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It’s not often where I sew up a pattern and find myself completely in awe at the designer’s talent, but sewing up the Upland Trousers from Itch to Stitch was definitely one of those times!
The Upland Trousers are a relaxed, straight fit design with slight flare. It has front/inseam pockets and back welt pockets. It features a high waistband, resulting in an elongated effect on your legs. These are designed for non-stretch woven fabrics such as tencel, suiting, linen, twill, corduroy, and poplin. I used a chambray for mine (I won it a year or so ago from L’Etoffe Fabrics). This pattern is available in sizes 00 – 40 (35 7/8″ hip – 67 3/8″ hip).
I won’t deny — this pattern was difficult and a labor of love (aka, time consuming), mostly because I had never made proper pants before because I’ve always feared the pants fitting process. Kennis Wong is an amazing designer though, and I KNEW the only way I would ever get around to making pants that required a fitting process, was to sign up for an Itch to Stitch test!
There are still some things I need to tweak with mine – I feel like my second muslin fit better than my final, so I need to go back and redo some things for my NEXT pair! But, I’m proud of these and just so impressed with all the details – I need to tell you about it!
In the words of Miss Penelope Lumley (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series if you’d like a fun family friendly audiobook!), I was a little “optoomuchistic” about my measurements. I was between a 2 and 4 for waist, and between 6 and 8 for hip, and the tutorial said to size down if you like them more fitted… so I did, but I found them just a liiiiiitle too tight. So I ended up doing a 4 waist/8 hip. I found these to be a little baggy though, so maybe next time I will cut between the size lines instead. Kennis suggested shortening the back rise, so I muddled my way through that, and then because the 4 waist was a little big for me, I increased the size of the back darts. As I said, this worked fine for the muslin but didn’t translate quite right into my final.
I’m almost 5’8″ and did not add length to this pattern.
The pattern calls for clear elastic to stabilize the waistband. For my muslin, I used cotton swim elastic, and this seemed to work better for me than the clear that I used in my final. So I may use swim elastic next time as well. Or a different clear one. Things to ponder!
Upland includes darts in the front and back, and shortening/lengthening lines in multiple places on the front and back pattern pieces, so there’s really no excuse to get a perfected fit with this pattern! Many of the testers were referring to them as magic pants LOL.
TIME OUT! This is how I do most darts:
- Mark the end point with a dot (use a pin, a marker, or hand stitch some thread.
- Snip an 1/8″ notches into the start of the dart legs.
- Press dart, aligning notches.
- Keeping upper thread tail long, make a couple of stitches into beginning of dart. Keep needle in the fabric. Pull the upper thread towards the end point. This creates a nice straight line to follow.
- Stitch along the thread line.
- As you get close to the end of the dart, reduce your stitch length to very very short. Stitch to the end mark and off the fabric. You may optionally tie off the threads, however the short length of the stitching should serve as a lock.
Ok, so for some of the things that really blew my mind:
The back welt pocket: The design on this is amazing. I have made a couple of welt pockets before, but this was the best one I’ve seen. The pocket lining also includes a patch of the outer fabric so when you open the pocket, the lining isn’t visible. The top of the lining is also sewn into the waistband, so the welts are completely hidden on the inside. I ALMOST used Liberty of London for my pockets… but in the end I chickened out and used some scraps of Art Gallery Lawn. Once I am more confident that I have the fit perfect, you betcha I’ll bust out the Liberty!!
The fly front: I really liked the way this was done as well, and the order of construction made for a perfectly finished waistband facing. I used a size 5 metal zipper that I had on hand, but in hindsight, it was way too heavy. I suggest using a size 3 zipper for this pattern.
Little details: I love the little things in this pattern — like adding in bar tacks to the pockets. It’s things like this that really set Itch to Stitch patterns apart from others!
Overall, I would rate this as an advanced pattern (it’s rated as “intermediate +”). Of course, if you are “intermediate” I think you can still make these – just be prepared to spend a lot of time on them. I made two muslins and my final over the course of a week or so, and was pretty much exclusively in my sewing room for the better part of this past Saturday and Sunday. But the knowledge gained from making these is invaluable! The Upland Trousers definitely go into the “this pattern is a sewing lesson” category!
Be sure to join the Itch to Stitch Facebook Group. It’s the perfect place to go for fitting advice as you delve into making your first pair of real trousers!
The Upland Trousers are on sale this week to celebrate the release! Be sure to grab them and bundle them with other patterns too for an extra discount! (Ends April 26, 2021)
Disclaimer: I received this pattern complimentary in exchange for testing it. Opinions 100% my own.