Crotch.

That’s it folks. Right there. It’s the crux of most pant problem. That ding dang darn crotch. And what a word too. But let’s not go there, shall we? Instead, we’re going to have fun getting our crotch depth and length straight. Knowing the difference between these two things and how to fix them will give us better insight into what our pant problems really are. So let’s begin shall we. Drum roll please….cue trumpets, falling stars and the magic carpet:

Today we are going to focus on Crotch Depth. This is the length between the waistline and the crotch. It’s not something we’re going to measure, its just something we need to be aware of.¬† Now for Burda #127, you need to be aware that these trousers are meant to fit 1-1 1/4 inches above the natural waistline. How do you find your natural waistline? It’s that girlish cinch in the middle of your torso, below your bust and above your hips. Don’t be afraid of it and please be aware, that for some of us youngsters it’s alot higher up than you might think. Grab yourself some 1/4″ elastic and tie it around your natural waistline. Wiggle around in it for a minute to allow the elastic to adjust to your natural waistline. Now pull on your trouser muslin and pin up the zipper opening. Where is the waistline falling? Where is the crotch falling? As you can see, on my first muslin here, the crotch is falling¬†a little¬†low and the waistline is a bit high. And while we’re calling a spade a spade you can see that these were rather large to begin with, but let’s focus on the crotch depth being on average just too long for me. Alot of what I’m showing you here too is based on how these pants feel too. When I try to walk, with the crotch being just a little too low, it’s well…rather difficult to walk. The pants pull on the thigh just below the crotch.

Now what if you have the opposite problem? What if the crotch depth is too short, then what are you going to see? Well, it’s going to be the opposite of what you see here. The trousers are going to ride really high in the crotch and you’ll definitely be able to feel that, especially if you try to sit down. And that will pull the waistline down to a point on your waist below where the pants should sit. You are also going to experience a little puffiness in the front crotch area with smiles that point toward your outseam.

What do you do about it? This is the biggest question right, because alot of us don’t know what to do about it. Let’s take it back to my muslin. As you see here, I’ve now pinned out the excess by bringing the waistline down and the crotch up in the middle of this area. Make sense?¬† I did this all the way around. Then I walked around, sat down, and made sure taking out this much would be the way to go. Then I took the muslin off and marked with a sharpie where the pin went through and then took the pin out and measured how much I needed to adjust the crotch depth. It’s a good 1 inch. Now to my flat pattern. The adjustment on the muslin was made in the front leg, back leg and pocket so that’s where we’re going to adjust the flat pattern….well sort of.

Let’s do the back leg first, but let me warn you that you really need to read through this entire process before beginning to make any adjustments. Ok? Ok. In a normal pattern, you know with printed tissue and such, you would most likely have the adjustment lines already printed on the tissue. But we’re working with a Burda pattern so we’ll need to make our own. In approximately the middle of the crotch depth of the back leg, draw a perpendicular line to the grainline. I find those triangular rulers the best for this. After the line has been drawn, now you are either going to fold in the excess or slash and spread to give you more. Since this crotch depth is too long for me, I’m folding in 1 inch in this area. Taped it down and I’m ready to go.

Let’s move onto the front. Burda #127 is a trouser with classic slant pockets. (If you are working with a pattern that does not have slash pockets, you can make the same adjustment you did for the back for the front piece) This makes the front adjustment tricky. If I was to take out the full 1 inch in the same area I took out of the back, then the pocket would be seriously affected and I wouldn’t be able to get my hand in the pocket in the finished version. If it were the other way around, say the crotch depth was too short, then putting that full inch in the pocket wouldn’t be as big of a¬†deal, still you’ll have one big pocket on each side. So¬†I had to break it up. For those of you who have 1 –¬†3 inches excess or shortage¬†in the crotch depth, you’ll have to do the same. For those of you who have less than 1 inch in excess or shortage, you only need to adjust the area below the pocket. As with the back, make a perpendicular line fron the grainline¬†in the middle of the pocket area on both the pocket, pocket lining and front leg. Make a second line on the front leg below where the pocket ends. Now fold or slash and spread. You can take up to 3/4 inch out of the pocket area,¬†the rest¬†below the pocket. You’ll need to¬†true the lines now. And believe me, you will need a french curve now if you ever did. When you are dealing with the below pocket front leg trueing, fiddle with the french curve until the right amount of¬†curve is matching up the inseam and the area that you tucked in or slashed out.

Now I know what you are going to say next. But what if I need to take more than 3 inches out¬†or put into¬†the crotch depth. Well….after 3 inches it’s time to start fiddling with the waistband. I mean there is only so much you can give or take from the depth before it starts looking kind of weird. You can take out or put in¬†a good chunk¬†in the waistband. A good inch or inch and a half, I’d say. To do that, you’ll do the same thing here. Fold or slash and spread¬†the excess in the middle of the waistband back or front.

OK, this post is getting way way way long. Before I bore you to tears and before you forget, go try on your muslin and see if this an adjustment you need. This is the longest adjustment to explain, so don’t worry if you think every post this week will take this long. It won’t. Tomorrow I’ll be going over the crotch length. These are the two most important aspects of pant adjusting, so don’t hesitate to jot down notes, try things out, you know, the usual fitting process. And I’m here if you need me. Promise. Don’t hesitate to dial in my email or leave a comment and I’ll answer it in the comments.

Tomorrow we’re onto Crotch Length.

  • Seemane (aka Claire) - Ah – great post Sunni – thank you :)!
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  • www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlCEKeyreXrGhckXfMKcKRNVwx3Dgtgazc - Another way to adjust crotch depth is to adjust the pattern before making the muslin. This can be done by sitting on a flat hard surface and measuring from waist to the sitting surface in a straight line (not around the curve of the hip; not right up against the skin, but as a straight drop). This is the measurement for the length from the waistline to the bottom of the crotch. Compare to the pattern and then fold or slash as necessary on both the front and back.
    Of course, you may still need to adjust the muslin; although using this method I don’t recall needing to do so.
    I don’t remember where I learned this, but it must be “old school”.
    Doreen
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  • Jen - Thanks for the helpful info! I think this might be what’s going on with my muslin. It looks frumpy and dowdy compared to the sleek shape of the picture on my pattern (I’m using V1051). I’ll just have to play with the crotch fit, then work on the rest from there.
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  • lizajane - This is great information. I wanted to participate in the sew along but I have too much going on right now. I’m definitely going to refer back to this when I get ready to make my trousers.
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  • Sarah - Aha! This info is so great! I’m not following the sew along but I have been really struggling with fitting pants. My goal for the new year is to make a pair of well fitting pants.
    I know crotch depth and length is a huge part of my fitting problem, and I even have Pants for Everybody and Fit for Real People, but still haven’t been able to figure it out. Seeing your pictures and diagrams is hugely helpful and gives me some hope I can figure this out!
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  • lap - Such an excellent explanation of what to look for, and what to do about it!
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  • Pam - Aha!! Now I know that is why I have issues with my ski pants:) BTW, although I’m on travel – I’ve cut my pattern and musling and am sewing (by hand)) tonight. . . I will eventually (hopefully) catch up. . .
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - OK, I’m glad you use the word! Salespeople get a funny look when I say “hmmmm, they’re a bit tight in the crotch” in response to their query “how do the pants fit?”. It’s not a dirty word, right?!
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  • Hatty - When I look at your photos I don’t see that those pants are too high on the waist. You say they should 11/4″ above the waist and they are certainly not that. If anything, they look 2″ below! Are you sure the crotch length wouldn’t be right if the waits was in the right place? I agree with Mrs Gibberish-name (scary things happen if you click on her name – be warned!) above about checking the crotch length with the flat pattern. It always works for me too.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Hatty,
    I do agree with you. I was more or less trying to illustrate a point with the photos and that’s how to go about fixing this problem if you have it. My biggest problem here is that even when the trousers are pulled up to the proper waistline, there is still tugging at the crotch when I walk. And unfortunately as these were so large, especially in the hip, they kept falling down. When I made up my second muslin though, a size smaller with the crotch depth being shorter too, the pants again do not go that high. I am still debating whether or not to have it be so high because I found the pants more flattering with the waistline a little below my waist rather than above.
    My biggest thing with pants is that not only do you have to go by look and measurements, you have to go by feel. Even more so than other garments, in my opinion. The second muslin, with the shorter crotch length definitely felt better in this area, but a little worse in others. Fixing, fixing. The age old story with pants.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thanks Doreen. I’ve used this method too and think once you become better acquainted with pant sewing this is definitely the method to go to. It’s definitely faster too!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - I’m very glad it’s helpful! Even when I read sewing books sometimes it doesn’t really sink in until I go to actually make something. And even then sometimes, I have to sit and brood for a little while before I get the hang of it or figure out what the problem is.
    Well fitting pants are also a goal for me this year. I will have them!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - It couldn’t be! I mean all pants patterns have that word in them. I can definitely think of many more inappropriate words to use too. Though I don’t love the sound of the word, it’s definitely better than any of the alternatives.
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I’ll admit to you right now that I’ve learned most of my info on pant fitting from Pants for Real People. With that in mind, I wanted to share this image from the book with all of you. This is a summary chart of the most common alterations for pants and it’s very informative. I’ll be referring to this again and again because it is very helpful as a visual for the things you’ll need to do for your pattern pieces. It might also start the wheels turning as you begin thinking about what types of alterations you’ll need for your pants.


Click on image for full size
from Pants for Real People, posted with permission from Pati Palmer
please visit www.palmerpletsch.com for more fitting and sewing aids

Over the next three days, I’ll be going in depth on 3 of the main alterations. They are the biggest problems, in my opinion and they take a bit to explain. Subsequently after that there will be a few more posts on some odd alterations that you may or may not need. And I wanted to let you all know that I plan to share some of the photos that you entered into the flickr pool (unless you absolutely forbid me not to) to give everyone an idea of the things they’ll need to do if they are having the same fitting issue. I promise, it will not be to humiliate you, it’s to help you and the rest of us to see the different types of problems that come with making pants.

Next week, I hope to start the construction process on the final pants. But I’ll wait to see where we are at before jumping right in and making you feel overwhelmed. Ok? Ok.

Tomorrow get ready to discuss crotch depth. It’s fun.

PS ~ Pati Palmer (a co-author of Pants for Real People) contacted me regarding the above image. I checked out her website at www.palmerpletsch.com and found even more of their products and fabulous information. Did you know there were DVDs? Hip Hip Hooray! Click over and have a peek and while you’re at it buy Pants for Real People!

  • nikole - Sunni I have a document on pants fitting. It’s a very large document but worth the time reading as it covers every possible alteration you can think of. I can send it to you if you wish
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  • CGCouture - Which three are the main alterations? I have one (well, two, but the other one isn’t for me) that I’d really like to see, so I’ll be crossing my fingers that you’ll discuss at least one of them. :-) Thanks for the diagram though, it gives me a starting point. :-)
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  • SabrinaClementine - That image looks highly informative! Now I just need to get around to putting together my muslin to find out what alterations I might need….
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  • Ashley - Hi Sunni, my trousers turned out to be really big, do you know if anyone else had this problem?
    Also after making the muslin I’m pretty sure this pattern isn’t the best for my body type (the single pleat does nothing for my thighs). ūüėČ I’m going to shop for another pattern and rejoin the group soon. I’ll definitely use some of the refitting tips and the bias waistband. Thanks so much for all the effort you put into this!
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  • lap - Crotch Depth! How is there no band named crotch depth yet?
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  • sharon - Hi Sunni, that page is very informative and I am looking forward to your in depth alterations. Thank you for all your work.
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  • Amy L - I sewed my muslin together yesterday and I’m having serious doubts about the pattern and my style preference. I blame some of my ignorance on the picture from Burda which is dramatic and I envisioned myself looking dramatic as well; however the muslin did nothing to further that vision.
    By the time I tried the muslin on I was tired and disappointed in the look, so no photos. I’m unsure about the pattern, but there other patterns I would like to use and may make a late switch. One way or another I will sew up the beautiful wool/silk blend from Gorgeous Fabrics into pants.
    I’m interested in the discussions this week regarding fit.
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  • G - That’s a great picture! Thanky for sharing it! I don’t have the book so it kind of interesting that the length of pants is changed at the hemline. I though similar to tops, you would chop the pattern pieces horizontally at knee level to lengthen/shorten.
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  • angie.a - Great sewalong! I’m knee deep in sewalongs at the moment though. :) I wanted to add another source for your readers though. Although alot of books recommend adding to the crotch point for full thighs (as on your diagram) this messes with the fit of the crotch length and possibly you don’t need additional room there. If so, I’d suggest reading this post by Debbie, where she details a Minott book:
    http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2008/01/full-inner-thigh-alterations.html
    It’s been a lifesaver for me when making pants!
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  • LizF - does anyone have detailed instructions on how to alter a pair of pants into a skirt? Desperately needed!
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I’ve had many questions and such about why I chose Burda #127 for the Trouser Sewalong. I’ll admit now, that it was a moment of madness and thank you very much, I’m paying for it. No, I didn’t realize at the time I chose it that it was a Tall pattern and no, I had no clue that there were different sizing charts for the Talls and no, I didn’t have the magazine and no, I had no idea that many of you who live in foreign countries have to download it from the German site and no, I didn’t know that for some very strange reason some people can’t view the image from the Burda Style site and no, I didn’t know that you didn’t have to add a hem allowance either. My¬†long line of profanities¬†of choice in this matter would offend too many of you, so I’ll just say,¬†“Sheesh!” Will you please accept my sincerest apologies? Please? For those of you still hanging in there with Burda #127, you guys are real troopers and it is my opinion that you will be rewarded. For those of you who decided to go with a different pattern, you are very wise.

1920’s Lounge Pants Inspiration

Needless to say, I’ve been contemplating pants for awhile now. Actually since Self Stitched September. So I’ve been gathering ideas and inspiration. I was looking for a pair of trousers reminiscent of some 20’s lounge¬†pants¬†that had caught my eye awhile ago. And then I saw Burda #127 as I was lurking around Burda Style. It was the one. That was the pattern I had been looking for. It had everything I wanted. The waistband, the side zip, the slant pockets, the cuffed hem, the pleat in front….

Jessica Biel in Easy Virtue

Watching Easy Virtue a few weeks ago¬†cinched the deal. This Noel Coward play turned film, is set in the 20s. A time for dropped waist dresses. Until Jessica Biel’s character waltzes on the scene in trousers fit for….a man. Her day outfits consist of these fabulous wide legged, flowing trousers, all put together with fabulous frocky tops and jackets and low-heeled mary-jane pumps. It’s an unbelievably fabulous look. And to be real honest with you, her trousers were the biggest drive in using Burda #127 for the sewalong. It’s like they took this trouser pattern straight out of this film. Not to mention, now that those of us using this pattern have had so much trouble with it, I’ve received a few emails with helpful suggestions from those who have the magazine and those who have tried these trousers. Can we all give it up to Cassandra, Stephanie and Mae! I’m seriously glad that I’m not alone on these pants¬†(thanks Ashley for your comment about that). Anyhow, Stephanie sent me a scan of the actual photo of the trousers in the mag with the verbage that appears on the opposing page. It reads: “Very reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich! These wide trousers/pants with broad hip yoke, front creases and turn-ups create a very elegant effect. The cut is very suitable for tall women – and fills college men with inspiration…” Marlene Dietrich! I should have known. That now puts another spin on these beauties.

Jessica Biel in Easy Virtue

Come now, tell me you don’t want a pair of these in¬†every color, for all seasons to go with all those beautiful silky tops and short cinched in jackets. Not to mention the lovely leggy look. Yeah, Jessica and Marlene¬†have great¬†legs, that we never see, but whose illusion is wonderfully accentuated by those trousers.

Marlene Dietrich in trousers

Oh and by the way, Mr. S gave me a Rod Stewart CD for Christmas and I’ve now got a theme song for our Trouser Sewalong. You absolutely have to lend an ear¬†toHot Legs while drooling over these images. The tune is from 1977 and for some reason, I thought that Mr. Stewart’s vocal chords had been blown out in his early years having only heard his later tunes. That is not correct. He was in the thick of it in the 70’s, one of his earliest decades and as you can hear he has that same smoky blown out voice. I do love it so. He’s such a pimp. The perfect pimp for our Trouser Sewalong.

Jessica Biel in Easy Virtue

Anyhow, back to the trousers, I do believe the navy ones (top photo collage) on Jessica¬†are my favorite. Delicious. I will be a leggy seductress after this trouser sewalong, just you wait. And teenage¬†and college boys will most definitely be inspired by these.¬†Sigh…..

I hope this has given you some serious inspiration for this week’s Finale. We are now on the verge of fitting madness, which is¬†coming¬†just as soon as¬†Monday hits.¬†And for those of you who might have been on the fence about this, come now, really, don’t you need a pair? Let’s get with the times. It’s pants or BUST!

  • Stephanie - I am so excited for the sew-along and things can only get better. Especially since it’s been a rough start. I do believe it might be a movie night this weekend and renting Easy Virtue. I think I can sweet talk my husband into watching if only to figure out the model of the motorcycle in the bottom right picture.
    I am hoping to have him take fitting pictures this weekend, and post. As I am lost to what the next step should be. Thanks again so much, Sunni. It’s going to be an great month.
    On a side note, do you think linen would work okay for the pants. I went to the local fabric stores and they had nothing that wasn’t nasty scratchy wool. I don’t want to order online until I try the style of the pants and make sure that I like them. I thought doing black linen that I have in my stash and got a beautiful fabric to make Tasia’s Pendrell top out of to have a new outfit! Yeah!
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  • Andrea - I think your choice for trousers was great and I can tell you that these pants are extremely easy to make and fit – and I do have problems with pants. Right I am stitching up a second pair and hope they will turn out as great as the first ones.
    Wish you all good luck and a lot of fun with your sewalong :-)
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  • pam - I love your choice of trousers – I did own the magazine (which was serendipitous since I only own two Burda magazines) – and I’m thrilled to learn how to put together a Burda pattern. Luckily for me – pants fitting is not a problem – I’m very straight – unlike tops – I’m glad you’re doing it – don’t beat yourself up. . . it’s been very helpful.
    P.S. I’m very far behind – just traced and cut the pattern – but I hope to catch up tomorrow. I’ve had a crazy busy week. . .
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  • Amanda - I saw Easy Virtue for the first time about a month ago. I’m surprised I’d never heard of it, especially since Mr. Darcy (ahem, I mean, Colin
    Firth) is in it! It’s a cute movie and Jessica Biel’s costumes are awesome. I’ve always wanted a cloche hat, but then my hair is long so…
    I have my muslin all cut out and plan to put the finished piece on Flickr today! And you’re doing great with the sew-along despite the bumpy start. It’s been a lot of fun so far :)
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  • Liz - I’m still with you on the Burda 127 pants!. Even though I’m a shorty, I love the wide legged look. I’m just planning on wearing it with some boots or large heels to increase my leg length. This is going to be a primer for me to sew some more pants anyhow since the fit is so loose.
    Honestly, I didn’t find the start rough at all. I think it’s due to your excellent and thorough blog posts! :) All my pieces are cut, and I’ll start stitch marking and sewing it together. Will post pics on flickr.
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  • Ashley - The choice of pattern was great, I’ve very hopeful to have a wonderful pair of dress pants by the end of this! Thanks again for all the effort, I hope to get pics up on flicker by monday.
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  • lap - I love the Burda cut, and if the sizing would work for me I’d totally be in. Luckily I have several 70’s patterns that are similar enough that I’m going that route. I’m hoping to catch up to be with you all for fitting Monday!
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  • Amy - I wouldn’t worry too much about discovering problems after picking a pattern. Sewing is like that a lot of times–we all know that,lol :) As much as I LOVE the images you shared, I can’t do pants with pleats. My hips are too wide for that style. I picked a smooth-front style with wide legs and wonderful drape. I can’t wait to start sewing them! First, I’ll need to practice welt pockets. Gulp ūüėČ
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  • Jen - Sunni,
    I think your choice was right on, and even though I have been dying to make the Vogue pants I am making for this sew along, I had to go and buy Burda 127 too (and almost changed my mind at the last minute) because they were just too sassy to pass up! :) That being said, I just spent an entire evening fighting with muslin pockets, welts and zipper flies (ugh!) and I hope to be caught up and ready for a fitting after this weekend.
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  • Elizabeth - Thanks for all the excellent work you’ve put into this sew-along. Having had the pattern, and not being 5’10”, I went with another pattern since this is my first real dive into pants. I’ve finished altering my back piece…on to the front and then hopefully a muslin this weekend.
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  • sharon - For those interested and have the Burda World of Fashion Magazines, Burda did a Marlene Dietrich pattern in August 2008 – 105 sizes 36-44. I’m not so good with the Burda site, so not sure if it is a download.
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  • Elizabeth M - I think this post swayed me in joining the sew a long…I realize I’m a bit late, but there is rain in the forecast this weekend so I’m hoping to catch up! I’ve also seen Easy Virtue-such a cute movie and I second Amanda-if it has Mr. Darcy in it, how can you pass it up. In fact my husband and I are planning on going to see The King’s Speech this weekend! Well I just bought some fabric so I’m off to cut! Thank you Sunni for the inspiration and motivation, I can’t wait to show off my fabulous trousers!
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  • Iamnotanoctopus - Just thought I’d throw this out there: a pattern with similar style but less tricky details would be Decades of Style #4004. There are no pockets, a back zipper (which you could easily make a side zipper, I’m sure), and a simple faced waist. I just made these as my first attempt at pants, and they are really easy and quick, with a very flattering cut.
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  • MsCleaver - I’m in the midst of renovation/moving into my new house- but I am planning on making my first pair of pants this year -I’ll definitely be back for your post when my sewing time finally frees up!!
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  • Sandra - Love the inspiration. Easy Virtue now firmly on my “to watch” list. I’ve just sewn up my 2nd muslin for #127, photos about to go up on flickr.
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This is my quick and dirty way of turning a straight grain waistband into a bias waistband. Totally easy, peasy. Well it will be for Burda #127 at any rate. So with pattern pieces 4 and 5 respectively, 1″ seam allowances except for in those areas that you cut on the fold here we go. Take your fabric, in this case muslin. I used just some scraps that had sort of a square pattern running through it, just so that I could see how I liked it and to give you a better idea of where to place that selvedge edge. Now fabric in hand, you’re going to fold the fabric in sort of a triangle. Open up your fabric so there’s only a single layer of fabric. Fold your selvedge edge along the fabric crease in the middle of the fabric. I’m dealing with a¬†fat quarter here for my waistband, so where the middle of my fabric crease mark is, the other side has been chopped off otherwise you would see the other half of my fabric piece. Does that make sense?

The new fold that is created is going to be where we place the waistband pieces. Now you want those pieces to create a chevron pattern at the seamline on the right and left side. To be quite frank, this messes with my brain a little and so the best way I know to do this is to make sure that as I place my pattern pieces to be cut on the fabric, both of them have to be right side up on the same fold line. And if you are trying to keep that¬†seamline in the back waistband, just¬†don’t cut that back waistband piece on the fold but make sure you have the seam allowance necessary¬†for the back seam.¬†Yes, I realize the photo above only shows one piece, but both pieces should be on this same fold. This means that you be cutting either the waistband front or back with the pattern markings and writing facing up. I know this is a little trippy. But trust me, it works. Now go ahead and cut your waistband pieces out.

After you’ve cut your waistband pieces, give them a good press and stretch them along the bias as you press. Hang them up overnight allowing the bias to stretch as much as possible. In the morning, when you are ready to hit your trouser muslin again, give them one more press and stretch and fold them back to the cutting position, reposition the waistband pattern pieces on top and cut the excess stretch off the sides.

Threadmark the pieces, baste stitch up the right side, press seam allowance open and the top edge seam allowance down. Pin and baste stitch to top trouser edge, easing in if necessary. Press seam allowances upward and give your trousers a good try on. And there you have it! For those of you who choose to do this, this is the method I’ll be using to cut the final trouser as I’m working with plaid and pinstripes. Hopefully this is a helpful alternative for those of you who want to use stripes and plaids and not have to bother with the hassle of trying to wrap your brain matching the design in this area.

OK, gear up for next week’s intensive fitting sessions. Let me know how you are doing and if by chance I’m going too fast or too slow.

  • Ashley - Thanks Sunni! I personally think the sewalong is running a great pace. I’m a little behind since I don’t have time to sew everyday, but I’ll certainly be caught up by Monday.
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  • Kristin - This is awesome! I’m a self taught sewer and as such there are huge gaps in my sewing knowledge…not to mention in my skirt and pant’s waistbands. But no more, hopefully, thanks to you!
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  • G - I understand this is for design but how is this going to affect the fit of the pants? Isn’t the waistband going to stretch when they are worn? Or is this issue addresses by the facts that 1) The waistband is let to stretch and recut and 2) the outer fabric will be cun on the grain?
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  • lin3arossa.wordpress.com - I understand this is for design but how is this going to affect the fit of the pants? Isn’t the waistband going to stretch when they are worn? Or is this issue addressed by the facts that 1) the waistband is let to stretch and recut and 2) the outer fabric will be cut on the grain?
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you Ashley! I’m so glad that the sewalong is going at a good clip for you. Pants muslins are surprisingly easy to sew up. Oh the fun we’ll have next week! Yay!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Kristin,
    I am very much a self taught stitcher as well, but its one of those things that I’m so obsessed with that any and all knowledge I’ve been able to get my hands on is how I’ve learned many things. Surprisingly, the things I learned in grade school about sewing have all been challenged by talking with other seamstresses and reading different sewing books. What I’ve come to realize is that sewing is as much about interpretation as it is about technique. Some things work for you but might not work for others. And that’s that really. Thanks for your sweet comment!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - You are 100% right about being concerned about the bias here. Yes, the bias waistband will stretch, and that’s why you need to get the stretching out of it by hanging it before sewing it. Recutting is important too. Once we get to the construction process of the final pant, the facing will not be on the bias, the waistband will be stabilized with interfacing and we’ll add a waistline stay. With all that the waistband should hold up to bullets pretty much. I’ll be showing in depth details about the construction in about 2 weeks/last part of January. This tutorial is just a stepping stone for the muslin.
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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.

Waistband

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….

  • Helen - 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.
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  • Liz - 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.
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  • Zoe - 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!!)
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - 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.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - 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.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - 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.
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  • Sharon - I am using Simplicity 2860 and have just put my first muslin in the Flicker Group. It looks a bit scary.
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  • Jane - 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
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  • Lorena - 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.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - 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:
    http://www.thecupcakegoddess.com/the-cupcake-goddess/2011/01/prepping-the-.html
    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.
    xoxo,
    Sunni
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