Thursday 28 May 2009

Making my Six trousers - part two

So far I have sewn all the pockets and prepared the button fly. All that remains now is to assemble the legs; add the waist band; and hem the ankles.

First up is sewing the legs together, plus a crotch gusset (see right) which gives a little more movement where it’s needed.

The outside seams are sewn first, pressed and top-stitched for strength.

At this stage the trousers look enormous when laid out flat (see left).
The triangular crotch gussets can be seen sticking out on the outside edges.

The back crotch is then sewn. The pattern is quite clever, as it gives you an extra inch allowance on both sides (two in total across the back) which you do not cut back. This can be used to let the trousers at a later date if adjustment is needed for whatever reason.

The inside leg is then sewn and I can try them for fit properly for the first time. This time they are a good fit; the waist is just right and the legs are loose but not too baggy.

Ideally I should then run a line of over-lock stitch along the seam allowance of the legs. This keeps the frayed edge from disintegrating. Sadly my 103 year old Singer Sewing Machine cannot do that stitch, so I trim the edges with pinking shears, a technique I found to work well when I was doing the lining of the coat.

Next up is adding the waist band (below left), which is sewn to line up with the side seam (below right). The middle of the back of the band is split in a V shape where the buttons for braces are located. Note the angle of the band in the picture below.

I think I am most nervous and unsure about doing this part of the whole garment. I need to understand the order in which to do things and how to end up with a neat and tidy result.

The proper instructions for this section are shown right – click to enlarge.

The next bit of detail I need to do is a back brace strap. This is not screen accurate for Colin Baker’s trousers, but I like the design and will follow it.
The straps are cut in fabric and lining (below top left) and sewn all round. Personally I then do a careful slit (below top right) where they will be attached to the trousers and turned right-side though the hole then pressed. This is not as the pattern, but I think it is a better way to do it, as I avoid doing hand-stitching again!
I do two buttonholes in one of the straps (below bottom left) before attaching them to the back of the trousers (below bottom right).

The result can be seen here, though I haven’t sewn the buttons in place as yet (see right).

I have set the strap slightly taught but not too tight.

The lining of the waist band is in two parts: the back of the band itself, and a ‘curtain’ that hangs down to cover the pockets and make wearing the trousers more comfortable.
These are sewn together, then attached at the top of the waist band, turned right-side and pressed.
I then trim and double fold the excess band to make a clean edge (below left). I carefully unpick a little of the stitching where the fly is attached and catch the curtain edge under it and re-sew (below right).

The proper instructions for this section are shown right – click to enlarge.

The last sewing to do is hemming the ankles (see below), after checking for length.

I then give the trousers a good pressing overall and it is just down to sewing the various buttons and a couple of strengthen stitch points around the trousers, such as the bottom of the fly, and they are all done.

I must say I was cuffed with the result. The pattern sized up well and was easy to follow with lots of clear line drawings to guide me through each stage. 
The pieces fitted together well and I did not need to adjust anything on the fly.
I think having some sewing experience definitely helped, but there were uncharted areas I have never done before that I sailed through with ease.

At long last I have some trousers to go with my Colin Baker coat I made back in 1985 – it’s just a shame that was made for me when I was 19 and a lot smaller . . . .

The images of the pattern instructions are reproduced with kind permission of Laughing Moon Mercantile.
I wish to thank them for agree for their use and for making such a great pattern available for sale.

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