When I wrote about my black Arden pants, I think I mentioned that I had some other pairs planned/made (I can’t remember where I was with them), so hopefully it’s not too much of a surprise that I’m writing about another pair now! And they look like 2 different pairs, depending on which way around I stand! I love them!
My sister made a load of linen dresses last Summer and had some fairly large pieces leftover, which she very kindly gifted to me. Though there wasn’t enough of any of the colours to make a whole pair of Ardens so I went with colour-blocking several pairs, trying to pair the colours together in the best way across the 6 colours.
To cut the pieces out, I laid one colour on top of the other and cut out as I would have if the fabric had been one length, folded in half. The only change at the cutting out stage I made was to add seam allowance to the ‘cut on the fold’ edges of both waistband pieces, as they had to have half in each colour sewn together.
As with all my other pairs, I made the size 6 with no fitting changes, except a larger hem of 6cm.
I also deviated slightly from the order of the instructions, so I didn’t have to change thread colours more than was necessary (my sister had some matching thread of each colour left, too, bonus!). I did the front and back pockets of one colour, then repeated both on the other colour – the instructions obviously have you do both front pockets, then the back ones
I made sure where there was top stitching, to match the colours – so this meant changing half way around the waistband and when top-stitching the inner leg seam. Thankfully the hems were fine – one of each colour!
I really do love the Arden pattern – and I’ve made it so many times now, I don’t even really need the instructions! As I mentioned I’ve got 2 more pairs to share coming up, and some other makes I managed to squeeze in before I moved house last week.
After wearing the navy and mustard double gauze versions loads during the lovely hot weather we were having in the UK and realised I could do with a black pair to go with more things in my wardrobe – I know it’s boring, but most of my clothes go with black if not navy!
The fabric is a linen and cotton blend – I was going to get just linen, but I thought with some cotton mixed in they might crease a bit less when worn, not that I have a particular problem with creasing. It was also a little cheaper than the 100% linen. It was from the local sewing shop near where my sister lives, which is surprisingly great for such a tiny town in south Lincolnshire! It has lots of great garment fabrics (as well as some quilting cottons) and a good range of indie patterns.
As with my other pairs, I made the size 6 with no adjustments. I really do like how quickly this pattern comes together – I like a more involved project sometimes, but not having to do a fly is also bliss!
I did a 6cm hem in total – I did a 7cm hem in my previous pairs – and I’m not really sure why I did it differently!
I finished these trousers last month and they’ve already got quite a lot of wear – I definitely crave looser clothes in hot weather, it’s way too constricting to be wearing jeans!
Do you make multiple versions of patterns when you find one you like? I definitely do – often I’ve made patterns in pairs in the past, but I also have some patterns I go back to more often than others, like shirt patterns and the dawn jeans!
If you don’t follow me on YouTube (or Instagram) you may not have seen that I have made rather a lot of underwear in the last few weeks! I have a whole new underwear wardrobe, which is awesome because I was getting a bit low on pants – does anyone else find lots of pairs seem to wear out all at the same time, leaving you with barely a week’s worth? Well I no longer have that problem, lol.
Fair warning: there are a lot of photos in this post. You can see a video of all the combinations on YouTube or Instagram Reels.
The 2 patterns I used for all of these makes were the Sophie Hines Axis Tank – which I took off 5cm from for the bralette versions and added 7cm to for the vest versions; and the Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants – which is free, and which I added 4cm to the rise of as I like my pants to sit slightly higher. The Axis Tank goes up to a 50″ bust, 42″ waist, and the Acacia Pants go up to a 48″ waist and 58″ hip. It’s free to newsletter subscribers.
I decided I wanted most of my underwear to be made from nice, breathable jerseys. I did use some random stuff from the stash (the navy, mustard stripe and navy stripe) but I also ordered some bamboo jerseys from Ray Stitch, plus the mustardy-peach was a different organic jersey (but not bamboo).
This was my first time sewing with bamboo jersey and while it is really soft and lovely to wear, it wasn’t my favourite to sew with, if I’m honest. It’s very slippery and I’m often a bit slapdash with cutting out so some of my pieces maybe weren’t quite the exact right shape/size but it all seemed to work out okay in the end. I’m happy to have a break from sewing with it though!
I bought a bunch of foldover elastic from ebay and it obviously isn’t the best quality but it’s good enough and the thicker stuff I bought is actually a little too strong so it’s a delicate balance finding the right elastic, imho. I did have some bright blue elastic which was just about enough for one pair of pants so I used it on a white pair for maximum contrast and I do love this pair!
I know it might be kind of a boring colour, but I think the grey ones might be my favourite. I only ordered white, black and navy elastic so I decided to use white elastic on the grey (I briefly considered black but it didn’t look as good) and I’m really happy with how they look.
I just realised I didn’t mention the sizes I made – I made the size xs of the Axis tank and the size 2 of the Acacia pants. My measurements are 32″ bust, 25″ waist, 35″ hip.
At some point in the last 18 months/ 2 years or so I decided I didn’t want to keep wearing underwired bras. In the Winter, working in a freezing cold bookshop, I’d be wearing 8 layers of clothes on average, so it really didn’t matter whether I had a bra on or not and I got used to not wearing them. Then when I tried after a break, I felt like the wire was REALLY digging into my ribs – I guess that was always the case, but I was used to it? I then decided I needed some soft bralettes for when I want a layer underneath my clothes. Luckily I don’t feel like I need the support of underwiring.
I had a mammoth cutting out session of cutting out all the things before I moved (at the beginning of May) so I would have some projects ready to go for after the move. I thought batch sewing would be fun – and the actual construction seams are really minimal across both patterns (2 gussets via the burrito method and side seams for the pants; and one back seam and 2 shoulder seams for the tank). But then there’s the hem bands and the elastic. I definitely would be happy to not sew any elastic for a while!
In total I made 4 pairs of pants in each plain colour (black, white, grey, navy, mustardy-peach) and 2 in the mustard stripe. Then I made 2 bralettes and one vest in each of the plain colours, plus one vest in each of the striped fabrics. It definitely should keep me going for a while! I could maybe cut out individual items when I’m next making a knit project to use up any scraps but I don’t want to batch in the same way again!
This striped fabric is actually a ponte and it doesn’t really have enough stretch to be as easy to get on and off or as comfortable to wear.
I am digging how from the back it looks like an old fashioned style swimming costume! I was thinking before I took all these photos that actually these 2 patterns could make a good bikini-type swimming costume. I would leave the pants as they are and maybe use the original length of the Axis Tank for the top – I think the vest is a little too long and the bralette a little too short. Not that I ever wear swimming costumes, but I’m kind of digging the idea now I’ve thought of it! I might keep my eyes open for some nice swim fabric (oooh, maybe a mix and match set with 2 pairs….)
I do really love this fabric. It’s been sitting in my stash for ages, waiting for the right project and I’m glad I’ve finally used some up. I think I might still have enough left for a t-shirt so I might have to move that to the top of my to-make list. I’m definitely craving some simpler projects to cleanse my palette from the endless elastic and hem band sewing!
I said for the longest time that I wasn’t going to bother making underwear as it would be too fiddly, I can buy it and there are more fun and exciting projects to make! But then last year I was furloughed for months and months and so had the time to work through my whole back-catalogue of projects I wanted to make and so suddenly making underwear seemed useful instead of a waste of time. I maybe could have made fewer items (lol) but at least I’m all set for a good while. Now I’ve finished them all, maybe I can make some completely frivolous frosting makes to try different fabrics? Or do some proper full on tailoring? Or some hand sewn projects? Who knows…..
And the Arden Pants are no exception! I haven’t bought many (if any?!) patterns in absolutely ages but when I saw the Arden pants, I knew the pieces of double gauze I’d been hoarding in my stash since last year would be perfect! I initially thought about making one colour into trousers and the other into a top but I’m so glad I made them both into trousers – I have plenty of tops after my Inari-making binge (1, 2, 3)!
The fabric was from Fabric Godmother last year when I left my previous job in June. They actually still have both listed though only the navy is currently in stock – the navy is here and the mustard/gold is here (but out of stock atm).
This was my first time working with double gauze and I found it okay. It does kind of wrinkle up loads when you pre-wash it and then I read some stuff about how it’s up to you how flat you want it ironed to before you start your project. It’s supposed to have a bit of texture so I ironed out the worst wrinkles and went from there. I have heard double gauze can be a bit shifty – because there are 2 layers which slide past each other – but I think because this was a relatively simple pattern it worked fine.
I made the size 6 and made no fitting adjustments apart from taking up a 7cm hem in total as I wanted them to graze my ankles. I did find the fabric had a slight tendency to ever so slightly stretch out a little when being top-stitched (like on the edges of the pocket openings) and I didn’t do absolutely all the top-stitching the pattern called for because I wanted a looser, breezy vibe, rather than having that jeans-style stitching. I did top-stitch the crotch seam, though, to strengthen the seam that will get the most strain!
I slightly had to fudge the back pockets because of my shoddy cutting-out skills! When will I learn to take more time over cutting out shifty fabrics? At this point probably never! 😂
I also discovered that double gauze (or this double gauze specifically) frays like a bitch! I over-locked everything to make sure the trousers weren’t going to just disintegrate as soon as I wore them twice!
I would definitely recommend this pattern if you’re looking for a nice, stylish but relatively simple first foray into sewing trousers/pants. The construction is very similar to the Hudson Pants but it has a higher rise, which I much prefer. I love my Hudsons but I wish they came up a little higher on my waist (obviously I can adjust that if I make them again). They are also super comfortable because of the loose fit and the elasticated waist.
My only regret with making these Ardens is that I made them probably too late in the year to really get any wear out of them until next Summer. Here in the UK we have now entered the, like, 8 month period where the weather is shit and I’m cold ALL THE TIME. Although I’ve made all the things since the beginning of lockdown, I think I need more cold-weather options so I’m not quite so grumpy for the next few months!
Do you have a favourite easy to wear trouser pattern? I think this might be my new fav!
These are my Simplicity 1696 trousers in navy twill, which I’ve been saying I would make since October!!!! I finally finished them! OMG! It turns out it’s almost as difficult to photograph navy blue as it is black!
I did have to make a few changes to the pattern to get it to this level of fit, which is still not perfect. Any tips on tweaks I can make will be gratefully received! I took about 4cm off each outside leg seam and 2cm from the inside leg seams. I also had to shave a little of fullness of the bum curve and angle in the waistband, but I didn’t note down by much, which is stupid because I’ll have to work it out again if I make these again!
I think the tweaking of the outside seams means that the pockets now stick out a little from the line of the trousers, but I’m not too bothered about it to be honest. The pockets are nice and deep, which I like! Also I wore these to work (exactly like this, with my melilot shirt) and no-one said anything, so clearly they weren’t thinking ‘wow, those trousers look weird.’
I think the fit is a little bit less good across the back. The pattern gives you room to tweak the fitting as you go, but I maybe will count these as a wearable toile and make some more adjustments if I make them again. There are some drag lines across the back of my thighs, so I’ll need to work out how to fix that!
This side view photo is possibly one of the least flattering photos I’ve taken of me wearing something I’ve made. My natural posture (if I’m not thinking about standing up straight) is with a pretty curved back and with my stomach sticking out (and with hunched shoulders too!), which is particularly unfortunately if I’m a bit bloated, as I was when I took these photos! I’m not pregnant, I promise!
I feel like these trousers may not be the most flattering shape on me – they do make my bottom half look quite heavy, but I don’t really mind as they are comfortable. I was conscious not to over-fit the waistband so they’d still be comfortable to sit down in.
Speaking of sitting down, here’s a close up of my arse! The fake welt pockets are definitely not my finest work, but hey ho. I’d almost rather have done real ones to be honest, or left them off as they were a kind of irritating fiddley step, but without the payoff of actual pockets!
And here’s a close-up of the front. I’m pretty happy with how the fly turned out as it did not look like this when I first sewed it, so there was some unpicking and some fiddling to get it looking okay. I also got a bit confused by the pockets, but luckily I had made the moss skirt for my sister, which has a similar pocket/fly arrangement, so I managed to figure it out. I think part of the problem is that it’s so long since I made a big 4 pattern, I was unfamiliar with their instructions – I’m too spoiled by the extra help and sewalongs that indie patterns give you. The button was just one from my stash.
I can’t think of much else to say about these trousers, except I MADE MOTHERF*CKING TROUSERS!!!! I’m pretty please with myself, if you can’t tell!
I’ll leave you with these outtakes from my photoshoot. The boyfriend suggested we take an action shot of me walking in the trousers and this is what happened……
This is me trying to think of other interesting ways to photography navy blue trousers, but it looks like I’m talking to our penguin (which doesn’t have a name, any suggestions?)
Then I gave up trying to think of photos so just posed with the penguin!
Have you tackled trousers yet? Have you been scared like me?