A year or two ago, I made a pair of Stride pants from the Merchant and Mills Workbook. I’d made the largest size and shortened them a bit, but I cannot remember just how much right now. The pattern was fine and instructions did the job, but I never liked the finished trousers. I was really disappointed because I’d used a beautiful piece of black and blue plaid wool from Fabworks. I was annoyed that such a lovely piece of fabric was now a very unliked pair of trousers. I never even took photos of those pants!
So why didn’t I like them? They were too wide, too floppy and the pleated front with waistband on the natural waist just didn’t suit me. And I love wide, floppy trousers!! So I wore them around the house for the first year, last winter I didn’t wear them at all, and this winter I decided I’d put them in the adjust or remake pile. I had 6 pairs of wool trousers to make two sizes smaller before I got to these, and at that point I had no ideas of how to make these better.
Then, last weekend, when I was clearing the piles to make way for a visitor, I had a brainwave after dropping a piece of fabric. It was the toile for Burda trousers 107 08/2019. I’d traced the 44 – after making the 42 in the last pair of Burda trousers and finding them to be just a little on the small side! But the toile for these was way too big! So I needed to go down a size, definitely, and shorten the leg by 3-4cm to get the finished cuff to sit in the right place (to look the same as the model in the magazine). The adjustments to the pattern were already made & I thought I had the right fabric to make a proper pair.
But – I was sort of reluctant to cut that fabric – see previous post! The pattern can be made in fabrics with or without stretch, and the one in the magazine is made in ponte (that’s a good idea for next time!) Back to that brainwave – could there be enough fabric in the Strides to be able to recut this pattern?? So I got cracking with the seam ripper, carefully unpicking all the seams, taking off the waistband and removing the zip. After a good press to flatten the hems and seam allowances, I pinned the two fronts and two backs together, making sure the plaid was lining up too. Then I took a deep breath and tried to get the new pattern pieces onto the existing trouser pieces.
The back fitted perfectly, the front needed the grown-on zip facing to be removed, so I cut that as a seperate piece and attached it later. Pockets and facings were going to be tricky, but, here’s the good part. I had saved all the left-over bits of fabric from the original cutting out in the wool box! Woohoo for scrap-stashing! So, hip yoke pockets, waistbands, cuffs and the fly facing were cut from the left-overs, and a scrap of lining sorted the pocket bags. I also managed to line up the plaid, high five! I reused the zip and found a good button in the button box, I bought nothing to make these new trousers.
The making went well, instructions didn’t need much altering. I usually insert the fly zip immediately after making the pockets up, it’s so much better to do without all the extra legs in the way. The other thing I changed was to sew the pleats in the trouser cuffs first. Darts and pleats first, whether at the waistline or at the hem! I just knew that if I left it to the end when the instructions finally have you do them, I’d have lost more than half of the tailor’s tacks, and as both the leg seams are sewn up, you have more fabric hanging around than you’d really want.
I rather like these! I’m keen to make a pair in ponte now, I think they’d be so comfy. They’re admittedly a little loose on the waist still, but I have a secret trick to fix that quickly. I don’t cut back waistbands on the fold, I add a centre back seam. Then, when sewing the crotch seam, I leave the last 15cm of the back open. Then the waistbands are added, in halves (one front and one back). Add the waistband facings, press, understitch, etc and then sew that back seam, all in one go! This means that if you need to take in, or let out, the back seam, there’s very little to have to unpick, and it’s so, so easy to adjust!! Men’s trousers are sewn this way, so why not ours??
Anyway, I’m off to enjoy wearing this gorgeous fabric now, and I might have to find a good colour ponte for another pair, some secret tracksuit pants!
Apologies for not noticing when taking the photos that the camera had decided that the teak chest of drawers was far more interesting to focus on than my trousers!!