1950s | Pants / Trousers | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Drafting Cigarette Pants

September 19, 2014

I’m not brand-new to pants (the first pair of jeans I made), but I’ve never drafted slim-fit trousers before and to be honest they’re a bit intimidating. So math!  Much fitting!  Wow!  But I have some great herringbone woolen in my stash (somewhere between a flannel and a boiled wool, very nice quality, from Gorgeous Fabrics a couple of years back), a job I can’t wear jeans to, and a sudden interest in late-1950s silhouettes, so I thought it was time to take on the challenge.


Drafting discussion and fitting photos are here at my blog.  I made a couple of breakthroughs and (hopefully) did away with a major fit issue in every pair of pants I’ve ever sewn.  I would love some input from those of you who are experienced at fitting pants–there are some horizontal wrinkles in the back thigh that are still stumping me:


Needs length in the back fork, maybe?

  1. Ah… cigarette pants. You are right they are nice but challenging… I’m considering another pair myself but I’ll have to re-draft because I over-compensated when taking out wrinkles at the back two years ago.
    The problem with a style like this is that so much depends on your fabric (mostly in terms of stretch and/or give) and your own preferences.
    The upper back of your muslin look good, you’ve already pinned out excess fabric along the legs but of course, the issue here is with the high on the back thigh.
    Let me start by saying that those are almost impossible to eliminate completely in a close-fitting pair of trousers like these. Especially when you are using a fabric without vertical stretch. At least, if you want to be able to sit down in them with anything resembling comfort.
    That said, you should be able to reduce the amount of wrinkling. I like the fact that you don’t immediately assume that wrinkles mean the garment is too wide, that is a very common mistake. So of it may be excess width/length though (some of it needed) but the way pulls makes me wonder… Maybe you should try lengthening the (near) horizontal part of the back crotch curve just a little bit.

    Oh, and I was wondering about your darts. I usually put the center line of mine on the straight grain which means they run vertically when the trousers are worn. Yours look kind of parallel to the back seam on the pattern but that makes them point inwards in the muslin. It is a matter of preference and body shape, but I thought I’d mention it.

    1. Lauriana–thank you, this is all extremely helpful. I think you’re right, and I added 1/2″ to the horizontal crotch line (1/4″ to the front, 1/4″ to the back) in the final pattern. I don’t mind a little ease in that area–like you said, you have to be able to sit down–but a lot of horizontal wrinkling in the back thigh may be a sign that there’s not enough room, rather than too much, and that is a problem that definitely needs fixing.

      Re: my back darts, you know, I experimented with different dart placement a few years ago and found this one the most flattering and comfortable at the time. I have a fair amount more drafting experience now, and my body shape has changed slightly, so it might be worth trying some different placement/angles to see if something else works better. The drafting system I learned on (Natalie Bray) just tells you to angle them “to suit the shape of the figure” which is not super helpful!

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