Jolies Bobines Pantalon Leo

Jolies Bobines Pantalon Leo

It’s no secret that we’re massive Jolies Bobines fans around here. The blog was one of the first sewing sites that I started following years ago, and to this day I want to steal everything Julie makes and wear it out on a dinner date (is it just me, or do French women make everything look a little dressed up – even t-shirts?). Oh, and on behalf of my kids I’ll take the Lola makes too please. All of them.

When we got wind that Jolies Bobines was releasing a pattern book, we were quietly excited about the prospect of getting a bit of French style happening in our Melbourne lives. And when Jolies Tenues arrived (merci Julie), I immediately wanted to make all the projects, all at once. There are some seriously good things in those pages. Simple, stylish and wearable basics with slightly quirky details. Deciding on what to make first was difficult. Initially I planned the knit top with buttons down the side. Then I bought leather to make one of the bags. Then I decided on the dress with the cut out back. And then…. I lost the book. Mon dieu.


Pantalon Leo


Sewing supplies tend to get ‘lost’ between the two households involved in our little blog. Klarissa and I live quite close to each other, and we share, borrow and swap a lot of sewing stuff. Though I have no proof, I’m convinced the drive/walk between our houses is secretly scattered with notions, cotton reels, paper patterns, seam rippers and random fabric scraps. So when I first realised I’d lost the book (on the same day I decided to make the bag), I figured it would be at Klarissa’s. It wasn’t. And it wasn’t at the fabric shop I last took it to for reference. I hunted, hunted some more, then finally gave up and ordered another copy of the book. The bag would have to wait.

To cut this long and totally mundane story short, the lost book turned up (it was at Klarissa’s – no judgement…!), just as the new copy arrived. And by the time I’d gone from zero copies to two, I’d spied this picture of Rihanna channelling Amelia Earhart, and suspected I needed a pair of paper bag pants in my life. Sightings of these Maison Martin Margiela ones and this lovely pair worn by Not a Primary Colour (how great do they look with a Grainline Driftless cardigan…note to self) sealed my decision. And what do you know – there was a pants pattern just waiting for me, on the cover of my two copies of the JB pattern book…. 


Pantalon Leo


So here they are – the Leo Pants. An elastic-waisted pair of pants with a tapered leg, pleat front, pockets and the all-important paper bag waist finish. Except in my case, I fear I should have sized up to accentuate that waist – as I’m worried mine is more ‘crumpled sandwich wrapper’ than total paper bag. I had one of those pesky situations where my measurements fell just over one size, but a fair bit short of the size up. I chose to go down, knowing I had a bit of stretch in my fabric. I’m happy with the general size and fit of these, but I feel that paper bag pants are meant to be a baggier, and I wonder if they should be sitting higher up on my waist (I have a long torso, I should have thought about these things and perhaps, you know – made a toile?!?).


Pantalon Leo


Pantalon Leo


The fabric is a cotton drill from Clear It. I’m telling myself it’s a very contemporary colour with a 2017 Pantone name like turmeric or Spanish gold, but I know deep down it’s mustard. Or ‘the exact same colour as newborn baby poo’, as my small girl pointed out when she saw it. And she would know, she has a brand new cousin. She’s the expert. Name aside, it’s a lovely goldy mustard, and a colour I’m quite partial to during these newfound autumn days. A quick PSA to Melbourne sewists, Clear It has some great cotton drills at the moment, very hearty weights and perfect for pants. Just sayin’.

Sewing these was pretty enjoyable. The pattern includes seam allowances (thank goodness!); the photo instructions are so clear I only needed Google Translate twice; and the pants are a quick make. I know nothing about fit adjustments for pants, but these seem to fit quite well off the standard size, though I could do with a tiny bit more depth in the crotch curves, and as I mentioned, could have lengthened the waist a little. Regardless of these small issues, I think I’ll wear these a lot. In fact, I was wearing them just this weekend, and my mum dropped in and said ‘Oh, paper bag pants – I read in the newspaper they’re back in fashion.’ When your mum declares you’re IN FASHION, what more encouragement do you need? I’m already plotting another pair of these Leos in a size up, and will definitely get to the bag in the Jolie book sometime soon….



Pantalon Leo


As mentioned in my lost and found saga, we have a brand new, totally pristine and untraced copy of Jolies Tenues and want to gift it a new home. So if you’d like to try the Leo pants or any of the other patterns, just leave a comment below or on our Insta Leo pants post and you’ll be in it to win it. Next week we’ll put names in a big old French beret, choose a winner and post it out. Good luck! x


Pantalon Leo


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  • I am a big fan of Jolies bobines too and would love to have a copy of this book.

  • I love Julie’s blog too. I’ve had a lot of sewing inspiration from her over the years.

  • These trousers are amazing! I love the colour!

  • I love them! They look fab. I absolutely love that colour and am wishing I lived a bit closer to Clear It! You’ve convinced me that I should give paper bag pants a go.

  • Good excuse to practice my French 🙂

  • I’d love the book! I’ve just discovered your blog and love it. You kind of remind me of a sewing Katering Show. I have a RTW mustard Driftless style cardigan and am loving that.

  • These look great Kate. Your sewing & blog writing are always on point. I’ve love to win you ‘extra’ copy of the book.

  • I was just thinking I’d love to steal YOURS and Klarissa’s wardrobe, and Jolies Bobines, so a book seems to answer that need! Please include me in the draw!

  • Oh I just love everything about these – the colour, the styling, and the fit is great! And drills at Clear It you say….hmmm…. whilst I have firmly reached and tipped into the abyss that is Peak Stash Levels I’m so tempted dammit! Please throw my name into the beret too!

  • Your pants look great and I’d love to win the book

  • Oh my! I would LOVE a copy of that book, all seems great! Maybe I’ll just purchase it myself 😉 I love your pair of pants and I think they look very good on you! A different look than the cover but nonetheless equally pretty! I love your story about the double book and the way things get lost, and also your little girls comment on the color 😉 anyway, looking forward to another project of this book too!

  • Ahh I didn’t even know Julie wrote a book! I would love to win this book. Those pants are totally turmeric by the way 😉

  • I follow Jolie’s blog aswell. Haven’t noticed the leo pants pattern in the book reviews when it was published. Given how good it looks on you on spanish mustard gold color, i would like to sew myself one too.

  • For what it’s worth I love mustard, a very underrated colour.

  • Such lovely pants!

  • Once again you’ve created a piece for my pure envy. I might not be able to come within several feet of a paper bag anything without grossly overemphasised childbearing hips, but I can enjoy how wonderful they look on you right? I would however rock the hell outta that leather bag. Just sayin’

    • You would absolutely rock the leather bag Jillian – let me know if you want me to trace and send, I’m a little nervous with leather so would love someone to try it!! X

  • Oh how I would love this book – if it’s your style then it’s mine…. Kate x

  • I’m on my fortnightly blog binge and was just on Jolies bobines blog but failed to pick up that she had a book published. Would love to have a copy!

  • I’m new to clothes sewing for myself so thank you for the introduction to these great patterns.

  • Wooohoo, I would LOVE a copy of this book. I am deep in a sewing frenzy, having sewn for years I am only new to ‘selfish sewing’ my own wardrobe. Attempting to make myself an entire capsule wardrobe one piece at a time. Very much inspired by your blog!

  • Haha this could totally happen to me, excepted that it would have happened in my flat only… I spend my time looking for supplies because I just sprinkle them all over the place, despite having a dedicated room for them. I am currently looking for a knitting pattern to finish a cardigan that’s been waiting for months (ahem… Years…)

  • I always look to your blog when in need of sewing inspiration, so a copy of this book would absolutely not go astray!

  • I love the colour! I have some mustard linen that I’m thinking will become a skirt or pants of some sort as I just don’t think it suits my colouring enough to be near my face. I like how you paired it with the pinky top – I would’t have thought of that 🙂

  • J’adorez votre pantalon leo et je veux vraiment posséder ce livre!

  • Great pants and I like the mustard and plum colours together. I would like to try the Lola t-shirt pattern.

  • Yay, a new blog to check out!

  • This would be great to own I have always loved her style!