“I like being a woman, even in a man's world. After all, men can't wear dresses, but we can wear the pants.” - Whitney Houston
Women only started wearing trousers at the beginning of the 20th century and even then, it was just for riding horses or bikes. Previously their wardrobes consisted almost exclusively of dresses and a short skirt was completely out of the question!
In the 1930s, actresses like Marlene Dietrich posed for photos in trousers. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that women’s trousers started being permitted in schools and the 1970s when they became part of women’s fashion.
Today, women are free to wear whatever trousers or garment they like.
Why not make your own?
The Main Steps to Sewing Trousers
Since finding the right pair of trousers can be a nightmare (too long, too tight, too short, too loose, etc.), sewing your own trousers could be the better option.
Even if you’re just starting out, don’t panic! Anyone can make their own trousers. Before you get started, the best thing to do is have a look at some of the main steps.
Choosing Trouser Fabric
To make moving easier, trouser fabric needs to be flexible, comfortable, and durable. If you’re a beginner, you should opt for cotton or viscose; two materials which are easy to sew and manipulate.
Avoid fabrics that are difficult to work with like elastic or silk, which can be quite slippy. Make sure that your choice of fabric matches the type of trouser you want to make like satin, taffeta, velour for formal trousers or denim, linen, or canvas for more casual trousers.
Choose a Trouser Pattern
Use a pattern to help you sew your trousers. The best is to choose a pattern that’s tried and tested for your first pair of trousers and choose a cheap fabric. The simplest trousers for beginners have an elastic waist as this is more forgiving if you get the stitches wrong.
For other waists, the pattern has to be very precise. The same is true for the “fork” (the area between the legs). If you get this wrong the results can be really disappointing.
Assembling the Trouser Legs
Depending on your pattern, you’ll have to put together your trouser legs. Start by places the fronts and backs of each leg on top of one another. You’ll have to pin the pieces of fabric together that make up the leg to get a smooth seam. Temporary stitches are a good idea if you're new to hand sewing or want to learn to sew.
If your trousers have pockets, you should probably sew them in before putting the legs together. Once the legs are together, place the front of a leg against the back of the leg and then start sewing from the outside to the inside around 1cm from the edge.
Sew the Fork
The fork is a delicate part of making trousers but with a good pattern and a bit of patience, everything will be fine. Place the two legs side by side with the inside legs together. You’ll then need to pin the fork before sewing the stitch 1cm from the edge. It's really important that these seams are carefully sewn.
The Finishing Touches
Once you’ve successfully completed the main steps, you just have to complete a few finishing touches: waist, hems, edges, snap fasteners, zipper, or buttons.
What about making your own dresses or skirts?
Join one of the many sewing courses around the country.
How to Make Trousers for Different Occasions
As summer arrives, lots of sewing blogs will be giving advice on how to make yourself a set of summer trousers. In four simple steps, you can make trousers in the material of your choice: cotton or viscose for a more formal style. The cut can be adapted for any size and a cord or drawstring can be added to make things more comfortable.
A sirwal is a great style for hanging out on the beach or warm evenings and can be worn with either trainers or heels. There are a lot of sites where you can find guides on how to make a great fitting sirwal from a simple square of fabric folded diagonally.
Measuring, as usual, is one of the most important steps. It’s important that you measure carefully because you can’t afford to have any gaps else you’ll need to get an elastic belt.
Are you joking!?
There are plenty of people picking up their needle and thread and creating pyjama pants.
It’s basically a piece for during the holidays but you can change the fabric and adapt to other seasons. Viscose can make you feel even better in your pyjamas. You can also download free sewing patterns for pyjama bottoms.
The Best Tutorials on How to Make Trousers
Here’s our selection of sewing blogs which are great if you want to learn how to sew trousers and add the finishing touches in fun and simple guides. You can also get patterns:
- Purl Soho: This website belongs to a shop in New York City but just so happens to have plenty of projects and tutorials for people interested in making their own clothes, quilts, bags, and sewing arts and crafts.
- Sew Over It: This blog includes plenty of tutorials (including video tutorials) and there are free sewing patterns, books, and e-books available through the site.
- Whipstitch: This blog has tonnes of information on making clothes for both adults and children as well as explanations of sewing techniques and terms.
- Tilly and the Buttons: You may remember Tilly from The Great British Sewing Bee. Her website has a great blog full of tutorials on sewing, printable bag patterns and purse patterns to follow, and online classes for those wanting to learn more about sewing and making their own clothes.
Why not make yourself a bag?
How Do You Make Jeans?
We’ve already given you the advice you’ll need to repair jeans.
But what about making your own jeans?
It’s easier than it sounds! You just have to follow each step and make the right decisions.
Choosing the Type of Jeans to Sew
Thick or thin jeans?
If you’re just starting out with sewing and you don’t have a very good sewing machine, you don’t want to be making thick jeans as they’re difficult to sew.
You need to choose the elasticity of your jeans: simple cotton jeans are very resistant whereas stretchy jeans with elastane are comfortable and will follow your movements. Finally, choose between distressed jeans, denim jeans, coloured jeans, and fabrics with patterns. Faded, stonewashed, twill, slim, etc.
There are tonnes of different cuts and colours.
The Perfect Kit for Making Jeans
- A robust sewing machine or an overclock machine won’t overheat whereas a regular sewing machine will run the risk of you having to do it all again.
- Special jeans needles either 90/100 and solid thread which you can find in most haberdasheries.
- Good scissors
- A hammer for flattening parts that are too thick and inserting rivets and buttons
- A small piece of cardboard for loosening the crowbar on your sewing machine when you start sewing thicker sections
- A special overcasting foot with a metal segment that acts as a guide
Sewing or customising?
There are a lot of free tutorials and patterns available online for making jeans for both men and women.
Wash the fabric before you start because jeans can shrink a lot.
You can find lots of tips and tricks for customising and shortening jeans as well as turning a straight cut into a slim cut and making your jeans into a handbag!
How can you sew an awkward button?
The Best Online Videos for Learning How to Make Trousers
The simplest way to start making your own trousers is to follow a guide, especially when it comes to techniques like canvas mounting, stitching, embroidery, crochet, or using fusible interlining or piping. There are also plenty of online videos for beginners which can be really useful. Here are a few of our favourites:
This is a channel that's worth checking out once you've got to grips with sewing as there are plenty of advanced sewing techniques explained in great detail. However, the delivery is very clear and the methods are explained step-by-step so you might be checking out this channel sooner than you think. If you're looking for tutorials on embroidery, embellishment, ruffles, or pleats, this is the place to go!
All Free Sewing
If you're on a budget, you probably enjoyed seeing the word “free” in this channel's name. There are loads of great projects and sewing tips on this channel. There are tutorials for beginners, projects for children (like making clothes for a doll), and how to recycle old clothes.
This is a good channel for beginners. In fact, this is the main focus of the channel. If you're an absolute novice, looking for a bag pattern or information on stylish projects, or wanting to make a summer dress, this is the place to go!
Pink Chocolate Break
This channel has playlists on different types of garments and different levels of abilities. Once you've got the hang of the easy sewing projects, why not move onto more advanced stuff.
It doesn't take a genius to work out what this channel is about (it's crafts, by the way!). You can learn about quilting, knitting tops, sewing, as well as kitchen crafts like cooking and baking.
Anyone can hand-make their own trousers! With these resources, you should be ready to go! If you're making your own wardrobe, why not look at making other clothes or learning how to knit?
Why not learn how to make a bag while you're at it?