Dispatches From Whitcomb Street

Please destroy after reading

cropped trousers


I have been thinking a lot about my relationship with clothes. When I was in high school I was very into fashion. I had a part-time Starbucks budget, of course, so I wore a lot of weird things remade from my mom’s old clothes and thrift store salvages fixed up to approximate what was on trend. I looked odd most of the time, I’m sure, but clothes felt exciting and interesting to me, and I liked playing with them.


When I got to adulthood, though, I somehow turned into a conservative, reactionary version of myself. Strange, yeah. Worse yet, I lapsed into complacent laziness. I had some political positions that are inexplicable to me now. I thought going into print journalism was a fine, stable career plan. And I wore the same stupid uniform every professional woman in DC wears, meant more for blending in than anything else. 


When I started working from home, I decided that jeans and a T-shirt was a just-fine outfit for pretty much every minute of every day. I sneered derisively at trends and fashion. Who wants to try so hard? Not me, certainly, since my laziness had devolved into actual giving up. And while jeans and a T are indeed just fine for many occasions, it’s a little depressing to never, EVER put anything else on.

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Sewing and growing up have brought me back around. I’m interested in clothes now that I enjoy for their own sake. I like fine finishing details, historical context, well-executed technique. I like feeling good in my clothes, and I like them to be a little bit interesting. I like feeling pleasure in making things that I believe to be beautiful, well-suited to their purpose, fun to look at and wear. Clothing that feels authentic for me and my life, made with intention.


So anyway, here’s Burda 04-2010-106, a pair of cropped trousers with a low waist, front slant pockets, and rounded front insets.  The whole shebang in handkerchief-weight linen ordered from Grayline Linen, I think. 

Things I did: I cut the front yokes on the bias instead of with the grain for a very subtle contrast, and for better drape in that deliberately poochy, droopy front area. And I added a buttoned cuff to the bottoms instead of elastic. I stayed the pockets with strips of silk organza to keep them from gaping, although this is like the one pair of pants that that wouldn’t matter for. And I had to cut a foot and a half off the drafted length for the legs—I know I’m short, but geez Burda, I doubt anyone has an inseam of 36”…to just below the knee. 

Things I would do next time: I’d probably interface the belt to keep it from crushing. I’d do an actual placket or bound edge on the leg slits. But otherwise? I kind of love these, strange as they are. 

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