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30s linen trousers

Added Mar 6, 2010

by elegantmusings

Virginia, Virgin...






This is a project that has actually been finished for a couple weeks, but because I kept forgetting to get photos, it’s taken me a bit! This project is from a 1930s reprint pattern (available at the Vintage Fashion Library: http://vintagefashionlibrary.com/) that I fell in love with because of the nautical style (see final image of the pattern cover) and easy-to-wear looks.

The slacks pattern, a reprint of an original 30s pattern, was like many from the era in needing some fitting modifications. What is commonly referred to as the “diaper look” among many vintage seamstresses; older pants patterns often have very long crotch seams. Sometimes this results in pants that look like they’re hanging around your knees! So I tend to automatically adjust the crotch length before I begin. I also reduced the amount of width in the back upper legs and front inner seam. This helped create a more fitted backside, which I find is just more flattering. The usual waist and hip adjustments were made too, along with raising the front upper edge a bit to accommodate for my long torso and high waist.

The final pants (after a muslin fitting!) were made from light-tan linen/rayon blend. I thought about doing a darker, more “practical” color, but really had my heart set on a light colored linen. White or cream doesn’t work with me–I’m too clumsy to be trusted not to get anything on a light colored bottom within the first five minutes of wearing! So tan was the next best thing (and also fit into the “practical” category as it goes with a lot in my wardrobe). The belt buckle is a vintage shell one I bought on Etsy. Perhaps one of the biggest design changes I made with this pattern is to move the zipper from the front (originally the zipper is installed along the front over the hip) to the left side. The original look seemed too sporty for the more sophisticated fabric color, plus I like side zippers!

These are super comfortable–I could seriously wear these forever! lol. I would say they’re akin to yoga pants in the softness and looseness of the cut. Plus, I love how flattering the shape is, compared to most slacks. The 30s definitely knew how to cut pants for a woman’s shape!

Material Notes





Garment Type
Classic, Vintage

19 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Jun 16, 2012, 09.03 AMby MinkaP

    I love these trousers so much, I had a look on the website you mentioned but couldn’t find the pattern. Could you please tell exactly what pattern, I’m new to all of this and am driving my self a bit nuts. Thanks : )

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    Jan 26, 2011, 02.17 AMby lila-1

    !! I’ve got this pattern!! Ive been trying to make pants from it for ages but could not bear the fact that the crotch hangs pretty much mid thigh! I also havent been able to re-draft that properly, would you consider posting a tutorial for redrafting a diaper crotch pattern?

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    Sep 9, 2010, 05.09 AMby heartspromise

    You put me in mind of Katharine Hepburn in these photos! Great work!!! =)

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    Aug 11, 2010, 03.05 PMby puffling

    When I saw the photo of these trousers I actually caught my breath a little. Fantastic!

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    Jul 21, 2010, 10.43 AMby kajsasyr

    I absolutely adore these trousers! Wow, they really look amazing on you.

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    Apr 1, 2010, 08.04 AMby ebsnare

    Oh linen, I wish I could wear it without creasing. Maybe I could just stand still and do nothing at all sigh. I’ve got a Burda pattern for skinny on the waist trousers where I want to move the zipper from the front to the side (side zippers = awesome) – got any tips?

    1 Reply
    • Dec-avatar_large

      Apr 5, 2010, 12.47 AMby elegantmusings

      I actually love the wrinkles that result from wearing linen! As for the zipper swapping: as long as you remove any excess seam allowance at the front (such as if the pants have a fly front opening) and make sure you have enough at the side, you should be fine! Also, if your fabric is somewhat unstable, I recommend underlining or interfacing the side seam to help stabilize the zipper area. :)

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    Mar 8, 2010, 11.00 PMby lilybart

    Really gorgeous pants! I’m still too terrified to make them. I adore high-waisted pants (although my boyfriend freaks out when I wear them). How gorgeous is the blouse with the bow in the pattern picture??

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    Mar 8, 2010, 09.50 PMby vintagerouge

    They look fabulous, and fabulous on you! I love 1930s sportswear, what a great pattern!

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    Mar 8, 2010, 04.33 AMby jojoconstance

    This looks great! I gotta make myself some real “pants” – I only have jeans and I never wear them. Maybe I am just a dress girl at heart….

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    Mar 8, 2010, 12.28 AMby gillthecat

    cool i just bought a dozen 40s patterns on ebay and am building up to trying one, in cheapo fabric so i can adjust , looks like it will be a challenge, your trousers are very betty boo v cool well done

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    Mar 7, 2010, 03.37 PMby anna agyekum

    sigh i am again a green eyed monster! they are beautiful! thanks for the websight another place to spend all my money :)

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    Mar 7, 2010, 11.11 AMby susanne2011

    This is really beautiful! How did you ever learn how to make all these adjustments? Do you have an education in fashion design? Or did you learn it yourself with books etc.? I hope the latter, because that means that there is still hope for hobbyists like me to acquire these skills eventually…

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    Mar 7, 2010, 06.48 AMby stitchywitchy

    Lovely! These types of high waisted pants are so flattering. Thanks for the tips – should I ever attempt a vintage pants pattern I will keep it in mind!

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    Mar 7, 2010, 05.48 AMby carolyn-s

    These pants are so glamorous and sophisticated, gorgeous!

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    Mar 6, 2010, 08.01 PMby msam

    you do such a great job on all of ur clothes : )

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    Mar 6, 2010, 07.38 PMby ichigogirl

    Oh, they look just great on you! Interesting to know about all the changes you did to the pattern. I’ll keep them in mind if I try to make pants and find they don’t fit me like they should ;-)

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    Mar 6, 2010, 05.42 PMby ginasophia

    I love them!!!Beautiful

  • Missing

    Mar 6, 2010, 04.35 PMby scheryka


  • Prof_large

    Mar 6, 2010, 04.33 PMby fraiche

    You are my Burda chic idol. The hair is great too!

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