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Pants-Pattern Upgrade

Use menswear construction techniques to improve the comfort, appearance, and quality of any basic pants pattern
Threads #75, Feb/Mar 1998

Why can’t women’s pants be more like men’s? Everyone knows that menswear trousers are made better than the women’s version—they look and feel better, too, as you can see above.

Follow some or all of these steps, as you like, to improve on your pattern’s instructions.

You don’t have to examine many pairs of pants to observe that the average pair made for a woman just isn’t made as well as a typical pair of men’s pants. Most men’s pants are built to last, with many features that improve durability and alterability compared with women’s pants. Regardless of the reasons for this flagrant inequality, we sewers can easily balance the scales for ourselves. I’ve altered, made, and/or examined hundreds of pairs of men’s and women’s pants of all levels of quality, and I’ll take you step-by-step through my current procedure for making dress pants for myself. It combines my favorite details from high-quality ready-to-wear pants for both men and women, with techniques I’ve found fast and foolproof for home sewers of all levels (see “Supplies you’ll need” at right for the shortlist of notions and interfacings my procedure requires). I’ve included simple directions for converting any basic pleated pants pattern (including the draft-it-yourself one) into a version of the soft, ultra-comfortable, and very stylish, (menswear-inspired) no-waistband, inset-front-welt-pocket pants that I copied to become my preferred basic pants pattern (like those shown here). Pick out any parts of the process that appeal to you and insert them into your current pants-making method, or simply throw out the directions that came with your pants pattern and use the following directions instead. Of course, you can use this method to make great men’s pants, too. Just reverse the direction of the fly, and you’ve got it.

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Fit and Sew Pants

Fit and Sew Pants

Making your own pants is a great way to get a perfect fit, every time. 

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Fitting Secrets
Pockets and Closures
Waistbands, Linings, and Hems
Pants Pattern Reviews