Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Traditional Chinese Pants Pattern!


This pattern really attracted me right away - not so much because of the final shape of the pants, but because of the simplicity of the pattern. It is put together from two rectangles and an elastic waist band. Nothing else! See here:

(Don't worry about figuring this out yet, I will explain it later in this post!)

Maybe you have already seen my circle jacket or the one I made out of a simple rectangle - yes, I am fascinated by turning simple geometric shapes into garments.

The final pant shape is similar to harem pants. I actually still haven't made up my mind about harem pants yet, and I haven't even made up my mind about these Chinese pants either. I consider the two versions I am showing you here muslins... wearable maybe, as pajamas and/or yoga pants, but I am curious whether I could turn this into elegant street pants... What do you think? Do they have potential? I'd love to hear your input!

 The pattern is put together from two identical rectangles like this one:

This rectangle will make up one pant leg and half of the crotch/hip part. Because it is so simple, the  measurements you decide on will be crucial. I wear a European 34/36 and I will tell you the measurements I used, along with the explanations how I came up with them.

This rectangle is actually made up of three parts (indicated by the vertical dashes). You could just use one piece of fabric, but the extra seams add interesting style lines. I did my first muslin with just one piece, so you see what that looks like in the pictures below.

Line A-C = 95 cm (37,5''), this is the total pant leg length from the waist band down.
Line A-F = 3 x 25 cm ( 10'') = 75 cm (30'') (They don't necessarily have to be equal though!)
Line A-G = A-B = 28 cm (11'')

No seam allowances included!

The distance from A-G (A-B) is how far you will overlap the two rectangles for the legs and it decides how low the crotch will drop!

The remaining length G-F is half the width of your hip opening, so unless you want to add a zipper, it has to be at least half of the measurement at the widest part of your hip.

Now you see that the more you overlap the pieces, the lower the crotch gets, but also the smaller the hip opening. So if you want a really low crotch, you have to make the pant legs wider...
In case you have a headache already, I will show you pictures of my first muslin before telling you how to put it together...

I added a little pocket. As you see, there are very few seams, because I used just one piece of fabric per leg, instead of sewing three rectangles together. You can see how the two pattern pieces come together in a 90 degree angle (note for later: that is NOT the red seam, but the yellow/pink G-A line!).

Would that be cool in a striped fabric? Or is it putting too much attention to a place we don't want it?

The back and the front are absolutely identical, except for the pocket I added, and the seam in the waist band - which I would suggest you put on the side. So what do you think? Does it look like diapers?
I was still not sure at this point, but decided to go on and try it in a softer fabric.

Here is how you put it together:

As stated above, it is crucial how far you overlap the rectangles (red line) for how low the crotch will drop. Point G does not have to be exactly where the dashes are. In fact, I think it wasn't so great that my seam was exactly at that point. I think next time I would make the middle rectangle narrower than the two outer ones.

  1. Match up A1 to B2 and A2 to B1 and sew together 
  2. Close the pant legs: fold so C and D, as well as B and E are matched up and sew.
  3. Repeat that for the other leg.
  4. Sew together from E1/A2 to F1/G2
  5. Repeat for other leg
  6. Add an elastic waistband to the remaining opening (add pockets at this point if desired)
  7. Hem the pant legs

I made the pant legs minimally wider on the second pair, which I think was not a good idea...

I am also not sure that I like the seams starting right in the center front...
Also, I tried French seams, which makes the seams a bit stiff. I think soft and flowy is better in this case, so you don't get weird bunching where you don't want it...

The back doesn't make me entirely happy. The legs are VERY wide and make me look short even though I am wearing high heels. I should have tucked in the shirt at least...

In a way, the pants look best when you see the interesting crotch shape, so I guess I'll just be doing yoga all day today...

By the way, I am using this as my weekly Me-Made-Mittwoch post, since I really am wearing these today. I am staying home all day, sewing. These pants are extremely comfortable to be crawling around on the floor in!
"Mittwoch" is German for Wednesday, so the participants wear a self-made garment or accessory every Wednesday. Catherine from Cat-und-Kascha is organizing it and you are welcome to join us anytime! Just go over to her blog to grab the button and add your link at Mister Linky on her site!
HERE you see the outfits from this weeks participants.
A happy Yoga-Wednesday to everyone!


  1. Sehr coole Hose! Schaut sehr bequem aus, ich glaube ich muss die Anleitung mal testen.

  2. Du machst super tolle Sachen....deine Kreationen sind anders....und absolut klasse...auch die Hosen sind super toll !
    Sei ganz lieb gegrüßt Yvonne

  3. Wow, die sehen sooo bequem aus! Tolle Schnitte!

    Und noch ein Kompliment: Du hast eine so tolle durchtranierte Figur!!! Super Proportionen!! Alles genau richtig, Rücken, Arme, wow!
    Was treibst Du für Sport?

    LG, Sabine

  4. Toll!!! So eine möchte ich auch! Sobald ich etwas mehr Ruhe habe, werde ich mich damit befassen. Vielen Dank,
    liebe Grüße, Julia

  5. Ahhh, wirklich interessant! Allerdings würde mich ebenso interessieren, wie ich mit wenig Aufwand solche Wahnsinns-Oberarme bekomme, wie Du .... hm .....


  6. Danke Euch allen! Nur zur Info - ich beantworte die Fragen gerne, aber meist bei Euch direkt auf den Blogs oder in persönlichen Mails... Nur damit eventuelle Leser hier nicht denken, die Fragen bleiben unbeantwortet... (bzgl. Sport/Training:, das ist wirklich wenig Aufwand, zumindest zeitlich...)

  7. Jetzt ist es gerade schon ein bißchen zu spät um zu kapieren, wie die rechtecke dann zusammengehen udn zur Hose werden - ich finde das Konzept aus ganz einfachen geometrischen Formen Kleider zu nähen aber auch äußerst faszinierend und werde mich damit ncch einmal befassen. Die blaue Hose finde ich absolut straßentauglich - ich könnte mir so eine Hose auch aus gewaschener, schwer fallender Seide sehr gut vorstellen (ich habe jetzt so ein Bild von khakigrüner Seide im Kopf - das wäre als Sommerhose absolut toll).

    viele Grüße! Lucy

  8. supertolle hose! und gleich mit anleitung, danke! werd ich mir auf jeden fall speichern, und sicher bald mal nachnähen. finde sie definitiv sport- und straßentauglich.

  9. Thanks for the pattern! I tried it here and it´s so easy that i will do another one!

  10. OH,I would like to put on my blog yours instructions in spanish with pictures because I have some friends that dont understand English, if that bothers you I dont have problem deleting it, of course i will link your page. thanks. 

  11. this pants are so cool, here mine (i have writen before but it didnt publish my comment, sorry if it repeats!) thanks for the pattern!

  12. Thanks for your tutorial!!! It is so cute!!!! I have just made two pants!!!

  13. I'm having a little trouble following the steps, do you sew F1 to the point or line of G2? and do you do the opposite for the other leg?

  14. I'm so sorry this answer is a bit late. Maybe you already figured it out by now. You match point F1 to G2 so they lie on top of each other, and you do the same with points A2 and E1, and then you sew FROM F1/G2 TO A2/E1. Sounds complicated, but it's super easy and makes perfect sense if you lay it out, I promise!

  15. They are great! Congratulations!!!

  16. When were these worn in China? I'd really like to use this for a historical costuming challenge....

  17. Love the ease of these...haven't tried your pattern/tutorial yet, but can't wait to! I think these would be cute and publicly wearable in a linen or linen blend. Cutting them from a cotton sheet would give them a crispness, or maybe an old soft one. Love how you let us into your thoughts, trial and errors and possibilities for pattern-mirrors my own creative process :-)

  18. Oh my, so sorry for this late reply! My book only says "traditional South-Western China"...

  19. Sorry if I missed this, but what fabric is this?