I have to say at the outset that the prospect of knitting trousers filled me with a certain ’70s nostalgia, as well as dread, but I really wanted to experiment with cut-and-sew, and trousers seemed to be a good choice.
I let the natural roll of the knitting finish off the trouser cuffs, but might do a finished hem on the next pair.
In terms of construction, the fabric was machine knitted. I simply did a tension gauge and worked out how long and how wide to make each leg, and then knitted four of them. Once I got going, each leg took about 30 minutes to knit, and Megan from meggipeg knitted one of the legs whilst I knitted her a waistband for her skirt. Seemed like a fair trade. The idea for the trousers came from Sarah at Workspace-FADS, who managed to magic up a pair from thin air for me to try on and then we reverse engineered a pattern from them. The fit is so good that I am going to make some from cotton/lycra to wear for exercising.
Soo, once the legs were knitted, I laid the pattern on them, being careful to have two pairs of legs, cut them out and whipped them up on the overlocker. There seems to be a bit of consternation about cutting knitted fabric, but once it’s been steamed and blocked it tends not to unravel as it felts slightly. Mind you, I was pretty quick with the overlocking :). It is worth mentioning that I could have fully fashioned these trousers, which means making all the increases and decreases on the knitting machine. I considered this, but only briefly. There is a lot more working out to be done and I really like the idea of cutting a pattern from fabric I’ve knitted myself, and the bonus is that it’s much quicker. I did have some trouble putting the fabric scraps in the bin, but I got there in the end!
As I’m going to make a pair of these trousers for my One Year One Outfit challenge, I need a way to hold them up without the aid of zips or other manufactured fastenings. To experiment I knitted a ribbed band and sewed it round the top of the trousers. This successfully held them up all day, even as I dashed about avoiding the rain.
I wore these trousers all day to see what the issues might be. Would they go baggy at the knee? Would they “seat”? Would they grow? Well, the answer is no to the first two questions, but they did grow a smidgen, so I will make the next pair shorter.
I also had no idea what to wear with these trousers, so put them on with what I was already wearing, which wasn’t ideal. I will find myself a long tunic for the next time I wear them, and I will wear them again as they were remarkably comfortable and the itch factor was surprisingly absent, given that I’m not convinced that it’s merino.
It is a shame that I couldn’t use these trousers for my One Year One Outfit challenge, but the wool came from the now defunct Yarra Falls Mill in Victoria, so it wasn’t eligible. No matter, I am treating these as my toile, and I whipped them up on the overlocker instead of hand stitching every bit, so there is an upside.
Just on the Yarra Falls Mill, it was in Abbotsford, Victoria and only closed in 1998. It also processed cotton and silk and was a major employer in the area. It does make me sad to see our industries close down and I am so glad to have a few cones of wool from this mill.
The details: Trousers are copied from some RTW knitted trousers, and the fabric is machine knitted and then constructed with the “cut and sew” method.
As I seemed to be having a ’70s moment, I thought it would be fun to team the trousers with my sheepskin jacket, which is also from the ’70s.