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!