Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants

Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants

Recently someone referred to me as… ‘the one who sews tops’. Ouch. Mostly true but I do have proof here on Bombazine of the odd dress and skirt! I’ve always wanted to sew pants but I’ve been a little intimidated. Scared is probably the word. Because if there was ever a piece of clothing that needs to be properly tailored I’d guess it was pants. For anyone attempting them there’s the extra work of measuring, fitting and fiddling with a toile. But I’m not a standard size (whatever that is!) so I’ve always known there would be lots of extra adjustments in store.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


So I’ve avoided making ‘proper’ pants (elastic-waisted ones don’t count); I’ve accepted my RTW pants never fit well; and I’ve gotten used to wearing jeans and pants with bulky excess material dragged in by a belt. But all that changed recently when I had a pair of jeans fitted and custom-adjusted. It was a revelation (no belt needed!) – and I decided it was time to face my trouser fears.

I chose the Gilbert pattern from Republique du Chiffon – a slim, tapered shape with a zip fly and a welt pocket. One again it was hard to go past the shape and fit that RDC is so clever at – their patterns are contemporary but I feel they draw on tailored shapes of the past. If you speak French (I don’t) I noticed the instructions look minimal. The pattern pieces are hand drawn but accurate.

The material I chose is a pure wool in a black and white weave from Rathdowne Remnants. It feels very light and has a gorgeous drape for a wool.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


And so to the tailoring. It started early – it only took a little tape measure work to realise the pattern was for a sweet little French derriere. I needed to make a full butt adjustment (or lengthen the rise) as shown in my favourite sewing book, ‘Metric Pattern Cutting’ by Winifred Aldrich. This was so simple and worked a treat. I also narrowed and lengthened the leg and took in the waist.

At toile stage I tested the front pleats and discovered they weren’t very flattering (on me – they look great on all the other versions I’ve seen). On my leg they accentuate the front upper thigh curve, which needs no further accentuation. I moved the pair of pleats around closer to the pockets.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


I’ve made endless boy pants because my son is such a skinny bean and making is easier than trawling shops – so quite a few years of zip and waistband practice paid off when it came to making these. (That said, the little rotter always pulls them off without EVER opening the button or zipper!)  I use Ottobre’s simple and concise zipper instructions from one of their magazines, but there are lots of other tutorials out there.

I made a few tiny changes during the make: instead of the hook and bar clasp I chose to use two small buttons; and I positioned one set of belt loops right on the side of my waist. I think they bulk up the waistline silhouette, next time I’ll move them to the back slightly.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


The double welt pocket is my favourite detail. I’ve said it before – I really do like making a welt pocket (weird, I know) – that slashing into the pant piece and inside-out mystery foldwork has me on my toes, and every  single time I’m shocked my welt actually worked. There was no way Google translate could help me follow RDC’s French welt instructions so I used this great Craftsy tutorial.  Sadly my top welt turned out slightly smaller than the bottom. Usually I force myself to unpick mistakes but a double welt was too much to face. Also, it’s on my behind so I can’t stare at my mistake. Let’s just say it never happened.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


So now I have my first pair of self-made pants. I was pleased to discover they were less work than I expected and came together quite quickly – even when you factor in the toile. The fit is better than I expected BUT there is much room for improvement (I’m even more in awe of the outrageously perfect fit on Kimberley’s tropical pants we showed recently). I’m pretty keen to try another pants pattern – hell, I might even try one in English. But for now I think I’ll go back to my comfort sewing and make another standard size 12 top. To go with my pants.


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


Republique du Chiffon Gilbert pants


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  • Very chic! I’m not great about making pants either, in fact last week I bought a pair of RTW jeans, the first garment I’ve bought in a loong time. I am tempted by the new Closet Case Files pattern though. By the way I think your welt pocket looks perfect 🙂

    • Thanks so much. Yes that pattern does look tempting – please make and review them for me!! I’ll follow your lead. Yes I bought Jeans recently because I’m still not quite ready to face that challenge. One day.

  • Thanks for the review, I’ve been looking forward to it! They look fab BTW.

  • Your pants look perfect and that fabric is to die for! I’ve never done a full butt adjustment, but it looks like it could solve some of my problems with fit. Thanks for the info, I need to remember that one!

    • Thanks so much Nilla! Yup one simple adjustment pretty well changed my fear of pants. Good luck with your next pair – those clever little adjustments make such a difference. Klarissa

  • You sound so like me! I never sewed in winter for a time there. Winter felt “tailored” – shirts, pants, coats. Then I stumbled across a vintage Vogue culottes pattern in mt stash and with a a few very minor tweaks I had a TNT pattern. Well at least for wide legged pants. I used to be obsessed with the Jacques pants from RDC, but the sizing is certainly not designed for curves. The required grading did my head in. You’ve done a great job and I would not have noticed that supposed welt pocket mistake unless you pointed it out!

    • Thank so much Jillian. Vintage culottes sound delicious. I guess vintage would embraced the curve more? Current patterns seem to be designed for a narrow boy figure?! We have curves and hips!! Yes I had to brace myself for these and I hope I can build on my grading experimentation. Klarissa

  • Oh I’m sure what is missing in my life is a full bum adjustment too! These look beautiful, and a great fit especially for a first attempt at fitted trousers! There’s a good burda pleated pant pattern floating around too that I’ve tried…. Can’t remember it now and pinned to the couch by the cat but it had great bones too. And that welt pocket – I see no imperfections!

    • O h thanks Sarah! No boy hips for me (sigh) so it’s high time to learn these things! I’m totally on the look out for another pattern to try out. I have a bossy cat that pins me down too! Klarissa

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