Pattern hacks

5 Duet Trousers (Love Notions). My perfect fitting pattern + many many hacks.

To be honest, the last time I made myself woven trousers was back in 2012 or 2013. I had a pattern I had been using for over 10 years. It was a similar style to the Duet Trousers , but had been traced from a Burda Style magazine. I had managed to use that same pattern for so long because I had managed to have only small weight fluctuations during that time. Then disaster struck and I misplaced my beloved pattern during a house move. Those pieces of tissue paper were so valuable! but actually looked like rubbish because they’d been used over and over. Losing this pattern was the end of my pants making era….. for a while…. Until 2018, when the Duet Trousers from Love Notions entered my life.

*The Duet Trousers are the Feature Friday pattern May 1st 2020 and are only $5. Get yours HERE

When Love Notions patterns posted a tester call (mid 2018) for the Duet trousers I thought LONG and HARD, for like one minute and applied. It was time friends, it was time. I do find trousers that fit in ready to wear quite easily, but I would rather make my own again like before, with the best fabrics.

In this post I am sharing an overview of the pattern, my original version as per the pattern design and then 4 versions with hacks to the original design.

The Duet Trousers come in two views, one straight leg and the other a tapered leg. They have pockets with a control panel (one whole pocket facing and bag that provided support on the abdomen), a curved waistband, an even curvier waistband for the pear body type and a side hip invisible zipper.

Line art: source website

I was reassured that this pattern comes with a booklet included that tackles common fitting issues and how to adapt the pattern for our specific anatomical differences. This resource is GOLD and with patience and some muslin fabric, a great fit can be achieved.

Fabrics

The most interesting feature is that the trousers can be made with woven or knit fabric. Bottom weight wovens with drape work best, such as: crepe, suiting, wool blends and bengaline. Structured knits like ponte and liverpool are mentioned as suitable. I personally would size down with a knit fabric. The zipper could possibly be skipped with a knit, depending on the waist to hip ratio.

Iv’e always been more taken with wovens and wanted my version to fit with this type of fabric. With Woven the fit is more accurate, in my opinion. I chose a heavy bottom weight crepe with crazy colors.

Sizing

The Duet trousers is available from sizes 0-28W, catering up to a hip of 55.5″. They are meant to hit below the natural waist, but not too low either. This is the most flattering and comfortable position for a waistband, in my opinion.

My choices

I set out to make a few muslins to achieve the fit I dreamed to have. I ended up only needing to make 2 of them and they were worth the time and effort. I really got to know the wonderful characteristics of my own body during this experience and it was very empowering.

I made a Size 14, with pockets, straight leg option, regular curved waistband (There is an even curvier waistband option for curvier physiques) and these were my general basic fit adjustments:

  • Added length to the front and back rise, without modifying the high hip circumference (where the waistband is attached). My rise is longer than the standard for my chosen size.
  • Modified the shape of the back crotch curve
  • Tapered in the leg a tad
  • Added 2″ inches of length at the knee area to account for my 5ft8″ height (the pattern is drafted for 5ft5″)

I did document the process and you can see all about my journey in my video below and you can also see them on and how they fit. Good news! I have amazing woven fitting pants now. This is now my very very valuable pattern and I will treasure it as long as possible.

This pattern is now my trousers block. I have removed the seam allowance from the pattern and have the raw pattern on cardboard to use over and over.

My return to pants making was marked by this positive experience and since then I’ve been obsessed with making loads of pants, just like I was before my 5 year hiatus when I only make things for my top half.

Crazy heavy weight crepe fabric

Ok, I am very proud of myself for powering through the testing process and achieving my dreamed fit on a woven trouser. Now comes the fun… AKA hacking. I have created 3 hacks using my “trouser block”. Having a pattern without seam allowances allows design changes to be made easier.

HACK 1: Wider leg style

I wanted a wider leg. Not super wide, but not straight or tapered like the original design. This is my inspiration photo from pinterest.

I set to modify the leg width only. I tried on my original Duet Trousers and pinned on the side of my leg, the area I would like the widening of the leg to commence. I kept my size 14 and added 1″ to both the inseam and side seam at the hem, tapering to nothing below the hips. I chose a cotton linen blend with stripes.

Part of the fun of stripes is using them in different directions and I did that in little areas. I drafted a little faux flap pocket to sew on the back… mimicking the flap that goes on top of a welt pocket, sans the welt pocket.

Your can see the practical process of easily modifying the leg width for this style in my video below.

I really enjoyed the slight modification in the legs, drafting faux back pocket flaps and some stripe play. The linen/rayon blend used makes these trousers dreamy to wear.

HACK 2: Even wider culotte style

Now I wanted an even wider leg, cropped, culotte style in beige linen. This is the inspiration photo from pinterest.

I kept my original size 14 and cropped them at 80cm (31.5″) from the waist down the side seams. The original hem circumference is 16.5″ and I widened it to 27.5″.

I drafted my own “add-ons”: Front patch pockets, Back Patch pockets, Back yoke that eliminates the back dart partially and the pieces for a Front fly zipper.

I show all the modifications for the extra wide leg and all the details below in my video. This is easier than you think!

You can see the front yoke, fly zipper and patch pockets at the front of the trousers. Just like I wanted. The extra pattern pieces were not hard to create and it was a lot of fun.

Above you can see the width of the legs and a “movement shot”. They drape incredibly.

They also have back patch pockets. A very successful project. Knowing the trousers fit as they need to is great, because then all the fun can be had designing new features to them. Endless possibilities.

HACK 3: Comfy shorts with a yoga waistband.

I wanted easy to wear shorts that I could pull up, without a zipper. I LOVE yoga waistbands and add them where I can and why not create the best shorts ever with the Duet trousers? This is the easiest of all the hacks and in the video below you can see the small modification required to be able to pull it op over the hips.

I made two of these. They weigh absolutely nothing and have been great to travel with on summer holidays. One is made from green silk and the other from black peach-skin. What I love the most is the reduced bulk around the waist versus what a standard elastic casing would provide. Sleek and comfy at the waist. Win.

That’s it friends. I plan more creative trouser hacks with this pattern. Having put in the work to achieve my perfect fit was SO worth it because I can now design whatever type of trouser I want and know it is going to fit.

*The Duet Trousers are the Feature Friday pattern May 1st 2020 and are only $5. Get yours HERE

DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern without cost, as a pattern tester, in exchange for sewing a muslin, providing feedback on instructions and fit. I Purchased my own fabric for all these fun projects.

I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.

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