Linen Persephone sailor trousers

sewing

I haven’t sewn as much as I thought I might during lockdown — partly because I’ve been busier with work than I expected — but what I have sewn has been a joy and something to be savoured. This weekend I finished making a second pair of Persephone Sailor Pants, this time using some lovely linen mix fabric from Clothspot.

Of all the garments I’ve made, I think that first pair of Persephones might have got me the most overt compliments. They are very elegant and the fit me so well that I think they give me a confidence that is visible to others — hence the compliments. I knew I would make another pair, but I was waiting for the right fabric to come along.

I’ve had a pair of wide-legged Rohan linen mix trousers for years, which I have worn to death every summer. They are now finally worn through, so I thought that the Persephone trousers in a linen mix would make a good replacement. An unusual herringbone weave linen mix fabric in a soft denim blue colour came up at Clothspot, and I jumped on it just in time before it sold out. It turned out to be the perfect fabric for this pattern, with enough body to hold the shape, but which also drapes nicely and is incredibly soft against the skin.

I ended up somewhat over-ordering on the length. It’s a tricky pattern to estimate fabric for because of the width of the pattern pieces. As I mentioned when I made it before, the leg piece is one gigantic pattern piece, instead of a separate front and back piece. If your fabric is not wide enough, you can’t therefore fold the fabric in half from selvedge to selvedge and cut the two legs in one length of cloth, but have to to cut them separately down the length, nearly doubling the length you need.

I often under-estimate the length I need, but since I was pretty sure that the linen would sell out, I took the conservative route. In the end, my fabric was just wide enough to squeeze the leg pieces out of folded fabric, so I’ve easily got enough to make the shorts version of the pattern too.

The last pair fitted so well that I made only three minor alterations. I usually find that high-waisted trousers are slightly too high at the front, and slightly too low at the back. The last pair had this as a minor fit issue, so I made the alteration for the current pair. I also took the opportunity to lengthen the pocket bags by a couple of centimetres to make them a more secure fit for my phone. The final change wasn’t a fitting thing, but an ease of construction thing. The instructions in the pattern for making the button fly are fine, but I much prefer the method used in the Closet Case Patterns Morgan Jeans. This method starts with fly extensions already added to both front pieces. You then machine baste these together down the centre front line, and then shorten the stitch at the crotch point and continue with the front crotch seam. This means that with all the subsequent steps, you know that the centre front is lined up properly and can’t go askew, and you can place the other fly pieces more precisely, knowing exactly how close to the open edge of the fly they will be. It’s a really fool-proof method, and converting the Persephone fly pieces so they would work with this method was pretty easy.

The whole thing came together very nicely, but I took my time about it to enjoy the process. As a secretly joyful touch, I used some scraps from the birthday shirt I made to line the pockets, so I get a glimpse of those lovely colours whenever I put my hands in there. I love these trousers just as much as the wool pair, and expect to get many summers of wear out of them in the years to come.