It all started with a childhood infatuation with Lauren Bacall and yada yada yada, many years later I finally wound up with a very lovely pair of avocado dyed linen trousers that I’m sure Mrs. Bacall would have gladly worn on set or vacation.
I started with a little more than two yards of FS BLEACHED Heavyweight linen, 10 avocados and some soy milk. I am by no means experienced in natural dyeing fabrics, but I would encourage anyone to give it a try. You learn as you go and it seems that no matter how careful and experienced you are you get lovely variations and quirks that can only come from the mystique of nature. If you google it you’ll find plenty of recipes and tutorials to follow (editor’s note: Or you can opt in to read and test the extensive number of posts by the wonderful natural dye guru Kathryn Davey). I opted to use soy milk as mordant, mostly because that’s what I had on hand. After one long hot overnight bath in my vat using 10 avocado pits and skins I decided I wanted the pink shade a bit deeper, so I force fed my family buckets of guacamole to gain 10 more skins and pits. After simmering the extra dye material in my original dye liquid, I added my fabric back in for a second long, hot overnight bath and got a saturation I was happy with. After a final wash and dry, fabric was ready and time to tackle the SARA pattern.
After such a great dye success I became bold and courageously cut into my printed pattern going for a size 8/10. Luckily, I had the sense to toile before cutting into my dyed fabric and discovered that although the toile fit well, it was a little snug for the intended 1940’s Baccal silhouette I was dreaming of. I let out the outer side seams about 1/4 inch and took in the back darts a bit which made just the right amount of difference. In my perfect world, I would have been able to go back to my paper pattern and size up to a 12/14 and keep an 8/10 waistband, which is what I may do in the future if I gather the gumption to print it all again. I found the directions and construction clear and easy to follow. I learned a new way to construct a zipper fly and wound up sewing the most flawless zipper fly of my sewing life. The belt loops were also constructed in a cleaner way than other patterns I have sewn before, so these pants taught me a number of tricks I will be using in the future. As a last little adjustment, I took the back seam between 1/8th-1/4th of an inch in for a more snug fit on the derriere.
I’ll be wearing my SARA’s to work, the park with my kids, on weekend library trips, grocery shopping, brisk fall walks and dressed up with a heel silk tank and a pop lip. They are classic, versatile, extremely wearable, and a well constructed sew.
I hope to see more #SaraPleatedPants in circulation, there are so many clever ways to style them!