a few years ago i was seduced by this dressmaking pattern from Hot patterns. i love 1930's and 40's fashion and loved the period vibe of the trousers or 'pants' as they are called, so ordered the pattern from Susan at Sewbox. The following post shares my inital thoughts when making the toile over 2 years ago, leaving it as i thought they would never suit me and then my revisiting the pattern and finishing the trousers a few months ago.
Hot patterns is an independent pattern company that i had not previously used . Based in the US, it was set up in 2005 by Trudy and Jeremy, both originally from London who focus on easy wear high fashion styles plus some lovely vintage inspired styles.
I was looking forward to trying the pattern. It came in a useful large envelope with the multi-sized pattern printed on durable strong pattern paper. I have to admit that i was a little disappointed that there were no illustrated instructional steps and only wording as i am a visual learner as are many of my students. Sewbox do now mention this and advise that the patterns are not suitable for complete beginners. On looking at the hot pattern website it looks like they are addressing this and starting to add illustrations too. The pattern is rated advanced beginner, and details a fly zip, some easy to make belt loops, a curved waistband and the turn ups.
When i make patterns usually freestyle and check up on techniques i am less confident with in one of my sewing books. The instructions state the process of putting the garment together and anticipate that you had already made a muslin (toile) before starting to check for fit; this is something i would definitely advise, especially when using a new pattern company.
One mistake in choosing this pattern was to think that my legs were as long as the drawn models on the front, not so, i'm afraid! My advice to my students is to always do an image search for the pattern you are wanting to make as this gives a real version of what the pattern looks like made up on real people with real proportions. it can also help with showing variations in different fabrics. Sadly this search didn't throw up many images so i started with my toile. (still thinking my legs would look fabulous and long!)
Since making more clothes for myself these past few years (before this i made for others mainly whilst working as a costumier), i have learned more about my own proportions; my natural waistline is actually very high (and my crotch very low), which can make it look like i have short legs! I am still working on being objective about my figure and trying to enhance the good bits... it is a learning curve and so much harder to do on oneself. i think i much prefer to make for others. having said that i would love a totally me-made wardrobe.
The toile (made to a size 14) showed that i needed to add 5cms in the crotch length to accommodate my high waist. As i also have a hollow back i needed to shape in at the waist and took 2cms out of the centre back. I made the toile in calico and have some terrible pictures which i am not sharing.... i then recut the garment in some linen which i had brought really cheaply as light damaged stock from a mill shop and set to making it up.
I then got to a stage where i thought that they just didn't suit me and what was i thinking. The design is a full leg with large turn ups but they felt like clown pants... i got disheartened and put them to one side and there they stayed for hmm, about 2 years.
A few months ago i took them in the the dressmaking class i co-teach, for a laugh really, and also to illustrate that we all get it wrong sometimes . I put them on and my teaching collegue said she liked them, i was shocked. She fitted them on me and she agreed that the turn up was too large so i reduced it to 2.5cms and set about completing the alterations, adding the waistband and finishing them. I have to say that they are so comfy and i really like them now ; )
I found a lovely belt which finishes them off perfectly and they go well with my new Jasmine blouse from Colette patterns. Here i am unleashing my inner 'land girl' digging the spuds in my brother in laws vegetable garden. I now want to make some in a harder wearing cloth so i can wear then for veg volunteering at my local CSA. maybe i will make some proper land girl dungarees too?
I am learning more about my own figure and starting to find clothes that suit me and 'feel' me so my advice to myself is to keep on making and to use my friends experience to gain a more objective perspective and also to be my 'fit buddy'.