I didn’t set out with a Make Nine in 2020. I quickly realised that I am too easily distracted by new patterns, new trends and ideas throughout the year to stick to whatever it is I dream up in January. And then of course, we get a year like that one just gone, when we’re suddenly spending our whole lives inside and all we want to wear is loungewear, thank you very much. But I did write myself a little blog post a whole year ago which set out some of the projects on my radar. One of which was the Hall Trousers by Kommatia Patterns (who seem to have been taken over by Studio Calicot, but the patterns are still available). As soon as I saw the Halls I knew they were my ideal trouser: a high waist, a tapered leg and a cropped finish which is exactly what I’m drawn to. These are the sort of trousers I’ll wear for work or play, dressed up or down, day in day out. I also feel the need to shout from the rooftops that these trousers are probably the only trousers I have ever made, and will ever make, that were the perfect length on little old me without being shortened. Can you believe? No, me neither. In fact, they might even be a little too cropped – they have a propensity to end up half way up my calf when I’m driving, though maybe that’s more about my fabric choice…
I made a wearable toile of these way back when in September but unfortunately I used a cheap viscose twill which as you may imagine, gave me a very different finish to this lovely crisp cotton. Unfortunately the fabric itself also disintegrated quite quickly, hence why they never made it to the ‘gram, but I’m glad I toiled them if only to know I was on the right lines. I’m still quite intrigued by a viscose pair though – they crease to high heaven but the slinky drape of them is pretty dreamy and gives a much more relaxed, less formal vibe to the pattern. I think it’s something that I’ll never get over about dressmaking: one pattern gives you so many options in a way you just don’t get on the high street. Alright, you might get a couple of different colour options but do you really get the versatility?
Anyway, back to these beauties – on my toile I’d graded between the waist and the hip but the loose fit over the hip meant it wasn’t necessary after all so I made a straight 14 (the Hall trousers go up to a 37″ waist – so not very inclusive it must be said). The only change I made was to do a 1″ full seat adjustment (the polite way to say I’ve got a big bum) which is a standard adjustment for me to make allowances for the extra junk in the trunk. I do this by slashing the pattern and spreading it to add 1″ to the back crotch curve – essentially adding a wedge into the seat. That’s a pretty terrible explanation – hence why I will never be a great writer of tutorials, but for all trouser guidance I will always defer to the genius that is Heather and Closet Core’s Pants Fitting Guide.
In the end, the Hall’s came together really quite quickly. I’m somebody who likes to sew in big chunks – I don’t have much patience for dipping in and out of projects an hour at a time, but give me a day or two set aside and I’m in my element. I had these cut out towards the end of last year but then had such a hectic time at work that I just didn’t have any time or energy for sewing on my rare evenings off. So I set aside some time just for me while I was on leave over Christmas and what a treat it was! It probably took me about a day to get these all sewn up – with a few good breaks chucked in! The fly is the first – and most time consuming step – but with a good read-through of the instructions and a bit of patience and it’s really not as tricky as it might look.
I went for this cute daisy patterned cotton trousering from Croft Mill (no longer available). It’s got a teensy bit of elastane in there so it’s dead comfy to wear but has all the structure of cotton to really hold its shape. It was a dream to work with: pressed well, didn’t shift around while sewing, no snags – I really couldn’t ask for more. And I love the little daisy pattern woven in; it just injects a bit of personality effortlessly into any outfit and stops them from being too serious which is always good in my book! The only thing, as mentioned earlier, is that they do ride up a bit particularly when I’m sitting down but honestly, I don’t really care. It’s only more noticeable because of the cropped design, and not helped by the lovely crisp fabric – but then again, that crispness is what allows it to hold its shape so perfectly, so who am I to complain?
I love the really classic details that make the Hall trousers such a classic: the double pleat front, the crease down the leg, the bar tacks and the turn ups all come together to give you just a perfectly elevated trouser. Other than the extremely limited size range, I really couldn’t ask for much more from this pattern. Admittedly I’m an experienced sewer so I wasn’t overly reliant on the instructions but I am a goody two shoes so I do like to go back to them and make sure I’m doing the right thing. The instructions are nice and detailed and take you through step by step – there’s no room for head scratching here. Whilst I might not recommend these as a first foray into the world of trouser making – to be honest I’d start with something with a simpler fastening (or none at all! Elastic waists rule all in the 20s!) but for anybody looking to get their teeth into something a touch more involved, the Halls are a great step up for an intermediate sewer.
I’ve stopped bothering to change the loopers on my overlocker – these days I thread the needles with either black or cream, depending on the fabric, and use rainbow thread for all the rest. I love how colours stand out against the black of the fabric – plus it cheers me up every time I get changed. I also finished it off with one of my favourite Kylie and the Machine labels. One of my favourite things about sewing is being able to move away from fast fashion sizing, no matter what I tell myself and the pep talks I give myself, I can’t help but judge myself via the the number on the hanger. Now, obviously with sewing we still have to compare ourselves against a measurement chart and pick a size to fit us, and yes I do still struggle with that sometimes. But one of my absolute favourite things about the sewing community is how little it matters. Nobody actually cares which size you make – it’s all about how it makes you feel when you put it on and how it comes together. And I can say, hand on heart, when I wear these trousers that I feel blooming brilliant. I’m proud of the fit, of the finish of them, and how perfectly they align with my style. And I love, love, love being able to tell people I made them. There’s no better feeling in the world.