Featured post

Copyright for all text and images @bellabow.studio

Made to measure trousers part 2


After you have drawn your pattern in accordance with the instructions given in the book, you will have a couple of outlines on your graph paper. One will be the back and one the front of your trousers. (NB you have 2 overlapping outlines, because the pattern for the back and the front use the same points to measure from - there are just slight differences.) It's helpful to draw the front pattern in a colour such as red, and the back in green for example.

The next stage is to trace over each of those outlines with tracing paper, so that you have 2 pattern pieces which you can then cut out and use on your calico.  This is where the 2 colours really helps you to see the outline through the tracing paper! Don't forget to add darts and straight grain marks.

Do not cut out the paper pattern yet! You will need to add a seam allowance to the outline. I use a French Curve ruler to help and chose 5/8" so that I had some wriggle room if the trousers needed letting out.






On to cutting out, and stitching a toile for fitting.

You can see that they do fit around the top, but are waaaay too big on the legs, and need slimming down. Not so much Italian chic, more ferret catchers work wear!!

It's very hard to fit these on your own so I found an old pair of trousers that I liked the leg width of, and measured the new against the old. Wow!  Just need to do some alterations to the toile and try on again.

Once I've altered the toile and am happy I can transfer the alterations to the pattern pieces for future use.












Making made to measure trousers

I trotted off the title "Made to measure trousers" more in hope than anything else!

I'm spending a couple of days pattern drafting some trousers for myself in the hope of a good fit. I have a bit of trouble with trousers since I've got older and hope this will solve some problems.

To pattern draft, you first of all need a good book like this one:

It's the go-to for most beginners I believe and is certainly comprehensive, but a little dated in it's choice of shapes; a bit 1970's.

I went on a pattern cutting course with Lee Bojan, who I know still teaches pattern cutting at all levels. Well, he did before lockdown and I'm sure will continue as soon as possible. I can give you contact details if you're interested.

I spent a couple of days with him getting the basics and making a fitted bodice block; enough to give me the confidence to try a pattern block for trousers without help. I chose a commercial pattern block as a basis and then used the diagrams and text together with my own measurements, to draw a front and back pair legs. I will need to add a waistband and side/back opening, but I'm jumping ahead a bit.



Having drawn the pattern, I need to trace onto paper and cut out a toile - a practice garment that can be fitted to the body, and cut about if necessary. Come back in a couple of days to see how it goes!



In essence, you start by measuring your body accurately. Each pattern layout gives you a list of which measurements you need. You then write these on paper for reference or scribble in the book (I really find it's helpful to photocopy the relevant pages so I can do calculations and scribbling without ruining my book).

Starting at 0, which is a mark you make on the graph paper for the start, you then follow the instructions to plot various other marks using your measurements as a guide. So for example, the first line you draw may be from 0 to 1 and might be your waist meaurement. Line 1 to 2 may be your leg length and so on until the pattern shape is drawn. I know that simplifies things a bit as some of the lines involve more calculation, but that's the general idea.


Cielo Top and Dress - Number 20

I lied about the painting! I decided I wasn't quite finished with sewing and had an urge to make something in this new fabric.

The Cielo top and dress, Rome Collection No 20.


  • This is a boxy tee shape (you can have a dress length too). It's got a more intricate shoulder yoke (angled shoulder). It has bust darts but they're not huge making the shape quite loose.


My fabric was uber stretchy and drapey, so I steered clear of the bias neck facing in favour of the facings which are an alternative neckline finish.  There are 2 types of sleeve to choose from and mine is a straightforward short length with a cuff - the alternative was a very full 3/4 length sleeve. I am about a size 12 from M&S and made this as a size 12 and the fit was ok. I could go smaller, but would want to add a bit to the length if I did.







Up And Over - Painting number 3




Back to painting! This one will feature President Trump, The Pope and Harvey Weinstein. Not on chains this time but being trodden on and walked over.

BTW I might also have a chop at my hair today as it's driving me nuts. I wonder if we'll ever be able to visit a hairdresser again!! I believe my friend Laura Kemshall allowed her 7 year old to have a go at hers, but I only have Graham and that way lies disaster and hideousness.

Deer and Doe Hoya Blouse


I liked the style of this pattern but when I bought it I had no specific material in mind. It was to add to the pile to make as and when I had time and felt like a new blouse!

It cost £15 from Guthrie and Ghani (no affiliations). The pattern is printed on thick paper so you could use over and over without a problem. There were layouts - not always an option on modern patterns. The instruction leaflet was comprehensive and gave good step by step instructions with plenty of illustrations.

Some patterns make you feel as if you have made something of quality that will last and last, but this one didn't. I wasn't in love with the neck facing or facing for the bottom of the blouse. They worked of course, but I'm sure there's a better way of putting the blouse together. My fabric choice was tricky to sew so maybe this didn't help.

I wasn't sure how this would fit as according to the body measurements on the packet I needed a size 18 which I found upsetting! (I'm normally between a 12 and 14) So I traced the size 18 onto paper and then made a toile.

The toile wasn't too bad but I altered the shoulder length. I also altered the front lapels and made them cross higher up as my bra was on show. I then added 2 darts into the back so that the blouse didn't balloon out on me and followed my back snugly. I used my Maven French Dart Shift pattern for this, and simply added the back darts to my pattern paper. (Lay the new pattern over the old one matching the arm hole and front where possible. This will ensure the proper placement)


The finished blouse.



Up and Over

Nearly finished - life paintings in a series called Up and Over.

The piece is about the 1980’s (other paintings are for different eras) and more specifically female anti-feminism. I have Barbara Cartland (do you know, she actually wrote that women shouldn’t wear trousers, as it confused men and made them homosexual!) Margaret Thatcher because she could have done so much and didn’t.  Mother Teresa because although many regard her as a force for good, she believed “poverty is the gift of God”, caring for women in Calcutta whilst struggling against contraception. Sarah Palin because Alaskan women were forced to pay for their own rape kits to the tune of $1,200, banned books, and she doesn’t support sex education – “she preaches a dystopian future, feminism without any feminists”.