Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn

Pants Sloper Home Page   ►  Week One

Measurements and Drafting the Initial Patterns


This first week is about preparing the initial pattern for the sloper. I will use the word sloper to refer to the paper pattern and fitting shell to refer to the fabric you will sew to determine the shapes for the darts and seams.

There is about a half hour worth of videos you can view this week. But the steps to measure and draft the pants pattern should only require about 20 minutes of viewing time.


Measurements are the beginning of the process. While measurements are the starting point, do not worry too much about making them overly precise. The body is a series of continuous contours. Measurements in increments of 1/2" (12mm) are accurate enough. The true shape will be determined when the fabric is fit to the body. However the Waist, Hip, and Thigh measurements will be vital in verifying that there is adequate ease in the final pattern.

To quickly and easily locate specific measurements they are referenced by the numbering system used in the second edition of my book How to Make Sewing Patterns (2016). You can download the chart below to your computer as an interactive PDF file that can be saved, printed, and shared across multiple devices. Instructions for doing this are included in the PDF file. Record the measurements taken here in a copy of that chart.

Measurement Chart

You will create the pattern based on the initial measurements: Waist (#9), Hips (#13), Thigh (#14), Leg Width (#15), Waist to Hips (#36), and Waist to Floor (#40), Crotch Depth (#42).

Measuring for Pants

Do-It-Yourself Measurements

The Initial Patterns

The initial patterns guarantee that you will have an appropriate amount of fabric to cover the body. You will need to have one pattern for the front and one for the back. There is a description for how to draft these patterns in How to Make Sewing Patterns on pages 44 through 50, 2nd ed. (pages 34 through 38, 1st ed.) and the two videos below. For women, an additional adjustment needs to be made to the side seam as described in the last video for this week.

When you create these patterns, you will be dividing measurements by 1/4, and 1/8. I show easy ways of dividing measurements by using my Scale Rulers or by folding a tape measure as you will see in the videos.

I have created a chart for Measurements that Need to be Divided.

The Front Pattern

The Back Pattern

Using the Skirt Sloper

Fitting fabric to the body is when you establish the exact shape of the darts and the side seam. If you have an accurate Skirt Sloper, you may use this pattern to create the fit of the pants sloper as shown in the video below.

Using the Fit of a Skirt Sloper

Finalizing the Initial Patterns

The final steps in preparing the initial pattern are to adjust the position of the side seam for women as described on page 47, 2nd ed. (page 38, 1st ed.) and to add seam allowances described on page 47, 2nd ed. (page 39, 1st ed.)

Finalizing the Initial Patterns

Adjusting the Crotch Curve &
Optimizing the Pattern for a Tummy

Posture and age can change the contours of the body. A common fitting issue is when the soft tissue of the buttocks becomes less firm. The pants sloper can also be optimized for a tummy. You may be able to make these adjustments to the initial patterns. The instructions for modifying the pants sloper are described on in How to Make Sewing Patterns, Second Edition on pages 48 and 49. They are also included in the Pants Fitting Issues pdf file. Or you can try the muslin fitting shell and return to these fitting issues later as needed.

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Copyright © 2007, & 2020 by Donald H. McCunn