New Trousers- A long journey

I have been wanting some properly fitting slim legged trousers for months; the Knipmode pair I made last spring do not come into that category. They were too baggy around the thighs even after I took in about 2 inches from their outer seams. I thought that Burda 7447 was a style that I could use.


I made a muslin, faffed about for a while letting out here, taking in there etc, etc. I enlisted the expert help of Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World and we spent the next couple of months working on another two muslins. This was rather hampered by bouts of colds, and only being able to do one email exchange a day because of the time zone differences. She encouraged me to scoop my back crotch seam more than I could have believed possible! I also removed a lot of ease from the back inseam.

Anyway by Christmas, I had achieved a smooth back thigh fit. The downside was that the trousers were absolutely skin tight and completely unflattering. (I have a folder full of pictures that I don’t believe the world is ready for). I spent some time thinking about the pattern and decided it was not going to work for me. Maybe I should try the Sewaholic Thurlow, after all it was designed for pears?

I already had another trouser pattern in my collection, Butterick 5760 which I bought for the cardigan.

B5760They are not slim, but they are straight legged so I thought I would have a go with these and see if I could make them slimmer.

Butterick 5760 trousers

Here they are, not too bad at all! I used a black and white tweedy wool mix for some everyday winter trousers. I only have my jeans apart from these so they were badly needed.

I cut a 14 ( the largest size in the pattern I bought), and tried them in a muslin.

Butterick 5760 muslin

As I’m sure you can see the problems are:

1. Not enough hip room. 2. Baggy front. 3. Too much fabric at back thigh. 4. Not enough room for the bum. 5. Too much fabric at back waist.6. Wider than I want at the ankle.

Apart from that, I’m encouraged enough to work at it. So; 1. Added about 1/2″ to each hip outer seam. 2. Removed 1/2″ from the CF rise. 3. Took in the back inseam about 2″ at the top tapering to nothing at the knee. 4. Scooped the back crotch about 3/4″ . 5. Made the back darts bigger, and took in the CB seam about 2″. 6. Tapered both leg seams to about 1 1/2″ narrower at the ankle.

The pattern is an easy one to make and I have made enough trousers now to barely glance at the instructions. They had a good zip insertion method, which is the same one I use. Debbie Cook has a good detailed tutorial here. I did not bother with a fly shield, and did not topstitch. I also added a lining to the knee( essential in wool trousers if you have sensitive skin. The original waistband was a straight piece of fabric; I knew this would not work for me as I have to slope it in at the CB to get a proper fit. I substituted the burda one which is a 4 piece contoured band,ideal for me.Butterick 5760 trousers lining

I cut the lining cross grain to leave the selvedge as a hem, and slip stitched around the zip, which left a fold at the bottom of the zip, not the neatest finish, but it wears well.

Butterick 5760 side and back view

There is still some rippling on the back thigh, the lighting here is showing it up rather more than in reality. I’m treating these as a wearable muslin, but they are perfectly acceptable I think. In my next try I’ll remove a bit more from the back inseam, and try narrowing them more.

I don’t think extremely skinny trousers are for me, the colette clovers definitely aren’t. It’s asking too much of fabric to skim over my rear, cling to my legs and still be flattering. I plan to morph the features of Burda 7447 onto this block. I want to lower the waistband, use the slant pockets which are nicely drafted, and add the welt back pockets. I have some nice black  cotton drill in stash for these.

If you want to see what the Burda 7447 looks like on the right body see Sunni’s of A Fashionable Stitch . I wanted to weep when I saw her lovely red cropped pants! Oh well.

I must thank Steph for all the work she put in, I learnt a lot even though the original pattern didn’t work for me. She put me on the right path, showing me how to remove back inseam ease, realigning the CB curve, and straightening my side seams! She really knows her stuff. ( I must get round to making up my Tiramisu.)

Right, back to my winter coat, I want to wear it before the snow melts.


About starryfishathome

I'm early retired, living in a village and love to sew, knit, make needlepoint cushions, and nurture my cactus collection. Since I came back to making my own clothes, I've learned so much from other sewists blogs, I thought I should start my own.
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9 Responses to New Trousers- A long journey

  1. No weeping allowed! These trousers look marvelous on you – I definitely understand the pants debaucle. Some patterns fit different shapes great right out of envelope and some of them you have to work for. I’ve found that McCall’s/Butterick/Vogue do not fit me well at all – some weird poofing going on in the front crotch area and then the inner thigh is very tight. But you know, that’s my body – we all have things we don’t like.

    These look really great – and you’ve done an amazing job on the lining and everything! I think it will be very easy to add in the elements you want from the Burda 7447! Nothing like a good pair of pants! Yay! Congrats on a great fit and excellent construction!

  2. nancymorris says:

    Can you suggest a resource (other than Steph!) for reading about removing inseam ease? I’m struggling with this right now.

    • Well, there is a tiny bit in Pants for Real People, but in no great depth. Basically you take in the back inseam more than the front seam. For example if the seam started out 5/8 inch wide, you make the back seam say 1 1/2 inch wide and keep the front inseam 5/8 inch. You have then removed 5/8 inch from the back. You taper it down the leg as far as necessary. The more you take out, the further down the leg you you taper it. Does that make sense?

  3. Anne Chambers says:

    Your pants look great–like you I’d kill to have a nice pair of slim-legged trousers that fit perfectly. Since I share some of your fitting problems, I’d like to offer one suggestion that I’ve found helps the back rippling in my own pants. I pinch out about an inch below the crotch hook back and front and add back the length I take out at the hem so they don’t end up too short.

    Good luck on your next pair of pants. I appreciate all you share on your blog as you tackle your fitting problems!

  4. Gayle says:

    Love what you did to your pants. I have a very similar build to yours and I know the fitting issues. I start a pair of pants and give up-more then once. . So I’ve been searching the internet for some one of my age who has had the 3 children, with natural child birth, very early hysterectomy , belly AND the sway back, wide hip, pear shape. I am interested in the Sewaholic Thurlow, but the cost of shipping and the pattern makes it really hard to justify the price and then maybe NOT finishing because I have so many fitting issues. So if you do go this route I would love to read your review to see if the fitting issues were mostly already corrected with the pattern. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sewingelle says:

    Well done. They look great. You are braver and more talented than me! Trousers are still uncharted territory for me

  6. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award « The Hilltop Homemaker

  7. Loved this post! I am working up the courage to make my own pants and trousers. I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award / The Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

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