The Trousers are Finally Finished...

McCalls 5239
 I have finally got to the end of my trouser learning curve using McCalls M5239, version B with slanted side pockets and front zip (mock fly). I've used a variety of fabrics and altered the pattern over time to suit my small hips and slender legs.  I've used a variety of fabrics and they have all worked differently.  I've used a poly viscose gabardine for my work pants, and that has a nice drape and weight, so the trousers hang well.  I've used cotton drill and found that this fabric with my flat bottom tends to wrinkle down the legs quite noticeably.  I've used two different stretch fabrics - a stretch twill, which looks good at the back, but is a little large in the front, and a stretch cotton sateen - these are the last pair, and I took some trouble to make them a slim fit (having learnt from the stretch twill pants).   As this is my first real foray into pants making I had quite a bit to learn!  (Apart from a few unsuccessful muslins that did not go on to become wadders!)

I am going to post all the trousers I have made from this pattern - some of you have seen them before, and I apologise for perhaps boring you.  Some have only just found my blog, so perhaps I am not boring you :-).  I am also posting a review for this pattern on Pattern Review - so I anticipate sewers from PR may want to look at these trousers.

Okay, here's my last, finally finished pair of trousers - the stretch cotton sateen fitted version of M5239.

Finally smiling - front looks fitted at long last!

And so does the back - without too much under seat sag thanks to my tweaking.
And side view - legs trim and fitted - I would always wear a jacket and blouse over pants in real life!

The next pair of pants are my original pair, quickly made pretty much from the pattern without much alteration - my standard size 8 legs, 10 hips, 12 waist and 1 inch FBA (bottom and legs).   They were made in poly viscose gabardine, non stretch, and they really do hang nicely with little under bottom wrinkly crinkly's!  A very classic pair of pants.

Front, looking serious as befits serious classic pants!
Back - a little loose but makes me look a little larger when dealing with serious stuff!
The next set of pictures are the same pants, same cut, same "untweaking". This time made in cotton drill.  I have two pairs of cotton drill pants, one white and one emerald green.

Loose and baggy, just right for hot weather - who wants cling in 100 degrees?
The back - I've learnt how to tweak these wrinkles now.  Still, in hot weather I won't really care about them!

In this colour it doesn't matter if they are loose and cool.

I will enjoy wearing these!
The next set of pants were in stretch twill - I hadn't used it before so I had no idea how it handled or what sort of fit was needed.  I decided it didn't matter for these trousers as they are made for going on long walks and I may well have thermal underwear on underneath.  Comfy, slouchy, and roomy are okay for country hikes!
Nice and Roomy, Good for Action!
Not quite as saggy and baggy as I expected!
The last pair are my prize pair - nice slim pants I can be proud to wear out and about in a smart/casual situation.  I know I opened with them, but I want to close with them as well .
I've now managed a nicer fit over my hips and have removed a lot of fullness from the inner leg - I used an imaginary size 6 cutting line -  and the outer leg. These had quite a lot of taking in down the side seams as the fabric is stretch cotton sateen.  If I was making them in a woven fabric I would still take them in but not as much, because more wearing ease would be needed.

On the back view you can see that there is less wrinkling and bagging under the bottom.  I used a Sandra Betzina tip to take out some of the area that caused problems.  I haven't quite mastered it yet, but when I do I will write a post on how to do it.

I think this is a good pattern for learners to work with.  It may not be high fashion, but it is a good shape to use as a basic pattern or template for checking other patterns against - which is what I plan to do.  I think I will have to do muslins still, but at least I now have a good understanding of my shape and how to make pants to fit it.  It's been quite a tedious exercise  but I think, worth it, and I hope to reap the results of this investment in time in later pants projects.  And, instead of making muslins that do not work - which is an even more tedious and frustrating exercise - I will have a good visual starting point to assess other patterns with.

And thank you everyone for your support during my learning curve - its been really appreciated :-)

As it is Sunday evening here, I will wish you all the best for the coming week...

Sarah Liz :-)


  1. I Think They R All GreaT Pants, But I Agree The Last Pair Looks AmazingLy Smart. :) HavE A Great Week Ahead.

    1. Far, I love your phone Font - gives me a really good giggle - hope you don't mind, I'm not giggling nastily, I think its sort of cute!(annoying too, I understand, from your point of view). Thanks for your comment and well wishes for the coming week - you have a good week as well.

  2. Wow Sarah Liz!!! You have done an outstanding job , fitting this pants pattern.. They look fabulous. I really thought some of the others looked good.. But , when showing all versions, it makes me see how WELL the last pair fit. Patience really paid off with this sewing project.
    Happy sewing.

    1. Thanks Judy, although I wish I had a little more coverage on the bones :) Happy sewing to you too

  3. Congratulations!!! I can testify that getting a great pair of pants that fit is A LOT OF WORK. Your pants look FANTASTIC!!!

    1. Faye, you are so right, it is a lot of work. Glad they look okay, looking forward to seeing more of yours :)

  4. You did it! The fit is perfect, your hard work has really paid off. You're looking great Sarah Liz!

  5. All your hard work has paid off. You have created a great fit for your pants. Not an easy feat.

    1. Thank you BeaJay - now to repeat the next time I am silly enough to make pants again!

  6. Isn't it great to master a new technique! Your pants look great.

  7. These look terrific! The waistband on your final pair is so flattering, and the rest of the pants look fine and comfy.

    1. Hi Stephanie -thank you, and yes, most of the pants are meant to be comfy - slim fit is okay for being dressed up, but for more active occasions, comfy is needed.

  8. Hi Sarah Liz, I was wondering how your stretch cotton sateen pants look after wearing them for a while? The last pair I made (with the stretch going across) stretched and bagged out so badly after wearing them for a few hours they became a size too big! I am thinking I should have made with stretch going vertically instead, or maybe my fabric was not so great and didn't have enough recovery?

  9. Hi Kristy - I find that all stretch trousers, me made or RTW, if they are cotton, tend to bag very quickly - I thought it was just my bony knees (they are bony). I read in a Sandra Betzina book years ago that at rectangle of lining across the knee might stop bagging, but I think she was talking about woven fabrics. I'm not a lover of stretch fabrics for trousers for that reason, except they are comfy to wear. The width around the girth does increase - I gather that with stretch pants (and this applies if you buy RTW as well) you always need to be a little on the firm side because they will stretch with wear. This seems a little scary to me - it would be awful to do all that work of making your own, making them firm and then finding they don't fit at all. As I haven't made much stretch, I can't say much more at this point in time. It's disappointing when things stretch a size bigger in no time, as happened to you. I notice that a lot of our fabrics seem to have 4% Elastane, which is quite a lot and they have quite a bit of give. One pair of pants I made out of stretch just kept growing and growing before I even finished them - total wadders!


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