Wednesday 8 July 2009

Ten trousers part one - cutting and fronts

At last, the day is here when I start cutting the JoAnn fabric (see right) and begin making my suit!

I got the fabric from the US through the kind help of Bob Mitsch, who managed to track down the last few remnants of the fabric on behalf of a number of cosplayers. Thanks Bob!

Looking back a few months I would have been terrified to start cutting the trousers, but now I feel I have gained enough experience and knowledge to do them with confidence.

I will break the entries for the trousers into three parts:
Part 1 - cutting and making the fronts
Part 2 - making the backs
Part 3 - sewing the legs and waistband

Part 1 - cutting and making the fronts

I am doing the trousers based on the lifted pattern from the GAP trousers, and plan to follow this as close as possible.
I bought a pair which were the same cut as the screen used trousers and are a perfect fit for me (see right). This means I don’t need to adapt or change the pattern, aside from a couple of real minor tweaks.

I carefully took the trousers apart, making a few notes as I went.
I only took apart the unique pieces, such as the fly; one front pocket; one front and back and the waistband. I kept one front pocket and one back pocket fully intact as reference.

I then made a paper pattern from the fabric pieces (see left).

First thing to do was cut all the main pieces as the pattern from the JoAnn fabric in one go (see below). As I did with the Six and Five trousers, I cut one side, then lay it face down on the fabric to line up the pinstripes so I can cut a perfect mirror for the other side of the trousers.

Luckily the width of the repeat for the pinstripe is quite narrow, so I can cut it much more economically that I did the Five Trousers.

Front Pockets
As usual, I start with the front pockets.

I cut the pocket bag from silesia and the pocket facings so they match the angle and position of the pattern to the trouser fronts (see above).

The pocket bag is then sewn to the corner of the trouser front along the chalk line I have marked, from the dot at the bottom (see far left). I then clip the seam allowance to the dot (see left).

I can then turn the pocket bag (see below, far left) around to the back and press the front edge of the pocket flat (see below, middle).

I then top-stitch the edge of the pocket and fold the back of the pocket bag around to match up the pinstripes with the leg fronts to check it is working okay (see far right).

I can then french seam the bottom of the pocket bag, which involves sewing the seam with the bag inside out, before turning it right-side out and sewing it again to enclose the raw edge, making a nice neat pocket (see left).

Finally I sew a line of stay-stitching along the seam allowance of the trouser fronts to secure and stablise the pocket bag before the trousers are assembled later on. I then put a collapsed buttonhole at the stress points at the top and bottom of the pocket to reinforce the stitching (see right).

Zip - Left Fly

I can now set my zip.
First I assemble the left fly (see left) which I sew up the side, with the curve at the bottom. The lining of the fly is cut about 10mm wider than the front. This will be sewn around the raw edge later to make things clean and neat.

Next I sew the left side of the fly to the trouser front (see below, far left) using my zipper foot to get the stitchline as close to the zip as possible.

I then pin the left fly behind the zip (see right centre) and sew it in place before top-stitching it, again as close to the zip as I can using the zipper foot (see far right).

Zip - Right Fly
Sewing the right fly is a little easier.

All I need to do is sew the single piece of the right fly to the right trouser front (see far left) and press it flat back (see centre left). I then sew the two fronts together between the base of the fly and the crotch, going over the stitiching a few times for strength.

I can then see how the right side of the zip needs to attach to the fly (see above, far right), again using the faithful zipper foot to get the stitching as close to the zip as possible.

I then top-stitch the right fly to secure it in place and brace the zip. I stop a couple of inches from the bottom and then continue the stitching, following the curve of the fly, but this time through all thicknesses of material to the base of the fly (see right).

That basically finishes the fronts of the trousers, and they are looking good already!!! (see below)

Here is another view, from the inside, showing the neatly French seamed pockets (see below).


  1. hey it's ModernBoy...just wanted to say I am really enjoying the blog. I could never even begin to do what you are doing so I find it incredibly fascinating to follow along. At some point I will fill out your questionnaire regarding my own suit.


  2. so, as i understand, you made your own patterns for the tennant suit and coat? Is there any way you would be intrested in selling your patterns?

  3. Thank you for your interest, but there would be no way I could possibly sell the pattern I have created.
    Don't be offended, but I have put a LOT of work into it.
    Best wishes - and enjoy the blog.