TROUSERS - History and preparation for UNIT 121: pattern Construction

===== ESSAY IN PROGRESS!!!=====

Xmas Holidays,be festive, home chores, homework for January, homework for the holiday period, meanwhile working in a new place...

I always plan to relax and be lazy for the holidays, as well because I usually work more during the festive seasons ( damn hospitality jobs) but I always ended up in my studio trying to make something new (usually with meltdowns involved)

or studying (looking nerdier than what people could think).


So, here I am on my first official real day off, just after Xmas, searching and collecting info about my next Unit, Unit 121.

Unit 121, it's a fashion college unit, about Pattern Construction, in this case, Trousers construction.

I am really excited about it because I never adventure into making any trousers from scratch and rarely made some repair or alteration on it. It's a scary section from a beginner, so I am really happy to deal it with at school, with teachers supports and help, so I am not tempted to leave the project uncompleted!

If we can choose the kind of trousers to do, I have got some ideas, I would like to do any of the iconic leather trousers worn by Buffy in the series ( that s why this blog post has been bombarded by Buffy's gifs! [I am a superfan, I think you got it by now!]) or some super classic trousers with jawdropping pockets and waistline details.

Either of the choices will be overtopped for a beginner, but I always do this with myself, instead of going with the easiest choice, I will throw myself into a suicide mission for the first attempt!

So, what's the task for this holiday?

Preparation task for Unit 121: Pattern Construction


Try to include:

  • The History of trousers, e.g. Denim/Levis, Beau Brummell, flares.
  • Different types of trousers, e.g Thai fishing/fisherman pants, Dungarees.
  • Different features of trousers, e.g. pockets, turn-ups, button flies.
  • Different fits of trousers, e.g. skinny fit, looser fit.

Collect what you find & keep it somewhere easily accessible. It can be pairs of actual trousers, pages from magazines, Pinterest board, etc.


Trousers generally refer to tailored garments with a fitted waistline, pockets, and a zipper.

Until the 20th century, Western culture restricted the wearing of pants as a garment to men. Though actual pants were sometimes seen on women in the late 1800s and in the early part of the 20th century, it was not until the 1970s that the wearing of trousers by women was accepted for business or dress occasions.

The phrase "who wears the pants in the family," refers to the head of that family and equates the wearing of pants with power and masculinity.

Trousers in History

Though pants seem to be a modern form of dress, pants were worn by ancient people and were mentioned in The Bible as well as in Ancient Greek mythology.

Men of medieval Europe wore comfy-fitting pants or leggings with a short tunic. Women wore a kind of legging or loose britches under dresses to keep warm during the winter.

By 1500, men wore voluminous knee trousers with attached tights. Fashionable men wore them in bold colours.

By 1550, the trousers became a greatly exaggerated fashion, stuffed to balloon around the upper leg.

The 1600s saw these pantaloons embellished with buttons and ribbons while working men of the lower classes wore ankle-length pants.

During the French Revolution, trousers came to be seen as an aristocratic narcissism and men adapted the longer, ankle-length styles of the working class.
Women's pants were, at the time, an undergarment worn beneath the skirt and were called pantalettes.

Mid-century saw a looser fit trouser with a button fly front instead of the earlier "falls," a front panel that buttoned around the sides. Men's pants now began to appear in the dark or neutral colours that would rule menswear until the present day.

In the middle of the 1800s, a group of women began to clamor for freedom of movement. The Dress Reform Movement, pioneered by feminists, sought a new style of dress for women at work, or for athletic activities.

In Victorian England, young female mine-workers wore pants under tucked-up skirts. It was convenient, but was deemed inappropriate female attire.

In the early part of the 19th century, men's pants were tight and occasionally fitted with straps that fit under the soles of the feet to create a smooth line.

By the end of the 19th century, women began to appear in public wearing toned down bloomers or knickers for bike riding and other sports.

Jeans, or dungarees, were introduced in the late 19th century, created and marketed for California gold miners. Double stitching added to the durability of the pants that have changed little since the turn of the last century. Embraced by farmers and labourers, jeans ultimately became the iconic garment of the late 20th century and are, today, a staple of every wardrobe.

During World War I when British women took over factory and farm work, replacing men gone into the military, pants took on a new role for women as a practical garment.

World War II put women back into the workforce and back into pants. Famous posters of female workers encouraged women to wear practical bib overalls and dungarees, or what we now call jeans.

The later 20th century saw an explosion of trouser styles for men and women. Though men's dress pants have changed little since the 1930s, it is not unusual to see men wearing shorts, a type of pants once worn only by children. Jeans evolved from practical work garments to the symbol of fashion.

Various styles of trousers have come and gone in the past 112 years with certain styles disappearing for decades, then coming back.

Trousers became acceptable dress and business wear for women by the late 1970s, with pants suits worn by women in high positions.


History of Denim

The History of Denim began with Levi Strauss, moving to New York in 1851, to join his brother who had a dry goods store.

In 1853 he moved to San Francisco opening another store. One of his customers was Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada. Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets, and wagon covers.

One day, his customer ordered a pair of sturdy pants that could stand hard work. He made them from denim that he bought from Levi Strauss & Co and made them stronger, by placing copper rivets at the places pants rip the most: pockets and flies. When he wanted to patent them, he wrote to Levi Strauss, and they became partners. They opened a bigger factory, and that is how jeans were born.

Jeans are made of a material called denim. The name “denim” comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called “Serge de Nîmes”, initially made in Nîmes, France, shortened to - “denim”. Weavers of Nîmes tried to reproduce the cotton corduroy that was famously made in the city of Genoa, in Italy, but with no luck. With trial and error, they developed another twill fabric that became known as denim.

James Dean popularised blue jeans in the movie Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. He wore a T-shirt, a leather jacket, and jeans, a uniform men began copying immediately.  Rebel Without a Cause was a film where the clothing stood out. While it was originally supposed to be a black and white picture, the studio decided to make the film in colour; Dean’s Lee 101 Riders were dip-dyed to make the blue especially eye-catching.

This explains why young men started wearing blue jeans, but what about  young women? You can credit Marilyn Monroe for that. She wore them in arguably her best movie, The Misfits. Her outfit was essentially the female version of James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause outfit.



The History of Beau Brummell

There are hundreds of Icons of style during History, not even counting all the many fashion icons we got today. But there is one man who stands alone as the father of men’s style. The father of dandyism.

The man who introduced the suit and tie. That man is George Bryan Brummell, better known as Beau Brummell.

Brummell broke down the wall that separated average men like him and the aristocrats of England.

 Brummell didn’t just break the rules. He recreated them.

For the first time, a common man was able to infiltrate the kingdom’s space. He developed a close relationship with the future King George IV. Unwilling to conform to the guidelines of the time, Brummell instead inspired the future King and his followers, through his eccentric behaviour and style.

Since Brummell didn’t have significant wealth, he couldn’t afford the same apparel worn by the Prince or his other acquaintances! So he went against the use of embellished garments and sparkling jewels as part of a gentleman’s attire.

Brummell introduced the suit: well-fitting and hand-tailored bespoke suits. He rejected the use of breeches and stockings and instead introduced full-length formal trousers with both matching and contrasting jackets.

This was the birth of men’s style as we know it today. A focus on tailored menswear that flattered the body and showcased the physique, rather than overshadowing it. (remember the big balloon with ribbons trousers of before!)

Brummell passed away without a penny to his name at Le Bon Sauveur Asylum where he was being held for insanity caused by syphilis. He was just 61 years old.

In his short life, Brummell managed not only to influence current fashion, but he earned his place in the history books. One might say that it is thanks to him that we no longer favour the use of ornate costumes and instead have far more elegant and simple attire.




===== ESSAY IN PROGRESS!!!=====




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