Trousers – the fabrics, sewing them and getting them to fit.

It's time to make trousers for the in-between weather. Trousers can be dressed up or down, worn with a hoodie or a nice tailored jacket. Perfect for this time of year. I am including some really good books on fitting and sewing trousers. All are available at various online stores. Check the weblinks below for good links on fitting your trousers.

Sewing patterns suitable for the fabrics shown and discussed below. All are available online at various sewing and pattern suppliers.

Sewing Patterns

6289 Newlook
8056 Simplicity
8092 Simplicity
Burda 6859

What is Corduroy Fabric?

Croft Mill has 100% cotton Corduroy which in essence, a rigid form of velvet. It has a distinct pattern, a "cord" or wale. The material looks as if it is made from multiple cords laid parallel to each other and then stitched together.

What is Wale?

One cord on the fabric is known as a "wale". The width of the cord is commonly referred to as the size of the "wale" (i.e. the number of ridges per inch). The less "wales" the thicker the width of the wale. Corduroy’s wale count per inch can vary from 1.5 to 21, although the traditional standard falls somewhere between 10 and 12.

Tips for Sewing with Corduroy Fabric

  • Always wash your fabric before you cut out, this includes sew-in interfacing and lining.
  • If a corduroy garment fits too tightly, the fabric will show pull wrinkles.  Take precautions by adjusting the pattern’s fit or choose a loose fitting pattern.
  • Check the fabric’s grain and the nap (the direction of the raised cords) it should be nice and straight. I often cut my pattern pieces out separately and make sure all pieces cut out, lie in the same direction. No top and tailing pieces.
  • Press corduroy as little as possible. Do Not Iron. You don't want to crush the pile flat.
  • Pins can sometimes leave marks. If so, pin in the seam allowance or use weights to keep it together during cutting.
  • Don’t use fusible interfacing as the heat will crush the pile. Instead, use sew-in interfacing or line your garment.
  • Sew with 70/10 or 80/12 standard sewing machine needle. Always do a test on a scrap bit of fabric to check tension and stitch length.
  • Stitch length should be 2.5 to 3.
  • Corduroy can be bulky to sew if it is a thickish one, remember to cut seams back to minimise the thickness of the finished seam.

What is a fabric with a bit of stretch?

Trousering with a bit of stretch has elastane in its composition. Once made up it has 'give' in places like the knees and hips. Some are suitable for the latest style skinny leg trousers and leggings. If you are one of those who has a plumper figure, a stretch trouser fabric allows for comfy moving especially when you have to bend. This is suitable for sewing all sorts of things, not just trousers.

How do I sew this trouser fabric?

  • Treat this fabric just as you would a normal fabric not a knit stretch fabric.
  • Use a standard needle 75/11 or 80/12.
  • Overlock using a zig-zag stitch or an overlock stitch.
  • Sew with a straight stitch length 2.5.

Tips for working with this fabric.

  • Pre-wash the fabric, hang up to dry, straighten edges when wet.
  • Press with warm iron not blazing hot.
  • Edges tend not to unravel but overlocking or zigzag finishes the garment.
  • Tumble drying can cause shrinkage so air dry when washing on a 30° wash cycle.
  • Don't make your pattern size smaller as it has stretch. It is easier to make adjustments to the fit if the pattern size is slightly bigger rather than smaller.

What is Twill Or Chino Fabric?

Twill refers to the type of weaving pattern used when constructing the fabric. The weaving pattern consists of diagonal, parallel ribs giving the fabric a very durable and attractive quality. Originally made of 100% cotton, however, now it is also found in cotton-synthetic blends. The most common items made from it, trousers, are widely called chinos. Twill is often used for slacks, skirts, jackets, shirts, riding habits, raincoats, work clothes, uniforms, and men’s suits.

How do I sew this fabric?


• Sew using Microtex or standard needles should be sized 70/10 - 90/14 depending on the fabric weight. Always use a new needle for your project as skipped stitches can occur with dull needles.

• Stitch length of 2-3mm.

•  Seams and hems should be zigzagged or over-locked.

• Use a fusible or sew-in interfacing.

• Press with warm to hot iron depending on the composition of your fabric.

Tips on this fabric


• Durable fabric that does not rip or tear easily.

• Many twill fabrics fray badly.

• Many twills shrink so prewash is essential.

• Some medium to heavyweight twill fabrics can be difficult to ease.

Kwik Sew K3663
Butterick B6533
Burda 7046
burda 7022
Burda 7058
simplicity 4552
Simplicity 3688
Simplicity 4789

Although I mentioned some trouser fitting and making books at the start of this blog. There is more on getting trousers to fit and altering the pattern for all fit issues by taking a look at our SEW YOUR OWN trouser sew along... You don't have to have the same pattern.

Sew A Long With us. Make trousers. Pattern See and Sew B6442.

Web tutorials and interesting links on fitting and making trousers.

  • Sign in with your email address and download an excellent fitting guide from Closet Case Patterns.
  • From Colette Patterns a fitting tips sheet.
  • A photo pictorial guide on fitting trousers from Melly Sews.
  • Draft a pattern block - auto generator according to your measurements. This from The Lab.
  • A firm favourite for pattern blocks is Ralph Pink. Generate a block according to your measurements. Free patterns as well.


  • Reply
    Jean Clayton
    07/09/2018 at 3:05 PM

    Excellent, helpful newsletter.

    • Reply
      07/09/2018 at 3:26 PM

      Thank you very much, You may enjoy my next ‘Sew Your Own’ blog. It is a sew along, making a pair of trousers following pattern, B6442 MISSES’ OPEN-FRONT JACKET, PULL-ON SHORTS AND PANTS from Butterick. I will also be making the jacket from this pattern as a sew along as they are very easy and great for this between season weather.

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