I realise that “Paprika Palisade Pants” would’ve had more pleasing alliteration but since I’ve nearly reached the point where I’ve lived more years in the UK than in the US (19 vs 23), I dislike using ambiguous terms that could be misconstrued. And “trousers” if more definitive than “pants”, which has wildly different meanings based on your geography (the reason I tended to use “bottoms” or “leggings” in my book, too).
In any case, these were an attempt to kickstart my missing sewing mojo and make something comfortable and useful for my yes-I’m-still-shielding-at-home life. I’ve sewn the Closet Core Patterns “Pietra” trousers three times now and have literally worn holes into my first pair, but I wanted to sew something a little different and thought I’d branch out and try the Papercut Patterns “Palisade Pants” which I’d bought in a recent sale. I mean, come on, that pocket detail!!
I’d bought some gorgeous enzyme washed linen in “Paprika” from Like Sew Amazing over the summer and had plenty enough to make these, plus I thought a bit of colour was in order after a very long winter. This exact colourway is now sold out but “Rust” is rather similar if you’re thinking of making your own.
I’ve probably got enough gold medals at this point but I still feel I deserve yet another one just for cutting and sewing anything during extreme building works! My sewing room door has (temporarily) been replaced by a nailed-up bedsheet, our bedroom has a mountain of boxes on the bed, the door half-propped up while floiring is installed in the corridor outside, a bucket chair crammed in next to all of our art, and a folding cutting table wedged in alongside all that. I can only open up one of the leaves on the table, too, which makes cutting out fabric, err, “fun”.
The construction on this pattern is fine, but the amount of topstitched seams and the way the waistband is constructed means that you have zero opportunity to check the fit until the very last step (before hemming), so by that point it’s too late to change anything. Recently I’ve been measuring myself regularly in the hopes that my measurements will reflect progress in my restricted diet and at-home exercise even though my weight stubbornly isn’t, so I was certain that I was correct in choosing size Medium. I mean, I’m slightly bigger than Medium in the waist but actually 1cm smaller in the hips.
So it was with some surprise and a big WTF that I tried on the finished trousers to discover that they are really snug in the hips. Seriously, what?! I mean, nothing is ever snug in the hips on me (waist, yes, but never the hips). At which point I double-checked the measurement charts to discover that there’s only 4cm of wearing ease in the hips!? This isn’t even enough to cover the whole size, let alone provide enough ease to sit down. Argh!
Yes, I could’ve made a muslin, but life’s too short. But as I said, it’s also impossible to try these on until the very end, by which point it’s too late to unpick and sew them with smaller seam allowances – and since they’re only 1cm (3/8in) to begin with, you don’t have much room to play with anyway.
I’m wearing my recently made Named “Ruska” top here, which pairs nicely with these trousers!
Due to the tight fit in the hips, it means it’s pretty difficult to get my hands fully in those beautiful pockets, and anything thicker than my phone leaves a distinct bulge on the outside. Plus the faux-fly tends to pop open under the strain, which isn’t a great look either but at least that tends to be covered up by an untucked top.
On the plus side of things, the leg length and crotch are actually good – I usually have to lengthen legs but these are about where I’d like them. And the instructions were easy to follow with good illustrations, though they get points off for not having layered pdf files (these are from 2018 so released when layers were expected) and don’t list seam allowances on the pieces (they’re 1cm). The latter is a total bugbear of mine – don’t make me hunt through your instructions to find the seam allowance info buried in tiny print! Seam and hem allowances should be prominent on every single pattern piece!! (And yes, I practice what I preach with our FehrTrade patterns!)
You can also see the strain across the bum due to the lack of wearing ease in the hips…
Since sewing these, I’ve gone back and read others’ reviews on PatternReview and Instagram and could find no mention of anyone saying these had inadequate ease in the hips. I was starting to think I was going insane until someone kindly sent me the Threads magazine review from the Jan 21 issue, which notes the same problems with inadequate hip ease, mentioning that it’s not even enough to cover the body measurements up to the next body size!! So I’m glad it wasn’t just me and this certainly made me feel better about my larger-than-usual pandemic body.
The good news is that after wearing these for a day after the photoshoot, the linen did indeed relax a little bit to become more comfortable, though nowhere near as relaxed fit as the Pietras. I still really love the crossed-over double pocket on these, so I think for my next pair I’ll just graft this pocket onto the Pietras and get the best of both worlds. This is why we sew, right?