Way back in the mists of time (about 30+ years ago) I made a pair of dungarees for my sister when she was expecting her first child. At the time I full intended to make a pair of dungaees for myself. Time has passed and over the years I acquired several patterns for dungarees but just never got around to making them.
Two weeks ago I was shopping in Sainsburys and decided to have a browse down the clothing aisle. In the ‘reduced’ section I came across a single pair of Indigo denim dungarees – in just my size! They were reduced to £7.20 and I knew that I had £7.50-worth of loyalty points so…..no brainer, the dungarees were quickly put into my shopping trolley!
When I returned home, I tried on the dungarees and was delighted to find that they fit! Only problem was that they were sized for someone at least 5’6” tall whereas I am only 5’4”. Not really a problem. I cut off 1inch from each leg, added some pretty ‘scissor-print’ cotton binding and turned up 1¼ inches. I had some Orange thread and using a stitch length of 3.5mm machine top stitched the hems in place. Perfect!
I have purchased some pretty jazzy cotton print to make a ‘Gilbert’ shirt by Helen’s Closet to go with the dungarees and will be able to channel my Childrens’ TV presenter vibe –
Hot on the heels of the Texas pants #5 and having seen the Mustard Baby cord piled next to the latest ‘Smooth Sailing’ Blouse I knew that the next project needed to be trousers. As I am not yet ‘ready’ to toile the ‘Smooth Sailing’ trousers, my version of Texas it had to be.
Cutting out took just 1.70 metres (x 140cms wide) of the 2 metres purchased recently from a_fabrics an eBay seller for a total of £19.78. To be honest I was a little disappointed in the quality of the fabric. It seems to me to be very thin and although it is listed as Baby cord I was expecting something with a little more substance. A lesson learned. The pocket linings were cut from scraps of the Autumnal coloured ‘fruity’ cotton lawn recently used to re-fashion one of my Vogue 8577 dresses.
Construction was plain sailing (if you will excuse the pun!) the only alteration to version #5 was to extend the front crotch depth by 1 inch.
The side seams are top stitched and the deep hems are also machine stitched. Once again I omitted the ‘paper bag’ top of the waistband as I am unlikely to wear the trousers with a top tucked in.
Apart from the ‘Smooth Sailing’ blouse I have a good selection of viscose and cotton prints that will coordinate well with the Mustard colour.
So much so that I am considering making a ‘Jane’ pinafore dress in a Mustard corduroy, denim or drill so that I can get even more wear out of these pretty prints.
I just don’t seem to be able to leave this pattern alone. Once the bit is between my teeth I am determined to make the pattern work!
For this latest version I used the ‘hacked’ size 22 and some Grey stretch polyester suiting that has been in my stash for at several years (inherited from a great friend who died 10 years ago). The pocket linings are made from a remnant of duvet cover that I used for toile dressmaking.
Nowadays my version of Texas bears no resemblance to the original by StyleArc patterns. I have reduced the front crotch length, extended the back crotch length, shortened the length of the legs, removed approximately 2 inches from each of the side seams, shortened the pocket length by 2 inches, removed the ‘paper bag’ top of the waistband, only did single lines of top-stitching and changed the order of construction. So now they are at most a size 20, probably nearer an 18.
Whilst I am pleased with the end result I must conclude that at present, due to a bloated tummy, I do not have a figure for trousers but when worn with a long tunic or over shirt they are fine.
I plan to transfer some of the design details from the ‘Texas’ to a button-through skirt for construction later in the Autumn season. Watch this space.
Back in May I declared that I would concentrate on refining a new pattern for trousers, culottes and also a jumpsuit. Well that did not happen! I was seduced by the Texas pattern by Style Arc and made it up no less than 4 times.
Unfortunately not a single pair is spot- on in terms of fit. One pair were made using NEW fabric – a stretch denim from Minerva.
The reason that pair were not perfect is due mostly to my choice of fabric. The denim was too stiff but I hope it will soften up with wear and wash. In the meantime, some alterations were necessary.
First I cut away the pockets. Two reasons: a) the pocket bags were too long b) three layers of this stiff fabric was interfering with the drape of the trousers. I left the top-stitching in place so now I have ‘faux side pockets’.
Next, I decided to completely re-stitch the outside leg seams. This meant that I had to do a great deal of unpicking! I unpicked part of the waistband at each side, part of the hems on each leg plus the entire side seams that had been stitched with 4-thread overlocking PLUS twin needle top-stitching!
Next, I pinned down the side seams where I thought would be more appropriate before machine-tacking ready for a fitting. From the fitting I concluded that to take in by no less than 1 inch from each leg piece i.e. a total of 2 inches from each side seam was the way forward. I completed the alteration by machine stitching and overlocking the side seams, re-stitching the waistband and hems plus twin needle top stitching around the hems. I was unable to repeat the twin needle top stitching at the side seams as I could not manipulate through the inside of the legs. I good thorough press completed the project.
The Texas pants are not perfect but in this substrate are now a much better fit. I plan to re-draw the pattern taking into account all the various alterations and ….. hopefully will end up with a ‘perfect’ trouser pattern.
Trying to refine the Texas pants by Style Arc so that they fit my wonky figure has been a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Too big, too small and almost just right! Having worn the pants version #3 for a little while I realised that I needed more fabric to accommodate my tummy so that the side seams were not pulled to the front. I slashed and spread by ½ inch and extended the waistband by 1 inch.
For this 4th pair I decided to make the size 22 with the alterations and keep my fingers, eyes and legs crossed that they would be a good fit. If not, then I would wave farewell to the pattern and move on to something else!
For the the previous pair made to this size and altered pattern using a non-stretch poly/cotton, I found them just a little too snug. So…. using a stretch denim would seem to be the right choice. The fabric I used was a Stretch Denim bought from Minerva during one of their sales. 1.8m x 152cms wide for a total cost of £13.77 inclusive of £2.99 post & packing would seem to be good value for a custom fit pair of perfect cropped trousers.
With confidence I cut out and made up the trousers. I top stitched with the same colour thread as construction but the overlocking is done in White. This actually makes sense as the wrong side of the fabric is very pale and the White is a good choice.
Unfortunately, yet again they were not quite right. Nothing wrong with the fit this time, simply that the denim fabric is a little too stiff. The pockets are stitched to the front legs which means there are3 layers of fabric in that area. In hindsight, I also think the pockets are a little too deep but I will fix that should I ever make another pair!
I am pleased that I have been able to find two tops to coordinate with the trousers and when the weather cools down I am sure that I will wear them. In the meantime, a palate cleanser in the form of a simple blouse before I try the next trouser pattern.
Well here I am still trying to perfect the fit of the Texas pants. This is a little like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. First pair too big, second pair still too big but a little better, 3rd pair just about right!
I put on the first pair that I made using Navy poly/cotton exactly to the size 24. This made it easy to see where I needed to make the alterations. First I reduced the leg length by 1 inch. Then I reduced the front crotch depth by 1 inch at centre front shading to 0 at the side seam. I then slashed the pant leg from top to knee level (which is the point of the lengthen/shorten line), reducing the entire width x 1 inch. Then I slashed from top to crotch level and increased at waist x 1 inch shading to 0 at the pivot point. I amended the pocket bags to fit the new lines. Having done all this to the size 24 I then laid the size 22 over the top. It was almost exactly the same!! So….. I shortened the legs of the size 22 x 1 inch and re-drew the back crotch line (no hungry bum for me!). Reduced the front crotch depth x 1 inch and cut out the new pattern from Burgundy poly/cotton.
Pants construction: I am becoming very familiar with the instructions. I decided that to reduce the time taken to construct this third pair I would ignore the rows of contrast twin-needle top stitching. The construction and top stitching were all completed with the same coloured thread. I forgot to fold out the faux fly so this pair of pants does have the top stitching but so far I have not removed thebasting on the centre front seam. Before attaching the waistband I neatened the hems of the legs, turned up the 2 inches and top stitched in place.
Waistband: I left 1¾ inches open on the centre back seam of the waistband so that the elastic could be inserted later.
I was reminded of a different way to complete the inside of the waistband, I bound the edge with a remnant of pretty pink cotton. Pressed up the seam allowance of the pants to the inside of the waistband and the facing of the waistband down before ‘stitching in the ditch’ from the right side to secure. All that was left to do was to Insert elastic, check the fit and secure the ends of elastic with triple zig-zag stitch.
I am hoping that I am now ready to make a ‘perfect’ pair of Texas using some lovely Red stretch denim purchased from Minerva during one of their sales.
I was so pleased with the ‘wearable toile’ of these trousers that I zoomed ahead and cut out my second ‘real’ pair using some pretty floral printed stretch denim that was purchased a couple of years ago from New Threads Quilt Shop, The Fairground, Weyhill, Andover.
For this version I again cut the 24 but made a note to increase the seam allowance from 1cm to 1.5cms. I also folded back the front faux fly so that the centre front seam would be uninterrupted and reduced the length of the pants by 1 inch. This time the construction was much quicker as I sewed up the pants using the same colour thread for construction and twin-needle topstitching. The internal overlocking was still in White.
As I had previously ‘toiled’ the trousers, I did not stop to fit, just ploughed ahead. It was only when I had finished that I joyfully tried on the pants and checked them out in the mirror.
Oh no! Due to the floral print on the stretch denim they looked like nothing more than a pair of pyjama bottoms!
When I showed the finished trousers to my husband, he just smiled. I will not be wearing these anywhere in public – they will be reserved for working in the back garden where no-one can see me.
So now it is onwards and upwards as I check out patterns for dungarees……
For me May is the month of ‘Blossoms and Bottoms’. By Bottoms I mean trousers, skirts, culottes and jumpsuits. Earlier this month I made a pair of trousers in Khaki Ponte Roma using a TNT pattern Butterick 6388 but I would like to find a TNT pattern for use with woven fabrics and maybe some different styles of bottoms!
To start my quest I tried the Texas pants by Style Arc. Inspired by the coloured sketch of the pattern I used some plain Navy poly/cotton in my stash that was originally a king size sheet.
I cut a size 24 which I believed would be ample enough for my rubenesque figure. The pattern pieces appeared small and fitted easily onto a small section of the sheet. There is a great deal remaining, perhaps sufficient to try out the Zadie jumpsuit.
Cutting out did not take long, nor the construction. What did take the time was having to switch from Navy construction thread to Twin needle topstitching in the contrast White.
The instructions produced by Style Arc are fairly minimal and also when printed out, one needs a magnifying glass to read them. To help me through the process I typed my own set of instructions with amendments/reference to my particular construction tips and tricks.
I made my usual adjustment to the curve on the back crotch seam, lowering by 1inch to avoid having a ‘hungry bottom’. I top stitched the faux fly but have decided against adding buttons which would draw attention to my tummy. Next time I will fold back the faux fly on the pattern piece and make a straight centre front seam. I used my preferred method of attaching the waistband and inserting the wide elastic into the casing.
Conclusion: If using a fabric with stretch I will definitely need to downsize. If using a non-stretch fabric I will make a size 24 again but take extra wide seam allowances, as this pair are more than roomy enough.
From the illustration I thought that the pants would be 7/8ths length but forgot to measure the inside leg so on me they are full length. Next time I will shorten the length to around 24 inches. I enjoyed myself on this slow sew and look forward to ‘making my way to Texas’ again in the near future!
I previously made up this pattern using some Chocolate Brown Ponte Roma from 1st for Fabrics back in November 2018. I am very glad that I kept my notes and that enabled me to run up these trousers in record time.
I purchased 3 metres of this Khaki polyester/spandex Ponte Roma for £21.60 from an eBay seller.
Checking the measurement chart on the pattern I decided to make the XXL size – I could always take the trousers in, better to do that than make them too small! I checked the length by measuring the inseam and it was fine so went ahead and cut out the pattern. After cutting out the pattern I found that I had a 1.34 metres remnant, this has been put aside and may be used to make a simple skirt.
First step was to baste in the pleats at the front, plus add the pocket bags. All straightforward. As I had made up this pattern before, I stitched all the seams taking a full 5/8ths inch seam allowance with a narrow zig-zag stitch set at 1.00 width x 2.5 length.
The fitting revealed that again I needed to deepen the curve on the back crotch by about 1inch. By grading back to the original seamline this did the trick so no longer a ‘hungry bottom’! I added the waistband and inserted the elastic. I turned up the hems and using a straight stitch length 3.0 on the sewing machine sewed up the hems with 2 rows of stitching ¼ inch apart.
I am very pleased with these trousers that have been in my plans since I purchased the fabric back in November 2020 and complete my ‘Spring Greens & Daffodils’ collection.