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Laura’s City Trousers

Laura received the Classic box in December and used her 2.5m of brushed cotton tartan to make a pair of Avid Seamstress City Trousers

Well, this box feels wholly different to the Glitz and Glam of last year’s December box, where we were all about the fancy party frocks! I think that most of us this year will be keeping it low key, and that means staying warm and cosy.

Whilst tartan is not really a Christmas fabric, to me it absolutely resonates that Christmassy feeling, and especially that traditional red plaid. I toyed around with the idea of making a kilt type skirt but couldn’t really find a pattern that I liked. Then I thought… Am I crazy enough to make trousers?! Gemma, Hayley and Esther convinced me.

Trousers in this type of fabric can quickly become pyjamas, something that I wanted to avoid for sure. I have made a few pairs of trousers, but they’ve been similar styles with wide legs, and I wanted to opt instead for something more fitted. I usually avoid this style of trousers as I am quite self-conscious of my thighs and I’ve never found the right pair.

I came across the City Trousers from The Avid Seamstress which seemed to fit the bill. I bit the bullet and went for it!

Being the first pair of fitted trousers that I’ve made, and my first time with this pattern company, the wiser me decided to make a toile. I know, who is the person?! I’ve never made toiles (I can hear the eye-rolls from here, guys!) as I am always too eager to just get stuck in and worry later. I am so glad that I did.

From the size chart, I spanned three sizes between the waist, upper hip and lower hip (I am very pear shaped). As the pattern recommends that your fabric has a slight stretch, which mine didn’t, I just made the straight size where I was the biggest to get a gauge on the fit.

And boy, was I glad that this was a toile!

In my first rendition, the waist was too big, and they were too tight for comfort on the bum and thighs. Not awful, but had I just gone straight in like I usually do and made the “real” thing, I would have been very disappointed and probably have never worn them. The pockets were also pointlessly short. In my opinion, a trouser pocket must at least fit your phone in, which these were nowhere near.

Thankfully though, we are dressmakers, and we can make things fit our unique bodies instead of squeezing into ill-fitting garments!

I used the fitting tips for the Sasha Trousers on the Closet Core blog to assess where I should make adjustments; identifying the drag lines and what you do to mitigate them. For me, I made a full seat, full thigh and a small full tummy adjustment. I also graded a size out from the hip and a size in at the waist to perfect the fit. I also lengthened the pocket bags to make them usable.

After my second toile and tweaking the fit a bit more, I was ready to go for it with the real fabric. With the toiles, I didn’t make the trousers full length, so after I sewed the legs together I found them a bit baggy and “pyjama-ry”. So I tapered in the legs from the knees by about an inch for a slimmer fit. I found the length perfect for me which was odd as I am quite short-legged and usually have to shorten patterns, so I recommend to double check the leg length if you make these.

It is quite a simple pattern, so I enjoy the little details like the split hem at the ankle and the curved hip pockets. The instructions are very detailed and suitable for a beginner. The only thing that I wasn’t quite happy with was the suggested serged edge of the waistband, so I opted instead to fold under the seam allowance for a cleaner finish that didn’t really take any extra time.

What can I say? I am so happy with the finished article! Whilst the toile-making process was a little long and arduous, it was so worth it. They just feel really chic. And now that I have the fit nailed, it is a pattern that I will make many times; I have already bought fabric for my next pair!