I was always a little scared of tackling trousers – I had made a playsuit and pyjama bottoms (which, essentially cover the more technical aspect of trouser construction) but didn’t feel confident making proper trousers. I thought I would be resigned to a life of dresses or ready to wear trousers until my friend Lynsey (yes, the one of Malteser Tray Bake fame!) told me about a new sewing class she’d found, where she could go and pay for a couple of hours on a Wednesday evening, work on her project and get advice from a fab tutor…oh, and did I want to do a one day trouser making workshop with her? Err…yes!
And so I came to find myself packed up and ready for a day of learning how to make the perfect trousers with Judy of Creative Couture. Based in her workshop in leafy Staffordshire, Judy offers a wide range of workshops and classes and can boast a 45 year career in whipping up the most amazing garments. Over the course of the day we learnt all about the costumes she has constructed, as well as beautiful bridal wear – they really are amazing! This was our second course date, the first was in August…then I won the Sewing Weekender Golden Ticket; thankfully Lynsey was happy to rearrange but I felt terrible about not being able to go.
Both Lynsey and I chose to make a pattern block; Judy also gave us the option to work with a commercial pattern of our choice however both Lynsey and I thought it would be more useful to create a block that fitted us perfectly and use this to form the basis of any trousers we wished. I was amazed by how many measurements we took but they became very valuable to us as the day went on. We began by selecting the size of the block pattern we were most like (from our hip measurement, apparently this is the key measurement) before working out what adjustments we’d need to make to reconcile the standard block measurements from ours. My hips were exactly the size of one of the sizes on the block, however from my measurements, I was able to plot how much I needed to take my waist measurement in (I’m quite hippy!) We then set about tracing out the standard block pattern in our size, before making any adjustments to what we’d drawn out based on our measurements.
The next step was to make up a toile – regular readers will know I am the Lazy Girl’s Guide To Sewing and have omitted this step in the past, generally going headlong into making up a garment from one of my new patterns. this was invaluable for this process though as it allowed me to work out what adjustments I needed. Because of my hips being much wider than my waist, apparently I have to make a flat stomach adjustment (those who know me know my tummy isn’t flat…I wasn’t one of the lucky ones in the late 90s/early 00s who had the Britney Spears washboard tummy so I’m hanging on to this comment) and the toile helped me to work out how best to do this; it also allowed me to take in a little at the waist at the back so it fitted more snugly into my back in the back rise. We were guided through expertly by Judy, who helped us make better fitting toiles. I now have the perfect pattern piece for a standard straight leg pair of trousers, which I can adjust to my heart’s content.
After we’d nailed our pattern pieces, Judy walked us through some other construction techniques, focusing on how to achieve the perfect waistband (which I don’t think I got quite right with my purple A line skirt although I was pleased to see I wasn’t far off) and explained how to make different zips. We didn’t get chance to play with making zips so I’ve self imposed this as homework so I can practice, particularly as the only one I’d be semi confident with is a concealed side zip.
I left feeling really geared up and can’t wait to put my new found skills (and pattern) into action – expect to see some creations very soon!