Rocky Bottoms

I often buy patterns that take my fancy as soon as I see them, but I don’t often bump them up to the top of my sewing queue. The Named Minttu Swing Top was one example of a pattern I bought and made immediately, and apparently the Megan Nielsen Flint Pants are another!

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I have to admit, these trousers are pretty far outside my usual comfort zone! I tend to go for close fitting garments on my bottom half, skinny jeans and pegged trousers are my standard fare. Cropped wide leg trousers are definitely an anomaly in my wardrobe, I still think they’re probably too fashionable and “cool girl” for me! I loved the samples and the line drawings though, and then I found this slate grey crepe for $3 p/m at The Fabric Warehouse sale and thought I should push myself and give them a go (also, slate+flint=rocky bottoms! Terrible pun, but I’m not deleting it…).

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The pattern sewed up really quickly and easily, the lack of zipper or complicated closure definitely helped to speed things up! Instead, the waistband opens at the left pocket, with the pocket itself acting as a kind of gusset to let you in and out of the trousers, and is held closed by two buttons (or by really cute ties, which I am definitely going to try when I make the shorts version next summer!). I made up a straight size small, and I think the fit is really good. I did have to take an inch off the bottom, and I used a 2 inch hem allowance, but I’m only 158cm tall (5’2″ ish), so that’s to be expected. I considered taking a bit more off the hem, but I couldn’t decide if they looked funny shorter or not. What do you think of the length?

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This crepe fabric was a pretty good pick for these trousers I think! Its lovely and heavy and swishy, which I think helps them not look too overwhelming or clownish. It’s pretty thick, so I did have to grade the seams at the waistband pretty enthusiastically, especially around the pleats and pockets. It’s also polyester (I know, I know, but it’s so drapey and nice, and it was so cheap!), so it doesn’t crease or press very well, so the front pleats aren’t exactly crisp, but that’s ok. it also means they won’t wrinkle with wear, which is a win!

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As usual, I didn’t exactly make things easy for myself. I somehow managed to snip a hole right in the middle of the right front piece as I was cutting it out. I don’t know how I managed it, I must have been waving my scissors around like a maniac, but it was instant panic stations because I definitely didn’t have enough fabric to cut out another leg! In the end, I fused a scrap of interfacing to the hole, and then hand mended it. Thank god it’s mostly hidden in the pleat, because it’s far from an invisible mend! Hopefully most people shouldn’t be looking too closely at my pleats…

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Realistically this is probably how I’ll be wearing my Flint Trousers most of the time, with a tee shirt and flats (the tee shirt is a long sleeved Lark Tee, in a lovely cotton/lycra from Tessuti. I’ve made a few Larks which haven’t made it to the blog yet, I’ll try to sneak them into other posts!), but I think they look nice dressed up with heels and a cami or other fancy top too. Once I have a job which requires grown up clothing rather than pyjamas scrubs, I think they’d be a good addition to a work wardrobe! I think I’ll make another Nettie Bodysuit to wear with these, anything to stop my top wrinkling up underneath them.

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Apologies for these pictures being a bit dark, it’s so gloomy today! The clocks went back for winter in New Zealand overnight, so while I was pleased to get a bonus hour, I’m also bummed that now its going to be getting dark by 5.30-6pm! I need to get a brighter lightbulb for the lamp in my sewing room so that I can do stuff in the evenings…

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Augusta for Easter

Hope you all had a good long Easter weekend! I was lucky enough to spend it in the wilds of the Wairarapa with a bunch of awesome people, having a three day long nerd-out about Balboa (my dance of choice, if you haven’t heard me wax lyrical about it before). It was pretty excelent, we stayed in a little retreat in a remote corner of a huge block of farmland with no cellphone reception and no neighbours to complain about the wild gypsy jazz blaring from the house at all hours of the day and night. It was even pretty warm and sunny this year, unlike the same weekend last year which started in the middle of a howling storm and involved a powercut. But with this view, who cares about lights?

 

The Augusta Hoodie from Named jumped out at me as soon as I saw their latest collection, and then I saw the awesome version that Lindsay made, and I was sold. For some slightly irrational reason I decided that I absolutely had to have my Augusta Hoodie finished in time to take away with me, or I would be cold the whole time. There was a serious hole in my wardrobe for a mid-weight outer layer, I have cardigans and fine merino tops, and then I have my wool coats or puffer jacket, but nothing in between (which I actually wear), so I suppose it was a practical ‘must have’! I did get Monsieur to take some photos of me wearing it in an appropriately rugged location, but unfortunately I’m squinting horribly into the sun or my hair or the hood is being blown around in a big way, so I’m having to suppliment those photos with some taken in the controlled conditions in my sewing room…

  

I bought some amazing thick black and white plaid merino wool from The Fabric Store, and matched it with a remnant of plain black boiled merino knit which I bought in mid summer because it was so soft and squishy that I didn’t want to put it down! I love the fabric combo so much, its lovely and warm and fuzzy but also looks pretty sharp and stylish. Or I think it does, anyway. Augusta was really fun to make, once I got over the shock of having to trace the pattern and add my own seam allowances. What’s the deal with that? I am too lazy for that shit! I’ve never used a Named pattern before, so I was a bit unprepared. But there are so many cool details in this pattern to make up for the extra prep time. I LOVE the curved two part raglan sleeves, the fit around my shoulders so nice, much better than any other raglan sleeve I’ve tried. And the piping running down the seam is a really cool touch. I used some black satin piping, which has the added bonus of looking a bit like leather (if you squint). Unfortunately I ma a bit of a balls up when I was cutting out the sleeves. I was trying to be so good, and cut the sleeve pieces out in a single layer so that I could get the pattern matching up across the seam, but I cut both sleeves out with the pattern facing up the whole time! I had just enough fabric to recut the second sleeve out the right way around, but not to match the plaid. Bit of a bummer, but at least I didn’t have to buy more fabric…

 

(Sorry for the overexposed photos, black is hard to photograph!)

I also love the curved seam lines which join the sleeves to the front and back, and the rounded off ribbing at the centre front. I don’t know what it is, but it just looks more polished and professional than if they were all straight seams! The metal press studs down the front are the last little detail which really lifts this out of the realm of an ordinary hoodie, they’re so cool. And fun to put in, any excuse to get the hammer out! Unfortunately I didn’t realise I had only bought a pack of five, there seemed to be so many bits in the packet (four pieces per snap adds up), so I don’t have one at the very top yet. I almost did something incredibly stupid whilst setting the press studs, and didn’t poke the holes all the way through the facing as well! Thankfully I noticed that they’d be a bit hard to do up if the bits that are supposed to snap together were separated from each other by two layers of wool before I started hammering…that would have been a bit of a disaster.

 

The last ‘best part’ of this top (are you sick of the gushing yet??) is the hood. Its enormous! I lined it with some black jersey knit I had in my stash, as I didn’t want a layer of wool rubbing against my hair and making it all static-y and fluffy.

 

See? Massive! But it kept the rain off my glasses today as I ran to the bus, so I’m not complaining. The only thing I would change about this hoodie would be to make the pockets a bit bigger. I like how they’re construted, its lovely and neat on the inside (which I never thought I would say about welt pockets in an unlined garment), and the topstitching keeps them from flapping around. But I have pretty small hands, and they only just fit into the pockets when I have them fisted. Definitely no room for my phone! I made the pocket out of the slightly stretchier plaid knit I used for the sleeves and hood, so that helps me to cram my hands in, and looks cool from the inside. I think that this is the first knit garment I have ever sewn using my machine as much as my overlocker, it was a bit of a weird feeling topstitching and understitching a knit, even when it is as stable as this.

 

(Wearing my Megan Nielsen Maker tee, I love it! And its supporting a very worthwhile cause, go and check them out)

So over all I would give this pattern two thumbs up. It was fun to sew, it fits beautifully, its full of really nifty, professional little details and I’ve barely taken it off since I finished it last Thursday. I’m so happy with it! Now I just need to figure out the best way to clean all of the incredibly fine black wool dust out of my overlocker…