Sunday, 13 March 2011

Trousers that Fit



'Trousers that Fit' is the name of the class I've been attending at Oh Sew Brixton for the past four Wednesday evenings (well, three, as I missed one when I was poorly). Remember my ill-fated attempt at pedal pushers? That's when I realised that fitting trousers involves intricate work and intimate measurements, and that I needed to invest proper time in planning before trying again. So this course has been just the ticket.


The tutor took about 20 measurements from each of us - the standard ones and then some dimensions I never knew existed (I now know my, ahem, crotch length for instance). She entered the figures into her computer using Bernina's 'My Label' programme and printed out bespoke patterns for each of us. We made these up in calico to test the fitting. Some people's fitted perfectly. Mine turned out quite baggy so needed tweaking at the side seams and the hem, but nothing too complicated.


It's been lovely stitching in the company of other ladies (one of whom reads my blog - hello Susan!). It's also been great having a knowledgeable tutor to help out with the trickier aspects of trousers, such as constructing the flies.


I'm now making them up in a dark grey poly-wool blend I got for £2/metre at Walthamstow market - nothing expensive for my first try! The pattern style wouldn't be my first choice either - low-ish waisted flares with flap pockets - but my main concern at the moment is getting the fit right at my hips. Now that's done, I can adapt the pattern or transfer the lines onto a more interesting style in future. One of the teachers talked us through ideas for adapting the basic pattern, including adding ease, extra darts or box pleats, and trying out different styles such as tapered or culottes. She was so inspiring, urging us all to play around and experiment to find interesting styles and the fit that we like.

I like Vogue 8604 as made by Stitchywitch and Simplicity 2654 as modelled by this lady. Do you have a favourite trouser pattern you could recommend?

[Soundtrack: 'All the King's Men' by Wild Beasts]

20 comments:

  1. Ooh, trousers are way beyond me right now, but yours are quite inspiring!

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  2. Ooh Tilly they're a great fit, what a fantastic sounding course. I like both styles you've recommended, but especially the second one. In fact, I liked them so much I've just bought the pattern (as Victor Kiam might say). x

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  3. My first reaction as the picture loaded was what great trousers! They might be a very modern design but they fit so well. I'm very impressed. As you say once you have a proven basic pattern the world is your oyster and you can design your own. Great job

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  4. These are so nice!! It's such a great idea for a workshop, I can never find perfectly fitting trousers, and I don't know anyone else who can either.
    From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

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  5. Trousers are definitely something I am going to tackle "properly" having seen the Cupcake Goddess's sew along, & now your customising success. I have made the same trouser pattern (out of print New Look 6190)with one success & one big'n' baggy (now waiting for me in my "needs attention" pile. Consequently I wear skirts most of the time now! It seems it's definitely worth the effort. How exciting!!

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  6. That seems like such a nice way to spend your Wednesday evenings, I´d love to attend some sort of sewing course, but I work at evenings so it´s hard to fit in my schedule.

    Your trousers are looking great - I like the style. My favorite trousers patterns are the same Vogue 8604, super easy to make, and I didn´t need to do any adjustments to the pattern, other favorites are a couple from Burda Magazine. Their measurements seem to fit my body well, and I don´t need to do much with the patterns, except the usual for me, adding to the length of the legs.

    Good luck on your trouser sewing!

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  7. Given my recent post about wanting to sew trousers, I'm so excited to read this! Well, also scared that multiple measurements, intricate fittings, and difficult stitchings are needed. But, hey, I figured that. People commented on my blog that Burda patterns fit so well, so I ordered the March Burda and I'm going to attempt a Burda pair. We'll see how they turn out. Can't wait to see yours!

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  8. Nice! That is one of my goals for this year, to make trousers that fit. I wish there were good sewing classes in my town. I have only found classes about quilting thus far. I can't wait to see the finished product!

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  9. How exciting! I imagine once you have a basic pants pattern, all that work will pay off for years and years. Looking forward to seeing your finished object!

    I'm in the process of drafting my own right now, but there's been problems with the pattern. I can't wait til I can get a proper pair. I also have Jessica's vogue pattern (love her version!), but the one I'm trying to draft (and that I think I'll get the most use out of) is a slim fitting pant that ends at the ankle. A bit contemporary, a bit retro, a pain to fit ;)

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  10. Tilly! Your trousers are brilliant!! The fit is fantastic and the style is so great for you!! Can't wait to see them all finished and modelled.

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  11. Great fitting trousers!!! Your course sounds absolutely brilliant...must look out for one up here ;o) I'm a little bit smitten with Vogue 8604 you posted about!

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  12. That sounds like a great course! The finished trousers will be great - I can't wait to see them!
    I definitely need to overcome my fear of trousers at some point, so far only managed rather baggy pjs!

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  13. nice, that's really something great to get a good fit on pants, hooray for you. I have always wanted to made a pair of red pants, This inspires me to try working with pants again.

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  14. I used Cal Patch's book to make my trousers. http://bombardone.com/sewingprincess/category/pants/
    I am meant to make a third pair, but still haven't found enough time.

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  15. Hi Tilly,

    These trousers are so nice. What does one do with the "muslin" when it's done? (I'm sort of a beginner) I've always wanted to ask but felt it was a stupid question. I've never tried to do a muslin before. I did however (proves that ignorance is bliss) sewn trousers in corduroy and remarkably they came out fine,who knew ? I'm going to try out the burda easy #8488 sailor style pant next. I'm lovin' the ones you've made. They look awesome,and fit nicely.
    Best,
    Elise

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  16. Very nice! I find trousers to be very difficult, but yours look great!

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  17. Hey! Thanks for the link to my Simplicity pants. :)
    It is a nice pattern, I definitly would recommend it. I didn't do any alterations to them actually except let the hips out a tiny bit.
    Super easy to sew up and I get compliments on the style whenever I wear them.

    Your muslin pants in this post are looking great! What a neat course.

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  18. For trousers, Burda. Hands down, Burda. Burda Burda Burda. I can't say this enough.

    Open up any old Burda magazine, and try whichever ones strike your fancy. Burda's crotch curve fits SO many sewers better than all the other brands, it's unreal.

    (PS: Burda.)

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  19. I have just constructed my first pants sloper, using Il Modellismo italian method and even though the measurements I took, would work in a corresponding commercial pattern as a rule, my sloper turned out to be very baggy indeed ( just like yours). No drafting method is perfect especially if you don't have a standard figure, but I have to say that those programs where you enter your measurements and they give you a pattern can be a hit or miss for some people. I had a bad experience with Pattern Master Boutique, that completely put me off that kind of software. They are using formulas after all, that might just not work for you.
    I know drafting your own is a painful experience at the start, but it seems to be a great way to have a basic sloper to adjust even commercial patterns for the best fit.

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