Construction method for Chelsea pants

So I’m making the StyleArc Chelsea pants for the second time. I have devised my own method of construction that allows me to fit as I sew. This is tailored to my particular fitting needs (adding back darts, taking in the waist etc) but I’m putting it up here so that it may help others. I hate it how instructions never tell you when to finish seams, or choose a construction order that makes it really hard to fit as you sew. This method is just one I made up as I sewed along. I’m hoping to power through all subsequent pairs now that I have this worked out and documented!

1. Interface waistband pieces.

2. Stay stitch upper edges of pant pieces to prevent stretching.

3. Construct fly front. See separate post here. After this step the zipper is inserted and the front crotch seam is sewn and finished.

4. Sew and finish back crotch seam.

5. Sew and finish inseams.

6. Pin outseams (outside leg seams). Try on and adjust to fit. Check that the side seams sit straight on the body, I usually need to take in the front pant pieces at the side seams to get the seam to sit straight.

7. Sew outseams, try on to check, finish seams.

8. Try on, pin in some back waist darts (the pattern doesn’t have any but I always need to add them). Measure darts, straighten and repin, try on, sew darts.

9. Iron belt loops piece into thirds lengthwise.

10. Topstitch both sides of belt loops piece, cut into four equal pieces.

11. Pin loops to right side of waistband pieces at the top where indicated by notches.

12. Sew belt loops on, noting 5mm seam allowance.

13. Sew centre back waistband seam to bottom of cut out notch (10mm seam). Press open.

14. Sew same seam with waistband facing pieces.

15. Pin waistband pieces to pant top matching notches (10mm seam), keeping belt loops free.

16. Pin waistband side seams to match pant pieces (in my case this will involve quite a bit of taking in). Try on to check.

17. Sew waistband side seams, trim allowance, press open, repin to pant.

18. Sew waistband to pant (10mm seam), pant piece up so that you can see the stay stitching line.

19. Press seam, press allowances up towards waistband.

20. Pin waistband facing to top edge of waistband (5mm seam).

21. Pin and sew facing side seams to match waistband, trim allowances and press open.

22. Sew facing to waistband along sides and top (5mm allowance on top and diagonal seams, 10mm allowance on vertical seams but adjust allowance so that waistband centre front and back seams match pant pieces).

Sew very close to point of notch at centre back.

23. Press seam, clip corners, turn and press.

24. Turn under bottom edge of waist facing, press and pin.

25. Stitch in the ditch from the right side, removing pins as you go. I like to sew this in sections from right front to centre back, and from left front to centre back so that if I get any bubbling it is at the back where I it won’t be as noticeable.

Check that the facing is caught in the stitching all around.

26. Press under ends of belt loops. Pin and sew securely.

27. Mark and sew buttonholes.

For me this involves following this entire page on instructions – you may have a machine that does automatic buttonholes, I have heard about such newfangled devices. I do love my machine, but the buttonholes suck.

Sew on buttons. (Apparently some machines do this, I obviously do this by hand).

28. Try on pants, mark hem length, finish hem, pin and press hem, try on, sew hem (I like a hand stitched hem).

Whew! Seems like a lot but really it wasn’t too bad at any step. I hope that this helps someone else make these great pants! I intend to print this tutorial and then whip up a few pairs quickly without having to think over each step.


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