Sunday, 31 July 2022

Paprika Linen Zero Waste Trousers

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmerson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

I really enjoyed making my top version of Birgitta Helmersson’s Zero Waste Gather Dress last year and decided it was about time I tried another. This is the ZW Block Pant. Her patterns don't come with much in the way of pattern pieces (this time it was just a patch pocket and template for shape at the hem) and instead instructions to draw out the pattern pieces on your fabric. It is really fun to do something a bit differently when you've done as much sewing as I have. I also like that drawing it out really helps you to understand the drafting and how it all works together. The key to making a pattern zero waste is tessellating the pattern pieces so that you don't have any scraps left over. In this instance the interior of the crotch curve for the patch pockets and the back legs are formed of two pieces with a seam just under the bum.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

The pattern comes with instructions for different sizes and works on a variety of widths of fabric. It is so cleverly worked out it makes my brain hurt! I made the size small although technically my hip measurement should be more in the M but you can't grade between sizes with zero waste! It's a fairly relaxed style so I thought it would be fine and I love how the fit has turned out. The instructions explain everything very thoroughly and even include extra detailed guidance on adjusting the pattern for curvy figures, narrower widths of fabric and a couple of hacks. They're just fab patterns made by someone how clearly really knows what they are doing.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

I've had the paprika heavyweight linen from The Fabric Store in my stash for a while now. I had it in mind for hack/mash up of the Closet Core Patterns Fiona Dress and Jenny Overalls...which I never got round to and now I think about it would probably work better in something slightly crisper like a cotton twill. I've used The Fabric Store's heavyweight linen before to make the Turia Dungarees and it is a great bottom weight fabric. It isn't so thick and structured as a furnishing weight linen but has real body too it. I can attest to its durability too as I made those dungarees years ago, have worn them a lot (and really put them through their paces at work) and they still look fab. I've just started to have to give them a little darn here and there.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

The linen and this pattern are a perfect match. It is so soft, comfortable and breezy. The weight of the linen really brings out the drama of the wide leg shape too. The really deep hem gives the trousers a lovely weight and swing. I also like that the way the waistband is finished meant I got to use up a bit of Liberty lawn binding I've had hanging around. I didn't buy anything new for these trousers and that combined with the zero waste pattern makes me happy!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

The one thing I do find about making zero waste patterns at home is that I doubt I will ever happen to have the exact right amount of fabric in the correct width for the pattern I'd like to make. Also these patterns always tend to need a length in between a round metre or half metre of fabric so it isn't easy to buy the exact amount of fabric you need either. So there will likely always be waste. I had quite a bit of this linen so have about a metre left over but at least I know that it is a usable piece of full width fabric that will likely get used instead of strangely shaped scraps.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

However, having said that the concept absolutely fascinates me and I think it would be brilliant to see more of it in the fashion industry as SO much fabric is wasted each year.

One of the things that I find so interesting about zero waste pattern cutting is how shape is created. Obviously the easiest shapes to tesselate are squares, rectangles, triangles and straight edges rather than curves. When you're making a garment to fit a curved body however, how do you create shape without lots of curved pattern pieces giving you a real headache in terms of extra scraps of fabric that don't fit anywhere else? Looking at different zero waste patterns I've come to realise that they often include pleats, tucks and gathers to do this. In the case of these trousers there is a fairly generous pleat at the waist so they fit neatly in that area and flare out to the wide leg. There is also a small triangular template for sewing a sort of dart in both side seams at the hem so that their width reduces to create more of a balloon shape. I LOVE the shape of the trousers and the fact that they are not a bog standard straight rectangular leg.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

With zero waste pattern cutting you also have to be lenient with the traditional pattern cutting rules of trueing up seams e.t.c. For example usually at the wide end of the dart you'd have a little triangle of fabric poking out so that when the dart is folded together all the raw edges match up neatly. In the case of these trousers when you baste the top edge of the pocket bag in place it actually needs to stick out from the top of the trouser rather than the raw edges meeting up along the waistline. This is so the pocket bag can be a rectangular and easy to tesselate piece but the trousers will still hang correctly. I like that the reasoning behind this is explained a little in the instructions so you can understand what you are doing and learn from it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Birgitta Helmersson Zero Waste Block Pants in Heavyweight Paprika Linen from The Fabric Store

The completed trousers are so comfortable. I used to detest elasticated waists but have got into them recently. I think early on in my sewing I made a few dresses which had skinny elastic at the waist and I just found that annoying but then I made the Papercut Patterns Anima Pants (still my favourite pair of yoga pants) and realised that if the waistband is a big thick wide elastic it is incredibly comfortable to wear! No twisting and no annoying digging in, just a nice secure hug.

I'm ready to dive back into the Birgitta Helmersson pattern catalogue now. Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good! That color seems to be having a moment!
    Makes me wonder why I avoid wide legs. I like wide elastic on yoga and sweat waist bands, but so far not on others. But you make me think about it.😊

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