I’m a huge fan of a trouser and top outfit combination, but in the warmer, summer months, it can feel a bit too much sometimes to keep wearing jeans!
Luckily there are lots of great sewing patterns for trousers/pants and lovely fabrics that make for a great sewing project.
My top tip when choosing a fabric for summer trousers is to opt for natural fibers. This will allow them to be more breathable and comfortable to wear.
My next piece of advice when planning this type of project is to think about what you would like the finished garment to look like in terms of style and drape of the fabric. Do you want the fabric to be loose and swishy and move around? Or would you prefer more structure and shape?
Do you want something loose fitting with a wide leg? Or are you looking for something more tapered and fitted?
In this blog post and corresponding Youtube video (click below to watch), I have grouped the fabrics together by type, because with trouser patterns, you can make the same sewing pattern in several different fabrics and get a very different outcome.
From the patterns that I have specifically suggested, this list is not exhaustive and please see it as a starting point of ideas. There are so many different patterns available now, but the styles and suggestions here should give you a wide range of style options to start from.
This fabric is 100% linen and comes pre washed with enzymes. This tends to soften the fabric in a less harsh way that other fabric processing chemicals would do and is said to be more environmentally friendly.
It is a medium weight fabric and in comparison to the range of linens that we stock in the shop it is thicker than the light weight linen fabric and lighter than the ramie fabric. It has a textured slub finish.
This type of linen is great for trousers when you want more shape and more of the design to be held. So for example in a wider leg trouser, it will hold the shape of the wider leg and won’t move and drape like some other lighter weight fabrics. It can feel a bit more bulky on designs that have elastic all the way around the waistband, but works well for part elastic waistbands.
I’ve used this type of fabric to make the True Bias Emerson Pants/Trouers, The Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts/Trousers, the Merchant and Mills Eve trousers and the True Bias Lander Pants.
It would also be great for the Closet Core Pietra Pants and Named Patterns Aina Trousers.
Ramie fabric is similar to linen fabric but it is derived from the stem of nettle plants, also know as China grass. It is very absorbent, strong - even when wet, breathable and durable. It is also naturally antibacterial.
The core range of Ramie fabric that we stock has a subbed, textured surface that is more raised than linen fabric. It feels a bit thicker and heavier than 100% enzyme washed linen. It is overall a more structured fabric, but still not stiff.
It is opaque so does not need to be lined. As it is a more medium- heavier weight structure it works well for trousers where you want the shape or form to be maintained. Like the Enzymen linen listed above, it can feel a bit bulky on designs that have elastic all the way around the waistband, but works well for part elastic waistbands.
Ramie would work well with the True Bias Emerson Pants/Trousers or Lander Pants, The Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts/Trousers, the Merchant and Mills Eve trousers, Closet Core Pietra Pants or Jenny Trousers/Overalls and Named Patterns Aina Trousers.
Our core range of this type of fabric contains 75% viscose and 25% linen but overall the percentage combinations can vary when buying fabric with this fiber mix. This 75:25 split is just what our range of plains is. The fabric has the classic textured slub finish from the linen fibres, and the viscose fibres make it lighter weight and give it incredible drape and movement.
We do also have some printed viscose linen fabrics, which have varying ratios of viscose to linen. The main thing to bear in mind is the more viscose they have, more more floppy and drapey with will be, and the more linen they have, the more structure and shape they will have.
Trousers made with this fabric will swish and move around a lot. As it’s lighter in weight than the Enzyme Linen and Ramie fabrics, it works well for waistbands that are all elastic or majority elastic.
You can use most of the same patterns listed above for the heavier weight fabrics, it’s just worth knowing and understanding that it will give a very different look as the fabric hangs in a different way.
I’ve used this fabric to make the Friday pattern Company Saguaro Trousers and the True Bias Dani Trousers. It would also work well for True Bias Emerson Pants/Trousers, The Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts/Trousers, the Merchant and Mills Eve trousers, Closet Core Pietra Pants, Megan Nielsen Opal Trousers, Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes, Merchant and Mills 101 trouser and the Paper Theory Miller Trousers.
Our Sorona Linen is a mix of various fibres. The composition is made up of 45% linen, 22% Viscose, 18% Sorona and 15% Cotton.Sorona is a semi man made fibre that is 37% plant based and uses 30% less energy and emits 50% less GHG (greenhouse gas) as compared to the production of nylon from non-renewable resources. It is unique in that the fibre offers excellent stretch and recovery without the need for spandex or elastane.
It is more resistant to creases, exceptionally soft, lightweight, breathable, fast-drying and UV & chlorine resistant. You can read more about it on the Sorona website https://sorona.com/apparelThe overall finish on this fabric is still textured like 100% linen, but less so as it’s mixed with other fibres. It is also more tightly woven, but still feels more lightweight than our enzyme washed linen.As it contains some viscose fibres, it means the fabric is more fluid and drapes more.It is really versatile, doesn't need to be lined. It doesn’t have as much drape and movement as the viscose linen (as that fabric has a higher viscose content) but it will drape and move more than the Enzyme Linen and Ramie fabrics.
I’ve used it to make the Merchant and Mills Eve Trousers and the Paper Theory Jumpsuit before - so it works nicely with a wider leg design.
It would also be suitable for all of the patterns in the viscose linen section, just bear in mind it will hold its shape and structure a tad more.
This type of woven cotton with a little bit of elastane/spandex give a comfortable fabric with a bit of give/stretch and works well for any trousers that are a bit more fitted. It sometimes has a twill weave, which gives those diagonal textured lines to the fabric. Or it might have a more ‘sateen’ finish, which makes it look almost a little bit shiny as it tends to reflect the light more.
It can also be used to make looser styles but it will hold it’s shape and structure a lot more than the linen type fabrics. For for more drama, structure, shape and form, you can combine this fabric with the fuller, wider leg styles.
For a more fitted/tailored look, the type of fabric works will with styles like the Closet Core Sasha Trousers or the Avid Seamstress City Trousers. They have a bit of negative ease around the waist/hips, which makes them more fitted. You could also use them with patterns such as the Closet Core Pietra or even the Merchant and Mills Eve. Just bear in mind that the looser shape of those designs will be supported more with this slightly stiffer fabric.
Tencel actually refers to the brand name Tencel™, of Austrian company Lenzing AG. Tencel produce a wide range of fabrics but are most well known for their fabrics made from lyocell fibres. As a result, Tencel and lyocell are often used interchangeably, similarly to how Hoover and vacuum are used interchangeably here in the UK. I’ve used the name tencel in this blog as this is how it’s so often referred to, but when used like this tencel usually refers to lyocell fibres produced under the Tencel™ brand name. You can find out more about Tencel™ Lyocell in this link.Tencel fibres are often produced from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees, which are quick growing and need minimal pesticides. The fibres are extracted using a unique closed loop system which recovers and reuses the solvents used, minimising the environmental impact of production when compared to traditional viscose production methods. Less energy and water are also used in production.
Fabrics made from tencel lyocell fibres behave in a similar way to viscose and rayon fabrics. They have a silky drape, are breathable and feel comfortable to wear. Tencel fabrics are durable with good colour retention and tend to have a slight sheen or lustre to them. Tencel lyocell is also a very absorbent fabric, being 50% more absorbent than cotton.Trousers made with Tencel fabric will move and swish around due to the high amount of floppiness/drape they have. I have used this style of fabric to make the Sew House Seven Burnside bibs before, which have a wide leg style and it worked well.
Our range of smooth drape Tencel Twill would also work well for these patterns: Friday pattern Company Saguaro Trousers, True Bias Dani Trousers, True Bias Emerson Pants/Trousers, The Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts/Trousers, the Merchant and Mills Eve trousers, Closet Core Pietra Pants, Megan Nielsen Opal Trousers, Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes, Merchant and Mills 101 trouser and the Paper Theory Miller Trousers.
For light and breezy trousers with a fancy pattern, you can use a printed viscose fabric. Viscose twills or viscose crepe weaves tend to be a little bit thicker or heavier so can feel like you have a bit more coverage for trousers. Having said that, as long as they fabric isn’t sheer or you feel like it’s a bit too ‘see through’ then you can use plain weave viscoses as well. It’d suggest sticking to darker colours for the latter as they tend to be less see through.
As viscose fabric is very light weight, with lots of drape, any trousers make from this fabric will swish and move around a lot. They are great for waistbands with elastic as as the fabric bunches up with the elastic, they won’t feel bulky at all.
The Friday Pattern Company Saguaro Pants/Trousers, Megan Nielsen Opal Trousers, Paper Theory Miller Trousers and the Merchant and Mills 101 trousers would all work well and give a lovely light weight, summery and breezy pair of trousers. Picture below is a pair of Tilly and the Buttons Marigold Trousers (pattern now available as a PDF - follow this link) that I made a few years ago in a viscose crepe fabric to give you an idea of how trousers made in this type of fabric will look.
I hope these suggestions inspires your next sewing project!
Get sewing for summer with Laurens tips and inspiration!
Get ideas and inspiration for how to sew with this fabric and what to make!