Perfect Pants
I gave up making trousers or shorts for myself quite a few years ago now because even though I can buy trousers or jeans off the rack rather easily, making them from a pattern was altogether another option. For some reason every pattern I tried did not fit how I liked and I am a very picky pants wearer. So after seeing some great results in other blogs my interest was renewed. I bought the above Vogue pattern a few weeks ago and finally decided to make a trial pair or a muslin as it seems to be called in blog land. I measured myself and decided I needed to make a size 16 based on my measurements but because I am usually between an 8-10 in store bought clothes and the size 16 pieces looked massive for my small frame I came to the conclusion that I would cut the pattern to a size 14. I had some cotton duck in my stash that would make a perfect muslin so began cutting. I was very careful to keep the seam allowances to the required 1.5cm and even went to the trouble of putting in the zip perfectly and stitching on the pockets. The one thing I really detest about making trousers is fitting them on myself. Tops and dresses are easy now that I have my dress form but unfortunately trousers still have to be fitted to the real thing. When I tried the final product on, I discovered that they were massive. No amount of running in would make them fit correctly. I would need to take at least 4cm off each side and they sat at my waistline without the large waistband. I could actually take the pants off without undoing the zip....not a good sign! Since the smallest size my pattern came in was a size 12 I whipped the zip out of my fail muslin and set about creating a smaller one in size 12. This time I reduced the rise at the front by 3cm and increased the rise at the back by 3cm. Because I have a sway back I had to allow for this as well. Now I was getting somewhere! But for close fitting pants they were still quite loose in the seat so I needed to run in the inner leg as well by quite a bit. This time around, I wasn't fussy with my zip, and didn't bother overlocking the seams...afterall when complete I will unpull them and use them for a pattern for my final pants. The original fit of my second muslin would have made fantastic shorts but because the object of this exercise is to make some close fitting cargo pants or jeans they needed to be a snug fit everywhere. Finally I ended up with a fit that is not only comfortable but looks good as well. The next step is to go to my local newspaper office and buy a reel end of paper to draft up my final pattern and to buy the perfect fabric.


  1. The quest for the perfect fit; an everlasting affair! Good luck with that! I confess I've never made a muslin for pants. I measure up myself and the pattern pieces prior to cutting, and fit to myself all throughout the process, and so far not had any problems. It does mean lots of pinning and trying on, and during winter that is not very enjoyable, but once you have worked out your perfect pattern it all becomes worth it!
    Can I suggest that very thin plastic tableclothing, the sort that comes on a 25m roll (available at a store called Spotlight here) as a superior alternative to tracing paper? See-through, and a lot tougher than paper...


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