Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon

Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - finished

After making a muslin of these shorts, asking for your brutally honest opinions, and hearing the vast majority of you exclaim “I would never wear them!”, I went ahead and made a version in fashion fabric.  And you know what?  I love them.  Yes, this look is not for everyone, and it may not even be working for me (la la la, I can’t hear you…), but they’re interesting and different and oddly liberating to wear.  I’m so enthralled with them that I wore them on the streets of Boston for a full day of work at the university.  Read on for a slew of photos, some minor construction notes, and my experience wearing a non-traditional garment out in public.

Project Stats:

Pattern: Sarrouel Trousers, No. 8, from She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada.  The pattern is a dropped crotch (harem-style) short with in-seam pockets, fly front, bias-cut pieces in front and back, and tucks along the hemline.  I made a size L (the largest size).

Fabric: Rose Bouquet Rayon in Orchid by Joel Dewberry for Westminster/Free Spirit.  This was my first time working with one of these new rayons, and I would recommend them.  The fabric has a ton of drape, and the colors are bright and seem to be holding up well in the wash.

Modifications: The only change I made was to add 1.5 inches to the hem of each leg, preserving the curved hemline.  I’m 5’8″, and the original pattern hit me just above the knee.  I took your advice (thank you!) and made the shorts a little longer, to cover my knees and mimic the style of the modeled version.

Level of crafty satisfaction:  I am strangely captivated and borderline obsessed with these shorts.  I think they’re one of my all-time favorite projects both to sew and to wear.

See elsewhere: I can’t find any other versions of these shorts on the web.  Someone please make a pair!  (Or leave me a link if I’ve missed yours!)

Since I’ve already written a detailed review of this pattern, I don’t have too much more to say about the sewing and construction.  Instead, I’ll show you how these shorts look on me, and you can judge for yourself whether I’ve lost my mind or have stumbled upon the next big thing in fashion.  🙂

#Diapershorts in Action
Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - front Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - back

Sorry the photo above came out a little blurry!  But note how the hems are uneven in the back.  I think (?) this is a design feature, as the pattern pieces are exactly the same length, but the tucks along the hem are placed in different spots on each leg.  The tucks pull up the right leg along the back, and pull up the left leg along the side (see 2 photos above).  The drape of the rayon really emphases (and likely exacerbates) the effect.  I debated evening them out but decided to embrace the original design and character of the fabric (aka I was lazy).  🙂

Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - back with dropped crotch Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - side

The “diaper butt” side view was greatly reduced (although not eliminated!) when I switched from my cotton muslin to this rayon version.  I’m actually kind of intrigued by the poufy butt look and am curious to make another version of these shorts in a fabric with a bit more body.  Yes, more harem shorts!

Honestly, I do want to make another version of these.  While I love this floral print and the drapey rayon, the floral masks the bias-cut design lines of the pattern, and I still say the ideal print for this pattern is a bold, directional stripe or plaid.  The search for the perfect fabric is on…  🙂

Construction Notes
Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - front detail Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - fly and poket

Installing the fly zipper in this shifty rayon was a challenge.  I used strips of fusible interfacing along both edges of the fly, which helped keep the zipper from rippling and helped strengthen the rayon along the seamlines.  The waistband facing is folded under and topstitched from the right side.  Can you spot the button loop?  I really like this feature and plan to incorporate it into more of my garments.  It’s just a little fancier than a buttonhole.

Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - belt loops

Belt loops!  The loops are sandwiched between the waistband and facing at the top, and folded under and topstitched on the bottom.  I’m not sure I’d actually wear a belt with these shorts, but I think the belt loops give the garment a more finished look.Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - inside view Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - seams on leg

The hems are simply serged, folded up once, and topstitched in place.  Almost all of the interior seams are sewn on my regular machine and finished with the serger.  There’s a funky 3-way intersection on each leg – can you see it above?  Here’s a close-up:
Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - 3-way intersection

I’m not sure how you’re supposed to handle this, but I don’t think I did it right.  I had to cut the seam allowance almost all the way to the intersection to get the outside to lay (relatively) flat, and I reinforced the seam in that area to prevent the snip from migrating any further.  Maybe the tension would have been avoided if I had pressed the seams open?  I don’t like doing this though, as all your careful pressing vanishes as soon as the garment hits the wash.  Something to think about for next time.

My experience wearing the shorts in publicSarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - full outfit 1

Here’s how I styled the shorts for their public debut.  I wore them with a RTW blue tank top and my Oxford and Liberty Archer.  Putting together an outfit around these shorts was a bit of a head-scratcher, but I’m pretty happy with the finished look.

I purposely picked a day when I knew I had a few errands to run to maximize the exposure of the shorts.  🙂  I walked my usual 1-mile commute to work along the city streets, went to a doctor’s appointment, bought lunch at the cafeteria, made a quick trip to the fabric store, and walked back home, not to mention my usual walking around inside the building at work.  So, lots of people saw me in this outfit!

Here’s how it went:

  • Comments or strange looks from people on the street: none.
  • Comments/looks from people on campus or at the doctor’s office: none.
  • Comments/looks from my boyfriend when I got home: none.
  • Comments from the women at the fabric store: cheers all around.

Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon - full outfit 2

And here are my conclusions from this little experiment:

  • No one cares what I’m wearing.
  • Therefore, I should wear whatever I want.

Seems simple, but I was actually quite surprised by this!  I think we get so caught up in our own heads that it’s easy to forget that what we wear on a daily basis probably has absolutely zero impact on anyone but ourselves.  And even if people are making silent judgments about our clothing choices in their heads, who the hell cares??

Let this be a lesson to us all to express ourselves freely and enthusiastically through our clothing without regard for what anyone else might have to say about it.  One of the many joys of sewing is having complete freedom to create garments exactly to our preferences and to create unique pieces that make us feel cheerful and confident.  Embrace this!

I loved sewing these shorts, I loved wearing these shorts, and damn it, I want another pair.  #Diapershorts forever!!

Have you sewn/worn a funky garment that made you feel awesome?  Do tell!

45 thoughts on “Sarrouel Trousers in floral rayon

  1. Well look at you! I think they are quite fabulous after all. Noticed the button loop, and yes it does give a nice finished look. Enjoyed the story, and your conclusion: no one cares, wear what you want. As for funky, not really – but I did make up some really wild prints while I was sewing in the 60’s and 70’s.

    • Thanks! I can imagine all the fabulous prints that were popular back then. I love the bold geometric prints from the 60s in particular. And I agree that the shorts are quite fabulous, even if we are in the minority there. 🙂

  2. I’m glad you’re wearing something you really like! I must say, I like this pair better then the other pair….the fabric really looks good in that kind of pant style.

    • Thanks Abigail! Switching fabrics had such a huge effect on the finished garment. I had never worn a pair of rayon pants before, regardless of the cut, and I must say, they are incredibly comfortable!

  3. I’ve made some really crazy things in my sewing days. I made a lot of my clothes in high school (I already told you about my awesome MC Hammer harem pants) and I remember sewing a few Laura Ashley rompers that I was in love with. They were puffy sleeved and really baggy– not the sleek jumpsuit styles of today. I think your shorts look so much different in rayon. I like how they drape more and I know these will be super comfortable in hot temps. I can’t wait to see if you find a good stripe or plaid and make them again!

    • Oh my gosh, they are so comfortable! I wore them to work yesterday (it was pretty hot and muggy here), and I was amazed at how cool and airy the rayon was. I remember when Laura Ashley was super popular – I coveted those floral bedspreads and curtains when I was younger. I can only imagine the huge rompers, LOL!

    • Thanks Chris! I bet you’re right, although I can’t quite wrap my head around how to lengthen them to full length. The pattern pieces are kind of a puzzle! That would be a cool look for spring/fall though.

  4. Indeed, who the hell cares! I already told you how absolutely hideous I find these trousers, but they are meant to work for you, not for anyone else. I reckon they look better in this length and made of drapier fabric. I’d be curious to see what other stylings you come up with!

    • Hahaha, thanks Vaire! What a great comment. 🙂 To be honest, I’m not convinced that I can pull off this look, but like I said, who cares! Styling the shorts is a bit of a challenge, and so far I’ve worn them twice in the exact same outfit. It’s a head-scratcher…

  5. I like your conclusions. Was it Eleanor Roosevelt who said something along the lines of–no one is looking at you as much as you think they are? That’s what I always remind myself of when I’m not sure if I can wear a particular thing. Anyway, good experiment. Way to go on making the pants, and I love the fabric.

    • Thanks Lisa. I love that quote – so true! If I don’t notice or care what anyone else is wearing, why would anyone care about my clothing choices? Often I can’t even remember what my officemate was wearing after spending the entire day with her.

  6. I’m really pleased that you had a positive experience wearing these out and that you’re up for making more – like you said, who cares what you are wearing if you are happy with them? If you continue as normal and are confident in what you’re wearing no one notices. I like these a lot more than your original version.

    • Thanks Claire, very true. It was fun to wear something different and have fun with my outfit for a change. It’s cold for so much of the year here that I can really only experiment with clothing for a few short months… might as well enjoy it, right? 🙂

  7. Now, these are much better and I agree that if you make another pair with more volume it would look even better. Couldn’t agree more with your conclusion, I don’t care what other people wear so why the others would care of what I wear?

    • Exactly, well said! I never notice or care what anyone else is wearing, and I don’t know why I thought anyone would care about what I wear. I need to get over myself, LOL. 🙂 More volume is definitely an intriguing possibility… I need to find the perfect fabric!

  8. I love your conclusion! Nobody cares what you’re wearing… so true! I tend to get caught up over-analyzing my clothing/shoes/hair and yet I really don’t give much thought to how other people I encounter look. I think the drape of the fabric makes a huge difference, so yes–this is an improvement! Still not on board with the style, but maybe even a full length pant would be better? Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Lisa, very well said! I’m definitely intrigued by the idea of making these shorts into full-length pants, but I think altering the bias-cut pattern pieces would be tricky (although certainly not impossible). Food for thought. 🙂

  9. Your conclusion is the absolute best! I can’t say I love them, but then I’m quite sure that what I love to wear (or experiment with) isn’t loved by all either, so who cares! I still think you should keep this pattern. I’m convinced the long version will be in your future. And the drape on this fabric definitely makes them more wearable.

    • Thanks Debbie! There have been quite a few comments about turning these into full-length pants – you have me intrigued! I really admire your unique style and am still figuring out my own. It’s fun to experiment because you never know what you might wind up liking. 🙂

  10. I was one of the naysayers but this pair is Fabulous! I love them in this drapey floral! Really gorgeous! And I totally agree-you should wear whatever you want. If you feel good you look good no matter what your wearing 🙂

    • Thanks Rebecca, I can’t believe you came around on these, LOL! And well said about feeling good and looking good. You have a really well-defined (and beautiful!) style that works for your lifestyle, and I’m still trying to find a balance between style and function in my clothing. In the summer I have a bit more freedom to experiment since I don’t have to worry about keeping warm!

  11. I love these! They look so airy and comfy. This style definitely looks best in a drapey fabric, and I can’t wait to see more pairs, especially in stripes. I love your conclusions. So liberating! That’s going to be my new mantra 🙂

    • Haha, thanks Chantal! Wearing rayon pants is extremely comfortable and liberating – who knew?? They’re really great for hot and humid weather. I’m officially on the lookout for the perfect plaid/stripe now… keep your eyes peeled for me. 🙂

  12. These pants are still not my thing but I love your conclusions! When I moved to a big city (Chicago) 6 years ago, I realized that there’s always something more interesting than me to look at, so I shouldn’t stress about what I’m wearing. I stopped stressing, and my life has been better. Three cheers for wearing whatever we want!

    • Thanks Gina, very well said! You’re exactly right – crowded city streets are filled with interesting sights and distractions… why would anyone be looking at my outfit?? It’s liberating to let go of your inhibitions once in a while. I have to work on doing this more. 🙂 I’ve never been to Chicago (except the airport) but hear it’s an amazing city. Hope to visit one day!

  13. These are amazing, so glad you went ahead and made a pair “for real”! The rayon (viscose?) drapes beautifully and definitely reduced the diaperbutt effect. I really do plan on a pair for daughter no1, but have a prom dress for daughter no2 to get done first! I’mpleased with the result of your other experiment, wear whatever you want! YEAH!

    • Thanks Anne! I believe rayon and viscose are interchangeable terms… someone please correct me if I’m wrong! I really do hope you make a pair, and best of luck with that prom dress! I can’t imagine making one from scratch. Your daughters are lucky to have you. 🙂

  14. I made a jumpsuit once. A sleeveless boxy dropped waist bodice with big pants that were pleated at the waist and ankles. I made them in bright red heavy cord. Really comfy and cosy with a long sleeved top underneath. Somewhat clownish look was aided by the gist white buttons on the bodice and white grossjean ribbon on the patch pockets and ankle cuffs. I wore it a lot for a few months then never did again!
    Like you I was mid-twenties at the time and the realisation that no one actually cared what I wore was a revelation.

    • Haha, great story! I am picturing that very unique jumpsuit right now. 🙂 I am a solid 10 years past my mid-20s but will take it as a compliment. 🙂 And yes, it’s a great feeling to wear what you want and feel good about it!

  15. I love them in the drapey fabric – they look super cool and really practical for running around on a sunny day! Stripes would be awesome – really bold black and white!? Way way back I made an incredibly short skirt – it kept shrinking and I just pulled it down to a reasonable length and wore it to death!


    • Haha, a short skirt that keeps shrinking! Sounds like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. 🙂 Thanks for your comments on the shorts – they are indeed very cool and comfortable for walking around!

  16. Your conclusion is a valuable lesson indeed, and sadly, one that is too easily forgotten–thanks for the reminder! =) I am so glad you made these again; I really was hoping you would! You are right that the bias effect is lost in the floral and that a stripe would really show that feature off, but these look really great (and comfortable). And that button tab is brilliant! I may have to make a note of that for my own future projects, because it is so sharp!

    • Thanks Mads! The button tab is such a fun detail. It’s so simple to make but results in such a nice finish. I’m surprised more patters don’t incorporate them. That’s one of the things I really like about this pattern book: all the patterns incorporate some nice details and are very professionally finished. Thanks for your comments – I’m glad you like my crazy shorts!

  17. These look so great.
    I’m not surprised you didn’t get any strong reactions to your trousers; after all they’re pretty tame compared to what some people wear 🙂
    It reads like there were a few challenges making these and that’s such a big part of developing sewing skills. I hope you make more!
    I’m going to have to get on the reason train when it heats up here again 🙂

      • Haha, thanks Vanessa! I think once you get on the rayon train, you never get off. 🙂 You’re right – this was a challenging project due to the extreme shiftiness and slipperiness of the rayon in combination with so many bias-cut pieces that easily stretched out. It was a fun challenge though, both in terms of the fabric and unusual pattern. Looking forward to seeing what stops you make on the rayon train, LOL!

  18. How did I miss this post??? Love it! The sewing bits, the outfit styling, and your conclusions. Winning!!! And these shorts are amazing. They look great in the floral print–now I’m going to check out your post on the plaid version.

    • Thanks so much, Ebi! The best part of sewing and wearing these shorts was realizing that absolutely no one cares how strange they look. Thankfully, the citizens of Cambridge have better things to do than worry about my wardrobe, LOL! 🙂

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