This classic trouser pattern is from the Merchant and Mills workbook. I’ve been meaning to make them for a while because I have been in desperate need of some more smart trousers for work. But I kept putting it off because this pattern is quite complex, at least for me. They are high waisted trousers, with a proper fly, pockets, and belt loops. I finally found the courage to try and make them. Inevitably I made some mistakes but overall it went well!
1. The fabric
For this project I bought some very lightweight black stretch denim. I bought it from Croft Mill, so it was dead-stock and surprisingly cheap. It was called ‘Tesla’ because the white fibres peek through and make it look like if has tiny sparkly stars. It is 5% elastane which makes it quite drapey, and it looks a little like wool. It’s a great fabric, but I was a bit worried about it fraying.
For the lining and pockets I used a black cotton lawn from my local fabric store.
2. The pattern
The Strides pattern is the last one in the Merchant and Mills Workbook, and the authors say it is the hardest. I cut out the size 12, and the only adjustment I made was to shorten them by 4 inches (possibly a bit too much, I’ll take off 3 inches if I make these again).
3. The challenges
I made a few mistakes which only became clear right at the end.
Mistake number 1: I sewed my buttonhole into the fly facing before assembling (which is what it said to do in the instructions). I later realised it didn’t line up with the waistband, I’m not quite sure why… Next time I will do the buttonhole at the end so I can be sure it lines up. The consequence of the misalignment is that I couldn’t sew on the button because it would show on the outside, so my fly facing doesn’t button up, but that isn’t too much of an issue. I was very pleased with the actual buttonhole though so it was a shame not to use it. I sewed the buttonhole all by hand as an experiment and it looks great! Took me about 2 hours to do though…
Mistake number 2: I interfaced the whole waistband even though the instructions said just to do one half. Unfortunately the extra bulk made the waistband feel lopsided once finished because of the seams.
Mistake number 3: I forgot to topstitch the belt loops. I don’t think it’s too noticable but they may be a bit less sturdy.
Despite all these mistakes, overall these were actually fairly straight forward to make. The instructions were very clear and I followed them very carefully. The fabric was a bit tricky at times because I had to make sure all the seams were finished well because of the fraying, but because it was quite lightweight I just turned most of them under, the others I bound with bias binding. Here’s a picture showing the inside with all my neat seams.
4. The final result
I’m so proud of my Strides! They fit really well, look good, are comfortable, and the fabric is gorgeous. The waistband isn’t perfect, but it’s okay. I’m very likely to be making these again, and I will do my best not to make the same mistakes again!