That’s not my literal fighting trousers, of course. My literal fighting trousers are my LARP jeans, which are ancient, dilapidated and at this point possibly sufficiently caked with mud, make-up, aluminium oxide and stray bodily fluids to constitute either some sort of biohazard or a brave new civilisation.
These are figuratively my fighting trousers, as in they put up a fight. However,
1) not nearly as much of a fight as I was expecting (considering the horror stories about trouser-making you hear around the web, I think I was lucky to get away with a slightly malformed zip)
and 2) I won.
This is a pocket edge. Observe how I cunningly picked a fabric that would show light and dark stray threads! Graaah.
These are the Thurlow Trousers (they have a number, 1203, but Sewaholic is a small enough pattern line that everyone uses the names). Sewaholic is a pattern company specialising in designs for pear-shaped women, and I was over the moon to discover them back in whenever (… er… April?) because my experiences of buying trousers as a fully-grown adult have been unadulteratedly miserable. I could write a whole post of ranting about trousers, but the short version is that it’s a pain to buy trousers off the rack when your waist and hip measurements are two full standard sizes apart.
So anyway. Pockets, people! I cannot overstate the sheer joy of having pockets on a pair of trousers that aren’t jeans. The Thurlows have two sets of pockets – slash pockets at the front and welt pockets at the back; I left off the back pockets because I never use back pockets, but the front pockets are fantastic. They’re surprisingly roomy without adding huge obvious bulges to the front of your thigh (ahem).
The waistband and pocket linings are a gorgeous gold on red print I had from the remnants rack at FabricAtion. The self fabric is cotton-something from SCRAP, light but stiff, which I believe once used to be a tablecloth. A round tablecloth. Half of a round tablecloth, to be precise.
Things I have learnt: suggested cutting layouts are no help whatsoever when your piece of fabric is a 150cm radius semicircle and you’re cutting everything on the bias for mad reasons of your own.
The black stripe visible down the side seam isn’t purely decorative. It partly is – to help alleviate the otherwise eye-watering pattern clash down the long seam, which was never going to match up – but it’s also structural. I specifically wanted the checks on the bias, to make them look less chef-y, and so in order to avoid every single seam pulling out of shape I reinforced the lot of them with twill tape. Only the side seams have the tape on the outside – elsewhere it’s out of sight.
Even the fly front turned out nicely, zip and all.
Construction notes: I made one toile, out of some hideous synthetic I had lurking in a drawer, just because I couldn’t quite believe that any trouser pattern could fit straight out of the packet. Miraculously, it did, at least in the areas where actual fit matters. The only major alteration I made to the paper pattern before starting was to knock five inches off it – a quantity which surprised me as I’m not that short (a deeply average 5′ 6”) and was cutting the largest size, the 16.
The second iteration of these trousers were made in a lovely, soft, pinstriped wool-and-something – very work-appropriate – that I also got from SCRAP a while back. These were the ones I wore to the Knitting and Stitching Show, but have since been put back in the drawer while I ponder what to do with them, as the inner thigh seam has already started to go, after barely half a dozen wears, and it’s not the seam parting per se: it’s the fabric tearing away from around it. I’m torn between leaving it to the summer to see if they work better then (I put on weight in the winter, penguin-like, and shed it again in the spring. Like clockwork. I have several other pairs of trousers that only get worn for half the year) or just writing them off as essentially a more sophisticated toile.
It’s a shame, as I was particularly proud of the waistband on those – to keep my pinstripes going nicely all the way round, rather than cut the curved waistband piece I cut a straight strip and then put darts in it to create the curve, hiding them behind the belt loops.
After the pinstripes, I folded a chunk out of the back leg pattern piece as the legs were madly wide and the inseam trying to get around to the front – I think, in hindsight, I should have anticipated this would need doing when I shortened the trousers quite so much, as taking out such a huge chunk of length distorted the proportions of the leg pieces.
I already have another version cut, and for this version I also raised the waistband somewhat. I’m getting there. The black-and-whites are already the best-fitting pair of trousers I own, further minor tweaks notwithstanding.
I’ve even worn them in public, to a pub meetup with some LARP friends, and felt entirely vindicated in my fabric choice when six different people complimented me on them.
Final image of me looking all smug in my trousers, because damn I am proud of myself!