I’ve got to be honest. I am boring. Once I find a pattern I love, I tend to stick to it. Stick to it hard.
At the moment, these relaxed fit, elastic waisted, tapered trousers are hitting all the right buttons. And what’s not to love – super comfortable, quick to sew up, and surprisingly flattering. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
They are the ultimate casual trouser and perfect for summer.
So, because sharing is caring, I thought I’d share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
1. Find a great Pattern
I’ve been using the True Bias Hudson pants. I find they work really well for my figure. But, I know the Papercut anima pant and Named Clothing Alexandria peg trousers are really similar, so you may want to check those out (and then report back, so I know if I’m missing out).
2. Hunt down the Right Fabric
I reckon the key to success with these types of relaxed trousers is all down to the fabric choice.
You want something that has body to it, so it will stand up to the wear and tear that trousers generally face. Buttt… you also want there to be a good amount of drape so they hand well and don’t add too much bulk at the waist.
I’ve used all sorts of drapery fabrics, including crepe, cupro, and viscose. All have different effects.
This crepe pair needed to be lined because the crepe was just a smidgen too sheer. I love the crazy black and white pattern, but crepe isn’t the easiest fabric to work with. Especially when you’re a little sleep deprived 😉
My viscose pair of summer trousers are SUPER comfy, like wearing PJs. They have the perfect amount of drape and are really lightweight. I love these. They also make me feel like I’m some sort of 80s muscle man. Which oddly, makes me feel awesome.
The curpo are probably the most successful pair I’ve made. The weight is spot on, with a decent amount of drape. I can wear them to work with a smart top, but I can also wear them out exploring. Score.
3. Consider Size
If you’re using a pattern for knit fabrics, then you should cut at least 2 sizes larger than your ‘true’ size to accommodate for the lack of stretch in woven fabrics.
In all three of my Hudsons I cut a size 10 (up two sizes from 8 – my ‘true size’ as measured). I know some people have cut 3 sizes larger to get an even loser fit, so you could experiment a bit if you wanted.
4. Be brave – switch it up
Consider using a pattern made for knits. If you’re game, you should really visit Kelli’s great post which gives you tips, including on how to alter pockets if the pattern you’re using is cut for knits. That post definitely needs to be on your radar.
5. Get down with so,me simple patern alterations
I also have found a couple of other alterations quite useful.
Be careful of hem bands. They don’t quite work with woven fabrics, so you should omit them. Buttt… you need to compensate by adding some length to the hem. Adding a few extra inches to the bottom of the pattern should do it (I add 4″ because I’m a shortie). You can see I forgot to add extra length to the bottom in the version above. D’oh.
I find this style to be a little snug around my calves. So to add a little more room from the knees down to the hem by gradually extend out from the around the knees (the notch nearest the hem in the Hudson pattern) to 3″ at the hem.Finally, the waistband. The Hudson pants call for a 2″ waist, which I find a little clunky in flowy woven fabrics.
I find it best to cut the whole width of the waistband out of my fabric (as if I were using 2″ elastic) and then adjust the width when it comes to sewing. So I cut the waistband pattern piece as per pattern, but only use 1″ elastic instead of 2″.
When I’ve cut the waistband in half it hasn’t quite worked. Better a smidgen too much fabric than an unsuccessful waistband.
Hope that’s been useful. Do let me know how you get on, or if you have any other tips that could help spread the relaxed trouser word.