A new pair of drawstring trousers

by Stephanie on 9 July 2017

in Finished things,Making clothes,Sewing

grey chambray cotton drawstring trousers hanging on washing line

A few years ago, I made a pair of yoga trousers using a pattern from SEW Everything Workshop. I’ve worn them a lot and they’ve started to get rather faded. The final straw came a few weeks ago when I tore a hole in one of the legs while climbing over a fence.

I sewed a patch on but found that I now felt a little like Cinderella while wearing the trousers. Not Cinderella on her way to the ball , but Cinderella in trapped in a basement kitchen doing the cleaning and feeling a little drab. So, I decided it was time to make a new pair of trousers…

The brief

Light-weight casual summer trousers in a dark colour such as grey or navy. To be worn either with a summer top and a cardigan, or with a stripy Breton t-shirt and a jumper.


Requirements are either 1.25m of 150cm-wide fabric,  2m of 137cm/145cm-wide fabric, or 2.25m of 112cm-wide fabric. I wanted to make the trousers in either navy or charcoal grey and needed to find a light-weight fabric as the drawstring waist is quite bulky. My preference was for either cotton, linen or a cotton-linen mix. The old trousers were made with shot cotton so I was quite keen on that rather than a plain colour.

Fabrics considered:

  • Robert Kaufman chambray union nep (indigo) and peppered shot cotton (charcoal, peacock, ink) from Backstitch
  • Chambray (dark blue) and hand-dyed cotton (aubergine) from Merchant and Mills
  • Linen-cotton mix (denim, navy) from Dragonfly Fabrics
  • Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (thunder, coal) from Cotton Patch

In the end I used a 2m length of grey cotton chambray that I bought at Cloth of Gold in Wootton Bassett. The fabric is fairly light-weight with good drape. I pre-washed and ironed it before cutting out.


Yoga trousers from SEW Everything Workshop – size S. I added a 1.5cm strip to the middle of the front and back pattern pieces as my old pair of trousers were rather tight. This makes the fit better over the hips; the legs are slightly wider than before but that doesn’t seem to be too noticeable.

Seam finishes

I sewed French seams for the inner and outer side seams so there are no raw fabric edges and hopefully the seams will be reasonably robust. To make the seams, I sewed 7mm from edge (wrong sides together) then trimmed the seam allowance to about 4mm.I pressed it open then folded right sides together and pressed again so the seam lies along the fold. I sewed again 7mm from the edge. The seams were then pressed to one side (all pressed towards the back of the trousers). The seams 7mm were wide because I had a total seam allowance of 1.5cm and I could line up the edge with the edge of my sewing machine foot.

For the crotch seam, I used a mock French seam finish because of the curve. I sewed 1.5cm from edge (right sides together) then pressed the seam open. I then folded the seam allowances to the centre and pinned and ironed them. Finally, I sewed them together and pressed the seam to one side.

Seam finishes inside drawstring trousers - French seam and mock French seam

A few other random notes

  • My stitch length was quite small for the side and crotch seams (2-2.5mm). I used a longer stitch (2.75mm) for everything else.
  • I made the tie from a leftover piece of the fabric 2m x 3cm long. It was pretty fiddly to make and I would be tempted to make it slightly wider if I did it again though this width does look good on the trousers. 2m is too long – it only needs to be 1.6m.
  • I thought that the buttonholes would be troublesome but they were totally fine. I used a 0.5mm stitch length but you could probably get away with slightly less dense stitching.

Overall verdict

I’m pleased with the fit of the trousers and like the fact that there are no raw edges showing inside. Perhaps I will make another pair in navy linen!

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