Last weekend I spent quite a bit of time making a toile (some people call it a muslin, but I like saying “toile”) of a pair of pants for Don. For the non-sewists, this is kind of a mock-up of a garment using inexpensive fabric which you sometimes make to check size and fit. The toile lets you make adjustments to the pattern and avoid possible mistakes before cutting into your usually more expensive final fabric.

I chose the Fremantle pants pattern from elbe textiles. I’d planned to get the A0 size printed for about $5 per sheet, but reconsidered and glued the A4 sheets together while sitting in the sun, listening to a podcast. Once that was done, I traced the pattern out on tissue paper. This is mostly so I can reuse the pattern in different sizes, plus it’s much easier to adjust on tissue.

I pulled out an old single bed sheet for the toile. Instead of whipping the pants up really quickly (generally you’d smash your toile together fast), I decided I was going to make the whole thing properly. This would let me suss out the technique and get some practice in for the final garment. In addition to the sheet, I used some bias-binding tape I’ve had kicking around for years and an old pillowcase for the pocket lining.

The instructions were really clear and simple and it all came together relatively quickly. I was pretty pleased with my finishing. I still need to work on the curves with the overlocker though I’m improving slightly. I free-styled the bias tape finishing for the pockets and would totally do that again. I hated the technique for the waistband, so abandoned that and did what I’m accustomed to – I still need to add some rows of stitching to that.

Detail pix:

How wonderful is this label? Purchased from JosieButtonsAU on etsy


Don was golfing and not available for progress fittings. What could possibly go wrong?

go gently judging that background clutter!

Verdict: baggier than expected, but weirdly tight across the top of the knees when walking. Much shorter than expected (should have measured length and not relied on the photo!). The design of the slash pocket depth seems to be proportionally off a bit. The front pockets aren’t as deep as I’d personally like.

When comparing to a pair of Don’s favourite pants of similar style, the leg width is similar, but the crotch on the fremantle isn’t quite as deep as on the favourites – maybe that’s what’s causing the weird knee tightness?

Think a unisex style is likely to not give me the results I’m aiming for,so I’ll be trying a men-specific pattern. This took me about 6 hours to choose today – but I got 3 patterns for $12 so, score!


And maybe I can steal the toile for gardening / painting / cleaning / messing-about pants?

dear god, those upper arms!

Might need to reduce the length of the elastic in the waistband just a smidge!

Whatever happens with it, I really loved the process. This low-stakes sewing has been super-fun!


^ slight pivot and going with the day of the year, rather than the date. Also – where did those 152 days go?!

4 thoughts on “152/2020^

    • Thank you! You are very kind!

      Now that I’ve cut about 15cm off the waist elastic, I love them for myself and might make a proper pair out of better fabric!

  1. Elbe Patterns are interesting – although I’ve made only one, the Maynard Dress. Absolutely did my head in. Nothing made sense I for the first time in ever, I had to follow the instructions to the letter. However, it is a dress, and since I made it in rather nice fabric, I shall wear it. For decent blokey trousers, go Thread Theory.

    • You are the absolute best! Thread Theory is exactly what I’m looking for.

      I *was* going to thank you and say I’d head there after I tried the Big 4 pattern I’d ordered from spotlight last weekend. But they just cancelled my order because they don’t have stock (inconvenient!), so I’ll grab something from Thread Theory tomorrow!

      That dress looks both lovely and insanely complex! I’m not sure my skill level is quite there yet.

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