January 4, 2011

Under Construction - Trouser Muslin

It's time we started putting our muslin together for our trousers. I've made complete instructions here for Burda #127. This because I've been highly disappointed with all the bumps and hiccups with this pattern that I thought would it would be easier if I just fashioned my own instructions. These are quick and just for the muslin. We'll be doing things a bit different for the final construction. Now if you are following along using a different pattern, please follow the pattern directions for your particular pattern, otherwise off we go with Burda #127.

Darts and Pleats

Baste stitch darts on back trouser leg (piece 3). Press towards center back. Baste stitch pleats on front trouser leg (piece 1). Press pleats toward center front. Baste along top edge of trouser front to secure pleat.

Pocket Construction

The trouser leg front (piece 1) adjoins with the pocket lining (piece 2a). Now remember, the pocket lining (2a) was extracted from pattern piece 2. With right sides together pin trouser leg front (1) along slanted pocket opening to the pocket lining (2a). Baste stitch. Press pocket lining to inside of garment.

Now its time to add the pocket. The pocket (piece 2) adjoins to the pocket lining (2a). It also fills out the hip for the front trouser leg. Pin pocket (2) to the right side of pocket lining (2a) matching seamlines.  Baste stitch along lower edge of pocket lining. Baste pocket extension (2) to trouser leg front (1) along waistline. Baste pocket (2) to trouser leg front (1) at outseam.

Inseam, Outseam and Crotch Seam

Pin right trouser leg front (1) to right trouser leg back (3), right sides together along the outseam (the seam that runs along the outside of the leg). Baste stitch. Press seam open. Do the same for the left leg, however leave the opening for the zipper unstitched. Pin right trouser leg front to right trouser leg back at inseam (the seam that runs along the inside of the leg). Baste Stitch. Press seam open. Do the same for the left leg. To stitch crotch seam, turn one leg inside out and have one leg right side out. Put the right side out leg inside the inside out leg and pin crotch seam making sure fronts and backs are actually, front and back. Baste stitch crotch seam with 5/8" seam allowance.


For those of you using the two piece waistband back, baste stitch a 5/8" seam allowance along the back seam, right sides together. Pin back waistband to front waistband, right sides together along right side. Baste stitch. Press all seams open. Press waistband top down along seam allowance. Pin waistband to trousers along trouser top edge, right sides together, matching seam lines along side and back. Baste stitch. Press seam allowance upwards.

Now I'm quite sure there is nothing I could say or do to not make you try these on. So go and try on your trousers. Pin up the opening where the zipper will be inserted and roll up the pant leg and pin in place until you can walk in them. Have a few looks in the mirror. Dance, sit, walk. Do your worst. Take them off. Jot down some notes on the problems you readily see, how they feel, what you could or could not do in them, etc. Then try them on again. I'm not going to address fit issues until next week, but I want you to be well aquainted with yours before we start delving into that area. It's OK, if you don't know how to fix them. That's the biggest part with pants isn't it? I mean getting them to fit right. I'll be giving you a pretty large run down fitting problems and how you go about fixing them. Fitting has as much to do with how something feels as how it looks. So try to get a feel for how your trousers feel. And don't forget to take a few photos and put them in the flickr pool.

For now, just roll up the trousers so you can walk in them, I realize that for most of us these are going to be extra long. Next week I'll be addressing the hem and the alteration that you might need for this.

Tomorrow I'll be showing you how to make a bias waistband if you are going to be working with striped or plaid fabric. Cheerio! Need I mention that it is not a good idea to leave the house in your muslins as muslin is rather see through....


  1. Oooh can't wait for the bias waistband tutorial. I have bought a grey wool with a fine white pinstripe for my trousers and I didn't even think of doing bias features.

  2. I just recieved my copy of 'pants for real people' in the mail, and it is so informative. This book is making me excited to work through the fitting of the muslin. heh
    I do wish I had it one week ago since it seems like the issues I had with a skirt pattern could have been addressed using the fitting techniques from this pants book.

  3. oh my goodness - I am so behind already (no pun intended although the fitting of my behind will, i am sure, be the hardest bit!!:)). Christmas and end of year festivities completely knocked me out but I am slowly starting to feel better and am hoping to go fabric shopping on Friday and will then catch up this weekend or early next week.....your posts so far have been excellent - and in fact, reading them is making me feel better already - I can feel the needle and thread enthusiasm returning!! Happy New Year to you and Mr S (very dashing he was in his pjs!!)

  4. It's so easy. Just a quick and dirty trick really. Totally is better than trying to match plaids though. Now that would be a real joke.

  5. Oh I'm so glad!!!! It's the best book in the whole world! I swear they've got pant fitting down to an art. It's been incredibly helpful for me and I'm sure you'll recognize and few of the principles in next week's fitting sessions. Oh what fun we'll have.

  6. Oh I'm so sorry about being sick. I was too! It was such a drag. I had all this time off of work and for what? To stay in bed. So glad you are feeling better though. The pants sew up really easy, in fact I do believe most pairs do. You'll have the muslin ready in no time.
    Thank you for your comment on the pjs. Mr. S refuses to take them off. I'm surprised he hasn't worn them to work yet.

  7. I am using Simplicity 2860 and have just put my first muslin in the Flicker Group. It looks a bit scary.

  8. Hi Sunni, I've been using my own pattern but used your method of putting one leg inside the other to sew the crotch seam. What a success! Fantastic tip, thanks so much. I just need to do a tiny adjustment on the side seams and I'll be ready to start sewing. Thanks for all your wonderful tutorials. Jane x

  9. just started my muslin and i was wondering if i was supposed to add a seam allowance to my pocket pieces? because they don't match up with my front leg pieces AND my front leg pieces don't match up with my back leg pieces. Also, when you sew the leg pieces together, how do you keep the pockets from getting sewn shut? it seems like they'd just get sewn into the outseam.

  10. Hi Lorena!
    Burda magazine patterns do not come with seam allowances. However, with this pattern there is one allowance and that is for the hem. Every other seam allowance has to be added. You'll have to add 1" seam allowances to everything but the crotch and those areas affected by the crotch. For diagrams and more intense info about how to do this have a look at this post:
    The pockets, I feel, are the most confusing parts of pants. Do you by chance have a commercial pants pattern? If so, have a look at the construction of the pockets for those and try following (loosely) the directions for those for these pants. Let me know if I can help more.

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