Sunday 14 November 2010

The pleather "test" pants, but do I lead a Balmain life?

Of course, these are supposed to be styled with high heels, a shiny jacket and an evening blouse, to approximate the Balmain look. Not something one wears in my village to pick up a copy of the NZZ and croissants. For the moment, however, let's talk sewing, not style. I avoided the thin vinyl that Burda lately uses, and went for a thicker pleather that worked about as easily in the hand as car seat upholstery. I'm sure, however, that these babies will love the snow and rain of a Swiss winter. They certainly are warm enough.

To pad the signature "motard" knees, I used remnants of my cashmere camel coat, and instead of stiffening glue, as instructed, I top-stitched four layers of wool to the inside of the pad on the second line from the outside, and then trimmed the wool way down, so it wouldn't peek out of the finished knee, then applied the pads using the rest of the top-stitching lines. I also trimmed as close as I dared around the outline with manicure scissors. Marking this stuff is a trial, but a ballpoint pen leaves enough of a dent and no colour, so I went with that, measuring the distance between the lines, just to make sure I'd transferred them correctly. There's no forgiving using this stuff if you sew something "wrong."
The wrinkles at the back are a little bit of a bummer but this stuff isn't the stretchiest, so that's what happens when you have a 38 waist and 42 hips. I decided to get fancy, too, and my pride dictated that even though this was a Burda Easy, I'd add top-stitching to the side and back seams in the middle of the leg, too, so it would be hard to correct the fit.

As for the leg length, I lengthened these a total of 9 cm, five at the calf and another 4 at the hem. Just right, unless I want to go for the cropped look. (I have a 33+ inch inseam.)

I also moved the invisible zipper to the back. When I say "invisible," I mean it! Why have it bungling up the hip line?

Of course, if I wanted to do the real Balmain look, I'd need more of a low-waisted jean cut, with pockets, and front zip, but I think that might be too much bulk for my silhouette. Kate Moss I'm not. These come to just about an inch below the true waist, not hiphuggers, but not Mom jeans, either.

Now, I'm wondering whether I should order the real leather from Mr. Fauck, or run these around the block for a few weeks, to see just how much of a Balmain life I'm leading...


  1. Most elegant. Paired with a beautiful worn and loved chambray shirt,sleeves rolled up and many strands of pearls will be lovely. Love the knees. And yes, we can wear what we long as we temper it........
    Great job!!!!

  2. oooh, thanks, I hadn't thought of that combo of casual and elegant, much better for the countryside life we're facing this winter than a brocade jacket and four inch heels. Thanks!

  3. I loved this style the moment I saw the pattern, and your version is fabulous. They look so good. The knee detailing is terrific. I really enjoy your blog - it usually makes me laugh aloud at some point, and you pick the best styles.