What I wear

The ‘Midwinter Mole’ slacks

Remember  Butterick 7988?    I’ve been  desperate  for an excuse to make this pattern every since I bought it.

Butterick 7988

This week’s challenge on Sew Weekly was ‘Winter’, which kinda sucks ’cause it finally isn’t winter in New Zealand.  But hey, at least it was an excuse to make this pattern, because as much as I love skirts, but I  loathe  tights, so for all that I am super-vintage girl, I wear pants/trousers/slacks (whichever you prefer to call them) almost exclusively all winter long. So not winter, but hey, an excuse to make my pattern, and at least I can wear them  during every  summertime southerly.

I’m making my slacks up in a lovely wool with a subtle tartan pattern in blue, grey and beige.

The fabric

Interior finishes

Of course, from any distance more than 6 inches, it just look pale grey.  Also, it doesn’t lend itself to the fabulous safari styling on the pattern.  But I’m still super excited about this particular slack pattern.  Why?  This:

See it?  No?

Want another look?

 See it?!?   See it?!?

Or rather, see what isn’t there?

Yep, no side seam.  It’s all done with a dart at the side.  I love it!

Unfortunately, some of the other things with these pants aren’t so fab.  I got distracted cutting them and made a major boo boo:


Eeek.  That’s an 8″ cut straight up the leg from the hem on the inside front edge.

I mended it with some bias tape and fabric fuse, and overstitched with machine darning.  It will help, but the slacks are never going to be perfect again.  Boo.



Still, they are great pants, the interior finish is rather nice, and they go with everything in my wardrobe.


So why are they the ‘Midwinter Mole’ slacks?  Well, because the pattern calls them slacks (not trousers or pants), I started them while watching a very appropriate episode of Midsummer Murders (it centred around a bespoke tailors, there was lots of talk of tweed, and all the murders were committed with tailors sheers), and finally, what colour thread matched the fabric best?

Mid Mole!  Best thread colour name ever!

Just the facts, Ma’am:

Fabric:  1.5 metres of wool with a subtle tartan pattern in blue, grey and beige ($8)

Pattern:  Butterick 7988

Year:  mid 1940s

Notions:  One invisible zip (stash) and vintage bias binding (20 cents)

And the insides?  Bias-bound rise, overlocked inseams, bias-turned hem.

Hours:  8.  I spent a lot of time fussing with the hem and cuff/no cuff

First worn?:  Monday 3 Dec for the photoshoot

Wear again?:  Yep.  It goes with everything in my wardrobe.

Make again?:  Yes!  And I want shorts made from this pattern.

Total cost:  $8.20

And, for a final bit of fun, look, I can photoshop!


  1. ooh, love the trousers. So its back fastening?
    Your creations always look so neat inside.
    I’m making myself some greyish trousers…just sewing the wearable muslin now (going to end up as a pair of shorts). Its definately a learning curve.

    • Thank you! Yes, they fasten at the CB with an invisible zip and then hooks and loops. The pattern actually has them fastening at the side in one of the side-darts, but since I messed up the hem I decided I wouldn’t bother with fussy historical accuracy.

      I don’t always bother with a muslin for pants, because I’m pretty good at making adjustments off my trouser block, bud I did a muslin for this pants pattern because the lack of side seams means no room at all for mistakes!

      • I’d not seen a back fastening pair of trousers before until I saw your post and my pattern arrived. lol!
        I’m not sure if some of my fitting troubles are just how its supposed to look or if I’m doing it wrong. Going for trial an error method at the moment. :/

    • Aren’t grey pants fantastic! Neutral, but not as boring as black (and, of course, better for someone like me with a white cat!).

  2. Elise says

    Very nice! I love the crouching pose. But why don’t you like tights? I’ve always adored everything resembling an WWII orphan, but I got my first expensive high-cotton ones and it changed my life. I bet wool ones would be nice, too.

    • Thank you! I’ll admit that expensive cotton and wool tights are better than regular tights, but they still itch a bit, and bind around the waist and thighs, and sink down and give you diaper crotch. Most of all they are just really tight and confining over a large area of your body.

      • Rest assured I don’t like tights either. I like my stockings better, because the well fitting ones (a bit difficult to recognise beforehand, admittedly) are much less confining, and somehow more fun. But I still end up wearing pants a lot in winter, too.
        These look great for that purpose; I’d love a pair like that myself. Plus, mole! Any Czech who’s seen certain Czech cartoons/read a certain book (like me) as a child must be partial to moles…

  3. Lynne says

    They are beautiful slacks! No grab, no nasty creasing, beautiful hang. Bliss.

    And delightful photoshopping!

    • Lynne says

      And I think I’ve got Mid Mole in my cotton drawer, too! Wonderful name.

    • Thank you! I don’t do a lot of photoshopping because I’m not very good at it and it takes so much time, but just this once I couldn’t resist.

  4. I love those! The fabric you used is amazing, and so is the cut. I especially love the first picture of you in them.

  5. Lovely pants, they’re so flattering! I’d probably put a nice sharp crease down the center of each leg, to look even more like the illustration. 🙂

  6. Made to Measure Murders! One of my favourites! It was on telly last night too, but as you know, I have ALL of the MMs on DVD, swap you for Firefly some time? 🙂
    LOVE the trou btw.

  7. I love them. I want to give them a try myself, and I probably do have to make some new work pants soon.

    It’s good to hear I’m not alone with my hatred of tights. Haven’t worn ’em in years, and to be honest I could never see the point of them.

  8. Claire Payne says

    I bet the pattern would be great made as shorts. I love the high waist but am doubtful that it would suit me with my hips. Still, you look marvellous and as you say, your new slacks go with everything in your wardrobe. Hmmm…a matching waistcoat would look amazing with them.

    • Thank you! Unfortunately while your hips don’t support slacks like these, my ribs and bust don’t support waistcoats. Still, that’s what makes clothes fun – all sorts of different bodies to dress!

  9. Wow, those pants are SO classic! And how cool that there’s no side seam! I’ve never seen such a thing! I envy your sewing skills. I’m working on it, though. Thanks for an inspirational blog!

  10. Oh wow, that fit is amazing! And they really do go with everything! Will you be making another pair soon?

    • Thanks Juliet! I’d love to make another pair soon, but have a bunch of other things on the sewing to-do pile, and I’m not sure I have any suitable fabric, so we’ll see how it goes!

  11. Pretty smart trousers! I like the wide leg shape and high waist. I made some without a side seam recently, setting a pocket into the side dart space, a bit tricky at the pointy end of the dart, but it worked.

  12. Daniel says

    I have a pair of not-quite-jeans from Cheap Monday that are quite similar to this – very unusual for men’s trousers nowadays, but I adore them and would wear them to death if I knew I could replace them…. Wish more people made wide-legged trousers for men, I’m getting a bit fed up with trying to sneak surreptitiously out of certain High Street stores pretending my footmen’s calves didn’t just split the lower legs of their Southern Necessities….

  13. I adore these! I love that there is no side seam, and I love all the various ways you’ve styled them for us. So versatile and fabulous!

  14. Those are such cute trousers! I’ve not tried sewing a pair of pants before (currently I’m fighting with the fit of my first pencil skirt pattern) but maybe I’ll have to give it a shot sometime soon.

    PS Just finished savoring the Kiwi Milk Chocolate bar, and I think I’m in love 🙂

  15. Fascinating! I’ve never seen trousers without a side seam before, and I’m intrigued by the thought of less seams to sew/finish. So sorry to hear about the cutting mishap…but it’s also a little comforting to know professionals make that kind of mistake too!

    • Oh, every seamstress makes mistakes! Especially when we’re sick and in a hurry! Or just get lazy and think “Psht, this will be easy, la la la…”. I’m definitely far, far far from infallible!

      The lack of a side seam actually makes them harder rather than easier – sure, there is nothing to sew or finish, but there is also nothing to adjust if they don’t fit right! I guess by the second pair it would pay off though 😉

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