An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Monday, April 13

First Version of Trouser Pattern

April 13, 2015 Posted by Vaire ,

I spent the weekend on the floor, making the first draft of the pattern for trousers. As a result my knees are reminding me once in a while that I've abused them, my lower back is really pissed off and my thighs are grumpy. Whatever. I've got a first workable pattern out of it. I've also come to the conclusion that if I want to seriously sew, I need a proper sewing table, but that's a topic for another post.

Style wise I like the wide leg trousers I am wearing currently and I really like the lines of 30's and 40's trousers. Fitted waists, long wide legs. Perfect. At first I tried to find a modern pattern, but all modern wide-leg trouser patterns I found were only wide compared to the skin tight fashions of today. In other words, not wide enough for me, or were reprints of 70's vintage patterns, which is an entirely different silhouette.

This is the best inspiration picture of this silhouette I've found. This is what I want, but with one difference — I want my shirts over the trousers, not in. But this shows exactly the style and fit of trousers I'm after. I'm not that slim, but I want something that fits me now, and once I figure out the pattern, I can always adjust it as I lose weight.

I looked around for vintage patterns, and they were either too expensive (especially with shipping), or not my size, or both. I did find Wearing History that sells both redrawn vintage and modernised vintage patters for reasonable prices. Sadly, again, not in my size, so I didn't order any. But when I learned about her Kickstarter campaign, I donated because I liked her business idea. It helped that I could choose some of her patterns as a reward. I chose Smooth Sailing Trousers and two vintage 30's trouser patterns.

The problem now was that the Smooth Sailing pattern went up to 34 inch waist and mine is 100 cm (39"). At first I considered tracing a Burda trouser pattern in size 50 (my size), layering that over the trouser pattern and a 30's vintage pattern with the deep crotch curve and tracing a new one from those. I spent Friday and Saturday taping and tracing patterns on the floor.

First Draft, Trousers

At one point on Saturday after I'd fetched some tea, I came back to this. Everyone knows that one should never disturb a sleeping cat, so I took a break from the floor and to think about how to proceed. In the end I discarded the idea to use the modern pattern as a size guide and just enlarge the trouser pattern and to use the vintage pattern for the crotch curve.

First Draft, Trousers

This is what the first version for the front trouser pattern looked like. I began by calculating how much I needed to enlarge the waist and came up with adding 4 cm to either side, for a total of 16 cm. Then I decided to add 4 cm evenly around the legs as well for gloriously wide trousers. The small drawing is a tracing of a vintage pattern diagram, as you can see the crotch curve is even deeper there in proportion. One day, I'll replicate those, but I want to make this pattern work now.

First Draft, Trousers

After repeating that process with the back pattern piece and pin-fitting the tracings, I ended up with front pattern that looked like this. It's obvious that I made a mistake in my calculations — adding 4 cm to all edges was too much, I only needed 5 cm more on the front. But it was a good thing because as you can see I did need those 4 cm at the hip with only 1 additional cm at centre front.

First Draft, Trousers

I pin-fitted the traced patterns twice before cutting them out, and I had to reduce the back width drastically. The total waist is still wider, but the distribution of cloth in relation to the dart is different. As much as I could see in the mirror, it sat at the right place, but I'm very curious to see how much I have to adjust it's placement on cloth. I am planning to leave a generous amount of seam allowance in case I've taken off too much from the back. I can always trim it back, adding cloth there is not fun or comfortable at all.

Another thing that I completely forgot about when I started the enlarging process was that English style patterns come with seam allowances IN the pattern. That's partly why my calculations ended up being wrong. I added 5" plus ease (total of 16 cm) to a pattern that was larger than the waist size given. I am used to German style patterns that do not include seam allowances or hems and I much prefer that. This way I can adjust the seam allowances and hems myself, I'm not bound to someone else's ideas. And enlarging patterns is so much easier if you don't have to account for the seam allowances!

The next step is to get a sewing table so I don't have to cut out the trousers on the floor. Hopefully this way I can reduce the amount of pain and the amount of cat hair on the cloth.