New Way to Fit my Old Bu!! (Part Three and final post)

originally published12/1/10

Actually this was a show stopper:


It had me thinking and wondering how these could fit at all let alone fit well with only 1 minor complaint. I mean I feel like there is too much ease under the bum however my pants look fine everywhere.  I do know that I can’t cut a fabric and sew it up.  I have to baste the new pair of pants together completely, photo it; examine the pics at the computer and then make alterations.  I can usually sew the pants together with permanent stitching after the first pics.  However, I’ve given up topstitching because I hate to rip out topstitching and it’s really difficult to topstitch after all the pieces are put together.  I have concluded that the drafts take advantage of  fabric’s inheirant characteristics and I am extending that process by basting first and permanent stitching after I observe what th fabric is inclined to do.  The rocket inclined back crotch is able to come up and over my behind and still fit at the waist with minimal darting.  The front crotch is sufficiently short so as to give a nice front appearance and there is enough width in both pieces to meet smoothly at the sides.  Somehow, fabric moves and adjusts to give me a nice pant.


So I could quit now.  I do have 3 good pant drafts.  Millions of women would kill for just 1 reliable pant draft.  But the analyst in me kept thinking about the anomaly and suggested scooping the crotch to fit my behind.  Usually the experts recomment scooping the bottom of the crotch (as shown in red above), which would be especially helpful for women-of-a-certain-age who’s behinds  have dropped. In my case the scouping carves out a flat spot to match my flat spot and adds enough back crotch length to completely traverse my back crotch curve.  My thought was, why not scoup out the curve where my curve is?


So I did,


See the green above?  It’s scooped even with the existing crotch point.  Nothing is added to the crotch point, or crotch length or waist (at the moment.) But before I made a muslin, I got cold feet and started measuring and measuring and measuring.  My crotch lengths were about the same as the good fitting drafts, but I had lost width across the seat.  I now had only 1/2″ ease.  I did a shout-out to my fellow Sticher’s Guild readers and received the answer that a minimum of 2″ hip ease was required.


So I wanted to add more hip ease.  But adding at the side seams  produced a strange looking shape that filled me dread.  The side seams no longer “walked” evenly.  I would have had to ease the side seams. I just couldn’t follow through.  A note here: Like many retirees we downsized to a smaller house at my retirement.  I also downsized my fabric  along with the 9 previous months of pants making; and now don’t have any fabric that I’m willing to just discard.  I’ve been especially happy with the 3 drafts because I’ve been able to produce wearable pants with every fabric.  Going back to a throw away muslin just didn’t sit well. Nope didn’t sit well at all. 


Solution?  I used the experts recommended method of adding ease and sliced from the waist to hip spread the wedges until I have 1.5″ ease across the back.  Wedges?  Yes I made 5 cuts because it’s easier to spread while retaining the same basic shape. 1.5, per side, total 3 inches ease across the back?  Yeah, I actually prefer my pants a little on the loose side until there is lycra involved. The new pattern piece looks remarkably, er, uh   NORMAL



The new pants, on the other hand are OUTSTANDING




Yes I know it’s hard to tell with dark fabric  But I finally found this dark blue micro-fiber micro-cord that I was willing to experiment with.  I’d made a pair of pants previously and found that the fabric shrank with every wash.  After 4 washes those first pants were no longer wearable.  I figured if this draft turned out to be eh?, then I wouldn’t have to wear them for long.  If, on the other hand, the draft was good, I’d be able to wear it several times and really see the problems. I notice that somehow I’d caught the right pant leg on something so there are some wrinkles showing there that normally don’t exist. Changes made for this draft starting with

  1. Scoup back crotch
  2. Add 1.5″ ease across hip and waist
  3. On this pair I used 5/8 SA from hem to knee and 1/4″ SA from knee to waist. The front is fine, so I’d like to add about 3/8 to the front from knee to waist just to have a consistent seam allowance.
  4. The back is too loose from knee to hem. I had to make a bigger dart (not a surprise here) to fit the waist to me. Future change will be to remove some of those spread wedges.
  5. I do want all my seam allowances the same width. I’m less inclined to make mistakes if the SA’s are all alike. On tops I’d go for 3/8″ SA but for pants I want a little fudge factor. I know that some fabrics just don’t have as much give. Being able to add 1/4″ at 3 seams (2 sides and the center back i.e. 1.5″ ) could make the difference between wearable and not wearable.
  6. The legs also had to be hemmed an extra inch so the let should be shortened 1″ below the knee ( As drafted, the knee level-line falls in the center of my knee)


Final confession, I’ve had this done for about a month now.  I meant to post sooner.  In fact to sort out my thoughts, I had taken pictures and created a Power Point Presentation as I making the pants.

  1. The fabric is, as I suspected, shrinking with every wash and these will not be wearable in a few short weeks.
  2. However, I’ve found no other problems with the draft. 
  3. I’m inclined to leave the leg at it’s present length.  I’ve noticed that many of my pants shrink in length but remain fine width wise.  I just let out 3 pairs of pants which are fine except they are now too short. 
  4. This draft is perfect for trousers or slacks and I will use the alterations on future patterns.  All my issues have been eliminated. Afterall, isn’t that the reason for sewing clothing for myself?
  5. I have not tried the alteration on jeans, but I will be doing so in the near future.  My plan for jeans is to make a new pair about every 6 months.  In the Mid-West, new jeans are actually acceptable as when better casual wear is required. So the next time I make jeans, about February I’ll be trying this alteration
  6. I may also try a combination of scouping below the crotch and the back of the crotch.  It may be that such a combination will solve my problems without needing the additional wedges to add ease

Best of all, I have 2 ways to alter pants patterns and they both work for me.