Hello. If you’ve been following my blog you may have seen that I recently used the *MakeMyPattern website to generate a trouser pattern for MrA (You can read the first instalment Here).
The site, hosted by Joost De Cock, has mainly menswear and a few ladies patterns. You enter your measurements, choose your pattern & preferences and a print out version is generated for you. Did I also mention that it’s free?! (Although I encourage you to make a donation should you use this amazing resource).
So after about half an hour of measuring, 15 mins building our profiles, an hour and a half round trip to the printers (including beer & burgers), an hour on my hands & knees cutting & taping… I’ve got the Slimline Slacks pattern based on MrA’s measurements. Time to cut them out…
The instructions on the website are clear and thorough (… I read most of them) and the YouTube video series Trousers From Scratch shows every stage, step by step (… I watched most of them). I’ve blogged myself about trousermaking step-by-step before so I’ll try to not repeat myself too much… I thought I’d focus mainly on the back pockets here. Joost’s instructions are really good, I almost followed them to the letter…
- Stitch the back darts & press.
- I ironed interfacing onto the trousers at the pocket placement and onto two of the four pocket facings.
- Zig zag the interfaced facings onto the longer pocket lining pieces, and the plain facings onto the shorter pocket lining piece. Centered over the pocket opening mark.
- Using the longer of the pocket linings, align right sides together with the pocket markings on the back leg pieces.
- Sew carefully and fully around the welt box.
- Snip open and into the corners.
- Turn through and finger press before ironing.
- From the back, fold the top down and press the seam allowance down.
- Fold the top back up around the seam allowance and press in place.
- Do the same to shape the bottom welt.
- Stitch in the ditch all the way around to hold it all in place.
- I also added bar tacks at the short ends. (I shouldn’t have bothered, they look a bit clumsy and aren’t really necessary)
* I am totally guilty of over-pressing. I can’t help myself, I do it to everything. I must get used to using a pressing cloth & turn the iron down a bit.
- Line up the other side of the pocket lining. (Mine didn’t quite reach, so I zigzagged them together)
- Fold the trousers out of the way & sew all around the pocket bag. Overlock or zigzag the edges.
And that’s the back welts finished. I wanted to put a button below the welt, but decided against it as the dart extends below the pocket and I was worried there’d be too much bulk to get a nice buttonhole.
I must admit that the front pockets confused me a bit. I’d read the instructions & watched the video the night before and rather than recap, I just went for it… you’d think I’d learn by now that that’s not the best way forward…
The pattern uses the outer corners of the trouser piece to fold over and become the facing for the inside of the pocket. I couldn’t quite remember exactly how, so rather than go back and rewatch the tutorial, I snipped the corners off and did it without a facing. In my confusion I also managed to sew the left pocket onto the wrong side of the trousers and had to unpick it. This seems to have stretched it out a bit and has left me with one inside out front pocket. Unique.
I’ve gone back over the instructions and it all makes perfect sense now, but at the time I couldn’t see it. Next time, I’ll either do it properly or use piece 9 as a sew on facing.
The fly went in well. I mostly followed Joost’s instructions by making a big ‘Fly-Sandwich’ on the right side, then attaching the left side of the zip to the fly facing. I jiggled between methods here which made it a bit fiddly. If you stick to one set of instructions you should be fine!
I basted them together and tried them on MrA. They looked a little low at the back and a little loose on the waist but otherwise great. I finished the waistband with my usual method. Joost may be a genius but there’s no way I’m handstitching beltloops!
The cotton twill was lovely and soft to work with. The sponginess (?) of the fabric really helped my ditch-stitching to sink into the seam.
On the fit:
- They are quite low on the back rise. This is explained on the site and there is an option to add up to 6cm here. I just guessed and added only 3cm. I would encourage you to use the full 6cm to avoid builders-bum-syndrome!
- The waist is too big. This could easily be put down to where & how I measured it. MrA is a little sturdier around the waist and wears his trousers at different heights depending on their fit and rise.
- Very comfortable around the hips, thighs etc.
- Although not perfect on the waist the fit elsewhere is really good.
- The shape & silhouette is flattering. I’m sure it’s quite usual to make waist fitting adjustments on most patterns. As I have recently discovered myself, the give in a fabric can have a massive effect on the finished garment size too.
- The pattern comes with 1cm seam allowance. I have discovered that I have a personal preference for 1.5cm, that’s easiest to change before cutting out the pattern, obviously.
- I’ll look more carefully at the front pockets next time.
I’ve been waiting to get some decent pictures and haven’t yet. But I’ll let you make your own mind up from these…
Baggy pocket. Possibly cut at the wrong angle too.
Not the best shot, but a good fit at the rear.
I didn’t take these pictures by the way.
I’m going to unpick the back of the waistband and the top of the seat seam. I’ll bring the back seam in a little at the waist and then split the waistband to take a piece out and fit it back on. If I was feeling really brave, I could attempt to retro-fit a small yoke at the back to bring that up a little… but that might be going too far!
On the whole, using makemypattern has been a success. From doing the measurements and selecting styles, a trip to the printers cutting out and eventually making them, it’s all been very pleasurable. I also received very nice and encouraging comments from Joost himself offering help at any point should I come unstuck. That’s pretty good customer care… especially for what is fundamentally a free service.
I should probably point out that I do not work for Joost, he is neither my brother, nephew or uncle! All views are my own!
I’m looking forward to trying the shirt pattern next…
Notes to self:
- Make the seams 1.5cm at the next tracing.
- Clarify where I tripped up on the pockets.
- Double check MrA’s measurements against the pattern & re draw. (I think the downside of PDF patterns is the thick paper they get printed on… I’m used to my Swedish tracing paper & looking forward to using that!)
- Don’t attempt processes I don’t understand when the information is there to learn. If I don’t get it at first, watch/ read it again!
- Stick to one fly construction method at a time!
Great make with beautiful and well executed details.
Thank you so much 😊👍🙏
I’m so glad these turned out – I tried Joost’s pattern a while ago for my son, he wanted a pair of tartan trousers. He took the measurements himself, we sewed them up and they were a disaster! He insisted his measurements were correct (as he would as he is always right – he’s 16!) – I think we need to give it another go, with mum doing the measurements this time – however uncomfortable he is with that. Wish me luck.
Sorry for the late reply! Your comment was hidden! Haha, yes you might have to bribe him into letting you take the measurements 😂 hope it went well!
Back rise is definitely too short. You must feel how short if you bend over or squat.
Front pocket edges are bagging due to bias cut, you need to incorporate either interfacing or twill tape at those edges.
When I make pants, I like to make a split center back waistband. This makes waist alterations much easier.
Nice explanation on making the back welt pockets. Most pants instructions skip this method, probably too complicated for most sewers.
Very nice result in the end.
Love the back pockets, great choice of lining!
They look fab… and I see no reason why you can’t retro fit a small yoke at all.. be brave for once! 😀
oh and my little tip… instead of snipping into the corners use a good shape seam ripper instead… push the point in the corner close to your stitch line and gently rip into the middle of the welt. You could put a pin across to stop you if you want. Its a good way of getting right into the corner without the risk of nipping the stitch line 😀
Ooh, that’s a brilliant tip, thanks, I’ll definitely be doing that next time 👍.
I’m getting such a big list of repairs and alterations now… I suppose it serves me right for not doing things properly the first time! 😂.
Hope you had a great holiday! Xx