After the success of James’s pandemic trousers (he’s barely taken them off since I gave them to him!), I decided that I needed some elastic-waisted joys of my own to wear while working from home (and relaxing from home, and eating from home, and socialising from home, and everything else from home!). And then I realised that I actually already had a casual woven trouser pattern (complete with separate drawstring waistband!) that I had printed onto A0 a few years back and never sewn – Seamwork Moji!
I was encouraged by the effect that sewing for my mom had had on my own sewing mojo, so I decided to stick with the theme of sewing for others and I turned my attention to my husband instead.
I’d bought La Maison Victor‘s special Menswear issue back in 2018 (which I bought first in French when it was originally released, and then, later, again when it was finally released in English). There were so many good menswear patterns in this issue – lots of interesting and different (but still wearable!) designs, but I thought that the “Jeff Trousers” in particular would be perfect for J’s new work from home lifestyle.
Hot on the heels of making my black linen pair of the fabulous Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants, I knew I wanted a decidedly winter version to wear and took a look in my stash to find some very soft and warm grey wool flannel, which I think was gifted to me by “Neighbour Helen” years ago and which I used to sew up a different pair of trousers a few years ago, too (still worn!).
I bought the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants pattern when it came out last summer, and even had it printed up in A0 shortly after, but only just not got around to sewing it up for myself, and I have no idea how I managed without them this long!
I decided to make them up in a black washed 100% linen from Textile Express (bought at the same time as the yellow ramie for my Cielo Top). My friend was like “linen trousers – in winter??” but this linen is a really nice, hefty weight that is perfectly warm enough for English winters. Absolutely not the thin drapey stuff you’d wear on a tropical holiday!! I’ve been trying to buy more sustainable and/or recycled fabrics and linen is one of the best sustainable fabrics out there. The downside, of course, is that linen = wrinkles! So please forgive that these are wrinkly in the photos purely because I’d been sat at my desk in the office for half a day before we took these!
I made two pairs of trousers last winter and never quite got around to taking proper photos of them, let alone blogging about them, what with the frenzy of book launch posts, then getting sick. So for completeness’ sake, and because they’re both great makes, I wanted to be sure I documented them properly.
It seems like no matter how many separates I make, I always seem to need more in my wardrobe. I feel like I do a pretty good job at sewing what I actually wear, but each morning when I go to get dressed for the office, I still end up reaching for the same few pairs of jeans and trousers, so I wanted to shake things up a bit and sew something outside my comfort zone that would still be useful and acceptable to wear to work.
After the excitement levels of the last few posts, I’ve got a decidedly less exciting make to share with you today. But frankly, our wardrobes need a mix of workhorse items that you can pair with all the showier makes, and mine was in particular need of office-appropriate trousers that weren’t jeans but I could still cycle in easily (unlike, say, my Named Jamie jeans, which are far too tight in the leg and low-rise for cycling, ergh).
So when I got an email that Style Arc had marked a number of their Amazon-stocked patterns on deep discount, I took the bait and bought myself the Brooklyn Pant pattern. I figured a knit trouser would be easily to cycle in, versatile, yet not look too scruffy. And the pockets were a bonus!
When you find yourself literally patching the patches on your first pair of cycling jeans, it’s the world’s way of telling you that you need to drop everything and make a replacement pair ASAP. Since I started cycling to work in January 2016, I’ve found my own balance of form and function to make cycle commuting work with my casual office. Since my commutes have only ever been 30-35min, it’s not really worth cycling in full lycra, so I tend to wear whatever bottoms I’d plan on wearing at the office (unless the forecast is wet, in which case I do wear lycra & pack a full change of clothes in my backpack).
The other week I shared some activewear topstitching tips and gave you a peek at some Steeplechase Leggings I was working on at the time. Despite running most days of the week, I generally only have 2 or 3 big races every year, and for these I like to make myself something new to race in. This means I get to mark the occasion and make it feel a bit more special, reward myself for the months of training, but also it means that I always think of that race whenever I wear the top/leggings/shorts in training afterwards.
My first big race of the season was Cambridge Half on Sunday. This is my second time running it, and back in 2015 I made my circuitboard Steeplechase Leggings to mark the occasion (and to appeal to the boffins of Cambridge!). Even though I’ve released quite a few patterns between then and now, I still find myself reaching for the Steeplechase when I want a quick sew that I know will work well in a race situation, so rather than use one of the new patterns I’ve got in development (which would also mean I couldn’t share any race photos yet!), I paired my old favourite pattern with some gorgeous blue & lime heathered supplex in my stash that I’d bought at Fabrics Galore last Fall (and as of January, they still have both colourways in stock at their Clapham store – get in touch with them to buy some as it’s LUSCIOUS!)
The top was one I’d made in the latter stages of pattern development out of some cheap viscose cotton lycra in Lilac from Tia Knight (so obviously not for exercise with a fibre content like that!), and the bottoms were a casual pair I’d made myself from some “shatta” print viscose jersey from my stash (originally from Fabric Godmother but long sold out). I really wanted a pair of casual bottoms for lounging around the boast in over the holidays, and since all my previous samples were in solid colours, it was a nice opportunity to show you want they look like in a print, too.