The Woollen trousers

Eldest daughter has a beloved pair of jeans, bought from a charity shop that are at the end of their life, the original fabric having worn through on the seat and crotch. She asked whether I had the skills to replicate the jeans as they are a very particular shape, think 1980’s Duran Duran, high waisted, pleated front, wide in the hip with a tapered leg. Such an optimist my daughter !

Well I do like a challenge and am always willing to have a go, regardless of my actual skill level.

First of all I drew around the original jeans, adding width to take account of the front pleats and ended up with some very strange shaped pattern pieces. My tutor Gail at Topstitchwas able to advise ways of ‘normalising’ these (Mainly straightening out the waist which had become very curved with use), she also advised on cutting the pockets which sit behind the front pleats so do not conventionally mirror the front fabric pieces.

I then made up a pair of trousers using pieces of a wool crepe left over from a previous project (when I say pieces I really do mean pieces, each leg being made of 4 separate fabric scraps) and sent them off to her. Surprisingly they fitted, I am never quite sure with her living a long way away and not being able to fit to her in person. She asked that the pockets be made wider and deeper and the hem taken in a little but that’s it. Go me..

I then received a parcel in the post from Merchant and Mills with 1.5m of soft, leaf green lightweight woven wool which daughter wanted a proper pair of trousers made out of.


The first issue I could see with this is that the fabric, whilst lovely, is not robust enough to make trousers with, not without some sort of lining or reinforcement anyway. As the fabric had been quite costly for her I offered some potential lining fabrics from my stash and she chose the fine cotton/silk I bought in Spring 2016 from Ditto Fabrics that I had used previously to line my Dropje vest.


Now, making your own trouser pattern is all very well but when you come to make then up there are no instructions for the construction stages ! I couldn’t work out in my head how to attach a lining around the zip so decided to sew the lining to the front and back fabric leg pieces and then make up the trousers as if I were using  a single layer of fabric. I’m not sure whether this is an actual proper way to do things and it certainly wouldn’t work with thicker fabrics but with these two fabrics it was fine.  I constructed the pockets and the front pleats first before attaching the fabric and lining together so the pockets are completely invisible from inside the garment.

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Sewing the lining and fabric pieces together by overlocking them has resulted in very neat seams inside the trousers and the trousers now feel robust and warm.


As the wool fabric has the potential to be quite itchy I made the waistband with the green wool on the outside and the cotton lining on the inside to avoid any discomfort during wear.

I think they LOOK nice and are definitely the same shape as the jeans. I have despatched them to daughter and wait to see what she says. Fingers crossed…



..and just as I was hand sewing the hems the repairers rang to say that my sewing machine was now fixed and is on its way back to me. I’ve got quite used to the basic Janome now and it’s buttonhole function is certainly much better than the Husky so I’ll probably use the two in tandem from now on.

I have also cobbled together a repair for the original jeans by sewing giant floral patches inside and out to reinforce the elderly fabric but don’t hold out much hope for their continued longevity.

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