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Trousers (or pants or slacks) require their own block, distinct from the basic blouse block (http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/constructing-the-basic-bodice-block) and the dress block (http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/drafting-a-princess-line-dress-pattern-from-the-basic-bodice-block), presented earlier, Here I present detailed, step-by-step instructions for preparing a custom-fitted trouser block for women. A man's trouser block is slightly different, although not dramatically so - it is possible to work with a women's trouser block and adjust it somewhat to get a fit to a man's body.

As in my earlier techniques, you will need a ruler about a meter long, a smaller ruler, a sharp pencil, and a French curve (or dinner plate!). A calculator is useful, in addition. You will also need a set of body measurements (waist, hips, waist-to-hip distance, waist-to-ground distance, body rise (distance from the waist to the chair when you are sitting down), and waist-to-knees distance. With the first four measurments, the others can be estimated.

This block construction method has been adapted from the following excellent reference :

Winifred Aldrich, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear, 5th ed., Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 2008, 215 pp.

Technique Materials

paper or cardboard, ruler, pencil, calculator, French curve (or dinner plate), set of body measurements

23 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Aug 30, 2013, 06.14 AMby Roadies1

    My biggest problem is a flat seat and protruding tummy. How do I make adjustments here?

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    Mar 21, 2013, 01.44 PMby Meldbombs

    Hi I want to make jean shorts with a fly. I already have a great book with instructions on how to make a pants sloper but I have no idea how to add in a fly?

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    Apr 17, 2012, 10.19 PMby athomemom56

    Hi, I have been trying for ages to get feedback on the “Constructing the Basic Trouser Block” pattern. I drew and cut out the pattern but only made it so far, and had to stop because no one would respond to the questions. Has anyone used the pattern or is the person who posted the pattern available…PLEASE?

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    Feb 6, 2012, 05.28 PMby Moonecho

    Thank you so much for this! I have sewn for years and yet have never been able to make a perfect pair of pants (I’m lousy at adjustments lol). But this visual is going to be a tremendous help! So again, thank you!

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    May 29, 2011, 09.29 PMby 10ashus

    The Internet was invented to enable people to freely share information in an efficient manner. Thank you, gedwoods, for keeping the true spirit of the Internet alive.

    I have been learning to do my personal adjustments at http://perfectsewandfit.com. With this tissue block, I will know for sure the hip and waist width are correct.

    I know the pelvic tilt effects the sway back and the lower body curve shape for the center seam. Does it also effect the inseam point extension? The line you extend past point H?

    1 Reply
    • Photoge01_large

      May 29, 2011, 10.53 PMby gedwoods

      I’ve no experience making these kinds of adjustments, but I would suspect the difference is pretty small, as the inseam comes up pretty close to the axis that tilts. Someone more experienced with adjustments than I am might have a different answer, though.

  • Missing

    Apr 27, 2011, 04.14 AMby Queen-Ajifa Ododo

    i tried making the pattern, but a lot of things were not falling in place, i guess it was from my calculations, so i want to know, when u refer to waist and hip measurements e.g when u say “add 3/8 inch to 1/4 of the hip measurement”, do u mean the measurement all round my waist? because, since there were four panels i divided my hip and waist measurments into four, could that be the problem?

    1 Reply
    • Photoge01_large

      Apr 27, 2011, 06.47 AMby gedwoods

      You do not have to divide any measurement by four unless this is explicitly stipulated – all the measurements refer to the full circumference. So if you divided by four to begin with, you’d have seriously skewed results. But it should be pretty obvious, too…

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    Jan 28, 2011, 07.25 AMby ujosiili

    Wow! This is super interesting, huge thanks!

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    Dec 1, 2010, 02.00 PMby freaky-philomeen

    Hi gedwoods, the basic trouser block looks very interesting to me. I think I could manage this, I made lots of trousers with and without zippers already. I just have one question…have you got any pictures of what the pants will look like?

    2 Replies
    • Photoge01_large

      Dec 1, 2010, 07.41 PMby gedwoods

      I finished one pair of pants using this block, which you can see on my list of projects in my Studio. I should note, however, that a block is really only the beginning, it can be manipulated in many different ways to generate a whole variety of different “looks” – the look of one set of pants won’t really give you a good idea of what you could do with the pattern.

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      Dec 6, 2010, 06.46 PMby freaky-philomeen

      Ok, fine! Thanks and good luck for your project.

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    Jul 1, 2010, 07.34 PMby smoothemeraldoasis

    Wow! I thought that this was going to be a cut and paste job…so to speak, but after reading all the comments I am going to go with making the muslin copy before starting my actual pants. Thanks you so much for all your input and for the opportunity to make me a good pair of pants, Tell me what type of material works best for women, I like some weight to the fabric, but want the feel of slinkyness? Have a wonderful day and thanks for the advice. ;-)

    1 Reply
    • Photoge01_large

      Jul 1, 2010, 09.35 PMby gedwoods

      I really think fabric is a question of personal choice. You might want to look at the information on fabrics in the fabrics international wiki that I developed – it gives you some information on drape and weight, etc. for the main fabrics as well as many others.

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    Jul 1, 2010, 07.51 AMby bohemiannow

    I’m so going to try this. Thank you!

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    Jun 30, 2010, 09.32 PMby oonaballoona

    gedwoods, thank you SO much! you are as always a fount of information! this is just what i needed to get back on the pants wagon— my first (and only ) pair was a horror movie.

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    Jun 30, 2010, 01.45 PMby annawilliamson

    thank you thank you thank you!!

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    Jun 1, 2010, 01.35 PMby oluyomi

    thanks this is awesome! works perfect

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    Sep 3, 2009, 04.27 PMby yasuali

    hi, can u tell me how to cutting and stitching mermaid skirt. waiting for ur reply

  • Missing

    Aug 29, 2009, 10.26 PMby kimberley28

    Hello gedwoods,

    thanks for the instructions. I’m constructing the basic in Adobe Illustrator first before I print it out. I must say, it looks pretty strange. I’m 153 cm (about 5’2") and have gotten a very extreme form, especially in the back leg below the crutch.

    The inseam point at the crutch (Point Y) is at about a 63° angle to Point AB (Parallel difference of 7,53 cm). The outerseam from Point AD to Point Z is at a 73° angle. (a parallel difference of 6,77cm). (Looking at the drawing makes me think of toddler’s pants!).

    Assuming that I didn’t carry over the wrong measurements anywhere (I’d written them down according to a Burda Magazine and noted any calculations that had to be used on the pdf-print-out.), can the drawing be correct? Unfortunately, I can’t upload a screenshot to this post.

    Maybe I should also add, that my inseam length is 72cm (about 28 1/3").

    What can I do to insure that the angles aren’t so extreme in the block, while ensuring good fit & a good fall in the fabric? Should I reset Point AD more towards the right, thus changing the slope? I’d be grateful for any help that you can give me.

    1 Reply
    • Photoge01_large

      Mar 21, 2010, 10.37 PMby gedwoods

      I’m not sure what else to add over all-krysta’s comments. Like her, I’m inclined to suggest making up a muslin shell using the shape that you got, before trying to second guess adjustments. The first pair of pants I made didn’t “look right” to me, and I made the mistake of adjusting them on the fly – the result was horrible! The original sloper turned out to be right, even though it looked “wrong”. If things still don’t fit right even when made up in the muslin, then by all means make changes, like silverrowan did below. Remember these slopers are designed to fit an “average range” of shapes – they won’t serve absolutely any shape without adjustment. But give it a try first!

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    Aug 18, 2009, 01.24 PMby ana555

    gedwoods, what is the difference for men? i assume the darts are gone and the legs are straighter. would the math stay the same? i am looking to create mens jeans for my husband and if i get it down i would also use it for my son, he is 9 and tall and thin. we have a hard time getting jeans that fit for him too. thank you for your technique, ana555

    1 Reply
    • Photoge01_large

      Aug 19, 2009, 09.55 PMby gedwoods

      The differences are subtle – as you say, the darts go but that’s often automatic given the waist to hip size anyway. I sometimes use a block for men but I’ve also made pants for myself using the women’s block. I believe there is a slight difference in the ratio of forward to back crutch length – women tend to roll their pelvis further forward than do men, but the one can get away with a women’s block. Since I make a muslin for first efforts, I adjusted the fit on the muslin before finalizing the pattern. Also, there may be differences in the embellishments – men usually want pockets to be fairly standard, whereas with women you can introduce greater variation. I’ve been experimenting in pants for myself with changing the cuffs at the bottom of the legs, though. If you do a muslin before finalizing your measurements, you can’t go wrong.

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    Aug 18, 2009, 10.23 AMby diudanghatnang

    great

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    Aug 18, 2009, 06.37 AMby silverrowan

    I must have missed something then, I took at least 15cm out of the crotch curve in the front! befuddled me for a while until I figured it out!

  • Photoge01_large

    Aug 14, 2009, 01.44 PMby gedwoods

    I should add that the blocks often require additional adjustments to get a perfect fit. I usually make a muslin shell and check, but I’ve gotten lazy over time because I’ve found the fit to be systematically good enough that I can make the necessary adjustments on the final garment. But every body is different, and some adjustments are to be expected…

  • Photoge01_large

    Aug 14, 2009, 01.39 PMby gedwoods

    Wow I’ve never seen anything like that and I’ve made several pairs for different people. The instructions should indeed account for the difference in crutch length front and back. If you look at the construction, you can see that the waist construction of the back leg causes 2 centimeters to be added to the crutch length, and because the curve leans back further than for the front leg, you gain additional centimeters in the back length. I also usualy add in a small modification to give additional ease to the pants, especially at the back – essentially, cut the back leg pattern from about halfway up the crutch line to the back of the pants near the hip line (but don’t cut completely through), then using the back point as a pivot, rotate the top piece up so that you add a few centimeters to the back crutch line. I hesitated to include this variation in the basic instruction, as I saw it as a variant, but, again, your comments suggest it should probably be directly incorporated. I will make the change into the instructions, but you could try this…

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    Aug 13, 2009, 11.01 PMby silverrowan

    O_o glad to help.

    I’ve made rough muslin garment now, and it originally fit horribly in the front – either I missed where it does, or these instructions neglect to account for the difference in crotch length of the pants between front and back

  • Photoge01_large

    Aug 11, 2009, 03.38 PMby gedwoods

    Hello silverrowan, your question led me to check back on my measurements. The relevant measurement is the body rise, not the crutch depth – I’ve corrected the Technique for this. I have always used the body rise measurement and had assumed that the crutch depth as measured on the body was the same – however, a little thought will show that the crutch depth will be larger than the body rise, as it follows the curve of the body. The body rise is hence the correct measurement, not the crutch depth as I originally indicated. The crutch depth line is still correctly named, however – essentially, the crutch depth measurement corresponds to the curved section on the top left of the block. Thanks for the question, allowing me to clear that up!

  • Missing

    Aug 11, 2009, 12.24 AMby silverrowan

    when you say waist measurement, do you mean natural waist or pant-top waist?

    (I’m trying to figure out how my crutch depth could be 10cm off calculated, when ready to wear doesn’t fit me too badly)

    • This is a question
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