Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tweed Trousers

Burda 04-2011-104



Well hello there again. I have been sewing blog friends and family, but I have not had an Internet connection because our new provider had some problems establishing a connection.

It was good to be without the Internet - the amount of time I waste on it was highlighted by its absence when I couldn't. I must be more judicious in the future. Exposure to more things just creates a desire to possess more things. It's no wonder I have a long sewing list and a pile of fabric calling me to action. Every time I log on, I see something I must sew! An idea I must explore! A technique to be tried! And no time to do it.

We have just had the final of Project Runway season 8 here, and I know most people reading this probably watched it about a year ago but we are very far behind with TV down under.

I was really inspired by it, despite its controversial conclusion, because the designers were so true to their aesthetic and it really came as an expression and commitment to their taste and creativity.

The challenge for me as a dedicated home sewer is to create clothes that really explore my own aesthetic, which is loosely called "nana chic" - a little old fashioned, a little ugly. I love that look. It's funny and it's intriguing.

The trousers are a wool tweed, which I think you'll agree is a very nana fabric. They are too scratchy even when fully lined. I will buy some fabric conditioner next time I'm at the supermarket to see if I can tame the fibres. I had a lot of trouble constructing the front welt pockets. I read and reread and triple read and read back to front and in the mirror and still it didn't make any sense. The confusion came from the different words used to translate the different German technical terms. This pattern has obviously been flogged before (and let's face it Burda recycle their patterns frequently, very "green" of them) and so an older term "piping line" is used on the pattern, but in the magazine they use the word "welt" - so all the lines that are supposed to match up don't correspond from pattern to instructions.

Here is a construction photo to help anyone wishing to make these trousers. You sew the welt on upside down, 2 cms from the folded edge, and sew the pocket on upside down along the top edge. Then you cut down the middle and turn them both inside. Clear as mud?




4 attempts later I got what they were on about, and produced a good welt. I have a theory that the 'goats and sheep' distinction for home sewers could be welt pockets. Any reasonable sewer can produce a good welt, but only a great sewer can produce a great welt. Mine are pretty good, but there's a grand canyon between pretty good and great.




I like the cut of the trousers and am happy with them but I have struggled to style them - they seem to make everything very formal, despite the absurdity of my accessories.

The belt too silly for most tastes as it was reduced to a quarter of its original price:



And this delightful hand crocheted butterfly form Variety Handcrafts in Princess Street, Dunedin. Isn't it lovely that there are still some shops that sell this kind of stuff?



Any ideas how to funk up this look? Just a little mind, we don't want to cross the line into good taste territory.

24 comments:

  1. I like the look you are sporting with your new trousers. I also really like the fabric, so I hope you can find something to soften them up. Your welt looks fantastic and the pants overall are top-notch!

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  2. I think your welt pockets are great, and that you are too!

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  3. You know, I needed something to cheer me up after the awful conclusion to Project Runway, and that belt instantly made me cackle. I just love the rudiness of it, it's a real treasure.
    Your new pants are very styley as always, and to zhuzh up the look I could suggest a nana-style granny-square scarf. Only you don't have one, because I kept it for myself. Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

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  4. I'm sorry - but I think you are heading to 'good taste' land with those great trousers! I love them - how about a top in some unexpected bright colour or a scarf with bobbles?

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  5. These look really lovely! Great fit, great welt pockets, and is that a fleck of turquoise I see in the tweed - yummy!
    I really like the incongruity of tweed with satin, or lace - what about a silky camisole and cardigan - belted?

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  6. Your trousers are great! They fit well and I think are they are pretty versatile. You could sport a lot of different looks in them. The crocheted butterfly is lovely in an offbeat way.

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  7. I'd definitely wear your outfit as is. I love my tweed trousers in cold weather, and more often than not put on a knit shirt with cardigan on top. I must have nanna taste, too! Your welt pockets look great. The instructions confuse me to no end, even in German!

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  8. I have some purchased pants that are itchy even through the lining, and I must have thought my thighs would toughen up and I'd just be able to take it someday. (That hasn't happened.) I have never heard of fabric conditioner till now and will have to give that a try. BTW your pants are in awfully good taste. I think some comfy leather granny shoes, really big sunglasses, and a cropped faux fur jacket or faux fur gilet might pull it in a "nana chic" direction.

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  9. I love the look, and the trousers look both warm and stylish---hardly Nana at all. ;). The welt also looks great, better than any of my attempts so far. Good work! :)

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  10. I love the trousers and your look is great exactly as it is, but I know what you mean - those trousers would look serious without the right accessories. Re Burda instructions - I suspect they don't make sense in any language!

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  11. I love the trousers and your look is great exactly as it is, but I know what you mean - those trousers would look serious without the right accessories. Re Burda instructions - I suspect they don't make sense in any language!

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  12. I like your interpretation of nana chic! I like how you've styled the trousers - in between casual and dressy.

    I'm waiting for the day when I don't hesitate for half a day before tackling the welt pockets.

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  13. So much to discuss...I would love to sit down for a cuppa with some fellow sewers rather than limp on with a few brief comments here and there.

    You are right, the internet is time consuming and project creating. I struggle to find the right balance of time on and offline.

    The pants are lovely. They remind me of some tweed pants that were styled with an oversized tunic and a skivvy in the Twinkle Sews book. The pants weren't the garment being constructed, but I always admired them. I imagine that a loose tunic over loose pants could present as less than flattering, but Wenlan kept them all the same colour tones, whilst uutilising different textures, whilst gave them an air of chic-ness.

    If welts maketh the sewer, than I am afraid that I'll never make it into either the good or great sewing camp. I just can't seem to sustain the interest to learn how to make them properly. I'll just get by with my cheat's methods.

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  14. After reading right through your post and admiring the pants, the pocket, the styling, and coveting your cute little brooch I felt compelled to comment on what? PrincesS Street. Some of us pedants are a little (ridiculously) oversensitive about that one! Really must get over myself :-)

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  15. They look great! How about some whimsical red shoes to nana-chic them up?

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  16. You realise that sewing Burda puts you into a whole new league let alone welt-craft. I love the trousers but if the fabric is scratchy, well remember the rash you used to get off a wet gymfrock, ouch. That's the first thing I think of. How's all that cooking going?

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  17. Wow, great trousers and the detailing is just so. I admire a good welt when I see one.

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  18. your welts look good as are the other bits. some high heel boots and a polo neck jumper would look good (make the polo neck wool so you can scratch all over ) - really these pants would go with everything. If you want to great- nana things up some velcro velour slippers and cardy( with a name tag attached ) will do wonders.

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  19. Living without the Internet - what a huge topic of conversation that could be. At one point, I started turning off my computer after my designated time so I couldn't slip back into "wasting" more hours. It was amazing how many times I went to check something. And I travel with a lap top. Hmm....

    I like the look. Brown and black is different for me. They seem very you. Love the term Nana-chic. Fun. Something bright seems like it would be fun - shoes maybe.

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  20. I love your version of "nana chic." I think your styling is great, too. The cardigan keeps the trousers from being too formal. Good job on the welts! they still frighten me. Does that mean I am a goat? Or a sheep? One way or another, I am on the wrong side of the canyon.

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  21. I have been neglecting the internet all week, it didn't help my production at all. I have overindulged today - because of some mending sitting on top of real sewing. Awful stuff. You are quite right though, today I have bought fabric on the internet and decided to make 4 or 5 new projects, just what I needed! Blogs are bad.

    Your trousers are very smart. I admire your welt pockets. I am in welt pocket doldrums after trying to put them in 2 knit garments in a row. Does welt inadequacy make one a sheep or a goat? Baaaaa. (or Maaaa, depending which is the disastrous side)

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  22. What does it say about me that I can't find anything silly about your belt? I like your trousers, but I think by their nature, wool trousers are a bit serious, still, you're making them smirk!

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  23. Those pants look terrific. Too bad they are so scratchy.

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  24. I like the way you've styled the pants and you've done a great job on them!

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