Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Using a pants block:

I was asked recently to post up how I use my pants block. I just want to say, this is the way I do it, I'm sure there are different ways and I'm certainly not an expert! If anyone can suggest a smarter or different way to do it, please do!

I've traced my pants blocks onto cardboard, I have one set with darts and one set with no darts. The different seam lines are just for woven and stretch fabrics. When use a stretch fabric I drop the rear crotch and take in the sides. You don't need to put it onto cardboard but I find it easier to see under my pattern.

First step (This is the back of the pants). Mark the stitching lines on the top of the pants piece and the bottom of the waistband then align.

I slide my pants block under at this stage and make sure the grain lines are parallel.

I usually line up the crotch line on the pants block and the pattern, this way the inner leg length stays the same length and doesn't need adjusting later.
Adjust the pattern pieces to match the pants block (you can see my lines in red texta)

I extend my lines downwards following the same shape as the pattern to add extra width because I usually need it.
Same thing with the front - Line up waistband and pants stitching lines.
Make sure the grainlines are parallel
 Adjust the crotch and side seams

I usually have to make a fold in the front panel to line up the front and drop the centre front  waistband height.

After I've adjusted the front and back I walk the seamlines to check that it all matches (I used to skip that until I made 2 pairs of pants that fit kind of weirdly and I realised it was because of the seamlines not matching up properly).

This was an easy pattern to adjust, usually I have to drop a lot more in the front and raise the centre back a lot more. If a pattern has pockets I just overlap them and line up the stitching lines like we did with the waistband and top of the pants.

I should mention too that even with adjusting the flat pattern I still cut out the fabric with large outer seam allowances (about 1" extra) as a fitting allowance, once its basted I try it on and adjust to fit. Its always easier to take it in than to try and add width!

I can do more of these posts with different patterns and style of pants  if anyone is interested?


  1. I'm really interested! You've made so many great pants with your block and it is inspiring. I'm short and round and have one high hip so it's really hard to buy trousers (except jeans, which seem to be ok) and you inspire me to try. I noticed how little adjustng this pattern needed, and see it is a burda one. Cool. I'd love to see with another pair.

  2. Very interesting. I kind of have a pants TNT (StyleArc Linda) but haven't transformed it yet. I have just ordered the StyleArc Barb pants so will use this technique. Interesting about lining up the crotch line. Thanks Suzi.

  3. Thank you - this is super interesting and I'll definitely keep it in mind should I ever try to become the pants master you are!

  4. Thanks so much for showing us how you use your pants block. You get such excellent results with this method, I am absolutely going to try it myself. I would definitely be interested in seeing how you use it for other styles of pants. I'd also be interested in seeing the difference between your two blocks.

  5. Thanks for this, I am trying to get a pants block for myself so this will be of great help when I need to adjust new patterns. I am also interested to see how your stretch fabric block differs to your woven block.

  6. Thank, Suzy! I have been curious about how you work the magic of your epic pants block!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this photo tutorial - so helpful! Please count me in as interested in more too... I'd be really interested to see how much your stretch and woven stitch lines differ, also in how the dartless and darted blocks align. Oh and (even more!) I'd be really interested to hear whether you think the crotch shape needs to change if the pants style changes (eg going from straight leg to pegged shape). Thank you again!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing

  9. I stumbled onto your blog twice, both times searching for any useful information about 2 pants patterns I have but have yet to make (thurlow, sailor sue palazzo). GREAT information!!! Also, it is helpful because we have similar enough body types. Thank you!!