erica’s peckham trousers

Visiting us today is Erica, from the Advisors’ Circle. We love the wardrobe of trousers that Erica has sewn with Liel + Co patterns. She previously shared her Montauk Trousers and Hollywood Trousers. Today Erica is sharing her denim Peckham Trousers! Take it away Erica.

Two different pictures of a woman wearing grey denim trousers. On the left she is wearing a white shirt sleeve shirt. On the right she is wearing a silk blouse.

I have been thinking about sewing myself a pair of jeans for several years because truth be told, it might be my most commonly worn style of trousers if I am not wearing wool trousers or at-home loungewear. I had been feeling some trepidation about attempting to make jeans, but I’ve been inching towards the plunge by purchasing various denim fabrics to familiarize myself with the many options of stretch and non-stretch denim in various weights. When I saw the newly released Peckham Trousers, I knew this would be my gateway pattern to my first pair of me-made jeans.

Despite this trouser style being a straightforward pattern, I learned a lot about working with denim fabric, and I made several adjustments to my plans along the way.

Fabric Selection and Size

Stretch percentage and fabric weight matters. The fabric I selected is what I would describe as light- to medium-weight grey denim. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a record of the fabric content, but I recall that there is a fair amount of viscose and lycra in the content besides cotton. The stretch percentage of this denim is not high, but the fabric is neither thick nor a tight weave. It feels like there is a lot of give when I move in this fabric.

I fall between sizes on the size chart, but I chose to sew the larger size, with no fit alterations at all except leg length. Because of the stretch, I probably could have sized down, and you can see in the pictures that there is plenty of ease. Some people would probably prefer this level of comfort in the ease, and if I have to sit for a long stretch, I would agree that this is the more comfortable size. However, for jeans, I personally prefer to be a bit “held in.” Next time, if I choose a similar fabric with a slight stretch, I would size down. I would repeat this size, though, if I choose a non-stretch fabric for this pattern in the future.

By the way, I recently discovered that many people cut into their only paper copy of a sewing pattern once they choose their size. This would be my reminder that you may want to change your mind about your size if you make the same pattern again. Tracing your size is a great way to give yourself this option to make another size in the future! Here is an introduction to various methods to preserve your size options.

I purchased this fabric after reading a fashion feature about the versatility of grey jeans. I typically wear blue denim! Although there is no doubt that this grey fabric is denim, it doesn’t look like typical jeans material—the twill texture is not particularly prominent. Halfway through sewing this, I decided that these looked less “jeans-like” and more “grey trouser-like.” As a result, I made some minor modifications along the way:

1. Rather than adding welt pockets in the back as included in the Peckham pattern, I opted to use a patch pocket from another pattern, following the Peckham’s recommendation for where to place the pocket opening. In hindsight, given that my grey fabric choice is less jeans-like than I intended, I wish I had made the welt pockets as drafted in the pattern. Nothing says “tailored trousers” quite like welt pockets!

Back view of woman wearing grey trousers and a silk blouse

2. Although I purchased a full set of jeans hardware for this project (including zipper, rivets, and jeans tack button) and had an awl and mallet ready to go, in the end, I decided to forego the metal hardware. I had already reduced the waist tab to be flush with the zipper fly, but instead of installing a jeans button, I used a hidden trouser hook-and-eye set.

Lower front view of a woman wearing grey trousers

Woman wearing grey trousers standing in front of an antique sewing machine

3. After I had already added a twin row of topstitching to the edge of the front pockets, I decided not to add flat-felled seam topstitching on the side seams—typical sewn-in ready-to-wear jeans—as I had originally planned.

I was very happy to use some remnants of Art Gallery brand quilting cotton leftover from making my daughter a Roller Skate dress years ago. I am very happy to enjoy the pop of color and lion print that are just barely visible to others. It makes me smile to see this pocket lining, and I was glad to use this thinner weight of fabric to reduce the bulk of the pockets.

Construction Details

If you have not tried yet making a zip fly before, the instructions are very clear. All the pieces came together easily and with a very clean finish. Despite sewing zip-fly trousers in the past, it still feels like a great accomplishment to make and wear a proper fly trousers.

The small lengths of elastic at the waist are a great feature. They add only a subtle amount of gathering in the waistband. You get to enjoy the clean look of a fitted waistband with the comfort of a small amount of stretch to hug your sides.

I am 5’5” in height, and from my experience of sewing the Hollywood Trousers, I knew I could reduce the leg length. I reduced 2 inches at the “lengthen/shorten line” on the pattern, and I also reduced ½ inch from the bottom hem, assuming that I would do a jeans-style hem. After trying them on, I still cut off two more inches from the bottom length and had enough excess length for a traditional turned-up hem. If you are not following the math, that is 4 ½ inches that I cut off from the original pattern. The original leg length could easily accommodate someone with much longer legs than me.

Styling

I have already worn these trousers several days. Although they don’t feel quite like the grey jeans I imagined, they are still very comfortable and easy to work into my wardrobe. Is there a Liesl + Co top or blouse pattern that doesn’t match with these trousers? Almost all my me-made blouses and tees will match! I’ve styled them here with a Japanese sateen cotton top and the Liesl + Co Camp Shirt in Liberty silk satin. In short, this is a versatile trouser that can be dressed up or down depending on your fabric selection and styling. I’m very tempted to make these again with another type of denim in my stash!

Woman wearing grey trousers standing in front of an antique sewing machine



 

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7 Comments

  1. I adore them! And you look fantastic Erica. Thank you for all your details, they are going to be useful for me when I attempt them. I will keep the shortening points in mind since we are about the same height.

    1. Erica

      Thank you, Asmita! These trousers should be a lot easier to fit than the Hollywood trousers because the waist is only semi-fitted, But, if you have already made the Hollywood and Montauk trousers, these should be a breeze! I hope you will share your version with all of us.

  2. Janet Oglethorpe

    I have the peckham pattern and am still on the hunt for the right fabric. These look terrific on you, and I thank you for your post!

  3. J Scott

    I have just finished my first pair of Peckham trousers and likewise took some 4 – 5 inches off the length (I am 5′ 2″). I’m very happy with the resulting length, I prefer the hem to hit around the ankle or only slightly below.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/CmwYPI_sVSq/

    I made up the larger of two possible sizes, in a non-stretch material, and it has plenty of ease similarly; so I think next time I will start based on the smaller of the two sizes even if it is a non-stretch fabric that I am using (unless the fabric feels very tight in weave or something like that).

    Next time I think I might combine some of the elements of the Hollywood trousers with the Peckham – I like the higher rise on the Hollywood but I like the narrower leg on the Peckham.

    1. Erica

      Your first pair of Peckhams looks fantastic! I agree that it is nice to be able to mix-and-match patterns to best fit the style that we feel most comfortable wearing. I agree that it is not necessary to use a stretch fabric if you choose your size accordingly. Stretch fabrics are generally more comfortable, but there are a lot more choices of non-woven fabrics. Thanks for sharing. I think it is always helpful to see and hear about other people’s makes of a pattern!

      1. J Scott

        Thank you! They are very comfortable (as promised by Liesl :-)) but I do feel like they are probably more baggy in outcome than the design intent would have it, going by the photos on the pattern detail and the text of the pattern description. I’m fine with that in wearing them, and I’m not a fit purist by any means, but I would like to try to get closer to the pattern’s expected fit next time. I’ve been reading about the Top Down Centre Out method for fitting a pattern to your own individual body and I might even try that (or I might just mix-and-match with the Hollywood trousers if I’m not feeling up to dipping my toe into the water of making ‘proper’ fitting adjustments)…

  4. Janet Oglelthorpre

    Am I the only one tearing her hair out by the confusion of the pockets? The guide which shows what is facing (right and wrong sides), fabric (right and wrong sides), doesn’t correspond with Pocket Lining, Pocket Bag, and Front Pocket Facing.

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