Failed: Trousers in dark grey linen.

My drafting lessons this Summer ended with a final fitting of my practise trousers. CB had to be taken in a lot at the top. My teacher divided some of this to the side seams which have now become too shaped to my liking (I’m very straight at my sides).

Therefor I have taken the skirt pattern, which I developed over the Summer and which fits me well now, and have laid it on top of my trousers pattern. I’ve taken the main lines and measurements from my skirt and only the CB and CF and width of legs from the trousers pattern. I then drafted all the pattern pieces from that: yoke, waist band, pockets.

Over the past few weeks I took these SEWING STEPS:

  1. inner pocket
  2. waist band put together with its interfacing (non-iron). Including top stitching.
  3. staystitching
  4. attach yoke to back panels.
  5. sew the long seams, adding biais band to catch the raw edge
  6. zipper, good videotutorial from Threads here with excellent photo tutorial from Itch to Stitch here
  7. waist band
  8. fit.


bad at sewing trousers...bad at sewing trousers...
The pocket openings “lubber” terrible… even though they are reinforced.

And the waist band… is too wide. Again?? I keep keeping trouble with the width of my waist band. Even though it too is reinforced and shaped checked and double checked and fitted onto both the pattern and my body.
bad at sewing trousers...
It can be the woven cloth that duped me, stretching. I also remember sewing Centre Front, at the zip flap, freehand. Perhaps I veered off to one side, adding wearing ease. The sideseams of the waist band do not match those of the legs precisely either. All of the above together?

The back sits alright. That yoke is designed while drafting, just a straight line getting rid of waist darts. Not sure about its succes in real life:
bad at sewing trousers...

The fabric is woven linen, meant for curtains. It frays quite a bit. So I was careful with handling it and I enclosed most of the seams with biais band:
The back yoke, the side seams, the inner seams. Pretty much everything is enclosed.

I sewed a jeans zipper successfully, following this tutorial by Itch to Stitch. Very good. I feel confident about jeans’ zippers now.

The inside before installing zipper. CF is closed (basted at the fly) and the seam is enclosed in biais band.

I’m laying this aside for now. I want to start on a shirt. I think I’ll take these trousers to a sewing teacher to see if it can be salvaged. The waistband is not fixed permanently yet and can be easily ripped free. Then we can rearrange the front parts, while I wear it. Perhaps it can still become something wearable.


Sewing practise trousers


My practise trousers, from an old bedsheet my neighbour gave me. Here are the notes I made:

preparing the pattern

I trued the paper pattern pieces (or so I thought). Changed the waist band so CB wouldn’t have that sharp angle. I changed the angle to 3 small darts and then folded those away:
proef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousers

Pressed my fabric and am ready for cutting.

first question: are yokes on trousers in double fabric? Running upstairs to look at husband’s jeans…. they are not. They are on gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s dress shirts. Here’s an informative article about yokes in clothes on general:

There’s so much to learn about constructing clothes, I love it!

cutting the fabric

Punched holes in the paper at all significant points. These are where notches are located in regular patterns I guess. Placing paper on top of the fabric, weighing it down with whatever I have laying about (scissors mostly)

I touched each hole with my permanent marker. I then removed the paper and drew in the seam lines with ball point. Repeated on the second layer of fabric.

Cut out with wide seam allowance, about 2,5 cm/ 1 inch. I could cut a bit rough since my seam lines are marked so clear.

I tailor tacked the point at Centre Front where the zip flies end. Right on the seam line.

sewing steps

following Angela Kane’s video tutorial about sewing jeans. She runs an excellent site!

Starting with staystitching the top of the front panels, including the pocket curve. Realizing my pattern pieces look odd, I didn’t cut out the pocket hole in the front pocket. Doing this I realize my idea of a pocket of 7 cm wide and 10 cm high is nice but is placed too high in these trousers, I’d never get my hand in. I elongate the side pocket entrance to 13 cm. This looks comfortable and looks better too, it makes the lines in the trousers longer. (They won’t be deep pockets though. But interesting to see what these lines do for my silhouet. And whether these pockets might bulge.)

proef broek practice trousers

Before I staystitch now I need to sew the darts in the front panel. They’re still there, I couldn’t fold them away.
Before I sew in the darts I sew together the front seam, from zip fly to crotch, now that the two pieces of fabric are still matched up so beautifully.

done all that, next step: cut of the fly extension from the left front panel.


things ended up weird. My fly extensions were way smaller than Angela Kane’s. There was no room for topstitching or attaching Right Front Zip Guard (which pattern piece I didn’t even have).
I suspected my drafting course was aiming for a different zip than a jeans fly zip. I ripped out all seams and did what I thought was good.

proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers

I now have a zip that’s covered, both at the front and the back. But these practice trousers now have the raw edge of the zipper tape visible:
proef broek practice trousers
Normally a zip peeks out from under the folded side of the Left Front Panel. This fold hides the edge of the zipper tape. Behind the zip is a separate piece of cloth, coming from that same Left Front Panel, that prevents the zipper teeth from touching your bare belly.
The zipper is sandwiched between these two parts and the weird thing is that the front part that’s folding back is only a few mm wide. The back part sticks out a couple of cm, it ends up covering the width of the part of the waistband with the closure up top (button or clasp).


right pocket is too wide. It’s also supposed to be caught in the zip area but I’m already past that phase. I don’t know what my teacher wanted me to do. Today I just shorten the pocket a bit and secure it with the waist band. Next trousers will be better.
proef broek practice trousers

Couldn’t zigzag over the edge of the toppocket part. I pinked it and gave it two rows od stitching:
proef broek practice trousers

BACK YOKE and pockets if I had them.

didn’t remove the pins from the back seam, the lower part. The two parts are still matched up beautifully.

Side Seams.

pin carefully, using the notches (aka hip line point etc.) Pin, sew, neaten, press to the back, topstitch.

wait, I wanted felled seams.

pin wrong sides together…..pff, they don’t match up very well. Here it shows how impottant it is to have the front pockets in the right position. That’s it, I’m done for the day.

next day: that’s quite alright, pinning the WS together. Means I get to do an easy fitting after basting them together.

Ah, but my seam line is marked on the WS so will be pinning RS together after all.

huh? sideseams don’t match at the top. Both front panel and back panel do seem to follow the pattern pieces exactly but Back is 1,5 cm shorter than front.

Trued the pattern, from “zithoogte” to bottom om waistband there’s indeed a difference between front and back piece….


Shortening the side seam frontpanel to match the back. Need to adjust the waistband then. .. well, it only needs 1 mm more width to cover the new curve. But the shape does need to be different. Cutting new pieces of front waist band.

t komt toch wel heel nauw hoe de pas op het achterpand wordt vastgezet. na spelden eerst kijken of de sideseams nog overeenkomen met het papieren patroon. Dat is nu niet zo dus ik heb het verschil gemiddeld in de naalijn.

back seam

sew, clip, pink, press.
Not topstitching yet, I discovered during pressing that I hadn’t followed the exact sewing line on one side:


Which is weird because the two pieces were still pinned together from when I cut the fabric. They were never apart.

I’ll try it on for fit first and then, if it’s ok, I’ll topstitch.

inner seam.

join at crotch, pin, sew…


there’s a huge difference at the front panels, where they meet up at the crotch. ?? I must have matched the cutting edge instead of the notches. How weird. I did some more weird things yesterday. Don’t sew when tired.

I can follow the right line but now the right front panel is a tad higher in the waist then the left one.


waist band

made a new pattern piece for the front. Making up for that too much height in just the side seams of the front panels. Adjusted block too.

Added facing. Forgot to put in a stay.

The Back seam of the waist band doesn’t line up properly. I divide the difference and sew down the middle:

proefbroekproef broek practice trousers



It’s a pair of trousers…. the first ones I ever made, apart from that muslin.

It’s quite wide at the top. Too roomy. The fit at the back is not good. Yoke is weird. Panels under the yoke are weird. Going to show my teacher and ask for advice.

Width of legs is ok? Not sure about the upper legs though, gotta ask my teacher. Could have a bit more flare in my linen trousers from this pattern. It isn’t very comfortable to sit in, the back rides down and it’s tight around my upper legs.

It doesn’t do my behind much favours. I have this beautiful curve in my lower back and then small buttocks and slender legs. Trousers should use that. These ones are quite baggy and hide these features. Especially from the back, it looks more like “mom-pants”.

Also, I think it should sit higher, at my waist line, not at the widest part of my tummy.

Overall not bad for first trousers. I’m really looking forward to having a fitting and hearing some professional opinions.

I like the look of the elongated front pockets.


door aangepaste (verkorte) sideseam voorkant de tailleband opnieuw tekenen. En 2 x uitknippen + 1 x verstevinging. Dus 4 x in stof en 2 x in vlieseline of in stof



next time

stay stitch waist band and yoke before construction

smoothen shape of waist band. Less pronounced bumps.

enlarge zip fly extensions. add zip guard. Follow Angela Kane’s Jeans Zip Fly – Ultimate Guid- Video Tutorial

Drafting trousers using the block

I’ve got my block. On paper I’ve got the steps I need to take to transform it into a pattern for trousers. Let’s get to it.

  1. copy block
  2. decide on wearing ease for the legs. This is from the horizontal hip guide downwards, I’m not changing the wearing ease upwards. I have one pair of trousers, linen, and their wide legs are 56 cm in circumference. My block is 40,5cm. I’m choosing 45 cm, for a pair of linen Summer pants with a bit of flair. I’m adding 1,1 cm to each side seam (curving it to the original line at the inner side seams). Plus a seam allowance of 1,5 cm should I want more width.
  3. waist how high? I want it in my waist line, but only at the back. Decrease 2 cm at CF and sideseams. None at CB.
  4. facing or waist band? waist band. With my sway back it’ll be always a band. 4,5 cm high. Well, what do you know, the band is as high as the triangle I had to take out at CB to accommodate my sway back.
  5. darts. usual people can make them disappear into the waist band and the itty bitty left over dart can me ignored or transferred to the side seam. I’m not sure since my darts are still pretty long and pretty wide. I’ll leave them in and ask to my teacher for comment.
  6. front pocket. I drew in a standard pocket: 10 cm wide, 7 cm high. Below the waist band. Standard jeans pocket. Then I measured the pocket on my comfortable linen trousers and found they are 7 wide and 10 deep. I like the look of these, they are slimming. I’m changing my pocket. The pocket consists of three pieces. I folded away the dart that’ll be still in the outer shell.
  7. zip facing. Add 2,5 cm to CF, this goes under. Facing stays above the curve in CF, the zip will be a short one. I’ve got one from 11 cm long (measured the teeth alone), from an old skirt. It matches the length of the zip on the linen Summer pants I’ve been wearing for 20 years now. The 11 cm is just the length between the waist band and the curve in CF. Mark 2,5 cm on the inside of CF, this will become the facing. I’m just drawing it in the shape I see a lot on the internet, haven’t got a clue otherwise. Watch tutorial about sewing a faced zipper. Angela Kane is very good.
  8. back pocket. Not doing one.
  9. yoke at the back. Frontseam 4 cm, CB 6 cm. Fold dart into it. If any dart is left you can fold it away in the side seam and CB. I have a dart left of 5,5 mm wide and 2,3 cm high. I move half of it to the side seam and half of it to CB. O my, so many yokes are possible! It’s a real design feature, apart from making the dart disappear. I made a bit of a straight yoke, I’m afraid. By default I made the line cross CB at a straight edge. Not the most flattering look it seems. Shall I alter?
  10. belt loops. Make 5 or 6, on the waist band. Look online how. Study where to place them.

Now to true the pattern. Just making sure all the curvy bits share the same curves (yoke and back panel, yoke and waistband, pocket and front panel etc.) With all the copying a curved line is bound to differ from the mate it’s supposed to match.

Next: sew a practise garment. I’ve got some bright orange bed sheets left. I’ll sew for fit and to gain some experience. If fit is alright I’ll sew up a real pair of trousers in one of the linens I bought. (Here are some photo’s on sewing the yoke with a felled seam.)

My existing trousers have a different pocket shape from standard jeans:

There’s even a front yoke. I like these trousers very much. The elongated pocket shape elongates my short figure. And the pockets are at a convenient height, I love to casual put my hands in them. In my pattern I chose the same shape of pocket but they are placed higher up since I didn’t dare to do a front yoke on my very first trouser pattern (and sewing).

Folding away the dart for the inside layers of the pocket:

Weird dart on the right, at CB, for sway back. Luckily it falls right within the waist band:

I’ve never sewn pants before. Only the muslin and the orange block toile. I’m going to watch tutorials about sewing pants from Angela Kane. She’s very good!

Drafting trousers: fitting the block

So I have this block for trousers from my drafting lessons. Now it’s time to make a pattern out of it. We were theoretically shown how to do so in a short afternoon. Now it’s time for a tactile experience.

It’s going to be trousers with a zip (fly), with straight legs that are a bit roomy, with a waist band and with pockets. Side seams will be felled or French.

First I need to decide whether to make the toile from the pattern or from the block. The block actually needs another fit to determine if its good and finished. I’m looking for a way to combine both since fit concerns are only around the waist and the hips and those are not altered when I change the block into the pattern.

I’ll do a quick block toile first so I can draft the waist band and pockets precise and for real when I do the pattern.

  1. press cloth. Fold double. Make sure your table has a protecting layer underneath so you won’t leave marker ink on your table.
  2. place block on cloth and prick pinholes in the major points. Touch each hole with a felt tip pen, marking the cloth underneath. Permanent marker.
  3. pin cloth together. Then take paper block away, checking all points got marked.
  4. connect the dots, drawing in the seamlines, grain, darts, notches and guidance lines. I use ball point for this.
  5. pin cloth together within the pattern. Touch all marking dots with the permanent marker again. Undo some pin at the outer part and check whether the second layer of fabric received all the markings.
  6. cut out roughly the shape, including a seam allowance. I did about an inch.
  7. turn over and draw the lines on the second piece of fabric, connecting the dots.
  8. now pin the right seams together. I sewed CB first, since that’s already pinned together.
  9. sew the seams.
  10. fit

conclusing fitting the block: it’s ok. It needs a bit of a pull up at the front to make the side seams run vertical. CB needs a little tuck in at the waist, I do have a bit of a swayed back. 1,5 cm on both sides of the seam, to nothing at 4,5 cm from the top edge. Changing the block.

Legs are too tight for regular trousers. They need more room around the knee and lower part of the upper leg. Below the knee it doesn’t need additional width. I’m not changing the block but will keep this in mind whenever I draft a pattern.

The strangest thing: the sideseam of the front parts is more curved than that of the back parts. But they do fit together because they have the same length. And it sits ok in this toile. Something to show my teacher. They should look more similar, I’d think.