Pants Fitting

originally published12/15/11


I’m taking today to thank all of you for your support when comes to fitting pants.  At this point, I think there is something wrong with me.  Mentally, I mean.  I keep buying new patterns from the same old companies who’s pants patterns didn’t fit me before.   I love the nuances in the new patterns.  I love all the designer details and wish I would think of things like that. I like to reward those people who shared their ideas with me.  But I probably should stop at buying the pattern. I mean, buy the pattern but never touch the tissue.  Presently, my best course of action is to start with one of the 4 patterns that fit me like I want them to and then morph the designer details onto my “good” patterns.

I’m very analytical and usually orderly.  You wouldn’t believe that if you could see my house.In my defense, I’ve learned to live with the disorderly and nonsensical because it allows me my most loved possessions, DH and DS.  But those analytical and orderly tendencies really exhibit themselves when it comes to pant patterns.  They just can’t accept that there is no logical orderly process to fitting pants. They insist there should be a set series of measurements, comparisons and steps-similar to what I do with tops- that will fit every pant in the pattern stage.  I do realize that I will probably tweak every pant I make because of fabric idiosyncrasies that can’t be known and exactly measured.  But I should be able to come close during the tissue stage.  It’s become a stupid obsession. Stupid because I keep doing the same things, the same way expecting a different result.  Not going to happen.

I’ve started reviewing my 2011 goals and making 2012 goals.  On that list is drafting a pant pattern.  I’ve been avoiding drafting a pant pattern from scratch because the way I read the instructions, you draft the pattern, make a muslin and then solve the fit problems. Gees, isn’t that what I’m doing now except without taking a bunch of measurements and making a bunch of dots and lines on paper?  I just know that’s going to add a lot of time to the process.  I’m going to do it though, just because the Trudy Jansen instructions  include some extra measurements.  Her instructions take into account tilted waistlines and also give help with just things as tilted hip lines (one hip higher than the other).   Most drafting instructions that are easily available don’t even talk about fitting problems. JSM recognizes that there are several common departures from the ideal; has you measure and make alterations to the pattern.

Thing is, I know that I’ll be drafting not one but probably 3 different styles: trouser, jean and slacks.  Sew4Fun did an excellent post of the difference between these styles.  I’m going to link to her blog post because she did such an excellent job.

Back to the drafting, I’m looking for a new approach to my whole pants fitting saga.  I’m hoping that in drafting my own patterns, I’ll understand the relationship between the measurements, dots, lines and angles; and the way the fabric then drapes on my body when cut into pant shapes.  In the end I’m hoping for a pants sloper like I use for my tops slopers.

I’m using the term “sloper” loosely.  These aren’t slopers like the industry means slopers, but rather tried and true basic garments.  I use different slopers for knits and wovens; set-in, raglan and sleeveless styles. I roughly trim the tissue to a new top pattern.Then take out a corresponding sloper and compare.  Usually, I need to shorten the back waist length, above the waist 1″ and I need to narrow the shoulders 1″.  Those measurements correspond with the basic measurements all pattern companies use to draft their patterns.  My shoulder is 1″ narrower than standard measurement the industry uses.  My shoulder is always narrower. Never changes. The industry however plays games.  By comparing my sloper with the new pattern, I can tell immediately if the industry has fooled around with the shoulder measurement and by how much.  I change the new pattern to correspond with my sloper.   I wish that I understood pants in a similar manner and could use a pants sloper similarly and just as easily.

Rest assured,  I’ll include you in my pattern drafting journey.  I appreciate your support. I welcome your support.  I may express a lot of frustration, but I’m OK…and getting better.