Merchant & Mills Workbook – the Strides

What a delightful pattern!
I had the best time with this project – all of it: muslin, fitting, sewing, tailoring, and, at last, wearing. I’ve always loved wearing trousers, and now I can make my own.


The pattern is marked for long pants and shorts. But I made this pair at a cropped length, with a finished out-seam of about 34″. My fabric is a cotton/linen blend, and I don’t want to worry over shrinkage in length. I cannot stand when long pants shrink above a useful length. And it’s surely a liability with linen and cotton.

BTW, I made my muslin in the shorts length, in inexpensive broadcloth. After writing all over them during fitting, I tossed them. But they had lots of potential for very nice-looking walking shorts.

This was a four-day project. As others have noted, these pants are not a quick sew – they’re fashioned after men’s trousers, with all the implied detailing.

On the front:  A generous zipper and fly (a 7″ zipper is used), two deep pleats, and slanted pockets.


I used 6 belt loops instead of 5 (I like the look and function of 2 loops at the center back). The pattern doesn’t have back pockets – one could add them easily, but I don’t put back pockets on my pants anyway. They bug me (except, of course, on jeans).


And back. And I’m very happy with the way the back fits.
I’m laughing now – I used two different belts in these pics, mostly because I wanted to see which one I like best. Since these are traditional trousers, the waistband is not over-wide. I fitted the belt loops to accept the widest belt I might use. It would be easy to redraft the waistband, if one wanted to use a wider belt. I think a wide belt would look nice on soft wool trousers, with a loafer-style shoe and a crisp white blouse. sigh. Sometimes I really miss having colder weather.
Sewing notes – I did a lot of tailoring, starting with the size 14:
– On the back, I added a second dart to each side. 
– I made the deepest part of back crotch curve a little more shallow, by about 1/4″, and lengthened it by 3/8″ at the inseam.
– On the front pieces, I slashed the top edge and added 1/2″ to the waistline  (basically moving the width of the additional back dart to the front). 
– The latter meant that I had to realign the front pleat to keep it centered over my leg. 
– I cut the waistband in two pieces and seamed them at CB. I like to do this so that any future change at the waist is easier to do. I also cut both pieces about 1″ longer than the pattern. And I recommend doing this. You’ll have more fabric at hand when you do the finishing around the zipper and the front fly.

After I attached the waistband, I could see that the pants were simply too high on me in the back and on the sides. They fit better when I hitched them up. So off came the waistband. I removed 1/2″ from most of the top edge of the pants, pocket to pocket, and reattached the waistband. This simple change gave me a much nicer fit. 

On the subject of fitting: I’m very happy with the way my britches fit. The front is nice and flat, the pockets don’t pull open, the waistband is perfect, and my back wrinkles are symmetrical! I decided that if I tailored them any more, they would start losing some of their character – they’re baggy trousers, after all.


I’m making more! Ciao – Coco

16 thoughts on “Merchant & Mills Workbook – the Strides

  1. Love, love, love these trousers! Love the look, the high waist and the wide legs. They look so comfortable. Your 'cooler weather outfit' imagery had me slightly wistful also. 😉 What do you think you will make next from the M&M workbook?


  2. Thanks, Linda. And you're right – when I started seeing it, I was really interested. But even the M&M site doesn't have many pics or much info on the patterns. It has helped to see more from other sewists.


  3. Ok, i must have this book now! I just love these and since we are basically the same size (that is when i regularly exercise ) i know what size to start with!!!!


  4. Oh, they look quite nice and I'm betting will be worn to rags. Those linen cotton blends will last years though and just get better with time, like us!


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