Butterick 5539 Knit Pull-On Pants:Pattern Review

Butterick 5539 Knit Pull-On Pants and Skirt

I bought this pattern pre-pregnancy because I liked all of the variations, going from near leggings to full pants, with a simple skirt pattern included also.   After looking at a maternity knit pant pattern from Kwik-Sew which I thought looked dated, I decided to pull out the Butterick and see if it could be altered for pregnancy.  I am glad I gave it a try because I like the results. 


  • What could be easier than knit pants?
  • Great beginner project.
  • As the overall construction is so easy, basic knit pull-ons are a great way for new sewists to learn how to fit a comfortable crotch that is customized to their figure.


As I have a thick waist I cut the waist at the largest size and went down two sizes for the legs.  I made option B, but the legs came out more like option C.   The pattern gives more ease in the leg than the pictures would indicate.   Make a practice muslin, but you may need to cut the leg a smaller size than you would normally.

Some Assembly Required:

Since I am inserting a maternity panel I did not follow the pattern instructions.  They advise constructing each leg, then inserting the one leg into the other and sewing the crotch seam. 

    1. I sewed the front crotch, then laid the front portion flat and sewed on the maternity panel.
    2. Then I sewed the back crotch.
    3. Sewed side seams next.
    4. Did my hem – completely out of the normal order, but I found that the knit stretched less when it was lain flat.
    5. Inside seams next.
    6. Lastly I serged on elastic to the right side of the waist which did a natural flip to the inside when it was finished.

I am short photos of the pants I made from this pattern. This is my favorite pair of pull-ons in fake denim knit. I also two others in black and gray.


I used a nicer quality plain knit in black and medium blue which I liked very much.  I also made two pair out of a slinky poly/cotton rib knit, a choice I somewhat regret as I never got the hems to lay flat.  They stretched and puckered badly.  I am thankful that they are at the bottom of my legs with a bit of fabric bunching around them my ankles as leggings do, so the hems are not very noticeable.


Play around with tension and technique before attempting hems.  Or just serge them flat and call it a day if the pants are to be worn super-casual.

Will I Sew it Again:

This pattern is so quick and easy, and with the right fabric, makes a very inexpensive pair of pants.  If I grow out of this set of trousers I am going to whip up some more during the last part of my last trimester.  Given that it offers nearly every leg width fashionable, I may keep this pattern around and make it one of my TNT’s.

Advice to Others:

Make a practice muslin and see if the leg width suits you.  You may have to take it in.  If you are using a stiffer ponte or thicker jersey you may want to go with your size on the pattern.   But the softer your knit the larger it seems to look around the leg, so you may have to take those down a size.

Overall Style Grade:  A-, it doesn’t make the heart flutter, but with judicious fabric selection this basic pattern can be worn fashionably at all times.

 Results Grade: A, easy.  Great for beginners and a quick project for more advanced sewists.

Next Post: Tuesday, May 3, 2011: Have some Maternity Tops in the Works.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sister
    May 01, 2011 @ 22:51:38

    Yeah, I hate that wavy knit hem thing – happens to me too. I worked it on the last cotton knit shirt I made and went for lettuce-edged…which almost came out looking like I did it on purpose.


  2. Lee Ann
    May 01, 2011 @ 23:44:08

    Your bump is looking so cute these days! Makes me wish we were going to have another. I enjoyed sewing for this little one so much. Glad you’re feeling better!


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