After getting a nice comfy fit on my McCalls 7445 culottes seen here in this post, I knew that the pattern would be perfect to turn into a wide-leg full-length trouser/pant and then recently, the opportunity arose for me too do just that. Let me explain….you see a few weeks back I was catching up on a bit of blog reading whilst sitting at the laptop with a cup of my favourite Mao Feng green tea and a cookie for dunking. As I read I came across something called Designin’ December, a sewing challenge being run by the fabulous Linda of’ Nice Dress! Thanks! I Made It!!’ I’ve followed Linda for a while now and it turns out that she runs this challenge each December. If you want to read the full details about the challenge, they are here, but the general idea is that you take inspiration from a designer garment and make up a version inspired by it but for a fraction of the cost. So whilst my hand hovered over my cuppa and my cookie started to get soggy…my mind started to wander and think of the possibilities for my entry. I love to take inspiration from designer pieces and pattern hack my way to something for myself to wear. This challenge is ‘right up my street’
So, ever since writing my blog post about the wide-leg trouser/pant trend, I had fancied a pair for myself, spurred on by the challenge I started to seek out a pair to emulate. One of my favourite websites for hunting down runway looks, apart from Pinterest, is Farfetch. I love to drool over the pieces that they sell on there and I came across this pair of wide-leg pants by non-other than Valentino.
I’m such a fan of his designs. The look of these is slightly more sporty to my eye, due to the lighter coloured stripe down the sides and the lighter shoes. Now, sporty isn’t really a style I wear much so I thought I would go for a slightly different vibe. I loved the pinstripe fabric in my culottes and fancied making something else in a pinstripe so after searching around online for a while, I found this fabulous chocolate coloured Italian wool with ivory l ines running through it on the Minerva crafts website. The colour of it is perhaps more your ‘Green and Black’s’ 70% cocoa rather than the gold foil-wrapped Lindt milk chocolate Reindeer… and of course, now all this talk of chocolate is making me feel hungry! Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked hah!…So two metres of the fabric cost £29.98 and I already had a zip and thread in my stash that I could use. Let’s compare that cost with the cost of the Valentino pants, shall we? Although… erm, maybe you should sit down first…and perhaps pour a brandy too…. They are £1,055.00!! Eeep! This is why we sew folks!
On the Valentino’s, the main feature is the side panel that angles inwards and gives the look of a pocket at the top. I can’t see any pocket bag ridges so I don’t think there are actually any. On the photos, I can’t see where the trousers/pants unzip either so I decided to just put a front fly fastening on mine. I didn’t have a suitable concealed zip that I could use in the side seams and I’m afraid I wasn’t patient enough to order one and wait for it to be delivered. Anyway, before getting down to cutting out and sewing I needed to do a bit of pattern hacking. Firstly, I pinned the side pocket section in place on the front paper pattern piece to create the full front shape and then using some dot and cross paper I drew out the angled shape that I wanted, then I measured out a width of 1 ⅜” for the long section going down to the hem. As I did this I extended the whole side piece out by ⅜” past the pattern side seam and shaved the same off the back piece by the same amount. This meant that the side panel ended up nicely positioned down the side of my body.
Now, where the Valentinos had the light coloured fabric, I decided instead to play with the pinstripe direction of my fabric and I cut my side pieces on the cross-grain. In order to be accurate with the width of these pieces. I took the extra time to carefully hand baste along my stitching lines keeping the width uniform all the way up until the angled section. This paid off because I think the finished panel looks nice and straight. You know what they say “fail to prepare and you prepare to fail”, so true in this instant. I overlocked and topstitched the inserts with the seams pressed towards the main pieces. Being a pure wool it pressed flat like a dream. I love it when fabrics press well.
After finishing the side panels I stitched the inside leg seams, then the crotch curve, followed by zip insertion. A basic fold over waistband finishes off the top and then I completed the job with hand stitched hems. As you can see, I also added a little button and loop at each hip slope to emulate the designer pair. I could only find two suitable buttons in my stash but figured that was fine so I went with it….again, I couldn’t be bothered with tracking buttons down and then delaying my project. Are you impatient like that with sewing?
I really like my pattern-hacked McCalls 7445 pants. They feel so swishy and elegant on and with a bit of a heel quite elongating too. Now, of course, I’m thinking I need a nice little short coat to wear with them. Any excuse for another project and new fabric eh?
Ooh, by the way, I forgot to say that as this fabric is pure wool I assumed it was probably meant to be dry cleaned, yet I decided to prewash the length on a 30 degrees wash. There’s no way I was going to want something that needed to be sent to the cleaners all the time. I also steam pressed it well before cutting out, so hopefully, there won’t be a risk of shrinkage and I can always wash it in the machine from now on. So that’s another cost saving compared to the Valentinos, which I imagine are definitely dry clean only! I think that’s a win in my book.
So finally, I want to finish off with a big thank you to Linda for organising this challenge. I had a lot of fun and love my designer knock-off trousers/pants. I’m looking forward to next year’s challenge already.
See you next week!