Manhattan Trousers, Rounds Two and Three


So here we go with my second and third attempts at the Manhattan trousers. My wardrobe has suffered from a dearth of pants for a while (because of myriad of fitting issues + reluctance to go shopping since I think I should be able to make them). I was able to make things work through about the end of October, but then it got too cold for ankle-length pants with flats and it was time to sort that situation.

I had mixed success, but I’ve got two new pants to show for it.

First, the pattern: this is the Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Manhattan trouser. It’s a good little pattern, especially if you’re short and not super confident in your pants fitting skills. I’ve made it once before, pre-serger acquisition, so the finishing was much worse. I found it really helpful to work off a pattern I already know is made with petite adjustments. For the fly-shy: after rejigging the waist band pattern last time, I successfully overcame my fear of fly fronts on this pair using nothing other than the SBCC directions, so that’s a win.

Now, let’s look at that first pair, made with some marled wool-spandex fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics (a bit scratchy on the skin, btw).

Not too bad. From the front.

Manhattan 13

But turn these things around.

Manhattan 12


Manhattan 11

Wait, let’s lift up that shirt and get a closer look at some of those wrinkles.

Manhattan 4


As discussed at DC sewing drinks, it looks like my ass is actively trying to swallow those pants.

I made these with a size 8 waist, grading to a 6 at the hips. I then added the missing inches back into the seat with a full butt adjustment (full seat adjustment? I don’t know). That’s a pretty standard adjustment to account for my lack of hips but possession of said ass.

For one thing the sizing is off. I lost a few pounds in October because of a concerted effort to eat better. I remeasured myself only after making these pants (dumb.) and I was down two inches in the waist and one in the hips. That puts me in the size 4 range, two whole sizes down from what I’d used.

I took out a massive second vertical dart on each side to pull in the waist and hips, but these pants are really only wearable if I have on a hip length top that conceals the hack job that is the back side.

For the second pair, I traced off a straight size 4, and then added an extra 1” with a full butt adjustment. They’re much, much better, but they aren’t perfect.

Manhattan 9 Manhattan 8 Manhattan 6

First, you can see the back side wrinkles are still there. I’m going to try to do a sway back adjustment on the next iteration, which will pull out  a bit of the length from that back crotch curve.

Second, they are very tight on my quads. I could get them on when I first sewed them up, but it was a little obscene. So I stole back all I could from the 4/8” seam allowance at both the inner and outer thigh seams — I probably gained about 1/4” at each seam, so 1/2” of the leg. I’ll do a full thigh adjustment on the next pair.

I also plan on adding 1” of circumference to the bottom of the leg on the next pair for this length. The bottom hem gets caught on my boots and the back heel of my shoe sometimes.  Like in this picture. Manhattan 10

But, you know, pants! Progress.


  1. Great progress!, keep it up! I have issues with pants fitting as well which is why I decided to make my first pair of jeans. I am hooked and will continue to make my own pants/jeans. feel free to check out my blog.!

  2. pants are mystifying to me – and I feel like I can make anything. But oh man, pants they are weird. Your second pair look darn good from here. Still a bit big? but wearable. throw on a jacket and wear them.

    1. Yeah! I definitely wear the second pair. They work, and I’m not too fussed about the wrinkles in the back leg, esp when the pants feel tight when I sit down. I would like to take out that little triangle of extra fabric around my tailbone though! We’ll see.

      Overall, though, having a waist that fits makes an enormous difference versus ready to wear. These stay up over the day, and they don’t bag out (that’s fabric choice, though, obviously). I think we’re used to seeing pants that have no wrinkles because of a high spandex content in ready to wear. But I have found its rare that those keep their shape through the day.

  3. The second pair is so much better! They still look like they might be giving you a bit of a wedgie though? Or is that a trick of the photo? Maybe the rise needs a bit of an add in the back. (Is it called a rise in the back? I don’t even know.) Either way, major improvement! Also, I am super impressed with/jealous of your ability to wear unlined wool pants!

    1. I’ve been mulling this, and I think you might be right, but I think it’s a two-step problem. I think there’s not enough length in the curvy part of the back crotch, but too much length in the straighter part, right below the waist band. So maybe a slight crotch curve lengthen and slight sway back adjustment are in order for the next pair? Let’s see!

    1. You’ve got more patience than I do. I have a hard time getting so far along without having a product to show for it (even if that product is that terrible pair of blue pants). I’ve got the fabric for about three more pairs, so I think I’m on the journey to slowly refining fit over a period of middling-but-not-quite-there-yet pants. Good news is, I’m so damn short that any iteration is going to be better than what I buy!

  4. ah pants fitting! I feel for you 😉 I think this is the area in sewing where you really understand what 3D is! Good luck for this ongoing quest

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