Hi ya'll! So I know the weather has been pretty much crazy all over, and I totally don't envy all you northeners and your frozen eyeballs, but man, here in Galveston it's pretty much been driving me in.sane. One day it's in the 60's, the next it's in the 30's... oy! What's a girl supposed to do? Or, perhaps a more pertinent question: What's a girl supposed to wear? I just can't get a grip. Is it gonna be warm(ish) or freakishly cold? Am I gonna be pelted with sleet on my bike commute, or showered in sunshine? (I know, I really can't complain, but I'm gonna do it anyway.) (Also, is there any worse way to start a blog post than by complaining about the weather? My life is officially boring. I have nothing of interest to say anymore... apparently!)
Since I don't have any good chit-chat for you today, let's just jump into the meat n' potatoes, shall we?? I'm super excited to be sharing my first make for the Mood Sewing Network with you guys today - a pair of cropped trousers made with this fantastic Carolina Herrera coffee and white brocade! Generally speaking I like to let my choices in fabrics dictate what I'm going to make, since I'm a huge sucker for interesting textiles, and being let loose on Mood Fabrics' online inventory was like a crack addict being let loose on... I don't know... a pile of crack? (Ugh. Lame! What's with me today??) In the end, I decided to stick with a garment item I know I'll wear a ton (in this case, pants) but to challenge myself to use a fabric I've never worked with before. Which led me to Mood's amazing collection of brocades. Brocades you guys. How had I never explored these delicious fabrics before??
There were so many gorgeous brocades that were tempting me (like this one, and this one) and I could imagine them all as a fancy-pants pair of... well... fancy pants! (Gah! I did it again! I am need of a writing intervention!) But in the end I was sold on this incredibly unique polyester brocade. It's truly unlike anything I've ever seen! Now normally I avoid polyester like the plague (in my climate, polyester usually means a prickly, sweaty mess), but Mood's description of this fabric as having an "abstract basketweave texture and ikat pattern" that is "simultaneously edgy and elegant" made me feel like passing this over simply because it is a synthetic would be a fabric tragedy of epic proportions. Also, I feel like somewhere along the line I heard someone much smarter than me say that modern synthetics get a bad rap based on the downfalls of their predecessors (read: every awesome late 60's, early 70's dress you ever thrifted that coated your back in sweat and hung on to your BO like it was it's job) but that new technologies are making synthetics almost as breathable as natural fibers. (I could have made all that up in a dream, but it sounds legit, right?) And let me tell you what, I'm so glad that I didn't let my fiber bias dissuade me from this fabric!
Okay. I will admit that when this stuff arrived on my doorstep I may have wondered if my envisioned fancy pants may not end up looking more like crazy pants. But then I wrapped the fabric this way, and that (like you do) took a couple of deep breaths, consulted my ever-wise gut (pfft!), and decided, no, these were gonna be some awesome pants. This fabric has a really wonderful texture - basketweave is one way to describe it, my husband keeps saying it looks like birch bark - and yet it's not stiff, or scratchy or bulky, or even difficult to work with. I cut my pants out on the cross grain because I really liked the way the pattern looked running down the front of my legs. Vaguely reptilian, but more geometric. I spent a little bit of extra time working with the pattern placement on these, making sure that each leg was a mirror image and that the strong horizontals and verticals met up.
I'll be honest, after getting my hands on this fabric, breathability really wasn't at the forefront of my concerns. Since this brocade definitely has some weight to it, it was pretty clear right off the bat that these would be winter pants, and I think the fabric worked great for that (although I could also see it making a really tremendous spring dress coat). And I have to say, I was truly surprised by how nicely this fabric presses, given it's texture and also that it's a polyester (I've always had miserable luck getting poly's to hold a crisp press). This fabric just might make me rethink my polyester-ban! I even left the pants unlined because the fabric felt fine against my skin. I did use some silky rayon bemberg lining in a lovely royal blue, also from Mood (here), for the pockets and to bind the inside of the waistband and leg hem, to add a pop of color to innards. I love little touches like that. However, you'll just have to take my word for it, because I forgot to get a shot of the insides. All other seams were simply serged and pressed flat.
I used Ralph Pink's Cigarette Pants Pattern in a size US8/UK10 for these. It was my first time using this pattern. I liked the overall shape of the pants in the illustration - the trouser pockets, front fly, single-welt back pockets, and cropped length - but overall, sadly, I'm not in love with this pattern. I think the main issue is just that they were not made for my figure. They turned out insanely huge through the hips and legs when I sewed them up as directed (like, clownishly huge) and I had to take them in a ridiculous amount along the side seams, seat, and really anywhere I could get at them without having to totally undo some tricky areas (like the fly). This threw off some of my carefully strategized pattern placing along the seams (bummer), and also rendered those cute trouser pockets almost completely useless! I can just fit my hand in there! And to add to my frustration, the finished waistband feels just a mite snug (obviously Mr. Pink is designing for a much curvier lady than me!) I based my size choice off of my body measurements as listed, which was taking a bit of a leap of faith, since I usually choose sizes based on finished garment measurements, however there were none to be found! In this case, some finished garment measurements would have been extremely useful! I was also kind of bummed out that the pattern sizes weren't nested, so I only received the one size with my purchase.
But all pattern woes aside, I still think these pants turned out really great! I really love the combination of pairing an unexpected fabric with a basic, classic pattern to make an exciting statement piece to add to your wardrobe. These pants pair great with a lot of the neutral tops in my closet, and they automatically make the outfit way more rock and roll! (As you might have guessed from my blog title, every time I look at these pants, this song keeps playing in my head, and I get an urge to do the Axel Rose shimmy... rather inexplicably really...) Now I just need a few more cold days so I can actually wear them!