Thursday, 12 March 2015

Minerva Bloggers Network - Trousers - 1, Waistcoat - 0

As you've probably worked out from the title, for this month's Minerva Blogger Network Project, I had some success and some failure. I decided on a waistcoat and trouser outfit, inspired by this photo of David Bowie, circa 1976:

David Bowie during his Thin White Duke phase, 1976
I started with the trousers, which were copied from an old pair I already had. I purchased these Claudie Pierlot trousers over 10 years ago, and rediscovered them recently when I was having a big wardrobe clearout:

It's hard to see details in the photos (so hard to photograph black!), but they're flat fronted, mid rise, wide legged trousers with a curved waistband. There are pockets in the side seams, as well as one on the left back. There are also little details like this overlapped waistband closure:

The trousers themselves are a bit worn out, with the fabric a bit shiny in places. They're also a bit tight around my backside. So unlike my previous Libertine coat copy, I had no qualms with picking these trousers apart and using them as my pattern, which you'll see below:

The unpicked trousers - from top: pocket pieces, left and right waistband,trousers front and back

This bit was relatively easy - I just added 5/8"/1.5 cm to each seam as well as an extra 1/4"/5 mm to the centre back, then cut the pieces out. I copied the dart from the back onto my new pieces, and stuck with the 2 1/2" hem from the original. I used a cotton sateen with 3% spandex from Minerva which was just perfect for the occasion - it irons well and doesn't fray too much.

These trousers were a great learning experience for me because it's the first time I've used an overlocker to finish seams on a tailored garment, as you can see below:

It all felt a bit upside down to me - I had to overlock many of the pieces before constructing the garment, and so had to re-think the order in which I would normally work. But on the whole I'm happy with the way it worked out. And I'm actually starting to really enjoy using the overlocker; the straight stitch machine feels so slow in comparison!

Here's the finished product:

I changed the original welt pocket on the back to a false pocket flap:

And without focusing on my bottom for too long, I think the combination of the stretch fabric and the extra seam allowance on the back seam has resulted in a pretty good fit!

And I love the width of the leg, as well as the side seam pockets:

Side seam pockets
One thing I added that's not in the original pair of trousers was a half lining to the back pieces. I always think this helps prolong the life of the garment, and prevent bagging in the seat area.

Inside view of the half lining
So where's the waistcoat? Well, that was a total fail. Instead of resembling the Thin White Duke, I looked more like this:

Wendy Jans, professional snooker player
Incidentally, if you Google 'female snooker players' you get a stupid amount of shots of women leaning over snooker tables showing acres of cleavage. This was virtually the only one where the subject was covered up.

I used this pattern, graded up to my measurements:

McCall's 9722, circa 1954
I thought this was the right amount of tailoring, but with enough feminine fit not to look too 'Annie Hall'. But I messed around with the fit for days, and eventually gave up. This is the only picture I took:

As you can see, it's not fitted enough through the bust and waist. The back piece and the arms/shoulders are fine, but I just got bored with it. I've redrafted the pattern, and I think I have just enough fabric left to make another one, so watch this space. I will not let it defeat me!

See you soon!


  1. Sew Little Time12 March 2015 at 22:54

    The fit of the trousers looks awesome. Shame the waistcoat didn't work out tho!

  2. Your trousers are lovely, and I'm really impressed with how you made the pattern. I don't think I'd be brave enough to cut up the originals! Lynne


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