Loose trousers and culottes seem to be dominating my sewing this year! The unusually warm weather that we’ve been experiencing for the last six weeks or so has definitely influenced my sewing choices and I’m enjoying wearing something more comfortable than skinny jeans.
Suggested fabrics include gabardine and double crepe, or any fabric with drape. I’ve used a lovely plain black Irish linen, generously supplied by Rainbow Fabrics, which is a dream to sew. Yes, it crumples when you wear it, but it presses wonderfully and doesn’t slide when sewing. It’s a good weight, not too heavy but not translucent, and would work well for all kinds of garments. A linen/ viscose mix or cupro could work well too, or even a light to medium weight denim, cupro, lyocell/Tencel or chambray.
I tend to cut out a few projects at a time, either on the kitchen island or living room floor, and this was no exception
The first step is to construct the waistband. Rather than overlocking the lower edges, I opted for bias binding (made much easier with a special foot for my machine!), which is left exposed on the inside, as often seen in tailored trousers. It reduces bulk and makes it easier to adjust the fit.
The upper waistband seam is then stitched, trimmed and (optionally) understitched to the inside.
For the remaining raw edges, I used my overlocker and a three-thread narrow stitch.
Next, the back darts are stitched and pressed, followed by the front and back crotch seams. The BACK seam is stitched up to the notches for the zip (N.B. in the instructions the wording is switched but the images are correct, as the zip goes in the back, not the front!) and the front seam is sewn from upper to lower crotch edge.
The pocket bags are in one piece rather than two, so need to be sewn to both the front and back of the trousers, between the notches, then the curved seam at the base of the pockets is stitched (and can be reinforced by a second line of stitching).
Next come the side seams, above and below the pockets, then the pockets are folded towards the front and pinned or tacked/basted to the upper edge.
The inside leg seams can then be sewn, preferably one leg at a time and working in the same direction on both. I find a horizontal pin near the lower edges can help stop the fabric sliding and keep them aligned.
Now they look like trousers! It’s time to put the waistband in place, pinning from the raw edges and all the way around, and sewing from CB to CB. A good press will help ease it in place.
Before finishing the waistband, the zip needs to be inserted. I find that using quilting clips is easier than pins, and marking the waistband seam point on the second side of the zip tape with a chalk marker or pin helps to line it all up neatly (which still took 4 attempts this time and a lot of stubborn persistence!).
I prefer to hand stitch the ends of the waistband to the zip tape; the machine alternative is outlined in the instructions. The waistband then needs to be secured, which can be done by stitching ‘in the ditch’, that is, along the waistband/trouser seam line, so that the stitches are barely visible on the outside of the garment.
Almost there… it’s time to check the length (these come up quite long!), trim if necessary and press and stitch the hem in place. I trimmed about 7.5cm/ 3” and turned a 3cm / 1 ¼” single hem.