In Sewing

Gertie’s New Pattern for Better Pants

I’ve had my eye on this pattern since it was released back in February and was expecting to see a multitude of blog posts about it shortly after it became available. …but I haven’t seen any. Sallie just wrote about another particularly unpopular sewing pattern that she happens to love, and it made me wonder. What makes a potentially popular sewing pattern so unpopular? Butterick 5895 looks super cute on the pattern cover, does it not? I think so! So why is no one sewing it?


I will admit the “Big Four” sewing companies always make me hesitate, especially with fitted styles, because they’re notorious for adding absurd amounts of ease into their patterns. Sadly, the B5895 pattern is no exception. If I followed the size chart on the back of the pattern I would have cut out a size between 8 and 10. Here’s a lesson for you right now: don’t ever directly follow the (explicit deleted) size charts on Big Four sewing patterns!! Why? Because after consulting the finished measurements and wearing ease printed on the actual pattern tissue, I ended up cutting out a size 4 and they’re still roomy!! That’s nearly FOUR sizes down! (I’m shaking my head at you right now, Butterick!)


My suspicion is people attempt to sew patterns like this, end up swimming inside all the extra ease, think they need to do a million complicated fitting adjustments because they swear they cut the right size, and end up just chucking the pants in the corner hoping they’ll spontaneously combust and disappear. I bet that’s why no one has blogged about these pants yet.

I was fully expecting my experience with these pants to be similar to what I just described, but much to my surprise, they turned out SUPER cute!!





Since I attempted these pants as more of a muslin than anything else, I didn’t spend a lot of time finishing the inside seams as well as I could have. Now I wish I did because I really like the way they turned out! That’s the problem with muslins, I think. Sometimes they just end up being really awesome on the outside, but left really unfortunately un-awesome on the inside. I did add a print fabric for the pocket lining which I rather like.


These pants would look better if I washed them before taking photos to tighten them up a bit more, but they’re so comfortable I couldn’t help but wear them all day yesterday and today! (Stretch cotton sateen is where it’s at!) They don’t look half bad from the back though, even after wearing them all day long.


I’m definitely going to try to make another pair (with a few small adjustments) one of these days, especially after seeing this episode of Call The Midwife. I’m kind of obsessed with Nurse Franklin’s look here. Can you tell? 😉



Have you made these pants before? I’d love to see your version!





  • annastacia

    perfect. I have been faffing (procrastinating) about with this pattern, should I, shouldn’t I. I also wondered if it would fit snug. I think I’ll cut smaller and I selected some lovely summery cotton sateen so I am super excited after finding this blog.

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  • Irene

    i just opened the pattern and thought: well let me just measure the patternpieces at the hip…i need to cut a size 20, (my hip are 44″ ), but my tapemeasure tells me i will end up with a pair of pants with 47,5″ hip…that’s about 3,5″ too wide…i was really in doubt and thought of googling this pattern…and you just saved my day…i have to cut a size 16…..but…did i measure correctly…or is the pattern right?? I have gertie’s book and all her patterns i can cut in size 10…they work…(sometimes maybe a little waist adjustment), and it’s a gertie pattern…aargghhh, so…i am not cutting..i am going to trace size 16, then cut that, so i will not screw up my original pattern and i have some leftover fabric..(i hate muslins) and i will just go with it.., if that one works, i will use my really nice stretch jeans fabric…anyway…size 16 it will be…wish me luck 🙂

    • Rochelle

      I’m happy you found this post to be useful for you. A muslin/pattern tracing is really the best approach in this situation (I hate it too!). Best of luck 🙂

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  • I have this pattern, but let’s face it… my sewing is never gonna be as fast as I’d like it to be, and that queue always fills up so fast haha! I do declare, you got a pretty marvelous fit right out of the packet, which I know I would NOT – I am in fact tackling a couple pants patterns this summer though so perhaps I will tackle these once I’ve whet my appetite a bit and worked out what my main fit issues are ^__^

  • Thank you for reviewing this! I convinced my husband to buy this pattern and some fabric for me for Mother’s Day (after about a year of “Eeh, I don’t know…I like it, but…pants…”), and was about to start cutting the fabric, but wasn’t sure about the size the envelope said I was (12 top, 10 bottom), especially after looking at the finished measurements.

  • ohh… i think i hit submit and then left before the comment posted.. anyways a trick that my teacher taught me was to go to the big 4’s ease chart page and subtract the ease number to the measurements of what should be your size, which is like a size or two and go with that. so far it hasn’t failed me

  • i came across this post via a google search, so im late to the party. a trick a teacher taught me was to go to the Big 4’s ease chart on their website, then subtract that number from the measurement, which turns out to be a few sizes smaller, and cut that size. So far it’s worked like a charm for me

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  • And can I add, I LOVE the Penny Loafers! Go Bass Weejuns! Perfect with the outfit! Great post, Thank you!

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  • Oh, those look swell on you! I would like to make these before the summer gets away from me, but I’m not too keen on how I look in pants.

  • Ooh! I’ve been dying for someone to make these up so I can decide whether to get this pattern or not. After seeing yours I am definitely going to buy it, they’re gorgeous. Still scared of fitting but I just need to bite the bullet and give it a go.

  • Sachiko

    Wow, I have been waiting for your blog post for months. These look great. Thanks for the tip about sizing. I’m usually between a 10-12 (but closer to 10) so I will probably go with a six. Thanks!

  • I bought the pattern and have it in my “to-do” stack but something keeps me from making them – kinda glad I waited so I know about the sizing! They are super cute on you 🙂 I freaking LOVE stretch sateen, I’d say it’s my favorite. It’s super easy to work with and usually looks more expensive than it is AND it stretches 🙂

  • You are SO right! Where are the floods of pics of these pants?? They totally look like winners to me! And that sort of slim, cigarette pant just NEVER goes out of style! Love your red version. I bet we’ll start to see more pop up after your post! I also never follow the sizes on big 4 patterns – they are just utterly ridiculous!! Totally measure the pattern pieces or go by the finished garment measurements!

  • I’ve been wondering about these trousers, because you’re right, they look really cute on the envelope but I’ve not seen them anywhere! My sewing mojo has completely left me at the moment, but I think I may add these to the list for when it graces me with its presence again! Loving the red cotton-satine, they look absolutely lovely on you!

  • Valerie

    I just ordered this pattern yesterday! But I’m a little terrified the pattern is going to be too big now. My measurements put me in a 14, and I ordered the larger pattern sizes. I’ve never actually sewn ‘Big 4’ patterns before, but finally took advantage of the online sale. The pattern was only $1.50, so it’s not a big loss, it’ll just be a bit disheartening.

    I think a big motivator for me in not buying patterns from these brands (this is my first time and they’re not even here yet!) is that I hear the sizing is sometimes (always?) kind of crazy and the fact that ALL sizes aren’t included. I’m usually just into the larger sizes, but I have super-narrow shoulders, and if the pattern includes way too much ease, I’m going to have to just guess at alterations instead of being able to cut a smaller size.

  • You have the fit down perfectly! I’m so jealous! I have this pattern, but what keeps me from sewing it is fear of fitting. It can be so discouraging making so many alterations and not have them work out 🙁

  • Your trousers are gorgeous, and I love the colour.

  • Wow, just wow! Those pants are just amazingly gorgeous on you! I so wish I suited cigarette pants! And I know what you mean about Trixie’s wardrobe in Call the Midwife, I love it too 🙂

  • I swear nobody in blogland can rock a pair of high waisted cropped pants quite like you. I would look horrific in these, yet you have me wanting to make a pair. Pure magic!! Also, not sure if I mentioned this yet but I love your new hair cut/color. Major cutie!

  • Oh, Rochelle, those pants are perfect!! I’m not so sure that those pants would look good on me because I’m a bit shortwaisted and that’s why I haven’t bought that pattern. I have a vintage pattern that is very similar, also.

  • Yay this is such a handy post! I bought this pattern months ago and haven’t got around to making the trousers (pants!) yet. I have recently made Clovers and so I wanted to try these with non stretch fabric as it’s easier to come by here in the UK. Now I know that they are pretty roomy I have a better idea of where to begin so thanks!
    These look soooo good on you in the red!- I am sure Trixie would approve! 😉 I love that programme!- the clothes, the sets and especially Trixie’s character!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Wow! These pants are great! I’m not sure they’d suit me but they look fab on you 🙂

  • Loving these on you! I honestly didn’t really like the version on the envelope cover, either, but they are too cute on you!

  • How are you liking the zip in the back? I changed mine to a side zip because I was worried it wouldn’t sit right on my rear.

    • Rochelle

      I actually thought of switching the zipper to the side as well, but figure I should stay true to the pattern the first time around. I did a lapped zipper instead of centered and I don’t find it to sit weird or look off kilter. I suppose it’s all personal preference.

      • That’s good to hear. Thank you, Rochelle! Yours look fantastic!

  • I also have this pattern and I love both the pants and top. I think I’ll give it a go (muslin first) and see if they turn out as awesome as yours!

  • Cindy

    I made this pattern up recently but yours are much cuter. I’m happy with them overall. I ended up extending the length to make them full length and they had more of a flare than I expected. I love your red pants!

  • I am so happy that someone has finally blogged about this. And to the fact that despite what the package reads, this pattern is so roomy. I have issues with fitting items in my hip area, but this gives me hope. I don’t mind re-cutting to get the right fit. I was more worried I’d have to draft a little extra hip room.


    The Fictionista

  • These pants are cute and I always wondered why I never seen them made up by anyone. I just gave away that pattern on my blog. They look like a fairly easy make too. I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen you in pants! Looking good!

  • I have this pattern and have been meaning to make it for ages. I’m not sure why I haven’t. I think the tops would be perfect with all my high waisted skirts. I think maybe it seems more like a summer pattern to me so it’s been pushed to the back of my sewing list. Once the weather warms up again I think I’ll give it a go.

  • Wow and double wow, honey, these pants are so fabulously awesome! The vibrant hue, the flattering cut, the perfect hem length, I can’t imagine why they’re not more popular either – perhaps its because they need to use some of these pics to help promote it. Who wouldn’t want to make a pair after seeing how amazing you look in yours?!

    ♥ Jessica

  • I have this pattern too, but I admit I bought it on an impulse and have to squeeze it somewhere in my summer sewing schedule…which isn’t going to be easy!
    Your thoughts on the sizing in the “Big 4” patterns remind me of the first dress I ever made (Simplicity 7275) which happened to be far too big for me (that was not for lack of muslining, but it was my first dress and I had no idea of what pattern tweaking was about at the time!)…I ended up angrily and hastily taking the sides seams in and got something that was kind of wearable in the end…
    But anyway, I’ll remember this whenever I tackle B5895!

  • Actually, I’ve made this pattern twice now- I love it, and I’m wearing one pair right now, actually! I haven’t had any issues with excess ease at all, but I’m pear shaped and carry most of my weight around my hips and thighs. I think I cut to finished measurements too- I never bother reading the pattern sizes, there’s just no point. I had to take in the back a little for my sway back and and tweak the shape of the front crotch curve, but nothing major. I also have fabric lined up for the blouse which I’m hoping to make soon while the good weather lasts. My first version was a wearable muslin fromm stretch cotton sateen here

    My second pair, in denim, after some fitting tweaks:

    I’ve seriously lived in the denim ones since I made them. I think I need more! And a red pair is definitely on the list 😀

  • Cute outfit! One of my biggest sewing revelations so far was the measure the pattern pieces before selecting my size. As you said, the Big 4 companies include a LOT of ease. The first pattern I attempted to make was a McCall’s skirt and I had to idea about ease. Yep, you can imagine the results.

  • Yay! I’ve been waiting for someone to make these! I made the tie shirt which is super cute, but was a bit worried about the pants, I admit. They look incredible on you, although that may be partly down to your lovely figure. Maybe I’ll brave some in a cheap fabric sometime…

  • Seriously….adorable!!! I just LOVE them! I might just have to go out and buy that pattern tomorrow!

  • Great pants and great fit! I love the colour also 🙂

    Sadly I have similar experiences with modern home sewing patterns. I guess that’s what happens when the pattern is standardized to “fit” everyone – they end up fitting no one 😀

  • Yeah it’s funny how this happens with patterns. I think maybe it’s because there’s a bit of a ‘Big 4 snob’ in a lot of us indie pattern-loving bloggers. The style is pretty similar (although I have to say I prefer this pattern) to the Clovers and I guess a lot of people would rather support a small business. Maybe. Who knows?

    Anyway, you have got yourself an absolute knockout pair of pants there! I’m in the process of drafting my own pants block so hopefully I won’t ever need to by a pants pattern again…. but just in case I do, I’m storing these ones as a mental note 🙂 So cute!!

  • Wow, these look AMAZING on you! I’ve been thinking about trying a pair of trousers and these have now shot to the top of the list. I hope my muslin is as successful 🙂

  • Love, and I mean LOVE these on you.

    • I haver just posted your creation to my page. Too damn cute.

  • Gorgeous!!! I need some pants like this in my life. 😉 I too am loving Trixie’s style. Thank you for posting the pictures of her. 🙂

  • I thought the pattern was cute, but I couldn’t see myself actually making either piece. Your pants look great, though! I may have to rethink it… I’m kind of afraid of fitting non-Simplicity patterns though. I have sewn a number of Simplicity patterns and have never once had a problem with excess ease. Everyone seems to lump Simplicity with MBV, though, and it makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong!

  • Absolutely gorgeous! You look better in these pants than the picture of the model. 🙂

  • I made these as a muslin as well, at the end of Me Made May. I, too, had the same fitting issues. I think I cut out a 16/18 and ended up with a 10/12 !?@! I also had to take about an inch off the top of the waist, dip down the center back and bring up the crotch for the same “fitting issues” Ms. Zilredloh mentioned. I AM happy with them…now…and have plans to make at least one more pair for the summer despite what my ex husband said (‘they make you look short and dumpy’) but what does he know? I’m going to try the shirt as well, I remember Gertie mentioning that the model on the pattern envelope must be really tall because she did NOT mean for the waist area to show. And since gingham seems to be super hot right now I may do a blue or black version if and when Joann’s restocks ; ) Your version is GORGEOUS and yes, stretch sateen is the BEST. I’ve never seen “Call the Midwife” so I’ll check it out. That look is glorious.

  • Ariana

    I just did a muslin of this top and cut the size 6 but I need to make adjustments for a larger bust. I am a 32D so I always end up resizing shirts that don’t stretch. I am getting ready to do the pants and I am planning for that super tight cigarette pant 50s look. Glad to know about the sizing on the pants, I figured I might need to cut way down. Your pants look amazing, love the color. I am love a stretch cotton sateen, such a great

  • You’ve totally sold me on getting this pattern and making these pants – Pronto! You look tres adorable as well.

  • We’re on the exact same page – I JUST bought the pattern today. I saw someone make them last week (I can’t remember who) and I was like, oh yeah! Those guys! I just scored 25 yards of vintage prints and one in particular was calling out to be made in high waist clamdiggers. And you all sassy in red just confirmed my good judgement! Thanks for the heads up on the sizes.

  • Veronica lewis

    So you are a size 8 but cut for a size 4? just trying to get an idea of what size I am going to cut out…Thanks

    • Rochelle

      Based on the sizes on the back of the envelope I’m a size 8 waist and a size 10 hip. But ignore all that and look at the finished measurement sizes listed near the hip and waist on the actual pattern piece (it will be shown next to a circle with a cross through it). Since I used a stretchy fabric, I left myself very little “wearing ease” and just cut the size closest to my actual measurements, which turned out to be the size 4 with a finished garment measurement of 35 inches at the hip, leaving me about a half inch of wiggle room. If you’re using a non stretchy fabric, you’ll want to give yourself a bit more ease. Hope this helps! 🙂

      • Veronica lewis

        It does, thank you so much Rochelle, thank you for your time explaining. Have a great day, Happy Crafting!


  • Veronica lewis

    WOW!!!!! STEAMING HOT GIRL!!! I have the pattern too and SOOOOO going to make them now, only hoping mine do for me as they have done for you…..awesome!!!!!! thanks for sharing, Happy Crafting….. Veronica

  • I haven’t made these yet, but I’m planning on it! I have the fabric and everything, and I hope to make a pair of these and a pair of clovers and seeing which fits better.

  • These look incredible on you! I wish my muslins turned out that well 🙂

  • spinneretta

    I have the pattern. I have the fabric. I’m just behind on my makes (that and afraid it will make my tummy look too big LOL). Since yours are the second set I have seen that looked awesome in the last week, I have bumped them WAY up the list.
    And yes, I love Trixie’s look in CTM too 🙂 (Unlike you though, I have neither her hair OR her figure so I’ll have to make do LOL)

  • Lisa

    You look smokin! Gorgeous hair, lovely trousers.

  • Gorgeous! These pants are really flattering on you. You might need to apply to be an extra on Call the Midwife.

  • You look so adorable, I can’t stand it! Trixie Franklin, be warned! Thank you for noting that they are huge and should be cut down. Jeez, I find that modern Big Four pants patterns are big (so is Eva Dress 3322), but vintage ones seem to be spot on.

  • Oh my gosh how CUTE do you look!! They are perfect for your figure 🙂 You’ve got a bit of a Jackie O vibe going on too.
    You know I avoid modern patterns for this reason – all that ease! I just can’t be bothered with crazy fit changes and sizing down 100 sizes in the hope the thing will fit – Better to just buy a vintage pattern in my size and know it will work straight out of the envelope. Well – that works for me!

  • I have this pattern but I’ve been too scared of making pants to make them yet! I am currently making a pair of Sewaholic Tofinos to ease myself back into the frame of pants construction. (My first ever garment, sewn when I was in high school was a pair of shorts).

    I have such issues with big 4 sizing as well so at the moment I’ve been sticking with indie patterns. I’ve made three garments from big 4 patterns and all have major fitting issues, the first two as a result of me cutting too big (even after measuring myself, then using the garments measurements and cutting a smaller size) and the third too small (after me using the garment measurments strictly and then discovering that the actual garment came out smaller than the measurments provided – ACK).

    I’m scarred, can you tell?

    • Rochelle

      I feel your pain! I’ve been sewing almost exclusively vintage patterns lately because they always have just the right amount of ease and are true to size. What happened to patterns between now and then, huh? Oh well. PJ pants are a great way to get into the world of pant sewing. They’re really not that hard. You’ll see 🙂

  • I saw one amazing version of these pants on We Sew Retro, and I know LauraMae (Lilacs & Lace) has made the top. Let me see if I can find the pants because they made me want to make them…

    Argh, not finding them. But they were amazing. I DID see the uber popular Mimi G made them, though.

  • You look great in this pants. The pants turned out wonderful!
    Well… I always look at the finished garments measurements… this is always my guidance for patterns. The great 4 and others – follow just general ease rules… it is up to you, your preferences, how you cut the pattern.
    I drafted pants myself and still have to make some alterations – well, different fabric different ease …

  • Wowzers! They are some great trousers! I think that pattern might just be added to my ‘to make’ list! I bet you see a whole lot more of this pattern popping up on blogs when people have seen yours!

  • So so so cute, I love them!! They really look awesome on you. I wonder if some people have shied away because I know I’ve read some fitting horror stories with the Colette Clovers, and they look somewhat similar? Totally guessing though. 🙂

  • I agree with Jill, above. The pattern pics left me me cold – cute, but not for me – but yours have me re-thinking that. My main issue, really, is that I have never made pants, and am scared to do so (although I desperately want to do so) and I feel like I probably need an Indie pattern style hand-holding through the whole experience. I don’t quite think Butterick will provide that, though!

  • Very very nice Rochelle! I think I have seen one or two versions of the pattern on the blogershpere before but can’t remember where. I am however surprised it hasn’t been more. Your capris are super cute. Red is a great choice of colour and I like the way you accessoriesed the whole outfit. I think I need to buy it now.

  • Ok, good to know! These look really cute on you. I do prefer a fly-front pant, but these look simpler to make for sure. I’m also contemplating using the Colette shorts pattern and just lengthening them since I’ve already used the pattern before.

  • I find my body looks out of proportion when I wear high-waisted pants, but wow! You look amazing in them! Love the colour too!

  • I love this pattern! The top and capris are favorites of mine, but I’ve lost my capris that I made! ARGH. That’s mainly why I haven’t blogged about them yet. I love your version!

  • heh Your post is sooo timely! I’m working on this pattern right now, even the cropped tie blouse to match.

    I knew that there would be too much ease in these capris so I did cut to the finished measurements not what’s on the envelope. But sadly, I have some mega fitting to do to make these work. I have *dare-I-say-it* crotch length issues to deal with and a second muslin to make before I can start on the real deal.

    Yours look so cute and perfect! I can’t wait to fit mine correctly, as they do look like the perfect wardrobe staple.

    Will you be making the cute little top to match?

    • Rochelle

      Ohh I can’t wait to see yours! Hope you get your “dare I say it” depth worked out 😉 I have a cute flamingo print fabric that I wanted to make a matching top out of, but I got too excited to blog about these on their own! The top will have to come later 😉

  • Loving your hair! Very Nurse Franklin!

  • I’ll be honest: these pants did nothing for me when I saw the pics online. But I LOVE your version. I’m suddenly re-thinking Butterick 5895. I think I’ve found my 4th of July picnic outfit.