Monday, 16 April 2018

Tartan Wool Ailakki Trousers

Say hello to my new favourite trousers! I'm not quite sure where the idea for these came from. They're one of those projects that fester away in the back of your brain for a long time and when you finally get around to making them then turn out to be so much better than you initially hoped!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I ordered this beautiful tartan wool suiting from The Fabric Store back in January with a pair of classic trousers in mind. My intention was initially slim fitting cigarette pants and I was thinking about using the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. However, I personally have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this pattern; in that I LOVE the style and idea of them on me but I have had a total nightmare trying to fit them. I've had two goes at them but each time have fallen down a rabbit hole of alterations, none of which seem to help or if the adjustment does make a positive difference it seems to have a negative effect elsewhere. I've even tried changing the crotch curve of the pattern to be that of a pattern which does work for me but to no avail. Any fitting tips and advice for this pattern would be most welcome as I am determined to conquer them at some point but perhaps I should concede that they're just not made for me. Ultimately the close fitting cut of those is better suited to woven fabrics with a little stretch anyway so not a match made in heaven with my firmly woven suiting.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I was looking online at other patterns for slim or peg-legged trousers with a high waist when I realised the cut I was envisioning already existed in my pattern stash in the form of the Named Ailakki Cross Front JumpsuitMy berry coloured version of this pattern is one of, if not THE all time favourite thing I've made and I've since used the trouser portion of this pattern again to make my black tuxedo style jumpsuit. The tapered cut of these is beautiful and the fit of the size 38 is nigh on spot on for me straight out of the envelope, especially through the lower back and bum. I did make one change to the pattern to achieve a slightly slimmer leg. While I like the volume of the leg on the jumpsuit as it balances the fairly skimpy bodice nicely I wanted a slightly more tailored look from these. I both narrowed the leg and raised the crotch slightly by using a 1" seam allowance instead of 1cm on the inner leg seams. I was worried I had overdone it and would end up restricting my movement but I couldn't be more delighted with how this has turned out.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

To make these as trousers rather than a jumpsuit was really straightforward. I cut all the trouser pattern pieces as usual and the two waistbands. Once the trousers were assembled I sewed the exterior waistband to the top then sewed the waistband facing to it along the top edge, as you do for the jumpsuit just without sandwiching the bodice between the two pieces. At this point I decided to under stitch along this top edge to keep it crisp and clean without the facing rolling out to the right side. Then I inserted the zip as usual, running the top of the teeth up to the top of the waistband. Then pressed in the raw edges of the waistband facing and stitched it all down by hand.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

The waistband could do with being a fraction tighter but gives me room for a big meal! The room in the waistband is not as noticeable with the full jumpsuit as the bodice is holding it up but with a separate pair of trousers the waistband needs to be fairly snug to keep everything in place.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I've noticed with both my jumpsuits and now these that there's something a little awkward about the way the pockets sit. The pocket bags almost feel like they want to head towards the back of the garment rather than sitting nicely in front. I'd added in the step of under stitching both pocket edges on my previous versions so tried combatting the strange hang by just under-stitching the front opening and it has helped but not solved the issue. I'm now wondering if it is to do with the facing on the rear pocket bag which is actually a feature I really love. I might try making the back piece a little larger next time to see if that helps it swing forward. I actually think I'd make the pockets a bit larger in general anyway as they don't quite fully hold my phone at the moment an that is always handy.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

As for the fabric it has been an absolute dream to work with and a dream to wear. It has a lovely smooth hand and is fairly fine as you would expect from a suiting but still has some substance to it. Some wool suitings are a little too flimsy for my preference, especially for trousers. This feels quite robust and like it will withstand some wear. Which is a good thing as they're certainly going to get some! I'd say it has the perfect weight and drape for a tailored trouser and these hang so well. I've been washing and handling it in the same manner I do all my merino wools; a 30 degree gentle/wool cycle in the machine, a cool to medium heat on the iron and I gave it a good steamy press before cutting to really minimise the chance of any further shrinkage. I used a size 80 microtex needle in my machine and it sewed up so smoothly.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

This fabric does fray quite easily so I finished all the internal seams on the overlocker. If you are planning on making this pattern I would recommend following the advice to finish your seam allowances before assembly as it is tricky to get into some areas (for example around the pockets) afterwards. I hemmed the trousers at just above ankle length (removing an inch) but have often worn them rolled up to a slightly shorter cropped length. If I'd realised I'd do this so much beforehand I might have considered a different seam allowance finish as I'm not a big fan of seeing the overlocking exposed in the turn up. Next time I might try a flat felled seam or perhaps binding would be a nice touch.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

I had 1.25m of the wool which was just about right although I could probably squeeze them out of a metre of a solid colour. I really like that the navy and green tartan combo is fairly subtle. I don't think I've got the confidence to pull off full Rod Stewart style as much as I would like to! I'll hold my hands up and admit that my pattern matching isn't fantastic. I did give it a stab by lining up the side seam notches on the same line in the tartan and this has worked to some extent but I should have cut everything out on a single layer to ensure a good match all the way around. I was simply too lazy to trace my pattern pieces off a second time! If I had I might have avoided the slight mismatch along the crotch seam and left leg. I'm kicking myself slightly for not putting a bit more effort in but at the time of cutting I didn't realise how big a success these were going to be. At least I can't really see those areas when they're on so it doesn't overly bother me!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Trousers in Tartan Wool Suiting from The Fabric Store

These feel so on trend right now as well as incredibly comfortable and I have been really enjoying wearing them both dressed up for date night with heels or with scruffy sneakers for day. A simple tee tucked in the top works great for either or these and one of my many Ogden Camis also make a great pairing. I think I could definitely find use for another couple of pairs of these in solid colours. Proof of how much mileage can be had out of the patterns you already own. I'm glad I got around to making at least this pair before summer arrives (if it ever will!) as they the perfect weight, warmth and style for spring.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Fiona and thank you for another post stuffed with valuable advice. I now follow three sewing blogs regularly - yourself, Mensew on Wordpress and Diane of 'Dream Cut Sew'. You all write and create beautifully and give practical advice.
    One question please - when you serge your cut pieces before assembling a garment, do you allow extra or just reduce the given seam allowance? Oh and do you raise the cutting knife? It is a grey area at the moment for me.
    Lyn in Yorkshire

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    1. You're welcome Lyn! I'm so touched to hear that mine is one of the few blogs you read regularly, its lovely to hear that my waffling on about sewing is appreciated and enjoyed.
      When serging before assembly I cut the pattern pieces with the usual seam allowance and am then just incredibly careful not to trim off anything! It's quite tricky to get it just right and not have your overlocking stitches hanging off the edge so I usually aim for trimming off a teeny tiny millimetre so it ends up looking neat. Raising the cutting knife is a fantastic idea if you are nervous about it but I tend to keep mine down so any little frayed bits are trimmed off and you end up with a clean raw edge. I hope that's helpful!

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  2. Wonderful! This is inspiring me a lot to make trousers! I agree with your point about getting mileage out of patterns you already own. Sometimes what you are looking for is lurking in your own pattern collection and it is all too easy to buy a new pattern when what you need already is just a pattern hack away.

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    1. Do it! It is really satisfying and I'm enjoying having a different shape in my wardrobe. I'm often quite put off of making any trousers which don't have a loose fit but once you've found a pattern that works well for you fit wise around the hips and bum you're off!

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  3. These look great, Fiona! It’s always good to find out about a good trouser pattern. That’s definitely a hole in my wardrobe and I haven’t quite found just the right thing to fill it. Thanks for reviewing these. You did an excellent job!

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    1. Yes those good trouser patterns sure are hard to come by! It was a hug hole in my wardrobe until I made this, in fact I didn't realise how much I needed them until they were finished!
      Thanks very much

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  4. These look incredible! I always love seeing what you’ve made as it consistently awes and inspires me. I now long to make a pair of trousers exactly like these! The fabric works so well and i love how you’ve rolled them up at the hem.

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    1. Ah thanks so much! You could totally tackle a pair of trousers like these with much success.
      I must admit i'm much more excited about these now they're finished than I was planning them...who knew I could have needed a pair of tartan trousers so much!

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  5. I love these. When I looked at this post on my phone, I thought they were black; on my computer I can see the tartan. Love. I have a difficult time with this style of trouser. I have tried a few patterns and I think they fit okay, I am just never comfortable in them. Great work!

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    1. I love that you thought that because that is kind of what I love about this tartan! They're a style statement but you don't really notice the plaid until you're up close. They work so well as a neutral part of any outfit.
      I've always had a difficult time with this style too, in fact most trousers in general! I'm so delighted to have a pair that I am so comfortable in

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  6. Beautiful trousers Fiona - they are both a little retro (I'm 63 so I sort of have a memory of my mother wearing a pair of pants very much like these in about 1959) but really on trend at the same time. Love the fabric! It's been a donkey's age since I wore a pair of wool pants!

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    1. O I love them even more now that you have pointed out the mid 20th century vibe in them too! You are so right, I'm wearing them right now and now I feel a bit Joan Holloway in Mad Men!
      I'm not sure I've ever owned wool pants, this fabric is a revelation!

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  7. Love these pants. Thanks for the post. You could try a piece of elastic hidden in the back of the waistband to snug things up. Also you could bias bind the serged hem edge to make them look nice when rolled.

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  8. Very classic! And congratulations on the holy grail of sewing: trousers that fit well.

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  9. Really stylish and as you say very on trend. I would go with the flat felled seam rather than binding. I'm just making a dress with a much longer hem at the back and didn't think how much I would dislike tha overlooked hem at the back!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!