english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

Trousers! Vintage Simplicity 3688


At the beginning of the year I set myself the goal of sewing three items of clothing that I’ve never made before – trousers, a swimsuit, and a coat. One down, two to go, as I recently made my first pair of trousers!
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
Simplicity contacted me last month and offered me a free pattern. With my trouser-sewing goal in mind it was a no-brainer to go for Simplicity 3688 which is a reproduction 1940s pattern. The pattern includes four separate items – I’m never going to make the skirt suit but the trousers and blouse were more than enough to win me over. Helpfully the pattern envelope includes both the adorable original illustrations, and photos of the finished items which (while not exactly thrilling photos) allowed me to get a sense of the finished shape. I was totally sold after a quick google identified that Karen and Debi amongst many others have previously made gorgeous versions of the same trousers (Debi has also made the blouse).
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
I would totally recommend these trousers to other trouser newbies. They are made from only three pattern pieces (five fabric pieces) and are a quick make (yippee, my favourite kind!). Personally I love the vintage shape with the high waist & wide leg. I used a grey polyester suiting fabric which has a nice drape which suits the wide leg & is light-weight for the summer. I’m thinking a wool pair would be great when the weather gets a bit colder (which, to be honest, could be at any time in the UK…). I cut a size 10 (based on the finished measurements, NOT the measurements on the envelope). The size 10 was actually a tiny bit smaller than my measurements so I sewed with a reduced seam allowance at the sides. The pattern uses the side seam allowance to cover the zip – my reduced allowance meant that wasn’t really possible so I just used an invisible zip instead of the standard zip recommended.
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
The automatic buttonhole function on my sewing machine has stopped working recently. How a machine can work perfectly except for the buttonhole function I do not know… It’s the most infuriating fault as it will sew 2-sides of the buttonhole but then stops! I’m planning to take it for a service soon but while waiting I attempted to use press studs on the waistband of these trousers instead of a button. I thought I’d found an easy workaround until the first time I wore them when I found that the press studs popped open every time I bent down! So I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine & attached a nice secure button instead:) Press studs +  waistbands = not a good idea!
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
Me and Phil have been lucky enough to spend the last few days on holiday with my family in the Lake District. The photos above were taken in the garden at Beatrix Potter’s House and just outside. For those outside the UK who may not know it, the Lake District it is like a storybook version of England – all tiny villages, countryside, slate and stones walls. Basically it’s gorgeous. Obviously it also contains lots of lakes, like Coniston Water pictured below along with some wide trousers billowing in the breeze!
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers


Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

16 thoughts on “Trousers! Vintage Simplicity 3688

  1. They look gorgeous, 1940’s trousers are the best! I might need to track that pattern down…

    • The reproduction pattern is easy to get hold – not sure about the original. There are a few cool new indie trouser patterns – but definitely nothing so 40s:) I doubt many other 1940s trouser patterns are as easy as this one. P.S. your Bronte tops look fab & that Archer is AMAZING!

  2. Your trousers came out perfect Charlotte! Not to tight, not to loose. Very nice look. Great Job ; )

    • Thank you! The fit of your tan shorts looks great too – & I love the Hawaiian shirts. I reckon you could make a good bowling shirt out of that pattern too

  3. Very nice indeed! I’ve had my eye on that pattern for a while but I’m a bit scared of making trousers! Now that you’ve said they’re quick and easy I might have to give them a go (well, when I get my waist back!) Love that 1940s silhouette.

  4. Gorgeous trousers! The fit looks perfect! I hope you had a good holiday.

  5. These are fantastic, you got a brilliant fit. I have that pattern but shyed away from the trousers in the end as I thought they might be really wide-legged, but I love yours! And I hope you had a good trip – the Lake District is stunning.

  6. They look great! I haven’t been brave enough to tackle trousers yet (unless pj bottoms count lol!), but I like this pattern 🙂

  7. Trousers look great! I bought my sewing machine at Easter and it does exactly the same with the buttonholes – very annoying!

    • It’s a bizarre fault! At some point I will manage to get it booked in for a service but I haven’t gotten to the local repair shop yet. Hope you can get yours working properly

  8. Pingback: Wool-Blend Oslo Cardigan & Happy Christmas | english girl at home

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