Hello, hello! Coming to you today with my most recent finished sewing project: The Persephone Pants by Anna Allen.
These pants have been a lonnnng time in the making. I got the kit, part of the Guthrie & Ghani … last summer? Then sewed through a project or two to try to build up my confidence before tackling these. Once I was ready, I made one toile … then another … had lots of thoughts about potentially altering the waistband, and then decided it was all getting a bit complicated for my limited sewing skills. Even after I cut the fabric, progress was slow, with lots of short sewing sessions, followed by long gaps. While I don’t think this is the best approach for me for sewing projects, it’s all good, and I’m really happy that they’re now off the sewing machine and ready to be worn!
While I’d tried out the elastic-waisted Pants No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing (I love my toile and want to make a pair in nice linen for summer), this was my first go at Proper Pants with elements like A Fly. And while there are plenty of mistakes and wonky bits (some of which I’ll tell you about, some of which are between me and my sewing machine), you know what, I’m pretty proud of these. They fit. They feel good on. I’ll wear them. They’re a magical shade of burnt orange with fancy pants pocket linings. I’m not sure you can ask for much more from a pair of trousers.
So, as I mentioned, I made these using a Guthrie & Ghani Sewing Society kit — my second make from one of their kits (the first was the Gable Top, which I am also wearing in this photo). The kits are very handy for a newbie sewist like me with limited haberdashery. They come with everything you’ll need: pattern, fabric, thread, buttons, any notions. They also come with a link to a video of Lauren’s tips for the pattern, and I find this particularly useful. The video’s a bit like having a much more experienced friend helping you along and includes suggestions that wouldn’t necessarily belong in a pattern, but that someone with limited experience wouldn’t know to do. I don’t imagine I would have tackled trousers like these at this point if I hadn’t had the safety net of the video. While the kits are released each month and limited, you can purchase the videos after the fact if you’re interested.*
So, as I mentioned, I made these using a Guthrie & Ghani Sewing Society kit — my second make from one of their kits (the first was the Gable Top, which I am also wearing in these photos). The kits are very handy for a newbie sewist like me. They come with everything you’ll need: pattern, fabric, thread, buttons, any notions. They also come with a link to a video of Lauren’s tips for the pattern, and I find this particularly useful. The video’s a bit like having a much more experienced friend helping you along and includes suggestions that wouldn’t necessarily belong in a pattern, but that someone with limited experience wouldn’t know to do. I don’t imagine I would have tackled trousers like these at this point if I hadn’t had the safety net of the video. While the kits are released each month and limited, you can purchase the videos … I did this for the Ogden Cami … if you’re interested.*
To the trousers themselves … the kit included a lovely … woven twill? (I am so much less confident in describing fabric than yarn!) that has a really nice weight to it and a bit of Liberty fabric for the pockets, which was a fun detail. From my toile-ing, I settled on making the size 6, but graded along the back side of the leg piece (so, along what becomes the bum/seat seam) out to the size 8. When I tried on my toile, there was some pretty substantial gaping at the back of the waistband. I read this post and this one which had a lot of helpful tips. At first I wondered about curving the waistband, then I wondered about actually just taking some length out of the very high rise. In the end though, I just didn’t have the experience level to know what was best, and, having taken ages to make two toiles, thought embarking on a third might mean I never made the pants themselves. So I didn’t mess with the rise. While there’s a bit of gaping at the back waistband, it was much more pronounced on my toile — in the actual fabric of the trousers, they sit just fine on my waist.
My biggest concern making these was they weren’t going to be comfortable. I’ve gotten very comfortable living life in comfy pants (who am I kidding, pre-Covid, I was also a big comfy pants advocate), so I had some concerns that the combo of high waist and five-button fly might feel a bit restrictive. But I am happy to report that these actually feel really nice on. Despite the creases you can see pretty clearly in these photos along the rise, there’s nothing about them that feels tight — they are definitely pants I can move in (which is, uh, sort of essential to me).
This pattern included a lot of first for me — first buttons, first fly, first darts, first front pockets, first bar tacks, first belt loops. I’ve definitely not managed the pockets and waist band junctures perfectly, a fact highlighted by my decision to use the contrasting fabric for the bit of the pocket lining that faces out. But hey, I don’t mind flashing a bit of that Liberty gorgeousness.
I also found tidily opening my buttonholes really tricky. My machine has an automatic buttonhole function, and it mostly worked fine (except for the final top button, where I kept running into problems when my buttonhole foot met the thicker seam of my waistband). I used a seam ripper to open the buttonholes and they just look a bit raggedy. I’m not sure if it’s a fault of the settings I used or of my seam ripper, but the buttonholes are probably the bit I’m least happy with — but at least four out of five of them are under cover!
Overall though, I’m really happy with how these have turned out. I’ve wanted some wider-legged, higher-waisted pants in my wardrobe, and these fit the bill. I hedged my bets a bit hemming them, pressing deeper folds than the pattern advised to get them to a cropped length on me (I’m 5’3), rather than trimming off any leg length. I really like the look of cropped trousers, but I also really don’t like cold ankles, so I wanted to give myself the option of letting them out if the cropped-ness didn’t work for me … I was particularly worried about what shoes I might wear with wide, cropped pants. But when we went outside to take photos, I threw on these boots (mostly because it was muddy) and I think they work okay! (Though cropped-trouser lovers — if you have shoe suggestions, I’m all ears.) I think, on my frame, these work much better at cropped rather than full length, so I don’t think I’ll be letting them out anytime soon!
I’m happy to be building up my me-made wardrobe — my trousers, top and cardi are all made by me! I toyed with the idea of starting a second pair of Persephones with some stashed fabric right away — I thought it might be a good chance to work through a few of the mistakes I made on this pair. I think, though, that I might wait til I’ve worn them a bit more before I do. I want to see how they wear before I decide if I should go up a full size (would this reduce the thigh whiskering?) or mess with the rise. These are meant to be high-waisted, and overall I like that, but as I’m pretty short torseoed they come up VERY high on me. In the meantime, I’ve got a Sewing Society kit for a navy stripey top on the way and plans to cast on a sweater in this yarn from my stash, both of which will pair nicely with my first pair of proper trousers.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by and sharing a bit of your day! In an unprecedented turn of events, I also have a sweater finished, so might be back again soon! I love when a finishing wave strikes! In the meantime, if you’ve finished any projects lately (or are about to), I’d love to hear about them in the comments!