I’m Jen, aka @JennOff, a journalist and author who has recently taken up dressmaking in a bid to find a bit of quiet time between work and mumming a hilarious but feisty 2-year-old. My initial ambition was to be able to make things for said 2-year-old, because I think all children’s clothes should have animals on them, but the world hasn’t caught up, yet.
After happening across Sew Me Sunshine while panic buying for a one-day dressmaking course, last June, I quickly got caught up in the business of making clothes for me, however, and haven’t looked back. Prior to that course, the last (and indeed first) item of clothing I’d made was a waistcoat for my GCSE Technology project, 20-something years ago (it’s a long story). I think we could all agree there was room for improvement.
What I wasn’t expecting was for the sewing bug to hit SO HARD, and after dabbling in a bit of recreational skirt and shirt making, I decided it was time to move on to some trousers, having mastered (sort of) the I Am Merlin coat. I was delighted when the team at Sew Me Sunshine asked if I’d write them something about my efforts.
As always, I was overwhelmed by choice when it came to picking something from the beautiful fabrics SMS stocked, and as is often the case, I initially chose something wildly inappropriate for my pattern of choice, Bella Loves Patterns Billy Trousers.
As I have often found with SMS, the team were on hand to make some alternative fabric suggestions. You’ll not be wanting a jumbo cord for these, they said, how about a viscose or tencel twill? I’m still learning, and I was happy for the advice. What they also suggested was a fun printed cotton lawn for the pocket linings, whereas previously, I’d only have considered some sort of satin or OBVIOUS lining.
So I ended up with this beautiful rich brown, soft stretch twill from meetMILK, and the Liberty Emma Louise Tana Lawn, which the team suggested would make for an absolutely banging colourway with this brown, and they were right. It’s not always easy to gauge exactly how two fabrics will sit together when you’re buying online, and I really appreciate the advice the team take the time to give. The twill has a slight crosswise stretch, which is great for parking your bum in a pair of trousers, and a really nice drape which works well with the wide-leg fit that I’d chosen.
I can’t lie: I was daunted by the prospect of uniting two legs in holy matrimony, given my limited experience, and especially the zip, but the fabric was a dream to work with. It’s lovely and soft, but not too slippery to handle, and drapey whilst feeling sturdy enough to hold the shape of the trousers. It also washes really well, which was definitely needed after my many chalk markings. I personally love a floral, and can you get a better floral than a Liberty print? Sometimes the Liberty
fabrics can feel a bit pricey, but what a great idea to inject a little pop of colour and luxury into a regular item, like these trousers? I love the way the print looks on bias binding around the waistband, and in the seat of the trousers as well, which was less of a faff than I’d anticipated, and has a beautiful aesthetic.
I didn’t make a toile, because I’m a maverick like that, but if you’re going to make this pattern, definitely have a good look at the finished measurements. The trousers do come up a little on the large side given the wide fit, and I nearly opted for a size up, which would have drowned me.
Overall, I’m really chuffed with the outcome, and I’m looking forward to some slightly warmer weather to get some wear-time in. Now, I just need to think about what to do with that jumbo cord…
Find me @JennOff on Instagram !
*Jen was provided the fabric of her choice free of charge for her blog post & also provided with a £50 voucher*