Cropped leather pants

I’m going to call these my cropped leather pants. I could just as easily have called them long shorts. I toyed with the idea of gaucho, but they don’t really fit that definition either. Gaucho pants should really be high waisted and with a bit more of a flare in the leg, as would be seen on the Argentinian horsemen from which the term is taken. These pants sit on my hips, which is where I like them right now.


 

The leather I used is a type of composition leather called Perfection Fused leather. It is a very thin, uniformly processed layer of cowhide on a rayon backing. It’s a beautiful weight and drape for many garments, although I wouldn’t consider it suitable for coat making. It will never compare to a buttery lambskin or genuine cowhide, but I’m impressed with it nonetheless. 

Perfection fused leather looks convincingly like leather, but without the imperfections, and it comes with a price tag of only $15 per yard. It’s the perfect, low-risk ‘real’ leather to have a go with if you’ve never sewn with leather before. It’s a dream to sew, but you do need to be careful when pressing (or when you are pressing an adjoining fabric like pocket lining). This type of processed leather does not tolerate heat at all. The leather layer is very thin and it comes off easily if you iron it.  

 

For these pants, I used V8909. You’ve seen it many times before. My modifications were as follows:

  • I ditched the yoke
  • shortened the crotch seam
  • added side pockets instead of inseam pockets
  • drafted a separate waistband instead of folding the top over to form the encasement
  • added a single back patch pocket
  • cropped the legs
  • I also widened the legs. Have a look at the modified pattern pieces below. To achieve the wide leg look, I simply redrew both the inner and side seam lines straight, in line with the grainline.

Other patterns you could use to make shorts like this are:

Carolyn Pyjamas (shorts) by Closet Case Files: I’ve only recently finished sewing a pair but the fit of the pants is fabulous, and totally worthy of outside pants. They sit on the hip, fit the bum nicely, include a faux fly (like my leather ones), and have some great shaped side pockets.

The Robbie Pant by Tessuti Fabrics: These pants appear to be higher waisted, but they have some neat side patch pockets that would look fantastic in leather. You could easily make the pants a little shorter.

Cropped pants look great with a lot of different style tops, including my short, white pinafore and my Lou Box tunic top. They would also look great paired with a chunky knit and layered over dark tights and long boots in Winter.

 
 

 
 



Playing dress ups with my two-piece set-actular


I know you’ve seen my fancy pants before. I blogged about my Rigel bomber hack recently too. And if you follow me on Instagram, I shared these pictures yesterday, so please feel free to tune out now if you already have pink-overload. Some would say that this is the mother of all two-piece set-aculars. Or, according to my husband, I’m tracksuiting it up for you. Because I can.
 


 
 

 

My husband and I are celebrating our anniversary in a few weeks and I’m thinking this outfit might be perfect for that occasion. I keep warning him that one day, I am going to be that old lady with purple hair, red lipstick and rhinestones on her walking cane. My gift to you dear husband, is the perfect glimpse into your future….bwahaha!  

 

 


A fitted tunic for my wide leg fancy pants: Rosie Assoulin inspired

This is the top that I had in mind for my wide leg fancy pants. I took my inspiration Rosie Assoulin. I love just about every shape and style she puts her name to.

 

The fabric I used is a nice crisp cotton sateen by Theory. The pattern is my own. I spent a lot of time, draping, muslinning and pondering the lines of this one. It’s hard to see the details of the top without specifically pointing them out, so I’ve taken a few extra photos to highlight them.

 


The front of the tunic has a concealed tummy bearing split between the bodice and the skirt. I’ve seen Rosie Assoulin tops with this feature, partially covering the tummy with a large bow.

I wanted some more coverage for Winter though, so I added a kangaroo pocket pouch to layer over the gap, yet still be covered by the bow. I like the layering effect of this. I also like that I still have the option of making a pouch-free version in the future, perhaps in Summer when I’m happy to bare a little bit more skin.


The bodice has slightly dropped shoulders. These look good without a sleeve too, so I’m looking forward to lengthening the skirt and ditching the sleeves to make a pretty frock when the weather warms. If I want, I can tie the bow around the back or side, but I really like the way it looks in the front. All in all, I’m super happy with how this one turned out.

Refashioned slightly for wearability

I quite liked the idea of a long, graduated hem for this coat when I first made it (even if the husband was quick to tell me that the shape reminded him of the wings of a cockroach). Even so, after wearing it a few times, I started to find the length in the back annoying, particularly as I could feel it against my legs as I walked. 

 
 


I’m also quite excited about the piece of fabric that I chopped off. I think it might be the perfect shape to turn into a capelet or bonnet for one of my little peeps.

Sew DIY Lou Box Top

I’d like to introduce you to my brand new, hot of the press, Lou Box tunic by Sew DIY. I was a pattern tester for this top which meant I was lucky enough to be one of the first to make it. Now, I know very well what I am like when it comes to patterns and sewing. I very rarely stick to patterns and I’m quite useless at following directions, which is why I don’t often put my hand up to test patterns. I think it would be unfair of me to sabotage a new pattern without being able to give proper feedback.

When I saw my first sneeky peek of the Lou Box top I knew I could commit to testing the pattern properly because it looked perfectly perfect exactly as it was. It is such a simple design, chic and elegant, and very easy to sew. Beth has also included a few different hemline and neckline options in the pattern, without you having to go all maverick and invent them yourself.

 

The pattern includes instructions for sewing it with a woven or a knit fabric. I chose to use a beautiful Italian cotton jersey for my tunic. I made the scoop neck version and I’m very happy with the degree of scoop. I used the curved hem pieces and the dip hem as a guide for the back length, and then I simply lengthened my pieces each by 10cm to create a tunic instead of a top. I wanted the longer length to wear with my leather blocked leggings.

 


I stitched up a size XS/X according to my measurements on the packet. This threw me, because I am a 34.5″ bust with broad shoulders which would usually place me as a size 12 or M in most patterns. I needn’t have worried though. The pattern measurements correlate beautifully and I am really happy with the fit.

I will definitely use this pattern again. It makes a fabulous summer top or tunic. I can see myself sewing up a silk version in a few months time now.

Refashioned leather pants

The change I made to these pants is so simple and straight forward that it hardly deserves it’s own post. However, it is interesting to see how such a small change can be so effective in updating a style. 


I made this pair of leather jogging pants almost a year ago now. My original post about them is here. They were my first leather project and I was out pretty happy with how they turned out. In fact, they’ve come in handy a lot. I find that leather items fill that blind spot in the wardrobe, somewhere between dressy and casual. Cropped, elastic cuff pants have also been quite fashionable over the past year, but I’m pretty tired of that particular look right now. I’ve also secretly always yearned for these pants to be a little longer. It didn’t take much to fix.


All I did was to carefully cut off the cuffs and add hem panels of about 10″ on both legs. Because there are so many other panels stitched throughout the pants, it doesn’t look out of place. Now they are long enough to wear with high heel booties, or with flat sneakers if I fold the hem up as I’ve done in these photos.

Kwik Sew 1034: a pullover in cotton velour

It’s all style here in the House of Iles. We’ve moved into the domain of velour tracksuits and we’re loving it. I found this cute little pattern a little while ago, Kwik Sew 1034. My pattern only started at a size 7 so I knew it would be a little large for Miss Four. But I also knew that she wouldn’t mind.

 

I’m quite fond of Kwik Sew patterns. This one was designed by Kerstin Martensson. I can’t fault the fit or the design, even though it swims on my daughter. It would probably fit her older sister better, but everybody agreed that this top was made for Miss Four. The fabric I used for the banding and the trim wasn’t the best suited for the job but my choice was based on what I had in my stash. The white is a lightweight, fleece-lined sweater knit of unknown composition. It feels lovely and soft but it doesn’t have the easy stretch and recovery of a ribbing.

 

The only modification I made to View C was to add the contrast shoulder panel. This was purely because I didn’t have enough velour left for full sleeves. I really like the look of sleeves when you piece the shoulders with a bit of contrast. It’s simple to do but it really changes the look of the top. Miss Four loves her new Two-Piece Set-Acular, but I think we will be rolling those long sleeves up for a while yet.


M6633 and Simplicity 1435: floral velour for my girls

As much as I’d like to sew myself fabulous, fashion pieces every day, other duties have been calling around these parts. I’ve been hard at work topping up wardrobe essentials, darning holes in woollens, and making Christmas gifts. It’s not the most exciting kind of sewing, but in doing so, I’ve been making use of a couple of TNT patterns for kids that have been worth their weight in gold.



Miss Four desperately needed some easy, comfy pants to wear over her gym leotard and home from the pool. Tights just don’t work well for this job. Now Miss Four doesn’t do pants, unless they are covered with a skirt. But she does apparently do cotton, floral velour. I would too. It’s the snuggliest, softest cotton and it should keep her little legs nice and warm.

The pattern I used was M6633, the same pattern I used a while back to make Christmas pyjamas for my girls. I made them up in a size 5 for my exceptionally tall 4.5yo. The pants are very long. I shortened the bottom panel by about an inch but Miss Four still has to hike them up past her belly button to prevent them dragging on the ground. I added a little bit of leftover lace scraps to the hem and a false fly, partly as an attempt to lose the pyjama look. They still look like pyjamas to me, but I can’t argue with the little lady who has taken a liking to them. I’ll call it a score for me though since I managed to get her into pants.

 

Miss very-nearly-three is a similar kettle of fish. She insists on wearing sleeveless ballerina leotards and summer frocks in all kinds of weather (most often the dresses don’t even belong to her, having been raided from her sisters’ wardrobes). I layer her up and within a blink, she’s stripped down to the bare essentials again. She was short of long sleeve tops, so I thought I’d make her something pink and flowery that she might be inclined to keep on her little body. I’m afraid to say that I’m still having trouble keeping her fully clothed. I think she may be part Inuit.

I used Simplicity 1435 for this top. It’s the fourth time I’ve used this pattern now. For this version, I used the same long sleeves that I’d modified earlier. I also lengthened the bodice by an inch and added contrast ribbing bands for the hem, neck and sleeve cuffs. Size 3 is a perfect fit for my perfectly average-sized and scruffy haired very-nearly-three year old.

 



Winter white or brights?

I know Winter white is a bit of a trend this season, but I think I took the Summer White trend to the max, and quite frankly, I’m a little bit over white right now. In fact, I’ve been lusting after all shades of purple and deep pinks so when I saw my white wool trackie pants hanging in the wardrobe the other day, I knew they were destined for a dye job. I also wanted to update their style a little.

 

Despite being (dry-clean only!) wool suiting, reckless-Debbie had still prewashed the pants fabric prior to sewing. The prewashing changed the texture of the fabric slightly. It also meant that I could happily launder them or dye them, to my heart’s content. My first attempt at dying them didn’t work, but only because cautious-Debbie was trying to be gentle with the fabric by keeping the water cold. The dye just didn’t take. So I let reckless-Debbie back in the house. She threw caution to the wind, bumped up the temperature to scalding, added vinegar with the salt, and the wool dyed beautifully. The fabric did not shrink or change at all.  


I also refashioned the pants a little by:

  • cutting away the silk lining, because this took up the dye too strongly and it was dark beneath the pants
  • unpicking the outside leg seam to widen the legs as much as possible for a more trouser-like look. Wide leg and flared pants are very hot right now.
  • cutting off the elastic cuffs. I sewed in some new cuffs to lengthen the pants a little, but these were dyed in a separate batch (as an afterthought) which accounts for the different shade. I might still shorten the cuffs a little because these pants are meant for flats.  


I’m super happy with these pants. I love the way they look layered with my Nani Iro top. It’s such a snuggly, comfy outfit and it makes me especially happy to know that I can now wear my Nani Iro beyond Summer. I feel like I’ve done my dash with white at the moment. What colours do you have on your sewing table right now?

 

Japanese corduroy culottes

My last pair of culottes are getting so much wear right now that I knew another pair wouldn’t go astray. This time I played around with the design a little. I kept the length, not just because I quite like the longer hem trend, but also because it keeps my legs warm in Winter.


Once again, I started with my Esther shorts pattern. I made the same modifications as with my green culottes, but simply skipped the pleats. I also widened the waistband a smidgen, moved the zipper to the back and added side seam pockets.

 
 
 

I also tried something new in the construction of these culottes. Have you noticed that RTW pants never have waistbands like we sew at home? I’ve had these suit pants for about seven years now. Have a look at how beautiful their innards are.

The edge of the inside waistband is bound with pretty binding. It’s so simple to do and it means that you don’t have to bother with folding the edge under and painstakingly pin it to ensure you catch it all perfectly as you stitch blindly from the other side. I actually don’t know why it’s taken me this long to try this technique. It looks better and it’s way easier. I bound the inside of my waistband with Liberty of London and stitched in the ditch from the other side. Next time I will bind the pocket edges too.


There is a lot less fabric in these culottes compared to my last version. This is just because I took out the pleats. This cord is also a lot lighter in weight. I could see this style of pant working well for Summer in either linen or cotton, at this length or just below the knee. If it weren’t Fall here, I’d be making myself a slightly shorter version in denim. In fact, I might still do so…