Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Comfy Anima Pants and SJ Tee

At the turn of the New Year my sew-jo was lacking. I was enjoying planning my #makenine challenge choices and hunting through my fabric and pattern stash but couldn't find the motivation to actually get on the machine. I eventually persuaded myself to cut out a bunch of fairly simple and quick knit projects and that turned out to be just the thing to get me excited about sewing again! Completing a few straight-forward projects was really satisfying, plus comfy jersey clothes are all I want to be wearing right now in lockdown. Actually being able to wear the garments as soon as the final stitch had gone in was motivating. Has anyone else found themselves feeling like making 'going out' or work clothes is a bit pointless of late? Without anywhere to wear my more involved projects the shine was slightly wearing off.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

I definitely sew more wovens than I do knits so thinking about the comfy clothes I want to wear right now gave me a reason to sew something slightly different for a change. These are the Anima Pants from Papercut Patterns which are one of my #makenine choices for this year. I picked up the pattern during their sale towards the end of last year with a couple of the other currently discontinued designs including the SJ Tee which I'm wearing with them! As I didn't have much time to sew when the sale was on I decided to treat myself to the paper versions of the patterns as I was in no hurry for them to arrive. I hadn't realised until I cut these out how much I use PDFs nowadays and how nice it is to work with a printed pattern! It feels like a real treat to have a beautifully designed product in your hands and although I don't hate sticking together PDFs what an absolute joy it was not to have to do that! Papercut Patterns packaging is particularly lovely too.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

So first let's talk about the Anima Pants. Why did no one tell me quite how much I'd been missing out without a pair of sweatpants in my life before now?! These things are so comfy and perfect for both hanging out at home and yoga which is pretty much all I do nowadays.

I'm really focusing on using fabrics I already have at the moment so pulled this lightweight slightly striped knit out of my stash. I initially ordered this fabric from The Fabric Store with a Kielo Wrap Dress in mind. When it arrived it was a much finer knit than I imagined and is ever so slightly sheer in direct light (a bit like a hacci knit). I think I've had it in my stash for a good two or three years now so I thought I might as well use half of it to try out this pattern as it hadn't found another calling. Despite it definitely not being the 'medium - heavy weight jersey fabric' called for on the pattern description! Luckily my gamble paid off and I love the comfort of this drapey breathable jersey.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

One thing I will say about working with a fine knit like this is that it is worth playing around with stitches and finishes on a scrap first. My go-to stitch recently for knit fabrics is the little narrow lightning bolt but it really wouldn't work on this fabric! It kept sucking it down into the machine and struggling to pull it through particularly at the start of a seam. I ended up going with a narrow and long zig zag which given that these seams don't need to stretch all that much worked totally fine.

I recently made the True Bias Mens Hudson Pants for my brother for his birthday which are a very similar design. I was deliberating between making the ladies version of those or the Animas but the sale that made the decision for me. As I made them soon after each other it was quite fun to compare the construction of the two as I went along. I couldn't compare fit as I'd made the mens not ladies Hudsons but from product photos they look very similar. I found the Hudson instructions were perhaps slightly more detailed if you haven't sewn knits before but the Papercut ones are more than enough. The construction is almost identical, the only big difference is how the waistband is assembled. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

I actually used the method from the Hudson Pants as it was the method I was more familiar with and I thought in my shifty, flimsy fabric the Papercut method might be hard to do neatly. I was in the mood for quick and easy! Papercut instructs you to attach one long edge of the waistband to the waist of the trouser, sew the elastic into a loop and attach it to the other long edge of the waistband, then turn it down and topstitch it enclosing the elastic inside - if that makes sense to you without illustrations?! The Hudsons have you fold your waistband in half lengthways and attach both long edges to the waist of the trousers at once, leaving a small gap for you to thread your elastic through before sewing that into a loop. I think the Papercut method might be more stable and sturdy in a thicker knit but on this occasion wasn't the right choice for me.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

The waistband uses 2" wide elastic and I was surprised at how comfortable it is! The trousers sit so nicely. I'd say these are pretty straightforward to make but wouldn't recommend them to a complete beginner as some practice handling stretch fabrics and techniques would be useful to get the stitching around the waistband neat whilst stretching out the elastic. That is a fiddly step. I like the detail of the cord around the waist but if you get the size of your elastic right you don't need it to keep the trousers up. I might leave it off future versions as I've been wearing these a lot for yoga and when laying on your front the knotted cord can dig in.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

I love the slim cut of these and also really like the slightly long length which means the cuff sits down nicely over the ankle. Made in a lightweight jersey like this they are going to be so good for travelling too. Super comfy on the road but also great for keeping the mosquitos off in the evenings while remaining cool. I want to make a pair in a thicker fabric (like the french terry I made my brother's Hudson's) and another pair in a lightweight jersey like this before our next trip (which feels very far in the future right now!).

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

I've previously discussed my lack of success sewing t-shirts when it comes to a style that works for me and the SJ Tee isn't a pattern I've looked at before as the relaxed fit isn't something I'd turn to for everyday wear. However, I'm definitely in need of more comfy tops I can move in for yoga and working from home and this is absolutely perfect. I'll definitely be making more of these. I love the slouchy neckline and comfortable wide cuffs on the sleeves and the amount of easy is spot on for being relaxed without getting in the way as I move. I've been wearing this pretty much non-stop for yoga since I finished it. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

Part of it's success is in the fabric which is again a piece from The Fabric Store which I've had in my stash for ages. I think this is a cotton/viscose blend jersey with a bit of lycra in it as it has great stretch and recovery. This fabric is so incredibly soft and is really comforting to wear but is showing signs of going a little bobbly already. For this project I don't mind at all as it is basically quickly turning into my favourite well worn in tee! You want jerseys with a soft hand and drape to get the most out of this design. I also think this pattern would sew up really nicely in a fine linen knit. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

Again I veered off the instructions simply because I was in the mood for comfort sewing and trying out new techniques was not going to happen! The method for the neckband looked like it would achieve a beautiful finish but also looked quite fiddly and I just didn't have the patience for it. It was more like how I would attach a woven bias binding, one long edge at a time and enclosing all the raw edges inside. I used my usual neckband method; pressed the strip in half along the long edge, sewed it to the right side of the neckline and then pressed the seam allowance towards the body of the top. The same way as the cuffs are attached. I didn't need to topstitch as this fabric pressed so well.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Papercut Anima Pants and SJ Tee in Jersey Knit from The Fabric Store

This isn't the end of my knit sewing phase as I've got a couple of yoga tops to share soon too and also made another Nikko Top and Mandy Boat Tee from merino leftovers. However, now that I've got all that quick and satisfying jersey sewing out of my system I'm feeling excited about making some more frivolous and complex projects again. I've been working on a satin slip dress and quilted jacket already and have plans for a lot more of the fabrics in my stash!

Monday, 11 January 2021

Viscose Print Hilary Top

My first post of 2021 is actually about a project I made last year but never got around to posting. I was tempted to just forget about blogging about it (despite having taken and edited the photos) as I can't remember making it all that well. But as I mentioned in a recent post I've actually found reflecting on a garment after a few wears quite interesting and constructive.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

I was delighted with this top when I finished it but it has had very little wear. I think I was pleased that the design felt interesting with some unique details and it seemed like a very wearable take on the romantic big sleeve trend. However, once the enjoyment of making it had worn off I didn't find myself drawn to wearing it and didn't feel particularly myself or comfortable in it when I did. Sometimes this is down to colour choice (I often find myself drawn to fabrics in a colour or print I'd never chose when buying a garment!), or fabric choice. But in this instance the colours are very much within my palette, the fabric feels delightful against the skin, wears well and suits the pattern too! I've come to the conclusion that it must be the elasticated waist that doesn't feel right. Which shouldn't be surprising to me as I've never been a fan of them! 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

Anyway, enough rambling thoughts about the wearability of garments and on to the details of this project! I'm a big fan of Tessuti patterns and was browsing through their website one day on the hunt for inspiration when I came across the Hilary Top. I couldn't believe it hadn't caught my eye before as it had so many interesting elements. I particularly liked the unique and elegant neckline shape which is created with elasticated sections at the top of the raglan sleeves (which I've just noticed you can't see under my hair in the photos! It shows better on the pattern pics and there is a close up below). I enjoyed constructing this part of the top as the way the elasticated channels join the neckline facing creates a beautiful clean finish. The hems of the sleeves are also elasticated and I love the blouson effect created by pushing these up to just below the elbow.

What I really like about working with Tessuti patterns is that I almost always find myself trying out a new sewing technique or method of doing something. They always provide something of a challenge in that respect and I enjoy having to concentrate and work something out (although I do also enjoy the sort of 'muscle memory sewing' that some projects require!). One of the things I like most about sewing is that there is always something more to learn whether that be how to construct a new-to-you element of a garment or simply another way of doing something you've done a thousand times before. Whenever I take a chance and veer off my railroad tracks to try out a new Tessuti method I'm always pleased I did. I usually end up with a well finished and professional looking garment when following their instructions.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

So the elasticated waist...I'm fairly short through the body and always find elasticated waists tend to ride up and shift about on me trying to reach the narrowest point on my torso which is quite high. I've found I've had some success with wide elastic waistbands on pants and sportswear but narrow elastic waists on dresses and tops are never a success. I think to make this particular top more successful I could have taken some length out of the body so that the cinched in waist wasn't hidden by the bodice blousing down over it. However, I'm not sure that would have made me feel more comfortable in it. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

There are some beautiful versions of this top other sewists have made on Instagram. I've noticed that a few have chosen to omit the elasticated waist and peplum, lengthening the body of the top slightly to make it a relaxed fitting blouse. I think this might work much better for me as I could wear it tucked into high waisted jeans. Whilst I loved the idea of the peplum I probably should have noted the elasticated waist and eliminated it. The lovely sleeves and neckline are enough on their own. I feel it is definitely worth revisiting this pattern, perhaps in a lovely white cotton eyelet for spring?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

The fabric for this top is a viscose print which I bought from Fabric Godmother at The Stitch Festival last March. That was the last get together I went to before lockdown and the idea of being in a big venue like that with hundreds of people feels so strange and unfamiliar to me know! The print has an angle-poise lamp in it but I love that you don't notice that at first as the whole design is quite abstract. It reminds me of some of the more recent Atelier Brunette prints. It is a reasonably lightweight viscose with a lovely smooth and cool hand. The sleeves of this pattern really benefit from a fabric with drape like this and you don't want anything too thick and bulky around all the elastic but I wonder if the peplum would be more effective in something with a bit more structure? 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

The jeans I'm wearing in the photos are my third pair of Megan Nielsen's Dawn Jeans which I have talked about previously. I think they were fresh off the sewing machine in the photos and looking quite sharp! In contrast to the top these were definitely one of my biggest sewing successes last year. I love the pattern, think I've really figured out the fit now and used a denim with a little bit of lycra content for this pair which makes them incredibly comfortable. They've had a lot of wear but I'm definitely in need of more tops to work with this high waisted style.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Viscose Print Tessuti Hilary Top and Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

I never count projects which don't get much or any wear as a failure as I have always gained some enjoyment and learning in the process of making them. I donate/sell/gift the garment and hope that someone else will get the same enjoyment out of wearing it! This project taught me to remember previous experiences as I already knew I don't like an elasticated waist and can benefit from shortening a bodice! I am definitely going to think carefully this year about what makes each garment a success or not with the aim to hopefully help me make better choices going forward and have a higher success rate with my sewing projects! What are your recipes for sewing success?

Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020

2020. It is tempting to sweep it under the rug and leap on into 2021 isn't it?! I wasn't going to post any New Year reflections and goals this year but after some time to sit and mull things over during the last few quiet days I thought it might be nice to mark the turning of the year with a post. I know the clock striking 12 this evening doesn't mean anything to some but I quite like the nudge once a year to take stock and make some plans for the year ahead. I've actually found it really helpful to look back over the year and take note of the positives, what I achieved this year and what I have been grateful for, however small they seem. I can now look back on 2020 as a success on some levels, despite the difficulties that have come with it. 

My Happy Little Sewing Space

One of the things I am continually grateful for is sewing! Both the time and means to create things with my hands and to be part of this wonderful online community which is a constant source of motivation and inspiration for me. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on this blog this year and to engage with me on Instagram. It is an amazing thing to be able to connect with people all across the world who share this passion and to exchange resources and tips.

I always feel like a good way to start one of these posts is a quick run down of some of my favourite/most successful makes of the year. So here we go!

Vintage Tablecloth Refashion

I made this top from a vintage hand embroidered tablecloth to take part in this year's Refashioners challenge using the Ashton Tank from Helen's Closet as a rough starting point. It tops the list of my favourite projects of the year as it pushed me right out of my comfort zone and felt like a huge achievement for me. Having time to sew caused me to realise all over again how much I love challenging myself to try new techniques and playing around with patterns to add my own stamp and details.

Closet Core Patterns Blanca Flight Suit

This linen Blanca Flight Suit was definitely one of my most worn garments in 2020. Its not often a pattern jumps my queue but when Closet Core Patterns released this beauty I dropped everything to make it. It has been perfect for working at home, working in person and everything else in between. Considering it is quite a style statement I didn't think I'd need more than one in my wardrobe but a full length denim version is in the works.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

Hands up who loves Megan Nielsen's Dawn Jeans! I do! This black pair (and the Tessuti Hilary Top I'm wearing them with) haven't actually yet made it to the blog but are my third and most worn iteration of the pattern. I used a denim with a little bit of stretch for extra comfort and I wore them pretty much non stop until my ankles could take the winter chill no longer.

Fibre Mood Daniella Dress

I've had mixed success with Fibre Mood patterns so this Daniella Dress is the surprise hit of the year! I picked it as I needed a warm and comfortable dress to look presentable at work in and I had a piece of merino jersey lurking in my stash which seemed a good match. It is effortless to wear yet those Biba sleeves make it feel o so chic and it has been worn probably twice a week since I finished it. I may need another in a different colour...

Papercut Patterns Axis Dress

This Axis Dress was a bit of a frivolous sew as I had no need for a party dress this year but I'm so glad I made it! I finally feel like I've got the classic little black dress I've always wanted in my wardrobe. It manages to feel timeless yet modern at the same time. The cut is chic, the fabric is luxurious but it is effortless to wear. I'm developing a bit of a Papercut Patterns addiction... 

Haptic Lab Constellation Quilt

Other than these I was really proud to finish my Haptic Lab constellation quilt and loved making Poppy & Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for the many many babies born into my family and friendship groups this year. I experimented with various sewing techniques including shirring on my Sofia Dress and loved teaching my first private sewing lessons at the Fluff-a-torium here in Dorking.

Poppy & Jazz Dandelion Dungarees

As well as my love for Megan Nielsen, Closet Core and Papercut Patterns as documented above, I got hooked on patterns from Paper Theory and new pattern company Made Label this year. I already adored the popular Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory (having now made three!) but after making a second pattern from this company earlier this year (the Olya Shirt) I've really come to appreciate the clever drafting, well thought out construction and unique style lines and details. I made the free Frankie Wrap Skirt from Made Label over the summer and was really impressed with not only the pattern and instructions but also the ethics of the company. They've since released a handful more designs which are all fun and packed with detail. I can't wait to make more of both of their designs in future. 

Made Label Frankie Wrap Skirt

The one thing that 2020 has provided a lot of is time at home. I tried to relax and enjoy the unexpected excess of time as well as make the most of it by doing all the things I usually wish I have time for like cooking new recipes, exploring the local countryside and of course sewing up a storm! I always end the year feeling like I should have carved out more sewing time, and after a (thankfully) busy end to the year at work this year is no different. However, discounting those last few months I actually sewed an awful lot - especially if you count around 35 sets of scrubs back in the Spring! During lockdown I did manage to get back to blogging more regularly but still quite a chunk of my sewing didn't make it on to this blog. I had no trouble finding the motivation to sew during the lockdowns but getting dressed up to take blog photos or sit at a computer to write a blog post was a real struggle. Feeling like I should be blogging can sometimes take the enjoyment out of the sewing a little for me. I'm going to try and take the pressure off myself a bit in 2021 and blog purely when I feel excited to share something rather than treating it as part of a routine. Not that I ever blog when I don't want to but I want it to be something I choose to do and enjoy. Going easy on myself in all areas of life is my main goal for the New Year. 

A more sewing orientated goal I have for 2021 is one that I see come up a lot - sew from my stash! When we went into the first lockdown here in the UK back in March I was actually quite excited to focus on working through the fabric in my stash...but didn't get very far! I've always had a fairly modest stash and have concentrated on buying fabrics with a project in mind - mainly due to lack of space to store it more than anything. I organised my stash last year and put together sample sheets so I could see clearly what I had in the hope that I would 'shop my stash' before turning elsewhere. Now is the time to put that into practice! 

Stash Organisation

I have a large bamboo hamper which I keep it all in and I must have acquired more fabric than I thought over the last year as it now doesn't fit! I've got a lot of fabric already assigned to projects, some special pieces which I've had for years waiting the for the perfect project to come along and some which were bought with a project in mind but I've since gone off the idea. There is a good variety and I think if I really put my mind to it there would be something suitable for most projects I dream up. I'm currently putting together my grid for the #makenine challenge and am trying to mainly include projects I already have fabric for. If I do need to buy fabric for a project I want to make more effort to look into the environmental and ethical credentials of the fabrics and suppliers and make sustainable choices. 

Victory Patterns Sofia Dress

Another specific sewing orientated goal for the year is to work on finessing fit, particularly when it comes to trousers. I think I do ok with fitting but most of the time feel like much of it is a touch of luck and I'm never really quite sure if I'm doing the right thing! I'd like to understand the principles of fitting better and try out lots of different alterations to identify the tweaks which commonly work for me. I'm really getting there when it comes to creating a handmade wardrobe which is well worn and loved and as I get to know my own style, colour and fabric preferences I definitely have a lot more hits than misses with my projects now than I used to. But I feel like really nailing the fit of a variety of garments will take the success of my sewing to that next level!

I always want to push my sewing skills to the max and try new things and will continue to do so but the main thing I want to get out of my sewing next year is ENJOYMENT! If there's one thing 2020 has taught me it is to find the joy in the small things. Sitting at my sewing machine really is my happy place and wearing the clothes I've made makes me feel great. 

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?