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Draft a Pants Sloper that Fits

By drawing a master pants-fitting pattern, you can avoid altering commercial pants and skirt patterns
Threads 89, June/July 2000
A few drawing tools and careful measurements are all you need to draft a professional-quality pants pattern for yourself. Clockwise from left, a designer’s curve, a ruler, and a drafting square.

Attractive, well-fitting, comfortable pants are a must in the modern woman’s wardrobe, whether for business/casual attire, or formal- or weekend wear. But making a pair of pants that fits can be a sewer’s nightmare, simply because adapting commercial patterns to a body’s individual quirks can be so time-consuming and frustrating—not to mention that you have to make the same or similar changes every time you use a new pants pattern. So as both a student and instructor of garment design, one of my projects has been developing an easy method for drafting an individual pants sloper that home and professional sewers alike can use as a foundation for designing their own custom pants patterns.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps for drafting and fine-tuning the basic sloper, a comfortable but style-less “template” on which to base your designs; in another issue, I’ll show you simple variations you can introduce to a pants sloper to design custom-fitted pants, shorts, and slim skirts.

For better measurements, start with a helper

Accurate measurements are key for a good sloper, so be sure to follow these guidelines carefully; you may want to use a helper for absolute accuracy. Wear leggings, pantyhose, or tights to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible, because, as you’ll see, you’ll need a surface on which to pin or tape reference marks. 

To begin, stand straight with feet together and flat on the floor, and with arms slightly raised away from your body, facing forward. Have your helper mark your side-seam placement with pins or transparent tape from waistline to hip; remember, side seams are positioned slightly toward the front. Your natural waist serves as the landmark for finding further measurements, so it needs to…

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Previous: How to Get Your Pants to Fit Better at the Back Leg Next: Restyling Pants Patterns


  1. user-7857883 | | #1

    The theory is relatively "easy" to understand but the steps and the math are very confusing. And the graphics are messy looking (pixels don't make good curves). I think I'll find an easier explanation elsewhere.

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Fit and Sew Pants

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