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Fake Fall Front for your Britches

Nothing makes a pant look as fantastically olde-timey as a fall front. Unfortunately, a real fall front is a pain in the patouty to sew (trust me), and it’s not something that can be added in after the fact in any sort of historically accurate manner. Fortunately, if you’re not 100% concerned about authenticity, it’s easy enough to add a mock fall to existing pants….

You will need:

  • sacrificial pants
  • matching fabric
  • your normal sewing kit


I was making colonial britches via Goodwill, so I had fabric that I knew would be an exact match to my pant. (Because I’d just cut it off the pant while shortening it.) Here’s what you do:

sacrificial pants
Take your pants...
placement of mock fall
You'll need to make a rectangle (or slight trapezoid) of cloth for the fall. It goes from just below the zip up to the waist band.

Whether it covers the waistband or not depends an awful lot on era, technically. In my case, since I was using the bit of leg left over from the britching up of the original pant, era gave way to “I have how little fabric? How many people in the audience will know the difference?”

fall sewn down
Finish the top edge of the fall and put buttonholes on both sides. Sew the fall in place facing downward on the pant (right side down).

That sounds goofy, but you’re doing it so that the seam allowance at the bottom of the fall ¬†will be hidden.

fall in position
Flip the fall up, and mark button positions. (I just stick a pin through the end of the buttonhole.) You might also sew the bottom sides of the fall up a little, so the seam allowance can't pop out. I did.
buttons sewn
Sew down the buttons, and life is grand.
coat for McKean
And there they are, on a real live actor...

A couple notes:

1) Don’t use a pleated pant for this. I know it’s pretty obvious that I did in the demo, but try not to. It will look much closer to accurate of you don’t.

2) A mock fall over a normal zip seems to be a little less baffling for actors.

3) Even though the buttons are barely holding anything in place, it’s important to match them to the size of the button holes. (There is a long story involving a sewing machine with the best one-step buttonhole feature ever combined with the worst button-holding-magical-sizer-gizmo that likes to spit out buttons mid-stream that lead me to rig my buttonhole sizer-gizmo to a 1″ fixed size with a bit of plastic. These buttons are far less than an inch. For budget reasons, I ended up donating a lot of my own stash of buttons to the show. I had bigger buttons, but they were nicer and I didn’t want to give those. So instead I dealt with a bit of grousing about buttons that didn’t want to stay shut.) You win some, you lose some…


  1. Corviddreams
    Corviddreams January 30, 2012

    I have upon occasion tightened up a too loose buttonhole by whipstitching its ends.

    • missa
      missa February 6, 2012

      Yeah…. Could have done, but I was completely done sewing that show. ;)

  2. Lisa P.
    Lisa P. September 30, 2012

    That is just plain brilliant. Definitely a “Why didn’t I think of that” moment. Thanks!

    • missa
      missa October 6, 2012

      Glad you like it! Hope it comes in useful somewhere…

  3. Tristan
    Tristan February 10, 2015

    Wow!!! Thanks so much for this!

  4. Marnetta
    Marnetta April 18, 2017

    Thank you so much for this! I am having a Edwardian/ Steampunk wedding and I was looking for a pattern to make fallfront breeches when I stumbled upon this. You just made my life a whole lot easier and relieved a huge amount of stress.

    I will post pictures when they are done!

    • missa
      missa June 23, 2017

      Lol! I am so glad this helped! I wish you the best with your wedding and many happy years after it.

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