Sunday, 24 June 2012

Basic pants pattern Part 1: Front

Have you ever drafted a pants pattern? Before April this year I had no idea how to sew pants. I started my second year of patternmaking class at school with pants patterns and I am keen to document the entire process (from drafting the pattern to the fitting and sewing) and share it with you.

In this post, I'll show you the drafting method we are taught at school. I find it relatively easy and fun. Just don't be scared of all the letters and lines!

To start with, you need take a bunch of measurements:

  • waist
  • hip + 4 cm ease
  • hip length (measurement from waist to hip)
  • crotch depth
  • knee length (from waist to knee)
  • hemline circumference (length all the way around the hem at the bottom) 
  • desired pants length (from the waist to where you want them to come down to)
1. To measure the crotch depth, refer to one of the techniques pictured below:

With elastic around your waist, measure from the waist to where your botton touches the chair.
Alternatively, use a special ruler measure the crotch depth as pictured
2. It's essential to take the measurement around the heel and instep of your foot. If the botton seam of the pants is too tight, you won't be able to put them on. 

Once you've taken all the necessary measurements, we can start drafting. 

But before you start I wanna warn you: this is my very first tutorial and it's not perfect. Also, I am translating it from Japanese, and some words may sound confusing. Please forgive me in advance and if you find it difficult and confusing, don't hesitate to comment or email me. 

AB = hip length
AC = crotch depth
BB₁ = ¼ of hip measurement
CC₁ = AA₁ = BB₁
Draw the line A₁C₁
CC₂ = ⅓ CC₁
C₂C₃ = 1cm
AA₂ = CC₃
Draw the line A₂C₃

A₂D = knee length
A₂E = pants length
Connect A₂ all the way to E

AA₃ = 1cm
Draw the line A₃B
C₁C₄ = 0.5cm
C₅C₃ = C₄C₃
Draw the curve BC₅
A₃A₄ = ¼ waist measurement + 4cm (darts) + 0.25cm (ease) + 0.5cm (difference between front and back)
A₄A₅ = 0.5

Draw the curve A₅B₁

EE₁ = EE₂ = ¼hemline width - 0.5cm (difference between front and back)
Draw the line E₂C₄

Draw the curve B₁C₄
Draw the line E₁C₅

Draw the knee line D₁D₂

Adding darts

A₂F₁ = AF₂ = 1cm
A₂F₃ = 9cm

F₂G = ½  F₂A₅
GG₁ = GG₂ = 1cm
GG₃ = 9cm

 Now draw a beautiful line connecting all points from A₅ to A₃

This is how your final pattern draft should look. 

How do you find it? Too complex? Too easy? Too confusing? Please, please, please let me know! Your feedback is very welcome!

I'll explain how to draft the back in my next post. Stay tuned! :)


  1. What a thorough tutorial! Thank you!

  2. Fascinating ...I have come through from seeing your back drafting tute as well've given me real food for thought as I mull over my next pants adventure. Thank you for taking the time to document it all - I shall bookmark for future use :-)

    1. Thank you for the kind words! Good to know somebody find this info useful :)

  3. This is fantastic! I haven't made the muslin yet, but I've started drawing out my pattern according to your tutorial and it's very straightforward so far. (Actually I really liked that it was almost all pictures + numbers; it felt clearer that way.) Thank you for putting this together :).

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  6. Hello! I just found this page, and while I haven't tried this yet, I do think it's a very simple tutorial. I understood everything as I was reading it. I can't wait to try it! Thank you so much for posting.

    P.S. You wouldn't happen to have an equally simple tutorial for drafting a bodice sloper, would you? I've been looking online for one, but am having trouble understanding the ones I've found.

  7. Good to hear you find it useful! Although this drafting method is not perfect (because it takes into account very few measurements and, consequently, requires more modifications on muslin stage) I think that this is perfect if have never drafted trousers before.

    As for a bodice sloper, I still have not found a drafting method which I like and feel comfortable enough to share :) But have a look at this blog . Maddy offers several pattern-making tutorial which are beautifully presented and easy to understand. I have not tried any of those so I cannot comment on the quality. But I encourage you to try!

  8. Awesome illustrations and details. Looking forward to seeing the back portion. When will you be posted it?

  9. This was posted already. Check the following post!

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  12. :) great tutorial , well explained , i will definitely try following it

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