Thurlow Trousers, Part 1 of 2

I was lucky enough to be one of Tasia’s pattern testers for her Thurlow Trouser pattern.  What’s crazy is that I cut a straight size 10 for my waist/hip!  Trousers is the garment that I really appreciate the fact that Tasia designs with the pear-shaped gal in mind so I was happy to be a tester for her.

And right about now, I’m feeling pretty bad that these are the first images that I’m getting up of the original Thurlow Trouser.  Forgive me, Tasia???

Most of you guys know that I love vintage items and tend to sew either modern patterns that have a taste of vintage or work with the real deal instead.    While I like the Thurlow trousers, they’re almost too modern for my tastes.  (Great for work though.)  This is why I paired them with my modern, BurdaStyle Tie Blouse.  Also, the fact that my facings are a mustard yellow matches perfectly with one of the pin stripes on my blouse.

The trouser is more low-waisted than I wear my pants, but it does make for a flattering (and smaller looking) rear.  Every time I pull these trousers on it feels like the thighs are too tight.  But when they’re all the way on, they look great in that thigh-ular region.  *yay*

What I have mixed feelings about is the waistband.  Half of the waistband (the front) is on the straight grain yet the sides and back of it are on the bias.  It’s comfy for sure since it has some nice stretch, but for me they didn’t feel secure enough.  I’ve found I like a more sturdy constructed waistband, yet it’s not always the most comfortable.  So you can see there’s pro’s and con’s on this design feature.

Here’s a quick shot of the waistband pattern pieces:

This was my first time putting in a fly-front zipper, and despite the best directions I ended up sewing it shut 3 times.  Aside from that, I don’t think my fly-front is flattering on me.  I have a slight lower curve (dare I say tummy), that the fly ends up exacerbating this area on my trousers.  If I were to make a fly-front version again, I’d try to make the front a bit tighter to cinch things in better.  :)

My muslin fit pretty good straight away and with minor alterations I went and cut out my fashion fabric, which is a heavy, medium weight wool stretch fabric.  (Perfect for winter, but bad for the spring/summer.)  Somehow my butt area ended up being less than ideal in the heavier fabric, but they’re still wearable.  This is the main reason why I’ve been dragging my feet to hem and post them up here.

Here’s my derriere in all it’s curvy-ness:

I would have fit these more, but honestly I have no idea what change I need to make to them.  Lower crotch curve, higher crotch curve, take fabric out of the upper legs (fish eye dart), shorten the back inseam?  Really, I have no idea if these are frown or smile lines!   All help and thoughts are welcome.  I’ve read countless websites and fitting books for trousers, yet I’m coming up short on how to adjust this area (and what is causing these lines).

Tomorrow’s post is going to be more Thurlow trousers…. but guess what?!  I’ve hijacked the pattern to make a pair of wide-legged, high-waisted pants that I think are very 40’s.  Since the fit is pretty good (aside from my butt issue) I wanted to use this pattern as a base to make countless other versions of trousers.  I already bought a cherry red, stretch cotton sateen to make a pair of pedal-pushers, but I need to work out that derriere fit first.

Pleeeease help a gal out with your *fit* thoughts.  :)

In: Sewing

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Comments (27)

  1. Lizzy August 7, 2012 — 7:50 AM

    I’ve just post my Thurlows too. I’m no fitting master and had no idea (and still have no idea!) about the ‘bottom bagginess’. Despite that I’m pretty happy with my fit and would love to have a pair of work shorts to wear with tights.
    I’ve never made pants before, welt pockets, fly front etc and was amazed I ended up wearable pants. Miraculous.
    I think, like me, you are being a bit tough on yourself. I found when I struck the Tasia pose my ‘junk trunk’ looked much better. I just need attitude!

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:32 AM

      I wish I could wear the shorts version, Taisa’s look so cute with tights. That’s not really a look I could pull off but wish I could.

      Taisia’s directions for the fine details (welt pockets, etc) were great, don’t you think?!

      1. Lizzy August 9, 2012 — 3:25 PM

        Absolutely. I had never done the welts or fly before but managed to execute them quite well. When I got confused with the fly I just pinned, flipped, looked a pair of RTW and eventually it made sense. The second time was so much easier too!

  2. Lashell August 7, 2012 — 9:00 AM

    I visit your site a lot but have never made a comment before. I thought that maybe I could be of some help. I was thinking if you extended the crotch curve in the back a little more it will relax the smile/frown line problem your having. Maybe on the next test garment you could make the seam allowance in the back a little wider and keep releasing until the lines fall. I think raising the fly front would work with your tunnmy issue, even though you do not have a tummy. Sometimes having a high booty makes pants pull weirdly in the front, an issue I have with home sewn and store bought pants. I usually lower the front to give the illusion of a longer torso and having the button sit at a weird part of my body. Other than that I think these pants fit you really great.

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:34 AM

      Yay! Thanks for commenting Lashell. :) And a Mega THANK YOU for leaving such a great, helpful comment.

  3. Wendy August 7, 2012 — 9:04 AM

    Those are great looking pants! One tip I found somewhere ( perhaps Fehr Trade’s blog) to help hold in a tummy without making the fronts too tight, is to extend the pocket facings to the fly front. That way you have extra ‘strength’ over the tummy. It works for me.

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:36 AM

      Thanks Wendy for that tip about pocket facings. Do you make the facings slightly smaller to suck things in or make it the same size as the trousers?

      1. Wendy August 9, 2012 — 12:30 PM

        I make them the same size as the trousers. I think if you made them smaller they might pull away from the front.

  4. Sarah August 7, 2012 — 9:17 AM

    I’ve been working on pants fitting to try and get a basic pant figured out for myself and am trying to get motivated to make a muslin # 4. So, I feel your pain. Also, I am clearly not an expert so you may want to take my input with a grain of salt. :)

    I think those are smile/diagonal wrinkle lines. Looking at the Colette cheatsheet (, I think it might be either:

    – swayback (the first section under “Back and Butt”)
    – maybe a thigh adjustment (sections 4-6 under “Legs”), especially since you mention that the pants feel pretty tight in the thighs.

    The fish eye dart tutorial you linked to is great – but I don’t think that’s necessarily the issue for you in this particular pair of pants. It doesn’t really look like there is too much fabric there – just that it’s pulling in a way you don’t want.

    Good luck! I know you want to improve the fit in the back but really overall I think they look great!

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:40 AM

      Thanks so much Sarah! I think you may be right, I need a FBA (full butt adjustment). heh I believe Sewaholic’s Thurlows already have this built in since she drafts for a pear, but I am a mega-pear! :) I think I compensated by adding length to the top of the waistband, but the crotch seam could get lengthened like Colette does in her FBA post.

      Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction. :)

  5. Rachel August 7, 2012 — 10:28 AM

    I read a series of posts on trousers ages ago… I think it was on Sunni’s site. To be perfectly honest, I never really worry about the lines LOL since ready to wear clothes do that all the time ;)

    Yes, it was Sunni:

    Hopefully that can help you out, because as for me- I am at a loss ;)

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:43 AM

      I actually followed along with Sunni with her Trouser sewalong, back when she was “Cupcake Goddess” to make my first pair of trousers. :)

      I did reference her posts… but it’s like I needed to see the exact fit issue on someone else and the 1 or 2 fixes in order to do it myself. I’m having a brain-fart on trouser fitting I think. heh

  6. I think your pants look quite good Liz–way to go! I’m liking my pants to sit a little higher these days, and I love 40’s style, so I’m super excited to see your next post!!! ;)

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:44 AM

      Thanks Qui. :)

  7. Karin August 7, 2012 — 1:20 PM

    First, I think these are really good! Next, I have the exact same fit issue. I haven’t figured it out yet. I will say that Burda mag pants fit me the best. I sew a size bigger in the back than the front and go down a size in the waist. Still not perfect by any stretch.
    I’ve just cut out a pair of very simple trousers on which I made a load of odd adjustments. I hope to sew them up in the next few days. I doubt I have cracked it, but I think I may learn a thing or two.

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:45 AM

      Yay for BurdaStyle. The one pair of pants I made from their site fit quite decently. :) Good luck on yours!

  8. Meg August 7, 2012 — 2:56 PM

    I love these on you, but I can definitely see what you’re saying when you say they are too modern for you. I am excited to see your pattern hack and how you made them more of a vintage style! I’m planning on tackling this pattern this weekend in some really outrageous plaid. I’m a little nervous about the fly front, but I definitely need more trousers and I think these look smashing on you. Hooray for winter work pants!

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:45 AM

      Heh Is it strange I can envision you wearing loud plaid Thurlows?! I know you’ll rock them like all of your garments. :)

  9. Amanda August 7, 2012 — 9:19 PM

    I’m so jealous you were a pattern tester for these trousers! I snagged the pattern myself a few weeks ago at my local shop when I saw they had it in stock, but it’s lower in my sewing list as I’m focusing on warmer weather clothing projects! Can’t wait to try these out for fall and winter.

    I know you said they’re too modern for your taste, but I love them and think they look great on you! I’ve never sewn pants myself, so I can’t offer any advice. I am also wondering if you’re being too hard on yourself – maybe the lines aren’t so noticeable when you take a step back and look at the trousers overall when you’re “in action” walking around and such?

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:52 AM

      Hey Cousin! I probably am being to hard on myself, but I’ll be the first one to say I’m probably pretty anal about pants fitting. :) I’ll buy ill-fitting pants at the store, but making them is another issue. heh

      I don’t think non-sewers would notice anything bad about my pants, but I’ll always walk around knowing things aren’t quite right on my back-side. :)

      I think you’d rock a pair of Thurlow trousers too!!!

      1. Amanda August 9, 2012 — 11:56 AM

        Yea, I hear ya. It’s one of those, “If I’m going to take the time and effort to make these myself, by gosh, they’d better fit perfectly!” I’m excited to see how your 40’s version turn out, too!

  10. SueC56 August 8, 2012 — 12:03 AM

    I’ve been working on pants fit, too. What I’d suggest starting with is scooping other back crotch to give a littlmore room. You will probably gave to add width to the back sideseam to make up for scooping out the crotch. Think in terms of making more space bt deepening the crotch curve.


    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:53 AM

      Thanks so much Sue! This is totally the adjustment I’m going to make for my next pair! :)

  11. Jo August 8, 2012 — 11:29 PM

    Ooh I can’t wait to see the wide leg trousers you made! I was wondering if that pattern could be modded that way!
    I think you are being super hard on yourself though- these really do look good you know!
    Sorry I have no fitting insights… you’ll get it just right though I’m sure!

    1. Liz August 9, 2012 — 11:53 AM

      Thanks Jo! :)

  12. Your pair of trousers look really nice! I have also made these a few weeks ago (haven’t posted about them yet) and have the same fitting issue at the back. I don’t either know what to do, so will be following this post with great interest. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just sew a dart?

  13. Jennifer Shaw August 30, 2015 — 3:03 PM

    Your pants look fab!! I know that I am working on the same issue- being one of the swingset girls (aka very sawy backed with needing an FBA) I am working on my second muslin of the Thurlows.

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