Making Trousers

Continuing on with some of my new books, James knew exactly how much I loved David Page Coffin’s “Shirtmaking” book that I used when sewing his yellow linen dress shirt so when I asked for this followup book on sewing trousers, he jumped at the chance to buy it for my birthday. I think he might be eyeing up some custom trousers of his own, but no matter what the motivation, I’m glad he did!

One thing that surprised me, however, is that there’s no DVD in the UK edition of this book like there is in the US edition, but then again, our version is cheaper, and I can’t really see myself watching many sewing videos anyway (I have zero patience whatsoever for YouTube. Zero.). But I am kinda annoyed that there are some pdf patterns included that us UK readers miss out on!

David Page Coffin has a Trouser Making blog to accompany/promote the book but the patterns aren’t included there, either. But a lot of good discussion is there, and you can get a good feel for whether the book is right for you from reading it.

In a nutshell, this is a book for anyone who has their perfect basic trouser pattern but wants to make a bunch of variations from it so no one can tell you’re wearing the same trousers every day!

The book starts off with a bunch of photos detailing the construction and features on a wide array of different trousers, from massmarket RTW to designer to couture to tailored, and I found this to be a fascinating breakdown of what you get for your money.

Apart from lots of ideas to put into your own trousers, this felt like snoop-shopping without all the furtive glances and changing room iPhone photos!

It’s chock full of great ideas for little tweaks and details you can add to your own patterns, like this page showing all the different kinds of front slant pockets you could have:

I also really love all the cross-section diagrams that are in this book, which makes the different layers really easy to understand, like this on for double welt pockets (I so want to make curved welt pockets after seeing his really easy method in this book!)

But it’s not just about details, he does quite a lot of coverage on the best ways to construct various aspects of trousers, like the pockets, or waistband, or fly, or even the humble belt loop!

David Page Coffin did an article for Threads a few months back about making trousers with expandable waistlines, but he goes into far, far greater detail here. I think this is such a fantastic idea for anyone who experiences seasonal weight gain or loss (intentionally or unintentionally), or in the beginning stages of pregnancy or IVF where your waistline is variable, and honestly, the price of the book is worth it just for this technique alone. This page is just a teaser on how you can change the look of it and the end result is so inconspicuous:

A button fly! God, I loved button fly jeans when I was a teenager, and they really don’t look like much more effort than a usual zip fly! I would have never thought to add one to my own pattern…

How to make a really nice waistband finish, step by step:

Honestly, this book is a must-buy as far as I’m concerned. It’s pretty much targeted exactly at me – someone who’s found a great-fitting basic trouser/jeans/pants(US definition) pattern but want to change the look and alter the style in a myriad of different ways and to make really nice details. This is not a book on fitting – he assumes you’ve already got your bum wrinkles sorted out and even suggests you go and get a custom trouser pattern drafted for you rather than waste all your time and energy on fitting. Now there’s a man who knows where all the fun in sewing comes in!

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