Ok, I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate how awesome and chic the new Merchant and Mills Workbook is. It’s basically what happens when a fashion magazine collides with a sewing book. The photography is on point, the styling simple and elegant, and don’t even get me started on how perfect the patterns are.
Every pattern is designed to be a chic, versatile vehicle for beautiful fabrics. The majority of the samples are made up in luxurious linens, but when I first spotted the ‘Strides’ trouser pattern, I just knew it had to be made up in navy blue wool. I love the relaxed, wide leg style with a gentle nod to classic tailoring in the waist pleats and fly fastening. A quick peruse of the Cloth House website and I found exactly what I was looking for: navy blue serge wool suiting, medium weight and with beautiful drape. At this point I was still riding high off the success of my Archer shirt, which I promise will be blogged soon, and in spite of warnings that the Strides where the most challenging pattern in the book I decided to go for it.
Despite the dire warnings I didn’t have many issues with this pattern, and as suspected this fabric was the perfect choice – I am already contemplating making another pair! From cutting out to completion took me a whole Sunday and one Wednesday evening to finish the waistband and turn up the hems by hand. I cut the trousers in a size 12, without an alterations, and am very pleased with how well they fit. For oversize mannish trousers they are surprisingly flattering on the old posterior! I’m also pretty pleased with the tricky construction details, namely the pockets and the fly fastening. Who’d have thought I had those skills stashed away somewhere. In fact the only not so great part is the interfacing in the waistband. I was lazy and used the only stuff I had to hand, which was far too lightweight and gives no structure to the band at all – you can see it creasing and folding in the picture below. I’ve been lusting over a pair of designer RTW trousers just like these for months, and it makes me feel quite giddy that I made this pair for myself! Honestly the styling for these photographs is a little second rate – in my defence I was at the end of the long, tiring week that included handing in my resignation! – but I know for a fact that these trousers look killer with classic white sneakers and a grey turtle neck top. I took a risk and wore them to Blogtacular last week, and aside from the unfortunate waistband they held up really well.
For my next pair, because there will be more, I want to follow the Merchant and Mills lead and use some fancy linen. Then maybe as the winter rolls around I’ll whip another woollen pair to keep out the chill. I know I shouldn’t be thinking about winter clothes when the summer hasn’t even got going yet, but can you blame me with the current mass of grey clouds hovering over London? Just give me some thick socks and a comfy sweater any day!