Viki Sews Adelina + VBC Covertcoat: all my pants dreams come true

Last summer I started drafting a pants pattern to embody all my Neapolitan style dreams: think inseam pockets, loose but not too loose silhouette, two pleats, cuffed hem, high waist. Blogs such as Die, Workwear! only enabled this obsession, which unfortunately I had to put in the back burner due to having to do other pesky things such as…uhm…finish a PhD and stuff. In particular, I wanted to sew something which would be versatile enough as a pattern to work for as odd trousers (aka trousers that don’t have a matching jacket) and in a suit. This is not obvious, as not all shapes go with my now TnT single breasted blazer patter.

A couple of months ago, however, I came across the Viki Sews Adelina. Viki Sews is a trend-based Russian pattern company which is now starting to release patterns in English too. I’ve made several of their patterns and I have to say they are very high quality, with clear photographs (so no Russian required, though one issue is that the PDFs come with no selectable text so copy-pasting for translation is not an option). Each pattern also comes with a booklet explaining fit alterations. The Adelina really struck me as they had all the components I was looking for an for the equivalent of 220 yen…I mean…

I liked this pattern so much I made it three times already, twice as part of suits, and now as odd trousers as well.

The Fabric

Since these were going to be odd trousers, I wanted a mid to dark grey. This is because in principle trousers should be lighter than the jacket – though I’ve broken this tenet so. many. times. In addition I was also envisioning a mid to warmish season pant, in particular worn with a black stand collar shirt. Enter Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC) covert cloth! VBC is an historic wool mill from the Biella region, just like Zegna, making sublime quality wools. Their offer is extensive, and I picked this particular fabric out of FOMO, meaning Husband-san got a suit made in this fabric and I immediately decided I needed it too. If you have never heard of covert cloth, The Gentleman’s Gazette (ugh, this name) has a great post on it here.

According to the VBC’s website,

Covert is a worsted batavia weave, of winter weight, clear-cut and compact. It is easily recognisable because of its clearly visible ribbing, steep diagonals and marbled effect. This latter is due to the jaspé warp, or it could also be mouliné, which gives it a lively, rustic appearance. The country character makes it similar to cavalry twill, but it is easily distinguished by its chromatic effect and single, not double, diagonal. Covert is suitable for trousers and jackets ranging from sport to informal. Olive greens, browns, ginger or grey, whatever the colour, in a Covert, it is always speckled.

As I say, the more you know!

This Covert is crisp, has a bit of natural stretch, and the raised ridged give it great surface texture. It’s a hard wearing fabric, and I can confidently say it’s the closest wool can get to denim.

The Pattern

The Adelina pants are loose through the hips thanks to the double pleats, have a straight silhouette but taper quite significantly at the hem. They have inseam pockets, and a proper zipper with facing to boot. Of course, you know by now I can’t leave a pattern alone so I made extensive modifications while not altering the general vibe and shape of the pattern.

Given the nature of the fabric I used, which is very crisp, mid weight, and drapes straight, I could have reduced the taper, but I actually quite like this vintage feel. Because of the built-in ease of the pattern, I selected a seize 36 in the second height group (for reference, my measurements are B86|W61|H91 – 170 cm or B34″|W24″|H36″ – 5’6″).

Now, onto the mods I’ve made and why:

  • Changed the pleats from forward (opening facing the center) to reverse, because I think it looks better on me.
  • Inverted the direction of the zipper because I’m right handed.
  • Changed the pleated size to 6 cm for the inner pleat and 4 cm for the outer pleater, and stitched them down.
  • Changed the massive back dart into two smaller darts, which is better for my perky peach.
  • Added a tiny welt™ in the right back for my tiny handkerchiefs. It’s really tiny, look at it below!
  • Completely remade the pockets shapes (see pictures below for more details). The pattern comes with Lilliputian curved pockets, which of course are to small to fit my hand let alone my phone, plus they would tend to flap around since they are not secured anywhere besides the pocket opening. One way to solve this conundrum would be to add stays. However, I’m not a huge fan of pocket stays, though I appreciate the “keeping pockets in place forevah” aspect. I also love large pockets so I generally draft my pockets to basically occupy the entirety of the fronts (I construct them very simply by folding a rectangle), and secure them on the waistband. This easy the pockets are actually larger than what the pattern calls for, and there’s no need of a stay. Problem solved. In addition to this, I completely changed how the pockets are attached to the pant body, but using the method described by David Page Coffin. I guess…tutorial?
  • Made the waistband in two pieces with dovetail (which helps when wearing suspenders) and added a proper facing to it (so basically it’s now a 4 piece waistband instead of the copout single rectangle folded over). I also made the waistband way taller, at 5 cm, because I like a tall waistband. I always interface my waistband with petersham ribbon, ideally silk, more commonly cotton. This gives body and structure to the band without compromising comfort, prevents the waistband from wrinkling, and you can fold you seam allowance precisely on it.
  • Extended the waistband on the inside to merge with the fly facing.
  • Modified the way the zipper is inserted (hard to explain, but I promise I’ll make a tutorial one day).
  • Added a hem facing.
  • Added hem cuffs because I like them and the added weight helps pull the pants down for a sharper silhouette.
  • Omitted the belt loops because I hate belts.
  • Added suspenders buttons because I like suspenders. This allows more room in the waistband for a proper meal (not to mention natural day-to-day fluctuation in belly size).

That’s it I think.

The Takeaway

Overall I love this pattern to fabric combo: I dig the vintage vibes it gives, and the fabric is indestructible. This style is more casual than, say, a worsted, but given how causal my office is I can totally just wear what I’m wearing in these photos and call it a day – maybe with a crisp cotton shirt instead of one in silk noil (this btw is my beloved Cornell Shirt). Because of my extensive modifications which required the drafting of new pieces, it took me 8-10 hours to make the pattern, not counting cutting but factoring in also the hand sewing I did. In addition to the main fabric, my other notions included 1 m of bemberg lining, what the Japanese call スレキ (sureki, “sleek”, a fine silky cotton used for pockets linings for example) which I used for the waistband facing and pockets, petersham ribbon, plus the usual zipper, buttons, and hooks. I did not even glance at the instructions, so I cannot say if they are insightful or not, but I did notice many photos and illustrations, which is generally a good sign. In the future I may try to slim down the waist and hip area slightly, though this is going to be an interesting challenge because inseam pockets, no matter what, are bound to open slightly, so slimming down the pattern while avoiding the pockets opening so much they look like dog’s ears is something I’ll have to think about.

That’s all for today!

Cheers,

E

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