New project! Corduroy trousers!

Well, I put the question of what my next project should be to the Internet, and the Internet responded. With a convincing voice the answer was “Thee shall go forth and attempt to create trousers from corduroy fabric!”. Sounds a little dramatic, but right now it also feels as like it. I’ve never made trousers before and to be honest, I find the prospect a little daunting. I’m hoping my lack of sewing skills will be compensated for by a tremendous amount of gumption though, and naturally I can’t stand the idea of disappointing my readers, so I’ll just have to give it my best shot.

The fabric I’m using is something I ordered via eBay from a British mill. It sounded wonderful in the description and appeared to be just what I was after, wide whale corduroy in a deep green. Looking at it now it is indeed wide of whale, but feels a little less heavy of weight and the colour is more pond-like than woodland green. Which all in all makes it quite perfect for this project, i.e. my first try at something that may or may not work out well. I’m sure you’re thinking “C’mon Nick, stop working the drama here, you’ve sewn stuff before!”. I’ll have you know though, I peeked in the instructions and there is mention of French seams and such there! I really don’t have a clue as to what they are, though I hope it may become clear. Something to consider: If you try sewing your own clothes, you gain a much greater appreciation for how much, or little, skill and effort has gone into other garments you own.


The pattern I’m using is the “Jutland Pants” by Canadian Thread Theory Designs. They’re a fairly young company, but very dedicated to menswear patterns. The pattern is pretty comprehensive though, giving two quite different variations to make. One is a very regular type of trouser, the other a more work/utility trouser. I’d think you can also safely combine features from both once you get a little more familiar with it. This does go to show that maybe there aren’t a million variations of trousers and that with a little experience you can really style it however you want it, adding details as required, and most important of all end up with a pair of trousers that fit.

I’d like to start out by giving Morgan & Matt at Thread Theory a huge helping of kudos for the effort they put into documenting their patterns. You get the actual pattern in the standard issue tissue paper (actually, I found this even flimsier than the Foreman pattern from Merchant & Mills, deduct a point there) and a 28-page booklet of instructions. The instruction booklet is very comprehensive and details both variations of the pattern. Now for most people this is probably more than enough and will let them whizz through the process of sewing their trousers. I have to admit again though that even though I’ve enjoyed seasons of Sewing Bee, I still find the actual technical sewing expressions a little difficult.

And this is where Thread Theory’s additional level of support comes in: They do sew-a-longs for each pattern. Similar to what I’m doing really, except they know what they are doing and don’t make mistakes underway. So, for this project I’ll be using both the instructions and following the “Jutland” sew-a-long, and hopefully I’ll both learn lots of new stuff underway and end up with a nice pair of trouser. Even if they’ll be in “grayn” corduroy.

So, given that I actually started this project three days ago, how far have I got so far? Only as far as cutting out the paper patterns, transferring them to the fabric, cutting out the fabric and applying interfacing to the bits that require that. Doesn’t sound like much when all mentioned in a single sentence, but it was a few hours work! And it does really kickstart the project when you take a bolt of fabric and explode it into all the component parts. How many parts? 23 parts, including lining, not including the  pieces of interfacing. Part of the joy of assembly is seeing that number be reduced every time you sew two pieces together, finally ending up as one single piece, aka the finished garment.

To get you in the mood, here are some photos from what I’ve done so far. Or you could look at the “Jutland pants” Pinterest page for more trouser-based inspiration.

Now, I’m not making any grand promises of progress on this one. I’ll do what I can, when I can, but with glorious summer going on and family commitments, some things have to give.


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