More trouser experiments – making trousers from the Curvy Pencil skirt pattern

I have been doing what Corecouture calls “forensic” work on trouser styles and patterns. It might be a bit of an overstatement, but my view is if you want to wear trousers you have to get the style, fit, proportions and colour right. Right?

2015 Trouser tasks

This year I pledge to make

  1. a good pair of jeans
  2. a second pair of the Simplicity 6087 trousers
  3. a pair of perfectly fitting tailored trousers
  4. high-waisted trousers
  5. a jumpsuit
  6. a pair of tailored shorts
  7. adapting my curvy pencil skirt to make a trouser pattern.

To date I have almost succeeded with 3. tailored trousers; and I have been working on 6. winter shorts. I am happy enough with my experiments to date, although both patterns need  a little fine tuning before I can use them for the SWAP.

The next two pairs that I want to make are 7. – an adaptation of my well fitting skirt block; and 4. the high waisted trousers. I had the idea to combine the two and have been working on this.

How to make a trouser patten from a skirt pattern (in about ten minutes)

Assemble the main pieces of your tried and tested fitted skirt and trousers (ie back and front of trousers, back and front of skirt – make facings later). Decide how you are going to get in and out of your trousers. For the purpose of the test I went with  a side zip. Determine if you want to keep the pockets you have on your trousers, or skirt. I decided to eliminate the Burda trouser pockets as I wanted the flat front look of the 1940s, but you can leave them in if you prefer. The pattern below shows an exaggerated grown on waist, with a zip at CB. I wanted a more subtle look, with tapered legs.

1940s trouser pattern
1940s style, with grown on waist

Draw around your trouser pattern. I traced off the Burda’s (107D) now that I am happy with the taper and the fit. I added the cut off side pockets back in. Then overlay the skirt pattern matching up (as best you can) the CF and CB seams above the crotch curve. I used my Curvy Pencil pattern (see above), with the grown on waist, so I had to also had to roughly line up the waist line. Neither of my patterns had seam allowances.

Transfer the darts from your skirt to the trousers. If they are wider than the trouser darts you need to compensate by adding additional width at the waist. I used the skirt darts and added a couple of  inches to the waist to accommodate them.

As I had little idea how this would work out I decided to toile the trousers in muslin. When I make my own patterns I usually start with a muslin toile to test the measurements, fit and proportions without fabric differences getting in the way. What puts me off muslin toiles is that they just get binned, which I feel is wasteful of my time and fabric. However sometimes it is essential.

How to toile a pattern quickly (ie in less than an hour)

  1. Put the pattern on the calico. Draw round the pattern with a biro or fine felt tip. Mark the darts with the pen too. Cut out with seam allowances of approximately 5/8th of an inch (just use your eye). Turn the calico and pattern piece over and repeat on the back as accurately as you can on the other side. You don’t need seam allowances at the waist or hem, but I usually add them.
    pattern paper and calico
    Pattern on muslin
  2. Stitch the darts and centre back and front seams, following the felt tip/biro stitch line. Clip and press. Stitch the side seams. Clip and press. On the left side attatch a traditional zip on the machine.
  3. Stitch the inside leg seam. Clip and press.
  4. Try on.


I have to admit this muslin was very tight due to insufficient ease being built into the pattern. Well no ease at all. The fashion fabrics I have been using have a little stretch in them, but muslin is unyielding. And I always think it shrinks slightly when it is pressed with steam. (Or maybe I have gained a pound or two over Christmas). So while the photographs show the shape adequately they were not comforable to wear. However for the purpose of a toile, they are just fine. I will now add some wearing ease to the pattern, or make them up in stretch fabric. But I think this pattern has legs (ha ha)!

Grown on waist trousers (based on CP skirt)
Grown on waist trousers (based on CP skirt) (pinned)

4 Responses

  1. joyce latham

    Can’t wait for the high waisted pants to be finished. I think they will look smashing on you. Excellent, as always!

  2. Stephanie

    Nice job, Kate. I like the height that you chose for the high waist. I know what you mean about Christmas weight – I have about 2 kg to lose before doing any SWAP fittings! 🙂

Leave a Reply