I hope you’re all doing well? I’m back with another pattern from Patrons les BG, this time the rather aptly named ‘Cheeky’ chinos.
I should tell you straight off the bat, that while all the ideas and opinions in this blog are my own, I did receive the pattern for free from Olivier & David at Les BG. They asked for nothing in return, not even a review, but I’m writing one anyway! If you want to hear a bit more about the guys, check out my last post, or the Patrons les BG website and both Olivier & David on Instagram.
These trousers have slashed side pockets and two single welt back pockets. There are four (count ’em… four!) shaping darts at the back and a curved waistband. The sizes range from S (84cm waist) to XXL (110cm waist) and the packaging is the same as the ‘Bold’ pack – a nice sturdy plastic envelope with a fully illustrated A5 instruction booklet and the front card image. If you fold everything well, there’s just enough space to fit your traced pattern in when you’ve finished – but don’t forget to add seam allowances.
Now, I wanted to make the full length chinos, but when I bought this fabric (a good sturdy cotton drill from Goldbrick Fabrics on Goldhawk Road) I had a mental block and bought only a metre instead of one and a half. So it’s shorts instead. Good job really as london has been hotting-up (sporadically) recently, and I’ve got my USA trip where I know it’ll be hot. I cut these off just below the ‘lengthen/shorten’ line on the pattern and with a double 1″ turn-up they’re the perfect length for me!
I’ll be honest (… otherwise what’s the point, right?) I didn’t find the instructions to be the clearest. For instance, if you haven’t made welt pockets before, don’t expect your hand to be held here – The information is there for you, but there’s an element of the ‘hey presto – it’s done’ about it which did leave me guessing at points. And I didn’t really trust the instructions for the fly, although I’m sure it would work, it required a bit too much faith for me so I stuck with my usual method.
Another mild gripe is how close those darts are to the back pockets – on other trousers the darts have been sewn first and the pocket after. It’s the other way around with these ones. I realised I’d made a mistake when I sewed the stitching around the sides and top of the welt before stitching the darts (I didn’t notice that the instructions say to stitch it after) it ended up distorting the top line of my welts – and I was really proud if these ones too!
I unpicked the stitching and tried again, I think it’s a little better…
… but to be honest, that stuff only really matters when you want to take close-up photos of them and post them online… in reality, everyone (kindly) says they look marvellous and I’m wearing them on constant rotation as I feel fantastic in them! So it can’t be all bad can it?!
They turned out a little on the snug side, but I guess that’s where the ‘cheeky’ element comes in. In truth, I could probably just loosen the double darts at the back by a few millimetres, but after wearing them for half an hour they eased up and are really comfortable.
The waist is quite low, which makes a change from many of the dated patterns that are still doing the rounds. And the shaping around the waist and seat make them really comfortable to wear (on my shape at least…) you can see that they look pretty cheeky all by themselves…!
I finished the outer leg seams separately with rainbow thread on my overlocker, so that I could press them open and have it showing on the turn-up.
And I took a new approach to attaching the tops of the belt loops too: I always have trouble stitching evenly through the bulky tops of the beltloops – even with a wedge of fabric behind the sewing foot to keep it even. This time, I set the machine to zigzag, width 5mm, 0mm length and made a cross on each of the loops to hold them in place. This was much easier to control, and I think looks pretty cool…
I used some of the leftovers from my cactus-cowboy shirt for the pocket linings and waistband facing. So even though they seem like innocent grey shorts from the outside, there’s a whole load of personality going on behind the scenes (… seams…?!)
Overall, I’m really happy with them. I’m looking forward to making a full length pair in the not too distant future. And I’m getting plenty of wear out of these.
I’ll be on my way to America around the time I post this: MrA & I have a wonderful sister in law and two amazing nephews in Vermont and we’ll be seeing a little bit of Canada with them. On the way back we’re stopping in NY for a couple of days and it just-so-happens to be Peter Lappin’s Summer MPB Day! It’s an honest coincidence… honest! I can’t wait to join in with that – I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it!
In the meantime,
Notes to self:
- Tweak the darts or let out the back seam a little on the next pair.
- Remember to baste first and try things on as you go along – saves a lot of holding your tummy in later!
- Andrew, you need at least 1.5m of fabric for trousers, and you know it, you fool.