Sewing Bee Trousers + Cami

The last round of the PR Sewing Bee was to sew a day to night outfit for fashion week.  I decided to sew trousers and a cami, with an over top for day.  I'll save the over top for another post.

The trousers were made in a cotton damask from EmmaOneSock, using Vogue 1035 (alice + olivia).

I did have one lucky break when cutting these trousers out. I did not muslin these trousers, as I have made other alice + olivia trouser patterns successfully. I had only enough fabric for the outer pieces to be cut in my main fabric. The waistband facing needed to be cut from something else. I cut the waistband facing first to check the size I needed. It was way too short. I went back through past pattern reviews and found an early review where another sewer had the same problem. Later reviews didn't mention it, so I wonder if Vogue corrected this error. Anyway, it meant that I found the problem before cutting into my main fabric, saving me from potential disaster.

I went to a bit of effort with the construction of the trousers.  Some of the trouser details are

- the fronts are partially lined to below the knee, to minimise bagging at the knee. To attach the partial lining, I cut out the lining as for the fronts, only shorter, and sewed the lining to the fronts all around the piece edges. From that point, I could consider the lining and outer as a single unit. The bottom of the lining is finished with a strip of lace, which is a pretty detail (and not really planned.  I repurposed the silk from an old slip that already had the lace attached).

- the pocket lining is made from the same luxurious silk as the camisole

- the waistband facing is made from linen (which makes them comfortable to wear, but was really because I did not have enough of the fashion fabric to cut the facing).  

- the hems are finished with grosgrain ribbon. The ribbon is positioned so that it sits just below the hem, to prevent wear on the bottom hem edge of the trousers. A second benefit of the grosgrain ribbon is that it holds the hem shape nicely. To sew the grosgrain hem band, I placed the grosgrain on the outside of the pants, with the top edge of the grosgrain ribbon positioned at my hem length. I sewed the ribbon on, about 1/8 inch from the top edge of the ribbon. I then flipped the ribbon to the inside of the pants. The 1/8 inch hangs below the trouser hem, providing protection from wear whilst being nearly invisible.
- the waist edge and pockets are stayed with rayon seam tape, to maintain shape and fit throughout the day.

The camisole was self-drafted, and made up in a silk crepe de chine from Tessuti.

I drafted this pattern last year, but had only got around to making it up in a cotton lawn, where it fit perfectly. It was a whole different story in the silk, and I had to make some changes to the dart and side seams.

First time around, I sewed it in a single layer and used self made bias binding to finish the edges. It turned out to be too sheer, so I had to unpick all that binding (3 passes of sewing) I ended up taking it on a camping trip with me to unpick in the bright sunshine). When I got home, I cut a second camisole out and made the top double layer.  One layer was meant to be longer than the other layer, but somehow that didn't quite work out, so one layer is longer in the front and the other longer in the back. Lucky I was tucking it in for the photos.

French seams throughout and I sewed the hems in 3 passes rather than use the narrow hem foot.  I am finding the 3 pass method more reliable in shifty silks.

I love the resulting outfit, but it certainly is a lot brighter than the other entries.  Also, some of the other contestants sewed jackets, which I always think is the hardest thing, so I don't know how I'll go.  No matter, I love the clothes I made, so I guess I am a winner, whatever the outcome of the competition.


  1. I was impressed with first view of the pants, but inside out they are the prettiest britches I've seen since I don't know when!!! Fabulous.

  2. I love this outfit. It is so fun, bright and looks terrific. The back of the cami is gorgeous. You are right.. even if you don't win, you have a winning outfit. I love the idea to line just the front .. that's a great idea.

  3. The grosgrain hem is genius! I am adding that to my arsenal. Love the outfit, so bright and fun.

  4. I adore the back of your self-drafted cami! And lining the pants to prevent bagging out is brilliant. Definitely a winning outfit in my book!

  5. Beautiful outfit and I love all the thoughtful details you've included. I'm not familiar with a '3-pass' sewing of a french seam, mine only have 2 : ( Can you enlighten?!!

    1. Thanks Helen,

      For the narrow hem, I first stitch a line about 3mm from the hem. I then fold the fabric up on this stitched line, and stitch the first turn down. I then fold up again and stitch the second turn down. This means the folds are all on a stitched line, which makes it easier to control such a narrow fold. I don't press any of it until the final stitching is done.

  6. Statement pants - I want a pair!!