That Fabulous First Fitting

originally published 6/2/2010

Ok Ok.  I know that FIRST fittings are usually not fabulous.  Sometimes they are OK.  Sometimes we are inspired to diet, severely, immediately.  One round of fitting made me realize, I’d never be able to find RTW that does fit; I’d have to sew if I wanted clothing that fits.  But before I get to the fitting of these pants, which being the 4th pair probably should be called the 10th fitting or something around that number, before I get to the fitting, I want to brag about my pocket solution.


Let me review.  I traced an interesting pocket from an exiting existing pair of shorts.  The opening curve, the curve the hand would be put into; turned out beautiful.  But the outside curve, the curve that needs eye-catching topstitching to the garment, would provide me no help in turning that curve.  This has always been a problem for me.  If I’m going to use a curve, I want it to be a smooth even curve. Not choppy, lumpy, angley.  I usually accomplish this by fully lining the pocket with a very light weight material, right sides together, stitch and then turn.  But this pocket with a flat outer edge? No lining. Nothing to hang onto?   What to do?  Straight seams are not a problem for me.  I rarely use any kind of guide, well other than the line marked on my throat plate.  I decided to use a little “boot” just at the curved corner. I cut  and pinned my little boot on the right side of the pocket, but I stitched from the wrong side.  Because I could follow the serge finishing and stitch a nice neat curve.  Here it is stitched, but not turned:



I am a firm believer in persuading the curve to turn smoothly.  So I press flat first.  Then apply a little seam (still flat), start the turn, add a lttle more steam, use my bodkin with the round end and run it through the curve. Steam a little more.  Finger press, steam. Bodkin run, steam. Pin, steam.  Lots of steam.  But no weight.  I don’t put any weight on the curve until I’m sure I’ve persuaded it to take the shape I want.  Then I pin it to the ironing board and apply lots of steam, weight and pressure.  The result is a nice crisp curve like this:




Now someone out there is going say “Oh you could have done this with Steam A Seam. It would have been so much faster and easier for you.  Much better for you if you’d used SAS”. Or they will suggest fusible interfacing.  In both cases No It wouldn’t.  SAS or fusibles would have stuck and stuck and stuck again every time I’m tried to steam and turn, steam and turn, steam and turn.  I needed something that would not stick until I’m ready to stitch.  So this is my method and even though I know you mean well, I’m not going to use a fusible of any kind when turning curves.


Now onto the good news.  Well lets just look at these shorts on me:


It’s actually difficult to find anything wrong.  I remember this fabric now.  I underlined it with nylon organza to use as a jacket.  It is light, drapey and wrinkles far too easily. I remembered underlining, I didn’t remember why.  I may wish in the future that I had underlined these shorts.  Curiously, while the fabric acquires many small wrinkles from nothing, (I mean I press, move  the  fabric to press the next section and the first has wrinkles) the center front crease wouldn’t hold.  For the first time in about 20 years, I edgestitch the front crease.  Somethings are design elements.  Somethings are fitting elements. And somethings are fabric specific.  The front crease falls in the 3rd category, fabric specific.  This fabric needed stitching to hold the crease.


The back looks nearly perfect.  I needed to ease the back to the waistband, so I think I need to increase the width of the back darts. There are some vertical wrinkles and I see a little bubble under the center back. But once again, on these shorts,  the waist is too large.  You can see in the picture of the side, I’m holding the shorts up into place. The sides I’m extremely pleased with.  The side seam is vertical. Perfectly vertical.  My hem is perfectly horizontal. All issues on the side were fixed by adding 1/2″ length above the crotch and 1/2″ width front and back. There still seems to be some pulling of the front at the crotch, but that could be from my effort to hold the pants in place at my waistline.  The front crotch feels too long, yet I see the slight pulling.  Also there are extraneous wrinkles that could be from either my holding the shorts up or the fabric wrinkling on it’s own.  I eased the front to the waistband instead of using front tucks as per the pattern.  I’m not entirely pleased with this solution.


Changes to make:

  1. Decrease waistline. Fortunately the waist band is only tacked into place.  I anticpated many changes and basted several places, tacked others.  So I’m going to start with getting that waist band the right size. 
  2. Fix that front crotch.  It feels too long, it is rubbing my inner thigh, but it has small, distinctive pulling lines radiating from the crotch.   I will raise it first and if necessary add length to the inseam.  But whatever the final solution is, I will remove the stress lines at the front crotch.
  3. If the bubble is still under the center back, I’ll relase the center back and pull it up until the bubble is gone. 
  4. Check darts in back, do they need to be deeper?
  5. If vertical wrinkles still exist on the back, I think I’ll take in the center back first.  The alteration on the pattern, however, will be to take out about 1/4″ of the ease I added.


Each of these changes is successive i.e. I can’t do #4 first.  I have to fix #1 the waistband before working on any of the others.  Then go on to #2.  They must be done in order because every change you make affects everything else.  It is quite likely that when I fix #1, the waistband, which will then sit at the waist where it should be, the bubble and vertical wrinkles on the back will disappear.  It’s also quite likely that when the short sits at the waistband – all by itself without help from either me or a belt- that the front crotch will no longer be too long.  The front pull will then be easier to diagnose. 


Least you think otherwise.  I’m very happy with this pair.  It is a FABULOUS FIRST FITTING.  I feel that I’m tweaking the fit.  I can wear these just as they are.  But not today.  South Dakota has re-entered early Spring. Like end of winter.  We are expecting hail again today.  We had hail Saturday, Tuesday and now it is predicted for today.  Temperturare are predicted to be in the mid-60’s.  Like many people, 60-ish is not shorts weather for me.  So while I know what I want to do and I’m eager to start.  I’m going to take ejvc’s advice and go sew something fun and different.