Sabrina Sewalong Day 3: Pockets, Construction and Alterations (oh my!)

Mar 2, 2016 | Free, Pants, Sabrina Slims, Sabrina Slims Sewalong, Sewalong | 5 comments



Today we are going to tackle how to make some alterations to the pants once you have them partially constructed. If you want to include welt pockets, be sure to do so before continuing on. Tami also has a treat for you after you learn how to alter your pants! She has a free front pocket add on that so many of you have requested! I know I’m excited for that!!

Construct the main body of the pants

Sew the legs of the pants together following the steps in the pattern. Do NOT finish your seams and do NOT top stitch. We are constructing simply for fit at this point. (I like to baste in the rise and inseam so it is easier to rip it apart so I can topstitch the side seams.) Do NOT attach your waistband, simply sew up the side seams, inseam and rise. Now put your pants on and find a mirror.

IMG_1166 IMG_1169

So clearly, I have some issues going on here. And that’s okay! We are going to work on that. My body is not the “standard” shape. It’s cool It’s my body. So, we see a bunch of wrinkling. Those wrinkles mean that there are issues in those areas. The wrinkles around my knees are some what the responsibility of the fabric. It’s really light weight and it doesn’t have enough weight to really hang like it should. It’s also because I need just a touch more room there because this fabric only has 25% stretch, not the 30% that is recommended. Fabric matters, guys. But, these will work out. It’s important to notices that I have my pants cuffed up. You want to do that because excess length can cause a bunch of wrinkling that will look like other issues. Roll those pants up before you do anything!!

Now, start with the WORST fitting part. For me, it’s that mess of fabric in the back. See the gaping at the top, we need to take that in. Put your pants on INSIDE OUT. Yep, trust me.


That is a TON of extra fabric up there. This is because I have some booty. Most of the difference in my waist to hip ratio comes from that thing. So, I need to do the “gaping back rise adjustment” on page 7. You may need some help with this part, but along the back rise, pin the fabric together so that it contours to yours shape. You don’t want it skin tight, remember, there is no front closure and you need some wiggle room to pull these up over our hips.


Seriously, so much better already!! And we are going to do the same with the gaping bit in the front.


See, we are definitely getting there! So, we learned here that my body is terrible at math. I KNOW the pattern is on because #1, I was part of the testing process. I KNOW there were several testers who had a waist measurement that fit the size 18, like my waist was suppose to. I know this pattern is drafted to fit that measurement. And, these are VERY common adjustments for me to make to my pants. I have made myself several pairs of pants and every time I have to do these adjustments.

Now take your pants off and go baste in the adjustments that you made. (If you live with other people, you may want to warn them that they need to get used to seeing you sew half dressed. It’s just part of the process of making pants.)


Sooooo much better!!! But, I still need a bit more tweaking.

See these lines…….


There is to much fabric in the rise there for my shape. I am in real need of a tummy tuck. Like, no joke. I used to weigh a LOT more. And 4 pregnancies took their toll on my mid section. So, because of extra skin and a bit of fat around my middle, I have a tire of sorts around my waist. I’ll spare you the pictures, it’s not pretty. 😉 But basically, I am smaller under my tire and that causes pooling of fabric in that area. I need to adjust the shape of the rise to fix this. So, we put the pants on inside out again and find the excess fabric. It will be easy to see.


Okay, maybe not so easy to see in the picture. but, I have pinned out about 1/2″ on each side and an inch where my fingers are. Pin all of that out and then go baste again. Yes, it’s a lot of back and forth, but, this is required. And worth it.


Getting even closer!! Now, there is still a bit of pulling right at the bottom of the crotch in the front. To fix this, I need some more length in the pointy part of the rise. This is the “smiling wrinkles” adjustment on page 7. I just need a bit more length in the inseam, maybe 1/2″ So, I need to note that on my pattern piece for next time. And if I use this fabric again, I will also do the adjustment for the excess fabric around the knees. I don’t have this issue in a heavier weight stretch knit. That is why it is important to muslin in the same type of fabric as your final pair will be made from. This is lighter weight broadcloth. If I wanted to muslin for some stretch denim, I would need to use a cheaper stretch bottomweight that has the same weight and stretch as the denim I wished to use later. Make sense?

Here are the changes I made. The original seam is outlined in a solid orange line. The changes I made are in dashed pink. You can mark your basting lines with tailors chalk or a fabric marker directly on your fabric so you know where you need to sew if you remove your basting stitches to topstitch the side seams.

IMG_1204 IMG_1205

If you have wrinkles and gathering on the side seams, you will need to pin and baste out the excess just the same as I did for the rise. Just take your time and tackle one area at a time starting with the worst. After you get all of your issues sorted and basted and you like the fit, note the changes you made on your pattern piece. I turned my pants inside out and placed them on my pattern. Then folded along the new seams and marked on my pattern piece.


This does NOT take into account seam allowance! You need to go back along your pattern and add that back in. Just make little measurements 3/8″ to the outside of the line you drew and then connect the dots.


After you have your changes recorded, sew those pants up properly. Tomorrow we will work on attaching the waistband and hemming.


Hey guys, this is Tami checking in to bring you the pocket part of the post:

Are you a pocket person? If so this part of the post is for you! When I designed the Sabrina Slims I wanted a super slim pair of pants. Adding pockets at the front necessarily adds bulk so they weren’t in my original design. The welt pockets in the back are the perfect size for a phone and were good enough for me. However, several people have requested front pockets so I decided to do a little freebie add-on for front pockets.

But before we get to those let’s recap to get everyone on the same page. By now you should have chosen your fabric, picked your size, printed your pattern, cut it out and have sewn up a muslin to adjust any fit issues. From where Kelly left off earlier today you should have made any pattern fit adjustments to your printed pattern. Now, before you cut into your good fabric you need to print out the front pocket add-on. This add-on is only two pages. The first page will replace page 42 in the original file. Simply remove the original page and use the new 42 and tape together. They should line up just like the original page. The second page is the pocket. Click on the image below to download the pocket to your computer.


Click to download free front pocket add-on

Once you’ve downloaded and printed your free pocket pattern and cut out the pocket edge on your pants front, cut 2 mirror image of the front pocket piece and two strips of a lightweight woven. I used a shirting cotton for mine. Cut 2 small strips on the bias, each 8″ in length by 1″ wide. If you want to cheat you could skip the next 5 steps and just fold 3/8″ of the pocket edge of the pants to the wrong side and topstitch in place. I won’t think less of you if you decide to take the easy way out!



We’re going to use the strips as if they were bias tape (or you could cheat and just use store-bought bias tape). Align the strip to the cut edge of the pocket right sides together. Pin/clip the rest of the strip to the pocket edge. Side note: are you a Wonder Clip convert yet? I love them!

pocket add-on

Straight stitch the strip to the pocket edge using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Press raw edge of strip over raw edge of pocket to the wrong side:

Free front pocket add-on

Fold strip + pocket edge once more to the wrong side so the raw edges are enclosed.


Topstitch the strip in place from the right side.


For these pants we’re not going to add a typical pocket lining and bag. We’re going to cut out the middle man the just stitch the pocket lining directly to the pants. This will cut down on bulk right where we don’t want it. 😉 To do this you’ll simply align the pocket piece to the pants matching up the top and side seams. Pin pocket in place. I’ll be using a coverstitch machine to topstitch pockets in place so I don’t need to worry about that raw edge. If you won’t be using a coverstitch machine you’ll want to finish the pocket raw edges with an overcast stitch or serger.


From the front of the pants place your pocket piece over the pocket by feeling where the edge is. You’ll use the pocket piece as a template to mark your stitching line.


Use a straight stitch, twin needle or coverstitch to topstitch your pocket in place.


And now you have front pockets! Once you’ve got your pocket situation taken care of you’ll continue on sewing the side seams, inseams and the crotch. Those step are pretty self explanatory using page 10, steps 1-3. Post in the group if you need help or have any questions. Tomorrow we’ll be back to sew the waistband and hem.



  1. jeanie

    Loving this tutorial. I am the same size and shape…and making the same alterations. I’ve made 2 imperfect but wearable pants, and am enjoying the confirmation in the tutorial…and getting ready to start a third pair.

  2. Susana

    Hi: I just bought the pattern but I can’t find sewalong Day 1 and Day 2. Any ideas?


      • Susana Pourxet

        Thank you! (I already found it) :).

        And…yesterday I assembled the pattern and because I haven’t a fabric to make a toile, I’m making sure the measurements are right and the first thing I have noticed is that the front rise is 2.5 ” lower than mine. Should I add that to the pattern? I have to say that NEVER had had a good result for trousers with a commercial pattern and I really want this to work. Help! Have a great day you too.

        • Kelly

          The waistband will add to the rise as well. So take that into account when figuring how much you want to add to the rise of your pants.


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