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


Finished: Stylish Cat Lady Blouse and X-mas Deer Blouse (Burda 6909)

Burda 6909 with lots of alterations:

Among which: underbust shaping; horizontal dart at the waist; arm hole; sleeve; a lot less curve at the back princess seams and a shorter shoulder seam.

One of the things I left alone was the collar. Burda 6909 has an attached collar. I don’t understand it though. I haven’t figured out how to sew it neatly.
Must be my lack of experience again.

The instructions on the Burda leaflet were not enough for me, even though there are pictures. I did exactly what was prescribed, my sewing looked exactly like the pictures. Still the blouse looks wonky at the right angle the shoulder seam makes with the collar. Both blouses, on all four shoulders.

Next time I want a conventional collar. One you attach. One with four pieces.

By the way, I didn’t use fusing to strengthen the collar, I gave it an extra layer of fabric. It just sits between the outer fabric. I love collars, making them all neat. Turning them, pressing them, topstitching them.

That’s why I’d really like a nice collar stand and collar attachment to my blouses/dress shirt.

At the front the pattern has a long facing, running all the way up to and including the attached collar. After completing the blouse I sewed the facing to the inside of the horizontal dart to keep it into place:

I take it that on the original pattern, with button holes, it doesn’t flap.  I used a zipper because I’m sewing on an antique foot treadle machine that only has a running stitch and I don’t feel like making x button holes by hand.

On the X-mas Deer Blouse I was so focused on getting the zipper done right, and I figured it had to be done at a different stage of the sewing, way before sewing the side seams, that I forgot to put in the dart in the front panels.

So at this blouse the facing flaps around and annoys. Nice blouse though. The zipper looks great! Totally level on both panels, really nice overlap. This is the best zip tutorial I know. It’s for a lapped zipper but it shows very clearly the steps in any zipper sewing. Thank you ScruffyBadger!:

I still need to do the hem on this one. And it has some minor faults in the sewing. But I’m not correcting these, this is a fun blouse, to be worn when feeling carefree and enjoying some winter company.

One of the sleeves has been put in annoyingly bad. I may be taking it out and resew it…

But for now I’m really happy with the zipper, the shaping, the upper back, the topstitching, the top part of the collar and the fabric.

Green skirt in progress: misunderstandings

I marked out where the zipper was going to end. I’ve determined the waist band will be 3 cm wide, just over an inch. This is how it will sit and where I’ll stop sewing at the bottom.

Following Corinne Leigh’s tutorial at youtube Craftovision channel about sewing an invisible zipper. I did fine. Put it in:

Sewed shut the side seam. Noticed error.

Clearly I had not understood the tutorial well. The white “lips” of the zipper are peaking out from the seam.

Here’s where I did something wrong. Corinne says to start sewing the side seam as close as you can to the point where you stopped sewing the zipper. I must have misunderstood where that’s supposed to be exactly.

I took out a bit and tried how it was supposed to look before I sewed it like this:

Much better!

But now I had been a tad enthousiastic and sewn a bit more higher up than supposed to. The zipper will boink into the stitching and not into the zipper stop at the bottom of the zipper. It’s only a question of 1 mm but still enough to harass that stitching, especially that one lone stitch:

It needed some fortification. I took the left over thread after I snipped it after sewing and thread it through a needle and whipped it through a couple of times. Only through the white zipper fabric, not the green fashion fabric.
It’s a zipper stop of some sorts. Just enough to fortify that lone stitch at the picture above.

Here you see it from the inside:

Next. After fitting I saw that the fit was good. So I pressed open the seams.
No need to finish them, they are already finished.
The first side seam shows I’m still getting used at working with broad (= 1/2″) seam allowance. Here I was squeemish:

At the other seam I had grown bolder:

Next: the darts.
My projected darts would work fine: both front and back would have two darts, each 3″ from the centerline.
Front darts would each have 1/2″ in width and 2″ in length.
Back darts would have 3/4″ width each and 4 1/2″ in length.

I located them, drew them, pinned them, sewed them.
Then this.

The silk had not stayed close to the fabric. Not at the point of the dart.
I tried the skirt on and though the width is ok, the darts end in ugly puckers now that the actual fashion fabric doesn’t receive the start of the dart in a smooth curved angle.
So these have to come out.
And I used a tiny stitch width to make for extra nice looking darts…

Wearing a skirt with pockets.

It worked! I now have a skirt with pockets.


In real life it’s more straight, I’m standing weird twice to take these pictures (and I may have cut the lower ends of the side seams a bit too flaring…)
Also: I did not press the skirt yet. I wanted to show it in all its natural behaviour.

Indeed, no extra wearing ease is needed when using the widest circumference in the method of Marina von Koening.
The darts work like magic. The fit of this dress is very good!

Look at how long those darts are in the back!
I cut the hem a bit round.
Pockets are neatly tucked away in the side seam.
Excuse the laundry in the back…

The front (and more laundry). With short darts.
Again the hem is cut a bit round. Next skirt I’ll cut the waist a bit round too.
In this one I thought I had to raise the back a bit because of the small of my back. You can see the difference between the front and the back panel.
In wearing I see this was not neccessary.


The darts did all the shaping.
They are very short in the front, just 6 cm (2,3 inch). Because I have a belly.

The darts is the back are very long! More than 20 cm. (8 inch!)
Two darts I put in before putting bias band at the top. Then I found out I needed more. I just put in two more darts without altering the bias band. I’m practical. In a next skirt I’ll do all the darts first and then finish the waist band. I’ll even do a facing!

On the left -in above picture- you see the side seam coming in.
The front panel has less width than the back panel. Because I have buttocks.
But at the waist the front panel and the back panel have equal width.

When wearing the side seam is perfectly vertical.
Or perhaps not… but look at that fit!

I thought the sideseam hung straight when I looked in the mirror. I may not stand straight in this picture. Or the seam might not be straight at all, after all it is weird to have the back panel wider than the front. Will check again.

goes to mirror

takes a picture

doesn’t alter it in any way, showing shamelessly the mess in “the wool room” and the ear muffles I wear most days and my handknit sweater.

And a straight side seam:

I’m sure this mystery will be solved in the future.

Also: see how low those pockets are. I’m on a learning curve, I am.

I still have to finish the ending of the zipper. Really, I had no idea what I was doing when I put it in without a seam. Still don’t.

Here are some other things I’ll do different next time:
– curve the waist band a bit
– no need to make the back higher
– a zipper without a seam needs a bit more planning than just slash & sew. Here are some good answers.. Ooh, here’s a good one too! With reenforcement in the back.
– make my own biasband. Found a lovely tutorial for people without a bias band maker tool.

I’ve already cut fabric for the next one. It includes a waist band facing. oooh, fancy
I found some nice tutorials how to put it in and get a nice finish at the top.
Tomorrow I’ll go to town to get a zipper (and bias band). And perhaps some more fabric for a next skirt? I dug through my stash today but there wasn’t really much fun fabric for a skirt. The good fabrics are all for dresses.
Really, I should just throw out all the fabric that will never make me happy… It would clear up at least 3 curver boxes.

Doing this skirt, I learned some new words that will help me in the future:
“exposed zipper”, I do not seem to mind them.
“in seam pocket”, I love those! I like them invisible too, with different fabric on the inside, like a little inside giggle.

One more illustration of my learning curve: the first run at the hem I thought I’d be smart, I’d stretch the fabric because it had to go round. Logic.
The result:
Not smart at all. I took out the seam and redid it, very gently and not pulling at all. Now the hem is straight. Albeit a bit flared at the side seams.

All in all a good practice skirt and I will wear it. It is in sturdy canvas and I enjoy that fabric very much when working here in the woods. Still have to fix the end of the zipper though.

Summerdress: final adjustments.

Joehoe, I’m back in the city near pins and sewing machine.

I’ve taken out a bit of the length in the back, at the (raised) waist seam. No more blousing effect there.
I’ve inserted small bustdarts at the armpit because there was loose fabric there. For this I had to loosen the lining including the understitching. This was ok and I felt easier loosening it in other places too.
That’s when I inserted some big darts in the front:

it now lays flat. I will pick apart the whole stitching at the top of the frontpanel, cut a nicer line, seam lining and fashion fabric together again and topstitch it again.

In the sides there had to be a little bit of additional shaping. It was a fingers’ width I needed on both sides and only at my waist, not at my ribcage. On one side seam I used the sewing machine. On the other side I used the zipper. I handstitched the fabric and used it to add shaping.
Untitled Untitled
normal people might think I was just cross eyed when keeping the fabric in place but actually it was a bright eyed decision… Whether it’s a good one we’ll see when I wear this dress.

You might remember that I proudly used French seams on the skirt. I have now faced the problem of inserting a zipper is placed in a french seam:

as I handstitched my way down the zipper I brought the two sides together, just below where the zip ends. I sewed it together, all four pieces (2 fashion fabric, 2 zipper tails)
I used what in knitting is called a mattress stitch.

Below that I sewed with my sewing machine, from the inside. I folded the two sides of the fashion fabric twice and stitched them together. The fraying ends are caught in the seam. It’s a Faux French Seam.
Where it transfers to the actual French seam I had nicked the fabric so it would open up and allow for folding the other way around.

in short: I fudged it untill it was secure.


  1. make the neck line in the front beautiful
  2. small additional adjustment at the side seam
  3. attach the lining to the dress around the midrif section
  4. hemming

all in all I can already tell you the fit is very good. It’s much better than in the previous post. When it’s all finished I’ll find someone to take pictures from me in my beautiful Summer Dress 🙂


PS what is the acceptable way of securing the loose threads from the sewing thread? 3 knots and weaving the end under doesn’t sound very ‘couture’ to me…

anybody knows? I’ve got lots of ends to secure, what with all the alterations.