Linen Pantaloons

Only one week to go before the glorius Stockholm Empire Days of 2016! My summer was oh so busy, going places, so I had no plans to make anything new this year. Before the summer I made the striped waistcoat that hasn´t yet been out in public, and I could have settled with that. But then I thought: Why not make pair of breezy linen trousers for one of the picnics? The decision was made the moment I found some perfect linen in the stash. Luckily there was (just) enough of it.

Photo by Regencygentleman

Cutting the required pieces. I measured my legs and googled patterns on Regency trousers for a quick reference.

Photo by Regencygentleman

Marking where to cut the front fall. (The two vertical pins, top centre.)

Later that evening I went online to do some additional research/find inspiration. And changed my plans. Why not pantaloons? As seen in Costume Parisien 1800-1806. Costume Negligé is perfect attire for a picnic. One should avoid going overdressed for al fresco dining. (And I naturally chose to ignore the “TRÈS Jeune Homme“…) And what a relief to replace the warm boots with white socks and shoes (or in my case the opera pumps). 

Trousers came in all shapes during the Regency, from very loose fitting ones to the extremely tailored pantaloons that hugged one’s legs like a second skin. They could be made in cotton, wool, linen, or stretchy knitted material. Sometimes these different types of trousers and pantaloons were very long. They could have straps that went under the shoe to keep the fabric stretched. Sometimes they ended somewhere mid-calf. Sometimes they were really full around the waist (“cosacks”). And let us not forget that breeches were still very common, not only for formal attire. 


1806: Very long pantaloons disappearing into the shoes.


Again 1806, but these trousers, and the ones below, are ankle lenght.



1800: These nankeen pantaloons are very tight. It looks like one of those Incroyables and we won´t go there. (Well at least not this time!)

Notice how well fitted they are over the legs, but more loose over the thighs and around the waist? These extant pantaloons from the MET show us the trick: the fabric was sewn in the shape of the leg. See? And they also reveal the baggy behind. Why? More on that in a minute.

Pantaloons MET

Linen pantaloons, The Metropolitan Museum.

Photo by Regencegentleman

First fitting. Trying out the legs. How tight dare I go?

I wanted a quick project, but then there was something wrong with the sewing machine. I was unable to figure it out so I started to sew by hand. Again. Now I am glad, I suppose. Hand sewing is sort of my thing…

Photo by Regencygentleman

Stitching centre back seam. Then I removed the orange basting.

Photo by Regencygentleman

Then I realised the linen was revealing so I rustled up some gauzy cotton to line the entire garment.

Photo by Regencygentleman

This is where the self-covered buttons will go. The fall and fall bearers are nearly done.

Photo by Regencygentleman

The back is gathered to the waistband. Adjustable tape at centre back.

Photo by Regencygentleman

And the back looks like this when wearing the pantaloons.

Photo by Regencygentleman

Very baggy seat compared to the legs. So different from modern trousers!

Photo by Regencygentleman

Without all that extra material it wouldn´t be possible to do this, since the fabric hugs the calves.

Photo by Regencygentleman

The front and thighs are relatively smooth, but not tight. The fall edge needs to be finished, but I wanted to make sure it is going high enough.

Photo by Regencygentleman

This is going to be one snappy pair of pantaloons. 🙂

Almost done! Now I only have to sew on the buttons, make button holes, four at the top and three on each ankle. Then I am ready to go!

Need I say how flattered I am that the Frock Flicks team mentioned my previous post? As a long time follower I have the deepest respect for their work. Imagine that they actually took time to read this modest blog…



13 thoughts on “Linen Pantaloons

    • Thank you! Yes, a piece of clothing is a product of its day. Many times it is a question of fashion trends but with this project I get a bigger understanding for why they did what they did: The baggy bottom is necessary for mobility and it is hidden by the tailcoat anyway… (On the other hand satin breeches for a formal ceremony of some sort that only required the wearer to walk and stand could be extremely fitted.)

  1. I stumbled across your blog while looking up what kino dye looked like on cotton. It described “nankeen” but being the artist I am, I wanted to see what period pieces looked like and their specific type of color. After I saw you were constructing period clothing, I had to see your process. Although I’m not a seamstress, I have also copied/reconstructed a tiny few period pieces (but those were for infants and small girls). I enjoyed seeing your creative process. Thanks for having such an interesting blog!

  2. Pingback: The Empire days of 2016 | Regencygentleman

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