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Clone your trousers – Part 2

Clone your trousers

This is part 2 of the clone your trousers guide by Claire-Louise Hardie. An extract from her Clone Your Clothes book which teaches you how to create patterns from your favourite garments. Find part 1 here

Clone Your Trousers

Waistband pattern

Step 7: Trace the waistband pieces and true them against the trouser legs

There are three parts to the waistband of these trousers – a longer back and two fronts that are different lengths. All three pieces are finished off with a lining/facing piece cut from the same pattern. All three waistband sections are the same depth – 4cm (11/2in). Rather than trace through the bulky waistline seams and get an inaccurate wobbly line, I trace the outline of the upper curved edges and then draw in a parallel line for the waist seam below that tracing.

Back waistband

Turn the trousers right side out and fold the waistband in half at the centre back. Pin the two halves together.

Cut a piece of paper that is longer than the folded back waistband section and deeper than the height of the waistband. In my example, this was 30 x 15cm (12 x 6in).

Mark the paper with a short vertical balance line (grainline) towards one side and a short horizontal line approx. 10cm (4in) long towards the lower edge.

Line up the centre back seam of the waistband with the vertical line (grainline) and the waistline with the horizontal line for approx 3.5cm (13/8in). Having looked closely at the grain in this area I could see that the waistband is straight here and that the curve starts after this. Anchor this area in place.

Allowing the waistband to curve naturally, anchor the rest of the back waistband.

Use a pencil to mark the upper outline and the outer upper position of the belt loops. Then trace the side seam position and the belt loop placement and dart.

Copy your favourite trousers

Release the garment and true the top of the waistband to ensure it’s a smooth line. Using a grading ruler draw a parallel line 4cm (11/2in) below the top of the waistband, carefully following the curve.

How to draft a waistband pattern

Measure the belt loop position from your garment and compare it to your trace. Adjust if necessary.

Unpin the waistband to free up the front waistbands for tracing.

Left and right front waistbands

The left front waistband is the longer of the two fronts, as it extends across the fly shield.

Cut a piece of paper that’s longer and wider than the left front waistband. In my example, this was 36 x 12.5cm (14 x 5in). Cut another piece that’s wider and longer than the right front waistband. In my example, this was 31 x 12.5cm (121/4 x 5in).

Mark up the left front waistband paper with a short vertical balance line (grainline) towards the left-hand side of the paper and a short horizontal line approx. 10cm (4in) long towards the lower edge.

Mark up the right front waistband paper with a short vertical balance line (grainline) towards the right-hand side of the paper and a short horizontal line approx. 10cm (4in) long towards the lower edge.

Trace both the left and the right front in the same way as the back, this time aligning the centre front edges with the vertical grainline.

Note: The left and right front waistbands will mirror one another.

Measure and mark the belt loop positions, as before.

Mark the position of the button on the left front waistband and the zip position (centre front).

Mark the buttonhole position on the right front waistband.

Create a sewing pattern from your garments

Step 8: Walk the waistbands with the trouser legs

It’s important that the waistband sections fit onto the trouser leg pieces. There is usually some ease sewn into the waistline of trousers, which you cannot always extract when tracing a sewn garment.

Walk the side seams of both front waistbands onto the back waistband, making sure they are all the same length at the side seam.

Align the centre of the back waistband with the centre back of the trouser leg. Walk the two curved seams together towards the side seam and note any differences. Add or remove any excess length at the waistband side seam.

Repeat the same process, walking both the left and right front waistbands onto the front trouser piece. You will need to do this with the left waistband facing down, as it’s a mirrored pattern piece.

How to trace the pattern off your clothes

Step 9: Trace the patch pocket and create the pocket facing

The patch pocket was traced onto the front leg pattern during the cloning process. Use this to create your pocket pattern piece. I like to shade out small details like this on the larger pattern piece to make it easier to trace off a copy.

Cut a piece of pattern paper that’s bigger than the pocket piece to allow space for seam allowances.

Note where the pocket intersects the side seam and waist on your trouser leg. This will be where you add notches to help when constructing your trousers.

Anchor the paper over the pocket area and use a pencil and a straight ruler to trace off the straight edges.

Use a curved ruler for the side seam (which has some hip curve), the pocket mouth and the waistline.

Transfer any notches.

Before removing the paper tracing, draw a new grainline on the pattern, parallel to the one on your trouser front, and place a couple of notches on the pocket mouth.

Once you have removed the patch pocket tracing, mark it up for the facing that finishes the pocket mouth. For this example, the facing is 3.5cm (13/8in) in depth and it’s a parallel line to the pocket mouth.

Cut a piece of pattern paper that’s bigger than the pocket facing area to allow space for seam allowances and trace off the pocket facing in the same way as the pocket.

Trace the pocket mouth notches and add a grainline before removing the paper.


How to trace a pattern from your clothes
How to copy your trousers

Step 10: Trace the fly facing and the fly shield

It’s helpful to have a template for the fly topstitching, so the first step is to trace off the fly stitching shape from the right side of the garment. For this I used tracing paper rather than pattern paper, as it’s easier to see through. For this step, the paper is placed over the garment rather than underneath it.

Ensure the fly stitching is visible by marking over it with something removeable. I used chalk, but if chalk proved not to rub off, I could have used thread.

Cut a piece of tracing paper that’s bigger than the fly to allow space for seam allowances.

Draw a vertical line along the length of your tracing paper, to act as the balance line for the centre front seam. Place it over the top of the fly and anchor.

Trace off the outline of the fly.

Remove the tracing paper and then true up the outline with a ruler and pencil, ensuring that the longer traced edge is parallel to the balance line up to the lower curve. As this is the fly topstitching guide, it won’t require seam allowances.

Make a copy of this trace; this will become your fly facing pattern and will require seam allowances to be added all the way around. Measure the seam allowances around your garment’s fly facing and add to your tracing.

How to trace off a trousers pattern

Now working from the inside of the garment, repeat the same process for the fly shield. This time the initial balance line should align with the folded edge of the shield.

Copy your favourite garments

Add relevant seam allowances around three sides of the fly shield.

TIP: If you want to clone a pair of trousers with a fly but have never sewn a fly before, simply skip patterning the fly area and make the centre front a regular seam. Then add an invisible zip at the side seam instead. You will also need to make the waistband open at the side seam.

How to copy your clothes

Step 11: Draft the belt loops

The best way to pattern your belt loops is via the direct measuring method.

Measure the width and length of your belt loops. Most belt loops extend beyond the waistband so make sure you allow for the little turned-back section, too. In my example, the length was 5cm (2in) plus the 1cm (3/8in) turn-back = 6cm (23/8in) plus a 2cm (3/4in) seam allowance (1cm/3/8in at either end) therefore the total length = 8cm (3in).

The width was 1cm (3/8in). Since this is only half the belt loop ‘tube’, the actual width = 2cm (3/4in), plus 2cm seam allowance (1cm/3/8in on either side), therefore the total width = 4cm (11/2in).

The total measurement for one belt loop including a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance = 8 x 4cm (3 x 11/2in).

Rather than making a pattern piece for one belt loop and placing and cutting it five times, I made one continuous strip that would be cut and sewn as a single piece, then cut to the correct sizes.

Required length: 8cm (3in) x the number required: 8 x 5 = 40cm (16in) plus an additional 10cm (4in) on the length to allow for errors.

Total length of pattern piece = 50cm (20in).

Step 12: Finalize your pattern pieces

True any pattern pieces that you haven’t already done and then walk the seams to make sure they all match up. Adjust as necessary.

Refer to your garment analysis notes for the hem measurement of your original garment, and then decide on your preferred seam allowance. I like to use 1cm (3/8in), but the standard in home sewing patterns is 1.5cm (5/8in). Add seam allowances.

Label your pattern pieces – Trouser front, Trouser back, Left front waistband etc. – and add all the relevant notches and grainlines.

Pattern map

Use this pattern map as a guide to both adding seam allowances and labelling your pattern pieces. Numbers indicate where in the construction order each piece comes – so patch pocket #1 is sewn to pocket facing #2, then the pocket is attached to the trouser front #3 etc.

Free trousers sewing pattern

Fabric layout guide

How to draft a trousers pattern

Simple construction order

Sew the pocket facings to the mouth of the patch pockets.

Topstitch the patch pockets to the side area of the trouser fronts.

Insert the zip fly.

Join the front legs to the back legs at the inseams.

Sew the crotch seam.

Sew the front to the back at the side seams (* fitting stage).

Make the belt loops and tack (baste) them to the waistband.

Apply interfacing to one of each of the three waistband pieces, then make up the waistband and the waistband facing.

Attach the waistband to the top of the trousers and finish with the waist facing.

Stitch the belt loops to the top of the waistband.

Sew the buttonhole and attach the button to the centre front of the waistband (* final fit stage for hem).

Create a trousers sewing pattern

Design ideas

Re-design #1:

Since these are cropped trousers, an easy re-design is to make them longer by adding length to the bottom of your hem.

Re-design #2:

Try making them up in a different weight of fabric. A soft viscose/rayon blend, for example, will make the trousers a lot more fluid and drapey.

Re-design #3:

Try making the legs more tapered by angling in the side and inside leg seams. You can measure another pair of trousers to work out how much adjustment to make. Just remember to make a toile (muslin), as the fit may be impacted with a slimmer leg.

To learn how to recreate your favourite garments order a copy of Clone Your Clothes by Claire-Louise Hardie and published by David & Charles.