25 October, 2010

Trolling for trousers

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've been madly rushing my olde Kenmore to Produce, Produce... and Produce even more.

The biggest hurdle of my upcoming high hot desert wardrobe was the fact that I have NO summer slacks. None. In summer I wear dresses.  I admit to having made two pairs in lightweight black silk a couple of years ago - one dupioni, one jacquard -  and have already worn one of them literally to death.  But traipsing around China's sights during a very hot couple of weeks one September not long ago convinced me that no no matter how light, black will cook you.  They did.  Black at 44C would be hazardous to my health (and, given the wardrobe directive I'm subscribing to, I'd be correctly suspected of being mentally defective).

When pressed to the wall, I'll concede to wearing RTW tops, blouses, etc, especially in a not too sartorially demanding working environment.  But finding lightweight heat-tolerant slacks in the Great White North in December?  Methinks not.  So my most critical need was for pants, trousers, slacks.    Remember, they'll have to ride me through both winter & summer seasons, in a dirty, dusty adventure.  And I'll be sharing laundry facilities (no, I won't be doing it myself, heavens!) with 4000 likewise dirty & dusty companions.

I gave myself October to produce as many as I could.  With 6 days to go, the count stands at (HOW many?!!!) seventeen.  Count'em.  Please.  Dirty. Dusty. Wear once, then throw in the wash. 

I made the first two (that's the olive linen and brown crinkle rayon in the left column) using standard trouser technique:  darts, zipper, zipper guard, waistband.  Of course, this took some time, and I literally freaked. At that rate, I'd still be producing trousers in January! And have no time to build a proper wardrobe! EEEEK!

Now, speaking of proper wardrobe, I decided it'll have to consist of:
1. trousers: see above ;)
2a. in winter, rayon knit and merino wool tees per Jalie patterns
2b. in summer, linen, cotton, and silk crepe (yep! I love it!) sleeveless tops
3a. jackets & 3b. lightweight shirting overblouses over 2a & 2b as the obligatory long-sleeved cover-ups.
4. a few sunhats

I'll make one warm fleece jacket, and likely purchase a 3 in 1 parka (breathable rainproof & windproof shell with zip-out fleece lining jacket inside, for you out there unfamiliar with the term), if out of time to make.  

Back to my eeek moment, I switched technique to elasticated pull-ons.  Boy that really helped me put on some speed!

As things stand, two are crinkle rayon; two crinkle cotton; four stretch cotton; one a techno stretch cotton-nylon; one a linen-rayon; one an amazing lightweight linen-silk; and the rest are plain linen, in various weights.

I varied them with different degrees of relaxed fit; different pocket shapes and placements; and even added faux front zippers, cuffs, and sewn-in front & back creases to a few.  You'll have to forgive me for not boring you to tears with a pictorial of each pair on my behind, but 1. there's no time, and 2. you might just start getting the "look of the dusty day" in four months or so.  Stay tuned!

By Saturday, I felt I could afford to return to tailored shapes, and cut out four jeans-style pairs, using the jeans construction but Jalie's more relaxed trouser rather than skintight jeans overall fit, so as not to feel like a steamed sausage.  Lucky me, I already made each of these in the recent past, so I could cut, sew, and not worry about fit in the slightest.   I added large patch style cargo pockets, and pretty much finished the four over the weekend, excepting the waistbands and hems.  Exhausting, much?  Yep, it was a sweatshop here. Especially with two of them being in a check that needed to be matchy-matched.  Painful, 'twas. 

Oh, and some four others still need hemming.  If worse comes to worst, and I run out of time, I can always hem them "over there".  That's the plan.

Next up:  blouses and tanktops.  I joined Sewing on the Edge's "never too many white shirts" for that - timely, oh yea.  Impeccably timed: thank you, Barbara.

Courtesy of the internet.
 Roll on Tanktop (or is that, top of the tank?) November.


  1. Hi, thanks for your comment!
    Wow, you have sewn so many pants! Amazing, and it sounds like a veery adventurous time ahead for you :)
    And I adore the bag you made in the previous post. Seriously gorgeous. Very inspiring indeed. I hope you have an equally fabulous one for yourself...

  2. That is quite a turnout of pants! I would be curious to see your "Dusty Look of the Day." The thought of wearing pants and long sleeves in heat is a little overwhelming!