Sew: Safiya Trousers

Pattern: Safiya trousers (which has options for dungarees and playsuit versions) by Tilly and the Buttons, from the Make It Simple book. As someone who finds it hard to carve out time for sewing, the idea of this book really appeals to me. The fact that each of the patterns is highly hackable is a great bonus. I decided to try the simplest option first, but with the option for pockets – because the more I’ve been sewing the more important pockets have become! Now that I have the possibility of having pockets in most of my clothes I’m going to take that opportunity!

Fabric: I made these in a light weight cotton lawn fabric from John Lewis – it’ll be nice and cool in the summer. I’m not used to wearing patterned trousers, so I was a little worried these would feel like pyjamas, but I think they’ll be fine. I have quite a lot left over so I’m thinking of making an Ogden Cami to match, so that I can have a faux jumpsuit. I love the look of jumpsuits on other people, but I’m just not sure how I will feel in one, so this will be a good way to test it out. I also used the fabric to make a scrunchie for my #secretsewingswap, which was a really nice little project. I’ll hopefully make some more soon for my nieces.

..Back to the Safiya trousers: I used eco elastic from James Tailoring, it feels softer than elastic I’ve used in the past, meaning it’ll be more comfortable around the waist.

Lessons learnt:

1. Check and double check that I’m stitching the correct pieces together! I managed to stitch the front leg pieces together and the back leg pieces together. I think tiredness contributed, and the fact that I hadn’t sewn for a while I was pretty rusty. I don’t think I even checked at all. It took me an entire evening to unpick the stitching and overlocking. I’ve seen a video where someone removes overlocking stitches in an instant by breaking the right threads, but I kind of felt like doing something nice and slow and repetitive to get over the frustration of my mistake. I started this project in September and only finished in January. I think it would be smart for me in future projects to mark the pieces somehow to distinguish the front from the back in case I need to take a break from sewing again.

2. I added 6cm to the length of the legs because I was hoping it might make them more wearable in cooler weather, but the fabric I’ve used would only really suit warmer weather anyway, it’s very lightweight. I’ve been looking on Instagram for people wearing them as a winter trouser, but I think it’s probably a pattern for warmer months.

3. I didn’t make any other adjustments this time, but if I make these trousers again, or if I make the dungarees or playsuit variations, I think I need to add a bit to the rise. These are comfortable as they are, and I think they look ok so I’ll get lots of wear out of them, but the waist band is sitting too low. I was suspicious that this would be the case. This will be an adjustment I haven’t tried before, and I’m quite excited to give it a go. One of the great things about making our own clothes is that we can make adjustments to fit our own body shapes. So next time: add to the rise, and possibly shorten the length of the elastic to help the waistband sit in the right place.

4. It might be worth having the patterns printed. The book comes with links for having the patterns printed, but also comes with the patterns all printed onto a couple of pages of A0 paper, overlaid on top of each other ready to trace. Some pieces are printed in black ink and others in dark purple to distinguish, but I found it really difficult to differentiate the two colours, so I found it quite time consuming and tricky to trace. I stuck the paper to the patio doors to use the daylight to help, but I’m considering just having the patterns printed next time to save the hassle (I’ll probably still trace off my printed versions as I usually do, but it’ll be less stressful than tracing from the copies that come with the book).

Possible future variations

There are so many interesting hacks on the Safiya pattern, I’ve collated a few of my favourite examples here:

Alice of the.polka.dot.palace blogged her version with a concealed zip or buttons at the top of the dungarees for a tighter fit to make getting in / out easier. The baggy look of the dungarees is something that has been putting me off, so I really like this option

Red W Sews Becca mentions that she wished she added length to the bodice – this is an issue I’m likely to have because I seem to have a long body.

In her Sew Dainty blog, Kathy details how she included a waist tie and belt loops – I think this really shows how you can elevate the pattern.

The Fair Stitch (Faye) – shows both full length and cropped leg options – it’s nice to see both options in the same fabric on the same person to give an idea of how they look

katesewscodsall suggests interfacing the flat front to stop creasing inn get review on The Fold Line – I wish I’d remembered this while I was making mine. She also mentions that overlaying the playsuit shorts pattern onto the trousers is the best way to lengthen. This is really worth remembering because I’ve seen lots of people who made the playsuit struggling to get in and out of it because they used the wrong template for the bottom half

Oolong Stitches suggests removing the bust dart on the dungas for small chests – I think I’m likely to have the same issue with this as her. She also comments on the pockets being pulled towards the back because of the elastic waist. I’ll keep an eye out for this so I can adjust for future versions. She adjusted her version of the trousers so that they were much higher waisted

Stitch and Spool cropped her version to just below the knee, which I think looks great – I’ll definitely look at making a version like this, or even shorts in the summer

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