Sunday 5 July 2009

Making My Five Trousers

Now I have got my Five Trouser pattern sorted out, with its high conjoined waistband, I can set about making the real thing.

I ordered two yards of the Spoonflower printed fabric, and I quickly discovered that it was only just enough to make the trousers.


I want to get the fall of the stripes just right, so I found some decent reference pictures and had them on hand while I was cutting the cloth (see below).

This particular picture (see left) was helpful in working out the scale, as I could count the stripes between pocket edges and work it so they would fit to the width of the trousers I was planning to make.

For the fronts I noticed how the wider stripe cluster runs up the front fly, so I position the pattern so it falls in the appropriate place.

Once I have cut one side from the pattern, I then turn the cut piece over and line it up to the stripes below.

I can then cut a perfect mirror copy to make sure the trousers are symmetrical (see below).

The only downside of ensuring the stripes fall correctly is that you cannot cut the pieces as economically as you would like, and even the excessive areas of selvage are not as usable as I would like because again the smaller pieces still need to fall correctly on the stripes.
As a result I found I needed every inch of the two yards I had ordered – it cannot be done in one yard!
Front Pockets

I then cut the pocket facings, again lining the stripes up with he corner of the trouser fronts to ensure they visually continue through the visible part of the pockets.

These pocket bags are the first thing to be assembled (see below left). I sew the facings to the pocket bag and press them back to line up with the outer edges of bag and top-stitch them where they were attached (see below right).

The pocket bag is then sewn right-sides together to the trouser front, stitching a good half-inch inside of the edge of the fronts.

I then clip the seam allowance to the top and bottom point extremities of the stitchline (see left). The pocket bag is then turned round from the front to the back, but leaving the seam allowance still facing the same way above and below the pocket (see below as pocket bag comes to front).
Its a simple trick, but very important to do.

The pocket bag is then folded in half, ensuring the pattern matches to the trouser front. The is a little scope here for adjustment if it doesn’t.
I then sew the bottom of the bag right-sides out (see right) before turning it right-sides in and then re-sewing the bottom, enclosing the raw edge, making the pocket bag nice and neat. This is called a French Seam.

A line of stay-stitching where the pocket bag meets the side seam helps to keep everything stable ready for later assembly.
Finally I use my buttonholer to sew a collapsed buttonhole at the top and bottom of the pocket in the seam allowance to reinforce the stitching, as these are stress points (see left).

Next I set the fly zip.

Now, I set my first ever zip into the calico test I made, which had an attached waistband. It worked first time and was quite satisfying (see right).
However, doing it for real in these trousers proved a little more challenging as the conjoined waistband made things a little more tricky!

Fly - Left Side
The left fly has an extended piece that then buttons on the right side. I cut one body piece; one lining; and one interfacing, which is attached to the lining (see below left). For this design, the first thing to do is sew the waistband lining to the trouser front and sew the left fly front to its lining, attaching both only by the top edge (see below right).

I next attach the left side of the zip face down to the trouser front. I use my Zipper Foot to get my stitching as close to the zip as possible (see below left). I then sew the left fly face down over the top of the zip, ensuring I line the tops of the waistband up (see below centre). I then sew the fly fronts and backs together along the outside edge only, turn everything right-side, press it flat. finally I do a line of top-stitch along the side of the zip (see below right). When I do this I wrap the fly lining around the seam allowance beside the zip to enclose the raw edge, making a neat internal finish.

Fly - Right Side
This side is a little easier. I sew the right fly face down to the trouser front and turn it right-side and press (see below left). I then attach the right waistband and curtain to the fly (see below centre). Finally I carefully work out where the right side of the zip needs to attach and sew it to the right fly, again using the zipper foot to stitch as close as I possibly can (see below right).

I then sew below the zip to the crotch, which I do several times over for strength.
To round off the fly I do I line of stitch to secure the loose side of the right fly which shows through to the front of the trousers. The final few inches at the bottom is done to sew through the left fly as well, which tidies up the fly’s anchor. A reinforcing stitch is done at the transition between the two part of the stitch, as this is another stress point.

I prepare the backs by interfacing the top seat area (see below centre) and put in two crucial darts which give the trousers a snug fit across the seat (see below left for dart in pattern, below right for dart sewn).

It is then a home straight to get the trousers wearable to check fit, but I need to do it in a particular order, or there is a weird danger of making a skirt and not trousers!
  1. I sew the trouser backs to the fronts along the side seam,
    which I pressed flat and top-stitched (see above, assembled and shown flat)
  2. I then sew the seat from the bottom of the back V to the crotch, again stitching it a few times for strength
  3. Finally I sew the in-seem, from the crotch to the ankle, back to the crotch and down to the other ankle, before returning to the crotch and sewing another two lines of stitch from the knee level up, making four lines of stitch in total covering the knees to crotch area
Waistband Lining
I need to now insert the back of the waistband lining and its curtain, which I have pre-assembled and sewn my clothing label in place in the centre (see right).
I’ll show you more of the label I have devised in a later posting.
The most important point of sewing the waistband lining is the centre point of the back V. I put the waistband and trousers backs together, right-sides together. I bring the top stitches of their centre seam as close together as possible and pin them firmly (see below left). I then sew away from this point up to the back points (see below centre) and away towards the side trouser seam, leaving the stitch line open-ended. I then trim the points to give a sharp seam (see below right) and turn them right-sides and press.

To finish the waistband lining I need to sew the side seams. I deliberately left some extra fabric to work with at this seam (see below left) and mark where they meet. I sew it vertically (see below centre left) and trim the excess (see below centre right) before closing the top seam and pressing flat (see below right).

Finishing Touches
To finish the trousers off I add the six buttons that attach the braces (see left top); sew the buttonhole in the left fly front (see left bottom), plus its button; and hem the trousers to the desired length.

Finished Result
I am very pleased with the finished result, and found that I have become progressively quicker with each version I have done, so much so I have created the Five fabric as seen in season 21, and plan at some spare point to make a part of these as well (see right).

Finally, here are some decent pictures of the finished Five Trousers. Please let me know what you think of them.

I think I am ready to attempt the Tennant Suit trousers . . .


  1. You did a magnificent job of matching stripes!

  2. Can`t believ I am saying this to a perfect stranger.. but... nice bum! So great job on the trousers, they look better than the originals.

  3. Without knowing your gender, I don't quite know how to take that!

  4. It's partly the expression, but you actually have very similar features to Davison! You'd just need a proper wig. ;-)

  5. An excellent job. If only i was still able to work I'd definately be ordering both 5th and 6th Doctor trousers.