Dawn's Costume Guide

Fitted Breeches

These instructions will help you create a more fitted pair of knee breeches, such as might be worn with a costume of the early 1600’s.

Suggested fabrics: velvet makes wonderful breeches for the gentleman, but frays like mad when you work with it. Avoid the rubber-backed kind, which doesn’t fray, but which will boil your gentleman alive in any weather. If the back side of the velvet is rough, you’ll need to make a lining from a softer cotton or satin fabric (make the same pattern as for the outer shell, but inside out). Other good fabrics are heavy cottons such as drapery weight fabrics, in stripes or solids. Brocades are also nice, but fray like velvets.

Take the following measurements:

Waistline ____ x2 = ____.
Hip ____.
Diameter of Thigh just below crotch ____.
Crotch (front of waistband to back of waistband) ____.
Length (waist to below knee or ankle) ____ +4" hem = ____.

This pattern makes up very similarly to the drawstring pants pattern, with some of the detail finishing from the shirt instructions. If you have made both of those with success, this will be easy for you. Some general sewing skill is assumed, including pleating, hemming, and gathering into a waistband.

In addition to the pants you’ll need to cut a waistband and knee cuffs. Make your waistband the length of your waist, plus two or three inches for overlap, and the knee cuffs should be the circumference of your calf just below the knee, plus two or three inches. Overall you'll probably want about 2.5 to 3 yards of 45" fabric.

Assemble pants as per drawstring instructions. Leave the front crotch seam open 6-8 inches. Be prepared to enlarge this a little so you can get them on.

Gather or pleat the waistline into the waistband, allowing two inches at one end for a flap to overlap. If you are making a lining, gather it in place, too. Use a pair of large snaps or eye hooks for closures. You will also want to examine the front "fly" opening and add two or three sets of hooks or snaps to keep that closed. When the waistband and front seam are sized to suit you, finish the edges of the opening with a narrow folded over hem. If you made a lining, fold over the seam allowance of your outer fabric, and sew it to the folded over edge of your lining fabric, using a whipstitch or blind hem to make the seam.

At the bottom of each leg make a small slit opposite the inner leg seam. 3-4 inches should be fine. Cover the raw edges of the slit with bias tape (see Shirt instructions for sleeve cuffs). If you are using a lining, turn the raw edges of each under about ¼ inch and whipstitch them together to finish the slit.

Gather the pant leg into the cuff, leaving 1-2 inches of cuff for overlap. If you are using a lining, gather the lining into the cuff as well. As with the waistband, use large snaps or eye hooks to close.

All text and artwork copyright 1990 - 2000 D. Duperault. NOTHING on this site may be reproduced or distributed by any means without my written permission. This information offered in good faith, and worth only what you paid for it.
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