Sasha and Ogden

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When the Sasha trousers pattern was released late last year, I’m not going to lie, they definitely caught my eye. At that time I was re-starting work after taking some time off to have W, our little boy. Somehow my old work pants which had seen me through several years were now baggy on me and I really felt quite frumpy in them. I had seriously considered buying the pattern as they were pretty much perfect for what I needed but to be honest I questioned whether it was worth the time and effort to make them. These days I’m trying to be more considered about purchases in general and with patterns I’m not keen on buying them unless I’m sure I will actually use them.

On my next trip to “the big smoke” haha (Melbourne) I had a short window of kid free time so quickly whipped around the shops to my usual haunts but sadly did not have any luck finding pants that fit and were the style I was after. Clearly, I would just have to bite the bullet and make them! I’ve already made two other Closet Case Patterns (the Ginger jeans and Clare coat) so knew I would in safe hands with the Sasha trousers. Also, they’re are based on the Ginger jeans block and as my Ginger jeans fit pretty well straight out of the envelope I wasn’t anticipating any major fitting issues.

I ordered my pattern (along with the Ogden cami) from Indie Stitches which arrived very quickly. My next step was finding some appropriate fabric. Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never tried to find bottom weight woven fabric with at least 20% stretch – it’s not as easy as I thought it would be! The next time I was in Melbourne I went to my two go-to fabric stores, Tessuti and the Fabric Store. I was hoping for something other than black and in the end my only option was this navy stretch cotton twill from the Fabric store.

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Now I’m only 150cm tall so I ended up just making the cropped length which fit me perfectly as full length trousers. I did compare the hemline and taper of the cropped vs the full length and they seemed to be the same so that’s why I felt confident just using the cropped length rather than shortening the full length pattern.

I’ve never made welt pockets before (the only time I’ve done welt anythings was on my Clare coat) so I listened to my sensible inner sewing voice and made a practice one first. By following Heather’s excellent instructions and also the online tutorial my welt pockets turned out beautifully! They really weren’t as difficult as I had imagined them to be and I’m so glad I gave them a go, rather than chickening out and making view B without any pockets (which I was rather tempted to do!)

 

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The zip fly was also another potential stumbling block but again, I just followed the impeccable instructions and before I knew it, I had a fully functioning fly! Heather’s method is slightly different from others I’d previously tried and I found it very easy to understand. I’d bought the recommended 5” long pants zipper but next time I would use a slightly longer zipper. This would make it easier to insert as you would be able to move the zipper pull completely out of the way which would leave more room for the zipper foot.

For the pocket lining and the waistband binding I used two different Liberty fabrics which I had stashed away.  The one time I was lucky enough to visit London I made sure to visit Shaukat for some Liberty – I’m sure I’m not the only one who buys fabric as my (only) souvenir when travelling?

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Once you’ve completed the side seam and welt pockets (and breathed a huge sigh of relief!) the instructions suggest you baste the side seams and inner leg seams together, as well as baste the waistband to check the fit. As stretch fabrics vary so much in their fit this really is a crucial step so don’t skip it, no matter how tempted you are. Basting certainly paid off for me as when I first sewed the seam with the recommended 5/8’ allowance the pants were a little snug, as in I couldn’t sit down in them snug. I got into them with my seam ripper and once I’d resewn everything with a 3/8’ allowance things were looking much better.

Now I must admit I did not baste the waistband to check for fit and probably should have. When attaching the waistband to the waistband facing the instructions suggest that the top edge seam be stabilised with twill tape. I didn’t have any appropriate tape on hand but thought I would try and substitute the selvedge edge of some quilting cotton I had lying around. I figured that the selvedge was pretty stable so what could go wrong? Well, the selvedge has zero stretch in it so after I’d attached the waistband there was no way these pants were going to do up around my waist!

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Karina from a few years ago would have had a massive sulk and left these pants sitting unfinished in the corner of the sewing room but I like to think I’ve matured somewhat. I’ve found that shifting my mindset to expect some unpicking and fine tuning with each sewing project has made a huge difference. I’m a lot more willing to fix my mistakes and if I somehow make it through a project which only needs minimal unpicking then it feels like a massive bonus!

So the waistband was unpicked, and luckily I had *just* enough fabric to cut out another one.  I did need to piece it at the centre back seam due to fabric limitations. I decided to leave out the twill tape completely and this has made for a very comfortable pair of trousers. Luckily my fabric seems to have excellent recovery so I haven’t had any trouble with the waistband becoming too loose throughout the day.

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So I’ve worn these trousers for a few weeks now and am very pleased with them. They’re super comfortable yet have the snug fit I was after. I feel pretty sharp in them at work and they go with nearly every “work top” in my wardrobe. My only issue has been with the dye rubbing off onto my tan suede boots. Luckily they’re an old pair of boots I’ve had for many years so I don’t mind too much but I’d like to be able to wear them with other shoes without fear of navy staining them. I’ve tried soaking them in vinegar but this hasn’t seemed to work. Any other suggestions as to how to make them more colourfast?

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Also, I made an Ogden cami! It’s been such a popular pattern and I can definitely see why. I love the cut of the back neckline in particular – it feels very modern and it’s rather flattering too. I used a long term stash resident from the Fabric Store. It’s a lovely silk which was a bit slippery to manage but I traced off the pattern pieces so instead of cutting them on the fold everything was cut in one single layer.

 

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As soon as each piece was cut out I stay stitched the neckline immediately. I used French seams throughout and shortened the total length of the cami by 1”. I probably could have gotten away without doing that so if you’re of a more average height you may even want to add some length?

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I was a bit worried about the “V” in the front and back necklines fraying as you want to clip pretty close to the stitching line. I’d read a tip somewhere about using fraycheck at the “V” but didn’t have any. I tried clear nail polish instead which I think will work well but unfortunately I was a bit too enthusiastic in my application so there’s a small darker patch near the front neck neckline which I’ll just have to live with. Not terribly noticeable but something to improve on next time.

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So I’ve finished two of my #2018makenine, but foresee a bit of veering off the original plans. I love how Rochelle describes make nine as a gentle challenge so I’m just using my plans as a rough guide to what I’ll be sewing this year. I’m not going to beat myself up too much if these plans change as what’s the point? I’m just hoping to continue enjoying my sewing practice and seeing where it takes me. Happy sewing xx

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