A Thing About Trousers

A Thing About Trousers

Published by Emily on 8th May 2020

My job this morning is to "write a thing about trousers" and I have no idea what is going to wander out of my head, but here goes :P

My trouser adventures since last posting have been this: I ordered David Page Coffin's book about making trousers and read it cover to cover. There were questions I had about fly front construction that no amount of staring into my store bought pants would solve. His solutions were new to me and I very much appreciate the thoroughness with which he covered the topic. Thank you David, I am now much more confident in that area :)

There were also questions I had about waistbands that I'm not sure he answered, but just reading about his approach gave me the confidence to come up with my own strategies.

This spring I made a pair of trousers for my friend Alan. Our waist measurements are similar, but we have very different fit preferences. I decided to blend our patterns. I traced Alan's pattern out, laid my own trouser pattern over top of it, and marked the middle ground at each point of difference. The combination of these two patterns could possibly make the perfect gender neutral, flattering trouser.

I had planned to make my Dad some pants before Christmas and hadn't gotten around to it. I cut the blended patten out in the heaviest cotton denim I had on hand. Before the industrial lockstitch machine arrived, stitching these up would have been a tearful experience, so it is better that I waited. I sewed them up, loved them, and immediately had a panic attack about whether there was enough room in the crotch for man parts.

Tallboy(19) came by to try them on and give me some reassurance about the fit (and order a pair of his own), and I was very relieved. We crossed our fingers and sent a parcel across the country that also included overalls for my Mom. News is that they fit and my Dad does not require a belt to wear them. <3

I'm looking forward to seeing how these heavy denim trousers wear over time. I imagine they will start to look both more like jeans and more like trousers. The fading will make them more obviously denim-y, but also bring out the trouser details.

For me, though, the stiff fabric made the pants sit too far away from my body, and they didn't feel terribly flattering. I decided to make two changes to my next iteration. To add some flexibility of fit, I flared the top of the side pocket and added an elastic panel into the side waistbands. I also made the pants in a lighter fabric, the Indigo Stripe hemp.

I am very happy with these results. The pants feel very roomy and comfortable, but they don't look overly big. I am proud of the fit and the sewing. What a glorious relief!

Last night Amanda and I were looking through past woven patterns, and it was quite a shock to see how many pattern envelopes I have that are marked "trouser" or "slim trouser" - at least five years' worth. For the first time, I have hit on a pattern that I don't want to make changes to.

<3 <3 <3

-E