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Preparing classic trousers for fitting #F03

In the following step-by-step instructions, I will explain how I prepare a trousers to try if they have a divided waistband. I also explain the preparation for optional hem turn-up here. If you have opted for trousers without a divided waistband and turn-ups, you can use these instructions to prepare the trousers for fitting.

We also strongly recommend trying on made-to-measure trousers before finishing them. Customers are even ordered to come to the tailor for a fitting before they can pick up their finished garment. That’s why our patterns also include wider seam turn-ins, which you can use to adjust if necessary. It is important that the waistband is sewn on when trying on the trousers. Especially with the shaped waistband, because the circumference at the bottom edge is much larger than at the top edge. Since the pants will be taken apart again after trying them on, I will sew the pieces together with a large machine stitch and barely lock them. However, you can also baste the seams by hand, which is particularly recommended for delicate fabrics. I wish you every success!

1. This is required:

The picture shows the pattern pieces and accessories needed to try on the trousers.
Required pattern pieces and accessories.

Pattern pieces made from shell fabric:

  • back pieces (HH) – 1 pair; the darts are already incorporated
  • Front pieses (VH)- 1 pair; the area for the slit pocket (wing pocket) is still cut for fitting.
  • 2 pairs of waistbands (B); these will later have a seam at the center back

Pattern pieces from interlining:

  • waistband (EB) – 2 pairs

Paper pattern pieces:

  • back (HH)
  • Front (VH)
  • waistband (B)
  • if necessary, the template for the rear pocket position (P-TZ HH)
  • if necessary, the template for the hem turn-up (P-ZH)

Tools and aids:

  • Pins or clips
  • Hand shears
  • Chalk or marker pen
  • Basting thread and sewing needle if necessary

2. Prepare the waistband

Here I am anticipating the instructions for the waistband processing. This will save you a few work steps later on.

The picture shows how the interlining is ironed onto the waistband strips.
The interlining is ironed onto the waistband strips.

If you have not already done this when preparing the pattern pieces, first iron the interfacing onto the waistband strips. You will have a total of four waistband pieces onto which you can iron the interfacing – depending on the fabric and the desired strength – either on the outer side only or on both sides. If you only want to reinforce the outside, make sure that you iron the interfacing onto the right parts.

The picture shows different views of the collar strips.
Right and left waistband strips are prepared separately.

Now prepare the right and left waistband strips separately. To do this, I lay the two pieces right sides together, pin them at the top edge and sew them together using a normal stitch length. The beveled corners on the strips are used to mark where the top and front of the pattern piece are.

The picture shows how the shaped waistband is cut in at the top edge.
Cutting in the upper edge of the shaped waistband.

With a shaped waistband, I cut the seam allowance at the top edge of the waistband several times so that there is no tension. To minimize the visibility of the incisions, I offset the incisions at the top and bottom.

The picture shows how the seam allowance is pressed apart.
Press the seam allowance open.

Then I press the seam allowance open.

The picture shows how the waistband strip is ironed.
The waistband strip is ironed.

I then lay the waistband with the wrong sides together and press the seam slightly towards the inside of the waistband strip. This means it is not visible from the outside later on.

I place the brush on the pressed seam so that it cools down more quickly. The (unpainted) wood absorbs the moisture, making the seam even flatter. If you have an ironing board, you can of course use that too.

The picture shows how the center front is marked on the waistband strip.
The front center is marked.

When cutting, I transferred the snips from the pattern pieces by making small incisions within the seam allowance. I now mark these with tailor’s chalk. When shaping the waistband, make sure that you do not mix up the center front and center back of the waistband strips.

The picture shows how the fret length is checked.
The waistband length is checked.

To check whether the length of the waistband strip is still correct after the previous processing, I place it on the pattern piece. If the strip has stretched or shortened, take this into account in the next step when transferring the markings.

The picture shows the markings on the waistband strip.
Mark the side seam and center back.

Then I also mark the notches for the side seam and center back.

The picture shows the opposing waistband strips,
The waistband stripes are the opposite.

Here I point to the center front of the waistband strips of the shaped waistband. The two parts must be mirrored.

3. Iron the back of the trousers into shape

First I iron the back trousers into shape. I have already finished the outer edges (except for the hem) with the overlock machine. You can do this at this point or later when the leg seams are closed. This is pointed out again in the corresponding instructions.

The back trouser parts are placed right sides together. I mark the knee height with a chalk line.

The picture shows how the back trousers are ironed for the fitting of the trousers.
The hind trousers are stretched above the knee.

Then I place the iron on the inner leg seam in front of the knee and stretch the upper part.

The inner leg seam may be approx. 10 mm longer.

The picture shows how the hind trousers are ironed shorter.
The hind trousers are ironed shorter.

I try to iron the width slightly towards the middle of the leg below the buttocks. This is the place where the expanse likes to accumulate. This “short ironing” works best with woolen fabrics.

Repeat this a few times.

The picture shows how the side seam is ironed.
Press from the side seam.

Then I lay the trousers straight again in the grain and iron them smooth from the side seam.

I then turn the pieces over and iron the other side in the same way.

4. Prepare the hem for trying on the trousers

The picture shows how the hem length is marked for trying on the trousers.
The hem length is marked.

If you have opted for a normal turned-in hem, mark the hem length specified in the pattern on the right side of the fabric parallel to the hem edge. To try on the trousers, the hem is folded inwards at this line and pinned.

The picture shows how the hem turn-up is marked for trying on the trousers.
The template is applied flush.

With a hem turn-up, the part that is folded inwards is very wide. The processing therefore differs from that of a normal hem. I place the template for the hem turn-up (P-H) flush with the hem edge.

The picture shows how the inner hem edge is marked.
The inner hem edge is marked.

Then I transfer the marking for the inner hem edge to the right side of the fabric.

The picture shows how the hem turn-up is marked.
The marking is continued.

For the other side, I turn the template over and mark the inner hem edge there too.

The picture shows how the hem turn-up is turned inwards for trying on the trousers.
The hem is turned inwards.

At the marking, I fold the lower part of the trouser leg inwards.

The picture shows how the hem turn-up is stitched.
The folded hem is basted.

I attach the hem with a few large stitches. I put the ruler under the basting seam so that I don’t poke my ironing board.

I repeat these steps – marking, folding over, basting – with the other three pattern pieces of the front and back trousers.

5. Close the leg seams

The picture shows how the front and back trousers are placed on top of each other.
The front and back trousers are placed on top of each other.

Now I close the inner and outer leg seams. To do this, I lay the front trousers in front of me with the right side facing up. Then place the back trousers right sides together on the front trousers.

The picture shows how the outer leg seams are pinned together.
The outer leg seams are pinned.

The outer leg edges are pinned together flush.

Pay attention to the notches at knee height and possibly in the pocket area.

The picture shows where the seam allowances are visible in the pattern.
The seam allowances result from the pattern.

You can see from the pattern piece how wide the respective seam allowances are.

The picture shows how to mark the seam allowance.
The width of the seam allowance is marked.

At the upper end of the inside leg seam, I mark the width of the seam allowance on the back trousers.

The picture shows how to pin the inner leg seam.
The edges of the pattern pieces meet at the marking.

In this position, I secure the upper end of the inner leg seam with a clip or pin. The front and back trousers meet exactly at the marking in the crotch curve.

The picture shows the pinned inside leg seam.
The inside leg seam is pinned.

Then I pin the remaining section of the inner leg seam together. Here, too, I make sure that the knips meet at knee height.

The picture shows the leg seams tacked for trying on the trousers.
Both seams are tacked.

I baste both seams with a straight stitch with a long stitch length or by hand. Make sure to sew with the seam allowances indicated in the pattern.

6. Mark the pocket position on the back of the trousers

The picture shows the template for the rear pocket position.
The rear pocket position is marked.

There is also a template for the position of the rear trouser pocket. Here you can see the template for piped pockets. The procedure is identical for all bag variants.

The picture shows how the template is applied.
The template is applied flush.

I place them flush against the center back and the top edge of the rear trousers.

The picture shows how the pocket position is marked for trying on the trousers.
The pocket position is marked.

Then I mark the position of the pocket with tailor’s chalk.

The picture shows the marking for the piping pocket.
Marking for piped pockets.

If you make these markings when you try on the trousers, you will get an idea of where the pockets will be later. If you don’t like the position so much, you can still make changes.

7. Pin the waistband strips to the trouser legs to try on the pants

The picture shows the front center of the trousers.
The front center is marked.

Before I pin the waistband strips to the trouser legs, I transfer the marking for the center front. Since my pants have a knee lining, the edge on the overlap side is already trimmed.

The picture shows how the front center is turned in.
The inseam is turned inwards.

I then place the trousers in front of me, as shown in the picture.

At the center front just marked, I turn the crotch seam on the overlap side, in this case on the right front piece, to the inside.

The picture shows how the markings on the waistband strip meet the trousers.
The markings meet.

I place the waistband strip with the marking for the center front on the folded edge.

The snap in the middle of the waistband meets the side seam exactly.

The waistband strip and back trousers also meet exactly at the center back.

The picture shows how the waistband strip is attached for trying on the trousers.
The waistband strip is pinned onto the trousers.

I start by pinning the waistband strip to the trousers at the center front.

The picture shows the attached waistband.
The entire route is pinned down.

I then mark out the rest of the route, paying attention to the markings. To try on the trousers, the waistband can be pinned in a double layer with a long stitch length or by hand.

The picture shows how the waistband is stitched on for trying on the trousers.
Finished sewn-on waistband strip.

I repeat the steps for the second trouser component. Only the hammering in at the front center is omitted.

In the picture you can see the prepared left trousers.

8. Basting the inseam and seat seam

The picture shows how the rear center is marked.
The center back is marked.

I mark the width of the seam allowance in the center back on the wrong side of the right trouser leg. You can tell the exact width by the notch at the waist edge. You can also measure in the pattern piece.

The picture shows the course of the seat seam.
The course of the seam is drawn in.

I mark the snap on the lower crotch curve. From there to the front, the seam width is 10 mm.

The course of the seat seam is determined by joining the two markings on the back trousers.

The picture shows both trouser parts.
The left trouser leg is turned inside out.

Then the two trouser parts must be placed right sides together.

To do this, first turn the left trouser leg inside out so that the right side is visible on the outside.

The picture shows how the trouser legs are pushed into each other.
The left trouser leg is pushed into the right one.

I then slide the turned trouser leg into the right leg on which I have marked the seam line.

The picture shows the trouser parts pushed into each other.
The crotch seam is pinned.

I lay the back crotch seam flush with each other.

On the two front pants, I make sure that the markings for the center front meet exactly.

The two inside leg seams also meet exactly.

Then I pin the inseam.

The picture shows how the end of the inseam is marked.
The end of the inseam is marked.

I mark the point where the inseam ends on the front trousers. This is exactly where my stitching ends.

The picture shows the tacked inseam.
Stitched inseam.

This is what the joined trouser parts look like from the left side.

9. Final preparations for trying on the pants

The picture shows the trousers prepared for fitting.
Prepared pants.

Now you can turn the pants right side out and get a first impression of how they will look later.

The picture shows how the top step is stapled.
The upper tread is stapled.

I fold the seam allowance of the upper edge inwards and baste with a few large stitches.

The picture shows how the front center is marked.
The front center is marked.

On the side with the underlap, I mark the center front along the entire length of the fly.

The picture shows the course of the front center.
The top step hits the mark exactly.

The top step hits this mark exactly. When you try on the trousers, make sure that the center front of the waistband is exactly on top of each other. It is best to pin it in place with a safety pin.

10. Trying on the pants

The picture shows the pants being tried on.
Views of the fitting.

Now the time has come – you can try on your pants for the first time!

Here are a few tips on what to look out for when trying on:

  • To get an impression of how the pants fit, I recommend taking photos that include at least the three perspectives in the picture above. You should take the photos as straight as possible – i.e. not at an angle from above or below.
  • Make sure that the waistband is at the right height. As there is still no button to close the pants properly, they can easily be pulled up a little too high or too low. To check this, you can measure the side length from the floor to the top edge of the waistband (see marking) and compare it with the side length you entered in the configurator.
  • If the waistband sits at the right height but is still too tight or too wide, compare the measurement you entered when configuring with the circumference measurement at the point where your waistband now sits.
  • If the pants seem a little too wide at the hips, remember that pockets are still being worked in. Depending on the thickness of the fabric, they also need a little space. It is best to try the pants on again briefly before sewing the waistband on the inside.
  • The tighter the fit you have chosen and the less stretchy your fabric is, the more likely it is that the pants will wrinkle at the back of the legs. This is because the pants have an “extra length” at the back, which you need so that you can sit down comfortably.
  • Wrinkles sometimes look worse in photos than they actually are. Be sure to take another look in the mirror to see what it really looks like.

If you still have problems with the fit, please send me an e-mail with pictures of how the pants look when worn (see above). I will then try to help you with the adjustments. This works much better at this point than at a later date.

11. Transfer changes and undo seams

The picture shows how the seams are unraveled.
The tacking seams are unraveled.

When you have finished trying on the trousers and have made any adjustments to the pattern, all the seams can be undone. Please note: the basting seams of the waistband and creases are not removed.

If you have opted for closed pleats, you will find the next steps for stitching them closed here.

12. Cut the pocket opening of the front trousers to size

If the trousers have front slit pockets/wing pockets (not piped or seam pockets), these must now be cut to size.

The picture shows how to cut away the pocket opening on the pattern.
The pocket opening is cut away.

First, I cut away the pocket opening on the paper pattern according to the marking.

The picture shows how the pocket opening is transferred.
The pocket opening is drawn in.

Then I place the pattern piece on the front trousers and mark the pocket opening on the right side of the fabric.

If you have unlined front trousers, you can now cut away the pocket opening. Repeat the steps for the second front trousers before continuing with the next step (see links below).

The picture shows the marked pocket opening.
The pocket opening is secured.

On the lined front trousers, I first secure the pocket opening before cutting off the excess fabric.

Secure pocket opening and trimming for wing pocket
Secure pocket opening and trimming for wing pocket

To do this, I sew through both layers of fabric just next to the marking. I can then cut away the pocket opening at the marking. I repeat these steps for the second front trousers.

Secure the pocket opening on the pocket bag and slip
Secure the pocket opening on the pocket bag and slip

In the case of lined trousers with slit pockets, reinforcing the slit on the lining of the front trousers would not work well. Therefore, the pocket opening is reinforced on the facing of the upper pocket bag on the left side of the fabric, as shown in the picture on the left.

If you sew the upper pocket bag without a facing, the pocket bag itself will be reinforced (right picture).

Here you will find the links to the next step. Select the link that belongs to the bag shape you have chosen.

If you don’t want pockets on the back trousers, continue here:

If you’re not quite ready yet and perhaps want to start at the beginning, you’ll find some links here: