My Creations · Stitching · Trousers

Pants Fitting Palaver

Yes, fitting misses pants (or trousers) is a lot of trouble, at least for a first timer like me. I had thought my practice run with the pair of shorts I made for my son would prepare me, but fitting ladies trousers is a different kettle of fish. It turned out to be my most labour-intensive make to that all because of fitting. I wear trousers more, it’s only normal to learn how to make one. I’d wanted to make a pair for ages but I’d read they can be a pain in the derrière in terms of fitting because of our different postures, body shapes, ages, etc. That means the same sized pair of trousers may fit ladies of the same size differently.

I thought it wise to do some research before diving in, and it was during one of such that I came across the book “Pants for Real People” on where Johanna did a review of the book, so I ordered a copy. After some reading, I decided to put into practice what I’d learnt thus far. So, armed with McCalls 6361, tissue paper, ruler, etc. I began the process of tissue fitting view A.m6361M6361 - 2

Some key information before I commence. I’m pear-shaped with 37(Bust),  35(Waist), and 45(Hips); with rounded derriere and a dipped waist 🤦‍♀️.

After pinning the wrong sides of the pattern tissue together on the stitching line for my size as instructed, I tried it out on my right leg (BEWARE OF PINS!). This pattern by the way has suggestions of adjustments to be made as it’s written by the same writers of “Pants for Real People”, but I’m not sure I would have fully understood them if I’d not read the book. A look in the mirror showed I definitely needed adjustments, and here is sharing what I did in order (I think this was suggested either in the book or in the pattern). I then used these alterations to ‘draft’ a new pattern that is for me.

  1. Centre front (CF) and centre back (CB) – The CF and CB on the pattern did not go up to mine, so I unpinned the side seams, pulled the separate pieces up to my CF and CB. I then added extra tissue to the sides so that I could re-pin.
  2. Crotch too deep – I needed to reduce the crotch depth, so I made a horizontal tuck across front and back still wearing the tissue. I pinched about 1.25” and pinned so the crotch could touch my body. I then took it off, created a new shorten/lengthen line from which I folded 1.25″. I needed the new line because folding on the old line would have affected the crotch curve.

    Back view of original tissue. Dotted/dash lines between the two green lines represent possible shorten/lengthen lines, but I ended up using the one in blue.


Back view now with shortened crotch. The light blue lines are the new lines joining the pattern on both sides of the fold.


Front view; I used the original lengthen/shorten line as it is not in my crotch curve.

Below is the front view after the tuck. I suppose I could have straightened the centre front a bit,  but I chose not to.

Front view; after the tuck and re-drawing lines.

3. Crotch now too short at the back – After the adjustments above, the tissue didn’t now go up to my waist at the centre of my back. Turns out that altering crotch depth affects crotch length, (and vice-versa) and getting the two right was a balancing act;in fact, the whole process is. I needed to add about 2” to my CB, but needed only about 1/2” at my sides, so I extended the CB line but angled it slightly (to get rid of gaping which is the bane of my life) So, I now had new cutting lines (green lines).

New centre back and cutting line in green. Pay no attention to my wonky new centre back.

4. Bagginess (back too full) – Now came the issue of bagginess which made me look ridiculous. To correct that, I pinched out the excess at the fullest part of my derrière, pinned it, and continued pinning the same amount along the back on one of the five vertical lines on the tissue made for that purpose. I then took it off and taped the pinched amount evenly and vertically from my waist down the back. Of course, this now made my waist too small, and I had add tissue there. If the pattern didn’t have those lines, I would have had to draw a line parallel to the grain line and tucked along that.

5. Waist band – Since I slanted the centre back on the trouser tissue, I did same to the band and created a new centre back and cutting line (green broken lines below).


I didn’t do any adjustment for my tummy because even though it’s not flat, it is not always this full 😉 (these pictures were taken after a day out), so I didn’t think it necessary.


After all of these adjustments, I shaped the tissue a bit more to make a somewhat straight-legged pair instead of the tapered version of the pattern by eyeballing (I should use a more systematic approach for that next time), and proceeded to cut my toile – a polyester/viscose (2%) fabric.  The sewing itself went pretty fast but the fabric frayed like no man’s business, and started to pill even during sewing. It’s by no means near perfect, but I’m happy it turned out okay, and I have a wearable toile (it may not get much wear because I’m not a fan of the material) after all that trouble. It was very cheap at £2.95/metre.


Though I applied stay tape to the pocket edges, they still look stretched, but I think that is due to me not aligning the seams perfectly. I’ll try and pay more attention in the future.

Side view showing those pesky bobbles. I’m happy there’s virtually no gape at the centre back which is a normal occurrence in my pairs of RTW trousers.

I found tissue fitting difficult to do by myself, and the pins were pure evil. I was able to manage though as I did most of the fitting with my husband’s help. One thing is certain, the book is a very good buy, and I’ve got to find time to finish it before my next toile.

Till next time.


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