Sunday, 28 August 2016

In which I complain a lot

The last week and a half has been very frustrating. I have been ALMOST well enough to sew, but not quite. As a result I kept starting to work on things and then having to keel over in a heap for a while to recover when I suddenly felt horrible. This is not an optimal way to actually get anything done.
Jalie 2908 on my cobalt blue fabric
I did mange to get a couple of things cut out by working in short bursts, but they are now both lurking in a pile of pieces waiting for me to get on with the actual sewing. One is just a basic knit top, very dull, but I am also working on is a pair of Jalie 2908 stretch bootcut jeans (a.k.a that pattern everyone and her little dog too made circa 2009/2010) in a cobalt blue stretchy twill. Unfortunately, I can't seem to muster the concentration span to start sewing, particularly since the early stages are all fiddly things like the pockets and the fly. Hopefully I'll have more success with that this week.

Finished body of Il Grande Favorito minus the neckband; with the neckband that I knitted on today
One thing I have managed to get on with is the sweater I am knitting, mainly because knitting mostly involves copious amounts of sitting still, and my pattern requires almost no concentration, being mainly stocking stitch. The pattern is Il Grande Favorito, which is perpetually at the top of the "Hot right now" list on Ravelry and deservedly so. I recommend it highly, especially if you're looking for a low stress sweater pattern. So far, I am reasonably happy with the actual jumper, although I feel like my knitting overall still looks really clunky and Happy Hands At Home. Some of that though is that I keep choosing to knit in cotton which I'm now informed tends to show (bad) stitch definition much more clearly than wool. I've therefore decided to buy a wool yarn for my next sweater though I'm going to make some socks first I think.

The other reason I am frustrated is that I have been planning my autumn sewing. Ordinarily, as anyone who has read this blog will be aware, planning what I am going to do brings me great satisfaction. However, combined with not actually being able to get on with anything, it's mostly just been a source of disgruntlement this last week. Here are some reasons for my frustration:

1. My inability to spend all of my time sewing. I just want to SEW ALL OF THE THINGS! I have 100s of patterns earmarked to use! I have 200m of fabric, give or take, lurking about in my sewing room! Curses on the necessity of doing other things like sleeping, eating, housework, and (one day I hope again) earning a living! Every time I flipped through my patterns this week to pull ideas for the autumn I seemed to see a dozen more things I'd like to make and found myself whining but whyyyyyyyy can't I just sew all the time :( :( :(

2. Why did I ever start trying to plan a wardrobe and keep the size down to a reasonable number? You can't make all of the things if you also have a ceiling on how many things you own. This restriction is so frustrating to me some days and the biggest irritation is that it's entirely self-imposed. I wibble constantly between telling myself it is OK to go over my self-imposed limits (which I know it totally is -- nobody is going to come and arrest me, or even frown at me, even if I own twice as much as I do right now) and remembering why I decided on a generous-but-consciously-limited wardrobe to begin with (many reasons, enumerated at extraordinary and tedious length in my wardrobe planning posts).

3. Why do I not have a more varied life that I can sew more varied things? This is actually mainly frustration with being sick. I just hit the three year anniversary of the first time I was hospitalized with my present illness and everything started going downhill, so this annoyance developed extra force and drama this last week. I am sure I hardly need to inform you that it is very boring to sew for a frequently-housebound way of life. I don't really get to go anywhere or do anything even when I'm moderately well and there's only so many different types of outfits you need when your main activities in life are sitting on your own sofa, sitting on your mum's sofa, and going to the grocery store once a week.

Burda 09-2010-120 -- one of my more ambitious plans for this autumn!
4. Why am I not a better sewer? I have a couple of projects in my plan that I really want to try that are probably above my skill level. I mean, it won't stop me trying them, but I dislike having to brace myself for failure.

5. Why do I own the stash I own? I am frustrated that I own: fabrics in fibres I do not like (polyester chiffon, eek, the horror) even if I like the print; fabrics in colours I like in the abstract but in practice never wear and that go with nothing else in my wardrobe; fabric pieces in lengths that are either too long or too short for their most likely use (too long meaning I would end up with an unusable scrap at the end); fabrics too precious to use (why?!); and fabrics I just outright do not like.

6. Why am I such a stick-in-the-mud about what I'll actually wear? I made two summer dresses earlier this year and we've had some actually nice days of weather this summer. I could have worn my sundresses, but in fact I only wore one of them once. I sort of thought that might be the case, which is why I didn't make more than two. I feel so self-conscious in dresses even though I know that no, really, other than my mum, nobody gives a single damn what I am wearing, or even often sees it (see above re. my rather restricted life). I just don't reach for dresses, it seems. I've been sort of planning to experiment with some very slightly different trouser shapes and top lengths, and also with making slightly different loungewear this autumn, but now I am second guessing myself as to whether I'll actually wear it.

In conclusion: I am in such a whiny mood at the moment, and I've achieved very little, sewing-wise. I will be back in a more cheerful state of mind AND with finished garments soon, I hope!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Little repeats for the end of summer

My sewing time for the last week or so has been dedicated to tidying up the loose ends of my summer sewing queue. A few things never made it out of the planning stage, but it was actually a pretty successful season of sewing for me overall. I did have three little easy projects that I wanted to finish up before I officially called time on summer sewing for 2016.

Very easy repeats: Liberty print PJ shorts and a white tee
The first two are multiple repeats and very dull. I made a pair of Liberty cotton print PJ shorts using my TNT (tried 'n true) pattern Ottobre 05-2011-02. Using Liberty cotton for PJs probably seems decadent, but I actually bought the fabric for £5/m at the factory shop in Lancaster.

I also had already cut out a plain white tee (using my basic tee pattern based on New Look 6150) but I was being lazy about re-threading my overlocker & coverstitch machines. Since I happened to have re-threaded for the white blouse I made last week, I got my t-shirt pieces out and ran it up quickly. I don't know why I always act like re-threading my machines is this terrible onerous chore that takes hours of my sewing time. I've timed myself before and it rarely takes more than five minutes.

Some pins from my Pinterest board that inspired my last project
The last thing on my list is one of those "inspired by my Pinterest board" projects. I like to scroll through some of my boards sometimes and see if I can spot any trends or patterns in what I'm pinning. I noticed I'd pinned a lot of lightweight woven or woven/knit mix raglan tops with patterned or textured body pieces and plain sleeves (or occasionally vice versa). It struck me that it would be useful to figure out a nice TNT pattern for that kind of top because it could potentially be a good way to use a small piece of fabric and/or tone down a really dramatic print.

I picked out a plain white and a white/green patterned viscose from my fabric stash to try this out and then I went pattern hunting in my stash. Can I just say again how much I love my magazine collection? If I'm looking for a straightforward pattern I'll always find one somewhere in my magazines.

Burda Plus S/S 2013 #433 Raglan sleeve tunic -- images from Burdastyle.de

As it turned out, I had actually totally forgotten about this pattern, from Burda Plus S/S 2013, that I tried out once waaaaay back at the beginning of my garment sewing adventures. I think it might have been the first thing I ever actually finished from Burda. At the time I did all sorts of wacky adjustments, about which the less said the better, and I think I only wore the top about twice.

Burda Plus S/S 2013 433 in green and white viscose with white viscose sleeves
On this occasion I made more or less a straight size 44, as is my current wont with tops in Burda. It's a long top as written -- 76cm at the centre back. I cut the length much shorter and also drew in a shirt-tail hem, very slightly longer at the back than the front, which I stole from a shirt pattern I made some ago, the Pauline Alice Carme. I almost never tuck any of my tops in so my hems are always visible. I've taken to using shaped hem patterns or drawing my own in almost every time because I think it looks more interesting (and probably more flattering) than a straight horizontal hem. I'm pleased with my fabric combination and I do think the top as a whole is quite pretty.


However, overall I don't think the shape of the neckline is particularly flattering to my shoulders -- too wide and shallow -- and I don't especially like how the fabric drapes around my bust. A lot of the alternative woven raglans in my stash have a ton of gathering and are very voluminous, in the peasant-blouse style, and I liked that this particular pattern is more streamlined. However, I've found a sort of middle ground pattern that I might try next, Burda 10-2014-135. The neckline is more of a scoop and has a couple of small pleats at centre front. I really like the way the sample blouses (there are a couple of variations in the magazine) drape at the bust on the models, and while I do know that relying on the modelled images is a fool's game, I think I might give it a go anyway.

If I do, I'll be making my top long-sleeved, as I am now going to embark on my autumn sewing. My sewing queue for this autumn is heavy on outerwear because I still don't have much and I am determined to fill that gap with sewing rather than RTW. I'll also be going back to work on trousers imminently, this time armed with the world's largest supply of gingham fabric and hopefully some new ideas on how to approach my fitting problems.

Friday, 12 August 2016

A sewing-versary

Five years ago today my first ever sewing machine arrived on my doorstep! I couldn't have picked a better, albeit life-ruiningly expensive hobby to try out. And now, on to the next five years -- I might even be a marginally competent sewer by the end of them! :D

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Something of a disaster (Silhouette 511)

I almost don't know where to start with this top.

Silhouette 511 "Angie's Top" in white double gauze front and back

On the one hand, on Flossie, I actually think the top looks actually pretty good. The main feature of this top is the front collar/placket piece, which is a nice feature that I still like tremendously. I actually didn't sew the collar in perfectly, but even with my somewhat substandard execution I genuinely think the collar is very cute.
 
The top is made in white double gauze, which I purchased at vast expense (by my standards) earlier this summer after I made a blue polka dot double gauze top. I agonized for ages over what pattern to use with it. Double gauze is lovely but it feels really fragile -- it's very easy to snag and stretch. I wanted to avoid anything that involved working the fabric hard, like a shirt with a button placket and collar or anything like that. My original instinct was to make another woven tee pattern from Burda, and really, I should have stuck to that instinct instead of going off-piste with Silhouette 511, a pattern from the very darkest depths of my pattern stash. 

Line drawing of Silhouette 511, from the Silhouette website
I bought this pattern right back at the start of my garment sewing adventures and it's lurked about ever since. At the time, I was drawn to it by the line drawing of the top and by the way that Silhouette advertise their patterns as having cup-sizes.

Front cover of the pattern
If you were buying this, wouldn't you assume that the big banner "with EXCLUSIVE B, C & D cup sizing" on the front of the envelope meant that the pattern would have cup sizes? That was for sure what I assumed. Well, you'd be wrong -- despite the princess seams, which would have made for ideal cup sizing -- there are no cup-sized pieces for this pattern. This false advertising has annoyed me every time I thought about this pattern for the last several years, and frankly I am still annoyed by it now.

The other sizing thing with Silhouette is that they are like "Body measurements won't help you choose a size! You only need finished garment measurements!" Then you're directed to measure a garment you like the fit of and then pick the Silhouette size closest to the finished garment you like. I can see some validity to this argument, and for sure I've measured some favourite garments to get an idea of fit that I like. However, as a pattern company solution to the sizing problem, I can't bring myself to agree with this at all -- I want both the finished garment measurements AND some sense of how much design ease the pattern creator was imagining, even if it's just to say "the model is wearing a top with 6" of ease at the bust" or something, the way that knitting patterns on Ravelry do.


As it turns out, I chose TOTALLY the wrong size. I'm not really trying to shift the blame -- I should have known better -- but I also don't think they made it easy for me to pick the right size, so I am still holding a grudge.

Silhouette 511 on me

So first: this top is the wrong size. I made a size 2, which notionally has 3" of ease vs. my body measurements at bust, waist and hip. It doesn't NOT fit, in the sense that although there are some little drag marks they're mostly from the shirt getting caught up on the cami I'm wearing underneath. However, it's MUCH too close a fit for the design, which was intended as an overshirt.

Top pre-sleeve-surgery
I also HATE the sleeves -- I added the photo with my hands on my hips so you get some sense of how the sleeves are constructed and why there are so many vertical wrinkles around the shoulders in the other shots. You can see I ended up cutting off the sleeves, which were weirdly constructed and weirdly shaped, in favour of short-sleeves.

A great deal of my current grumpiness about this top is actually about my own mistakes. I am VERY annoyed with myself for using an expensive piece of fabric to make this and not making a muslin first. I am annoyed because I cut the pattern to size 2 rather than tracing it the way I normally do and now I have one sheet full of the pattern at sizes too large for me (5W-8W) and the pattern at sizes 1-2 and not the size I actually needed. Not that I necessarily want to make it again, because I don't think even at the right size that shoulder/sleeve arrangement would ever suit me.

My cardigan hides the things I don't like, especially those shoulders!
The only SMALL plus is that I actually do like the way the centre front of the top looks on me, even though the fit is closer than I'd like, and it's therefore possible that I'll salvage some wear from it by wearing it under a cardigan. I feel like if I were a different sort of sewer I'd try to frankenpattern the collar, which I really do like a LOT, onto a different pullover shirt that worked better for me. However, I have to admit that I am not at all sure I am that kind of sewer or that I will ever be.

On to more cheerful things: my new Ottobre magazine just turned up in the post, so I shall be perusing that (images and line drawings for the 05/2016 issue are here if you've not seen them yet). I have a bunch of things in mind for the rest of this month but nothing concrete for my next sewing project quite yet.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Knitted Objects 2016: #2 Drop Stitch Scarf in pink



I've been planning to start knitting a jumper on August 1st and I thought I'd best get back into knitting practice. I couldn't face my very boring lace-weight knitting WIP, which I can only bring myself to work on sporadically, so I decided instead to knit this fast little scarf, out of season though it is. This is a pattern I've knitted before, the free Drop Stitch Scarf (Ravelry link). The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in English Rose, which is a subtly variegated pink at the fuchsia/purple end the of pink spectrum.



Malabrigo is one of those ~~artisan, indie yarn brands that people go on and on about. I am not normally all that patient with that kind of hoopla -- or the accompanying price tag -- but in this case I have to admit the yarn does seem to live up to the hype. The colour variation is lovely, the yarn is gorgeously soft and squashy and knitted up well. The finished object is very pleasing indeed. I'd knit with this yarn again for sure, though I am pretty sure I am never going to find it affordable to make a whole sweater or other large project with it. I was sucked into this purchase because I saw something made up in this yarn/colourway and absolutely fell in love with it. I was still only willing to buy a single 100g skein for a small project as a treat. I can't afford to become too much of a yarn snob!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Finally, a jacket! (Simplicity 2209)

Before I start, a big thank you to commenters on the post about the trousers I made last week -- loads of good suggestions/advice, all of which I really appreciated. I have already followed up on a few of them and will be doing more work on trousers now that I've got some new ideas. More about this soon, no doubt!

In the meantime, as a break from the horror of fitting trousers, I decided to make an easy unlined jacket.

Back in mid-February I had a mini brainwave about what to do with a piece of linen/mix fabric I'd bought back in 2012 that I didn't really like and couldn't imagine using. I threw it in the washer with a box of navy blue Dylon dye and the result was actually very good. The fabric didn't take the full colour of the dye, coming out a sort of denim blue rather than true navy. Most interestingly though the green lines, which are woven into the fabric, must be some kind of polyester or other synthetic because they didn't take the dye at all. As a result, the fabric ended up a really interesting mix of blue and green, with quite a lot of texture. I earmarked it for a lightweight summer jacket and added the project to the queue.
Pre- and post-dye fabric
Then, however, it took me absolutely ages to settle on a pattern. Although I had a good length of fabric (2.7m, or 3 yards) it was vintage and quite narrow -- something like 105cm (about 41"). I must have gone through my magazine and pattern collection about 20 times before I found a pattern I liked that would also fit on my fabric. (In the end I had about 50cm left over from making this particular pattern.)

Simplicity 2209

Somewhat unusually for me, I eventually settled on an envelope pattern. This is an OOP Simplicity pattern that I got on the front of a magazine when I first started garment sewing. It's one of the Lisette patterns from before the designer moved over to Butterick, Simplicity 2209, and both dress and jacket have been widely and mostly positively reviewed. I chose view C, which has a flat collar, little pockets set into the princess seams, and, as written, 3/4-length sleeves.

I made a size 16 based on the finished garment measurements. It actually felt quite risky because I didn't muslin (bad sewer! no biscuit!) and I don't make enough Simplicity to have a sense of how they fit me. The fit isn't TOO bad, but if I were to make it again I'd do a few things differently.

Simplicity 2209 in blue/green linen-and-something mix - front
First, some things I actually did change: I dislike 3/4 sleeves on jackets so I lengthened the pattern to full length sleeves. I added 2.5cm to the width of the bicep to accommodate my large upper arms. I also turned smaller hems on the bodice than written to give myself an extra ~1.5cm in length. I didn't do my usual square shoulder adjustment but I did leave out the shoulder pad, which has the same overall effect. Other than that though, I pretty much stuck to the pattern as written.

Simplicity 2209 in blue/green linen-and-something mix -back
Things I should have done: I think I need to look at doing some kind of high round back adjustment more regularly. It's not TOO bad, but the hem definitely rises at centre back which indicates some extra length is needed. Either that or I need to fix my posture radically.

By far my biggest problem is/was the armscye/sleeve. I had SO MANY problems getting these sleeves to look reasonable. As written the sleeve caps were very tall and pointy. I struggled to get the sleeve in at all without puckers because there was a lot of sleeve cap ease. I finally managed to baste one sleeve in neatly but when I tried it on, the point of the shoulder was fully 3cm down my arm. The shoulder position hadn't looked quite so bad when I measured the flat pattern, so that was a bit disheartening.
Better photo of the colour/texture of the fabric plus the button detail

I ended up doing multiple rounds of basting and stitching trying to get the shoulder in the right place and re-shape of the armscye. I took somewhere between 2.5cm and 3cm out of the shoulder width of the bodice, took in the back armscye and flattened the sleeve cap significantly. The outcome is... wearable? I mean, I'm happy enough with it, if I'm honest, even if the fit isn't brilliant.

As modelled by me -- note the twisty sleeve issue!
The other sleeve issue I have (and this is a recurrent problem, but clearly visible in this jacket) is that everything I make seems to end up with the sleeves twisting inward from shoulder to bicep. I can't quite work out if this is a fitting problem (from my reading, maybe a forward shoulder?), something to do with how I am doing my bicep adjustment, or something about the way I'm setting the sleeves. Or some combination of all of the above. Or something else entirely that I don't know about! At any rate, I've added shoulder/armscye/sleeve fitting to my very long list of Things I Need To Learn About. I feel like what I might need to do is develop a really good set of sleeve/armscye combinations for different situations and just over-write any pattern that is too far out from them with my preferred shape.

As modelled by me from the back -- rising back hem issue also visible!

Other than the sleeve/sleeve cap ease, this was a very easy jacket to sew. Originally I planned to Hong Kong finish all my seams, and I even bought some bright emerald green bias tape to do so. However, I did half of one seam and realized that though I loved the colour combination, the bias tape I'd bought was too stiff for the fabric, so I unpicked it and decided to just overlock all the seams instead. It's a shame because I think the bias tape finish would have looked nice, but it did speed up the construction process a lot.

View of the innards -- all the edges are just overlocked
Overall, I am quite happy with my little jacket and it will no doubt get plenty of wear since it fits in so well with the rest of my wardrobe now the fabric is this colour.

Next up: I made a double gauze top earlier in the year that I love to bits. I almost immediately I bought another piece of double gauze and my next plan is to turn that into an easy late summer blouse. :D

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Imperfect trousers are better than no trousers (Burda 01-2007-108A)

On my list of things to do this year was work on fitting trousers. I gave it a go back in February, but though I spent what felt like a huge amount of time and effort on it, it wasn't overly successful. After four muslins, I hadn't really improved the fit significantly from the first muslin, and I never moved on to making an actual pair of trousers because the whole fitting experience was so exhausting and all I had achieved was trousers with pretty indifferent fit.

This month, however, I really needed to acquire at least one new pair of trousers. I'll admit it: I fully intended to just buy some. However, when I had a day when I felt quite well, I went out shopping and after rifling through the stock in multiple shops, it seemed like nearly everything available was tapered or skinny leg, neither of which I am keen on. I only found two of pairs of straight leg trousers that seemed like possibilities. When I tried them on, though, one pair really didn't fit at all no matter what size I tried, and although the second pair fit more or less okay they were ridiculously expensive. I'd run out of both steam and local shops to investigate at that point so I went home to sulk about it.

At that point a little lightbulb went on for me: if my choice is between indifferently fitting expensive RTW trousers, and indifferently fitting sewn trousers, why not just sew? Of course it would be better if I were able to make well-fitting trousers. However, as long as the fit of these early attempts isn't WORSE than the store-bought alternative the overall outcome is probably neutral. Also, one thing for sure is that I'm not going to get any better at making trousers by not making them.

So that was my goal this week: make some trousers, no matter how imperfect, because imperfect trousers are better than not having trousers.

Imperfect trousers: complete! (Burda 01-2007-108A in navy twill)

After my experience starting from a Burda pattern in February, I decided to see what happened if I started this time with a customized sloper pattern from Bootstrap. Bootstrap uses the same underlying pattern-making system as Lekala, which I have used with some success this year as a way to short-circuit some fitting issues in top patterns. Lekala is cheaper (if you buy in the frequent $1 sales) so I hadn't really bothered with Bootstrap up to now. However, more recently Bootstrap has started to offer some extra "indie" patterns, including some pants slopers, that are not available from Lekala. These patterns allow you to customize some additional trouser fitting details such as thigh width and butt shape.
Bootstrap CustomFit Classic Pants Sloper With Facing
I bought the CustomFit Classic Pants Sloper With Facing (NOT an affiliate link), and made up a muslin. As I sewed I was sort of day-dreaming that I'd put them on and miraculously they'd look amazing and I'd only have to make some minor alterations to make them fit me perfectly.

Ha. Hahaha. Ha.

No.

I mean, obviously no. I was aware even while I thought about it that was not going to happen, but I admit I did hope for better initial fit than I got. I put them on and the fit was in fact pretty horrible, just like the first muslin I made previously from a similar Burda pattern. Depressingly, it was also horrible in more or less exactly the same ways: huge amounts of excess fabric pooling below the butt, huge diagonal lines radiating from my large upper thighs. I'd hoped that using my actual thigh measurements to produce the sloper would make a difference to the thigh problem, but this was not the case at all. This is because the extra width at the thigh is evenly distributed between the seams on the pattern, but not on my body (my inner thigh is where all the extra room is needed). I realize this is perfectly reasonable as generalized customization method, but it didn't help me. More concerning is that the waist fit was not only not better, it was significantly worse than the Burda pattern I tried previously -- I took out multiple centimetres to get it to fit. I triple checked and my measurements were both accurate and input correctly, so who knows what went wrong there.

My overall impression of the Bootstrap CustomFit sloper then is not very positive. Mostly it looked like the straight-off-the-pattern sheet Burda pattern, and none of the things it was meant to customize actually customized it in a useful way. It is entirely possible I picked the wrong customizations for e.g. butt shape, but at $7 for the pattern I can't afford to keep buying repeats to see if that makes a difference. That said, I definitely think for someone who has struggled to find ANY base pattern from which to start -- and in particular people who are sized out of Burda/Burda Plus or the Big4, since this can be customized up to a 56" hip -- this might be a way to get a basic sloper pattern. For me though, since I am actually a pretty average size and shape, it was kind of a waste of money.

At any rate, since I have some experience of fitting these problems from last time, I made some adjustments (one of them extremely technically dubious) to the Bootstrap pattern and after some effort I ended up with a basic pant sloper that I think more or less worked.

Key words: More or less. I am not going to pretend that I achieved anything like good fit! However, the fit I achieved is not worse than the expensive pair I tried on the shop. It's not any better, either, but it's at least at parity.  I could definitely have gone through several more rounds of muslins (and probably driven myself up the wall with frustration in the process) but for now I ran with "good enough!" and moved on to the actual trouser pattern I wanted to make.

Burda 01-2007-108A
(This was the point that I realized that I had really picked the wrong Bootstrap sloper for the trousers I wanted to make. I should have bought/used the version with a waistband.)

This is Burda 01-2007-108A. I picked this pattern because it's straightforward and has all the key features I wanted: straight-leg, with a waistband, a fly, rear darts, and front pockets with a horizontal opening. This pattern is written for a non-stretch woven, which matched the inexpensive navy cotton/poly twill fabric I had on hand for this pair of trousers. I had 2m of this fabric but I only really needed 1.5m.

I traced the new pattern and then overlaid the Bootstrap pattern I'd worked on over the top. This would have been easier, of course, if I'd picked the right sloper, but it was just a case of pinning together the waistband and leg pieces as if they were a single piece and then drawing the new pattern over. I'm pretty sure I introduced some stupid mistakes in the process -- definitely I screwed up the rear dart placement -- but I did manage to put together a working pattern.

Fly front. Actual fly: good! Pocket bags that peek out: not so good!
A good thing about my pattern choice, which I actually didn't realize when I picked the pattern, is that this was this issue's "Sewing Course" pattern and therefore came with extensive, illustrated instructions. Most of trouser making is not actually at all challenging if you've made anything at all with a waistband before, but the only previous times I made a fly front (two summers ago, on some skirts) I really struggled and they looked rubbish. The instructions for the fly for this pattern were really good though and I am very pleased with how it turned out. I made a couple of goofs -- somehow forgot to understitch the pocket bags so they pop up annoyingly! -- but overall I'm happy with the sewing on these trousers.


Trousers on me from the front
From a fitting perspective, the front looks pretty good, and the side seams are nice and straight. My main problems have always been at the back, though. When I look at these trousers on me, it's clear to me that there was extra width added at the outer thigh by the Bootstrap sloper (where I don't need it) as well as the inner thigh. I ended up adding yet more width to the inner thigh to eradicate drag lines, but I didn't take it off the other side. There's this empty, saggy line to the outer thigh as a result. The back darts are in the wrong place because of the way I merged the two patterns, and they look rubbish besides.

Trousers on me from the back :( I have very little idea how to fix any of this and believe me I've tried!
There are obviously still other fitting issues at the back overall, not all of which I understand or have any idea how to fix. Also, wow, the photos look 100 times worse than when you see the fitting problems in the mirror. /o\ This is where I really do have to remind myself that imperfect trousers are still better than no trousers! Also: this is not worse fit than I achieve from RTW. I just don't worry as much about RTW fit.

The problem I think overall with trouser fitting is one of the uncertainty of time/effort vs. reward. I feel like I could easily spend another 100 hours on muslins and fitting and the outcome could be anywhere from "amazing trousers that fit perfectly" to "no change from what I've achieved so far: still pretty rubbish" to "I might as well wear these like a bag over my head because it's such a disaster".

I also feel like I just don't GET trouser fitting in some fundamental way, probably because spatial resasoning has never been my strength. (It pains me to admit this -- I wish I were good at everything! But spatial reasoning and I have never been the best of friends.) I really struggle with the logic behind the pattern changes required to change the fit, and I don't really understand why some changes work (or don't work). Plus, trousers seems to be such a shifty mess of "change one thing for the better, everything else gets worse!". Argh. In a perfect world, I'd go do a trouser fitting course, but that's only going to be possible when (if) I get better and can leave my house for more than half an hour at a time!

In the meantime, I am not entirely sure how to proceed with my next pair of trousers. The fabric I bought for them is quite stretchy, which means finding a Burda pattern written for stretch and seeing if I can translate some of the adjustments I made into that new pattern. I might take a break from trousers and make something else easier first though!