Monday, 28 March 2016

Making trousers look more feminine

I needed some grey fabric to go with one or two tops in my wardrobe so during a recent visit to Axminster in Dorset, I found just what I was looking for in a quaint little shop that was so full it was like an Aladdin's cave.

This fabric had a good drape for trousers with a very slight stretch that felt more like a little bit of ease but not really much, the colour was exactly the grey shade I was looking for and the price was under £7 a metre so all boxes ticked. You'd think so.... 

I bought 1.5 metres but once I got my purchase home I had a slight re-think. Did it look too much like a man's suiting fabric? Could I make my trousers look more feminine without compromising the classic look I was after?

I have made many trousers along my journey to sewing my well fitting wardrobe of items and now have my sloper down to [almost] perfection so laying out the pattern and cutting out is no longer a problem or fills me with dread like it used to. [Thanks to the Sure-fit Designs System] It took me just a couple of hours to get the front pockets, fly zip and outside seams sewn. It would only take an hour or so more to complete the back seam, inner leg seams, fit the waistband and hem to finish them off.

It actually took me another three days to finish them. Why? Well my quest to put some femininity into them centred around something that involved a little embroidery. Not too much, just enough to give a bit of interest without distraction.

Ivy Leaf Design
Ivy Test
The trouble with doing embroidery I find, is sourcing the right design. It's almost no good having a fixed idea in mind as you'd spend years trying to find it. I knew however, that I wanted something done in greys that would show up but not stand out. I'm not a great lover of embroidered flowers but I thought leaves might work. I had the thought of ivy winding around and up just one leg. After much searching and a lot of editing I thought I'd found the answer. I set about doing a test to ensure the design would work and the chosen colours were exactly right. There is a VERY good reason why testing is so important. My ivy leaf design was a disaster. It was far too solid and the number of concentrated stitches made the fabric stiff and puckered, it was awful. I had to go back to the drawing board.

Another day of trawling through designs on my computer and I decided to look for stars this time. Just simple stars that I could dot around in strategic places. Then 'BOOM' I saw a snowflake design. This was it.

Test Snowflakes
I took the design and played around with different sizes and shades of grey [I didn't want white as it would have been too bright] then back to do another test. It worked much better this time.

The Right Trouser Leg with Snowflakes
So here are the finished trousers and the extra design on the back of the waistband to add another bit of interest. I'm so pleased with the end result despite the length of time it took to complete. These are the most comfortable trousers I have ever worn, the fit is perfect and I am as proud of the inside finish as the outside. 

Centre Back Waistband Detail
I am at last beginning to feel the effects of my sewing and learning over the last couple of years thanks to the bloggers I have followed who generously give their tips and tricks, to the SFD pattern making system, to Craftsy classes, to You Tube videos I have followed and to all my friends who have encouraged me along the way [and didn't laugh at some of my earlier attempts].

No more sewing now until the middle of May - see you then.


  1. What an amazing fit you have achieved, your trousers look perfect. I have all of the surefit kits and just need to get the courage together to actually get on and make my slopers. Seeing how amazing your trousers look has really encouraged me.
    I love the embroider, what a fabulous idea and it really lifts your trousers to something unique and feminine.

    Well done!


    1. Thank you Debbie for your comments. I have enjoyed looking at your blog too.

  2. Jan, I hadn't realized you'd embroidered the legs too. What lovely work you do. Everyone of your projects is unique and special to you - clever lady! And oh so right you are about testing - just when you think you might have it right (and just go for it), you realize how important this testing step is.

    1. Actually Glenda, I just did the right leg as a bit of interest. In fact the waistband was an afterthought as I was deciding on the leg design. Luckily I hadn't fitted the band so it was easy to embroider [well the actual position took a bit of figuring out!!] and I'd left the inside leg seams open so that it was flat to hoop. I find sourcing a unique piece that will make a garment my own, the hardest part of design. It's so easy to over do it and spoil a simple shape or line.

  3. BTW - how did you get your Facebook badge on the right side of this page? Is this just another blogger widget provided in their software?

    1. Yes Glenda, the widget was part of the software but as it has printed one of my email addresses, I'm not too sure about keeping it.


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