I love wearing trousers and jeans, but I do seem to have a problem with getting a good fit at the waist. My shape is very much a straight up-and-down, sometimes described as “athletic”, although I’m not sure that that is a truly accurate description of my un-sporty physique! Many of my RTW trousers and jeans I can actually pull on and off without having to undo the zip and button, as my waist is not much narrower than my hips. Wearing a belt is an absolute necessity for me in order to keep my trousers or jeans at the waist and can make airport travel interesting when I have to wander around without a belt!
Anyway, last year I made a pair of Papercut‘s Peter and the Wolf trousers. This is a pattern that I fell in love with – they are such an interesting and unique design. I particularly like the style lines at the yoke and the interesting scalloped hem. I made two-tone wolfie trousers and I like them and wear them…a lot. However, they do not have belt loops and I do find that in the morning I am constantly hitching them up at the waist, but in the evenings they fit well. I really feel that fit isn’t the problem here, just my waistline changing during the day. I decided that perhaps a different approach to waistline construction was in order.
I had these thoughts – I could add some belt loops and top-stitching like Closet Case Files Ginger jeans. Fine, but the side opening wasn’t going to work with a conventional belt, so a front fastening would be needed too. I could add a graded waistband too. I have already made a Grainline Moss Skirt and this has a shaped waistband.
So my plan was to make a pair of trousers with a large dollop of Wolf, several teaspoons of Moss and a sprinkling of Ginger. Sounds like a rather nasty witches’ brew!
As you’ll see this isn’t a dramatic re-imagining of the pattern visually, but structurally it was a very different beast from the original. I took the fly guard and fly shield pattern pieces from the Moss Skirt pattern for the fly zip and the shaped waistband pattern piece was also taken form the Moss skirt pattern.
Here are the my construction steps:
- As I had made the Peter and the Wolf trousers before, I cut my slightly altered size S pattern out. I had made the legs slightly slimmer than the pattern and kept the butt and waist roughly as per the pattern. The only pattern piece I didn’t cut out was the waistband. Instead I cut out the fly guard, fly shield and waistband from the Moss skirt pattern.
- Next, I followed the Peter and the Wolf instructions. I sewed the front pockets and the side and centre front leg pieces together. (Basically stopping at the point in the instructions where the front crotch seam is sewn.) I also completely sewed the back of the trousers which involved sewing the side and centre back leg pieces together and then sewing the two legs together at the crotch seam.
- At this point I marked the point where the fly zip closure was going to end on the front crotch seam. I then sewed the front crotch seam, from the bottom to the point which I had just marked on the fabric. I then added some top-stitching to the crotch seam as per the Ginger jeans instructions.
- Then, I followed the Moss skirt instructions to insert the fly zip.
- For the waistband, I also followed the Moss skirt instructions.
- Next, I hemmed the trousers using the scalloped hem method in the Peter and the Wolf instructions
- I added a buttonhole and button, just like in the Moss skirt instructions.
- And finally, I added belt loops followed the Ginger jeans tutorial. I particularly liked the suggestions for machine tacking down the belt loops before trying to bar tack them to the trousers. This worked well. Belt-loops are pesky little things that like to move around and this really helped. I would have tried the fabric glue suggestion, but I didn’t have any glue hanging around. Perhaps a technique for next time.
All in all, roughly half the steps in the Peter and the Wolf pattern were re-jigged with Moss skirt instructions or Ginger jeans instructions. It was a challenge to remember what instructions I was following especially as I don’t often get long spells at the sewing machine.
Overall, I am very pleased with my new Peter and the Wolf trousers – or can I call them jeans? They are made from a dark indigo stretch denim from Ditto fabrics. I pre-washed the denim, but I did end up with indigo-dyed fingers when I made the trousers. White sofas, beware! The fabric almost has a shininess – I thought this was great at first, but now I’m just a little worried now that it seems to show up every wrinkle. It makes the trousers look like they need a good iron. Actually I’m not sure I did iron them before I wore them…..
I also used a salvaged zip (from an old RTW pair of jeans, a button and lots of top-stitching. The top-stitching is in grey, not what would normally be seen on jeans and looks quite subtle.
I have been wearing my new trousers all day and just to test the “stay-up-at-the-waist” features I wore them without a belt. I was not at work today, but spent a very pleasant day at Batsford Arboretum, where I took all the photos. More pictures of the trousers and Batsford Arboretum on my blog.
My day consisted of a fair amount of walking and I can report that they stood up to the test and I didn’t have to hitch them up at the waist once! This is certainly a hack I’d do again!