Metric Pattern Cutting: Trousers Vs. Jeans

I’ve been studying Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich, specifically the trousers chapter. The tailored trouser block almost always looks terrible when made into a toile on people’s blogs (I haven’t made one yet), but I think that may be down to a few things: 1) it’s sometimes a bit monobutt, (but maybe that’s a smart “tailored” look), 2) the CB seam is straight when it would be much more flattering curved.

The Crutch Extensions

Now, the curious thing is that the back crutch extension is nearly identical on the jeans block as it is on the trouser block. But the front crutch extension is 1.5cm or so shorter on the jeans block, which pulls the back more towards the front, as if you pulled the back of your skirt forwards between your legs, but without all the gathers on your bottom. This results in the back crutch curve being more Burda-esque than that of the jeans drafted in Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong. That book says that the shorter crutch extension gives a jeans “contour” fit, but the American way of achieving it may result in a flat monobutt (at least, that’s what I understand from Fasenella); maybe the European way of doing it (Aldrich) will avoid this.

The CB seam

Now, Fasenella says that the CB of jeans should have a curve to give a round bottom instead of flattening it. Neither Aldrich nor Joseph Armstrong do curve the CB seam, but Harriet Pepin in Modern Pattern Design from 1942 says that if you shift some of the dart control to the CB seam it will fit the feminine curves more literally than a straight CB seam on slacks, which would give a “mannish” appearance, as she calls it. I rather agree with this.

Leg-shaping

I think at least half the reason that the tailored trouser block looks so terrible as a toile, is the leg shaping. It’s always nearly straight, which doesn’t really suit the sort of fabric people use for toiles. I’m sure it would look nicer if the legs were closer fitting and the trousers were made from a softer fabric – some trouser fabric. After all, who would want stiff wide-legged trousers? The fit seems to look nicer when people make shorts from the tailored trouser block.

Ease

The jeans block has no ease at all in the hips, and the tailored trouser block has only 4cm (just over 1 1/2 inches), which isn’t really very much so it shouldn’t look “loose”. The back hip on the jeans and the trousers is about the same; the ease being removed from the front hip to make the jeans. It think this also allows for bum-room. The tailored skirt block has only 3cm ease (I use 6cm) so I wonder if “tailored” is Aldrich’s word for “minimum ease for non-stretch fabrics”. It is suggested that the jeans block be used with fabrics that have a “slight stretch” for comfort. 
Interestingly enough, the crutch length and depth are the same (or about the same) on both the jeans block and the tailored trouser block.
— Must sign off now for dinner — : )
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2 thoughts on “Metric Pattern Cutting: Trousers Vs. Jeans

    1. Thank you for your comment. I don’t know whether you’re from England or somewhere else, but the Oxford English Dictionary says that the crutch is “the crotch of the body or a garment.” I looked it up in the American dictionary as well, and that says that that definition is now archaic in America. I expect we kept the word “crutch” to save people from feeling uncomfortable when they say or type it. 🙂

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