{05/08/2012}   Making your own clothes

From about 10 am to 7.40 pm yesterday, by some miracle, I made myself a pair of trousers.  I had never made an item of clothing before, had no idea how to use a pattern and had only ever used my sewing machine for botched trouser length alterations.  I am unbelievably impressed with myself and very excited about the prospect of wearing a pair of, ahem, couture trousers.

I have never been a competent sewer, I never took my mum up on offers to teach me to use a sewing machine and I have never looked at a dress making pattern.  I didn’t think I had it in me, but I for years now I’ve wanted to make my own clothes.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  I only had to unpick one thing as well!

As the pattern was full of little symbols and a high error risk, I decided to “make” the trousers out of paper first.  When I realised that I would have to cut out ten pieces of (very baggy) trouser leg, I began to see this was not the three-hour start to finish I had in mind.  The paper part took two hours, though it took a while to stick the newspaper together to make the “cloth”.  I then had a chalk related incident whereby my dressmaking chalk wand thing wouldn’t leave a mark on the material so I hit the town on a quest to find one of those triangular chalk things that my mum always used.  I went in every possible shop: haberdasher, craft shop, stationer, supermarkets, dry cleaning shop, Wilkinson’s, 99p stores, etc.  But no chalk triangles.  I then decided, a bit laborious, to cut around the pattern.  This took ages and was tedious.  Plus, the material was black jersey and collected all my cat’s blonde fur as she came to investigate and walk across and sit on the material.  I reiterate: laborious.

Then all of a sudden, all cutting out was done and I was on a roll.  I ironed a bit, pinned a lot, sewed a lot (machine), took ages threading the elastic through the waistband (this was a Vogue “easy”, no tailoring or anything too complicated!) and tried it on.  Fail.  The waist was far too big.  At this point I was on the verge of calling it a day, but I know what I’m like and I knew it wouldn’t get finished if I didn’t carry on.  So I decided on a drastic course of trimming and re-stitching.  It only went and chuffing well worked!!!!  You really have no idea how proud of myself I was!  The one bit of unpicking occurred after I had sewed the elastic together, one end the wrong way giving it a twist.  I contemplated leaving it and embracing its quirkiness but, again to my surprise, I spent ages unpicking it (I had done three rows of four ups and downs to secure that elastic!) and re-did it.  And it fits a treat and it’s so my style and exactly the kind of trousers/culottes I would buy in an instant if I saw them for sale.

I bought the pattern and material up to a year ago and I had written a to-do-in-2012 list, which had included the making of these trousers.  I had written it down because I really didn’t think I’d ever do it.  I am so pleased with them and with myself.  I have no idea if I’ll ever make anything again but I hope I do as it is extraordinarily satisfying to complete a project in a day and to be able to wear a pair of trousers that fit really well.  I also doubt there are many other people who have bits of cat fur sewn into their trousers either!


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