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custom drafted pants

kalypsew | Posted in General Discussion on

I am very excited to have finished my first, but definitely not last, pair of custom drafted pants. They are completely finished and I will wear them to work tomorrow.

I drafted the pattern using the Margaret Islander method. After measuring, the drafting only took about an hour. They fit very well. I did take them in a little during the fitting process and will correct that on the pattern. Also, the inseams (front and back) did not match up well, but that is also a simple correction. The only other adjustment I will make is to lengthen the legs about an inch.

I used the ‘comfy waistband’ I saw on someone’s blog. Basically, I just used 1 1/4 inch elastic as a facing. I extended the top of the waistband to cover the elastic. It is ‘comfy’ and a cinch to put in. And it looks like you have a facing. I think this will be my waistband of choice from now on.

I did not include pockets on these but will in the future. The fabric I used was a relatively cheap linen like blend from Joann’s. I washed and dried it first.

I definitely recommend drafting custom patterns. Last week I made a skirt after drafting it myself.



  1. jjgg | | #1

    Now that you know the basics of how it's done, get yourself a pattern drafting book such as Helen Joseph Armstrong's book and learn how to change up these basic patterns into even better ones. The possibilities are endless once you have a few basic well fitted blocks.

    Good for you , isn't it liberating?

    1. NansiSews | | #2

      Do you have a book title and/or resource?  Sounds like a good addition.  Thanks

      1. jjgg | | #3

        Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. Just google it or go to Amazon. It's a very comprehensive textbook.

        1. RhettaRic | | #5

          That book is $101!!!!  Is it really worth it??  (Found it used for $65)

          Edited 2/26/2008 9:25 am by RhettaRic

          1. jjgg | | #6

            Try to find an older (3rd edition) on ebay or amazon. If you really are interested in doing pattern drafting it is a great book, very comprehensive.You can start of cheaper though by going to vintagesewing.info and looking at some of the old pattern drafting books there. I don't think they have quite the level of instruction as the Helen Joseph Armstrong book , but they will get you started.It's really just simply following the directions going from point A to point B, but you have to understand how to manage certain areas - like curves, flair etc. YOu have to understand about making matching seams all the exact same length so they will sew together etc.

          2. NansiSews | | #7

            Thanks, I'll check it out!

          3. Beavette | | #8


          4. RhettaRic | | #9

            Thanks!  I just may splurge (again).

          5. User avater
            dbsewing | | #10

            Thank you everyone for the great information. I'm going to the websites now, I'm hard to fit I would love to draft my own pants!

          6. Digi | | #11

            I've always wanted to try making my own pants pattern, mostly because I've never gotten one to fit my figure.  I have really long and skinny legs (no thighs) and narrow hips and no "bum" behind.  I like wearing pants, but dislike feeling (and looking like) one of those old ladies who, no one can tell whether I'm walking forward or backward because of my lower half. 

            Is there any hope for a nice fitting pair of pants for a boyish figure like mine?  Would the book you suggested help in my case?  I really would like to feel feminine in a nice pair of pants.

            Thanks for any help you can give.


          7. Beavette | | #12

            The book has a whole chapter on pants and different styles. The back of the book has a section on altering pants/fitting problems. Remember the version I have is from the late 80's and newer modern version is probably available. Mine may have been the first print. I think your body type might be easier to fit a good pair of pants to than a curvier one. fabric choices make a big difference. Try elegant fine pin stripping, it is quite feminine yet easy to work with.

          8. Digi | | #14

            Thanks so much for the additional information.  I've been trying to find that book, but Amazon doen't have anything listed on it.  All I can find is that $100 book, and I just can't afford that right now.  I'll move onto your next message to see the photos.  Thanks so much for taking the time to help.  I noticed that the new Threads (I haven't gotten mine yet but noticed the index on their website) has an article about design your own jeans.  That might help, too.

          9. Beavette | | #13

            Here are a few pictures from the book. One is pants chapter content. the other is the first page of the pants adjustment section in back. This way you might be able to get an idea of how the book is written. Easy to follow. Good diagrams.

          10. Digi | | #15

            I just looked at the images you included and found them helpful.  I wonder if this one book I found on Amazon would be just as good.  The name and author are:

            Fabric, Form and Flat Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich.  It looks very good and even talks about the type, weight etc of fabric being used and how it affects the fit (which we all know, but need to be reminded of from time to time).

            Thanks again for your help.  I'm off and running now, back to the sewing machine.

          11. jjgg | | #16

            http://cgi.ebay.com/PATTERNMAKING-FOR-FASHION-DESIGN-HELEN-J-ARMSTRONG_W0QQitemZ380001846711QQihZ025QQcategoryZ378QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItemI know this is a long link. It's from ebay - do a search for "fashion design books" this is the 2nd edition, it's $75.00.If you watch ebay, I've seen the book for less than this.Also, just Google used books, and you will get lots of used book sites that will have it.

            Edited 3/2/2008 8:24 pm ET by jjgg

          12. Digi | | #17

            Great idea; thank you so much!  I will check that out first thing tomorrow.  I really do want to make some nice pants/slacks/trousers, jeans ...all of them ...that fit nicely.

            We are all shaped differently, so it is near impossible to use a store pattern "as is".  The challenge, however, is worth it when the end result looks perfect.

            Thanks again for your suggestion.  ;-)

      2. kalypsew | | #4

        I used the Margaret Islander video which came with a workbook. Google her name....she has a website...lots of videos....I have all of them...she does amazing things....in my intermediate sewer's mind.

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