While thrift shopping, I came across a box of vintage/retro sewing patterns for sale at R10 each! (€0.64 or £0.57)
Some hadn’t even been used yet, like the “Make it Easy” mix & match pattern packs I found.
These gorgeous packs were a fortnightly sewing pattern subscription in the 80’s, available in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. You received a booklet with instructions and style tips and patterns for 2 garments which each had 3 or 4 style versions.
I bought the Sundress & Playsuit pattern pack as well as the Pull-on Shorts & Classic Jacket pack.
I have already made a sweet Sundress in brown Linen and a striped pair of Pull-on Shorts. Here I will show you how I built upon the Pull-on Shorts pattern to make a Paperbag Trouser.
Even though this pattern is from the 80’s, it has a classic silhouette which I was easily able to modernize with a few adaptions. I lengthened the pattern for a wide leg style. I kept the side ties but secured the pleats and added a zip as I didn’t feel I could trust the trousers to stay up by just relying on the ties. Rather, I used the ties as a belt to pull the trousers in at the waist and relied on the pleats and zip for the fit.
I don’t think every vintage/retro pattern you find can easily be adapted to wear today.
But try look past the old fashioned fabric choices and cheesy photos on the pattern pack, you might find the basic silhouette is still a classic!
- GBSB Capri Trouser Pattern
- Pattern Adaption Guide
- Fabric (twice the trouser length)
- 4 D-rings (2.5cm)
- 25cm or 30cm Dress or Invisible Zip
- 3 or 4 matching threads
- Hand sewing needle
- Scissors (fabric & paper)
- Turner/knitting needle
- Sewing Machine
While I used a vintage pattern and adapted it a bit, I have provided a guide on how to make your own Paperbag Waist Trouser Pattern inspired by my Trousers.
Download and assemble the Great British Sewing Bee Capri Trouser Pattern.
We will use this pattern as a Trouser Block and adapt it to include pleats.
Follow my Pattern Adaption Guide to alter the Capri Trouser Pattern to a Paperbag Waist one.
5. In order to join the Inseams, start in the middle (at the crotch) and work outwards.
If you sew the entire inseam (from the base of one leg to the other) the fabric may distort and the crotch seams won’t align properly.
9. Pin and sew your free-standing pleats. Refer to your pattern for placement.
Start the top of the pleats about 2cm down from the top of the trousers.
The pleats should be 2.5cm wide and 5cm long. However, it is up to you if you want them a bit longer.
Ties & Belt loops
16. Secure the belt loop on the outer pleat along the waistline stitching.
Keep the edge of the belt loop 1cm below the line.
Be careful not to secure the pleat to the trousers, the pleat must remain free standing.
- Keep in mind that the trousers made in this blog post aren’t necessarily going to be exactly how yours look.
The pattern adaption I provided is inspired by the trousers seen here.
- Instead of D-rings, you can keep the ties long and just tie them at the side like i did for these Shorts.
- To see a how I made a pattern for a similar Bustier, check out my blog post Refashion: Jeans to Bustier