July 7, 2010

Trouser-shape experiment

You may have noticed it by now: I love my dresses. Especially in summer. Most of all those with retro flair.
But... yes there is always a 'but...' sometimes I just feel like taking on a different kind of look. More casual. Or more tailored. Sort of cool, with a slight girl-dressed-as-boy effect... In one word: trousers.
A wardrobe mainstay in winter, but, at least for me, less so in summer (I really don't understand those girls who continue to wear jeans when it's
30 degrees Celsius).
If you've been following this blog for longer, you may remember having seen a lot of my self-made trousers in colder months, and you may remember how I experimented with the belt pleated look.
Now, it was time for summer trousers. And for an even crazier experiment. Last month, I made this sketch, and that what I set out to make.

I kept in mind how I like my belt pleated trousers, which have what the pattern making book calls a 'relaxed' crotch line. I actually both used the pattern for those, and the normal sloper as starting points for this new pattern.
I had made the sketch because I had come up with the crazy idea that it would be cool to make wrap trousers with pleats in the leg. So, I really wanted to incorporate those elements.
The pattern is rather simple (and exactly the same as for belt pleated trousers) at the back. The left front has, as its only strange feature, a wrap-over bit instead of a fly. The right front is where things get a little crazy. I slashed and spread pattern piece from the tip of the wrap-bit to three points on hip and leg. This meant crossing over the normal crotch line and I had
to make a pretty weird pattern piece to let it all come together.

Sewing it was quite easy by comparison. Although I had to deal with those weird shapes and a lot of pieces coming together at the bottom of the
wrap, this pair of trousers doesn't include any of the usual fiddly, time consuming details like fly and pockets. The fabric, dark blue linen was fine to work with: easy to press and not too prone to fraying and creasing.

I'm fairly happy with the end result. I'm proud I pulled it off and the trousers are really comfortable. I would have liked to see the pleats a bit more, but I already know how I could change the pattern to achieve that. Not that that would have worked very well in soft linen. I was a bit surprised at how low the crotch looks at the front. The look had to grow on me, but I think it's Ok. Sort of cool and carefree. I guess. And thanks to my crazy pattern, I don't have what, in my view, is often the worst feature of all those harem and other low-crotch trousers: diaper backside.

By the way, I'm well aware that crazy trouser shapes are not for everyone. I'd agree with those who say belt pleated trousers almost only work for skinny women. And harem trousers can depending on their exact shape, be worn by different kinds of people, but you really have to be the 'type' for it.
The best advice I can give to anyone wondering about that strange new world outside the realm of skinny or bootcut jeans is this: go a store which stocks a variaty of styles and just try out. Try to go there at a quiet time and without impatient people (having help and second opinion at hand is good, nagging or whining is not) and pick any new style you come across (especially if you know you can get or make a sewing pattern just like it). Don't worry about the exact fit. You'll be sewing so you will be able to get it right.
Focus on the silhouet, you might be in for some surprises.


  1. Those look so good! I like the idea of making a draped front, and a fitted back.

  2. Those look amazing! I really like the look with the back 'normal'

  3. The trousers look fantastic! I like the fitted back but draped front. Not sure it's a look I could pull off but they look super on you.

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