2012JSM: 7 Pounds of Hamburger

originally published 3/28/12


That’s what I gained from Nov 1 through Dec 31.  I’m beginning to shed those pounds and I’ve decided to follow through and lose the other 20 pounds that I don’t need to be carrying around.  I know for me to lose 1 or 2 pounds or month would be excellent progress.  Normal progress, would be neither gaining or losing pounds(sometimes a desirable state). I’m probably looking at dieting for an entire year; and I will need  clothes to wear every day during that year.  That of course means I shall be sewing, fitting and refitting. I find tops (blouses, t-shirts, coats and jackets) easy to fit. Pants are my challenge. For my pants I decided it would be easier to go back to using the drafts from 3 years ago. The TJ906 pattern in one size larger works perfectly; and so I’m now tweaking my JSM pattern.


For the navy blue trousers made for my Spring 6PAC I used the JSM pattern drafted 3 years ago. I changed them to pull-on trousers but as I wore them I found myself jerking the waist up in the back and down in the front. I kept wondering why? Really, why was I fussing with this pair of pants when previous (but slimmer) versions fit perfectly. Oh and this draft didn’t have these issues 3 years ago. Was it the fabric?  If you could hold this fabric in your hands, i.e. see the actual pant, you’d know this is excellent-quality fabric. The spring 6PAC pants look and feel fabulous all day long– except for having a tendency to creep down in the back and up in the front. Perplexing. I have one pair of pants from the exact same draft still in my closet.  It is a poly/rayon woven fabric, zip up the front, 4 darts  AND belt loops to hold the always worn belt. I wore these pants all day and analyzed them. Sometimes the center back felt like it was tugging downward; while the front always wanted to bubble right under the belt. But, I was paying attention it wasn’t really noticeable.Ah hah, I thought the belt is the key.  The belt holds the pants up in the back; and the front can’t ride up because the belt it holding the front in place too.


Let’s see, 3 year old pants want to tug down at center back and push up at center front. Also 3 day old pants, want to *creep up at center front and pull down at center back.  Ummm…..Think I’ll  add 1/2″ in the back, fold out 1/2″ across the front. While I’m at it, I don’t like a 3″ hem in pants. Coat yes. Pants no way. Fold out 1-3/4″ from the leg length. As long as I’m altering this pattern, I may as well address the excess ease in the back thigh. Fold out 1/2″ ease from back thigh. And dang it all, these 20″ wide legs are passe. I  may as well start trimming those 1/2 at a time until I find the right width for them too.  Great! All done in one session. Right? …………


This is a heavy rayon crinkle which should be excellent for pants.  The crinkle should allow for minor weight differences. The weight should have these suckers hanging just beautifully.


No that was insane!  I made too many changes all at once.  The result is not only did I take a great pattern and give it into an ugly fit, but I have no idea which of the changes was wrong or by how much. I do hope this is a Lesson Learned by MOI.


So toss that pair and start again, but this time only 2 changes.  The length of the blue trousers was way too long. So much so that it affected the fit by causing the fabric to stack at the ankles, creating wrinkles from ankle to at least knee and maybe higher.  I hemmed that pair 2.5″ and could have hemmed it higher. So, I traced the pattern front and back, then folded out 1.5″  above the hem and trued the side and inseams from knee to hem.


Next, I’m not sure whether to fix the waist at the center back or the center front.  I decide upon the center back because often the front of my pants patterns will be fine it’s the back that needs adjusting.  I add 1/2″ to the centerback at the waistline and true the waistline between dart and center back.  I make the next pair from a  brown plaid which I think is 1% Lycra and 99% cotton.

I ditched pockets but stitched the darts and zipper permanently i.e. 2.5 straight-stitch length.  Then I serged the side and inseams. I was thinking I would be taking-in the side seams.  I mean when I first traced the patten (3 years ago) I was 15 pounds heavier.  I thought this current pair would have too much ease. When I basted the waist band, I had to ease the waistband to fit. I was quite surprised when the front (in a much lightened photo) looked like this:


Camel toe? How did that happen.Oh and if you didn’t notice my high hip abdominal  roll is clearly visible. I’ll skip the side view because the side seam is perpendicular which means I do have the front and back balanced pretty well. I’ll go directly to the startling back view:


I stand by “startling”. Compare this version with the Spring 6PAC version:

I’m shocked by the difference. Don’t you look at the two and say “What in the world???” ?  The difference is 1) fabric; 2)leg lengths are shorter on the brown and 3)back crotch is raised 1/2″ at the center back on the brown.  Where did all the wrinkles come from?


I think I’ve got answers.  Mind you, I had to sleep on this, but overnight I realized that the effect of the pull on waistband was greater than I originally recognized. You see, the waistband is much longer than normal for me.  I prefer a tight waistband only about 1/4-1/2″ longer than my natural waist. The pull-on waist band is 8″ longer than my own. There is no darting to control the excess at the waistband and in the abdomen. I hadn’t considered that significant.  Not only is the waistband much longer; the entire pant from the high hip up is much wider.  The pull-on waistband is controlling (or attempting to control) a tremendous amount of ease.  The pull-on waistband cannot remain at the waist. It has too much weight.  It slowly sinks downward gaining crotch length as it goes. To solve my issue with the pull-on pants, the blue ones, I added belt loops and a  belt. That keeps the waist level and in the right place.


So I understand why the blue pants look good. The pull-on waistband allows them to adjust as much as needed without any conscious effort from me.  The brown pants though are going to need to be adjusted.

After much thought I removed 1/4″ at the top of the center back crotch.  I knew I needed some length added there, but apparently 1/2? is too much because it is bubbling. I also ripped out the front darts. Darts should point at your widest point.  My front darts are going over and down at least 1 inch too far. At my current weight, I seem to be jutting out immediately under the waist.



I lengthened the waistband 1/4″ on each end (total 1/2″) and eased the pant front to the waistband without restitching the darts. I”m not sure I can do much more to correct this pair of pants. So I finished them.  I stitched everything with a 3.5mm stitch, made a buttonhole and attached a button before trying them on and taking final pictures. First I’ll tell you the 1/2″ at the waist was the right thing. These are comfortable to wear.

But I still have a bit of a smile line at the front:

and more wrinkles than I desire in the back

But I’m wearing them. Because when I get all dressed up they look fine:




Especially in their true colors (photos above were greatly lightened)