erica’s chambray cannes trousers

We love Erica’s new Cannes Wide-Legged Trousers. She made a fantastic pair of black trousers during the testing process, and now she is back with a slightly cropped version in chambray. Take it away, Erica!

What do you get when you combine a well-drafted pattern with great fabric? A successful garment! My chambray Cannes trousers are not what I had originally envisioned, but the final result is a more elegant and possibly more versatile addition to my wardrobe than I planned.

Many years ago, I had a pair of ready-to-wear lightweight, loosely fitting, elastic waist, cropped chambray trousers that I wore until they were too worn and frayed to keep. With the new Cannes trouser pattern release, I envisioned recreating that beloved warm-weather staple. I also have been holding onto a small bolt of Cone Mills chambray in my stash that I purchased from this renowned American fabric mill just before they stopped selling fabric directly to the public, and that fabric was calling out to me to be cut. I have no regrets pairing this chambray with the Cannes pattern! I didn’t end up cropping the legs as much as I intended, but I am happy with the final length.

To plan for a cropped version, I reduced the leg length on the pattern by a whopping 8 inches! I took out 2 inches at the “lengthen or shorten line,” and then to maintain the gentle curve of the hem, I folded up 6 inches near the hem. Rather than truing up the side seams along the hem at my size, I decided to simply extend the side seams straight down to the newly raised bottom cutting line (as drawn in pink marker). By doing this, I reduced the already generous hem circumference by a small amount.

I pattern tested for the Cannes, so I felt confident that I didn’t need any adjustments other than leg length after making this dressier black version while pattern testing for Liesl. I am 5’5”, by the way.

For this chambray version, I again chose to omit the sash and therefore also the belt loops, because I didn’t think the sash would drape well with this particular fabric.

My chambray cotton is a fairly tight weave and somewhat structured, as far as chambray goes, which I usually associate as having soft drape. I dare say that my fabric is almost like a lightweight denim, although fabric aficionados might quibble about the difference between twill versus plain weave structure. This fabric also has a gorgeously subtle sheen, which makes it appear in photographs as lighter in color than reality. It was a joy to sew and press. I made sure to pre-wash it twice, but I admit that my fingertips were still a bit indigo blue from handling the fabric on the day I sewed these.

One of my favorite “hidden” features of the pattern is the built-in tummy control panel, which is made from the way the pocket stays are sewn into the zipper fly. When I zip up the trousers, I feel gently smoothed out without feeling constricted. I might possibly enjoy the clean construction of the inside as much as the outside!

If you follow the detailed pattern instructions, cut accurately, and match all the notches, you can’t help but feel a bit satisfied to end up with smooth pockets that don’t gape and a zip fly like this.

I had planned to decide on the final cropped hem length as my last step. Would I like the hem just above my ankle bone? Just under my calves? Maybe even just above my calves? In the end, my teenage daughter convinced me to keep them the length they were—and to wear them like summer-weight wide-legged jeans, which is all the rage in fashion these days. I’m usually not particularly fashion-forward, but I am delighted with this length. I only turned up the hem a 1/2-inch in total from my cut edge.

I can easily style these trousers with heels, sneakers, tank tops, casual tees, silk blouses—tucked or untucked…. Even though these are not the relaxed-fit chambray trousers of my past, I can imagine these tailored Cannes will be just as well worn over the years.


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  1. This looks amazing. I love the length you finally have Erica, and your daughter made a wise choice 🙂

    1. Erica

      Thank you, Asmita! She is finally of an age when I ask for and (usually!) genuinely value her fashion opinions!

  2. Linette

    Beautiful! I’m getting ready to make a pair in thrifted 100% linen before I go all in with my cupro (beginner woman’s silk?) I’ve never done a zip fly, mostly because don’t like to be squished around my waist. These are my first ‘hard pants!’ Pattern. I was thinking of adding some ease, eg a size up since there is a belt option but don’t want the butt to be too baggy. What advice do you have for a noob about sizing? I’m 5’10” so will plan for some added length for my first try.

    1. Erica

      Great plans, Linette! To decide on your size, I would take a look at the “Finished Measurements” chart. I would use a tape measure, hold it in a circle around your body at the sizes on the chart, and pick a size that way. Remember, you don’t want to feel constricted at all, and you will need some “ease” to walk and sit comfortably. For the hip measurement, make sure that measurement fits comfortably around the largest part of your body and not just at your high hip. My largest measurement is much lower than at my hip bone, so I like to move the circle of tape measure up and down my entire bum area to make sure there is room for movement. The pattern is drafted for long-legged people, so I really doubt you will need extra length added to the leg, but you can remove excess length at the hem if you over-do it. I also like to take a tape measure of my inseam length and compare that to the inseam on the paper pattern. It will give you a good sense of whether you will want to add leg length. Have fun!

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