completely forgotten about until I browsed the hashtag more thoroughly, Simply Sewn by Michiyo Ito.  There are a few good for me items in this book, but I’m starting with the French Sailor Top.  I like the shape, and have decided to risk it in a viscose, instead of a more structured fabric like linen or cotton.

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Simply Sewn

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I bought myself a birthday present on Etsy that arrived on my birthday itself (I only expected it sometime in the first week of January).  The book is 7 Basic Dresses & Modifications, by Aoi Koda.  I’d seen it on Instagram earlier this year in a post by @sewbusylizzy and it went on my “list of books to have”.  There are a few tops/blouses and a couple of dresses I really like.  Daughter No1 has approved one of the shirt dresses already.

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7 Dresses and modifications

The dress on the cover has been admired by all three of us, so it just might be found in each wardrobe soon!

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I’d like to make this as a shirt, in a lightweight cotton it’ll be lovely
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This is so simple and I can see myself wearing it. Might just change the wide sleeve hem elastic to a narrower one though.

So far I have traced the gown/jacket, the puff sleeve top, top with sleeve ruffle and the sailor top.  I graded the puff sleeve top up two sizes, and the sailor top one size.  I don’t think I’ll need to toile the jacket/gown, it’s pretty much one size fits all apart from the sleeve and armhole.  I’ll get to toiling asap and we’ll see how I go from there!  But by the end of the month I certainly want to have made that double gauze up, it’s been stewing in the stash for too long…

So let’s see how it goes, let’s get our 2019 sewing off to a promising start, shall we?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Rust as Standard

 

At the very end of summer, in fact, it was the end of September, I made a pair of linen pants from the first Kana’s Standard book.  I graded the pattern up two sizes and just went for it.  I really loved the finished pants, but of course, as they were made so late in the season I hardly got to wear them.  I thought it would be cool to make a pair for the winter, but thought of a nice wool suiting or a crepe.  One of the pieces of fabric I bought in October at the Stitching Show was 3m of rusty coloured corduroy.  A match made in heaven?

Inintially that cord was lined up for a jacket, and if there was any left over, I was going to make a skirt or trousers.  However – the pattern I want has yet to be drafted & I decided I wanted more trousers first.  So I grabbed the Kana’s Standard pattern and set to work.  When grading up two sizes, I also added 2cm to the leg length.  I made no other changes.

rust as standard

Now – in the linen, which is soft and lightweight and drapey, the width of the trouser leg is fab, but I do wonder if with the stiffer cord, that I might be able to shave a couple of centimetres off the side seams, just so they’re not quite so wide.  But I’ve been thinking that since I made them and I’m still wearing them as made!  So it can’t be that much of an issue, right?  The front pockets are the perfect size, deep enough to fit your hand in properly – and there’s a pocket in the back!  Now the pattern officially only has one, but I’m greedy, so I have two back pockets in this pair.

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I love the cord, the colour is so rich!  It’s also soft and warm and nice to stroke.  Not that I advocate stroking your trousers in public too much.  Or inviting other people to stroke the same trousers – with you still in them.  I like wearing them with my Lark tees, really dark colours on top work well, as do my paler greys.  I like the look with the white trainers too, and my silver silver shoes work brilliantly, but aren’t too good in walking too far in.  They have a nasty habit of munching the back of my heels.

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Two back pockets, because you can never have too many pockets

 

I wore these on Boxing Day for a little walk up and down the high street of Chipping Campden.  The daughters decided they needed fresh air and a bit of exercise, so we did the tourist thing wandering about and grabbing tea and cake in one of the numerous tea rooms.  So, my second pair of Kana’s Standard trousers, and most definitely not the last.  There have been a lot of corduroy versions of these trousers on Instagram this winter, in all the colours!

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Now, despite the fact that the book is completely in Japanese, the instructions are fairly easy to follow.  In this book you have to add seam allowances once you’ve traced the pattern, and the tracing is dead easy after using Burda patterns!  The diagrams in the instruction section of the book show clearly where to add what.  The diagrams also show the order of work really simply.  So you don’t need to know Japanese!  For some stuff that’s good to know, it’s a good idea to check out this site for some translations.

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The trousers in the first Kana’s Standard book

I’ve used that page to make notes in the book so I know what fabric they’ve used, the sizes and amounts of fabric to buy.   There is a list of Japanese names of fabrics and their English translations here.   This page is also good to read.   But don’t let the fact that there’s no English version put you off.  The patterns are easy and quick and so nice to wear!  And yes, they have elastic in the back waist.  Secret pjs for the win!  Especially the day after Christmas feasting…