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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Chevron Hakama Trousers

I was inspired by a piece of art I saw at the Jameel Prize 5 exhibition at the V&A earlier this year. The Jameel Prize celebrates contemporary Islamic art, and the work that inspired me was by Hala Kaisow.

Hala Kaiksow is a sculptural clothing designer who works with natural fabrics, naturally dyed and handmade. Her works have a natural emergent quality, as if they were either grown, or used to be something larger that became weathered over time. Her clothes have a nomadic aesthetic, and look like they are hung on a person, rather than enclosing.



They reminded me of Japanese traditional clothing and how they too feel like they drape bodies in cloth. A haori for example, feels like it rests on your shoulders, unlike a western jacket which feels like it's attempting to reshape you.

Hala's work re-stimulated my desire for more varied clothing, because men's fashion is a graveyard of jeans and t-shirts.

I've designed clothing, but never made any; this is my first atempt. I decided on starting with a pair of trousers because I didn't like the idea of figuring out how sleves work. Later I was told by friends who make clothes that as a starting place, I had chosen poorly.



And boy did I learn.

Fuelled by optimism, I started designing. They were going to be a sort of mix between the following clothes:



Some features that I wanted:
  • Loose easy fit - The gratuitous amounts of sweeping fabric never fail to look epic.
  • High waist - A lot of women's trousers have high waists and I am dead envious. They look like they give the hug equivalent of a waistcoat but for your hips and belly.
  • Loose crotch - So I can stretch in them and not be castrated by fabric.

Time to design, and the ideas were flowing. I was getting so into it that I thought maybe I could design a top at the same time? I mean, why not?? So easy amirite??? I decided not to for now.



**Top Tip** If you're ever looking for sewing patterns for clothing, add the magic word "drafting", otherwise you'll just get lots of patterned fabric. That's right, I made my own pattern, because I have no self control. With pens, paper, rulers, and a little basic maths, it felt like I was making a map, so I found it super fun.

It wasn't until version 1 2 3 4 that I had something that was actually wearable.



There was a lot of trial and error, I'll spare you the detail, but as you can see below it took till version 8 till I had something that I liked. It was tricky to figure out where extra fabric was needed and where it was too much.



And here they are!! As a bonus, I added buttons to the ankles so they can be tightened, and an obi belt because they're so darn cute.



If you'd like to recreate these in your fit, I've made a clean version of the pattern you can download below. It's scaled to 10 pixel per cm. The red parts, just try to make a smooth curve as best you can. There was some improvising in cutting and stitching, but this was the pattern I worked to.
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