Friday, 8 January 2016

Completed: Alexandria Trousers

I actually made these back in October, and wrote this post around then, but, as with the jumpsuit, it's taken ages to get round to taking photos. It was also the first Named pattern I made, hence my detail over the pattern layout, instructions etc. Can't be bothered to re-write this though.

I had planned on making these trousers for ages. I bought both the fabric and the pattern back in the summer and just never quite got round to them. I've seen so many versions of both this and similar patterns, and they just look so cool and easy to wear. I also thought they'd be easier to fit, since they have an elasticated waist and are meant to be oversized.

But being totally honest, now I've made them, I just don't know. They do look cool on other people, but on me, I'm not so sure. It might just be that basically I made summer trousers in October. It might be that I have no idea what to wear them with. It also might be because I normally live in skinny jeans and skinny/fitted trousers, so this is just so different it feels odd.

But lets start with the positives, shall we? I love the fabric, which is a polyester from John Lewis (I think it was this). It is drapey but with a lovely weight and the colour is a rich navy with a slight sheen. It is a bit staticky, but it's otherwise a good choice for this style. It wasn't too slippery to cut or sew, but it did fray badly.

The pattern too, was a good experience. This is the Named Alexandria Peg Trousers. I bought the PDF, so seam allowances were included (they aren't on the printed versions). The pattern includes trouser and shorts versions and if you wanted to make both, you would need to trace them, or print twice but I have no intentions of making the shorts, so just cut straight into the PDF. Only 2 sizes are nested on the PDF - there are about 4 PDFs in total covering all the sizes. This was fine, but they weren't nested in such a way that I could cut between sizes. I wanted to cut the 38 based on my waist measurement, however I could have done with sizing down to the 36 at the hips - but the 36 was nested outside, not inside the 38, so it wasn't possible. I opted to cut the 38, figuring I could always take in the hips if necessary. The 36 would have been fine, but I was nervous that the tapered legs would be too narrow, and I was correct. Even with the 38, I had to decrease the SA from the knee to ankle to about 0.5cm (the given SA is 1cm, or 3/8").

The pattern went together no problem. It's beautifully drafted, even including things like tapering out the hem at the ankle, to account for the fact that the leg is tapered in. This means the hem circumference is the same size as the leg piece you are sewing it to (I haven't described that well at all, sorry!). The instructions are concise but thorough. There's not a huge amount of hand holding, but it explains each step adequately.

The pattern comes with patch pockets for the back, and also instructs you to sew in a drawstring. I omitted both of these.

You can see quite a lot of fabric at the front here. I look pregnant!
The pleats. I love the pleats, in theory at least. As I was sewing them, they looked so pretty and luscious in the sheeny navy polyester. Even hanging up, on the finished garment I love those pleats.

The back view. It's actually not nearly as unflattering as I was expecting!!! :)

And so to the negatives. Although I love the pleats, they do create a lot of volume. And I mean a lot. When I sit down, there is just SO. MUCH. FABRIC. I did plan to take the trousers in at the hips, but the excess fabric is at the front, not the sides, and I just don't know how to remove it from there. Really, I should have cut the 36 and just graded out from the knees. I should have made a muslin.

Elastic waists. There have been 2 things I've made this year that I didn't love. These trousers and the Ilsley skirt. What do they both have in common? Elasticated waists. I've never had a problem with gathering at my waist, so I didn't really worry too much about the elastic, but I'm thinking gathering with a fixed waistband is different. With the elastic, it never seems to sit quite in the right place on my waist. With the skirt, it's not too much of an issue, but with trousers, it obviously affects the crotch. Lower on my waist seems more flattering, but then I have a kind of harem pants thing going on. Higher makes the crotch much more flattering, but not the waist.

I do wonder if with a "proper" waistband, and the removal of the gathers, the pleats might work better? Even a half fixed, elasticated at the back? But I have no idea how to reduce the volume in the front of the trousers to do this. I guess I could slash and overlap the pattern in a few places? In truth thought, that's probably a pattern adjustment too far for me, from a confidence, ability and time point of view. It would be simpler to just buy another pattern.

Really then, the positives outweigh the negatives, in volume at least. However, it is telling that I haven't yet worn these. I am the sort of person who makes/buys something and wears it as soon as is humanely possible. If I don't do that (and it's not because it's just not appropriate e.g. a ball gown), it's usually because I'm not that certain about it. I'm just not sure I feel confident enough to pull them off.

What's interesting though, is that I think in these photos they look great. I feel uncomfortable wearing them, but even as I was shooting the photos I was thinking how they looked quite nice. I had to struggle to find a photo that sufficiently captured the excess fabric. And they look OK with this top and these ankle boots too, although Small Boy did ask where my socks were. As an aside, I asked him his opinion on the trousers. He said "Good, but they don't go all the way down"!

I did see these recently, which are very similar, and which look nice, although I haven't tried them on. I also like the name! :)

Helena Crepe Trouser by Whistles

What do you think? Would you wear these? Do you think they are just too summery? What would you wear them with?


  1. I've made an almost identical pair (dark blue crepe). Mine have puckery seams, which I'm planning to try and iron the living daylights out of. In terms of styling, I would channel Jolie Bobbins and wear a pair of funky court shoes. I think that would show more leg and make the gap look intentional. I think that highish boots end up making the gap look like your trousers are just a bit short. In terms of summery-ness - the colour is fine for winter, just depends on how warm the fabric is (mine aren't particularly)

  2. i think they look really good on you and with your ankle boots (in That London it's a look you see a lot and i can bet that there are at least 20 people in my office now wearing something similar) and they would look fab with trainers/ converse. i have to say i really hate elasticated waist anything - it always reminds me of the kind of slacks my gran used to wear. i am sure i saw a tute for making a straight front waistband with elastic at the back, but really struggling to remember where i saw it (sorry, that's not very helpful!).

  3. I feel your pain! They look nice in the photos, but if you're not drawn to wear them they obviously don't feel nice. I want a pair of similar trousers, and used a similar Burdastyle pattern - disaster, I can only wear them as pyjamas because of the ridiculous amount of fabric in the front. I'm still looking for the perfect pattern...

  4. Well in your photos these look great. I can see that they'd be problematic if when sitting there is pooled fabric. But from these pics you look smashing in them. Perhaps you will seek them out when summer comes as they do look like a good summer trouser.

  5. Well in your photos these look great. I can see that they'd be problematic if when sitting there is pooled fabric. But from these pics you look smashing in them. Perhaps you will seek them out when summer comes as they do look like a good summer trouser.

  6. I think they look good on you - and probably once you work out the right combo of trouser & shoe & top, you'll likely wear them loads. (as you say, perhaps it's just slightly out of your usual trouser style). They do strike me as not especially winter-wear (but what do I know) - I think they'd look fab with a pair of plimsolls/slip on trainers in warmer weather.

  7. I think they look lovely but maybe it is a different silhouette from your ususl and that makes it trickier to put together an outfit. I also have a fear of extra bulk around my tummy so I have my own dilemma over this style of trousers. I think they ll work well as springwear

  8. I would wear these. I think I swim against the tide in that I like a pleat or two, but then I do have a slight tummy to disguise ;) I do agree on elastic waists, however. I like them for comfort but not to be seen. So I think both these and the Marilla Walker skirt look great with a top over the waistband just as you have them. A nice change, and I would wear them mostly for work.

  9. Like I said on your Instagram photo I think these look really good. Although I agree with you re a flat front & just elastic at the back, I definitely prefer that on me too. For me, some brogues or ballet flats would work perfectly with these.

  10. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always useful to read through content from other authors and use a little something from other web sites.
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