Simplicity 3850, or, a very wearable muslin


I’m thinking about organizing my posts a little differently from now on. Rather than just writing up all the details however I want I’ll have little sections on the fabric and pattern and alterations and what not. What do you like reading more- a kind of pattern review style or “the facts” on sew weekly, or do you like a more leisurely few paragraphs on whatever points I want to talk about?


Goal: I wanted to make a good fitting pair of pants after my last jeans making fiasco. Someone in my sewing group very kindly let me borrow a Hot Patterns skinny jeans pattern to trace. I also bought the Colette Clovers recently. But looking at both of these patterns reminded me of what I learned last time I tried my hand at pants. My crotch line doesn’t resemble most pants patterns at all and I needed a completely different approach! Then another sewing group person reminded me to try out this pattern I had used previously to make shorts.

Pattern: That previous pattern was Simplicity 3850, a Built by Wendy “slim pants, capris and shorts” pattern that I had made two shorts variations from with relatively no fit problems except for which size I chose to cut. The first shorts I made a year ago. I had cut the pattern and fabric out a couple years before that but I had forgotten about them. When I finally made them up they fit technically, but they were a little too tight over all. Those were a size 14.

The next shorts I made about 6 months ago and I sized the pattern up to about a 16. Those fit but were almost slightly too big. I really took for granted that I didn’t have to make any changes to the fit.


This time I went back to the original size 14 and made the pants version.


Fabric: A medium weight 100% cotton twill from Joann. I purposely bought this green color because I wasn’t that enthralled with it. I thought that if I bought a good fabric in a cool color I’d be really upset if my garment didn’t turn out nicely and I’d feel like I had wasted my fabric.


For the inside of the pockets and the waistband I used leftover orange dyed batiste from my Darling Ranges dress which is finished but I haven’t taken photos of it yet.

(blue jeans zipper, navy buttons and orange lining – nope, nothing matches! oh well!)

Changes: I started out trying to make a bunch of fitting changes along the way but by the end I resorted back to the original pattern and the only changes I made ware making the front center 1/2″ higher and leaving out the belt loops.


Results: They fit! Mostly. The pattern says they are “slim” fit but this design is about 4 years old, slightly older than the popularity of skinny jeans so my idea of “slim” and 2007’s idea of “slim” are probably a little different. They fit well in the front but because of my idea of the “skinny jeans butt” the back is more like a straight leg pant than the curve hugging look I’d be going for. But they’re not gigantically baggy and any bagginess I think comes from the stiff fabric. I’d say that for the style they fit! If there is any problem it’s that, like most pants, they’ve stretched out even in the short time I’ve worn them. Maybe next time I should make a 12 knowing they’ll stretch.


I feel like this whole pants thing is one big face palm. All that work on my other jeans and I just could have adjusted this one pattern! I’m going to make a whole separate post on why these pants fit me better than any other, because really, it blows my mind!


In the mean time I’m going to celebrate having a very wearable pants muslin. Hooray!

***So here is a question – how has popular style changed your idea of how pants should fit?

  • When I saw the first picture, I thought that the top was your muslin, not the pants…they look store-bought! I see how the style isn’t necessarily trendy or fashion-forward or whatever, but they fit great, they’re flattering, and I’d be very happy wearing those around! They look very comfy! Whoo!

    • thanks! the top is another built by wendy pattern. i though i ought to wear them together.

  • They look nice, I have this pattern and have thought about making it several times but I worry about the crotch line. Most patterns have weird crotch lines it seems and have too high of a rise. I should just compare this pattern to a pair of pants that fit correctly.

    • i compared this pattern to my RTW pants and it matched so much better than any of my other patterns. this pattern is low rise – it says two inches below the waist. it’s higher in the back than the front.

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  • I love those pants. They look great on you. Good job!

  • Those look awesome! And I really like the green, I hope you’re happier with your fabric choice now!

    • thank you! the green is definitely growing on me.

  • These pants looks fab and so professional! They are great on you too.

  • Wow, these look super! Great job! I’m a 90’s child, so I wore my pants WIDE and loose growing up, but now that jeans have gotten so skinny, I feel like a slob in anything very relaxed. It’s funny how much something as basic as a pair of jeans changes with fashion trends over just a few years!

    • thanks! even the fit of boot leg jeans have gotten tighter over time compared to when i was in school (late 90s).

    • OMG Ginger! Please tell me you had a pair of Jncos. Um, because I did. Haha! Though I wouldn’t be caught dead in them now. I like my jeans snug now, too. But I hate skinny jeans that are ill-fitted and cause a muffin top on even the slimmest person.

  • i’ve made that built by wendy pattern! it is a good one – the fit is so much more natural than many patterns. congrats! the pants look great, and having a good pants pattern in your arsenal is like striking gold!

  • Wow they are really good and look like such a good fit. Trousers scare me but I am warming to the idea they may not be as bad as i think!