Saturday, 29 July 2017

Cornflower Crepe Holly Trousers

I haven't had a lot of time for sewing recently, which (aside from being incredibly frustrating!) means I'm running low on finished projects to share with you. However, I have had these beauties finished and photographed but as yet un-posted since last summer! Now actually seems like a better time to share them with you though as they didn't get much wear last year and I've fallen back in love with them recently. Luckily I keep a pretty detailed notebook of alterations and my sewing experiences so I'm still able to tell you a bit about the sewing process too!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

I really wanted a pair of solid wide legged trousers back when they were starting to creep into fashion  early last year. There's something so effortlessly elegant in the breezy flowing cut. This however was before the influx of patterns for wide legged trousers and culottes happened this spring so I turned to to my stash and happened upon just the thing in the form of the By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit. Unfortunately this is the only one of their pattern collection still waiting to be released as a PDF and the paper run is all sold out so if you're inspired to make your own pair you'll have to beg the BHL ladies or beg/borrow/steal a copy from a sewing pal!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

The pattern does come with a waistband piece for making as separates but the line drawings in fact only suggest shorts. I opted to use it for trousers as I was after something simple with a wide leg and I loved the way the shorts fit me when I tested the playsuit a few years back now. The waist hits just where I like a high waisted garment to sit, there is the perfect amount of ease around the bum and depth in the crotch and I like the way they're cut to skim my lower back. I think the key to a great pair of wide legged trousers is to balance that width with a great slim fit around the waist and hips.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

The inspiration from my fabric choice came direct from Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It. Just when I was mulling over this project she posted a very similar pair of trousers on their YouTube channel made from their triple crepe. I adored the way these moved and flowed on her and the gorgeous range of colours it comes in sold it for me. In the end I went with the blue violet which unfortunately isn't stocked any more (such a long time ago!) but there are still a lovely range of blues on offer. I had these trousers in mind for wearing on my trip to Antibes, perfect for long summer evenings sipping wine by the sea. Therefore I wanted a fresh, summery colour but nothing too bright or shocking as the style was already quite a departure from the norm for me! This soft cornflower blue has worked out perfectly. Blues always feel quite timeless and classic to me.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

I'm not going to lie, the crepe was a bit of a nightmare to work with. Which probably explains why I'm getting so much more enjoyment out of them now. The not so pleasant sewing experience is a distant memory and I can enjoy them for the beautiful trousers that they are! It has a lovely weight and drape which is great to wear; I'd definitely call it a bottom weight and it's one of the heavier crepes I've worked with. If you made a dress with it it would move beautifully but you wouldn't get a lightweight, floppy little dress from it. I've just thought that the red colour would make an amazing bias cut evening gown! I wouldn't have thought that I'd see a plain poly crepe fabric as an option for evening wear but actually in the case of these trousers it's the fabric that makes them feel a little too dressy for everyday.

The poly content was what I had trouble working with. First of all it seems to be made up of lots of tiny little fibres which when cut into go EVERYWHERE. It's not the usually kind of fraying with fluffy threads but lots of little shards. I decided to overlock the raw edges of all my pieces before starting to sew so I didn't have to deal with all the mess! Next I had real a real problem with skipping stitches. I was using a universal size 80 needle and changing it didn't help. As often seems to be the case with a troublesome poly it was actually changing the thread that made all the difference. I started out with Gutermann Sew All but got the best results with a cheap and cheerful Moon polyester spool. Lastly it was difficult to get a nice flat seam as the poly content means you can't turn the iron up too high and steam makes little to no difference as that kind of crepe just bounces right back!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

As usual with By Hand London Patterns I cut the US6/UK10. The fit is exactly as I'd hoped and nice and snug around the waist. Their patterns always tend to come up really long on me. I'm 5ft3" so am used to having to shorten things a bit but do find BHL to be quite exceptionally long, particularly their earlier designs. I measured the pattern pieces and compared them to my inside and outside leg measurements before cutting to save wasting fabric. I took 9cm off the hem and this turned out to be pretty much right, although once made up I decided such a glamorous style required floor sweeping length rather than my usual ankle grazing style so I'd not left myself much to play with! I ended up hemming by overlocking the raw edge and just turning the stitching up to save all the length I could. On their eyebrows as they say in the business!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

The sewing and fitting process sure makes us discover those little individual quirks about our bodies that I think I wouldn't otherwise notice! It was in the process of making these that I realised that I have one leg longer than the other, or actually more like one hip slightly higher than the other after years of carrying about bags on one shoulder. Lesson learned to always pin the hem on both legs and measure from the floor up rather than the waist down! Another thing to bear in mind when making flowing trousers like these is to be sure you've cut your fabric on grain. Anything off grain will start to make those legs twist and hang funny which will feel mighty uncomfortable as well as looking odd.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

Once you've got the fit right (which luckily for me I knew was spot on straight out of the envelope) they are super fast to cut and sew as it's basically three pattern pieces and lots of lovely long seams. The most challenging aspect is putting in the side zip which I've done a lot of now so aside from the fabric issues this was a lovely, mindless, satisfying sew. I definitely recommend sticking with the invisible zip the pattern suggests. It helps maintain the classy clean lines of this style. The skinny waistband is another thing I love about this pattern as it doesn't sag and wrinkle throughout the day as a wider waistband tends to. I interfaced mine with a mid-weight fusible. As I did when I made shorts from this pattern I omitted the waistband overlap with hook and eye fastening in favour of running the zip right up to the top of the waistband. This is just a personal preference of mine as I've never been able to get a neat and tidy finish on the overlap but have had quite a lot of practice inserting invisible zips!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Holly Trousers in Cornflower Crepe from Sew Over It

It's been quite fun reviewing a project so long after making it as I can look at it with fresh eyes and properly review the fit and quality. It is kind of weird to look back at photos I took a year ago though! Look how tanned and healthy looking I was! Definitely been working too much this year. I used to live in my skinny jeans while I was working but after a bout of lovely summer weather over the last couple of months it felt really weird to put them on for the first time the other day. Wide legs seem to be taking over my wardrobe!

16 comments:

  1. Awesome trousers! The fit is perfect and I love the pop of the blue. They look very luxurious. Well done!

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    1. I'm so delighted with the fit Sariska! They hang beautifully and feel luxurious too!
      Thanks

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  2. They look great. I have a lot of cropped wide leg pants but I feel like full length would be handy too. Might dig out the Holly pattern myself. i tried to wear my skinny jeans this week as well and found them SO uncomfortable after weeks of wide legs!

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    1. Thanks Katie, you could definitely rock a pair of these! I was mulling over patterns for ages I remember before I realised I had just the thing right there in my stash

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  3. I really like hearing your opinions on the pants after testing them out for a while. Often times I love something when I first make it then after wearing it a few times I realize the fit isn't quite right or it just isn't "me." Glad these pants have worked out for you! They look very stylish and comfortable! Your cami is gorgeous as well, great outfit!

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    1. My opinions on some of my projects change after a few wears just like you! Occasionally they just don't wear as well as I'd hoped and thats really disappointing. These have got better with time though!
      Thanks

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  4. These trousers look so elegant and it is good to hear that you like them more now than when you first made them. I feel inspired to make a pair of wide trousers now that I have seen yours. I have two pairs but they are both linen and crease so badly that it puts me off wearing them.

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    1. I think they can be really flattering on many people Rosemary and they feel kind of effortlessly glamorous!
      I'm not so sure about linen for bottoms as it creases so much like you say, but then again I adore my linen dungarees! I'd definitely recommend a flowing fabric with a bit of weight to it

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  5. I love the shade of blue! Those trousers are gorgeous.

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    1. It's stunning isn't it?! So difficult to come across these perfect shades. Thank you

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  6. Hi these trousers are lovely - I love that you've done the invisible zip all the way up to include the waistband - do you have tutorial for this or can you recommend one? its so much nicer than an overlap and button! C

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    1. Hi Claire, sorry for my delayed response! I don't have a tutorial I'm afraid, nor can I remember seeing one but it's very straightforward to do. You want to attach your waistband before inserting your zip. Just sew the waistband to the trousers right sides together then press the seam allowance up towards the waistband, don't fold the waistband down and sew the other edge quite yet. You can then trim your waistband down to be the same length as the top of your trousers (you don't need the extra length that this piece will have if it was drafted to have an overlapping closure. Then insert the zip into the side seam as usual but you want to line up the top of the teeth with the fold line of the waistband so it runs right up to the top! Be careful when pinning the second side of the zip in to make sure the waistband seam matches across the zip.
      I hope thats helpful! I really like this clean finish

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  7. So super elegant. And the colour is awesome. I can completely imagine how tricky that fabric was to sew though. Handmade Jane and I accidentally knocked a roll over in a fabric shop once and it cascaded off the roll like water! Well done for persisting!

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    1. Thanks Janene! Like water is the absolute perfect description for it! I can just imagine it all flowing uncontrollably off the roll haha!

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  8. Your trousers are really lovely, beautiful fabric choice too. I enjoy reading your blog

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    1. Thanks Esther thats lovely to hear! I'm really pleased with how these turned out

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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!