The Pants Saga Continues

2 Mar

Well, I did it. Taking suggestions from here and from around the internet, I embarked on fitting a pair of pants in muslin form. And somewhere in there, with yarn wrapped about my hips and everything pinned awkwardly in place, it occurred to me that anything involving the phrases “crotch depth” and “rear wrinkles” might not be something I want to post publicly to the internet, particularly not accompanied with photographs, particularly not with everyone I know watching. (hi, mom. No butt pictures, not today).

It is serious fitting business, this “pants” subject. And I have learned that muslin show off every bump and wrinkle.  I think I have learned some other things, as well: that I’m not actually sway-backed. I thought I was, but I may, in fact, be the reverse. (Flat back?) I’ve learned that I’m knock-kneed and that I am thicker on my front side than I am on my back side (a thing I should have known since my Anatomy class all those years ago.)  I’ve learned that even though the “Full Figured Woman” diagram in my Coni Crawford pattern makes me uncomfortable in its harshness, I should pay attention to the related tips, just the same, since that is my body she’s adjusting for.

And I’ve learned some things that I still have in front of me to learn, like that making side seams perpendicular to the floor (when few, if any, parts of my body stand perpendicular to the floor) is an absurd proposition, and that I will probably have to read another forty websites on pants-fitting before this game is over.

And I would like to note: even Fit for Real People doesn’t have a “pants” chapter. They’ll fit the bodice and dress every which way including sideways, but sometimes when you throw in crotch-depth and ass-wrinkles, even the pros realize they need a whole new book for that material.

6 Responses to “The Pants Saga Continues”

  1. mrsmole March 2, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Stick with it, girl. In the end you will have a master pants pattern that works with your curves. Coni suggests you add 1 inch to the top of the pattern for adjusting for crotch depth in fitting.Then try on the pants, wrap elastic around the waist, sit down and pull things up or down until you are happy. Mark the waist, mark your paper pattern and go.
    I see so many women who think that the front length should match the back…oh no! The norm is at least 2-3 inches difference the rounder a body becomes. In her larger patterns XXL and larger the center back seems really looks strange as it grows vertically but on a big girl body it sits perfectly on the center back waist…amazing! Just think of having a pair of pants that don’t droop in the front crotch and don’t pull down in the back when you sit down and yet don’t have baggy butt syndrome! Good luck!

    • handmadejulie March 2, 2012 at 9:11 am #

      Yeah, that’s exactly what I was doing, following the Coni’s instructions for the 1″ top with the elastic (I used yarn), trying to find the right position. Is it typically 2-3″ different in which direction? I found my waist/crotch were better if I pulled the front UP, probably about 1 1/2″ compared to the back. Is that normal?

      And then, it seems like it’s dragging the leg forward right along with it. Which makes logical sense, hiking up the front would do that–but then I got “U” wrinkles on the backs of my knees, like the legs swing forward and then hit the backs of my legs, and the side seams don’t hang straight. So the waist/butt/crotch looks smooth, but the legs are all wonky.

      • mrsmole March 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

        It does sound like you maybe pulled it up a little too much. Did you try sitting as well to make sure the back waist to crotch did not drop down? The difference I meant was if the front waist to crotch is say 13 inches, the back waist to crotch could be 15. Some of my gals have way more of a difference depending on the roundness of the butt. The flatter your butt the less the length needed. I always make sure the side seams are perfect and slowly adjust the rest (pinning out excess side seams, darts etc). You may need the next smaller size which can be checked by pinning out side seams and inside seams a bit. Only you can tell how much ease you want overall. Some women think they are making figure hugging jeans that crawl right up the crack but these are trousers that skim the body. Wish I lived closer to you to help!

        • handmadejulie March 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

          You know, I never did sit down once, in the entire process. Off to try again! (Thank you very much for your suggestions!)

      • Kirsty March 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        One trick I used when working on my basic pants pattern was to focus on the top parts first, unpicking the side seams from about 10cm below my hips and then let the fabric fall. This way I could figure out where the seams needed to be. Works best for a slim but figure skimming fit to begin with. But once i had the pattern sorted it was like magic being able to overlay the crotch curves on other patterns and know they would fit, even jeans! I second the wildy different crotch length comment too. It doesn’t seem like it should work but it magically comes together.

  2. alethiea taylor March 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Hi Julie, I do sympathize with you! I was once where you are now and so was a friend of mind. I am a big fan of both Connie Crawford and Palmer Pletsch (Fit for Real People). But it was the Threads Fitting DVD Series for Waist and Hips that taught me how to truly get a well fitting pants pattern for myself. Not only in the comfort of my own home, but going backward and forward as many times as I wanted. I now have a perfect fitting basic pants pattern, and several nicely lined slacks that I get compliments on all the time.

    I noticed that my side seems would not be perpendicular if I made an alteration in the wrong place — for instance, took in a front dart when it should have been the rear dart or took in the front seam when it should have been the side seam. Things like that. When I made the adjustment in the right place, the side seams remained perpendicular. It was amazing.

    I had all kinds of problems — (1) small waist, fat lower tummy; (2) baggy material in back because of big butt and small thighs; (3) crotch buckled in front but was too tight if I took it in or let it out. Ugh! But the Threads DVD showed me how to make the correct adjustments and it worked. I actually bought the entire 4-DVD series.

    Hope that helps, fellow sewer.

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