Things sewn in 2020: pants

Sunday, 17 January 2021

 After more than 20 years of sewing, pants remain my nemesis. Sure they are fairly easy to make, but we all know that getting them to fit well is very difficult. Every time I make a fresh pair I make slight adjustments and I feel I am slowly getting there! Last year I made six pairs of pants, with varying degrees of success.

My favourite pants that I made last year is a wide leg pant from a a pattern that I have made a few times previously: Burda 10/2016 #113.

an image of a sewing pattern for pants and a blonde model wearing white pants, a white top and blue and white jumper draped around her shoulders

I made a pair in a blush pink medium weight linen that I made as per the pattern with the wide legs and the sewn on pockets on the front. I also made a black pair from wool suiting, that I narrowed the leg and left off the pockets.

a white lady with red hair posing in a pair of pink wide leg pants and a white top, and in a pair of black straight leg pants and a fuchsia coloured top

I find that the wide leg style mostly gets rid of those annoying drag lines I usually get on the back of the thigh. When I narrowed the leg for the black pair they came back slightly, but it seems this pair has a good crotch curve for me. After doing Sarah Veblen's course on pant fitting over at I have discovered I need to have a long back crotch and to scoop it quite low to provide enough space for my ample and low hanging derriere.

a white lady posing in a pair of pink wide leg pants and a blue denim jacket

My next favourite pair from last year are a pair that I haven't worn as yet (because they are work pants), but I love the shape and look even though I would never have thought I would wear pleat front pants ever again! This pattern has a v-shaped yoke at the front, which means that the pleats start lower on my stomach and the fabric is flat over the roundest part of my waist which makes it more flattering. There are a few wrinkles on the back leg but less than I usually get, so I can live with how these look.

These pants are made from a navy blue wool suiting, using Burda 4/2014 #110.

a white lady posing in a pair of navy blue wool pants and white top, and an image of a sewing pattern for pleated pants

the side and back views of a white lady wearing navy blue pants and a white top

I made another pair of wide leg pants early in 2020 from a printed linen that has been in my stash for a long time. I wore these quite a few times to work with a blue blazer and the chartruse one in the photo below, and casually with a black or white tshirt. The colour has faded after so many washes, but these are still great pants. This is another Burda pattern of course, this time 2/2010 #110:

a white lady posing in a chartreuse coloured jacket and printed black linen pants

Finally, my least two favourite pairs made last year. I bought some lovely dark teal linen to make a suit, but the pants didn't turn out great. The pants are a bit high waisted, and since linen grows after wearing it for a while these pants have a tendency to slide down and look saggy. After wearing them a few times I decided I couldn't live with them as they were, and I've actually got these pants in my repair pile with the waistband pulled off. I'm going to take them in slight at the side seams and put some elastic in the back waist to help keep them up where they belong.

Apart from that they are ok, but not great. I found the welt pocket at the back gaped open, so I added a little tortoiseshell button to help keep it closed. There are wrinkles on the back leg as usual, indicating the crotch curve needs some more work on this pattern.

a white lady posing in teal linen pants and a navy top

The pattern is Burda 12/2013 #106:
an image of a sewing pattern for pants

Finally I get to my least favourite pair but funnily enough I still frequently wear these because they are casual and lightweight and just what I need these days. These are Burda 4/2016 #117 and I like the pocket flaps and the hem cuffs, but the fit on these turned out just awful. Whiskers across the front, wrinkles on the back leg and a weird length - if the cuff is down it looks accidentally too short so I wear them turned up to look deliberately cropped.

But they are comfortable, and since they are made from a light cotton sateen they have been perfect for this cool and rainy summer we have been having here in Sydney this year.

a white lady posing in blue pants, a white tshirt and a red and white scarf, and an image of a sewing pattern for pants

This isn't the end of my pants fitting journey - I've given up making muslins because all I end up with are a bunch of poorly fitting calico pants that can't be worn anywhere! Instead, I'll keep on making slight adjustments until I reach my holy grail - a pair of slim leg pants with no wrinkles on the back leg.....


  1. Re fitting, for a while I considered paying a tailor to make me a custom fit pants pattern that I would use as my forever pattern. But I am too stingy. Had you have at least found your best fitting style 😊

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am also pear shaped and I find Burda the best pant patterns, I always choose a pattern with a shaped waistband (not a rectangle), and favour wide leg pants to narrow leg pants. Appart from that.. like you, I don't do muslins but adjust on the way...

  3. I think the navy blue wool ones look the nicest, by far. I like the look of the slimmer-legged pants on you. Your fit is SO CLOSE to being spot-on. May I suggest you scoop out your back crotch just a tad more. I can see that your derriere is pushing down the fabric lower, causing the diagonal drag lines. (You can even do it on this already-sewn pair of pant at this time.) I, too, have a low-slung derriere, and my back crotch curve swings really low and looks weird in paper, but fits well and is more comfortable too. Good luck.

  4. You work so hard, I am in awe of your persistance and skills. I loathe making trousers despite wearing them 4 days per week for work, but I loathe buying trousers and spending hours adjusting them so that they are almost wearable even more. You have some great fitting trousers , I particularly admire 10/2016 and 4/2014, especially as you've cleverly made two very different pairs from 10/16, very inspiring.

  5. I admire your persistence with trousers, they are not easy. Sarah Veblen’s course is great and I also had to add quite a bit to back crotch and inseam and scoop a little bit.

  6. I'm feeling a bit that way with muslins too. Easier and less waste to just measure carefully, compare the pattern to my own measurements, and go for it.

    Looks like this method is really working for you. These look really good. I think at some point The Perfect Pattern doesn't exist, as you need to compensate for different fabrics and different hand etc. So knowing the nuts and bolts of getting a good trouser fit is more of a Holy Grail than a perfectly fitting pattern is. I think you've definitely gotten the hang of trouser fitting. And a nice trouser wardrobe!

  7. I love your assortment of pants! I'm on a fitting journey myself. I have a small flat butt and have the same horizontal drag lines on my pants too. I find that for one thing I lock my knees and tuck my butt when I stand like a dog tucking its tail. I think this makes trying to fit this posture useless. I think I am better off making them fit me in a normal walking stance. I also want to try to correct this posture issue, since I am learning that it is not good for a person's lower back. I've been doing slow motion videos taken with a small tripod to try to assess fit of my backside rather than photos. I have done just as you with scooping out that back crotch very deeply. I think that has been a great help in fitting. I am also seeing some adjustments that amount to straightening the angle of the back center seam of the pants to address those wrinkles. Alexandria Morgan does an interesting blog video about invisible darts on pants.