Sacrilege IV: The Devil in the Detail

It is done. My long nightmare of extreme tailoring is finally at an end. 

I’ll spare you the details, but this post was very nearly an allegory about a Faustian bargain I made on the promise of my ideal pair of pants. I didn’t quite sell my soul, but it’s all true, the road to Hell is paved with your best intentions, the Devil finds work for idle hands, and when you get to the details he’ll meet you there and make you sweat. I still think it might make a fun story, but when I told it to Mr Edge he said it was a mad idea, it’s just trousers and it was my turn to wash the dishes.

On with the show. This is far and away the most complicated sewing project I can remember, mainly because I was without a map and I had to figure it all out for myself. I thought I was close to the finish last time I posted, but no, there was still some way to go.

  1. I decided the only way to get the fit I wanted was to rework the saddleback tuck in the rear, taking out more volume and inverting the excess to the outside. Lots more trial and error here, but I love the result. I finished it with one of the buttons from inside the fly (they all match, of course)
  2. I couldn’t solve the “break” problem I mentioned in the last post. I tried for a longer length, but the form kept collapsing further up the leg and I ended up back at the same awkward point. These pants will not break gracefully and they were never meant to, hence the curve in the original cuff.
  3. I worked a double-sided tuck into the spiral seam around the leg. This balanced out the bulk and kept everything draping properly.

In the end, I have to ask myself: has it all been worth it? Yes. Yes it has. I can’t say I’ve ended up with my ideal pants, but I am pretty darn pleased with the result. I’ve worn them three times already and I’m rather enjoying them. I like the fact that they’re slouchy and structured at the same time, and I’m finding this flood length a guilty pleasure with chunky footwear.

As for styling, my favourite look so far is with the oversized white sweatshirt and kawaii sneakers. I was out and about on the day and couldn’t photograph it, but I got quite a few compliments. This is great but limiting, so mostly I’ve been exploring their retro-classic menswear potential in a Katharine Hepburn meets Marlon Brando kind of a way, as I’ve done in these two looks. Any other styling suggestions would be most appreciated.

Finally, I need to thank you all for your encouragement in this process. If you hadn’t been there to cheer me on, I don’t think I would have gone the distance.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • chewyspaghetti replied 5 years ago

    It was quite the process, but the results are worth it! These are amazing, unique, one of a kind trousers that you will cherish and wear

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Oh, good job!  They look amazing.  And so what if it was a huge challenge, sometimes it's about the journey... a girl needs something to do, after all :)  You'll forget how hard it was as the enjoyment of wearing them takes over.  Kinda like childbirth.

  • Chris987 replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on sticking it out and getting to the finish. I bet you learned a LOT, like maybe some things you never want to do again ! :-)

    ..and it's great that you ended up with something you love to wear.

    p.s. sounds like you are the poet and artist in the family, Mr Edge sound far more pragmatic. :-)

  • deb replied 5 years ago

    Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!!!! I love the back button idea. So very clever.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Those are killer fabulous on you. Amazing. I LOVE the little bum-button. So much fun. I think it is brilliant to have a bit of whimsy on a seriously hard-working pair of trousers! The inventive seaming is gorgeous. They are truly one-of-a-kind and I can tell how lovely the fabric is. Was it worth it? Of course. This is art. 

  • Meredith replied 5 years ago

    They turned into some pretty special pants! Glad you stuck with it and learned through the process.

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    i LOVE this.  the seams themselves become a feature of the ornamentation of sort.

  • bonnie replied 5 years ago

    The pants are amazing and Brando/Hepburn is the perfect description. 

  • Emily K replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on taking the project to the end--fantastic result!  I've always found the brain-churn to be really stimulating, so I'm thinking it was a win/win.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Wow, these look so damned interesting I'd have to stop you in the street for a closer look if I saw you out and about. I love what you've done! The I love the curved shapes, the double front tuck and that button detail ifs fabulous. Well done! I was worth all that effort. The different stylings work a treat too...Katherine Hepburn meets Marlon Brando is brilliant.

  • Thin White Duchess replied 5 years ago

    I've enjoyed seeing the process here. The end product is tremendous-- unique, beautifully fitting, and so visually interesting. Well done!

  • amiable replied 5 years ago

    Wow - gorgeous!

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    Incredible and truly a work of art.

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    This has been such an illuminating project! So cool!

  • WB replied 5 years ago

    Okay, it took a bit of clicking back through the links to see your whole process. Awesome! You did a beautiful job. These look great and are far more creative and beautiful than anything I've attempted with pants. I've done lots of alterations to suit jackets and turning one thing into a completely different thing (eyelet blouse into a ruffled jabot) both for everyday wear (because clothes fit me so much better when I alter them) and costuming. Do you usually sew or was this a whim? Either way, no matter what hell was involved, once you've gotten through the trial and error part of the process, ITS SO MUCH FUN and addicting. Would love to see you do this again with something, as you are clearly an artist.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Katharine Hepburn meets Marlon Brando - that is almost as thought provoking as the pictures. The back button is the wow detail, but I am also enchanted by the slanted fly and the overall fit. The Trippens were made for these. Styling advice? I can see anything from a concert tee with suspenders, to full on Big jacket. These can do all the work, or just support. Brava!

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Beyond impressed.  I think all styling renditions are successful.  My favorite is with the striped top and your bomber jacket, but I'm a sucker for stripes.

  • Lucy replied 5 years ago

    You are an artist! Fascinating. I never thought I'd say that about pants :) 

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    Incredible and fascinating process to witness.  You have ended up with a very unique pair of pants.  I love the pairing with the Trippen footwear. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    Oh, wow, wow, WOW, these are downright flippin' genius! I've been wondering how you were getting on with them and so thrilled to see the result. I absolutely love how the seam details play with the pinstripes, giving the trousers a whole new dimension. (That double tuck at the knee!) They truly are a work of art. I'm bowled over by your talent and love how you stretched your creative horizons with these.

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • approprio replied 5 years ago

    oh thank you all so much! I haven't been ignoring this thread, I just don't know what to say... This has been a huge a labour of love and it was such a boost to have you all along for the ride. Thank you all again. And again.

    Elizabeth P: it only took three weeks and I didn't need an epidural, but that's a very good analogy. Sometimes it's all about the journey. Chris987: I certainly learned a lot! About pants, about my working methods... and what I can and can't achieve. And yes, Mr Edge is a very practical man and an excellent sounding board. He's my rock.

    Deb, Suz: the button is actually functional in that it keeps the tuck from sticking out like an unflattering butt-shelf. And Suz, Diana, WB, Aliona, Lucy: thank you for the compliment, but I always think Art is a very big word for what I do. This was as much about problem solving as anything else. More like Engineering :D

    Diane G: I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does that! I've lost count of the times I've followed someone like a stalker to get a better look at some or other tailoring detail.

    shevia: thanks! I'm not sure my body shape will allow for suspenders, but I'm certainly going to try. I think they'll get a tonne of wear this winter. And Bonnie: this Brando/Hepburn idea is one to explore.

    And to everyone else.. thanks again! For looking, for commenting. I've read them all and really, it's good to have your support!

  • RobinF replied 5 years ago

    Wow, they turned out beautiful. I love all your looks here and the sweatshirt you described sounds like a great look also.  I think you will find a lot of different ways to wear them. Of course it was worth the effort! You had a fun project for a few weeks and ended up with something very "you" to wear!

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    They turned out great!  I love the fit in the back and then the front with the long rise/slouchy look.  So cool looking.  

  • replied 5 years ago

    Wow - simply wow. These are outstanding. Slouchy yet structured? You are speaking my language. I just can't get over these- and sorry, I didn't' see the posts you wrote earlier on this pant project...the picture just caught my eye as I was closing this page Your creativity is enviable, as is your sewing talent. I love these and would wear them in a heartbeat.

  • Anna replied 5 years ago

    I sew and I know the work that you put into those pants. Great job, they are AWESOME! They look great on you. I would follow you down the street to get another look at them! I have always thought that extensive alterations are much more difficult then starting a clothing piece from scratch. After seeing what you have done, it's given me the courage to try to alter the men's tweed coat I picked up from the Salvation Army. It is hand tailored and the only label inside has the tailors name. I hope you show us some more of your pieces.

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    Congratulations on these trousers, they are a beautiful wearable work of art, and an amalgamation of your talent and the original tailor's talent.

    I love all the ways you have worn them with a preference for the first with the black knit.  Stunning.

  • tulle replied 5 years ago

    Those are not pants--they are kinetic sculpture!  I absolutely LOVE  the mix of textures in the black leather jacket/ gray dotted scarf ensemble, and the way the jacket hem reveals that little buttoned flap at the back. To me, it is a perfectly balanced, Winter-worthy, and truly intriguing look. Brava.

  • Lana replied 5 years ago

    Amazing! Thank you for posting the finished project. I sew, designed and sewed a wedding dress, but would never have figured this out! I salute your creativity and skill!

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