Hi everyone, I’m Tamlyn (known on Instagram and YouTube as ‘Sewn on the Tyne’) and I’m delighted to be back on the Felicity Fabrics blog today.
For this project, the fabric came first. As soon as I saw this amazing Lady McElroy elephant print linen/viscose mix, I knew I had to have it. With the print being so beautiful, I wanted a garment that would let it shine – something simple with not too many seam lines to disrupt the print. I knew a pair of casual trousers would fit perfectly in to my wardrobe and current lifestyle and I’ve owned this pattern for a while now without making it, so now was the time.
The Miller trousers by Paper Theory patterns (available in PDF format, in sizes 6-28) are a relaxed and easy to wear trouser with the option of either an elasticated or tie waist. They are designed to sit high on your waist, above your belly button. This is the perfect style for me, having only recently had a baby and currently getting used to my new body shape. There is a pleat in the front leg to add fullness and then a dart in the back waist to add shape. The legs taper inwards towards the ankle, with the hem finishing just above the ankle bone, although the trousers can also be worn rolled up.
My measurements at the time of starting this project were B: 39.5”, W:33.5” and H: 45.5”. When looking at the finished garment measurement chart, I decided to opt for the size 16 as that would give me a nice amount of ease in the legs. I also measured my rise and inside leg. From these measurements, I decided to shorten the leg pattern pieces by two inches.
I always pre-wash my fabric to allow for any shrinkage, but before this I overlocked the cut edges to prevent any fraying. Once it was dry, I cut out my pattern pieces on a single layer (which is recommended in the pattern instructions). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pattern match as I didn’t have enough fabric. If you did want to pattern match at the side seams, you would need to take this in to account when ordering the fabric and perhaps order an extra half metre.
Before sewing, I tested a scrap of the fabric on my sewing machine to check which needle would be best. I would definitely recommend taking a few minutes to do this before starting on your actual garment as it can make a huge difference to the quality of your sewing. The needle I opted for was a Standard/Universal needle, size 80. I also threaded up my overlocker with rainbow thread. I thought this would give a really nice, colourful finish to the seams and tie in well with the brightly coloured elephants in the fabric.
The construction of these trousers is really straightforward, helped by super clear instructions and diagrams. Paper Theory have some interesting ways of constructing garments and achieving certain elements of the design, but I really enjoyed this aspect of the sewing process as it made a simple sewing project a bit more interesting. I opted to make the elasticated waist version of the trousers, although I didn’t have the correct size elastic. Rather than ordering more, I just used what I had (25mm wide). I also didn’t have the right length, so I stitched two pieces together using a zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine. I did a couple of rows of this so that it would be strong and unlikely to come apart. Hopefully this shows that you can often work with what you already have in your stash rather than having to spend money on new notions.
The last stage of construction is hemming the trouser legs. I tried the trousers on and looked in the mirror. At this point I actually quite liked the length and didn’t want to lose a lot of it in the hem (the pattern is designed with a 4cm hem). I could have just sewn a narrower hem, perhaps turning the fabric 1cm and then 1cm again. But, while having a chat with my mum, she suggested bias binding the hem and I loved the idea. I also knew I had some gold bias binding in my stash that would be perfect. I’m so happy with the finish it has given and it allowed me to keep the majority of length in the legs – winner!
I am so happy with my finished trousers. I think they are the perfect fabric and pattern combination. The fabric was so lovely to work with and it feels so soft and comfortable against the skin. One thing to watch out for is that the fabric does fray. I had to do some unpicking at one point, which made the fabric fray more and I could no longer see the notches I’d cut. Marking the notches with pen or pins would be my advice to anyone using this fabric to prevent this same problem.
The Miller trousers are a project suitable for all levels of sewist, from beginner to advanced. The elasticated waist version that I made are really straight forward. The tie waist version does include some more complex techniques, however, if you’re more confident or feeling ready for a challenge. Felicity Fabrics have lots of fabrics that would be perfect for these trousers. Here are some of my favourites:
Thank you for reading today and I hope I’ve inspired you with my make.
Love Tamlyn xx