The quest for the Ultimate pants (part 1)
I vividly remember the first pair of trousers I made. They were shorts we had to sew at school and made of horrendous bright blue patterned quilting cotton. We had to use pattern that was too big for at least for me (I was about 12 years old and super skinny) and the teacher never suggested doing any fitting.
A few years later I tried again and made a pair of sporty cargo pants. I chose the smallest size and ended up handing the finished pair to my mom since they were way too big.
If the jeans I posted before don’t count I don’t have many good experiences with sewing trousers. Nowadays I know more about fitting but I fiddle and fiddle with the fit and never seem to be happy. Especially with the non-stretchy fabrics I have several times managed to make trousers that are so tight I am not able to sit down!
Sew over it offers a online course on sewing trousers and after considering a while I decided to invest the money to learn more about fitting. The course also included two patterns for trousers of which I was mainly interested in the pattern for the Ultimate Trousers – the trickier of the two.
Following the instructions I first made a toile (muslin for you Americans) and adjusted the pleats. There was plenty of extra fabric at the back of my thighs so I used the instructions given in the course material and made the thin thighs adjustment to the pattern. There was also a lot of other issues and for them I needed to destroy my toile and a just couldn’t do it. This is because I used a leftover fabric from my skirt and the toile was too pretty. At this point I went a bit off from the course and used some info I gathered online.
I went to the local fabric shop and asked for some cheap (preferably ugly) fabric for my second toile and got a remnant piece of stretch cotton for 7 euros. Below you can see now what I did. Btw. I only pinned and sewed the pleats on the left side since I could easily mirror them.
At first I took in a little bit from the center-front and center-back seams.Then there was a big horizontal pleat running from the center-front almost to the middle of my bum, so I pinned it up. Then there was a whisker of a pleat coming out of my crotch towards the thigh and I pinned it up, too.
The most difficult thing was to pin up the extra bit of fabric under my bum but I managed somehow and did not even pin myself while doing it. Then I sewed up all the pinnings I had just made.
Now I was pretty happy with the fit. With the stretchy fabric it is impossible to get rid of all the wrinkles. The only thing left was for me to take note that the thin thigh adjustment and narrowed the lower part of the trouser leg too much and the trousers felt a little bit too tight along my calves.
What I did next was to rip all the seams open. This was quite fast since I had used a long stitch and the fabric was strong enough for me to use a quite a lot of force and literally rip the seams apart. After this I cut off all the pleats along my stitching line. This is how the pieces looked after that.You can see that the curvature of my hips is clearly smaller that that in the pattern and that caused the big folds at the side seams. Also the crotch shape needed some adjustment to remove the whisker wrinkles and the upper thigh part to get rid of the big fold under the bum.
I drew the shapes to get rid of on to the pattern pieces and chopped them off. Then I figured out ways to make a minimum amount of slicing to the pattern pieces to allow me to make the pattern to mold to my figure. This is what the pattern pieces looked like after chopping and taping the pieces back together. The result is not perfect but it is rather good considering the size of the removed pieces.
I did not have more toile fabric but I went back to the flowery pair that I started with and ripped it into pieces. I made new pattern pieces and had to remove the seam allowances since the flowery fabric pieces did not have enough seam allowances to allow more than 7 mm. Also I had do with capri lenght but it really did not matter to me.
So this is my final toile:
I finished it with a zipper and added the facings to finish up the trousers. What do you think? I added 2 mm to both sides of each of the trouser leg to make the lower part of the trouser leg fit better. The fit is much better than the first time.
From the side:
The one thing I might change is to get rid of the wrinkles at the side seams. I think that my legs curve slightly inward at the knees and that means that the fabric bunches up at the sides. I found this online and I think I might try it with the next pair I sew.