I don't know why I haven't jumped on the Smooth Sailing Trousers bandwagon until now… but here they are!
I went all out on workmanship and supplies in order to make these pants a durable, quality addition to my wardrobe. I used wool (with 2% spandex, I think) and mounted/underlined it in bemberg rayon.
I also utilized several of the techniques I learned in an online couture class I recently tried out. I pressed things carefully, underlined, did balanced darts on the back, stitched the darts and pleats down, did a handpicked zipper, and put belting in the waistband. The pants feel fantastic and don't require nearly as much ironing because of the wool content and rayon underlining. The rayon also keeps the wool from bagging out at the bum and knees.
I added the belting at the waist because I'm tired of waistbands that fold over and wrinkle. I've also found it more comfortable to wear, since I made the trousers fairly fitted. I've found that I'm not so worried about the waistband snap coming undone, and I don't feel like I have to "suck it in" all the time. The belting at the waistband and the rayon underlining hold their shape nicely.
I also used one more technique that I absolutely LOVE for seam finishing. I don't know what it's called, but basically it allows the underlining to wrap around to the front of the fashion fabric, enclosing both raw seams and leaving just as much seam allowance as there was to begin with. (Here's the tutorial I used to explain.) IT IS THE BEST. I didn't use it on the very curved seams, but it worked brilliantly for the side seams. I ended up hand finishing the curved seams with rayon seam binding and closed up the other edges with the waistband and hem.
I won't lie, I'm proud of these trousers. I'm going to wear them a lot! They're a bit wrinkly in these photos (I only steamed them after getting them out of a suitcase. Looking at the photos, I should've ironed them too! Then I might have been crouching and flailing all over looking for a camera piece before this...), but I still like them. I'll iron them before the next time I wear them, I promise! The fit is still a bit strange around the crotch and bum area, but not enough to make me not wear them. Pants are tricky this way, so maybe I'll be able to work it out on the next version. (Suggestions are welcome!)
P.S. I'll tell you more about the shirt in the next post!
Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: 98% wool/2% spandex and bemberg rayon
Pattern: Wearing History Smooth Sailing Trousers e-Pattern
Notions: metal zipper, trouser hook, snap
How historically accurate is it? The only thing inaccurate is the spandex content in the wool. Other than that… I think it's 30s authentic!
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Just general fitting, but most pants patterns need that. My muslin turned out a bit looser and longer than my wool fabric did for some reason, so I need to lengthen the legs and possibly increase the waist if I want more comfort next time.
Did you change anything? Yes, I had to shorten the pattern a few inches (shocking? No.), and I graded from a 24" waist to the 35" hip size. I also adjusted the front crotch curve to remove some fabric. There are still some strange wrinkles that I'm not sure what to do about, but that may just be the result of the pleats and 30s fit. (If anyone knows a solution, please share!)
Time to complete: A week, due to hand sewing and carefulness!
First worn: August 4, 2015
Total cost: $35 wool + $20 rayon, everything else from stash = $55
Notes: Seriously, make a muslin. It's always a good thing to do, especially when it comes to pants!