Chatty Sailor Trousers

Why Chatty Sailor? Because goodness me I have a lot to say about these trousers…

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Front

The Pattern

Simplicity 6407 was snapped up the moment I found it in a size close enough for me to not be overwhelmed by grading. I was happy to pay international postage and wait 4 weeks for delivery because 12 years ago, at the start of my student days, I knew a girl who had amazing bib-front trousers… and that’s how long I’ve been wanting a pair. I guess good things come to those who wait… and sew.

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Side

The Fit

As trousers go, these were very easy to fit for my shape but the fix was not immediately obvious. The toile turned out huge, as falling to the floor huge (I blamed 1970s ease). Once hoisted up, the crotch curve and crotch depth were a good fit – a relief as these are the hardest areas to fit in trousers and it’s somewhat of an iterative process. The front bib wasn’t overwhelming my frame so all that remained was way too much fabric the full length of the trousers. Easy fix? Sew up another 3cm in from the original seam lines right down the front leg and back leg seams (there’s four pattern pieces per leg compared to the usual two).

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Back

I marveled at what a difference losing 12cm of ease made! Now that the toile trousers were staying up on their own accord (pins where the buttons would be) I was able to see that a little curvature between the waist and hip at the side seams (the previously untouched seam) and a lengthening of the darts would lead to a pretty good fit.

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Slight Side

The Fabric and Notions

I made my first fabric purchase of the year, treating myself to some navy cotton drill from Calico Laine in the absence of anything of suitable weight and length in my stash. While I haven’t broken any of my self-imposed Stash Diet rules, I did feel a little disappointed with myself for tarnishing my unblemished record… but that only lasted till I started sewing. The fabric is lovely to sew with and presses well without a clapper (unlike some drills and gabardines I’ve used previously). Once I knew that I was going to love the end result all guilt was banished!

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Buttons

The navy buttons I found at Stitchery Do; perfect colour, perfect size, I’ll take eight please – you’ve got to get these things when you see them! I do enjoy visiting this shop… fabric, haberdashery and wool all beautifully presented in a quaint Grade II listed building.

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers  Inside

All other components were sourced from my stash: Navy thread, organza (more on that in a moment), navy twill tape and spotty bias binding (more on that to come too).


I’ve been reading a lot about underlining with silk organza (can you guess where this is going?) and decided to try it out on something not too risky using acquired stash dark blue/purple organza. I did a burn test but it was inconclusive as to the fiber content. I also tested it under my iron as I’d read that melting, even on a low heat setting, was another way to spot a cheap synthetic but it was very melt-resistant even at the hottest setting. So I’m not going to say ‘silk’ organza as I can’t be sure.

Organza underlining

After cutting out my main fabric, I laid these pattern pieces over the organza, pinned, cut and basted around the seam allowances (and other markings like darts and button hole positions) before removing the pins. If you know a quicker way then please enlighten me because I had four pattern pieces per leg so this was not a quick basting task. I wanted to do some fancy seam finish to enclose the edges but I couldn’t tame fraying organza so I just overlocked the drill and organza together. Nevertheless, I’m totally sold – this really is a ‘worth it in the end’ technique. It feels lovely to wear, not much creasing and it looks kinda fancy on the inside too.

Inside corner bias binding

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Inside 2

The trousers were sewing up so quickly that I took a detour into inside corner bias bindings. It would have been easy to finish this edge any number of easier ways (I even had my overlocker threaded up with navy) but I whipped up a few samples and came up with a workable and neat way to bind the inside corner with one continuous piece of binding and mitered corners.


In my opinion, wide leg trousers benefit from a deep hem to help them hang nicely. So I supersized the hem allowance on these bad boys. To hold the organza underlining and drill together, I overlocked the raw edges, attached navy twill tape then blind hemmed by hand.

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Hem

I desperately wanted to make these trousers long so I could wear my beloved red peep-toe wedge shoes (can be seen in here and here) but I decided to be sensible and hem them to wear with flats for work (damn Me Made May reflections on needing more work-wear!). So I’ll have to settle for red flats instead.Sailor Trouser Montage

The End Result

Can I use this section to just brag beam about my lovely new sailor trousers with a couple of extra but completely unnecessary photos?

Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Leg Front Simplicity 6407 Sailor Trousers Leg Back

Okay. I’m done.

So have you had a 12 year garment crush, sewed any inside bias bound corners, have organza underlining tips or made a sensible post-MMM’14 decision lately?


28 responses to “Chatty Sailor Trousers

  1. Oh, the inside is just as lovely as the outside! Can see why you love them so much. I’ve been thinking for a while now to use this type of closure on a skirt.

  2. I love them. I, too, have a bit of a crush on bib front trousers and you’ve done a fantastic job on fitting and finishing.

  3. After seeing these trousers, I may have developed a bib crush too! They look great and are a really flattering shape – love them/want them!

  4. They look great, I have made a similar pair and next time might make the legs a little narrower.

    • Thanks. Yes, I might do that for my next pair too… the wide legs don’t annoy me but it’s nice to change the shape a little when repeating the same pattern.

  5. They look fabulous – I’m very jealous!! I see a bit of a run on sailor trousers hitting the web very soon 😉

  6. Wow these look beautiful! Such a great fit too!

  7. These are super cute!! They look nicely done on the inside too.

  8. Love these, reminds me of a pair I made then I was about 17, only trousers I ever made! Great job!

  9. Such a fab fit and I love how you have styled your outfit with the breton top and red flats. What a lovely pair of trousers, so beautifully made – I can see these doing a mighty fine job in your MMM15 rotation ; )

    • They’re built to last in drill and they’ve already taken some of the pressure off my other Me Made trousers so your prediction looks like a good one.

  10. These are just beautiful! Love them!

  11. These are lovely! I think I need that pattern…

  12. Gorgeous and beautiful workmanship too 🙂

    • Thank you, it’s always nice to share the special details with fellow sewers… no one else quite appreciates the extra time that goes into making something look great as oppose to just passable.

  13. Great job! Very nicely done (and they look great with your red flats). Was the pattern easy to follow?

    • Thank you. Yes, surprisingly easy to follow – enough notches and dots, clear diagrams and written instructions. I made a toile but only for fit, it was obvious how these we’re going to come together just reading through the construction steps.

  14. These are beautiful! So inspiring!

  15. Pingback: Curiosity Jumpsuit | Clipped Curves

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