I went to great lengths to get hold of a copy of the La Maison Victor menswear special edition. Well, not exactly great lengths, but I did try a few websites and had some very kind offers on instagram to purchase and post me a copy before Melissa ( @Fehrtrade ) forwarded me a link to a website that would deliver to the U.K.

I was actually a bit nervous for it to arrive, after all the fuss, I hoped it would live up to my expectations. It arrived after about a week, and I’m pleased to say the patterns look great.

In total eight sewing patterns, all styled well in nice fabrics. There’s a fantastic looking zip up sweater that I’m definitely having a go at some time. But I thought I’d kick off with Pantalon Jeff.

I was drawn to the design lines, the piecing at the front and the panel in the back section. They reminded me a bit of the dropped crotch shorts I made for MrA from SewSewDef Magazine. I particularly liked the jersey waistband and thought a pair of Jeffs would make a great pair of trousers to wear when I’m teaching tap dancing (… I teach a couple of adult tap dancing classes once a week, it’s great fun and means I don’t have to feel guilty about never going to the gym. (In fact, the only New Years resolution I have ever stuck to was to never go the gym again!))

Now, the main obstacle to overcome for me was with the language. I am ashamed to say that I have absolutely ZERO French. Not even ‘school-boy-French’ but that’s a story for another day. I would love to say that google translate came to the rescue, however, I’m sure its marvellous with parking signs and menus but seems to have a little trouble deciphering sewing instructions from time to time. I decided to wing it.

At first I was alarmed to see that the difference in sizes XXS to XXL was just 3.5 cm. Then I found the complete size chart tucked in with the patterns… This made a lot more sense. I measured up to an M and set about tracing the pattern pieces.

A couple of the longer pieces needed tracing in two parts, then taping together. And the pieces were spread over two sheets, but they were easy enough to find thanks to the handy little guide on the side of each sheet.

You’ve got to add your own seam allowance too, but I don’t mind that, it looked like 1 cm was recommended, but I prefer 1.5 cm. (I like to have something to chop off with my overlocker). I added 3 cm at the hems.

I was in the middle of a nasty cold when I made these and didn’t want to go outside at all, even to collect sewing notions, so these had to be made from the stash. The only fabric I had which was even remotely suitable was probably going to be too hot for tap dancing – some lovely quality white denim – but that’s what I had. And I had just enough jersey left over from This top to make the waistband.

My first alteration was to the pockets. In the pattern, they’e cut out of main fabric. I didn’t want the denim to get too bulky so I cut the pockets out of light weight cotton and made a denim facing to show at the opening.

Order of construction:

1. Assemble the pockets and sew onto the fronts.

2. Sew the panels together to make up the front legs.

3. Finish off the pockets and connect the crotch seam. There’s no fly opening, I stitched round the facing and folded it back before adding the ‘fly’ stitching.

I sewed the seams, overlocked the raw edges then double top stitched from the right side to look like flat felled seams. I used grey thread throughout (except for the rainbow in my overlocker!) and fed two threads through the needle for the topstitching.

4. Make the back pockets and attach.

5. Sew on the back yokes.

6. Sew on the back leg panels.

Then the fronts and backs were complete.

7. Sew up the outside leg seams and double top stitch.

8. Sew the inside seam, overlock and press.

Now, I should mention here that the hems did not meet up along the front and back leg. I’m not sure if this was me or the pattern. Either way, the whole leg ended up longer than I had expected; for some reason I had it in my head that they would be 3/4 length, but they ended up just a bit shorter than regular length, so there you are.

Onto the waistband. I could have really done with some translation here, but I soldiered on. I believe I needed a strip of 4 cm elastic to run inside the waistband… Maybe I didn’t but I’m fairly sure that’s what was required. I didn’t have any 4 cm elastic so I zigzagged two pieces of 2 cm together instead and it worked a treat.

9. Sew the waistband edges and turn right side out.

10. Apply grommets to the centre front for the drawstring.

11. Tuck in the elastic and thread the cord through before basting the raw edges of the waistband together.

12. Pin the waistband at quarters around the waist of the trousers and stretch as you sew to take up the ease.

13. I overlocked the hems, taking off the excess so I can just roll them up for the moment.

Having the extra elastic in the waistband has added just the right amount of structure- they hold up really well. Without it, I’d worry about them riding down during tap class!

They took a bit of getting used to: I must admit that I never really wanted elasticated waist white denim cargo pants (but now that I have them, I’m quite smitten). MrA said they looked great, I’m just not used to seeing myself in this new cut and style… Maybe he’s right. Later on I may cut them down to long shorts, but I don’t want to do anything hasty to them right now.

There’s a fair bit of ease in them. They are a casual fit though, and the extra room must help to pull them on and off. I’m sure that If I kept the waistband the same size I’d be able to get away with sizing down on the next pair though.

As I mentioned, the denim is a bit hot for tap dancing in, but I wouldn’t let that stop me as I was itching to try them out anyway… so I wore them to class (and managed to get just this photo…)

… and I was boiling!!

I’m really looking forward to wearing them in the summer, rolled up at the ankles with my Birkenstocks on.

This may have been my first La Maison Victor pattern, but I’m sure it won’t be my last.

Happy Sewing.

Notes to self:

  • Check the pattern pieces against tried and tested patterns first, just to be sure.
  • Maybe size down on the next pair.
  • Don’t use a different fabric to the one you imagined then complain that they’re not how you imagined!
  • Find more jersey ribbing.
  • Learn French.