Big Clothes and Small Clothes and Excellent Pants

Following on from my last make and the quest to make more bottoms, here’s a new pair of pants. Or jeans. Or something in between.

A little background that led me to this pattern. My best and favourite go-to pants this autumn/winter have been my Naia Pants, (pictured below) so I’ve been looking to expand on the wardrobe satisfaction that this wide pleated looser silhouette brings me, and which I’m very into right now. It’s also a supremely comfortable way of dressing which I am also very much into right now.

Turns out the pattern I wanted was exactly the pattern I found in this pattern book  – Asuka Hamada’s Big Clothes and Small Clothes (you can buy it herehere and here). Each pattern within the book features one design made up in two different styles.

I haven’t actually used any of my Japanese pattern books for years and I haven’t actually used many of them EVER. When I bought this particular book BACK IN 2017, I loved almost every pattern in it. Fortunately, four years later I still do because until these pants, I hadn’t made anything from it. Tracing the patterns and then adding seam allowances does take time but if these multiple Melbourne lockdowns have taught me anything, it’s patience. And the more I’ve traced from these books in recent weeks, the easier it seems to get. Or maybe it’s just that my brain is adapting to the spectacular confusion of all those lines and shapes on the pattern sheet. Or maybe I made out IN MY HEAD that it’s actually MUCH HARDER THAN IT ACTUALLY IS. Yeah, it’s probably that last one.

Instructions in a foreign language can also be incredibly intimidating but, by and large, these Japanese pattern books really do have fantastically clear and detailed illustrations. The Google Translate app is also a handy Plan B but largely inaccurate, so the illustrations  – along with experience and instinct – are all you really need.

Before making this pair – labelled as pattern ‘K’ in the book- I made a test version in a black cotton drill and from that toile I made a few changes to end up with a better waist fit. This led me to creating a deeper front pleat and also widening and lengthening the back darts.

Also, to reduce bulk, I used a cotton poplin for the pocket bags. Worth noting is the length. The pattern has you add a 4cm seam allowance for the hem but mine is a scant 2cm and I’m 160cm. So if you’re tall or want the ability to turn back for some cuff action, make sure to add extra length.

It had been a while since I’d done a fly front so i went online tutorial searching and eventually settled on this one. Worked a straightforward and satisfying treat.

The fabric I used is our Volonte Denim – a beautiful Italian 100% cotton, navy, medium weight denim that we could see working perfectly for not only pants but jumpsuits, jackets, skirts and shorts as well. In all these pictures, I’m wearing my much loved, much worn Olya Shirt from Paper Theory.

So this little sewing success has got me all re-inspired for these pattern books and I’ve already got a few more on the sewing table as I type. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Japanese pattern books and if you, like me, have more than you’ll ever need or make. Whether I’m using them or not, they are always such a pleasure to pick up and flick through…even after all these years.