Vintage overview: Italian & French sailor trousers

As I wrote on my post about redoing a vintage kimono, I love shopping for vintage clothes, supposedly for research purposes and actually for wearing them myself.

This post was originally written after I decided it was about time I adjusted two pairs of sailor trousers - one Italian, and one French - bought in August 2016, at Cenci Vintage London (hint: don't be fooled by the number of followers on their Instagram, major Fashion houses send their teams there twice a year for research!).

Consider this as an introduction to women's tailored trousers with:

  • fitting pictures comparing different styles - straight leg, slim fit and wide leg, plus a bonus long semi-flared skirt;
  • overview of the patterns;
  • construction details and closeup pictures;
  • flat sketches (Front and Back view) done on Adobe Illustrator.

1. Italian sailor trousers

Italian sailor trousers
Classic tailored trousers
Italian sailor trousers on top, compared to slim tailored trousers (vintage Yves Saint Laurent, 2000?)

The fit: Straight leg, sits on my natural waist line.

These trousers had some excess near the crotch, both on the Front and on the Back, that was bothering me. It wasn't my intention from the beginning to make them so fitted on my the top but I'm happy with it.

The inseam shows a little on the Front, which is not a problem per se - jeans are usually like this. It bothers me a little bit so I moved it 1 cm towards the Back.

There's a nice old school detail on the Back in case the trousers need adjusting. I don't need any more adjustment but I will change the drawstring once I find something I like.

Italian sailor trousers - open to show pattern
so old, still has my 1st website address.

The pattern: No side seam; the excess from the waist until the hips is taken using the Front opening (plus two Back darts).

Construction details

Italian sailor trousers - fastening and pockets

Italian sailor trousers - facing
Italian sailor trousers - inside

2. French sailor trousers

French sailor trousers (after adjustments)
French sailor trousers - turned into a skirt

The fit: Originally a generous straight leg, but not enough for me to call them wide leg trousers.

I unpicked the inseam since I was in that mood, tried it on and realised it could also work as a skirt. But I decided to keep them as trousers and added a triangular panel between the legs so i could have the wide legs I wanted.

You can barely see the natural curve of my tummy (that's called being a woman), so this would be a good style for someone who's self-conscious of that part of their body.

The Front facing with the buttons is where my natural waist line is, the waistband goes above my waist 5.5 cm on the Front, 4.5 cm on the Back.

French sailor trousers - open (w/ suggested alteration)

The pattern: No side seam like the Italian sailor trousers, with the waistband part forming almost a square on the Front, whereas the facing goes upward from where the side seam would be.

The area highlighted in red shows how much I added in the inseam to achieve a wide leg silhouette.

French sailor trousers - waist to hip

Construction details

French sailor trousers - facing/ pocket bag
French sailor trousers - fastening

Detailed explanation of the pattern here.

Flat sketches

Trousers flat sketches - Click to download