1960s | Pants / Trousers

Pants fitting questions! (Simplicity 5299)

January 9, 2014

Hello! Today I have a work in progress that I hope you can help me with: PANTS.

I have decided to start my Weekender Wardrobe challenge off with the toughest/most intimidating part of my wardrobe pattern (Simplicity 5299): the pants! I have never made pants before, but I’ve been watching a lot of the Dick van Dyke show and Laura Petrie (played by Mary Tyler Moore) always has the greatest cigarette pants on, so I’ve been tempted to overcome my fear. I’ve done some fitting on my own, but I’ve now exhausted my (very limited) pants-fitting knowledge. In hope that you can help, I have some lovely photos of my abdomen to share with you:


diagonal wrinkles. These are not apparent on the other side (with the zipper in the side seam)


Front, with wrinkles extending from CF seam

As you can see, there are horizontal wrinkles extending from the CF seam and diagonally through(?) the side seam. I’ve been consulting Colette’s Clover fitting guide but nothing there is jumping out as my pants fitting issue. It may be helpful to know that the fabric I’m using is NOT stretchy (at alllll). If you would like 12000 other pictures of these pants you can look at my blog post (where you can see the steps I’ve already taken), and I’d really love it if you left a comment/critique/suggestion here or there!




  1. Too snug across hips/upper thigh, perhaps?

    I’m not a pants expert. Let me email my friend who makes pants all the time and see what she thinks. I’ll be back.

    1. From somebody who knows a lot more about pants than I do:

      “I’m thinking it’s a compound of two problems?

      It looks like the balance of the pattern is slightly off for her body, that is, the side seam is a little too far back, it doesn’t appear centered on her body. looks fairly uniform though, so that may be a ‘feature’.

      It looks from the photos like a lil bit more room would be helpful in the outer lower [upper? I think she meant upper] thigh at the level of the bottom of the crotch and at CF over the tummy. I’m not sure about the (sorry to use this word, but it’s succinct) above-saddlebag/below-waist wrinkles–it looks like the zipper side is fairly smooth, so those may disappear in a heavier fabric.

      From the side view it looks like her thighs don’t really protrude, so I’d bet that crotch curve would lay all right with a little more space. I’d try a little adjustment to the side seam there, front and back both, because it looks pretty tight over the rear too, and a small full-tummy adjustment, centered fairly high.

      If those two things, plus heavier fabric, don’t alleviate the top-side wrinkling, then I’d do basically a dart centered on the side seam halfway between waist and saddlebag, and I wouldn’t true the side seam afterwards–it would be very slightly concave, just like her body in that area, so I bet it’d work fine.”

  2. Wow. I wish my butt looked like that!

    I haven’t made pants in a looooong time, so I’m probably not the best troubleshooter. I agree with LBC that they may be tight across the front. My other thought is that the crotch depth isn’t right. I think the crotch depth is too deep, so the front fabric is extending up too high, and thus leaving wrinkles.

    I am obsessed with the Laura Petrie cigarette pants, as well. Cute with heels or flats! You definitely need to post a full length pic of these when you get them finished.

  3. I think LBC has mentioned just about everything and I agree.
    For me (speaking from my experience drafting and fitting my own trouser patterns) cigarette pants are really difficult to fit just right. There’s just nowhere to hide. There’s just that side zipper which sometimes smooths out a small issue at the side which I think it’s doing here.

    The main issue seems to be it’s just a bit too tight at the lower hip/upper thigh and that’s causing the horizontal wrinkles. I think your first step should be to make it a bit wider in that area.
    The side seam also pulls a bit to the back. Not radically so but you may want to look at that anyway.
    What no-one else mentioned so far is how the ‘waistline’ wanders from center back up to the sides and then well down to the front. Some patterns have waistbands which are supposed to be higher at the front but I suspect at least part of it is a fitting issue. Too much height at the side, combined with the tight lower hip, might cause those diagonal wrinkles.
    I can’t really tell from your pictures whether or not you’ve put the waistband/facing on already but if you haven’t I recommend doing that first so you can get a better look at the rise.

  4. I agree that there are two basic problems: they’re too tight across the widest part of the hip/seat, and they’re too long in the rise.

    Horizontal wrinkles are usually caused by too much length trapped between two limits. Normally a too-long rise makes the crotch hang low, but in this case the too-tight hip/seat section is pinning the pants in place there, and pushing the pelvis fabric up.

    I’d start by letting out the hip, and then adjusting the rise (probably just folding out the excess and truing up the curves would work for that).

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