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Draft Your Own Pants Pattern

Start with a straight skirt that fits, and youʼre halfway to great-fitting pants
Threads #70, April/May 1997

A virtually endless stream of books and articles has been written on the topic of adjusting pants patterns to fit the female form. But if you’re one of the many sewers who are still struggling with the problem, I’ve got a radical suggestion: Why not draft your own pants pattern?

Most home sewers start by buying a pattern in a style they like, then try to alter it to fit. Perhaps as a result, most pants-fitting methods take the same approach. But patternmakers typically start the other way around. First, they’ll create a fitted basic pattern, then adapt this basic to create the style they want. As both a patternmaker and a home sewer, I can attest that this is usually a much easier, and much more logical, approach. The only drawbacks are that you have to learn a little drafting, and perhaps buy a few tools. But I predict you’ll be amazed at how simple the drafting process actually is, especially if you’ve tried in vain to alter your way into a well-fitted pair of pants. 

Step 1: A fitted skirt

Professional patternmakers very sensibly start a pants draft with a pattern for a straight skirt that fits well and that’s the approach I’ll take here. This way, you’ll have solved half the fitting problems that your lower body presents, because you’ll have already defined your waist, and shaped the side seams and darts to the curves and asymmetries just below it. It doesn’t matters where you got the skirt pattern, or how you got it to fit, as long as you’re pleased with the fit in the waist and hips, and it’s a simple, straight, two-piece pattern with side seams and darts front and back, like Vogue 1000 or Butterick 3415, for example. You’ll…

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Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

Making your own pants is a great way to get a perfect fit, every time. 

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