Looking through my pattern stash/library I realised that quite a lot of my old Vogue patterns are graded ‘Advanced/Plus difficile’. Why is that phrase so appealing to me? It just reveals that side of me that can’t resist a challenge. At times I think I’ve viewed my sewing like an extreme sport, the more challenging the better. Making has been a long exciting learning curve and I am technically minded and transactional, in as much as each new project had to offer me some new skills.
If I have time this fabulous suit by Montana for Vogue is coming to America with me.
A tailored jacket and jeans, it’s got a bit of a biker vibe going on in the asymmetrical zip and the gusseted knee effect on the trousers. The ‘difficile’ part comes from the many pieces involved in the Harley Davison-meets-couture style of the jacket.
Just looking at this diagram makes me squirm a bit, look how narrow the hips are and also how flat the bum will be too. I’ve never altered a trouser pattern before, apart from a simple lengthening of a leg. However, the combination of that low waist and curve-free hips and bum mean I will be attempting my first serious adjustments. Full what adjustment? – FBA no that’s taken – FRA, F(at)AA? What’s the correct name for making room for my derriere? What I do like are the side panels and the knee sections to play with and provide a bit of variety.
I decided to make the trousers first as I think they will be a little less ‘difficile’. The pattern has these cool biker style details in the panelled knees, but this is not actually difficult to achieve, it just means there are more seams and a lot of topstitching.
This gorrrrrrrrgeous gold coloured stretch denim has lived with me for about a year and I knew I wanted to make some jeans with it. The denim came from Sherwoods Fabrics and guess what it’s called? Elvis!
This pattern has many embellishments. The knee panels – is there a proper name for these – are assembled and topstitched to give a panelled look.
Hindsight is kicking my butt here. I had decided on subtle lines and matched the thread to the fabric, I thought the texture would do the work but the fabric is really fine and although you can see the detail if you look closely, it doesn’t stand out. I really, really wish I had used a contrast thread now. There’s a lot to be said for Less is more but I really think I needed MORE is MORE!
More embellishment with zippered pockets on the jeans. I think when this pattern was made there must have been far fewer sources for notions as they advise purchasing zips which need cutting down. I dutifully followed the instructions then realised I could probably have bought the zips at the correct size now. Pulling teeth out of a metal zip is like … well… pulling teeth! Nevermind, I did them, just about.
I hate making a muslin because I resent the time and fabric required to do a practise run, I also tended to trust the pattern as their standard sizes used to work more or less out of the pattern and I used to blame any poor fitting on my lack of skill. I’m not that standard size anymore so I need to test. So I’m mending my ways.
Guess what? I didn’t make a muslin and I’m paying for it. These trousers are very helpful as they have a side panel and I used this to allow a little extra room for the bum bum. However, I didn’t adjust the crotch line. D’oh. I’m shaped like a Black woman, Baby got back! So I always have an issue with the front rise being too long and the back too short, this is not something I’m unaware of but for some reason, I decided to just press on regardless.
When I got to that point at which you can fit a pair of jeans (i.e. nearly the end) I found that the back rise was indeed very short. I had to do a make do and mend remedy by creating a little ‘yoke-let’ to fill in the gap.
Another issue came with the leg width. The pattern image looks like skinnies which I like, but once I had widened the side panel to accommodate my rear, the legs now resemble tree trunks. They are very wide and didn’t do justice to the panelling detail at the knee. I took a slice out of the side panel but I didn’t want to take too much or that ruins the line of the panel. Grrr! Straight legs it is rather than skinnies.
However, despite there being some hiccups and it not being quite as I envisaged, this was indeed a very satisfying project. Intricate enough to keep the interest and give a bit of extra. And just look at them in the New England fall landscape.
The verdict: I love these trousers I think the style is really me even though I thought I wanted skinnier fit legs. It was easy to put together and I know what adjustments to make for another pair – I’m pretty sure I will make more of these, just in a darker fabric with contrast stitching to showcase the topstitching. I also think I will use a heavier denim than this one; while pretty, it really shows the creases and doesn’t feel quite firm enough to hold the shape I like.
I consider this a win budget wise too as I’ve made from my fabric and pattern stashes so the only additional spending was for the zips that I used. All other trimmings: thread and fastenings were also from my supplies.
What are you sewing from your pattern stash?
Thanks for the visit.