I find Spring dressing a little tricky. Typical April weather in Britain, for example, could be warm and sunny in the morning, with a chilly downpour topping off the afternoon. We’re definitely starting to see more sunshine, and I’ve already retired a few warmer dresses to the back of the wardrobe until Autumn rolls around again.
This year, I am attempting not to buy any clothes. And while, of course, I will undoubtedly wear shop-bought clothing that I already own, I really prefer to wear me-made. I have several great self-sewn dresses which I’ve been wearing in constant rotation all Winter, and now I’m feeling a little lost as I don’t have a great amount of Spring/Summer wear that I’ve made myself. I’ve always sewn a lot, but only recently got back into dressmaking and I’m playing catch-up.
So usually this is where I turn to a couple of pairs of comfy workhorse high-street casual trousers which see me through the changeable months. But, embracing the handmade, I really felt it was time to replace these with well-made, great fitting Spring trousers.
Enter Papercut Patterns Guise Pants.
I’ve spotted a number of great pairs of these trousers (sorry, but ‘pants’ is underwear to me!) on Instagram and various sewing blogs for example these great versions by Jolies Bobines and Sew Buzy Lizzy.
They’re a relaxed fit trouser with front pleats, part elasticated waist and a tapered leg. I recently bought some ‘chino’ style trousering from Croft Mill in tan and petrol which seemed like the perfect fit for the Guise Pants.
In keeping with my new sew-slow ethos, I did not rush myself with these. Such was my desire for a perfect pair of trousers. As usual I traced all my pattern pieces. Having done my research (reading lots of blogs and reviews), although the measurements on the pattern directed me towards a medium, I braved it and cut a small. I felt pretty confident doing this as I took a few measurements directly from the pattern, and also I know that I have made other Papercut patterns in a small. I have made trousers in the past where I erred on the side of caution and ended up with something too baggy.
I took my time with the sewing as there are some nice details which I really wanted to get right. For example, I haven’t sewn a zip fly for a number of years, and didn’t want to make a mess of it! Likewise with the back welt pockets – I’ve made them before, but have used a different method. While the fly went together without a hitch, I did have to unpick and re-do one of the welt pockets. A mystery as to why, as the other one was fine, but we are talking super-precision and I’m a perfectionist to a ridiculous degree! In the end, what seems unsuccessful at first is often forgotten when you move on.
I finished all the seams with my overlocker so the insides are pretty smart, and I continued the classic look with simple unbleached cotton pocketing.
I’m too lazy to make a toile, so whether or not the fit would be ok was just going to have to remain unknown until all the hard work was complete! It was a great moment though when the fly and pockets were finished and it was time to whizz up the seams. Even then, it’s impossible to make fitting adjustments until the waistband is on really.
The back of the waistband is elasticated, and I cut the recommended elastic for the size medium as I didn’t want to risk things being too small. It turns out this concern was completely unfounded though and after the initial safety-pin fit, I ended up taking several cms off the elastic.
When I finally pulled on the Guise Pants/trousers (!) for fitting, I was relieved that I went with my gut and made the small size! The fit was pretty good at the waist, but the backside was a little droopy and the thigh area somewhat voluminous. This is really saying something as, proportionally to the rest of me, I have fairly ‘ample’ thighs! I didn’t want to mess with the side seams, and there seemed to be an excess of fabric at the crotch and inner thighs, so I simply took the inside leg seams in by a centimetre or so. I basted this first to check that things seemed ok, and then on a whim at the sewing machine I re-stitched as much of the ‘backside’ seam as I could access, tapering in by about a centimetre. The result is a much more streamlined seat!
I will be marking these changes on the pattern for next time, as I think I like these trousers enough to make another pair. Another alteration I would make, is to add 1cm to the waistband pieces. I used the required 4cm elastic, and sewed my seams with the correct 1cm seam allowance, and yet I barely had 5mm overlap when it came to finishing the waistband seam. In fact, as mentioned by Ginger Makes, it would produce a neater finish to be able to turn under the inside waistband edge.
You can see from the image below that the 4cm elastic just barely fit into the waistband. Having anticipated the problem I actually sewed the channel with less than the standard 1cm seam allowance.
The only other change I made was to take a little length off the trousers – I didn’t even note how much but I wanted these to just skim my ankles, and I often wear this style turned up a little too.
Overall, these are incredibly comfortable trousers. I’m still debating whether I’m a fan of the part elasticated waist. In a way, it seems pointless, if you’re sewing a fly closure, not to have a nicely darted and fitted back. However, there isn’t much gather to the back so I don’t think it’s particularly unsightly, and it seriously adds to the comfort factor – bring on the ice-creams!