Sewing Pants that Fit

One of the reasons I got back into sewing was that I struggle to find clothes that fit me well. Like most women, ready to wear doesn’t cater to the quirks of my body – long torso, small waist, large hips. I’ve been sewing regularly for about 5 years now, but I still struggle to sew for myself. It’s so much easier to sew clothes for my kids, or toys, or handbags.  But I’m determined to sew for myself! I’ve got great-fitting jeans, but if i want a change from my “Mum uniform”, I’ve got nothing. I end up wearing maternity pants that are spattered with pant – not a classy look. I’m still in the procrastination phase (which I’ve talked about here), but I’ve done plenty of research into how to make pants fits.

Sewing Perfect Pants

Here’s the resources I’ve found:


My favourite place to learn on-line is Craftsy. They have a few different classes on making pants, and the best part is the class interaction. Post photos of your problems and the instructors help you out. There is a course just on fitting pants by Sandra Betzina:

Online Sewing Class

I haven’t tried this class yet. It has mixed reviews. It sounds like there’s loads of great information, but the presentation is a bit scattered. It depends on your learning style as to whether this class will suit you.

One Pattern Many Looks Pants

One class I have bought is One Pattern, Many Looks with Kathy Ruddy. The class shows how to take a basic pant pattern and modify it to any style you like. There’s a lesson on perfecting the fit of your pants, and Kathy sounds very experienced, especially with adjustments for the fuller figure/older lady. I’m looking forward to using the information from this course when I’ve sorted out my own fit requirements to make all the different styles of pants I could dream of!

Online Sewing Class

If you’ve already got a pair of jeans that fit you well, Kenneth Cole has the “Jean-ius” Craftsy class that also includes lessons on fitting. Another class that I haven’t done, but it has fantastic reviews. It’s on my wishlist!


While the Craftsy videos are good, sometimes it’s hard to find the exact information you need. Books are a great place to go to re-read the same information over and over again, until you actually understand. Hunting down books at your local library is also a great option. Here’s the resources I’ve been using to help me fit my perfect pants.

The cover of this book looks incredibly dated (and just a bit daggy), but there’s loads of information packed into Pants for Real People. Lots of images and examples of fitting “real people”. Your exact combination of fit issues may not be in there, but the book gives a system to follow for the order to fit yourself. Having that process helps to make sure you’re not creating more fit issues when you fix one issue. Since it just focuses on pants, it covers a lot of different fit issues for all figure types.

I’ll be picking up “The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting” from the library this week. I haven’t had a chance to look at it, but reviews say it’s great for visual learners. It doesn’t just focus on pants, so it sounds like a great resource to have on your shelf when sewing clothes.

Singer have a reputation for producing great sewing resources. The second book below is a reprint of the Singer book, and also have lots of information on getting your fit just right.


If your budget doesn’t extend to books and classes, there’s a wealth of resources on the internet. However, the information is quite scattered and it can take time to find the right terminology to know what to search for.

  • Colette Patterns blog has a great table listing all the different fit problems with pants and solutions here. It doesn’t have any pictures, so it’s not the best for visual learners, but may give you clues on what your problems are.
  • New Mexico State University shares this interesting publication on making perfect pants, including information on body shapes and how to take measurements.
  • A Fashionable Stitch hosted a Trouser Sewalong a few years ago. It’s too late to sew along with the group, but the information is all still there for you to sew along by yourself, with lots of different fit issues covered.
  • Threads magazine show the “seam alteration” method for altering pants. There are no specific fit examples, but is a process to make sure you don’t create issues when you modify your patterns.

So I now have all the information, it’s time to start sewing the patterns. Follow me on Facebook to see if I actually get my act together!

Have you made pants for yourself? What fit problems did you have? What resources did you use to fix them? Let me know in the comments.

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Narelle (Threadistry) (30 Posts)

Narelle is a former engineer turned Mum and housewife. She loves to craft, with sewing being her favourite. She shares her love of sewing at

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