A while ago Alison Smith contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in testing one of the kits for her new Sew Wardrobe sewing patterns. I gladly accepted and she sent me a kit for the Elsa trousers.
I now have a quick apology to make to Alison that it's taken me so long to get these trousers made and written about!
When the kit arrived I was excited to open it and I wasn't disappointed in any way. It contained everything I needed to make the trousers, bar the tools. Alison had thought of everything; the kit contained the fashion fabric, some printed cotton for the waist band facing, interfacing, satin bias tape to finish the edge of the waist band facing, thread and even two sew in labels - one a "Sew Wardrobe" label and the other with fabric care instructions.
The pattern comes gorgeously packaged in a sturdy cardboard box, a bit like a gift box. I loved this, it means that once you've traced the pattern off you've got plenty of room to store your traced pieces in the box without having to cram everything in. So many times I end up with a squashed and creased mess, but not this time.
The pattern itself is printed on sturdy brown paper. The box also includes an instruction leaflet, a little card explaining how to narrow the legs of the trousers from a classic straight legged style and a sheet of pattern tips that covers taking your measurements and some useful information about the patterns in general.
The instructions themselves are not the most detailed I have seen, they do assume a certain amount of sewing knowledge. I would expect this though, Alison's classes are not for complete beginners and therefore I wouldn't expect her sewing patterns to be either. There are plenty of beginner friendly patterns out there, so it's nice that Alison has gone a different route. Having said that, the trousers are not complicated to make, an intermediate sewer or even an adventurous beginner would be able to make them, particularly if they have made trousers before. The hardest part is inserting the invisible zip. I always think trousers are not difficult to make, it's the fitting that's the hard part.
And that's where I fell down a bit - the fitting.
I was very good and made myself a toile which didn't actually fit too badly. I went by my hip size and pretty much the only alteration I needed to make was to bring the waist in, particularly at the centre back. This is a typical alteration for me - my waist is a good size, if not more, smaller than my hips and I have terrible trouble finding trousers in RTW because of this.
I made the changes to my traced pattern and then cut out my fashion fabric. With hindsight I probably should have made another toile, because I now have some weird issues in the front crotch area (goodness, that sounds worrying!). There is some excess fabric that wasn't there on my toile and I'm not sure how that's appeared.
Having spoken to Alison she tells me that it looks as if the front crotch curve needs to be deeper. I haven't had chance to try this yet, but I will and will report back on how that affects the fit.
The fit elsewhere is pretty good, certainly better than I'd get in RTW and I think once I've sorted out the front issue this pattern will be a great wardrobe staple. I love the slim fit over the waist and hips and the straight legs, although I'd love to try narrowing the legs on another pair.
I'd totally recommend this pattern if you want some classic, simple trousers, and if you want to go all out and treat yourself to a kit, then I would say go for it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Disclaimer: The pattern and kit were kindly provided to me for review purposes, however all views are my own (including those of my poor fitting skills).
Thanks also to Alison for her suggestions on how to remedy the fit.