Around a decade ago I started on The Quest for Perfect Fit in Pants, a pursuit which seems to occupy many if not most women who sew. The non-gaping waistband, the smooth front, the side seam perfectly perpendicular to the floor, and most especially, no wrinkles or excess fabric under the derriere. On this quest, I collected every scrap of information about pants I could find. Long before Threads produced their oh-so-useful archive on DVD, I hunted through every copy I owned for pants articles, including in the Fit section, then scanned, printed and put them in a notebook. I added some Sandra Betzina articles from Vogue Pattern Magazine. And notes from sessions, especially those of Peggy Sagers, that I attended at Martha's Sewing Market. I found a great out-of-print book, Pants fit for your figure by Louise Bame. I bought David Coffin's CD on Making Pants. I tried out the Vogue 1003 pants fitting shell. And I copied useful tips and tutorials from the Web. What I have learned is that there is a lot of information – sometimes confusing, sometimes conflicting – out there. And, also, husbands are no help when it comes to pinning out wrinkles or other fitting niceties.
Eventually, I developed some pants patterns that, while not perfect, were satisfactory to me. I've made Loes Hines European Pant, Claire Shaeffer's V7881contoured waist pant, Sandra Betzina's V7608 jeans among others. But by now most are frankenpatterns: the pocket from this, the leg from that, the crotch curve worked and reworked. So after coming across the Palmer/Pletsch website, I decided to start from scratch with McCall's 6361 contoured-waist, slant-pocket pants, just to see if maybe I had tweaked and amended a bit too much. I was so pleased with the result that it is now my go-to basic pants pattern. You can read a more complete assessment on Pattern Review which mentions the few alternations I made in the pattern. I followed up these full length pants with a cropped summertime version.
One refinement I add to all my pocketed pants you can see here. I took this from Cecelia Podolak's Fearless Pants #105. Both pocket pieces are made from pocketing. (Usually I would use Silesia or a tightly woven muslin, but I had this leftover lining fabric, so I used it instead.) Then the fashion fabric is sewn to the pocketing pieces. You can't see that on these photos as the fashion fabric is naturally on the right side of the pants. The two pocketing pieces can be sewn together normally up to the point where the part that extends into the fly begins. Then I turn the raw edge of the bottom pocket piece under one-fourth inch and stitch it to the top pocket piece, closing the pocket. Normally I would just overcast the raw edges, but I chose to encase them in a self bias-binding here. There are two advantages to this pocket technique. One is that with the pocketing extending into the fly, the pocket cannot bag and droop, plus the entire front is stabilized. And secondly, using pocketing will make both a stronger and a less bulky pocket.
On casual pants, I also make flat-felled seams on the crotch and inseams to add sturdiness.
If anyone would like a copy of my fly and pocket pattern pieces, I'll be happy to send a PDF file that could be scaled and adapted, with more complete instructions.