Summer is here and we’re pining to get our Marigold trousers and jumpsuits off the pattern paper and into the park!
It’s Vanessa here today to share some simple trouser pattern alterations to help you get a bespoke fit. While trousers have a reputation for being difficult to fit to different figures, thankfully Marigold’s casual, breezy style makes them easier than most. Hooray! The following alterations are by no means necessary - you may need no alterations at all, or just one or two tweaks. But if something’s not quite working with your first pair, it might be worth working through this post and see if any of it could apply to you.
Today we’re going to cover how to:
- Combining sizes
- Lengthen or shorten the trousers
- Adjust the crotch depth of the trousers - this is a good one if, for example, you want to wear the waistband lower down your hips but don't want the crotch to hang low
- Fixing fabric pooling or adding volume for a full booty
If you’re making the jumpsuit version, stay tuned – the next post will cover bodice fitting too...
Choosing your size
Using a flexible tape measure find the circumference of your waist and hips, by which we mean:
• Waist – the point at which you bend to the side
• Hips – the fullest part of your hips - it helps to turn to the side and look in a mirror to see where this is, and to check the tape is sitting level to the floor.
Circle your waist and hip measurement on the ‘Body Measurements’ chart in the pattern instructions. If a measurement falls in between two sizes (for example, if your hips are 38in rather than 37in or 39in), it’s nearly always better to choose the larger size. It’s easier to take the side seams in if they're too big than to let them out if they're too small.
If your waist and hip measurements fall into one size, then that's the size you should sew. Refer to the key on the pattern sheets that shows the solid or dashed line for your size – that’s the one to follow when you cut out your pattern.
What about if your waist and hip measurements correspond to different pattern sizes? If it's only one size out - for example, if your waist is a size 3 and your hips a size 4 - just go with your hip size. The alteration you'd make is so small it's not really worth it. The elastic will cinch in the waist of the trousers to fit you.
If your waist is two or more sizes larger or smaller than your hip size, then you'll need to "grade" the trouser and pocket seams to combine sizes.
It's actually best to do this after you've made any other changes to the pattern, so come back to this step if you want to make other alterations too, such as lengthening or shortening.
On the back trousers pattern piece, draw a long straight line that goes from the size for your waist measurement, down to the trouser hem that corresponds to your hip size.
Repeat for the front trousers piece. Then lay the pocket bag over the front trousers, lining up the top, side seam and notches, and draw the new side seam on this too. Repeat on the pocket bag facing too (don't worry that the hip notch doesn't line up with the other pieces - it will do at the sewing stage once you roll the seam line in so it's hidden on the inside). These lines will become your new side seams.
Adjusting the overall length
The trousers are designed to sit on your natural waistline and taper down to finish mid-ankle. Compare your waist to ankle length to the measurement for your size in the ‘Body Measurements’ chart. If you think they will be too short or much too long for you, you can adjust them using the "lengthen or shorten here" lines marked on the trouser legs. (If you only need to shorten them by an inch or two, you could do this at the hemming stage instead.)
Shortening the trousers
Draw a parallel line above one of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines on the front trousers - the ones on the leg, not between the waist and hip. The distance between the two should be how much you want to shorten the pattern by.
Cut along the "lengthen or shorten here" line that you measured up from, and move the lower pattern piece straight up until it meets the line you drew in the previous step, matching up the grain line arrow. Tape or stick it down. Re-draw the side seams into straight lines. Repeat with the back trouser piece.
Lengthening the trousers
First, draw two parallel lines on a scrap of paper with a vertical line in the middle - the distance between them should be the amount you want to lengthen the trousers by. Repeat this once more so you have a set of lines for both trouser leg pieces.
Cut along one of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines marked on the trouser pieces - the ones on the leg, not between the waist and hip. Place a paper strip underneath, aligning the grainline up with the vertical line. Stick them down with tape or a glue stick. Extend the side seams so they match with a straight line and cut away the excess paper.
Lowering the waistband or adjusting the crotch depth
The waistband of the Marigold jumpsuit is designed to sit on your natural waistline. If you’re making the trouser version you can wear it either on your waistline or a little lower, on your high hip say. The latter will give you a looser, casual fit – not as baggy as harem trousers, but on the way there!
If you’re making up the trouser version and want to wear them on your high hip but without a lower crotch, or if you have a much longer or shorter waist to hip measurement than 20cm (8in), you may want to adjust the crotch depth.
We’ve included "lengthen or shorten here" lines on the trouser and pocket pieces especially for this alteration.
Lowering the crotch depth
Draw a parallel line below each "lengthen or shorten here" line towards the top of the front trousers, back trousers, pocket bag and facing. The distance between the two is how much you want to shorten the pattern by.
Cut along one of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines and move the upper pattern piece straight down until it meets the line you drew in the previous step, matching the grainline. Tape or stick it down. Re-draw the side seam into straight line and the crotch into a smooth curve.
Repeat the previous step for the back trouser piece, the pocket bag and pocket bag facing.
Lengthening the crotch depth
First, draw two parallel lines on a scrap of paper - the distance between them should be the amount you want to lengthen the crotch depth by. Repeat this three more times so you have a set of lines for the front and back trousers, the pocket bag and the pocket bag facing.
Extend the grainline and cut along one of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines marked on the pattern pieces. Place a paper strip underneath, aligning the cut edges with the parallel lines and the vertical lines with each other. Stick them down with tape or a glue stick. Re-draw the side and crotch seams so they join up smoothly and cut away the excess paper.
Repeat the above steps for the back trousers, pocket bag and pocket bag facing, re-drawing the curved seam so it joins up smoothly. Place one on top of the other so you can check the re-drawn curves and notches match.
Adjusting the back crotch length
To an extent, a certain amount of "pooling" on the back of your thighs is inevitable – you need some extra fabric so you don’t split a seam when you sit down! If it’s looking excessive however, this is a really useful alteration that takes a wedge out of the back crotch seam and removes that droopiness.
Alternatively, if you have a fuller booty and this area is feeling a little tight, you can add in a wedge to the back seam for an easier fit.
For either adjustment, mark the stitching lines on either end of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines between the waist and hip on the back trouser piece, 15mm (5/8in) inside the cutting lines.
Cut along one of the "lengthen or shorten here" lines from the crotch seam to the stitching line at the side seam, then cut in the opposite direction, so that the trouser piece is connecting by a small hinge.
Removing droopy fabric under the derrière / back of thighs
Work out how much length needs to be removed by horizontally pinning out the excess fabric about half way down your back crotch. Straight away you can see how this will lift the pooling fabric on your back legs. Don’t be tempted to pin away too much though, as you need a bit of excess fabric so you can sit down comfortably. Remove the trousers and measure how much you pinned out.
Measure along the stitching line at the back crotch by the amount you worked out in the step above. Pivot the top of the trouser piece over the bottom so that it meets this point. Stick or tape down. Re-draw the crotch seam with a smooth curve, and the side seam with a straight line, and cut away the excess.
Adding length to the back crotch for a fuller booty
Insert a strip of paper underneath the hinged trouser pieces. Tape the lower trouser piece to the paper and pivot the upper piece away from it until they are separated at the crotch seam by the amount you would like to lengthen it by. This amount is up to you but we recommend starting at about 2 – 2.5cm (3/4 – 1in) and see how you go from there. You’d be surprised by how much of a difference in fit even a small addition of length can make.
That’s it for trouser fitting! Remember, the Marigold trousers are designed to be fairly loose and easy fitting. You don’t need to fret about getting a figure hugging fit. Make your first pair with the understanding that they may not be perfect first time, and you can always tweak the next pair to your preference :)
Skip to the next post if you want help fitting the jumpsuit bodice, and catch up with other Marigold sewalong posts.