January 24, 2020 6:11 pm

Simple Pants

by Duchess Leah Kasmira of Natterhelm

A lot of medieval costumes, especially for men, call for pants. Unfortunately most of today's pants do not look like the garb of the Middle Ages. In 1971 of the common era, I found two books which have been of immeasureable help to me in costuming for the S.C.A. They are: Sewing Without a Pattern by Phyllis Ficarotta. The pattern for these pants is taken from the first book.

These pants are very simple to make and do not require much fabric. Ms. Kleeberg suggests that you start out with 3 yards of either 45"- or 54"-wide material. There will probably be a good bit left over. The pants call for an elastic waistline, but Koris prefers a drawstring. That's easily arranged, too. They will be the same width at the waist and hip and will hang straight and wide, like pajama pants.

  1. Find and note the measurements of the person for whom the pants are being made. Those will be: the hip at the widest, thigh at the widest and crotch length (this last one is crucial). To get the crotch length either a) sit on a table, chair or other strudy flat surface and,using a tape, measure down the side of the body from the point where the top of the pants will be to the chair edge, bending the tape around the body, or b) using a tape, meassure around the middle of the body from the point where the top of the pants will be in front to where the top will be in the back, passing the tape between the legs. The tape should remain more loose than taut when making with of these measurements.
  2. Fold the fabric in half, crosswise. Then fold it again, lengthwise (you now have 4 layers of fabric).
  3. Divide your hip measure ment in half and add to that 1" of "wiggle" room (i.e. 36" divided by 2 = 18" + 1" = 19"). Now divide this figure by 2 and mark the spot on the top of the fabric where this measurement occurs, measuring from the folded edge out. Measure about 2" - 3" down from this point (for top hem, drawstring casing, whatever) and draw a line. At right angles to this line, at the end, draw a line going down the fabric about 15" long. This will denote the center front and back seams. Measure out from the top line about 1/2" and draw a line parallel to the 15" line. This will be the cutting line.
  4. Find your crotch measurement on the 15" vertical line and add 1" for ease. Divide the thigh measurement by 2. Mark this measurement on the crotch line and draw a horizontal line connecting the two points. Draw a curve to connect the right angle, as in the illustration.
  5. Measure from the crotch line to where you will want the pants to end, then add 2" - 3" for a hem. Then draw a line on either edge parallel to the line you just drew, about 1/2" to the outside, for a cutting line. Do this all the way up to the top. Cut the pattern along these outside lines.
  6. Sew up the two center seams and press them open. Now turn fabric so that the outside edges you drew are on the outside and facing each other. Spread the legs apart. Pin down the deams and sew them up. Hem top and bottom (don't forget the elastic or drawstring) and they will be ready to wear.

For extra fullness, add a gusset to the center crotch. Not everyone likes this, as it takes away from a smooth, tailored line, but for fighting pants it's pretty necessary. Don't feel that you must make these pants as per the pattern either. The legs can be long, short, full, narrow, or some of each. The waist can be pleated or even tailored, and there is no restriction on how high it should come up (as for dancing pants).