Project Ginger Jeans – the fitting

Update: Since I first published this post on 21 January, I’ve made two sets of adjustments to the original fit. I’ve added pictures and info from the second and third fittings to this post, to keep all the fitting info together.

Earlier this week, I finally got around to cutting out my first ever pair of handmade jeans. I ended up crawling around on the floor underneath our dining table because I had to cut in a single layer, and that’s the only place I could lay the whole thing out. My knees haven’t forgiven me yet.

Then I almost ran out of fabric because I’ve already made a few flat alterations to the pattern. I used the tutorial in the Closet Case Files E-book on sewing jeans to convert the original skinny/stovepipe leg pattern into a flared version. (You can now buy the flared version as a pattern expansion, but I opted to save  $7+printing+sticking hassle and do it myself – it wasn’t tricky.)

I graded from a 16 at the hip to a 14 at the waist, and added 1″ to the crotch depth. Lastly, I enlarged the inseam and side seam allowances by a further 3/8″ to give me a full 1″ of wiggle room for adjusting everything.

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You can see here I’ve blended two sizes to use the larger one at the hip and the smaller one at the waist.

The fabric is a stretch denim I bought in Guthrie & Ghani last May. It’s a medium weight with roughly 2% spandex, as recommended for this pattern.

I cut everything out and basted the basic pieces together using a really long stitch length (5.0 on my Janome). Special thanks to Alex, who reminded me to staystitch first. This is mentioned in the pattern, but not in the part about basting/fitting, so I would definitely have forgotten otherwise.

First fitting

So, onto fitting. Jeez, this might turn out to be a long haul. (Front, side and back views in the picture right at the top – please excuse the poor lighting, it’s been so gloomy in Worcestershire recently!) I figured I might as well share the fitting process in all its gory detail.

Problem number one is that they’re too narrow through the thigh, so the crotch of the jeans can’t currently sit in the right place. In the back view you can see the horizontal wrinkles across the back of my thigh and knee area, showing it’s too tight here, so I’m going to let the inseams out from just below the knee up to the crotch seam. And from the side, you can see the side seam is pulling towards the front at mid-thigh level, which I *think* means I should let out the front thigh a little more than the back.

After this first fitting, I let out the front and back inseams by 1/8″ each. That wasn’t quite enough so I also let out the side seams by the same amount – just from crotch level down to the hem.

That gave me a better fit on the legs. However, the crotch seam still wasn’t sitting quite high enough and after some wriggling around I determined that the thing dragging it down was my bottom!

To fix that without liposuction, I lowered the back crotch only by 1/4″. This also increases the overall length of the back crotch seam so it’s sitting better all the way up to top hip level now. At the front there were some weird horizontal lines appearing, and there seemed to be too much room in the lower front crotch area, so I also straightened the front crotch seam – making it shorter in the process. (In one fitting guide, this is labelled a ‘receded pubis adjustment’ – which sounds like a really painful operation but it’s actually pretty easy to do if you left enough seam allowance.)

Second fitting

Here they are after those adjustments. Looking better, I hope you’ll agree.

I’m fairly happy with the fit through the crotch and the thighs now, although I’m debating whether to take the adjustments from the first fitting a teensy bit further to try to improve the fit even more.

What needs looking at now is the top hip and waistband area. The front crotch depth is still a smidgen too long, so I’m going to lop a little off the centre front at the top. To fix the gaping at the back, I need to take a wedge out of the yoke piece, maybe a little out of the side seams above the crotch, and then re-draft the waistband so it fits my contours better. Phew!

Third fitting

So since the second fitting I’ve lowered the back crotch by a further 1/4″, let out the back inseam by another 1/8″ and added darts in the back yoke and the waistband to fix the gaping at the back. I’ve taken 1/2″ off the centre of the front crotch depth and a smile-shaped horizontal wedge out across the back – effectively a flat seat adjustment. I also remembered to put shoes on for this fitting to see how they’ll really look.

The fit across the back waist is much better, it’s not gaping or standing away from my top hip area now. The bubble in the front crotch has gone, but it’s been replaced by some diagonal lines that I thought I’d got rid of after the first fitting indicating that the front crotch is too short. The back thigh actually looks tighter than it did at the last fitting, even though I’ve let it out so that needs to come out a bit more again (which might also fix the front diagonal wrinkes, too). And the back view now also reveals a problem I haven’t talked about until now, which is that my right hip is around 1″ lower than my left due to some differences in my leg length and pelvis size. I think I can correct this with a small adjustment to the outseam and the waistband height at the final fitting.

So, armed with the knowledge on what I need to do, and running out of seam allowance to make many more adjustments, I think it’s on to the actual sewing. The pockets, pocket stay and fly will take some of the room out of the front crotch, and I can tweak the leg seams a little along the way. So my plan is to sew them up very gradually, checking the fit several more times as I go. Wish me luck!

What’s on my sewing table?

Pattern grading square, tape measure, french curve and pencil

I’ve finally decided to knuckle down to the Ginger jeans that have been on my list for 18 months, so I’m knee-deep in tracing paper, fitting guides, masking tape and pins.

New trouser patterns always bring out a few nerves because it can be a pretty tedious process running up two or three toiles/muslins to try to get the fit right. But here I’m working with stretch denim (2% elastane, decent quality, pre-washed twice – I’m being good). So how the heck do you successfully toile a pair of jeans without purchasing double, triple or quadruple the amount of fabric you actually need?

As far as I can tell, there are three options:

  1. Give tissue fitting a go. (This pattern has negative ease at the hips, so I’m not sure how this works in tissue…)
  2. Cut the seam allowances extra wide and try to pin fit the real thing
  3. Make up the real thing and just cross my fingers it comes out as a wearable muslin rather than a complete nightmare.

Which would you do?

Flared lower ribs adjustment

50s_sundress707If you have this fitting issue, then this is the post for you. Or perhaps you sew for someone who needs this alteration? Or maybe you’ve never realised until now that there’s a name for that niggly tight area of the bodice midway between your bra band and your waist?

If you have flared lower ribs then basically your lower ribs stick out more than the average person’s. This has its upsides:

  • if you become pregnant, you’re less likely to be uncomfortable, or to go up a bra band size
  • your strapless bras won’t fall down
  • there’s always plenty of room for your lungs!

But there are downsides too:

  • your ribs can look bony even when you’re a healthy weight
  • boned or corseted RTW dresses (think bridalwear) can be seriously uncomfortable
  • it can be tricky getting the lower bodice of your handmade garments to fit, even once you’ve mastered bust adjustments.

It’s something that caused me problems when I made the halterneck 50s-style sundress in the picture above, and I ran into this adjustment again this week while sewing the camisole from the Fifi lounge set by Tilly and the Buttons. It’s oddly tight on me below the bust, even though the design is bias cut and curves outwards at that point. Yet there’s plenty of room at the waist…

If you’re altering a standard bodice with bust and waist darts, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. First, make any length alterations you need, and any alterations to the bodice at or above the bust point.
  2. Try on your toile, and mark on it where your rib cage ends. Compare this with the position of the top of the waist darts.
  3. Re-draw the waist darts, finishing 3/4″ below the bottom of your rib cage. Pin or baste in the new darts, and try on again to check the fit.
  4. If your revised darts now look weirdly short and fat, you might need to divide each one into two, or you could take a slightly larger seam allowance at the bottom of the side seam (on the front piece only)
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Here the dart on the right is the same width as the original, but the point is lower. This gives more room for your ribcage but keeps the waist measurement the same.

For a princess-seamed bodice, rejoice. You can add extra room for your ribs at just the right point (on the front princess seams only) without tweaking anything else.

For a bodice that’s flat-fronted with no darts or adjustable points, such as a knit top, you could grade out to a larger size below the bust. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to go up a size, at least on the front, and then downsize other areas like the waist, back or bust to fit you. And if you’re already grading between sizes on your bodice, look carefully at where you begin and end the grading – just shifting this might help you get around the problem altogether.

If you’d rather get around the whole problem, then the following patterns use pleats or gathers rather than darts to create shaping between bust and waist. That means you don’t have to worry too much about how far up the shaping extends. Others are available of course, but I’ve actually shelled out real money for these three. Interestingly, they’re all from the Big 4.

1. My favourite wedding guest dress pattern Vogue 8446 – (my first version is still in my alterations pile before it’s fit to blog about). I love this style on anyone whose figure isn’t straight up and down. The bodice is pleated with no front darts. Sadly now out of print (noooo!), but you could create something similar with Threadcount 1613 if you can get past the hideous satin version on the envelope.

2. Lisette for Butterick B6168. Another classy offering from Liesl Gibson. This one’s slightly high-waisted, so it may not end up being for me, but I love the way the bodice pleats are joined to the waistband detail.

3. New Look 6000 – a real blogosphere TNT from . Views A, B and C all use an asymmetrical gather on one side of the waist rather than traditional darts. Again, this is such a great detail to have in a dress (go with a solid rather than a print to make it stand out), with the added bonus that you don’t have to faff around wondering if your front darts are too pointy, too long or too wide.

Have you got an obscure fitting issue that you struggle with? And did everything suddenly fall into place once you cracked it?

Fairfield shirt – the fitting

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After my first version turned out to be too small, I’ve made a second toile of Mr Wardrobe’s Thread Theory Fairfield shirt. He’s asked to go incognito in these pictures, so you won’t get to see his lovely mug. Sorry.

The top picture shows the shirt in a size large, straight out of the envelope. I didn’t bother to finish the second cuff, or the hem, so it looks fairly rough and ready, but it’s good enough to assess the fit.

In this post, I’m going to show you the alterations I plan to make to the final version to get a better fit. If you’re fitting a man’s shirt anytime soon, I highly recommend the Fairfield sewalong. Morgan has created two posts showing all kinds of fitting issues and how to resolve them.

The design has relatively little ease, so I’m happy enough with the width across the chest, and also with the overall length of the shirt.

The first thing that needs addressing is the length of the shoulder seam. In this next picture you can see where I’ve marked Mr Wardrobe’s actual shoulder point in pencil on the toile.

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The shoulder seam falls 1-1.25″ lower than his shoulder point so I’m going to shorten this seam for the final version. Here it is pinned up to the correct length:

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With the shoulder seam pinned up, the cuff falls at exactly the right point on the wrist, so I don’t need to alter the sleeve length. (As an aside, Mr Wardrobe has thought for many years that he had freakishly short arms, but it turns out they’re actually a normal length – he just has narrow shoulders.)

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The size L collar was too small, so I’d already swapped the collar and collar stand pattern pieces for the size XL, and this fits fine.

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I didn’t interface the collar pieces for the toile, so it looks a bit crumpled in this picture.

Turning to the back of the shirt, you can see there’s a problem with the lower back area. I think it needs more width at the hip area if it’s going to be worn untucked. This should reduce the bunching at the waist, and I can do a try-on fitting for the darts to make sure they’re just right.

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With the shoulders pinned up, you can see how it might look in the final version.

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We ummm-ed and ahhh-ed over a few more alterations, like a potential rounded back adjustment. I think we’ve decided against them, at least for the first one.

But can you help me with the diagonal wrinkles in the final picture? Is that just a result of the way I’ve pinned the shoulders or is there something else going on there?

The long and the short of it

No, there hasn’t been a terrible CSI incident in my sewing room.

The book that went along with series 2 of Great British Sewing Bee has a curious suggestion to help with fitting. The idea is to look at the different proportions of your body to find out where you’ll need to lengthen or shorten a pattern to fit you. I thought I’d give it a go so you don’t have to.

You will need:

  • An empty piece of wall
  • A large sheet of paper that’s as big as you (several pieces taped together would also do the job)
  • Masking tape or Blu-tack
  • A plumb line, or something else you can use to get a vertical line
  • A felt-tip pen
  • A spirit level
  • A friend to help you

Start by taping or sticking the paper to the wall just above head height. Use a plumb-line or a weight on a string (I used my fabric scissors tied onto a length of yarn) to draw a vertical line down the paper.

Wearing close-fitting clothing (or ideally just your underwear if you’re not planning on taking pictures to share with the world!), and in bare feet, stand with your back against the paper, positioning the vertical line directly behind the centre of your body.

Get your helper to draw around you, creating that essential murder-scene style outline.

Mark the following points with dots or crosses: the top of your head, either side of the base of your neck, the end point of each shoulder, both armpits, either side of your waist, each side of your hip, and your knee line.

Then use the spirit level to draw  horizontal line in each of those places.

Finally, take the paper down from the wall and cut along the line you marked across the top of your head. Fold the paper in half lengthways and make a crease at the fold. Then fold it in half lengthways again and crease the fold.

Unfold the paper, and you should have an outline of your body that’s been folded into quarters lengthways. You’re going to compare the fold lines with the lines you drew earlier.

 

In a standard figure, the book says, the first quarter would be head-armpit, the second armpit-hips, the third hips-knees and the fourth knees-toes.

I marked the crease lines on mine in blue, and comparing them with the red lines you can see they’re pretty close, meaning that I’m not especially long in one area or another. But I am at least 4″ taller than Ms Average, so I know I’ll need to lengthen each area of a pattern an inch or so to get it to fit.

(The comparison also shows up my lop-sidedness. My left leg and pelvis are larger than the right-hand side, and this causes a corresponding slope in my shoulders.)

Overall, this isn’t a massively accurate way to take your measurements for fitting, because it only compares proportions rather than absolute numbers. That said, it’s quite fun, and you do get a life-sized drawing of yourself to cut out and keep.

Would you try this at home? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Fitting my self-drafted T-shirt block

Close-up of sleeve head

A little while back, I spent an evening revising GCSE geometry by making a close fitting T-shirt block or sloper. And this week I finally got around to running up that toile (insert Kate Bush soundtrack) to see if it fits.

Sort of, is the answer. Here’s version one in a scarily bright mint green single jersey I’ve been avoiding using for anything else because of its poor recovery. I didn’t bother adding the sleeves or finishing the edges because I wanted to get the fit through the bodice right first.

It’s just about long enough, which RTW T-shirts almost never are. And it’s got the right shape overall. But it’s too tight for my taste and it also needs more room at the bust – the underarm wrinkles are a dead giveaway. Compare it with the best fitting of my RTW T-shirts, from tall girls’ mecca Long Tall Sally.

So I tweaked the pattern a little to add a teensy bit more ease (1/2″) and followed this Cashmerette tutorial for a simple FBA for knit tops. Jenny’s method adds length to the front bodice rather than width, making the front longer than the back. You then ease the extra length in at the side seams between the waist and the armpit to give more room at the bust.

Here’s version two, in the  mint jersey again. As you can see, it’s pretty much indistinguishable from V1, so I’ve clearly been too timid with the adjustments.

So, some more adjustments to make. (And I’ve run out of mint jersey, dammit.) For the next and hopefully final toile, I’ll:

  • add another inch or so of ease widthways
  • lengthen below the waist by 1/2″
  • scoop out the neckline, even for the block pattern
  • try adding short sleeves.

Wish me luck!

How to make trousers that fit: part 4

It’s toile time! Bring on the muslin mania! (Seriously, who actually enjoys this part?) After part 3, where we made some basic fitting adjustments and sewed up the toile, you’re now ready to try it on and see how it looks.

Here’s how to go about it.

First, get the crotch in the right place. The central crotch seam – where you’ve got a cross-shape as the four key pieces meet – should be directly underneath you, and relatively close-fitting so that it can (but doesn’t always) touch whatever you’re wearing underneath. If you’re large of thigh like me, there’s a real chance you’ll have to rip open some seams to do this, so this is why those extra-deep seam allowances were a great idea. If you’re slim-waisted, you might need pins or elastic to hold your toile up.

Once you’ve got the crotch seam in the right place start by assessing the crotch depth – the vertical waist-crotch distance. It’ll be easier to assess this at the front than the back. If you checked and adjusted the crotch depth in part 3 it should be very close to perfect. If it needs fixing, do that, and if needed, make another muslin before you alter anything else.

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My first toile for the Thurlow trousers needed more length adding to the crotch depth.

Once you’re happy with the crotch depth, you can turn your attention to the crotch length. Look at the length of the seam that runs around the body from the centre front, between your legs and up to the centre back.

If the trousers look as though they’re trying to disappear up your bum, then you need more length in the back crotch. If you’ve got excess fabric top to bottom at the centre back seam but the crotch and waist are both sitting in the right place, then you need to reduce the back crotch length. If you have ‘smile wrinkles’ emanating from the front crotch area (!), but the hip and waist are in the right place at the side seams, then your front crotch length is too short. Again, if you need to make one of these adjustments do it before fiddling with anything else, and you might need to make another muslin before moving on. For more pictures and examples, I recommend this excellent post from A Fashionable Stitch on crotch length adjustments.

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My second toile needed more length in the back crotch seam.

Crotch depth and crotch length are the two critical fit issues for trousers. After that, it starts to feel similar to fitting a pencil skirt or a sheath dress. Your best strategy is to schedule a quiet hour in front of the mirror and play around with some pins, elastic and a willing fellow sewist or failing that, a camera. (That doesn’t sound so good written down, does it?). Fitting problems seem to show up more clearly in pictures than in the mirror.

To assess what’s wrong and learn how to fix it, you’ll need a good fitting book. There are tons of these out there and I haven’t found one yet that’s perfect: clear, intuitive and easy-to-follow. The main contenders are:

  • Fitting and Pattern Alteration – incredibly comprehensive, but I don’t find the diagrams and instructions in my second edition copy that easy to follow.
  • Pants for Real People – a real bible for a lot of people, and it uses real-life photos. But I don’t buy into the tissue fitting approach – no one wears paper clothes and I always tear the tissue when I try this.
  • Colette’s Pants Fitting Cheat Sheet – clear and short (!) but doesn’t come with diagrams
  • My current favourite, chapters 5 and 8 of Vogue Sewing (2006). The diagrams in this one are some of the clearest I’ve seen but it’s not as extensive as Fitting and Pattern Alteration.

Once you get into the process, you’re likely to end up making two or three toiles before you find the fit you want. Each one will be better than the last, and you’ll get there in the end, I promise.

 

 

Trouser trauma

So I finished my third pair of Thurlow trousers.

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After the second version, I decided to add a little bit more to the crotch length, and to use the method that also adds more room at the thigh. And this is the result. It looks pretty good. From the front.

Less good from the back though.

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There’s a fair amount of sag going on at the back thigh, which I’m sure wasn’t there when I tried them on at the final fitting. I can think of three possible reasons for this:

  1. I had some, err, pre-menstrual bloating going on when I did the final fitting. (Entirely possible)
  2. The fabric has bagged out from one or two days of wear. Also possible, I guess, but it’s a wool/polyester mix suiting fabric, so I really wasn’t expecting that to happen.
  3. I’ve mysteriously lost half a stone since the final fitting. According to my bathroom scales, this is damn nigh impossible.

To fix this, I think I next need to make a ‘low buttocks curve’ adjustment. Mmmm. Sounds great. And probably to take out some of the extra width I added at the thigh while I’m at it. I might check whether these ones shrink in the wash first…

That said, this is my favourite pair because it’s the nicest fabric I’ve used so far. If I can get this final step in the fitting process right, I might finally be prepared to spend some serious money on some top quality trousering. Or even to line them – has anyone tried this with an unlined trouser pattern?

Costs:

Pattern £13.50, but this is my third pair so let’s say £4.50

Fabric £18.00 from Birmingham’s Fancy Silk Store, lining pieces were from my scraps box

Notions – roughly £4 for a hook and bar, a button, thread and scraps of fusible interfacing

Total cost: £26.50

How to make trousers that fit: part 3

Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s time to get cracking on that pattern and make up your first toile (muslin).

Sizing

Whether you take a 2 or a 22, picking the right size can mean one fewer toile in your fitting process so it’s worth re-taking your hip measurement at this point. Make sure you’re measuring around the widest part, that the tape is horizontal and then compare your measurement with the chart.

For trousers (pants for our American cousins), it’s best to go by your hip measurement. We’re going to fit the trousers from the crotch outwards – in all directions – so the waist measurement isn’t as important as the hip.

This week (and it definitely varies during the year…), my hip measurement is 42″ so on this Simplicity chart (Amazing fit trousers 2860), I’d use the size 18.

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You might want to trace off the pattern you’re going to use before you start. We’re probably going to be hacking it about quite a bit…

Initial adjustments

There are three things I think you can safely adjust before you make up a toile: the crotch depth, leg length and any grading up or down between sizes at the waist. Each of these alterations can be done pretty accurately based on your measurements, and they’re independent of each other. If you do them now, you won’t have to do an extra toile to get them right later.

  1. Getting the crotch depth right

The crotch depth is the vertical distance between the waistline of the trousers and the crotch. On my Simplicity pattern envelope, it’s helpfully stated that the pattern uses a  waist to hip distance of 9″. I know that my waist to hip distance is 10″, so I’d lengthen the pattern by 1″ at this point.

If your pattern doesn’t state the waist to hip distance, you can measure the pattern pieces to work it out – just remember to subtract all the seam allowances at the waistband.

Most trousers patterns have a marked lengthen/shorten line you can use to adjust the pattern. If yours doesn’t, then pick a spot below the placket opening but above the crotch seam and draw in your own line  perpendicular to the grainline. Use the pattern’s notches to match up your front and back pieces so that you make the alteration in the same place on both.

Already sewn up your toile? Sunni from A Fashionable Stitch has written a great post on how to identify a crotch depth problem from your toile/muslin.

2. Getting the leg length right

This is an easy one to spot, and to alter later on, but you might as well get it right first time, especially for slim fit trousers.

Leg length in trousers is usually quoted in inches, and it’s measured along the inseam of the garment rather than on the body. So if a pair of trousers has a 33″ leg that means the finished garment will measure 33″ along the inseam from the crotch to the hem.

You can measure a pair of trousers from your existing wardrobe and compare these with the inseam of the pattern piece (remembering to take off the seam allowance at the crotch and the hem allowance).

Then lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces at the marked lines (usually at, or above and below, the knee) until it’s the length you want.

3. Grading between sizes

With your waist measurement to hand, go back to the pattern envelope and see if you’re the same pattern size at the waist as at the hip. If not, you might want to grade (taper) up or down a size to get a better fit. For the moment, I’d suggest you only alter the pattern at the side seams and the waistband, and by one size at most. There are other possible reasons for a large size difference here (a sway back or a large abdomen, for example ) and we need to leave ourselves scope to make these alterations if needed.

Tips for an easier fitting process

There are some other things you can try with your toile to make your fitting process easier:

  1. Transfer all the pattern markings, including things like the hip line and knee line, onto your toile. This’ll help you see not only whether those lines are in the right place, but also whether they’re lopsided.
  2. Enlarge the seam allowances from 1.5cm to 2cm or even more if you like so that you have room to try letting the seams out.
  3. Marking the seam allowances on the pattern pieces, and transferring these onto the toile fabric will make it easier to work out your fitting adjustments and to transfer these back to the pattern pieces.

Ready? Set your machine to a nice long basting stitch, thread it up with a contrasting thread, and let’s get to it and sew up the toile!

Missed parts 1 and 2? Catch up here

How to make trousers that fit: part 2

If you’ve chosen a terrific trouser pattern that suits your shape and figure type you’ll be casting your eye around for some suitable fabric. There are so many options – what should you go for?

Choosing fabric for trousers

Start with the fabric suggestions for your pattern. The designer will have put lots of thought into these, recommending fabrics with just the right qualities. If you’re still in a quandry, then as well as colour, print and feel, you’ll want to think about:

  • stretch: does your pattern call for a stretch fabric – if so, then if you stray from the recommended stretch factor then you might need to size up or down to get a good fit
  • thickness: if your fabric’s too thick then details like a fly front or pockets will be hard to sew and could distort the garment’s lines; too thin and you’ll be at risk of VPL!
  • creasing v pressing: linen makes beautiful trousers and it’s easy to press, but as soon as you sit down you’ll be covered in creases – an artificial fibre won’t crease much but it’ll be harder to press into shape.

Once you’ve chosen your main fabric, you’ll also need fabric for making a toile (muslin) or potentially several. Grab something that has exactly the same stretch, and a similar weight and thickness to your main fabric. This is so that your final trousers fit the same as your toile.

Hubble, bubble, toile and trouble

Let’s face it, you’re probably making your own trousers because RTW trousers usually don’t fit you. So there’s no getting away from it: you are going to have to make a toile. Probably two. Possibly three. So load up on calico or scratch around for something else you can use – I made my first trouser toile from a gift wrapping bag.

Depending on your pattern, you might be able to leave out some pieces when you make your toile. You can probably forego the back pockets (although it helps to mark where they’ll go), and potentially the front pockets too, depending on the construction method.

I’d suggest you do put in the fly-front zip, side zip or whatever fastening is suggested. The fit won’t be exactly the same without it. And you should definitely plan to toile the waistband.

You could opt to save fabric by making a shorts toile instead, as Lauren did for the Thurlow sewalong, but this didn’t work out well for me. The Thurlow pattern uses different pieces for the shorts from those for the trousers – the shorts pieces are wider in the leg so my shorts toile didn’t show up that I needed to add extra width at the thigh. If your pattern only has one set of pieces, you could probably make a shorter version for your first toile (while you get the crotch to fit), but for slim fit trousers, you’ll probably want to make a full-length toile at some point to get the fit right around the knees and calves.

And when you cut out the pieces for your toile, you won’t need to worry about nap, pattern matching or even which is the right side of the fabric, so this should help to reduce the yardage you need to buy for your toile.

Next up (coming soon) in part 3: making your muslin