Featuring: Cotton Lyocell Drill from Maai Design
Getting more experience with sewing trousers has been high on this year’s agenda so when Maai Design contacted me about their Cotton Lyocell Drill, I took it as a sign and jumped in. I received a beautiful package from Maaike, with all it’s personal touches. When I opened the package and felt the fabric for the first time, I was surprised at how soft the Cotton Lyocell Drill felt. Drill is usually a lot coarser and associated with workmen’s clothes, but with the blend of Cotton and Lyocell, it’s still really strong but has a softer feel. It also felt a bit more lightweight than the usual full cotton drill. Back when I had just started sewing, buying fabric online was quite overwhelming. Maai Design has a very easy website and best of all, there are YouTube videos accompanying each type of fabric. You can find out more about the Cotton Lyocell Drill here.
Feeling how lightweight this Cotton Lyocell Drill was, I was tempted to make another Kalle Shirtdress or Pietra Wide Leg Pants, but I had the Palisade Pants from Papercut patterns in my stash. I was excited to try sewing those unique pockets and I wanted the challenge of a closer fitting pair of trousers.
The first step in any sew is to wash the fabric. Being made of natural fibre, I made sure it was washed and dried on a cooler cycle. There wasn’t any obvious shrinkage or any loss of this beautiful pale mint blue colour. I love the colour-ways of the Cotton Lyocell Drill in the Maai Design collection! There are nine altogether and it was very hard choosing but I think this mint blue is great for the summer.
When it was time to cut, I made sure that all my pattern pieces were running the same way, paying close attention to the grainline because drill has a diagonal weave. Drill has a smoother side and a side where you can see the diagonal weave more obviously. Most people would consider the smoother side the wrong side of the fabric, so I just put a pin on the wrong side to make sure that I didn’t accidentally mix this up! Cutting the Cotton Lyocell Drill is very beginner friendly. It doesn’t shift like rayon, and it doesn’t fray like double gauze. I would say, it’s a great fabric for beginners.
At the sewing machine, I just made sure my machine had a 90/14 needle in situ. I then checked to see that I was using a stitch length of 2.5mm. The next thing to note is that the seams of the Palisade Pants are sewn at 1cm not the usual 5/8 inch. Once all the various interfacing pieces were attached, I started to put together the pocket pieces. I found that the fabric was a bit bulky once each of the pocket bag pieces were layered so it was better to use these quilters clips. (They’re also handy for delicate fabric where you don’t want to pierce the fabric). Piecing together the pocket requires a lot of accuracy so I ironed at each stage to get crisp lines.
Once I worked out the pocket bags and how to attach that to the side leg panel, the rest came together quite quickly. I attached the back panel piece and then the back waistband. This part had me a bit worried because I didn’t know if the Cotton Lyocell Drill would tolerate the partly elasticised waistband. I was afraid it would have that puffed up look that some lounge pants have with elasticated waists, but to my relief, because it has a little bit of drape, the fabric sat flush when the elastic was inserted. The rest of the sew went smoothly, and as usual, papercut pattern instructions were great to follow.
Some sizing notes, I made the size 5 to fit my 33-inch waist and 38-inch hips. When I first pulled on the Palisade Pants, I noticed that I was getting a few horizontal folds in the front and some bagging out along the front panel. I’m a real novice when it comes to pant fitting, but it was curious because I had toiled this before making. (Apologies for not taking photos of these fitting issues).
I was using thrifted fabric for my toile so there were two factors I forgot to take into account. Firstly, there is no stretch in the Cotton Lyocell Drill. Secondly, in my toile, I did not make up the full pocket bags which probably took up more of the ease leaving me with not enough ease around my hips. To adjust the fit, it was an easy case of letting some of the seam out at the hips. The flaring at the front was also simply solved. I realised when I looked closer at the pictures on the pattern that the length of the trousers was slightly cropped at the ankle. So, I removed an inch and a half from the bottom of the hem which made it sit better.
Overall, sewing with the Cotton Lyocell Drill was an eye opener. Maai Design has stocked it in a beautiful array of fun colours. It’s a finer quality drill which is lighter weight than normal drill and it has a softer feel which is great against the skin. My Palisade Pants will be getting a lot of wear in summer! It’s soft and breathable and doesn’t wrinkle as easily as linen.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Full Disclosure: The Cotton Lyocell Drill fabric was kindly gifted to me in exchange for posts on Instagram and a blog post however all opinions expressed are my own.