Note: Base trousers

I remember clearly that day many years ago when my always stylish friend showed me the new trousers she had bought from a new Swedish brand, Hope. They were cropped, in black wool suiting and had a slightly dropped crotch. I found them to be incredibly cool, and it didn’t take long before I had my own pair. It turned out to be my first purchase in a series of Hope trousers, and I still have a couple in my closet.

The founding designer of Hope, Ann Ringstrand has recently published a sewing book with ten projects. It is called SY, which means “sew” in Swedish (and Norwegian, too*). The book is only published in Swedish for now, but I think there are plans for an English edition. As soon as I laid my hands on the book I tried one of the trouser patterns, aptly called Base Trouser. It has slant pockets, two versions of welt pockets in the back (very Hope) and can be worn with a turned up leg for a cropped look. The crotch is slightly dropped, but how much is a matter of personal preference and whether you wear it at the waist or lower. They are meant to be oversized (also very Hope). Trousers for everyday wear was always the signature style of the brand and still is. Finally having the opportunity to recreate a trouser style I have returned to over and over again is a dream come true.

Line drawings from the book

The Base trouser is an updated classic with a modern wider and slightly longer leg, but the fit around the hip and waist area is classic suit trouser style, neatly proportioned. The description in the book states that the fit is generous and loose, and it is supposed to fall a little below the waist. It has room for your tummy to expand, and the fit is very comfortable. The legs are rounded with a long dart at the back for shaping towards the cuff. The length without the turn-up is meant to hit at the top of the shoe. I regard this style a classic, rendering a wardrobe staple with longevity.

The sizing is unisex and based on the hip measurement with five sizes from XS/86 cm to XL/110 cm. I fall slightly above the M/98 cm range with my 100 cm hip so I went with that size. Very oversized clothes never work for me, and the finished measurement of 109 cm has plenty of room for my hips.

The Base trouser construction is heavily influenced by classic menswear tailoring. The instructions recommend sewing the pockets in a poplin weight cotton, preferably white for a classic look. To hide the raw edges of the inner waistband and the fly, bias tape is recommended. I find working with these old classic techniques increasingly satisfying and made the entire inside as neat as I could with bias tape almost everywhere. The front pockets has french seams and the back pocket linings are edged with bias tape. I’m very happy with the result. It feels very solid, and I love the look of the inside as much as the outside.

Trouser fit is always a little challenging for me, but not this time. The only two small alterations I did was to shorten the leg by 2 cm and reduce the back crotch length with 1 cm, tapering down to the inner leg seam. That’s all I had to do. The curved waistband falls perfectly on my hips. The slant pockets don’t gape at all. Fantastic! I made these in a lovely light wool suiting (100% wool). Because of the checkered pattern I had to pay close attention to the placement when cutting out the pieces, but luckily it turned out okay. I missed out on the pocket welts and flap, but frankly I don’t mind a little pocket mis-matching at all.

I think this book is the most exciting sewing book I’ve seen in a very long time, and I’m definitely going to sew many garments from its patterns. However, the instructions are less elaborate than what’s ideal, and some sewing experience is probably necessary to get a good result. I have my go-to resources for sewing welt pockets, zip and fly and trouser waistband, and because of this I’m not dependent on the instructions in the book. There are separate photo tutorials for the welt pockets and the fly in the book in addition to general written instructions. They are helpful, but to me, this is of minor importance as I don’t really follow instructions anymore. I am super happy with this well drafted pattern and after my first attempt I’m eager to make another one right away – it’s that good. I wonder how it would look in a cotton twill? Maybe a little like an updated version of the News chinos, a long time Hope favorite of mine…

Pattern: Base trouser from the book SY – 10 nya modeplagg av designer Ann Ringstrand
size: M (based on a hip measurement of 98 cm)
Fabric: 1.3 m wool suiting from Rainbow tekstil, Oslo
Notions: pocket lining, 3 m bias tape, interfacing, button, zipper
Time: 10-12 hours

*The Swedish and Danish languages are similar enough to Norwegian for me to understand them, so fortunately I have very few difficulties reading this book despite it being in another language than my own.


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