These are hands-down, no contest, the most professional looking and feeling trousers I’ve ever made. And this is in no small part due to the typically fantastic instructions that Liesl Gibson writes for all her patterns. They’re well-described and illustrated and her methods just seem so well thought-through. Occasionally when I’m making a pattern I feel like the designer has “winged it” a little bit in terms of construction – and I am NO expert. But that is never the case with Liesl. She knows what she’s talking about, which gives me a lot of confidence making her designs.
I volunteered to test this pattern a while back because I was somewhere around the beginning of my pants/trousers-making odyssey and I knew I would get some solid fundamentals under my belt from making this pattern. Plus – they’re wide-legged classic 1940s Hollywood glamour pants!!! I mean, what’s not to like? I may not look much like Katharine Hepburn in them, but God knows I feel like her! Woohoo! Watch out, world!
As you can see, they’re pretty wide. This is compounded by the fact that I decided to make them in a dark brown corduroy that I purchased in a sale from Style Maker Fabrics. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use it for, but it was along the lines of these trousers, so that worked out. Corduroy is one of the recommended fabrics, but I suppose generally you would see such trousers in a wool, or more drapey fabric. I think they work really well, but they definitely don’t hold a front crease as well as some of those other fabrics, so they are a little more voluminous horizontally than in another fabric, as you can see from the pattern picture below.
The Hollywood trousers are described by Liesl and Co. as “very fitted, moderately high-rise, wide-legged trousers will have you looking and feeling like a classic movie star. This pattern includes a traditional zipper fly with fly shield, back darts for shaping, and optional front pockets with menswear-style pocket stays for a smooth front without gaping or bulging. You can decide whether to sew the optional lining. The inseam on this pattern is moved forward for a better fit to give you truly professional, classically tailored trousers for every occasion.”
There are so many classic elements there that just haven’t been in other trouser patterns I’ve tried. I suppose they’re not always necessary, but I was really excited to make a pair of trousers with substantial pocket stays and really appreciated the fact that a trouser lining was included. Since I made these in soft corduroy I didn’t line them, but I will absolutely do that in the next pair of wool ones I have planned and the instructions will be invaluable, I’m sure.
I made a straight size 16 as I was testing the pattern. As I’ve mentioned before, I am “long-hipped” and have quite a bit of length between my waist and crotch rise. I often have to lengthen the crotch rise and high-waisted trousers aren’t always so on me. However, I did a tissue fit with my pattern pieces and actually thought the fit wasn’t far out, so made the trousers without any such adjustments. And indeed, they are a pretty good fit! I think I could add another 1/2 to 3/4-inch to the waist and perhaps a 1/4-inch to the crotch rise for the “perfect” fit, but that is all. The waistband is also relatively slender, so increasing that by half an inch might do the trick instead of adding it to the body piece.
I am 5’6″, which is around the height many patterns are drafted for. I do have proportionately short legs though, so I took 3 inches out of the length of the trousers. In the end, I had to take a slightly shorter hem than in the instructions so, for these particular trousers, a two-inch reduction would have been sufficient and I will probably do that next time.
I have to admit that I made the trousers right around my peak fitness for the year and have done absolutely no exercise since, haha! Therefore, they are a tiny bit tight around the midriff in the pics. I blame summer. I might consider a small full tummy adjustment if I make the next pair in something more unyielding than this corduroy.
I really enjoyed making these! The construction was interesting, well-explained and, as I already mentioned, I got a GREAT finish on the pockets and zipper fly front – and this is where my skills sometimes fall down. The other area I have issues with in trouser-making is usually trying to fit the waistband correctly. This one went on perfectly first time. It might have been a fluke, but I’ll take it!
There are tons of little tips in the instructions and I really appreciated little touches, like telling you when and how to finish seams, as well as suggestions to improve the fit of your trousers.
The whole sew took me about 10 to 12 hours, but I think I could almost cut that in half next time as I was being very careful to follow everything exactly, as you would when you’re testing a pattern.
I’m planning to make another pair as part of Liesl’s Advisor’s Circle, and will change it up a bit next time to see how I can get a different look from the same pattern. I have lots of different ideas, so stay tuned later in the year to see how I get on!
Overall, this is a pants/trousers pattern I had been hoping for and it seemed like serendipity that it landed in my lap, as such. These are a classic trouser with fantastic detailing and will be an absolute wardrobe workhorse for all sorts of women. The most important part for me, however, was the fact that the construction of them was so thoroughly explained, it completely took the fear out of the process and turned a daunting task into a totally enjoyable one!