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Sewing, Style & Creative Writing
  • Vogue Trousers V8940: Tackling the Fitting Issues

    Posted on 07/01/2014 by David in My Handmade Closet.

    Time to get on with the 2nd part of V8940, namely the skinny-ish trousers. In essence, this should be a much easier project than the jacket but this is also my first time working with a commercial pattern as all my previous trousers were based on an old pair of jeans specifically resized to my measurements. The Small to Medium Vogue pattern covers size 34 to 40 and I have a waist size of 30-31”. I took the plunge and made a muslin based on size 34 and unsurprisingly, it didn’t fit but not because it was too big for me; it was actually too small at waist level!

    When I did the shirts and the jacket last year, I only had minor alterations to do which often consisted in shortening a bit the shoulders. So much for me thinking I nearly had the perfect Vogue proportions! It was a completely different story as it turned out that my derrière is somewhat larger and more protruding for a size 34 than the good people at Vogue could possibly anticipate when designing this pattern. Seriously, that completely threw off the measurements and I wondered if I wasn’t better off doing another muslin based on size 36 or even 38. I eventually decided against it as the fitting around the thighs and legs was pretty much what I wanted (although I have in mind to use a 3/8 inch allowance instead of the full 5/8 inch in that area).

    I undid one side from waist to below hip level and figured out how much fabric was missing. I wrote down the measurements on the muslin which you can see underneath in pencil next to the pink marks. I then divided those measurements by 4 so I could spread everything evenly between each side (I also deducted a small amount at the back). I added 2 extra pieces of fabric on each side (inclusion shown in zigzag thread) and redrafted these extra pieces with the right measurements which you can see “cheaply” highlighted in blue on my computer. It worked!


    I then transferred these measurements onto my pattern. See how different it looks at the top compared to my initial muslin based on size 34 (the most inward line).


    I did the same for the back piece although this time I had to take into consideration the yoke and the seam allowances…


    This is my slight alteration for the middle of the back…


    The pocket, pocket lining and side front also had to be altered. I was initially a bit lost as the top line changed quite substantially so I did a muslin of the pocket which eventually clarified things for me. The line in pink shows the modifications I’ve done. I also added extra width to the Side Front piece as I was concerned the pocket lining would show because of the deductions I had to make for the Side Front to fit properly onto the Front piece.


    Finally here is my fabric choice. It’s wool so it will be a pleasure to sew. You probably noticed the pins on the fabric. The squares aren’t matching when folding the fabric so I had to go through the tedious process of matching them as much as I could. I’ve done the same before with the tartan trousers  but this one proved a little trickier to match. I’m hoping for the best and will work on the construction later this week so it should be finished by the end of the weekend.


    I’d love to hear about anyone’s experience with trousers fitting when working on commercial patterns. Would you have proceeded differently or in a similar way? Do you have a method that works for you everytime? I’ve also found a great summary for pants fitting on the coletterie blog which seems very helpful!




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6 Responses so far.

  1. Peter says:

    David, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the measurements 34″ to 40″ corresponds to the chest, not the waist. Generally a 34″ chest pattern would have 28″ waist pants; a 36″ chest would have 30″ waist pants and so forth. It’s not clear on the Vogue website but that would explain why the pants were tight.

  2. Peter says:

    The other thing I’ve noticed about all commercial pants patterns is that the waist is measured at the TRUE waist (i.e, at least as high as your navel, if not higher) while most of us wear our pants a few inches lower where we’re likely to be wider.

    • David says:

      That’s a great point regarding the true waist! I didn’t think of that. As for the measurements, I checked their website and they stated to select the size corresponding to your waist measurement for pants although if hips are much larger, it’s better to go with the hip measurement and then adjust the waist. But I guess this way of thinking wouldn’t apply to this pattern which also included the jacket and therefore your comment makes a lot of sense (I wish they explained it). As I already did the jacket based on size 36, it would have made sense to go for size 36 again for the pants as my waist is 30″, the fitting would probably have been more straightforward from the start. Thank you very much for the feedback Peter!

  3. Wil says:

    My first pair of pants made were Vogue 8801. The sizing was huge! I made a size 36, which is a 30″ waist. The first try turned out with a 40″ waist. I tore them apart, cut them down, and made them wearable. My second pants were Simplicity 4760. The size was perfect except the clown-width pant legs. I cut those down, and really like these pants, except for the hidden button.

    My third pair were Simplicity 1948. I like these a lot. I actually made shorts instead of pants. My sizing was off a little, I was able to cut down easily. I made a pair for Joe and they were perfect. He wears a 34″ waist. The derrière looks great on Joe!
    My only advice is read pattern to get reviews. I found most reviews on size, ease of instructions, and wearability of a pattern to be quite helpful.


    • David says:

      So I guess it depends not only on the pattern itself but also the company manufacturing those patterns. I’m sure your advice on the readpatternreview website will come in very handy. Thanks Wil!

  4. PapaDoc says:

    I am sewing the pants in pattern V8940. The pants were nearly constructed, but it did not fit my butt. It was way smaller than what the actual pattern suggested. I don’t have the construction skills to redraft a pattern. How do I make it fit without scrapping the entire pair of pants. 🙁

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