sdBev's Pants!

By the time I finished 6 fittings,  I was ready to call this pattern a bust. At least for me.  Usually I do nothing to the front of pants beyond leaving out the front darts.  From time to time, I need to scoop the front crotch between 1/8-1/4″ to rid the area of whiskers. But it’s not big deal. Seldom needed.  Pant fronts are usually beautiful for me.

It is the pants back with which I struggle. I need a longer back extension.  My rear is high and full even now that I’m claiming 6 decades and rapidly approaching my 7th decade of living.  It’s the stairs guys. Stairs definitely lift the tush.  Point is,  for pants I need more fullness in back than most women.  The last issue which I seldom overcome, is excess ease over the back thigh.  Sometimes it is related to the pant not being able to slip up and over my tush.  The pant is kept lower like plumber’s butt because the pant iss not wide enough to slip over the hump which is my rump.  People, even experts, look at my pants and advise either a flat butt alteration or adding length to the upper extension.  Neither have ever solved my issues. In fact adding more length to the upper extension creates a bubble directly beneath my waistband and feathers all along the CB seam! Don’t read me wrong here. I always read carefully and consider the advice I receive. Don’t stop commenting or making recommendations.  I’m always hopeful that someone will have the elegant, simple solution. After all, I’m not horribly disfigured.  I look like most middle-aged women I know.

I did 7 pairs of Eleanor’s because with every new version I thought I was one tweak away from perfection.  With every tweak I do of LA6017 I seem to take one step forward and one back. After 6 fittings I’m no closer to a good fit — not perfect just wearable — than I was when I cut the fabric.

I slept on it.  The best way to get my creative left brain working and solving the problem.  Somewhere during the evening I realized I had not increased the length of the back crotch extension.  I’d planned for it.  Added tissue and cut a longer back extension in fabric but I’d never sewn the longer extension.

For the 7th fitting I ripped out the inseam between knee and crotch and aligned the inseam edges so that I would be sewing a 1″ longer back crotch with the inseam would tapering back to default stitching line at the knee. Fit 07:

While the back is somewhat improved (Step Forward)  the front is hideous (Step Backward) and the once perpendicular side seam is leaning towards the back (Backward Step 2). The front is worst than ever. The front was better in fit 1 through 6. It’s important to me to note that:   I didn’t change a thing on the front. I stitched the front inseam on the same line as  previously stitched.

 

I’m done.

This pattern is not going to work for me.  That does happen to me frequently. While I’m not hideously deformed, I also don’t conform to any standard table of measurements. It takes a drafter well experienced with women’s figures to create pant patterns I can use.  These drafters incorporate a variety of alterations and point out when and how to use them or how to eliminate the alteration for your figure.

But what about you? It’s hard for me to make a recommendation.

  • I definitely have a combination of figure issues that most people don’t experience.  Do you? What are your fitting issues?
  • I lack expert fitting skills. I might call myself intermediate. What is your level of expertise?
  • The pattern did have a nice deep U crotch.
  • The back crotch was higher than the front.
    • Crotch shape and height are two design choices which solve a lot of pant issues.
  • The extra seams in the legs are good for people with circumference issues.
    • Long ago, Sandra Betzina  pointed out that many people could use a size 12 for the back and 14 for the front ( vice versa and different sizes applicable).  If you are one of those people, this pattern could help.
  • I”m have mixed emotions about the basic drafting.
    • The seams walked perfectly.
    • I still wonder if I missed a change in seam allowances. I mean, the pant was drafted for someone with an extra inch on her butt. Why was it necessary for me to let out all the center leg seams , back and front, to have sufficient ease?  Especially since I chose to use  a size larger than me? I double checked my hip and waist  circumferences just to be sure. In a way I dislike like seeing my specific numbers but in another way I’m glad not to be yo-yoing up and down.  Being a consistent measurement helps when fitting. Helps when evaluating.
    • I’m still dumb-founded by the two places that the size lines merged into a 1/4″ solid line.  I traced my size from hem to solid line and again from waist to solid line. Then used my french curve to join the two points through the solid line.  Since I used a size 16, the line I drew curved more to the outside of the solid line. Something I thought reasonable, but always wondered if I made the right choice.
    • The lack of notches, circles and other pattern notations bothers me.
      •  There were notches for the center back and center front leg pieces.
      •  I used the knee shorten/lengthen as notches because I know that legs will twist if the fabric doesn’t match between knee and hem.
      • The lack of notches for the pocket confused me so much, I made my own notches.
      • Written instruction to sew up to a certain point (for the zipper) is more complex/less elegant than simply placing a dot . Also, it’s non-standard and likely to be missed.
    • Point is:  The more standard notations used, the easier it is for the end-user/customer to understand AND  produce good results.
  • I’m also surprised by the lack of reviews and blog posts. There were none about the pant pattern. (That I could find.)
    • I know Shams did an excellent review of one of the jackets, but has never mentioned the line again. Then again, Shams has completely different fitting issues from my own and is incredibly bold and accurate with her alterations.  She’s made huge successes of patterns that were dismal failures for me. I greatly admire Shams but I don’t ever expect to be as good as she is.
    • Of the 3 reviews I found, 1  (i.e. 33% or 1/3) was negative because the end result didn’t look like the drawing.
      • From the drawing I expected the pant to sit waist-high.  Had I not changed the SA’s of the waistband, my pant would sit at the low-rise level.
      • Based on that experience, I agree with the negative evaluation. My finished pant would not have looked like the illustration.

 

 

So I read that the seam allowances were 1/2″ unless otherwise stated.  I also read that the suggested fabrics were “Cotton, Linen, Silk, Wool and blends”.  Thankful to find a light-colored, non-stretch fabric in the muslin stash, I chose a cotton twill.  I chose a size that was 1″ larger than my hip even though general knowledge is that patterns will fit from the stated-measurement-for-the-size up to the next-size-measurement.  I knew that a) I like my clothes to fit a little more loosely that most women and that b) my waist was  3.5″ more than the waist of the size I selected but the size which fit my waist would be 5″ larger than my hip. I added fit insurance (increased side seams to 1″ and the back inseam to 1.5″).  I wasn’t surprised at the very first try on that the waist didn’t fit comfortably.  I was surprised  it wouldn’t even close.

Usually, I can pick my size and at zip up the zipper but I can’t breathe. Can’t say this was an auspicious beginning. I released the center  front- leg seams 6″ down from the waistband.  Gradually restitching at an angle so that the seam would be 1/4″ at the top. Nope still couldn’t zip up the pants.  I know that the padding around my waist is concentrated in front. I released the side seams 6″ down from the waistband and then offset front to back  to make the side-front SA 1/2″  and the side-back would still be sewn at its default stitching line.  Ah! At last I can pull the pants up; zip up and breathe.

Question?  Have  misread the pattern.  Have I missed instructions?  Because these are still horribly tight. I promise not to bite if I am in error. I just want to know the truth. I want to sew these as the drafter intended. Having added 3″ to the front waist, and chosen what some would say is a size too large:

 

Huh??? For a pant that was designed for a butt 1″ wider than mine??? These look like I chose a size 3 times too small.  I’m not sure how accurate my critique is at this point, but initial impressions:

I was expecting the top of the waistband to sit higher on my frame. Closer to the natural waist. This pant is just topping my hip crest.  Did anyone read any place that this is a low-rise pant?  I prefer mid-rise and will work with high-rise until I get it low enough to suit me but I avoid any pant with the ‘low-rise’ designation. I don’t like how a low-rise feels and looks on me.

The back waistband is both gaping away from my spine and pulling down slightly at center back.  The pulling down is not a surprise. I suspected that the crotch extension was not long enough and/or the crotch would need to be scooped just because that’s what I need to do on every pant. At the same time the crotch feels too short in back, there is a bubble immediately beneath the waistband and a ‘feather’/ drag line about 1″ above where the crotch curves to go under my body.  These generally denote that my upright is too long.  Too short or too long?   I don’t trust this initial impression. At least my back door is not clearly outlined, a problem I often have which definitely says the crotch extension is too short.

At the same time the waist feels low and the crotch both too short and too long, over the back thigh is poufy indicating too much length between leg crease and knee or that the pant is not sliding up into correct position.

The side seam is leaning towards the back indicating that I need more ease for the back as does the VPL seen in both back and side views. It troubles me that the center back is gaping at the same time that the waist is still  obviously too tight.

Sigh, let’s move on to the front. Once again, I thought this pant would sit at or just above the natural waist. It’s definitely not waist-high. Again I see puffiness but this time between tummy and crotch with whiskers/camel toe at the crotch front.

Let’s face it: Fit #2 is bad. Horribly bad. I wonder if  this was drafted for stretch fabrics? No that’s not what the pattern envelope says.

I searched for other reviews. I could find only 3 reviews about Lori Ann patterns 1 thumbs down 2 up. The one complaint was that the finished garment didn’t look like the sketch. The one blog post I came across was like afterthought instructions from the pattern drafter herself. Basically saying ‘work those center seams’. Not much help when you’ve cut out a pant 3 times too small..  So after thinking about it overnight, I decided to let out the center leg seams both front and back to a scant 1/4″. That meant taking the waistband off to add 1/2″ more circumference in the back. When stitching the WB back to the pant, I opted to use a 3/8″ SA thus adding 1/4″ length hoping to bring the pant up to the waist level I was expecting.

Well Fit #3

People often express surprise at my persistence with fitting. While I don’t look grossly deformed, my body does not closely match any standard measurement chart. I also know that I must change one thing at a time and see how that affects the rest of the fit. It’s the surgical method rather than shotgun method of fitting.

I’m no longer sandwiched or shoe horned into this muslin. No more VPL.  Replacing the 1/2″ seams with 1/4″ seams has added the ease I needed. Typically, I skim instructions looking for specifics (like seam allowance sizes) and concentrate on instructions for any unique details.  I re-read the instructions paying attention to every word.  There are 3 pages with the 4th saying “intentionally left blank”.  Twice, in bold letters it is stated that all seams allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise specified.  I didn’t see any alternate seam allowance specifications anywhere.  In fact, this is least notated pattern I think I’ve ever used. The pockets don’t even have notches.  I’d like to know what I did wrong.  I’m willing to take responsibility.

For Fit 4, I did an ‘undo’.  After Fit 01 I offset the side seams to add more ease to the front at the waistband.  I hesitated to make more than one change, but I just don’t like where the waistband is sitting. Since I had to adjust the waistband, I also stitched it now with 1/4″ seam allowances both when attaching to the pant and  to the facing.  The result was these felt good. I felt uplifted. I felt like ‘OK now I can tweak and perfect the fit’.

Did anyone think ‘hold on there, Bev’?

VPL  returned, not quite as bad but not good. While the WB is sitting better, maybe even right-for-me, it gapes CB.  I’m torn between trying to add more ease to the back and scooping the crotch. The crotch has continually, every fitting pulled on my rear.  It’s uncomfortable and while I should be more patient, I’m getting annoyed and anxious to fix it.  I rather expected the waistband to gap at CB  because from the back view, I have a waist; whereas from the front I do not.  All my top patterns look slightly odd as the back side seam is curved at the waist and the front side seam is straight or convex.  I’m the only person I know of why adds a notch at the waist side seam so I can be sure to ease the front and back waist together.  It’s totally unnoticeable when I wearing the garment.

The best thing about the side view, is that the side seam is fairly perpendicular. So much so that I’m reluctant to make changes.  My tripod does not hold my camera exactly right. I nearly always need to rotate my pics a few degrees. So I look and think ‘Is the side seam leaning forward or does the pic need a little rotating?’

Rarely does this happen, but the front is making me groan.  I mean typically the pant front looks perfect, the side view is OK and the back has me gnashing teeth.  I knew the front crotch curve was different from my fitted patterns, but I didn’t think it was this bad.

 

Fit 05.  How can I be so patient?  Well seeing progress helps. So does experience. My experience is I must make sure a garment fits at the hanging point (shoulders for blouses, waists for pants/skirts) before I can accurately fit lower down.  If I try to fit both the hanging point and parts below, I’ll end up undoing those lower places.  Whenever I make multiple fitting changes at the same time, I increase the total amount of time devoted to fitting. Patience is a necessity, not a luxury nor option.

It’s time to snug the waistband to my body. I  added two 1/4″ darts in the waistband with the big end of the dart at the waist.) It’s also time to start removing the puffiness in front above the crotch.  It’s like scooping but instead of the bottom of the back crotch, I’m placing the scoop at the front waist towards the sides.  Despite my lecture above,  I offset the side seams again. One-half inch,  this time favoring the back.

The front is markedly improved!  I’ll need to work on the crotch curve, but I think now that has to be done at the tissue phase.

I”m not unhappy with the side view. This pant has been off and on how many times?  I’ve never done more than a quick press at the site of the correction.  Once again, I think  the angle of the camera may have more to do with the perpendicularly of the side seam than a fitting issue.

The little waist scoop I did in front?  Needs to be extended to the back.  That’s something I do frequently when fitting pants.  Most of the VPL is gone. Ease is has become  an  odd issue.  I can pinch the side seam nearly a full inch yet the fabric  across my rear looks tight.  Also there is excess ease of the back thigh and I’m seeing those detested diagonal pulls at the knee.  I think it’s time to scoop

Fit 06. I went bold and scooped a full 1/2″.  It’s recommended that scooping be done 1/4″ at  time. From my TJ906 and PP113 patterns, I estimated that I would need at least a 1/2″ scoop.  I usually scoop as the last possible option.  When you scoop, you also have to trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. Otherwise, the effect of the scoop is not seen. Or felt.  Once you scoop, you can’t un-scoop. It’s done. It’s permanent. Which is why this is so sad:

I can’t go back to a previous fit; and this is still so bad. I have a tight rear end at the same time I can pinch over an inch ease at the side seam:

I have camel toe with pull lines everywhere.

Although it’s not all that late… I think I should take a break.

Some things, just need to be considered carefully.

 

 

My sewing angel gifted this pattern to me.

She was disappointed but assured me the pattern was well drafted. Her issue had been the close fit and the confusion with the pocket.  OK, I love a new pant pattern. I’ll try it out.

This pant has multiple pieces.  It is the ‘princess’ style for pants. Meaning that it has front, side front, back, side back and contoured waistband. It’s really a good fit idea. I first ran into this idea when I was doing a lot of machine knitting.  From the custom knitters I learned that this type pattern was their first choice because it is possible to adapt the knitting to wearer with small adjustments while stitching. That’s as opposed to knitting, stitching together and then ripping it all out and of course knitting once again. Maybe knitting several times.  Having those extra seams means that there are many places to make small adjustments.  Cumulatively, those small adjustments equal big changes and a badly fitting sweater can morph into a beautiful, fit praise worthy,  finished item.  So I’m inclined to favorably view ‘princess lines’ in pants.  I even have a pattern now, TJ906 which has princess lines only in the back leg. Combined with a contour waistband, it is the best fitting jean I’ve ever had.  My point is, I’m starting this pattern in a favorable frame of mind.

Sizing was the first issue I struggled with. One size is 1/2″ too small at the hip.  The size larger,  1″ too generous. My waist is shapely from behind, but nonexistent in front. I usually address that by leaving out the darts in front and adding or increased the depth of the darts in back. On this pattern I have the choice of 5″ too small at the waist or going up to the size waist which gives me 5″ too much at the hip.  That might be OK for a trouser but I thought this draft was to be close-fitting.  I chose a size in between and traced the size 16 which matches none of my measurements being both too big at the hip and too small at the waist.

As I traced I realized why my sewing angel may have found the pocket confusing. I didn’t find a single alignment notation for the pockets.  I think you’re being left to wonder, ‘have I aligned this correctly?’  I walked the seams of back and front side pieces. Marked the point where the front side should terminate. Then aligned my pocket with the curves of the front side and center seams before adding my own alignment marks.  You may think that is overkill. I had minor fit  issues with the Jalie Jean until I marked and matched the pockets. Since then, I just don’t take the chance.  I want to get the fit as good as possible the first time. I copy all notches and dots and I match them up when sewing. Myabe it’s just a security blanket type situation for me.

I also felt frustrated with two places where the various sized cutting lines  joined creating a solid 1/4″ line.

Where does my size cross in that 1/4″?  I’m disconcerted because I’ve definitely found that 1/4″ makes a difference in how clothing fits me.  With this many seams, I’m concerned about even 1/16″.  They add up, you know? I was a bit annoyed to be left guessing. I know my pattern was free to me, but I feel expensive Indy patterns should be very accurate.  I need to feel like we’re getting something extra for the extra cost.  Well lets move on.

After tracing La6017 in size 16, I compared with my well-fitting patterns PP113 and TJ906.

I like the nice deep U of  LA6017

but in comparison with PP113, I find that the back extension isn’t long enough for me. YMMV

To be fair, I followed Pamela Patterns instructions and added 1″ along the seam allowances for the first fitting of PP113.  While the 1″ was trimmed away from the other seams, I needed it along the back inseam .  So maybe I just need to add 1″ along the back inseam of LA 6017.

 

Next I compared with the aforementioned TJ906.  The front crotch curves are different.

Sorry it’s so hard to see. I took 3 pics. This was the best.

On me, this curve creates ripples/whiskers/drag lines in front. I may be able to correct at the muslin stage by scooping the front crotch a little.  I’m more concerned by the fact that TJ906 has a little more circumference at the  front waist.  Right where my tummy is.  I have tweaked the  TJ906 front crotch curve. I did not add circumference. Ever.  It was there in the pattern

I looked at the back crotch and think it’s possible that just scooping could fix any issues I might have.

But I look at how different the pant is proportioned when grain lines are parallel and doubt.

I also compared waistbands. TJ906 has been tweaked to fit me.  That means there is more front waistband than back and it is more curved.

Finished with my comparisons and onto initial conclusions and a sewing/fitting plan:

I’m not using a left and right waistband nor a right and left under waistband more commonly called a facing; only the left waistband. I didn’t even trace the zipper guards.  These are neat details and I do look for them in expensive clothing. They also have practical applications. A facing is cut just slightly narrower than waistband.  At the SM, the bottom edges of facing and waistband are aligned which causes the waistband to roll toward the inside. The facing will never be visible on the public side using this method. But, there are alternative sewing procedure I prefer to use.  I cut these pieces the same size and stitch the upper edges together. I press that edge, flat, then open and finally press the SA’s toward the facing side.  At the SM I use the triple zig zag  to secure the SA’s to the facing. I smooth the facing inside and pressed carefully before stitching in the ditch from the pubic side.  I’m not sure if it is more work or less. I am sure it feels easier and less fussy to me. Then end result is the same.  You’ll never see a facing on the public side of my pants either.

As for zipper guards/shields/facings, the real purpose is protecting tender skin and– err– fur from being caught by zipper teeth.  I use granny panties. No zipper will ever nip me or pull my fur.  Granny panties require no additional sewing.    I have therefore added a 1″ cut-on fly to the front pattern piece.

I traced the front stay, but won’t use it for the muslin. I’m afraid that I won’t see fit issues if the stay is acting as an old fashioned girdle or corset. I’d rather fit the pant carefully and use the stay for additional smoothing.

I’m also not making the pocket on the muslin.  Instead I’ve pinned the pocket in place and will cut the muslin to include it.

My sewing angel shortened the pattern leg length which suits me just fine. Even though I personally didn’t shorten the pattern, I want to note a needed alteration.

I increased  side seams to 1″ and the back inseam allowance to 1.5″. Just a little fit insurance.   I will baste the muslin along the original-default stitching-lines because I’d really like to see how this draft works for my body.  I’m always hopeful a new and however-slightly-different draft will make fitting magic. The straight of grain line is significantly different between LA6017 and TJ906. The crotch shape is significantly different.  But I do feel encouraged. These could fit. Pigs can fly.  They need the help of a tornado; but they can fly.

 

The ‘Bank Line’ pics above tell me that DH has nothing to be ashamed of and neither do I.  I might want to think about lengthening my blouses if I’m going to continue wearing  slim pants without a 3rd layer. My vests or other 3rd layers will cover up the issues I object to.  Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised. I did think I might have to acknowledge this as a definite muslin and throw it pant away.

The 50% stretch of the fabric was a bigger issue than I expected. I removed 1/2″ ease from the front and stitched the back at 1/4″ instead of the 1cm SA’s planned. I thought I had already made this change to the tissue.  These days, it is typical for me to add 1/2″ ease to the back and remove the same amount from the front. Like my entire back side is 1 size bigger than my front or like I buy size 14 but my back is a 16 and my front is a 12, KWIM?   Not only did this fabric have 50% horizontal stretch, it has 25% vertical. I trimmed 3/4″ from the waistband and would have trimmed more except that the elastic interfered. Speaking of elastic, the 1″ initially removed was not enough. I removed an additional inch from both front and back to make the elastic a total of 4″ shorter than the previous elastic; AND I could have removed more. I scooped the back crotch three times.  The first time, my pattern alterations had created an odd, uneven crotch. I needed to scoop just to have a nice curve.  Later I scooped 1/4″ each time which greatly reduced the back-of-leg wrinkles but also shortened the leg length. I could scooped even more except for the pant length thing.  I’m seriously thinking I need to shorten that back leg.

I love to see the fitting progression and thought I’d share a few with you.

As we look into the pic, the unfitted pant is on the left, final version on the right. I removed 1/2″ ease from the front because the side seam evenly divided me 1/3 back to 2/3 front; and there were masses of diagonals in back.  Once I removed the ease  as shown in pic 3  (3rd from left, 2rd from right) I’m sure everyone will say “more tummy room”.  All those wrinkles are gone though by the last pic. Why? Because I know from experience the front diagonal lines that point to the side and were repeated on the back, mean that I’ve gotten my side seam too long.  I chopped 3/4″ off the top of each side seam. Suddenly, last pic on the right,  no tummy wrinkles.

Scoop, scoop, scoop:

Despite removing a hundred wrinkles, I am disappointed in the sheer number that remain. I think the Near Perfect Eleanor used a firmer fabric. The combination of softer RPL and 50/25 stretch did not help this version at all. I just did reach the point were it was counterproductive to continue scooping.  But I think  these are wearable. Certainly better than 99.9% of the RTW  I’ve tried on.

I was very concerned about the grain line adapted because of the alteration .  I carefully made notches and matched them because I know if the notches don’t match the pant absolutely will twist.

I think it was a valid concern.  I clearly see a drape towards the side seam of the leg, above the hem. Although it has lessened by the final pair (far pair on the right as we look at the pic).  The backs have a very similar drape.  Previous Eleanors clearly break at the front of the shoe

.. and their corresponding backs just hang to the floor.   I deliberately leave my pants a bit long.  At my house, all the clothing goes into the washer and dryer for cleaning.  Even  fabrics designed for this kind of maintenance will shrink over time–sometimes rapidly!

When I’m looking at the current Eleanors, I have to ask, was the grain line drawn incorrectly or is this just the result of softer fabric with 4 way stretch?

Unlike the Xmas Dress, I’m not in a place of not knowing what to do.  The pants are wearable but Im not sure the knee spread alteration was effective. The Bank Line pics look good, the fitting close ups show the drape below the knee.  I’m copying my Eleanor again because I want to record the fitting changes needed for a 50% stretch fabric. My copy will add 1/2″ ease to the back and remove the same from the front.  I will shorten the crotch length 1/2″ both back and front.  Scoop the back crotch 1/2″ and make the entire crotch curve smooth. I’ve not decided exactly how to shorten the back leg.  Will it be enough to shorten at the inseam or do I need to tuck then entire leg and then ease it to the front leg  Whichever I choose, I’ll mark this new pattern 50% stretch and carefully put it away.  The next time I work on pant fitting, I plan to use J Sterns Jeans pattern and fitting procedure.  As for the Eleanors, they are good enough most times and perfect from time to time.  When I just want to sew pants, I can choose from Eleanor, TJ906 or PP113.

One of the issues with knock knees is the greater length needed to go over the knee .  J Sterns and a few others recommend slashing and spreading just under the crotch as in this diagram from cationdesigns

I have a problem with this particular alteration because it looks too much like the plus-size, problem patterns I’ve had to deal with.  It’s as though when drafting for plus sizes, the drafter assumes that the frame, my bones, spread further apart as I get fatter. My legs do not get further apart. Those hip sockets are fixed. If anything, the thigh gap gets smaller and closer together.  Also when I look at my legs the leg from crotch to knee doesn’t seem to angle outwards. To me my thigh area angles and the calf portion angles outward. But I’ve seen alterations work really well and they didn’t seem logical to me, so I’m keeping this alteration in mind for future investigation.   What I’m working with now is an alteration I refer to as the knee-spread. As shown by SewStashSew 

I like this alteration for a couple of reasons.  I agree that the knock knee needs more length. Over the years, I’ve noticed that my inseam will slowly shrink until it’s at least 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. Doesn’t matter whether I made the pants or purchased RTW. The inseam and side seam start level. With each laundry, the inseam becomes a little shorter.  For years I blamed the pattern companies’ and RTW’s habit of making the inseam shorter between crotch and knee. (I’m rethinking that.  )

I also like this alteration because it makes the change where the change is needed.  When Gale Grigg Hazen  was traveling and giving lectures, she always emphasized that the change needs to be made where it corresponds to the body. For example, she was not in favor of shortening the hem at the side seam to adapt for a full bust. If you needed more length over the bust, she wanted you to put the length over the bust even if that meant changing the style lines.  She had a point and I’ve never forgotten her lecture. I do think the more weight I carry the more her theories fit my personal clothing construction alterations.  So when I see something like the knit spread that puts length at the knee where the length is needed, I’m more favorably impressed. More likely to make this alteration that seems logical, reasonable to me. The one thing that bothers me about this alteration is the change of the grain line.  Usually pant pattern are drafted with the grain line vertical to and bisecting the hem. That way the leg hangs straight.  Following these instructions, the grain line is shifted.  No longer perpendicular to the hem and no longer is the grain running straight down the leg.  I’ve learned the hard way to respect the grain. Yet I understand that we are adapting for a physical deviation, however minor’ and we need to do something different if I’m to get different results.

Finally, I like this alteration because it creates a pattern that follows my own structure:

 

You did not think I was going to post pictures of my naked leg, did you?  I took several pictures but I wanted to focus on the essence of my leg shape between crotch and ankle. So I selected the best pictures and made a composite.  My technical knowledge petered out so I used pen and vellum to trace my legs.  Then scanned the tracing.  From it (the tracing) I think we can see my leg shape well enough.  Note that the knee is touching in both front and back views. Even then I still have thigh gap. My thighs never meet. This is not typical for knock knees. In fact the definitions I’ve read specify that the thighs will be pressed together. Note, I’m not standing with one leg in front of the other. My lower legs  are naturally forced apart, just as described in the definition of knock knees.  My knock knees are less prominent the less I weigh. Right now I have goodly fat bulges on both knees and very obvious knock knees..  An interesting point you can not see in the tracing but is visible in the photos, my right leg twists just slightly between knee and ankle.  It’s most obvious from the back.  Normally I stand with one leg in front of the other and none of this is noticed.

I also traced the prominent skeletal lines:

As we look at the pic, that’s front on the left  and back on the right, just as in the pic above. I marked a horizontal from outside to outside of the body at the crotch line, knee and ankle.  Then I made a little tick mid way of each leg, knee and ankle.  When I joined the ticks with a vertical the lines and possibly my legs look fairly straight.  My bones look straight. It’s when flesh is apparent that I think ‘knock knee’.

I decided to try this knee spread alteration. I still have questions as to whether I am truly knock kneed.  I admit to having some features of the knock kneed and maybe that’s enough to require corresponding alterations.

I traced my Jalie pattern using the “Near Perfect” version.  It’s possible I might need a combination of alterations. But I didn’t think the Knee Slide helped in the least.  It didn’t the first time I used it.  It didn’t work last time. Why incorporate it now?  I made the knee spread alteration 5/8″ on both front and back pattern pieces.  I chose 5/8″ because most of my inseams shrink to be 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. But not always.  It depends entirely on the fabric.  I can never be sure how much a fabric will shrinkt two years down the road.  So I chose an in between number i.e. in between the least amount of shrinkage (1/2″) and the most common (3/4″). I will not be making the faux fly or messing with pockets.  This is a test which may end up a disaster. I am using the back yoke.  I have to use a different elastic for the waistband. Up to now, I’ve made all Eleanors with the same elastic. But it’s all gone. I’ll use my favorite which Louise Cutting sells at Cutting Line Designs. I’d rather not be dealing with the elastic variable, but it is what it is. LC’s elastic is 1.25″ wide instead of the 1″ called for but it will still fit inside the waistband.  This is elastic is also softer and stretches further.  For starters I have chosen to use 1″ less length than I did with the previous elastic.

My fabric chose me. All the sorting and stacking I did last week produced not a single stretch fabric for pants. But I have somehow manged to get 2 cuts of exactly the same turquoise RPL.  It has 50% stretch . I think the Near Perfect Jalies had 40% stretch.  If so, I will need to tweak the fit.

One of the things I do love about the Eleanor is how quickly it sews together.  I serged yokes to backs and then serged inseams. Also nailed the elastic into place with a triple zig-zag. But I BASTED together everything else . Expecting at least some fitting adjustments , I used water-soluble thread with a 3mm stitch length.

 

Fitting Pics tomorrow.

 

I’ve decided, I really do have knock knees. I’ve always seen knock knees described as the knee turning inward or the leg rotating inward. My knee is pretty straight on. As far as rotating, that’s what the earth does, right? Neither leg nor knee look like they are rotating to me. So for years I’ve said I’m NOT knock kneed.  There is a distinctive pad of fat on my inner knee.  I thought that might cause the same fitting issues as a knock knee but continued to deny I was actually knock kneed. Here recently I took pictures of my bare leg between hip and ankle. No, I’m no posting those pics. In those pics I see my  thigh bone curves/bows outward creating thigh gap no matter how much I weight (or don’t weigh) but at the same time my legs angle towards the knees.  Like an inverted triangle with the tip at my knees.  My lower legs cannot come together unless I shift a leg forward (or back) and they splay outward from knee to ankle but straight, no bowing.

Interestingly I seem to have bowed, knock knees after all.  I think it may not always be obvious because I generally stand with one leg in front of the other rather than spread apart shoulder-width or side by side.

That’s really food for future thought and maybe alterations because I’d already decided I wanted to try a knock knee alteration.  Nearly every pant I make has some hint of drag lines around the knee like these (from the Near Perfect Eleanor)

So I copied the last pattern and added a 1″ Knock Knee Alteration to both back and front. 1″ is pretty substantial. Jennifer Sterns Knock Knee Alteration recommends making the alteration 1/4″ at a time.   But I’ve been this route before.  At the time, I stopped at a 3/4″ alteration because that was the recommended maximum.  I decided there was no point in repeating in quarter-inch increments since my previous attempts had no effect upon these drag lines. I decided to go for 1″ and adjust from there.

I made a wadder. Actually it was a beautiful pair of Eleanors sewn from a cotton/lycra twill.  Gorgeous fabric but without the required 20% stretch.  I could not pull them up over my hips.  Had no idea about the effect of the knock knee alteration.  How could I have possibly made such a goof?  Well I didn’t measure the stretch of the fabric. I pulled. It stretched.  I felt kind of dumb when I couldn’t pull the pants up.

So I selected another fabric and this time I measured the stretch.  A good yank on this poly knit fabric creates a 50% stretch.  Boy can you tell it.  Stretch measured to just before the fabric is obviously stretched is 30%.   Eleanor requires 20% stretch so I should be good to go.  I also used Louise’s elastic this time because I was out of the elastic used previously. I do prefer Louise’s elastic. It is softer and a little more stretchy but I wanted to be consistent.  I cut both pieces of elastic 1″ shorter.  My pattern has 5/8 side seam-allowances so I can adapt ease for the various fabrics.  I know from experience that the same fabric from different bolts will behave slightly differently. I want the option to add a bit of ease.  I serged this together with 1/4″ seam allowances pretty much without stopping. I figured if there was too much ease, I would make a seam on the sewing machine 5/8″ or whatever needed to reduce ease.  In retrospect, I need to mark this version as needing 50% stretch.  The result is just a little tighter than I like.

Pic 2: One foot in front of the other i.e Typical Bank Line Pose

Fortunately, my blouses/tops will cover those wazy hips. They won’t cover the back of leg and knee wrinkles which get worse depending upon how I stand:

Pic 3: Feet shoulder-width apart

The good news is that these are a deep, dark brown, I guess they would be black-brown or brown-black.  In the bank line you see:

which is no wrinkles at all. Don’t forget, I’ll probably be standing with one leg in front of the other (as in Pic2) which decreases the leg wrinkles.

Back to the Knock Knee Alteration….. I ‘m not sure it improved the drag lines at the knee.  Comparing side-by-side  with the ‘Almost Perfect Eleanor”

I think there are more back-of-leg and knee wrinkles on this version. Is that because there is less stretch?  Percentage of stretch is definitely a factor.  Compare with the first Eleanor which has negative ease butd did not have J. Sterns diagonal overlap:

 

When it comes to the knee drag lines, I”m just not sure how much of an improvement we’re looking at.

The 2-1/4 yards of fabric felt hefty when I pulled it off the shelf and did my stretch test. However I began to doubt its winter-cold weather applicability whilst serging. The finished garment tells me it’s a spring/summer/fall garment instead of the winter garment I desired.  I love the Jalie Eleanor and will continue to work at reducing the wrinkles. I’ve kept this garment but wonder if I’ll ever wear it because I’ll probably improve the fit before weather permits its wear.

As for the alterations, I need to think some more.

Winter is slowly taking over. Day by day. Temperature drop by temperature drop.  I am testing out my winter wardrobe by wearing a new set every day. OK not necessarily new to me garments, but garments that I carefully cleaned, pressed and hung in my closet as ‘ready’ for winter. It took no time at all to start noticing I didn’t have enough brown pants.  Most of what I have is blue. I need to rectify that and chose to make a nice pair of trousers in brown twill suiting.

This is a 100% polyester fabric and proves my point that polyester can be high quality.  This has wonderful weight and drape.  Pressing did require a few extra seconds to allow the heat and steam to persuade seams to lie flat and pressed either open or to one side.  I opted to use the last well fitted version of the pattern and for something different moved the closure from zipper to open pocket.  This is easy to do and great to use when you don’t have a matching zipper or are in a hurry.  It is not apparent to the viewer that there even is a closure:

The closure is hidden in the pocket and created by leaving the pocket bag partially unstitched

Essentially you are making inseam pockets.  4 pocket bags are cut.  The right side is stitched together like making an inseam pocket. The right side is a little trickier. The inside ‘seam’ is finished before attaching the bags to the front and back side seams.  The side seam is stitched from hem, up to about 2″ into the pocket. Turn the work so you can stitch back down that 2″ and around the bottom of the pocket bag and up the side leaving 6″ open.  The waistband needs to be extended by the width of the top of the pocket bag.  The front pocket is folded in and secured to the front pant. The back pocket is left free. The waistband is applied along this long waistband which becomes the correct length after the button, snap or hooks are sewn into place.  Clear as mud?  Sorry. This is one that is easier to do than describe and step by steps would be boringly long.

I see the pic at the top of the page, as being me in the bank line.  I lightened that pic for a better view:

To me, this is totally acceptable. I made trousers. They have a 20″ hem. They are supposed to be loose; easy wearing, comfortable.  What’s more, because pp113 is a TNT pattern and the closure was so easy, these pants took only 4 hours to make from start to finish which included 1 fitting session.  However when I lifted my shirt to take photos of the waist, I shifted my weight and twisted the pants because this :

\

would suggest that I need to work on the pattern some more.  I don’t think so. I think I twisted my body see how my left leg looks about 2/3’s the size of my right leg. I think I’m standing funny and the bank line pictures are right.

Anyway, 1 pair of brown pants in the closet and ready to be worn.

 

I know I left yesterday’s post on a down note but today I’d like to move past my personal fitting issues and talk about the style and construction features of Jalie’s Eleanor.

 

First THUMBS UP for the speed with which this can be sewn together. I traced, cut and serged the first pair in under 3 hours.  I think more like 2.

It is  a pull-on jean. Although I think it is more of a Yoga pant with jean styling or maybe a jean with yoga pant styling. But in my mind it is not clearly one or the other but borrows elements from both. I happen to like the styling and would give it a THUMBS UP.

It has a faux-fly which I didn’t stitch until I made Pant #6 (the near-perfect).  I was surprised at how  a nice detail that became.  The fly pieces are cut on  the pant (not separate pieces to be attached adding time to the sewing) and then fold to one side which gives a nice heft and a guide line for stitching.  I stitched from the inside.  The fly looks real, even though there isn’t a zipper. The fly stitching lines are slimming — something I always appreciate having but especially over my tummy. I give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the faux fly

I also didn’t stitch the faux front pockets.  I hate the ‘real’ pockets on my DG2 jeans. They are so shallow they are unusable.  In fact they are an ugly distraction. When I get a new pair of DG2’s,  I try them on, take pictures and then stitch the pockets closed before cutting off the bag. Much better; much, much better that Jalie recognized these should just be for show. However, it’s a bit fiddly to sew and I did not make them during the tissue alteration and fitting process. Nor will I make these pockets when “it’s for reals”.  I plan to face the ‘pocket opening’ with bias tape and applique to a pocket back. I know this will be easier than trying to line up the two sharply curved pieces for stitching and then top-stitching.  I give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the faux pocket but prefer my own application method.

I do love the slim leg.  I’ve been trying for years to find a pattern with a slim leg that is not figure revealing — as in “counting hairs” revealing.  Yes I would not be praising this pattern had I not also used Jennifer Stern’s fitting procedure. Bottom line, this is the leg I’m looking for but you may not like what I’ve created.  I created my leg by going up two sizes and adding ease along the inseam. The drafted leg is much slimmer than what I’ve created. Keep that in mind if you decide to make this pattern yourself.  I give Jalie  a PUSH on this because I’m not using the leg as they drafted but  I like the leg I’m using.

I did not use the back pocket either. I wanted to; the fabrics I used did not. I don’t care for the scant 1″ hem.  In my experience with beefy fabrics,  the turn-of-cloth will create either a smaller pocket or smaller hem.  With the fabrics I was using, the hem kept becoming 1/2″ which was objectionable to me.  The real reason I didn’t use pockets this time was that the fabric would not form nice crisp edges and corners. Regrettably my mind was focused on other details and not until I hung the final pair on hanger did I realize I could have fused interfacing to the entire pocket and solved all my issues.  Definitely MY BAD. I’m experienced enough that I should have solved this issue early on. I’ll give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the pockets because they are important for jeans styling.

I can’t give Jalie an unqulified rating on the drafting. Mostly the pieces seemed to fit together well but I had some discrepancies most notably the length of the back and front inseam. I have not been exhaustive in discovering the source of the discrepancy and freely admit that I could be it. At the same time, I can’t remember a time that I made a half inch tracing error without noticing it.  I routinely notice and correct 1/16″ discrepancies. How could I have missed something so much larger? I just don’t know.  I’m noting the discrepancy here and admitting it’s presently unsolved but likely to be me.

I saved the waistband evaluation till now because the WB is truly noteworthy.

  • The waistband  is drafted in two pieces  to add additional shaping.  The curved shapes remove ease at the waist while retaining the same ease as the upper hip.  Very ingenious. I like this draft better than Pamela’s instructions for creating a Yoga pant using PP113 as the basis
  •  Jalie really nails that elastic in place. It is not going to roll or shift and if Jalie’s instructions are followed, no one is even going to know  it is even there. That’s because the elastic  is stitched to the inside and  private side of the waistband.
  • THUMBS DOWN for lumpy waistband side seams. The waistband is two pieces and folded in half (total 4 layers). The elastic is two pieces (and match the length of the waistband at its narrowest). Creating 6  layers in the WB side seam.   Very thick and lumpy.
  • THUMBS DOWN  There is no adjusting the elastic once it’s sewn.  I’m  not replacing it either if it permanently stretches out of shape before the garment dies.  Too many stitches to remove and replace. Not doing it. No. Nuh. Nah nah.  <head shake>
  • I also prefer to fold the WB in half WST and baste the cut edges together.  That keeps them from flapping around and not being caught in the permanent stitching.  Very important if -like me- you tend to use narrow seam allowances. (I like 1/4 and 3/8″ SAs.)  I didn’t see an instruction to baste the cut edges together.  Maybe I just missed it. So I’m not rating this merely stating my preference.
  • For the fitting process, I stitched the WB side seams; folded the WB in half and pressed. Then I  joined the elastic in a circle. Marked both WB and elastic in quarters before snuggling the elastic inside the WB.  I stitched through both layers of WB twice; once just below the elastic and a second time 1/4″ above the cut edges. Totally looks like a normal Yoga Waistband.
    • In this configuration, the elastic will have a tendency to move (rotate, roll etc).  Because of that I top stitched CB, CF and both side seams.
    • Worked well during the fitting process.
      • Allowed me to adjust the elastic during fitting.
        • I both increased and decreased the length
        • Will need to be able to adapt for other elastics as well.
      • I admit that for actual garments I prefer to emulate the invisible elastic application and don’t have a solution yet
  • Overall, I like the look of Jalie’s Elastic Application when finished and will be seeking an application that produces the same effect.

So despite yesterday’s sour note, I like this pattern. I like the style and with Jen’s help, I like the fit.  I’m not quite ready to award it TNT status but I am ready to make it a permanent addition to my pants wardrobe.

Grab your coffee (tea or whatever); find a good chair and make yourself comfortable. This is going to be a long post with several photos. I’m not dividing it into multi-posts. I been involved in a  two-week project which resulted in near-perfect pair of pants:

(I promise I will lighten the rest of the photos so you can really see the fit.)

Several weeks ago I was intrigued by Jalie’s new pants pattern the Eleanor

 

It was Dawn’s post (Two On Two Off) that alerted me to the arrival of this new pattern. It comes with a cute back story here ; and is described as “pull on jeans… fitted through waist and hips, straight from the knee down. Very easy to turn into skinny jeans!”

OK jeans, so not trousers. Not loose at all. But I like a good fitting pair of jeans. Just not skinny jeans (although I do have one pair of skinny jeans). I hesitated to buy largely because of the international purchasing hassles I can run into, but also because I’ve recently struggled with several patterns and wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved in the pants fitting process.  Pants fitting is usually a multi-muslin process which is also time-consuming. It is rare to be able to fit a pant pattern to myself with only tweaking fit. That’s why I loved Pamela’s 113 so much. My first 113 was wearable and subsequent versions have tweaked the fit but mostly been fun changes.  When Pattern Review started carrying the Eleanor , I bought…..and started sewing and sewing and sewing.  I have sewn 6 pairs of Eleanors in the last 2 weeks:

first ———————— through ———————— last

 

Insane? Thing is, every pair I made,  I kept thinking I just needed to change one thing to have a good pair of pants and great pattern. The first pair (grey far left),   I chose to use the recommended size (based on hip girth)  and knit fabric with 20% stretch (the recommended minimum). I didn’t believe that this would publically wearable. I was thinking a pair of PJ’s to test the pattern. But it is skin-tight. Not a sexy come hither look either. More like “Why is she punishing me?” . I was expecting fitted (Butterick Ease chart) but this was almost negative ease.  These are tighter than my actual, real tights.  The first thing I did was mark the hip, thigh and knee position on my body with pins. I looked in the mirror and said “yep that’s were my rear sticks out the furtherest” and put a pin in it.  Did the same for knee (Yep that’s the middle of my knee) and thigh.   Took the PJ’s off, measured the location of the pins and marked the corresponding point on the pattern. (The pattern has knee notches, but lets you guess where the hip and thigh were plotted.) Now I could measure the pattern and chose a size based upon measurements (shades of Peggy Sagers. Eh?)  To my surprise, the recommend size had 1/4″ of ease. That’s barely positive ease. Close doesn’t adequately describe it for me.  I measured 5 sizes on the pattern sheet before having a brain flash and measuring my favorite DG2 jeans too.  I went up two sizes over the recommended.  Will you need to do the same?  Not necessarily. I’m at the top end of the recommended size. I almost selected the next size up to start with because I know that I prefer a little more ease than RTW; but decided to trust Jalie because their stretch jeans are so wonderful (but come to think of it, I make my Jalie jeans one size larger.)

I made the second pair, also intended to be PJ’s, two sizes larger than the recommended size and using a firm rib knit which I suspect is 100% polyester.  They are the light olive-green, 2nd from the left in my ‘Pantheon’ above.  You’re seeing the unscooped version. When I scooped the back crotch nearly all the back leg wrinkles disappeared — also the slight front camel toe disappeared. Just from a 1/2″ scoop!

I thought: ” I’ve got it. These are going to be great.”   I made the 3rd pair (3rd from the left) using a really good cotton/lycra twill after scooping the pattern’s back crotch  1/2″. Holy cow,  these in the good fabric had more wrinkles than the 2nd pair in the crappy fabric.

Pair #4 in a light olive Ponte (4th from the left and 3rd from the right) I decided to incorporate Jennifer Sterns diagonal overlap alteration.  These pants were slightly better. Jen’s alteration definitely improved the back wrinkles so I posted a question at Craftsy asking if there was a maximum the diagonal could be over lapped.

Side Note: I’m enrolled and have now completed Jennifer Sterns Craftsy Course  “the Perfect Jeans”. This is a commercial class which is relatively inexpensive if bought on sale.  I’m reluctant to quote her exact method because it may be copyrighted.  However, Ann’s Pearls of Wisdom at Stitcher’s Guild, contains a very similar alteration in the Flat Seat Adjustment thread which can be viewed for free.  There are differences between the two methods.  Jen is very specific about where the change needs to be made and how deep; both of which are body dependent and highly individualized. You have to discover the depth and location on your own body. Which may be the reason why Jen’s method worked for me, but Ann’s Flat Seat Adjustment left me protesting that I don’t have a flat butt as evidenced here  and no need for the FSA. This adjustment is something you have to work with.  It’s unlikely that any set of directions will be spot on the first time. If you have the same back wrinkles as I do, I recommend trying Ann’s free method. If that doesn’t work or is not entirely satisfactory, then pay for Jen’s class.

Jen answered within 24 hours which made me happy.  Her answer was to try scooping. Apparently while there is not an exact number at which you have to stop (2″, 3″ ?”of overlap) you want to minimize pattern distortion. I almost posted pictures at Craftsy but decided if I was going to take her time, I would follow all her directions.  Kind of like going to the doctor. Why are you paying him, taking his time, if you won’t tell him the whole truth or follow all his instructions?   Hence pair #5 – 2nd from the right.

I carefully measured and followed every one of Jen’s directions.  The 5th pair incorporates only three tissue changes. I added 3/4″ to the side at the back hip,  folded 2″ length out of the leg above the knee; and added 3/4″ width along the entire back inseam . The length between butt and knee is an area that Jen specifies measuring.  Her explanation was not entirely clear to me  but I think she says the incorrect length from crotch to knee can create wrinkles because the fabric cannot move freely where it needs to move.  I added the 3/4″ to the back inseam because I used to be able to fit Burda pants patterns with the same alteration and it was the key to the easy fit of Pamela’s Patterns #113.  On all the previous versions, I could see the stress wrinkles Jen was saying means add length to the crotch; also I knew sooner or later I was going to do something about my knock knees.  This is a known, a tried and proven solution for both of my issues. Why not do it now?

To my shock Pair #5 was fairly close to fitting at the first try-on. During basting I noticed that I was stretching the front inseam to match the back. Huh? I thought the inseams should be equal in length or sometimes a designer would make the back inseam shorter, not longer as it obviously was.  Could I have traced incorrectly?  Sure, but I’ve never made a half-inch tracing error without realizing it.  When I place notches and dots, the misalignment becomes obvious.  I had “taped like I meant it” so there was not much checking I could do without destroying my working copy.  I did compare my back and front tissues and discovered that my front inseam was definitely shorter than the back. I still had my very first two-sizes-two-small tissue which had not been altered in any way and I compared them to each other and to the original pattern. Sure enough, I’m coming up with the back inseam is longer than the front. Why did no one else using this pattern notice or say anything?  Well, it could still be my error.  I tend to repeat my errors and need a second person to draw my attention to where I’m making my mistake. But also, this pair and this pair alone was made from Bengaline and was cut crossgrain. That means I had width wise stretch but not vertical.  Most knits would easily disguise that 1/2″ difference.  This unyielding Bengaline wouldn’t.   I scooped the crotch on pair #5 and called it wearable before proceeding to …

Pair #6, the near perfect pair.  My fabric is “stretch Silhouette Double Knit” 98% polyester 2% lycra.  I’d buy a warehouse full of this fabric.  It is spongy and thick. Reminds me of Slinky but doesn’t have quite the same amount of droop. I know people who hung their Slinky for 24 hours before cutting and another 24 before hemming just because they loved everything about Slinky except it’s tendency to grow length-wise during wear.  I, myself, threw away my first slinky T-shirt because the crew neck line of the morning, turned into bosom-baring by lunch.   But back to the Silhouette Double Knit, I’m looking for more because while it does bend and flex and yes grow a little, but over all  it is the Slinky I always really wanted.

Pair #6, has the 3/4″ added to the hip back side seam; 3/4″ added to the entire back inseam;  and the 2″ fold above the knee — all as in pair #5 and as discovered during Jen’s measuring process. Additionally  I  folded a 1/4″ tuck above the knee ( back only). This removes total of 1/2″ length from the back between butt and knee. I did not make a corresponding change to the front because when I walked the side seams I found the 1/4″ tuck made them even. Apparently my back had been longer than the front (and I’m still claiming responsibility for the difference). I added a 1/2″ length at the back crotch. I felt (rather being able to see) the center back dipping while standing.  Another good Craftsy class is Plus Size Pant Fitting by Kathleen Cheetham. I’m not quite a plus size but I have issue that I haven’t been able to solve with normal-sized-people directions so I looked elsewhere.  I finished Kathleen’s course too and was most impressed by the short lesson for the girl with the full seat.  Kathleen is again very specific about adding more crotch height by slashing at the hip line.  When that is taped into place, she points out the divot at the side seam.  I’ve always done the slash where ever I wanted and ignored the  divot.  Kathleen makes this into an opportunity to add width right where the full-seated need it.  This is a great lesson to view, if you need it, and worth the cost of the entire course to me.  I easily added another 1/4″ (total now of 1″) right where I need it.  I’ve got to tell you, that I’m ecstatic about this.  I know from my bodice fitting that I need more ease across the back at the hip.  It doesn’t work, not on my body, to split the addition between front and back.  What I end up with is a flaring front and a back that hugs my butt. Placing the ease where I need it, over my full seat, allows the bodice to drape beautifully and the side seams hang vertically evenly dividing front and back.

Then and only then when all other tried, tested and found-to-be-true alterations were complete, did I do Jen’s 1.5″ Diagonal Overlap. I had pinched this out on Pant #5. So I knew where and about how much.  When slashed, overlapped and taped into place the side seam is shortened.  I removed 1.5″ length on the side seam, now I had to add 1.5″ height at the top of the side seam and re-draw the line between side seam and center back. Again, I followed Peggy Sagger’s lead.  I aligned my curve with the original top-of-back-leg line and then pivoted to meet the new height.  I also had a weird side seam between hip and knee. I used my curve to redraw the side seam which added a little ease to the thigh. The inseam was sharpely peaked outward entirely due to the amount of the overlap.  It’s part of the distortion Jen was trying to warn me about.  I used my curve to smooth out the inseam which removed ease almost exactly across from where  added when I smoothed the side seam.   Finally, the crotch had been pinched where it was slashed and pulled down that 1.5″ to form the overlap.  I used my curve but instead of trying to align with the previous crotch curve, I rotated until I had a nice looking curve.  I stepped back and said “Hey, that’s the same curve as TJ906”.  Makes me wonder if Trudy Jansen discovered and kept to herself the fact a number of us need less length over the back thigh.

I serged the first version (first and far left in the pantheon above) but like the succeeding versions, I basted Pair #6 together using a 3mm stitch and water-soluble thread. I was stunned at the first try on. Just stunned. I had a few bubbles along the back side seam and that was the worst fitting element. Every way I turned and then in the pics was flowing smooth fabric.

Apparently, I did not need to add the full 1.5″ height at the side seam which caused the side bubbles.  I ripped open seams. Having used WST was a simple matter of spritzing a little water, grabbing the bobbin thread and giving it a yank.  I trimmed 3/4″ from the top of the back leg at the side seam and redrew that line for a second time. I needed to scoop the back crotch just a bit and in so doing smoothed the entire curve which skimmed just a little from the front crotch as well.  I serged the whole kit and caboodle together. Serged. Done. OK I lied. I stitched the waistband to the pant at the sewing machine because I wanted to offset the waistband.  Front, back and sides  just felt a little ‘tall’ above the crotch.  I suspect this is a fabric issue because I didn’t have this impression with the first try-on or any of the other versions.  And now what everyone really wants to know,,,,,,, ta ta ta dah!!!!!! The FINAL FIT:

Pics are much lightened; about 80%

Keep in mind, this is still a close fitting garment.  I’m aiming for the same amount of ease as in my beloved DG2’s. Initially, I experienced a little camel toe in the front. Not sure, but there still could be a hint.    I experienced the same issue with the Ascona (which I did not finish fitting).  I have rolls; rolls of flesh and fat.  My slim tom-boy shape has been eroded by the years, the kid, the computer…. I’m pleased with this pic because only one roll is really evident and even it, like the others, are  smoothed over.

If I could, this is the only view anyone would ever see  and I say that despite the speck that my camera seems to have picked up. The pant looks low in the front but is entirely comfortable.  If it were higher, I would feel my lower lungs being constricted and I would  be picking at it (pulling down, folding over, pull and release etc etc).  I’ve come to accept that my waist is tilted or more accurately, roller coaster shaped.  The side seam is pretty straight, just leaning like the Tower of Pisa.  I could but may not bother working at fixing the tilted side seam. For now, I’m just going to admire the smooth flow of fabric from waist, dropping until it breaks – like it should – at the front of the foot. Very shapely. Nice. Especially for a woman of my age, weight and personal shape.

And the picture you really wanted to see, My Butt:

Sorry. I just couldn’t resist 5th grade humour.  Must be because I’ve been so long at the computer writing, editing this post…..

The leg wrinkles change with how I stand or as in the pic at the far left (wb too low) or far right (wb too high) , exactly where the waistband sits on my body.  I may have cut the elastic too long.  The most obvious constant to me is the wrinkles at the knee.  This is the first area I will tweak  in the future.  I could do a knock knee adjustment. But I think shortening the back inseam with an 1/8 or 1/4″ dart (at the inseam, zero at the side seam) should be first.  I really don’t know of jean draft that doesn’t make the back inseam shorter than the front. The theory is a shorter back inseam causes the fabric to tuck under your seat giving you a trimmer appearance.  Well I could certainly use that. I’m also aware that the butt isn’t exactly what I want.  I scooped this time but did not transfer that to the tissue.  My crotch is oddly peaked due to the Diagonal Overlap.  Instead of correcting the shape after stitching, I really want to smooth that out so that when I the crotch is smoothly shaped. I think I’m looking at two little tweaks, but dang every version I’ve said “I just need to do this one little thing.”

Despite all that I’ve written and shared, I really don’t consider the first 4 versions significant when evaluating the pattern.  I feel the final fit resulted not from the draft   but from using Jen’s fitting instructions. I expect some strong push back on that statement. Numerous people have used this pattern and posted glowing reviews.  But I was on the verge of tossing the pattern at Pant #4. Four fabrics, four bad fits.  How many bad fitting muslins do you make before deciding the draft doesn’t work?

 

 

Summary Tissue Changes:

  • two sizes larger than recommended
  • +3/4″ to side seam from hip to waist
  • +3/4″ to entire back inseam
  • +1/2″ to back crotch
    • slash and spread at hip line
    • +1/4″ smooth divot at side seam total 1″ added to side seam hip still 3/4″ at waist
  • -2″ above knee back and front
  • -1/1″ (1/4″ tuck) above knee on back only
  • 1.5″ Diagonal Overlap
    • causing +3.4″ side seam height back only
    • Smoothing side seam, inseam and crotch curve

Proposed Changes

  • Smooth crotch curve
    • pin front to back along inseam and side seam then smooth the curve
  • 1/4″ dart at back inseam (zero at side seam) above knee
  • Knock Knee alteration
  • Possible front crotch scoop for camel toe
  • Possible back crotch scoop
  • In: 906
  • Comments Off on For the Summer Collection TJ906

Minor change to the pattern.  I’ve noticed a lot of excess ease over the back thigh.  Just to check, I pinched out a 1/8″ wide dart starting at the back inseam, crossing and terminating at the side seam.

My fabric is a denim purchased in the last few years either from Fabricmartfabrics.com or FashionFabricsClub.com It was prewashed with a can of coke because I can tell coke softens cotton fabrics. I’ve been calling the color ginger because it reminds me of the plant root. However, I think it was named golden wheat or something like that.  It’s a very neutral color in my closet.  In fact I was planning to top stitching with the same blue as the trousers  in my  Late Summer Early Autumn Collection. At the last-minute I decided to top stitch with matching thread because that keeps the pant neutral and usable with every color I wear.

Sometimes I think fabric is everything. In this case, these pants were too large at the try-on.  I increased the side seams but I think the back and side views still look a little loose, for jeans that is.  The front crotch suddenly looks too short. Well I threw these on and took quick pics.  I noticed that they seemed a little high at the waist, but made no attempt to adjust. I’m guessing, I tightened the belt one notch to many, which pulled the pants up too far in the front. Fortunately, they look much better when worn with the YED top:

and the whole collection is beginning to come together: