Sunday, 26 January 2014

Stripy Alpi Chinos or Choosing the right fabric for your sewing project

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Named Patterns who offered me to become a pattern tester for their new Spring/Summer collection. This time, my living conditions were more stable than when I sewed the Ninot jacket, and so I accepted.

Where I had difficulties this time with is that Saara and Laura, the founders of Named, sent me their entire catalogue,  from which I had to choose only one pattern. The task took me some time because I wanted to sew at least five garments but I ended up sewing the Alpi Chinos. I chose this pattern for a very practical reason: with most of my clothes still sitting in boxes, I was in desperate need of a pair of casual trousers.

The Alpi Chinos are low-waisted trousers fitted at the hips, with straight-cut legs: perfect for somebody who "lives in jeans" and leads an active lifestyle.

First of all, the pattern is beautifully drafted. The crotch and center back seams are long enough to hug the body and not fall down, even for a low-waisted pair :)

Named Patterns have made a number of major improvements for this new SS14 collection in response to direct user feedback, such as:

  • adding step-by-step technical drawings to all patterns
  • offering all sizes (from 32 to 46) when purchasing a pattern
  • lower prices than their previous collection

According to the size chart, I've cut the Alpi Chinos in a 40. The muslin fit well and I only made a few minor alterations at this stage of the process:

  • raised the crotch depth by 0.5cm 
  • removed 0.7cm from the back inseam
  • removed 0.5cm from the trousers' leg width

But having sewn the chinos from fashion fabric and worn them a few times, I realized that the fit was not great. From the pictures, you can clearly see that the trousers are bigger than my actual size and the reason for this is ... the wrong choice of fabric.

The instructions clearly suggest to use inelastic fabric such as cotton or linen. My fabric is cotton with 5% of elastane. From the moment the Alpi Chinos were ready to the day I took the pictures, I wore them on several occasions and they have expanded by one size.

Read and believe the instructions!
To summarize, I like this pattern a lot but I am extremely disappointed with myself for not trusting the instructions. I regret that I did not take a photo of the muslin to show you the difference in fit.

A mental note to myself: if I make another pair of the Alpi Chinos from stretch fabric, I would sew them in a size below, or I would use a fabric with 0% stretch.

Next week I will sew and blog about my second pair of Alpi Chinos, hopefully made from the right fabric and with a better fit!


  1. Bummer! I like the stripes, too bad for all your work. Good luck with the next one!

  2. Gosh the new season is lovely - I can see why you had a hard time choosing! I can imagine the fit on these was perfect so really looking forward to seeing more.

  3. Sorry about the fabric! It must make a lot of difference for pants, more than skirts or dresses... By the way, the pink hair! Love it!

  4. Maider.... Masustak27 January 2014 at 11:21

    Love the fabric you chose! I love all the stripy garments I see...hahahahha
    I am going to check their new collection because this pattern is really good!

  5. I can't agree with you more that choosing the right fabric makes or breaks a project. I just finished one that was my second attempt, and I still wasn't happy because I don't think the fabric was right. Onto the third I go... sigh...

  6. Thanks, Marianne! The work is in progress :)

  7. I only hope that the weather here will be suitable for the skirts and shorts because I plan to make a couple from Named :)

  8. Thank you, dear Chie! It was red but the colour is so difficult to sustain. I am currently working on two more pair of trousers in different fabric to understand the mystery about the pants' fit better.
    Hope all is well for you in Tokyo!

  9. I can only wonder what patter you'd choose for yourself :)

  10. Is it the maxi dress?
    At this stage of my sewing journey, I feel I lack lots of knowledge about textiles... sigh...

  11. You can clearly see that the girls are trying really hard to meet their customer's demand vs. their personal values. I really appreciate their efforts and want to give Named pattern another change. Besides, I love their clear lines and modern designs!

  12. No, it's for a different project. The maxi is coming along well though!

  13. Those are really nice and I wouldn't think their were any fit issues without your report. I do hate stretch fabrics, they are so unreliable and each in it's own way. I'll be interested to see a pair that you're truly satisfied with though since this is such a promising start. You have me reconsidering this pattern, ack, I was going to skip it thinking it was close enough to the Jamie that I could modify those to match the Chino. But I love the shape you've achieved and now I think it's sufficiently different to give it a go. Hurry and make some more!

  14. okay, well, your booty is so cute in these it sorta trumps the fabric growth. howsa bout throwing them in a boiling hot wash n dry??