Well, I did it. I bit the bullet and made plaid pants.
I must confess, I sewed plaid once before, a nice Burda dress with lots of seams in the bodice. Maybe I am stupid, but I didn’t realise plaid needed to be matched, and I wore that dress with all the seams mismatched. Nice.
A couple of years on, with my new focus on quality sewing, I sat down, read some great posts like Sewaholic’s Matching Plaids: A Step By Step Guide and Amy Alan’s Cutting Out Plaid, and here is the result.
This is Sewaholic’s wonderful Thurlow Trousers pattern again. Interestingly, they are a bit looser than my first Thurlows, but I don’t mind that. This is a polyester suiting fabric, and it behaves a bit differently to the gabardine I used for my first pair.
As per Sewaholic’s and Amy’s instructions, I spent a LOT of time matching the lines before cutting the pant pieces. I cut everything separately- no cutting on folded fabric for this. Once I had cut out one piece, I reversed it and placed it on the fabric in EXACTLY the spot which matched the plaid lines. Then I pinned through the top pattern piece and checked that the pins were coming through the same place in the underneath fabric. This was very time-consuming. I didn’t mind too much. Being a first time, it was quite interesting.
PINNING the fabric in preparation for sewing was also much fiddlier than with plain fabric. I pinned every line, again checking that the pins entered and exited the same place on the top pattern piece and the underneath pattern piece.
Even with this careful preparation, the lines did not always sew together perfectly, and I was amazed at how many small adjustments I had to make which I would NEVER make for plain fabric. Does this mean that when I sew plain fabric, the grain shifts but I never realise? Hmm…
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the matching.
The stripes match over the pockets perfectly despite what the photos show. The plaid matches up the waistband at the front, but because the waistband curves, it stops matching towards the back. The side seams are pretty good, too. Not perfect, but there was NO WAY I was going to unpick them and re-attempt the seams when they were so close.
Some more pics. I rushed these photos a bit, and I also did not pose in the shoes that I hemmed these pants for (too lazy to go downstairs and get them), so the pants actually hang better than the photos would suggest.
I was really excited that these pants would be able to be dressed up or down…I am wearing an unblogged Jalie Scarf Collar Knit Top which I sewed especially for these pants. The red top is a purchased T-shirt.
I purposely left off the belt loops from these pants so that I could wear tops over the waistband without bulges. I prefer the look of the top pulled down over the top of the pants; for some reason, the waist looks a bit high to me with the tucked-in shirt, and I don’t feel that way with my first Thurlows. Weird. I guess belt loops and a belt breaks it up some.
I also left off the welt pockets. I didn’t think they would show up too well, so I couldn’t be bothered spending the time it would have taken to match them.
I think it works both ways.
All in all, I’m really, really happy with these pants. They are comfortable and I think I will get a lot of wear out of them. I think that they fit into my ‘good quality clothes’ wardrobe while also being a bit funky and cool. Love.