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Gemma’s Portobello Trousers

With June’s Classic box Gemma put her cotton double gauze to use making a pair of Nina Lee Portobello Trousers.

I have really come to love double gauze. It’s such a lovely fabric to work with, really soft and with a lovely mix of drape and structure. Because of this it can be used for many different projects. When I received this month’s fabric, I loved the minimal pattern: it’s just enough to look interesting while still allowing the gauze texture to show through. I also wouldn’t need to worry about pattern matching which is also a plus!

Thinking about what to make, my first thoughts were to go down the floaty dress route, as it would make such a lovely summer dress. However currently the weather here in the UK is… well, not really friendly towards such garments – it’s like the weather hasn’t realised we are meant to be gearing towards summer! 

I didn’t think double gauze would be a great fabric for torrential rain in dress form (especially white!), and I feel i’ve had my fill of dresses for the moment, so thought about ways I could use it to potentially navigate the current weather situations, and came upon the idea of perhaps making trousers! I would never have considered making trousers from double gauze, unsure as to whether it would have enough structure, or be too lightweight. If it could work, I knew they would be super comfortable and could make really nice summer trousers!

Doing a little pattern research I found the answer in the Nina Lee Portobello Trousers. Designed to be made in a variety of fabrics with drape, they look elegant and simple, and a great design to show off a print. With a wide leg and a high waist, as well as in seam pockets, they looked to be a great versatile pattern, and would hopefully make good use of the double gauze fabric!

I was a bit concerned with the sizing, as my waist and hip measurements put me in two size bands, so I decided to go with the largest size, as I figured it is easier to trim down than to size up! The smarter person would probably have made a toile first but I’m in the ‘lets just see how it goes’ category! The pattern does recommend going with your waist measurement, as this is the part that really needs to be fitted. There are 3 pleats on the front pieces as well as darts on the back, so there are opportunities for altering the size.

Constructing the trousers is relatively simple. There is an invisible zip at the back as well as a button closure on the waistband, which took me a couple of attempts to get perfect as it has been a while since I have sewn a zip, having favoured an elastic waist for so long! I found it really enjoyable to make, simple enough to whip up in an afternoon but with enough techniques to hold my attention. The gauze made it a breeze to sew, as it is such a lovely fabric that doesn’t tend to slip and move around.

Trying them on at the end was very satisfying, as I absolutely love them! I feel the fit is really flattering for a curvy figure, with the waistband sitting high on my natural waist. The wide leg makes them look really glamorous, and the double gauze worked fantastically, giving them a ‘secret pyjamas’ feel, while looking amazing!

I do need to take them in slightly at the waist as they are a little big and could do with feeling a little more fitted, but the trousers as a whole feel really good. They have enough drape to move freely, yet still feel sturdy. I love the button closure above the invisible zip at the back, as I feel it adds a really smart look, as well as making sure they are secure.

I’ve paired them with a beloved True Bias Ogden cami, making them the ultimate spring/summer outfit, but can also team them with a long sleeved top or cropped jumper when it’s cooler. I will definitely be making a few more pairs, as they will be an easy to wear wardrobe staple, and am interested in how they would work in a viscose for example.

Having not considered double gauze fabric for trousers before, I’m so glad I decided to give it a try, as I think it has worked wonderfully well. Although I’m still not sure about wearing them in torrential rain, as they are lightweight they will be lovely for warmer weather, fingers crossed we get some soon!