10 March 2009

120. Pants Part II: For the greater good

Two quick things before we talk pants.  After Craft featured last week's refashion tutorial (thank you to the powers that be, you know who you are):

1. Maria Robles friended me on Flickr and I clicked over to her blog and saw a beautiful collection I think she made, in action, on the runway.  She doesn't blog in Spanish and English, so if you click to the comments section you can see my messy attempt at letting her know what a great job she did in my rusty, broken Spanish.  I also realized I have no way of doing the upside-down question marks and all that on my ingles keyboard.  Non-global alert!

2. Allison at Adventures in Trashion says she was inspired by the tutorial and refashioned herself a beautiful new shirtdress!  I love her design and now I will need to make one of my own.  :)

And now, on with the pants.  I thought that Mary Nanna's post, modeling her pants lining/ muslin, was endearing.  Now that I have taken photos of my butt and lower body, up close and personal, in dark denim, I respect her for her sheer courage (hahahaha!!!!  LOL  Sheer!  Ahhh, there is danger in being the person who laughs loudest at her own jokes).  I appreciate her sacrifice and now I will make one of my own and show you these photos.

I use humor to procrastinate sometimes.

Helpful editorial note: I found myself in analysis paralysis with this first muslin for the sew-along. I kept thinking that if I messed up the fly front, which would be a new skill, I might not get an accurate fit.  Which is why several of you suggested making a sloper first.  Oh, now I get it!  ;)  Took me a few weeks but I'm there.

I pulled out the previous two patterns I tried but didn't work.  The first one was the Betsy Ross fancy pants pattern, which has pants front and back, front and back facings, and a side zip.  In theory, with a handful of pattern pieces, this is more of a "sloper" pattern than Simplicity 2700, even though the shape is meant to be bootleg.  I knew where these unsuccessful, unfinished pants were in my closet, so I threw them on and took pictures.  Here they are:

FYI, the hems are pinned for these photos.

The pants front.  Those diagonal lines are wrinkles, not pulls, I promise.  There are small front darts, which I hate.  These pants go pretty much to the natural waist, above my belly button.  Not comfortable.  I think I could cut the pattern piece right where the darts begin and make a contoured yoke so I don't have to see or sew those darts again.  

I'm not pleased with the hip area.  The waviness on the right side of the pants is from the invisible zipper (OK but not great installation) and no hook and eye closure at the top of the waist, so it gaps.  

The bootleg looks off to me.  Like it doesn't taper right at my knee, and being on the short side, I guess that doesn't surprise me.

The right hand side looks suspect to me.  Let's see if we can find more clues in the next few photos.

Here is the left hand side of the pants.  Overall, I am happy with this view.  If I could find a way to walk sideways, with my left side leading, these pants would be perfect!

I'm afraid those shadows are playing tricks (or maybe illuminating problems?) or it could be my posture.  Let's keep rotating to the back.

I am constantly distracted by my lopsided posture from carrying my son all the time until he was 3 or 4 -- bet you have no problems guessing which hip he resided on.

And those twin inverted triangles under my bum.  They are like a hidden message for a secret society.  I have a hard time keeping secrets so rest assured there is no Universal Pants Conspiracy.  Maybe it's so much bigger than me, a Da Vinci Code-scale conspiracy.  I'm digressing and procrastinating again.  Back to the pants.

I would understand those triangles and the general bunching if the pants were dragging on the floor, but they are pinned so that the pants don't touch the floor, and the weight of the fabric isn't enough to pull those wrinkles out.  Why is that?

It's hard to say if I don't like the fit or the style.  I feel like I am looking at mom jeans or something.  Oh wait, I am a mom and these are denim.  Identity crisis forthcoming.  I'm digressing again.

Help!  Take three.  I feel like this, and the front photo, make it seem as though the pants' hips are lower than mine actually are.  I know that the pants are supposed to be fuller from the hip down, but it just seems that the contours are not quite right for my body.  

To complete the 360-degree tour of my lower body in these pants, here's the right side of the pants.  The invisible zipper is exposed because I sewed these pants 2 1/2 years ago, when I guess I still had some post-baby chub on my rear.  I could barely squeeze into these pants then.  Now they fit. 

Seems like there is an odd diagonal draping of the fabric around my knee.  Could just be bad sewing.

Additional notes: when I sit, the pants are uncomfortable but mainly due to the high waist.  I do feel like I could use some extra ease in the crotch but it is not uncomfortable or painful to sit.

My idea with getting your feedback on THIS muslin, from the Betsy Ross pattern, is to get the fit just right so I can use it as a sloper for Simplicity 2700.

Told you I'd be a mess about these.  Thank you for your patience and friendship.  I realize I am cashing in credits for your help with this post and these pants.  OK, that's all for now, I look forward to reading your thoughts and suggestions.  Love ya, bye.


  1. hi! Re: the bunches on your pants. I had a similar problem with my pants. After much google-ing I found a site suggesting that 'if your pants smile, they're too tight, if they frown they're too loose.'
    hope this helps.
    love your blog!

  2. Hi!!
    Thanks!!! Yes, I designed that collection for a fashion awards...now Im designing the new collection.
    And sorry for my english ^_^ your spanish its better, jajajaja

  3. Hi,
    I think the legs are really full even for boot cut. If you adjust the inner seams and then the outer seams you should have a good sloper. Hope this helps!!

  4. Most of the comments I've made are taken from Nancy Zeiman's Pattern Fitting with Confidence. I'll try as much as I can to make them relevant to your fit issues.

    Picture #1) "If the side length is too long, the center front creases will bow in."

    Like you said, the pant looks off and does not taper where it should. You'll first need to make sure that your waisline is parallel to the floor. How to do that when one hip is higher than the other? I don't know... Mary Nana? Second, locate the knee of the pant pattern. Then you can shorten the length about two inches above the knee of the pant and about two inches below the knee of the pant. (Make sense? It seems like I'm telling you to shorten your pattern by four inches, but I'm not.)

    #2) It looks like you have bias folds happening right on the back of your thigh. That means you've got too much length and width. "Pinch and pin the extra fold of the fabric and record the amount." I'm not really sure where to take off the excess amount of fabric, wether you should take it off the side seams or the inseams.

    I pulled out my Threads magazines, and from what I've been reading so far, there has been some differing opinion btwn the authors.

    #3) You have a whole lot goin' on here... Where to begin? Ummm... You've got horizontal folds right below your waistline on your left side, which could mean that you've got swayback... on your left side?? Wha--? You could pinch out the fold, measure the depth of the fold and take that amount off the pattern's waistline at CB.

    The bottom parts of your triangles, those diagonal folds, could mean that you've got too much length and width.

    As to the top part of the triangles, those folds right underneath your butt, I can't say. I don't know.

    Before you start fixing the width, I think, you should start shortening the overall length first. Start from the waistline to the crotch level, then from the crotch level to the knee, and then knee to hem.

    I really hope this helps!

  5. Eeek! Those photos look so much like the crappy fit I got on my last attempt at pants of a very similar style. I reckon it's possible the crotch length needs adjusting - I say this only because most pants I've seen in sewing books (i.e. slacks and trousers, not jeans) don't have them curving into your bum quite as much at that.
    It sounds like you have a high-hip imbalance, which I remember being dealt to in Sandra Betzina's Fast Fit and the Pants for Every Body book. Unfortunately I didn't take any notice of the advice because that's one problem I don't have.

    Word verification = "pachme": a request to cover oneself with a pashmina.

  6. I am by no means a pants fitting expert, but it looks to me like you need to petite-ify this entire pattern, and probably any pants pattern you sew. (There are several different approaches, and I use a combination of most of them, it seems.) The shape seems to overwhelm you.

    The other thing you may want to consider is the shape of the crotch curve on the pattern you choose--the ones that are a deep "U" shape have never worked for me--and it took me years to figure that out. I randomly sewed a pair of Burda pants--they have sort of a modified "L" crotch curve, and many of my fitting problems went away. I've tried other brands with a similar shape with the same results. Whenever I try a "U" shaped pants pattern, it's back to the same issue. I don't know how or why...

    My point is, that keep an open mind as your working through this process. If you're struggling to get a fit that feels and looks right to you, it may not be you at all. It may be that the pattern isn't suited to your particular shape, and that's totally okay.

    It seems that you've got a good start in looking at the problems and working through how you want your pants to fit--I'm really impressed. I've never been this methodical. It's really helpful to me to see you work through the process.

  7. Firstly I don't think they look like mom jeans at all, the shape, high waist and choice of fabric is really smart. Kate Moss sometimes wear jeans like this, and she is hip enough. Oh, wait she's a mom too... ;)
    Secondly, yes they need to be petited (is that a word?) the pants continue to taper below your knee which is why the boot cut looks weird. I'm 5'3 and take away 2cm above and 2 cm below the knee when making pants (but the leg length vary a bit between sizes) Have someone measure your knee length from natural waist and down to locate that spot.
    Thirdly, I think the pants are a size too large, they don't look fitted enough around the hip area. Also I get similar bags of excess fabrics on the side of the hips, despite doing the right size. I have solved that by straightening out the curved hip shape that these patterns has. This works really well, and I highly recommend it when sewing in stretch fabrics since the pants mold themselfs anyway.
    As for the excess fabric below the butt, I think it's partly because the pants are too large and partly due to other factors that the others commenters have mentioned. The leg definitely needs to be tapered, and I would recommend doing it on both sides symmetrically, at least to begin with.
    Good luck with your pant fitting project!

  8. Also I forgot to add, that while I think the hip area could be smaller, the crotch looks a bit too tight, I would to as Sarah suggests and try other ways of shaping the crotch, I too am a fan of the L-crotch shape, it works much better for my butt.

  9. I think it needs adjustments, but can still be a phenomenal fitting pair of pants. I like the material and style, too. I haven't made enough pants to offer my suggestions as I have luckily been able to wear my pants w/o adjustments to the pattern pieces.

  10. I can't give you any feedback because I make terrible pants, just wanted you to know that I'm cheering you on!

  11. I have no advice to give, since I'm still trying to get the hang of this whole fit/pants thing myself, and am pretty clueless when it comes to adjustments! So this is just to wish you best of luck.

  12. Sounds like Simplicity 2700 in a "slim" to me!

  13. They aren't too bad! They look a bit big in several areas. Today the contour waistband is such the rage. If you added it to these pants, they would be pretty hip and maybe less "mom" feeling.

  14. I commend you for just taking on the task of pants! and although the fit is not perfect, you did a darn good job!

  15. i think you're so awesome for sewing pants...this would be the last thing i'll ever do because it just seems so daunting and for some reason, mathematical.

    (hmmm. it's funny. i didn't want to post my 25 things on fb because i thought it would be too personal to post there. hm.)

  16. It's nice to see the Pants sew along going so well. I'm on the sideline cheering for you all.


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