I’ve been working quite a lot lately and so any ‘spare’ days off have been carefully planned.; in the case of last week, it was for sewing. As you can imagine I have amassed quite a lot of commercial sewing patterns in the last 7 years; some vintage or reproduction vintage; some contemporary; and some just old and given to me by relatives who no longer sew. I was going through my pattern stash, trying to decide what to make, when I came across this very 80s Vogue pattern for an Issey Miyake design, Vogue 1693. The styling was awful, what with the hair/makeup on the model as well as that horrid oversized oatmeal colour on the pattern envelope; but upon examining the pattern I discovered that there were pieces for a pair of high-waisted, wide-legged trousers.
Additionally, the trouser pattern was in my exact size (not always the case). This was really exciting – I could see so much potential for these trousers. What’s more, after not that much searching, I found a piece of linen in a box in a beguiling shade of indigo – with the exact amount required to cut the trousers! The box of fabric from whence the linen came is one passed onto me by my mother, containing cloth she amassed over ten years ago and never touched; she hasn’t really done any sewing since I was a baby. I found the zip (in exactly the right length!) and the buttons in my stash as well. A trip to the local fabric store for thread later, and I was all set to make what I’ve been referring to as my ‘holiday trousers’.
Although I love wearing dresses, trousers (most often paired with a striped jersey top) are what I wear all the time, and nearly every day. They are practical and comfortable; you never have to worry about hemlines creeping up as you walk, or skirts flying up in the wind. They are warm as well as cooling, when you walk in wide-legged trousers. In fact apparently I wear them so much that after wearing a skirt to work on a hot day, my colleagues claimed to have never seen my legs before and wouldn’t stop commenting on them!
These trousers didn’t take that long to sew, but to be honest I wouldn’t recommend the pattern to a beginner sewer simply because the directions were not very clear. It annoys me when instructions are sparse in words as this leads to a lot of confusion (unless you are more experienced and know what you are doing). Nonetheless they weren’t very difficult to make. Becoming more experienced in sewing is fun because my expanded, informed knowledge of different techniques and approaches allows me to make specific decisions relating to the circumstances. My experience in tailoring informs me to always double-stitch a crutch seam, as well as pocket bags. (The instructions omitted these steps, which I consider very important). Speaking of pocket bags, I couldn’t find any dark coloured pocketing, so used this strange bear-clown children’s print that I found in my stash…
The project set me back just £6 for the thread – my bargain-hunting, clutter-reducing self is immensely pleased! As a side note, I have been constantly referring to these as holiday trousers because I am going to Brittany for a week in August and although the weather is like England and therefore there is no guarantee of sun, linen is surely a requirement for travels abroad – not that I will be going down the Nile on a cruise (surely the epitome of the imagery of cream linen dresses and tailoring). There’s something very haughty and imperialistic about linen, especially linen tailoring; but in any case these trousers were cut after a Japanese designer, and linen is definitely significant in that cultural aesthetic as well. In any case I am of course totally unprepared for the holiday and have not done much about packing for it. Having a new item of clothing is always nice though!