Monday, 28 December 2020

Wool Suiting Jackie Trousers

It's a challenging and unusual festive season this year but I hope you've all been finding some joy in whatever you've been able to get up to. Ed and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day here with our little Shiba dog Ruby, plenty of yummy things to eat and drink and a lot of zoom! I've been a little quiet on here and Instagram for the last few months as I (very fortunately, given the state of the theatre industry here in the UK) had a busy spell of work which meant not much time to be creative here at home. The project I've got to share with you today I actually finished just before I got busy. I've found I actually quite like posting a garment once it has had a bit of wear as whilst the details of the construction may be slightly more hazy I find I can give a more honest review of the fit and comfort and how the fabric performs.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

When winter comes around the one thing I always find lacking in my wardrobe is great trousers. I've got a good number of cropped trousers which I love and see me through spring, summer and most of autumn. But when the cold mornings and evenings hit I find myself without options to keep my ankles warm. Each year I make myself a pair or two and yet I've never quite hit on a style, cut, fit and fabric combo that I really love. Old pairs languish in my cupboard without much wear. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

These are my most recent attempt at filling that hole and whilst I'm feeling a lot of love for them for numerous reasons I'm still not quite certain they've hit the spot. However, I have had compliments on them every time I have worn them so perhaps my love for them will grow! I made these using the Jackie Trousers pattern from By Hand London, a departure from their usual frocks and gowns! Over the last couple of years I have 100% fallen in love with the high waisted trouser trend and have been on the hunt for interesting styles. I love the 1940s masculine Oxford Bags vibe that the pleated waist, turn ups and wide leg brings to these.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

I bought the pattern ages ago, back when they were first released but then couldn't find quite the fabric I was after. I wanted a reasonably lightweight wool suiting that would have nice movement but still hold those pleats nicely. I also wanted it to have a bit of interest and warmth rather than a solid black, navy or grey colour. Finally as we headed in to autumn here this gingerbread & liquorice wool suiting from Fabworks jumped out at me. It has got a tiny black houndstooth check on a rich brown base which gingerbread is the perfect description for. It feels classic without being boring and is a great match for the contemporary twist on a classic I was aiming for with these trousers. The cloth has a smooth hand and is a good light-mid weight for suiting, just lovely to work with!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

I also wanted to take a quick moment to talk about the Fabworks website. Once you've got used to the way different fabrics are categorised it is great. I don't really like shopping for fabric online but it has been more of a necessity this year than before. I find it really difficult to imagine what the fabric is going to look and feel like and how it is going to behave without seeing the bolt in person. The Fabworks descriptions are some of the best I've seen at enabling you to envision what the fabric is like. They information is thorough and detailed, fabric content is included along with the width and there are even suggestions as to what garments the fabrics would be suitable for. The only thing I find missing is an accurate weight rather than light/medium/heavy as a description. However to a lot of us 180gsm/280gsm doesn't mean an awful lot so perhaps a generalised term is more helpful!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

I noted in the pattern description that the Jackie Trousers are cut to sit below the natural waist in more of a 1990s style than a classic period trouser. In my mind I was envisioning a super high waisted pair. As the crotch is really deep on these and the fit through the hip and leg so roomy I achieved this by simply sizing down so they would fit my natural waist and sit higher. Looking at the finished garment measurements I chose the smallest size (US 2/UK 6). This is three sizes down from my usual By Hand London size so I made sure to measure the flat pattern pieces at various points to check it would work and thankfully it worked an absolute treat as they fit snuggly around my natural waist and there is still plenty of room in the hip.

The other change I made to the pattern to achieve an early 20th century menswear feel (I was definitely thinking Katharine Hepburn!) was to add a couple of inches to the width of each leg at the hem. This means the width at the hip continues straight down the leg rather than the slightly tapered cut of the pattern.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

Despite raising these to sit on the natural waist I still took 2.5" off the length. I'm fairly short at 5ft3" and generally find By Hand London patterns to be long so I usually take off about this much. I love the length of them now. I've been wearing them a lot with sweaters or turtlenecks and trainers and they sit really nicely over a trainer without dragging in all the winter puddles and dirt! Being petite I wasn't 100% sure on these working my proportions but I think one of the joys of sewing is that you can tweak the cut until they do! They still don't feel quite 'me' and I'm not 100% sure on what is going on around the front waist with the pleats.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

The pocket bags on these are huge and reach right across to join up with the fly. I've made pockets like this before on jeans and usually love them for the space in the pocket and the fact that they add a bit more support across the tummy. However, I'm not sure they're great for this style of trouser as I think they affect the drape and movement of those deep waist pleats. It might be partly to do with my choice to use cotton lawn for the pockets (a scrap of a Lady McElroy print I had stashed away) as this slightly sticks against the wool and a traditional lining fabric would be more slippery. Basically I think my pocket bags give too much structure to an area which should be soft and a suiting which is quite fluid. EDIT - after discussion in the comments I definitely think the issue is to do with my fabric choice for the pocket bags. If I'd chosen a slippery lining fabric the pleats would be able to move around more naturally!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

Having said all that they are incredibly comfortable and the more I wear them the more chic they feel! I think they just feel like quite a statement and feel like a bit of a departure from my usual style. I really enjoyed sewing these and they came together surprisingly quickly in one afternoon of sewing after cutting. The instructions were good, although if you've never made a pair of trousers before perhaps you might need a bit more guidance on the fly construction. I added in a few tricks to ensure a neat finish.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

The waistband is attached by sewing it to the inside of the trouser first, the folding it over to the front before topstitching. This is the opposite way to how I'd usually sew a waistband but I'm glad I tried it out as I have to say I think I did find it a little easier to achieve a neat finish this way. That was partially helped by the fact that this wool pressed really beautifully and it was easy to create lovely sharp corners.

Instead of a button and hole on the waistband I chose to add a hook and bar more like a classic pair of mens trousers. I really like the thick, deep belt loops and the chunky turn ups, they work really well with the proportions of the rest of the trouser.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Jackie Trousers in Gingerbread Houndstooth Wool Suiting from Fabworks

These are definitely growing on me and have been worn numerous times over the last couple of months but I'm still on the hunt for that go-to pair of trousers that work with numerous tops and really make me feel like 'me' when I'm wearing them. What are your go-to winter trouser patterns? What would you recommend I try?

25 comments:

  1. I don't wear pants very much, but it's simply because of the reasons you have listed here, bad fit, etc. But these trousers look incredible to me! I love the high waisted silhouette and the fabric you went with, I feel like you should be very proud of yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much! I am definitely proud of them...although I feel like I just got quite lucky with the fit!

      Delete
  2. From a fellow costumer in Canada, I'm glad to hear you were busy with work! I too struggle with trouser styles, and just resort to skinny jeans, or ankle length slim styles with boots. Sorry I don't have any style suggestions for you! I used to have a couple of pairs of cropped trousers with a cuff, worn with high boots. This was in the early 2000's but maybe we could bring it back. I really loved that look!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah thank you. I hope the pandemic hasn't been too hard on your work.
      I think you might have hit on something there...maybe its not the trousers I need to change, I just need to find the perfect boots!

      Delete
  3. fabulous trousers! Like you I find shopping for fabrics online tricky, made an expensive disasterious buy - learnt to purchase or ask for samples now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes online shopping for fabric is difficult and I'm reluctant to pay for samples when quite often there are a few choices I want to look at!

      Delete
  4. Lovely trousers, they're a great look on you! I'm also on the lookout for longer (snow fighting) winter ones, so I can't wait to see what people suggest.
    I do love your idea of critiquing your makes after a few wears, for the "wearability" factor, but I've always appreciated your sewing details. (You have taught me so much.) Great compromise here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the wide legs aren't so great for snow! I've been thinking about making some leggings/walking trousers in stretchy alpine fleece for dog walks...
      Thanks for the lovely comment, I'm so pleased you've found my blog posts helpful!

      Delete
  5. Burda magazine has great trouser options. This style looks great on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O thanks very much for the tip! I'll definitely take a look at Burda!

      Delete
  6. Nice to know that the pattern has a pocket stay! I think you are right, a silky fabric would have worked better. A pocket stay - if you haven't run across one before - is for pleat front trousers, to take the strain so that the pleats hang nicely. My book is at the other end of the house, but I'm sure that David Coffin's trouser book has some info on them. They're more of a couture/quality menswear feature.

    My daughter is your height (I'm about six inches taller), so it's always good to see what works on you proportionally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O thanks very much for the info! I've used stays before on flat fronted trousers but not on pleated styles...sounds like it is definitely my fabric choice causing my problems! Good to know!
      I wasn't sure that these would work on me proportionally but raising them to the natural waist and shortening seemed to do the trick!

      Delete
  7. These look great on you and love the fabric. I'm still working on trouser fit, looks like you nailed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much! I think I got a little lucky with the fit of these as I didn't have to make any adjustments other than the length! They are beautifully cut.
      One thing that I have found to help with trouser fit is if you have a trouser pattern that you really like the fit of you can compare those pattern pieces with any other pattern. It is particularly helpful when looking at the shape and depth of the crotch curve which can solve a lot of issues!

      Delete
  8. These trousers are definitely giving off a Katherine Hepburn vibe – I love the combination of this style in the wool fabric, and they'll make great winter workwear, whether that's from home or out and about. I think you're right about the pocketing fabric – thinking back, I had a pair of wool RTW trousers like these years ago, and they were half-lined with a slippery acetate/rayon lining, which made them super-comfy to wear and helped the outer fabric stay smooth and keep its shape. I can't begin to think how to slot a lining around a fly front though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O I'm so glad they are in the world of Katharine Hepburn!
      Great to know about your old trousers and the slippery lining, I think if those pocket stays were slippery it might do the job

      Delete
    2. I would agree! Very Hepburn! They look great on you. Can I ask, is this a washable wool suiting? I find it so hard to find nice trouser fabrics that hang well, are washable and don’t bobble.... trying to avoid polyester unless it’s recycled but so difficult!

      Delete
    3. Thanks Liz! It does say on the Fabworks website that this can be washed and I wash all my wools to be honest! Can't be doing with dry cleaning! I prewashed this in the machine on a 30 degree gentle cycle and it came out lovely. I haven;'t yet washed it since they've been made up but I'm hoping there won't be any bobbling or anything. I'll be washing them the same way as I pre-washed

      Delete
    4. Thank you! Good to know!

      Delete
  9. I love the pocket facings, such a great detail.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Agree with a previous commenter, a review after the item has been worn a few times is great. I so often feel differently about a make after a few wears, either more positive about the reality of it or how it fits in to my wardrobe, or more clear-sighted after the "new clothes" novelty has worn off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I think I might start writing my posts when I have just made something and can remember the construction detail and then revisit the post with some further thoughts after a few wears. My mind definitely changes once things have been worn out of the house!

      Delete
  11. These are not really to my taste, probably as it reminds me of a very similar pants I loved and hated, lol: I loved the high waist, pleats and the long legs, but the crotch was to low and to wide, and it kept bugging me, visually I mean. :(

    So I am curious: is the crotch still low on you? Could that be a factor, besides the pocket stays?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. O haha! That style sounds very familiar to me!
      No the crotch on these feels just about right, I think it would be low if I hadn't lifted them up to my natural waist. I think it is just the fabric choice for the pocket bags making the wool sort of dimple and move in a strange way

      Delete

I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!