Pants, Trousers, and Shorts: Fitting Resources

Why do people fear sewing pants? The number one answer is likely fit. After all, the actual sewing part of making pants is easy to master. Starting with a pants pattern that is close to your proportions is a good idea – like the new Thurlow pattern!

Pants are considered one of the hardest things to fit. Just think of how many parts of the body are involved: legs, hips, crotches, thighs – that’s a lot of curves! If you’re shaped like me, it sure is a challenge to buy ready-to-wear pants that will accommodate fuller tights and wide hips, but still fit properly at the waistline. And that’s why we sew – we can work on fixing all of the usual fitting woes on our own trousers!

(the first pair of shorts where I’ve been happy with the fit!)

I thought I’d put together a list of fitting resources for trousers/pants/shorts. Many of you have requested fitting tips, so I hope this helps you get started!

Fitting Resources for Pants:

The team at Colette Patterns put together a series of posts on fitting pants last Fall. These two posts will help point you in the right direction:

A Fashionable Stitch hosted a trouser sew-along with plenty of trouser fitting and alteration tips! I included all of the links below for your reference:

Sewing Pants that Fit (from the Singer Sewing Reference Library) I like this book because of the ‘bad pants photos’ – you know, the photos that demonstrate a poorly-fitting pair of pants, and then the correction. Being able to compare your photos to the photos in the book with similar straining or puckering seams makes it easier to identify what might be wrong with your pants. The trousers shown are a little dated, but the concepts are the same.

Pants for Real People. I’ve never used this book myself, but I’ve heard good reviews about the fitting methods. If it’s anything like Fit for Real People, it will likely use tissue-fitting and measurements to get a good fit, and not recommend the use of a muslin. (Have you used this book as a fitting reference? What did you think?)

Do you have any suggestions to add, or recommendations? Which of these methods was useful to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience on fitting trousers!

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23 Responses to Pants, Trousers, and Shorts: Fitting Resources

  1. Tanit-Isis June 26, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    They look great—the bow is the cutest!

    Steph of does a trouser-block fitting service, and has been writing lots about pants-fitting recently. :)

    • Elizabeth Pomery July 1, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Yes, & Steph is doing a “Perfectly Fitting Pants” class in Brisbane in a few weeks and I am taking the Thurlow pants pattern as my project, now just patiently waiting for Aust Post to deliver them to my door..

  2. Inna June 26, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Thanks for putting this together, very useful indeed! Yes, I am one of those who are not confortable with sewing trousers. But because we study pants on my pattern-making class at school, I gotta deal with it :) I am currently sharing what we do in class on my blog.

  3. Marcy June 26, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I liked Pants for Real People, but for whatever reason, I prefer The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting.

    It could be a difference in learning style, technique, or something else, so if you don’t get as much help as you’d like from Pants for Real People, look up Sarah Veblen’s book. I checked it out from the local library before buying it.

    It has similar before-and-after pictures to the Singer Reference book and Pants for Real People, but the method is slightly different, she’s very clear on the order, she includes pics of the flat-pattern adjustment, and I think the pictures really demonstrate the effect of the changes.

  4. Carla June 26, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    I’ve only sewn one pair of pants many years ago as a high school clothing & textiles project… I enjoyed the challenge, and they turned out great… for someone else to end up wearing :( I haven’t sewn any for myself since… This info & your Thurlow pattern give me new hope~ Thank you Tasia!

  5. cidell June 26, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Oh, I should check some of these. I got a GREAT fit with my most recent pair. But, there are some wrinkles I’d love to get rid of if possible.

  6. Claire (aka Seemane) June 26, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Great set of links Tasia :)!
    Here’s a few more for the pile…(all saved to my Pinterest Board: so I don’t loose them LOL!) :-
    Seat Stretch Prevention
    How to fix a camel toe (trousers / pants pattern)
    “Adjusting Pants from Waist to Seat” (From: Threads Magazine Threads #122, pp. 36-41)
    “Fitting Series: Waist & Hips” (From: Threads Magazine)

  7. Amanda June 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I have to admit fear of fitting has been keeping me from trying to sew pants. Like a number of women, I’m curvy on the bottom and the idea of making that many alterations is a little overwhelming. I’m going to start with this pattern and see where the world takes alterations wise. Thanks for the links- I’ve already bookmarked this page :D

  8. Sewbusylizzy June 27, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I’m hoping these fit as perfectly as my recently completed Cambie, which was completely perfect straight out of the envelope. I think my pattern might arrive this Friday… hooray!

  9. Ellen June 27, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Fashion Incubator also has some good fitting tutorials:

    (you have to scroll right down to “Jeans and Pants fitting tutorials)

  10. Jo June 28, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    I would love to conquer fitting a pair of trousers one day. I’ve bookmarked this page for reference!
    When I saw you had put a pants pattern out I was excited! Especially since I’m the definition of a pear shape.
    I was wondering, how easy would it be to convert your pants into a wide leg silhouette? I will check back in the hopes of an answer :)

  11. Katherine June 28, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    This is EXACTLY why I fear sewing pants!

    I am going to order your pattern as soon as I get back home to my sewing machine in August. I’m so excited that you’ve made this pattern. I’m not pear-shaped really, but I do have a pretty curvy bottom and muscular thighs. Can’t wait!

  12. خياطة وتفصيل July 1, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    It looks beautiful! thank you so much :)

  13. Rachel July 13, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    I just finished the Thurlow trousers and blogged about it on:
    The trousers have a great fit !

  14. Shelley July 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks so much for collecting all this info for us. Wish I had it about a month ago when I was making capris that I couldn’t get to fit. May dig them out and try again.

  15. Doğa February 3, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    Hi, I am working in muslining my thurlows and currently stuck in steps 7&8. I only made jp pants before. Do we attach the left front to left back (do the same in the right side) and leave them alone as two pieces or do we attach the left and right sides to each other ? If so, how? I attached the inseam of left front and left back and stopped. Any clues will be appreciated. Thank you.

  16. Oliv August 21, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Ok the buzz is all about the pant. I guess I’m the only one wishing I’m in that top. I love it and wanna make… Sneak peak on how to do it please???

  17. Cindy September 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    My Thurlow trousers don’t fit in the back crotch. I think the problem is caused by my knock knees. Sandra Betzina in her book Fast Fit shows how to alter pants for knock knees. Has anybody had success with this alteration? Has anybody used a different alteration that works?

  18. Karyn January 17, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    I am a small petite .That is 150cm tall, 86cm hip,75cm waist,64cm crotch.Buying pants o shorts to fit _impossible getting a pattern to fit _impossible. Would like a dress form to adjust patterns on, but the only forms available are too big in this area or don’t have the legs in for the critical crotch adjustment.It seems model makers only think of the larger ladies . At my more mature age children’s wear is no longer appropriate. I can sew but fitting my flat bottom (I’m a 94cm bust) myself is very difficult.Any ideas greatly appreciated.


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