Simplicity 8701 – A Trousers Sewing Class, Part 1

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a white chair facing the camera. They are wearing a dark blue t-shirt with capped, frilled sleeves and high-waisted black corduroy pants.

Hello and welcome friends, to another multipart blog post! Those who have been following along with previous posts will know that I am no expert when it comes to sewing pants. I don’t have a straight size figure, with current measurements registering a 14” difference between waist and hips, and a crotch depth of over 12”. Yet even so, I LOVE pants. Over the course of writing this blog, I’ve challenged myself to improve my fitting technique and produce bottoms of all lengths that will both fit me and be comfortable. I thought that signing up for a proper sewing course around trousers might also benefit me, so I saved up and took part in a multi-week course when it became available in my local area.

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The Trudy Turtleneck – Wardrobe By Me

In this photo, Nell, a Caucasian person, kneels on their blue couch. They are wearing a white turtleneck shirt with a grey-brown, red and white striped cardigan that they are pulling up over their shoulders.

Hello friends!

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve done a truly ridiculous amount of sewing over the past few months. Oh boy, does my body know about it. After this, I will be taking a much longer break to allow myself to recover! However, in the interests of pushing myself to learn new skills I’ve begun learning about pattern drafting. Not being mathematically inclined, what I was promised was a rather simple exercise became several weeks of effort. All of which I am excited to share once I get a few more bits and pieces sorted. I also sat down to perfect a PDF pattern I had bought a while ago, but hadn’t managed to fit at the time. Then, because I love to over-complicate things, I also signed up for a beginner’s short course on sewing trousers, and decided to learn how to sew stretch fabric on my overlocker. Lucky for me, I had fabulous results all across the board.

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Loretta Shorts – Charm Patterns – Part 3

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side-on to the camera with one leg extended. They are wearing brown corduroy shorts and a light brown patterned Adrienne Blouse.

Hello friends!

In a perhaps not-so surprising turn of events, I decided that I should to circle back to the Loretta Shorts pattern whilst hip-deep in several other makes and one sewing course. This did mean that my next post would be late, because I already had a lot on the go. But I decided it was worth it! It didn’t seem fair to have done such a long series of reviews on the pattern without having done the shorts version as it was intended. Whilst reorganising my fabric stash, I was further encouraged by the discovery that I had not one – but two pieces of suitable fabric for this very purpose.

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The Loretta Shorts – Charm Patterns – Part 2

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side on to the camera in front of a white wall. They are wearing a long-sleeve blue shirt and highwaisted wide-leg black pants. They have one hand in a pocket.

Hello friends! For this post we are continuing on with part two of my adventures in making the Loretta Shorts, by Charm Patterns. In the last post I covered the general design elements of the pattern, and some trickier elements of their construction such as the pockets. In this post I’m going to be focusing on the fit of the pattern, what issues I faced and how I tweaked it to be more comfortable, how I removed the waistband, and how I transformed the shorts into both culottes and pants. Let’s get right to it!

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The Loretta Shorts – Charm Patterns – Part 1

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands side on the camera in front of a white wall. They are wearing a black and white striped shirt with a grey yoke, and denim culottes. They have one leg out in front of the other and their hands in their pockets.

Hello friends!

The last couple of months have been quite challenging when it comes to sewing. I tested a number of different patterns, attempting to either learn new skills through them, or to add specific pieces to my wardrobe for regular rotation. However, I had an unprecedented number of failures with each that left me feeling quite frustrated. I made a minimum of three attempts per pattern, and it seemed that for each fit issue I fixed, another two would spring up. I suddenly had a lot of sympathy for Heracles and his battle with the Hydra! However, out of this wild mess rose two garments which I am rather proud of, and since I am attempting to make my blog posts a little more detailed in terms of construction advice, I have decided to split this post into two parts while I share in my own Sewing Labour.

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Comfortable Shirts with the Wardrobe Builder T-Shirt

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a white wall facing the camera. They are wearing a black and white striped V-neck shirt with long sleeves. Their fingers are lightly knotted in front of them.

Hello friends! Having spent so much time challenging myself to upgrade my skills with the Dickey Collars pattern, I was keen for a simpler series of makes as a bit of a palate cleanser. In circumstances like this, I turn to stretch fabric. It’s not something I claim to be an expert at sewing, but I love how comfortable and simple it is to pull on something that doesn’t require ironing or buttons. The Wardrobe Builder T-Shirt pattern by Wardrobe By Me has been an absolute winner for me in that regard. After I put some tweaks into place, it’s become such a staple that I test the bodices of other patterns against it to ensure comfort.

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Accessorising with Dickey Collars by Designer Stitch

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a white wall facing the camera. They are wearing a grey knit sweater and a white peter pan dickey collar. One hand is holding their hair aside.

Hello friends!

Having finished McCall’s 8035, I was once again filled with the itch to stitch. However, as the next pattern I was interested in making was a vintage skirt pattern, it required lengths of fabric that I simply didn’t have to hand. And since I am trying not to over extend my budget, I instead looked at what sort of fabric I did have – which was a lot of leftovers from other makes, and thought hard about what I could whip up that would be practical and useful. I scoured Instagram for inspiration, and came across several posts for a rather vintage looking dickey collar as based on the Designer Stitch pattern. This pattern give quite a lot of bang for your buck, offering several different collar variations, and since I know for a fact that I’m not all that good at collars, buttonholes or button placement I thought this could be an opportunity to improve those skills.

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All Wrapped Up with McCall’s 8035

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a chair in front of a white wall. They are wearing a black, wrap-front dress that has balloon sleeves, an elastic waist, and very bright floral pattern. They are holding the edges of the chair.

Hello friends! These latest makes are something a little bit different for me because I didn’t begin with the pattern and take inspiration from there. Instead I sought out a pattern to make a version of a dress I saw someone else wearing and which I couldn’t stop thinking about. A dress which, in turn, had quite strong 1970’s design aspects to it! This is quite an unusual decade for me as I don’t tend to like a lot of the common design elements that pop up in sewing patterns from the time. However, the shape of the original dress, the bell sleeves and the higher waistline of the wrap-front bodice all struck me as going together so very well that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. After much scouring of the internet I was able to secure a copy of McCall’s 8035 on Etsy, and I knew this would be the perfect leaping off point.

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Rompers, Dresses and Shorts – Oh My! With McCalls 7626

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a concrete wall. They are wearing a black corduroy romper with a long-sleeve brown and white shirt. They have one hand on their hip.

Hello friends. Since I took a big sewing break some months back, it occurred to me that I was happier whenever I got quite thorough use out of each pattern rather than making a single item and moving on. Part of that constant desire to move on was that I would get bored, doing the same thing repeatedly, but it was also certainly driven by a desire to consume the same way I saw others doing, churning out garments like there was no tomorrow. So as a result, I have put into practice a new method for securing second-hand patterns, where I don’t make a purchase unless that particular pattern haunts me and won’t leave my thoughts. I’d also like to use patterns that have different options on how I can construct them, and what I can do with them. This pattern for McCalls 7626 was the first to tick all those boxes, and although it was a little outside what I’m comfortable paying for a pattern cost-wise, I did end up getting quite a lot of value out of it.

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The Adrienne Blouse

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands against a concrete wall. They are wearing a light brown shirt with puffy sleeves, and a triangular print. They are also wearing blue jeans and have their hands in their pockets.

Hello friends! After a tumultuous couple of months where I have been more focused on work and things outside the creative sphere, I ended up deciding to take a several week break from sewing to get a complete refresh. I had also been through some sewing disasters that made me feel like I was turning something fun into a chore that I was required to do to uphold a schedule, and that was something I wanted to change. I went through all the sewing patterns I owned, sorted what little fabric I had, and got a friend to help me take new measurements from the waist down. With that in mind, after the break I decided to come back to a particular pattern that I knew I had the fabric and supplies for, and which I had been quite keen to make even before I got into stretch fabric: The Adrienne Blouse by the Friday Pattern Company.

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