Welcome to the first part of the Mrs Darcy Wears the Trousers tutorial. This week you’re going to assemble the paper pattern, choose your size and cut out your fabric pieces.
Before you begin, please make sure that you’ve washed and ironed your fabric. That way your beautiful new trousers won’t shrink and warp the first time you put them through the wash.
Now measure yourself (or whoever the intended recipient is), and choose the right size. Please don’t get hung up on what size you normally are in the shops; just go for whichever hip and waist size best describes you.
Now you’re ready to assemble the paper pattern. There are full instructions attached to the paper pattern – please do take the time to read them. They are entitled How to use this pattern. Basically, though, this is what you do.
Cut out all the square pattern pieces and lay them out in a grid pattern. Each square has two numbers in the top left corner. The first number tells you which row the square is in, and the second indicates the position in that row, from left to right. So square 1,1 is the top left hand square. Square 3,2 is in the third row from the top and is the second square from the left.
You can see in the photo below how I have assembled the pattern and highlighted each piece in my size. The pocket pieces are one size only.
You need to cut mirror images of pieces 1, 2, 5 and 6 from your main fabric. This is because you need each piece for both the right and left sides of your body. You can do this in two ways. First, you can fold your fabric in half, lay your pattern pieces on top and cut both mirrored pieces at once. Alternatively, you can keep your fabric flat. Lay your pattern piece on the fabric right side up and cut the first piece. Then turn your pattern piece so that it is right side down and cut the second piece. Whichever method you choose, remember to align the grainline of the pattern with the grainline of your fabric. Remember to trace the sewing line, and add seam allowances. Apart from seams E and I, which will be folded over twice, all the other seams will be enclosed so an allowance of 1.5cm/ 1/2” should be ample. Use a larger seam allowance if you prefer. Add at least 5cm/ 2” seam allowances to edges E and I – and more if you would like the option of longer trousers. You can trim the excess fabric later, if necessary.
You also need to cut mirrored pieces of pieces 3 and 4 out of the pocket fabric in the same way.
I’ve used an obliging duvet cover, folded to the right dimensions, to demonstrate the layout of both fabric width options. First, we have the 2.25m/89” x 1.14m/45” fabric. I’ve folded it it half lengthways and laid out the pattern pieces like this:
Then there’s the 1.91m/80” x 1.52m/60” option. Again, I’ve folded the fabric in half lengthways. Here’s the recommended layout:
Then you need to lay out pieces 3 and 4 on your pocket fabric, again folded in half to produce two mirror images of each piece. I folded the piece of fabric below so that it measured 56cm/22″ x 35.5cm/14″.
You also need to cut one piece of interfacing from paper pattern piece 6, but without a seam allowance. Then cut this interfacing in half lengthways, so that you have two long, very thin strips.
Once you’ve traced your pieces, added seam allowances and cut them all out, leave them attached to the paper pattern pieces until you need them. Before you use each one, transfer the markings from the paper to the fabric using a fading fabric pen or dressmaker’s chalk. Then zigzag stitch around all the edges, to prevent fraying.
That’s it for this week! Next week you’ll be assembling the trouser fronts – including the pockets.
What fabrics are you working with? I’d love to see these in a range of different choices, and to see what people have picked out for their pockets!