Friday, March 17, 2017

Luck of the Irish: Gold Wool Trousers and Aran Sweater Hack

Today you get two projects in one post: a new pair of trousers and a sweater refashion. You likely saw them both in my "to sew" pile that I amassed during my holiday fabric cutting and organizing blitz.

There they are on the left

Well, here they are, all finished and together! 

This feels rather appropriate for St. Patrick's Day. So, let's start with the sweater, which has been sitting in a closet for about 20 years. It's a 100% wool, hand knit Aran (aka Irish knit) sweater. So, you can see why I didn't want to get rid of it. Yet, I wasn't going to wear it in all of it's oversized it-came-from-1989 glory. Ginormous. So, like I said, there it sat. Moth bait.


When I started working on my gold trousers, I realized I didn't have much of anything to wear with them. I'm not sure how I stumbled on the idea of refashioning the sweater, but somehow the two became a pair in my head.


There isn't much to tell about the alterations.  I shortened the length and the sleeves so that both are pretty cropped.  I reattached the ribbed bottom band. I also took many inches out from the side seams, up through the armscye and sleeve. Other than that I left well and good alone. I used my serger to finish all the seams in order to prevent any raveling.     

And there you have it: a more modern spin on a classic sweater. 

Next, the trousers! This is BurdaStyle 09/2010 - #115 Tall Trousers from one of my all-time favorite issues of Burda. Remember this dress? It's also from this September 2010 issue. 

BS09/2010-115 Tall Trousers

There is nothing particularly special about this pattern - they are a basic trouser with slash pockets at the hip and a back welt pocket. The legs are neither wide nor skinny, and there isn't any other particularly distinguishing feature aside from a bit of top stitching, which I ended up omitting in both of my versions of these trousers. The basic-ness was actually a selling point for me, as was the tall sizing, which fits better allover. It's nice to not have to always add length.

As I normally find with Burda, the trousers are very well drafted and the fit really works well on my figure.  These gold trousers, made from a heavy wool twill purchased at MetroTextiles, are actually my second go at this pattern and surely will not be my last. Between the two versions of these trousers, the changes I made include: 
  • Full seat adjustment (about 1/2 inch) using "the usual method" in this picture
  • Shortening the front crotch (3/8") like this 
  • Taking in the waist in 3 places: 
    • Side seams
    • CB seam 
    • Making the darts larger and longer on both the front and back 

In addition, I lined these trousers and omitting the belt carriers. Also, the notch on the CB waist, which is a design feature that I like, was unfortunately eliminated as I sewed when I took in the CB waist. Oops. There are a few little tweaks that I want to make before these will be a true TNT pattern, but nothing truly substantial at this point.

The challenge that I encountered with these trouser were entirely due to the heavy, bulky, loosely woven twill fabric.  It was ravelly and shifty.  There are a few places like the fly and the pockets that don't lay perfectly flat because of the bulk. So, this was actually a very good lesson about working with bulky fabrics for trousers; in the future I would have made the fly shield, inner waistband and such from a lighter, thinner fabric to reduce bulk at the fly and waist.

As for sewing, I never even looked at Burda's instructions. I've sewn enough pants to know how to sew them and use my preferred methods.  One new to me method was using Kenneth King's origami welt pocket tutorial from his Craftsy class on pockets. I use his double welt pocket tutorial every time I make a double welt, and his method for a single welt also did not disappoint. I have a neat and tidy pocket, although next time I'd make the welt shorter. This one is a bit exaggerated.

Anyway, I have a few other pieces of lighter weight fabric picked out for spring/summer trousers from this pattern.

And there you have it! I have a whole new outfit, half refashioned and half from scratch.

Phin and I took lots of pictures yesterday, so I have a big backlog of posts that I will be putting up over the next few weeks! Hooray for blogging!

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