Thoughts Over Trousers

How a conversation with myself about pocket placement turned into a conversation about bulk and anime silhouettes (and eventually omitting all pockets).

 Stitching Grell together has been an interesting experience, because about half of the costume has lined up more or less with my university costuming courses. Particularly for the trousers, I’m sewing them together at pretty much the exact same time that I’m also making 19th century men’s trousers for my tailoring course.

 Because things like this just plain happen, there are multiple differences between what we’ve been doing in my tailoring course than what goes on with the Laughing Moon Mercantile California Pants pattern. The big three are: 1) flatlining, 2) pocket placement, and 3) fly closures.

 I had already decided to go against flatlining because I was working with a modern blend meant for easy care, not a woolen, and flatlining would have created some interestingly unnecessary bulk in the leg. And if there’s something that’s never present in Kuroshitsuji silhouettes, it’s bulk. But when I went through the historical context reading in the beginning of the California Pants and realized that there was a reason why the pockets were so different from what we had discussed in tailoring.

 Namely, the California Pants were designed for someone who does far more than Grell Sutcliffe, so the pockets placed at the side seams as learned in my tailoring class would have been more appropriate for Grell.

 (Side seam pockets also would have been much easier. I can do one with facings and French seams in an hour, which sounds like a long time until you’ve installed vest waist pockets with welts.)

 Even those aren’t without bulk, and as someone who’s been trained to use either a purse or pants pockets, those pockets would have been where my ID, phone, and everything else would have gone. But there’s a problem with that.

 When I’m doing my thing at a convention and someone asks me to take my picture, I’m not thinking about the stuff I have in my pockets and how much bulk that creates in a photo. I’m wondering where mamaesme/the next panel/lunch is located, and then I’m wondering if foreshortening will make me look like I’m cutting my arm off with my own prop.

 And then there’s the issue of Grell being a tall(er), incredibly skinny man, and myself being a petite lady with a body much more similar to Kuja, who has a butt. Even if I remembered to keep those pockets empty, there’s still the bulk of a pocket bag. It’s negligible, I know, but with Kuroshitsuji’s X/1999-esque silhouette of pretty men with longer legs than a Barbie doll, I need all the help I can get.

 So in the end, my trousers for Grell ended up without pockets. I’m going to go back to zigstitching all of these raw edges for another fifty years.

Much love,


 (And about the fly closure, because I know everyone’s really curious about that. I went with button closures as described in the California Pants pattern, because I somehow find that measurably more teasingly scandalous than a zipper closure. That, and 1888’s a little early for zippers if I’m not sewing these for theatrical purposes, in which a zipper would make costume changes go much, much faster.)


About greyrondo

My name is greyrondo. I've been a cosplayer since Fall 2006, and I've noticed that the best conversations I have with cosplayers usually involve the question, 'so how DID you do that?' So after studying costuming and making a closet's worth of costumes, that's what I'd like to help answer. Drop in and stay awhile whether you're a cosplayer or just a curious spectator; one of my musings is bound to be what you're looking for. If you have a question or something to say, leave a comment or contact me! I don't bite, I promise. View all posts by greyrondo

5 responses to “Thoughts Over Trousers

  • DugFinn

    Honestly, I become both awestruck and gloriously happy when I discover that I’m not the only fool that has serious discussions about the pros/cons of simple clothing embellishments (like trouser pockets) with themselves in the pursue of the perfect cosplay outfit. You make me happy. Good luck with finishing Grell!

    • greyrondo

      Cosplay is something similar but different from real life clothing, so I think it’s important to at least consider these questions. I’d totally put the pockets in if they had visible style lines, no two ways about it. But trousers at the time and for occupations that dressed like Grell do had pockets in the side seams, and now that I’ve finished the trousers, I’m glad I left them out! And thank you so much ^^

  • bairdduvessa

    how are buttons scandalous?

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