Sunday, July 20, 2014

Complete: Willow Pants

Yup, that's right....PANTS!! (Or, for all you Northern Hemispherites, TROUSERS!)

I have a confession to make before we go any further: I started these hoping to wear them through Me Made May...2013. I got discouraged at the first fitting though and they've been sitting on my desk looking reproachfully at me ever since. (You know how sometimes you just want everything to go right the first time, effortlessly?)

They fit pretty well around the waist, crotch and hips (which is actually pretty amazing, come to think of it...), but then got kind of baggy in the legs, especially the thighs. Think jodhpurs. Unflattering, old-style ones. So they got ditched until May this year.

Here they are, the Style Arc Willow Pant - with the two-fold realisation that a) black pants are actually really hard to photograph well, and b) these have zero hanger appeal!


More impressively, here's the original illustration. They're slim fitting, cigarette style trousers, with a side invisible zip and button closure, intended for woven fabrics. They sit right at the ankle, which means they can be worn with heels or flats (that's actually what sold me on the pattern in the first place).



I used a black cotton sateen for this pair, which was really nice to work with. But then, cotton sateen pretty much always is. Fairly ordinary photos, I'm afraid. :/



Really tricky to show up any kind of detail in these shots, sorry.


 It actually didn't take much to make them wearable. I think part of the problem was that, not having really worn this style before, I didn't know exactly how cigarette pants should fit. I'm used to skinny jeans, wide leg trousers, or a boot cut when it comes to bottoms, so I wasn't quite sure just how tight these needed to be. In the end, I just took them in gradually until they seemed to sit well. They may be slightly too tight for true cigarette pants, but that could be partly because the material I used - even though lovely to work with - is possibly not quite heavy enough for pants. I think something with a bit more weight to it would work better, or maybe even something with a little bit of drape to help them fall nicely. The sateen does relax and bag a bit over a day of wear, I've noticed. I'd love to try this pattern in a heavier damask or brocade...

Since these were successful in the end, I celebrated by getting some more sateen - printed this time - for another pair. Again, no hanger appeal...


 I've found I'm happier with and wear these far more than the black pair. For one thing, they're not a magnet for dust and fluff (although they may actually be - but how could you tell?!). It's funny, black pants are supposed to be a staple or basic of every woman's wardrobe, aren't they? I read a great post earlier this year by Emma of This Kind Choice (excellent, thoughtful blog) in which she defined her own basics, rather than allowing herself to be dictated to by magazines/stylists/the fashion police. Now, she's a fashion student and so has more style and flair in her little finger than I'll cumulatively have in my entire life, but it was excellent food for thought. These pants/trousers, being a style and in colours that I love, actually go with way more in my existing wardrobe than the "staple" black ones.




Have you ever found that in the garments you sew? Are there styles/colours/silhouettes that you return to as staples because they just work for you?

A few detail shots - here's the side closure.


And even though I could probably lose about 1cm of length in the leg for these to sit perfectly, I really do like the split hem feature of this pattern:


As for actual sewing at the moment, it's all still school production (The Sound of Music) costume sewing at the moment. I mentioned last post that I'd been working on Maria's wedding dress, so I thought I'd share the progress shot:


I don't think you can tell it was made from a tablecloth, so I'm happy! There's still a bit to do on costumes overall, but the end is in sight. I'm hoping 3-4 more weeks will see them finished. Can't wait - I'm itching to start spring-summer sewing!



21 comments:

  1. Yay pants! My first attempt at pants got balled up and shoved. The bottom of the drawer for the same reason, leg fit. So when I made the Style Arc Elle pants I did the same thing you do, just taper the leg in a little at a time until they looked right. And I hear you about black cotton sateen! I loved sewing it up when I made my Georgia Dress, but it's constantly showing fur! And with a long haired cat and angora rabbit... I can't avoid the fur!

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    1. Oh, I'll bet! No avoiding with those two. We've got a black and white border collie, so only half the stray hairs are disguisable (at a distance...)

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  2. These look amazing!!! I love both but particularly the print ones. They are really flattering on you. I have black RTW trousers that attract all manner of fluff, so I hear you on that!

    I'm still to attemp trousers but like the look of these and also the Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over It. Once I actually have the time and energy to sew of course! I'm missing it!

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    1. I'm sure you are! Looking forward to seeing your always lovely projects when you're back on it. It takes a while though - I think it was when my daughter was your little one's age that I took up knitting...it was so nice to have something creative to do that I didn't have to get off the couch for!

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  3. Pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned! The printed trousers look fantastic - I'm sure that the black pair are great too but as you say there's something a bit more special about them! It's so hard to find the right trouser weight stretch woven in a decent quality - my clovers stretch out terribly by the end of the day too.... I think you've well and truly conquered this pattern though. I ordered the Audrey pants last month to try for spring. And Maria's dress looks wonderful - fingers crossed you get to do some more self sewing soon!

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    1. Here's hoping! The Audrey pattern is great - I very nearly bought that myself a couple of months back (couldn't quite justify it at the time...) Can't wait to see your version!

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  4. These ar both great, but I can see why you wear the patterned ones more, they are so fun. I have to bite the bullet at some point and make myself some pants, such an achievement. Well done you. "wedding" dress looks great, cant wait to see more shots from the show. Are you in it?

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    1. Thanks, Louise! No, I'm well and truly backstage on this one - it's just kids aged 10-17 in the cast. :)

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  5. Oooh love the wedding dress! I wouldn't have said tablecloth either. & I think you have hit on a winner with these trousers, as they look like the kind that will look right with so many different tops. I always remember I had a brightly coloured bag once that seemed to look right with everything (much better than black or brown). Sometimes the obvious choice isn't the right one!

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    1. You're so right - sometimes it pays to think outside the box, huh?

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  6. Your printed pants are awesome! Wow what a great fit! You should wear them to death :D

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  7. Those pants look terrific! I love the patterned ones, such an easy thing to wear and yet they look so special!
    Nice job on the maria wedding dress! Looks like the perfect style for the show too.

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    1. Thanks Nessa! I'm pretty pleased with it :)

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  8. I love both pairs! and it's true what you say about creating your own basics. I have a pair of black corduroy jeans which I made because I thought they would be so useful, but they are my least favourite pair. Funny!

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    1. Isn't it! Funny too, how making your own clothes starts to open your eyes up to what you ACTUALLY like, rather than letting RTW dictate your choices, huh?

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  9. I know I'm a little late here, but those pants are amazing! I have been so hesitant to tackle pants, but this looks like a pattern I could work with. They are so flattering on you. Also, wedding dress out of a tablecloth?? You are awesome. :-)

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    1. Oh, you're lovely! It's a great pattern, and since it only has minimal pieces, altering for fit is not too daunting. I'm sure you'd have no trouble with it at all!

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  10. Love these pants!! They are a perfect staple. Who says floral pants can't be a staple?? I don't particularly like wearing or making traditional staple pieces. Kinda boring...your pants are not that! Love them.

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    1. Oh, thanks! And amen to defining your own staples!

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  11. These are both lovely! And i love that you love the printed pair more - The Trouser has moved up my sewing list - a cigarette pant style as well, I think I'll be inspired by your split hem - it's very exciting!

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