Monday, 26 January 2015

Thurlow... Thinlow... Uh oh!

I love the Thurlow Trouser pattern from independent designers at Sewaholic Patterns. It's made for big hips and wide thighs but not necessarily the proportionate waist you might find in ready to wear clothes. I've already made 2 pairs of these trousers, in golden herringbone tweed and cream cotton cord and they are so comfortable. My one criticism of the pattern, and this is relevant to my shape and not a general criticism, is that the legs are very wide and I have quite skinny (disproportionately so!) calves

This means that the wide leg style of the Thurlow is super wide on my legs and I wanted something a little slimmer, more like my favourite jeans from Boden, seen right. These are the closest to the best and most comfortable fitting jeans ever (and their chinos have a very similar cut). But alas the days of Boden clothes are over, or at least suspended for the forseeable future and until I lose 2 stone I'm not getting into the pairs I've packed off to the loft... I digress.

So, I thought I'd give pattern alteration a go and turn the Thurlow into a Thinlow... scary! I'd done a bit of research on what others had done to thin out their Thurlows other than chop width off the leg (which I'd done a bit of before with my cord pair). I wanted to understand what others had done around the excess fabric around the bottom which might look a bit weird with a slimmer leg. I found a really helpful blog post on Sewaholic's own blog, by Caroline Amanda which explained about alterations to the front pattern pieces. I followed suit (and the instructions) and trimmed down the leg and reshaped the crotch area... so far so good. When it came to the back I was stumped as Caroline's blog post only showed how to alter the front pieces so I wasn't sure how to transfer those changes to the back pieces. It was all a lot of guess work. I did however follow the concept Caroline had demonstrated and overlaid the original front and back pattern pieces over one another, matching notches, to show how the paper patterns work together. I then tried to replicate the same on the new pieces, trimming and slicing off the original back piece so that it touched the new front pattern piece in the same way the original front and back pieces did. Phew. I was feeling really out of my depth at this point, it was total guess work with the tiniest bit of "informed" decision making so just had to roll with it. And so to make up stage...

                    Look at this beauty!                 
The Lladybird sew-a-long for the Thurlow trouser are my go-to instructions to make up the pattern, read alongside the paper instructions. The paper instructions are not bad by any stretch of the imagination, they are well illustrated and clearly explained, I just like to be able to see the construction with real zips and real fabric. Now I've made a couple of these trousers the steps feel a little bit more comfortable so I don't need to follow every step by the letter. I can concentrate on improving the finish now I know what the final outcome should look like. As a result I'm particularly pleased with my welt pockets, they are my best yet.

I'm not so chuffed with the zip fly though. I've made five garments with zip flies and so far each one has turned out differently. This one wasn't bad, it's functional and the teeth don't show unlike others I've done, it just doesn't meet my exacting RTW standards (however if anyone stares at my crotch for long enough to notice its imperfections I think I've got bigger problems than just a dodgy fly).

I completed the major construction of the trousers and really liked the shape and width of the leg, they seemed just right and didn't seem to have any big problems with the shape (there was a bottom looking shape in the trousers and nothing looked wonky). So I tried them on.

I love this fabric, it's Country Basket    
cotton, from my favourite fabric shop,         
Waltons and cost £3.99 a metre. I  
have a matching shirt too!
Reader I could have cried! I seemed to have forgotten that somewhere along the way I down sized my pattern from a UK 14 to a UK 12 in attempt to get a snugger fit around some of the looser areas so I was already working on a smaller pattern (I hadn't tested). And then I'd trimmed! Alas, the trousers were to be a little snug, not least because the fabric I'd chosen appeared to have no ease whatsoever in the finished trouser, despite it having a bit of stretch when flat. I could wear the trousers stood up straight and they looked fine but I couldn't bend or sit down! I estimate I'm an inch or two away from being able to comfortably wear them so what better motivation to go out for a run than a beautiful pair of trousers waiting to be worn! So, I have temporarily hung up the trousers for the time being and will return to them in a couple of weeks time (or after 6 or 7 runs) to see if I've slimmed down enough to squeeze into them so I can finish them off.

Still very proud of my welts!You can see  
them in all their glory here.
Here are the semi-finished trousers in all their glory.They probably have a slightly more pronounced flare than my favourite Boden jeans in the picture above, and probably a bit wider at the top of the thigh too - clearly not wide enough though! Here's hoping a couple of weeks of hard running will slim those thighs down so I can get into them.

Watch this space for updates on the big "slim down" and the final fitting and trouser furniture adornment (buttons and t'ings!).

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