Trouser fitting analysed Pt 1 or: I drafted my own – sort of!

21 Feb

I started with McCalls 5633, just needing a basic trousers pattern to experiment with fit on. Using some leftover cotton/linen as a working muslin, I miraculously came out the other side with a comfy, practical pair of semi-tailored shorts.

In the past I managed to sew reasonable-fitting trousers in the past, having gotten the changes needed for the crotch area in particular, as well as the waist (to fit my hourglass figure) down fairly well.

However after losing so much weight from illness, then regaining only a bit, I was all at sea as to how to create a decent fit. It was the difference between knowing what to do by rote (Like I did before I fell ill) and knowing how what I was doing was working, so I could apply it in other situations.

It is high time I came to grips with how to fit trousers properly.

My fitting issues

  • Front of the trousers are always tight across my upper thigh – my thigh muscles at front and side have quite a full curve
  • The centre-back waistband always gapes badly
  • The front lower stomach bags
  • A tendency to get a camel-toe (yuk)
  • Wrinkles across the top of my thighs at the back.

What I knew of trouser-fitting seemed to point to most of the issues being in the crotch and inner leg seams and possibly a bit of the outer seam.

My starting point

When I took sewing lessons I learnt how to fit the darts on trousers and skirts:

Make sure the darts enabled the fall of the garment to be properly vertical, down the part of the body with the greatest curve. In my case that is just to the outside of centre of my thighs – the fullest part of my bicep. The back curve is again slightly outside of centre down the fullest curve of my buttock. Two darts fit the back far better than one, though. A smaller one just outside the bigger one makes all the world of difference.

I knew the crotch length wasn’t right, but the depth seemed ok.

I was sure the actual shape of the crotch that is standard with the Big 4 was wrong for me but burdastyle was a lot better.

What I did next

In a couple of places I had seen the concept of using a flexible ruler to determine the shape of a person’s crotch.  I only had a 30cm ruler so I did it in two sections. In retrospect it would have been better to do it in 3, with more overlap between “takes”.

The shape of the crotch I got using the flexible ruler.

This is the result.

The original trouser pieces

Compared to the pattern’s crotch, I can suddenly see why I have had so many fitting problems. Sadly, just sewing up the muslin I cut didn’t work as well as I hoped. More of that in a later post.

3 Responses to “Trouser fitting analysed Pt 1 or: I drafted my own – sort of!”

  1. Bernice February 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Just had to pop in and say hi. Hi! Nice to find another person sewing in the tropics, for the tropics. It’s so bloomin’ hot at the moment I’d happily ditch clothes altogether – unfortunately I don’t think this would go down to well during school drop-off. Oh well, have to stick to my never-ending mission to find clothes that work when you live in a sauna.


    • Tropical Threads March 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Bernice,

      I just found your comment in my spam pile. Still getting used to WordPress! I know what you mean about not wanting to wear anything in the tropics! never-ending mission is about right.

      Imogheena 🙂



  1. Blue linen shorts – self-drafted (sort of) « Tropical Threads - May 16, 2011

    […] FINALLY got my motherfashion photographer, a sunny day, and the blue linen shorts I finished in early February […]


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