Handmade Trousers

I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own clothes. A few months ago, I got my first sewing machine and started doing some simple projects to get the hang of things including making these nice, but uneven placemats. Going from advice in Tilly Walnes’ Make it Simple book I was going to start with some trousers. These had no zips or buttons, just elastic, and a nice loose fit that looked so simple in the pictures that I was sure I could whip them up no problem. It turns out these trousers were to be a massive learning curve in my sewing journey.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

A few weeks ago I ordered some black viscose and tried to make sense of the pattern to try and cut out my pieces. As this is my first time doing this, I have no idea if it’s normal for multiple patterns to be on one sheet and therefore overlap, but I was so confused at some points trying to work out which part went where that I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that one leg was significantly shorter than the other! I perhaps should have done a bit of research first…

I was amused at first to learn the book suggested 20 minutes to cut out the pattern, whereas I took most of the day. Surely I’d be quicker at sewing, the book suggested 1 hour and 15 to finish the project which seemed achievable.

A few hours into sewing the first leg I realise I’d sewn the crotch together. I hadn’t paid attention and just sewn down one leg, and back up the other. Oh man, this was going to be a long day.

I tried to unpick the faulty crotch but made even more of a mess so I had to cut it out. I’d erred on the side of caution and cut the trousers slightly bigger than I needed, so I was hoping even after snipping a large part out they would still fit. After my early mistake, the second leg went pretty smoothly (albeit still taking significantly longer than the book suggested), and I’d managed to get a loose pair of trousers together relatively painlessly. I started pinning the elastic in the waistband and tried them on for the first time, just to make sure it was in the right place. I couldn’t believe they would actually fit! They were still loose, comfy, and yes, maybe a little shorter than intended but definitely good summer wear. Buoyed by my success I confidently sew the waistband shut and the elastic in place. This was going to be a happy ending after all! Except…

I didn’t secure the elastic enough and now it’s lost somewhere around the back of the waistband meaning they are extremely too big. It was incredibly frustrating, especially considering I’d seen how they could have looked if everything had stayed in place. Still, it has been a great learning experience for my next attempt – I know I definitely need to take a lot more care and attention, and if I’m in doubt it will hold – sew it a few times. I think before I take on my next project (a t-shirt) I’ll try making the trousers again with some old bed sheets for practice – they can always be some pyjama/lounge trousers.

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