Hello Sew Creative friends, Alex here with another Nina Lee review. This time I'm talking about the Portobello trousers. As 5'11" lady, buying trousers that are both flattering and fit well has always been a challenge. When I worked as a teacher, I lived in skirts and skinny jeans, because at least if they're too short it looks intentional, rather than as if I've tumble dryer them on too high a heat!
When I started sewing, I was on a quest to make myself well fitting trousers and I thought it would take me forever. I tried all sorts of commercial patterns and always found them too complicated. When Nina Lee released Portobello, I was skeptical that these would be any different, but having seen some bloggers post about theirs, I took the plunge.
For my first pair, I followed the pattern to the letter and they were... fine. They fit well enough and the construction was a breeze but they just weren't the high waisted trousers of my dreams. At the time, I was super proud of them and wore them to death, but after a few weeks, I
realised that they were riding up on me and I was constantly fiddling with them. This was because they didn't really fit, they just fit better than store bought.
First of all the length was too short, secondly the rise was also too short. I left the pattern alone for a while and then eventually decided to give it another go. This time, I added 2.5" to the rise and 3" to the length. I also doubled the width of the waistband. Because these trousers fasten with a back seam zip, all of these alterations were really easy. When I sewed up my second pair in a black twill, they were so much better. I also decided to stitch down the pleats on these to give the trousers a flatter front. This pair I have worn and worn, to the point where my buttons have come off twice (through this might say more about my button sewing skills!).
When it was my birthday last year, my friends and I went on a treasure hunt around Manchester (great fun!). I knew it was going to be warm and that I'd be doing a lot of walking. I had a go at turning the Portobello trousers into culottes. I kept all of the alterations I had already made, and widened the legs by 3 inches. This made for super flowy culottes, especially in the viscose print that I chose to use. Any of our viscose chalis fabrics would make for a beautiful pair of these Portobello culottes.
Why not try out some swishy culottes in one of these gorgeous new fabrics?
If wide leg trousers aren't your jam, then no fear! Keep the original width of the pattern to the knee then start to narrow it. Gather the ankle into an elasticated cuff and ta-dah! Super comfy peg trousers. For this pair, I used a crepe and added a tie to the waist for a vintage feel.
You can try this look in one of our crepe or crepe marrocaine fabrics.
If you are looking for an easy to fit, flattering and uncomplicated pair of trousers, then Portobello is for you. I really think that once you've given these a go, you'll never need another trouser pattern again!.
Happy Sewing, Alex from the Sew Creative team x