Friday, August 9, 2013

Use the good china: Thurlow trousers

When I was little, we had dinner on fine china every night.  My mom loved the china they'd received for their wedding, so we used it.  We had thick, heavy white dishes that we used for breakfast and lunch, but dinners were served on graceful, thin plates.  

Mom's china pattern -- Source

We all know the moral of this story : if you save special things for special days because they're too special to use on ordinary days, you'll never use them.  Knitters and sewers know this too, because our stashes are full of special skeins that aren't worthy of any pattern in existence.  We have priceless fabrics we don't want to ruin.

Well, now I have another category I'm waiting to use: patterns.  I keep saying, "I'll wait until I get back to my pre-pregnancy size before I make that."  But I'm tired of all my knit dresses, and even when I try to dress up a bit, I'm still feeling a bit fluffy.  So I decided, whatever.  I'm using the good china now. 

One of these patterns I really wanted to make was the Thurlow trousers by the darling Sewaholic.  I was craving something that would stretch my skills a bit, something with some tailoring and some precision. This pattern was exactly what I needed!  I had so much fun picking the pocket lining, turning welt pockets, figuring out all the mechanics of a zip fly, that I realized it wouldn't even matter if these shorts didn't fit.  I just wanted to make something nice. 

I read and reread Lauren of Lladybird's Thurlow sew-a-long posts from last fall, and I couldn't have done it without her!  While Sewaholic's directions weren't unclear, they did cram a lot of detail into each step and picture.  Seeing full size pictures of the step-by-step double welt pocket gave me confidence to just do it.  Even with the zip fly tutorial, I didn't really know how to do it until I just did it.  I'm not even 100% sure what I did, but it works, and it looks good, too!

Since I was breaking out the fine china for the pattern, I decided to not go crazy with the fabric.  I used some very humdrum cotton broadcloth in my stash and some quilting cotton my mom gave me.  If it got ruined, no big deal.  I also traced the pattern, so I wasn't risking messing that up either.  The only thing to lose was my time!  And even that wouldn't be a loss, since I'd be gaining some methods and fitting skills. 

So do they fit?  I think so!  On my next pair, I might add half an inch to the front inseam to give just a bit more room in the crotch.  Is that the right adjustment to make?  Also, after wearing these for a few hours, they stretch out, but not so much that I can't wear them.  Would using fabric with stretch solve that?  Should I use a smaller size? 

The biggest mistake I made was in attaching the waistband.  The point seemed to be shorter than the fly extension by about half an inch.  I actually took a little tuck out of the fly extension to make it match the length of the waistband, then I sewed the waistband on.  Well, when I finished that seem, I realized I had been worried about the raw edges matching, not the stitching line matching.  That half an inch was supposed to be there because at the 5/8" stitching line, the point actually matched the edge of the fly extension perfectly.  I didn't go back and fix it, but now I know for next time. 

At any rate, they're very comfy.  It's great to have a pair of shorts, and to have a clothing option that isn't too tight and a little dated.  I'm really looking forward to my next pair.  I'd love to make a pair of denim trousers for fall.  I'll be on the lookout for some nice fabric for that. 

So here's to not waiting! 


  1. They look great! And I hear you on being tired of knit dresses. I'm so impressed that you tackled a fly and welt pockets with TWO kids!! I'm only working on quick tee shirts at the moment.

  2. Thanks! They did take me two weeks. Quick projects are definitely the way to go.