Finding trousers that fit sometimes feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. Learning how to sew and fit trousers that look and feel professional is one of my main goals this winter, and it really helps to have a good pattern to begin with. Mönsterfabriken published the Sara chinos as one of their first patterns in 2018, and this is my fourth iteration.
Sara is a mid rise chino with a slightly dropped crotch, single welt pockets in the back and slant pockets in front. The waistband is shaped, and the legs are cropped, tapered and end in an optional fold. She has zipper and fly, curved waistband, optional belt loops and is clearly inspired by traditional menswear. The pattern is really well drafted. I like the instructions, too, but I prefer sewing the waistband and the zip and fly following the sewing instructions from Closet Core Patterns (see below for links).
One of the most important adjustments I made on Sara was splitting the waistband in the back and add extra seam allowance. This allows me to finish the back seam after adding the waistband, adjusting the fit at the final stage of the process. If I have to adjust the waistband at any point later this method is brilliant. I picked up the idea from some ready to wear trousers I had, and it is genius because it allows for easy alteration of the fit.
I love the look of a slightly dropped crotch from the front, but not always from the back because it seems to be too much fabric there. Earlier I never quite understood how to fix this. When I made this version, a light bulb moment was to add a simple flat butt adjustment and remove 1 cm from the back inseam, gradually tapering towards the inseam about 10 cm down. This made a huge difference and will be a standard adjustment for me from now on.
Slanted pockets are prone to gaping on me, which looks messy. I interfaced the opening with iron on tape and really liked the result. The opening stays flatter and doesn’t stretch out when you wear it. Slanted pockets must hit me at the right place because of my curved tummy. If the trousers are too high waisted the gaping is inevitable, but for a mid rise it usually works.
Welt pockets are still a challenge for me to sew, and I have to practice more to get them as sharp and tidy as I aspire to. The result this time was quite ok, and at least I’m able to sew them without reading the instructions a million times now. One small improvement was to add Hong Kong seams to finish the edges instead of overlocking them. I love the look of traditional tailored trousers, and adding bias tape felt like a step towards that.
The fabric is a little on the heavier side, but it is 100% wool and feels like a soft hug. The weight makes them a little more casual which I really love. These will be fantastic during the colder days this winter. I have already cut out a blazer in the same fabric for a relaxed suit.
Pattern: Sara chinos from Mönsterfabriken
Fabric: Wool twill from Rainbow Fashion
Time: One and a half day
Closet Core Patterns: Sewing a Fly Front Zipper for Pants and Trousers
Closet Core Patterns: How to Sew a Trouser Waistband