sdBev's Pants!

Sure Fit Designs (SFD)

Posted on: May 1, 2012

originally published 3/16/12

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I received the SFD (Sure Fit Designs) Pants Kit earlier this week. Having just spent an intensive week of measuring self, several patterns and multiple muslins, I really wasn’t in the mood for taking a bunch more measures. However, I needed time to think about the Silk Matka Jacket and so I began the SFD-PK.

 

I’m unenthused. Sorry, but I read through the directions and I felt distinctly unenthused.  Only 5 measurements are required (waist, high hip, full hip, crotch and pant length). Only 5 for a system that is designed to fit all bodies no matter their fit-issues.  Also, as I read the instructions, I realized I would be drafting a basic pattern, stitching a muslin  and then making a bunch of alterations.  Hello, isn’t that what I’m already doing with the $3.99 patterns?   But I’ve spent my money and I do favor the idea of creating a blueprint……

 

Draft #1.  I construct the fabric waist tie as instructed.  That’s a good idea.  It gives me a large visible marker for my waist.   I measure my hips in several places. The instructions are vague, with good reason, as to where some of these places will be.  Truly, our body shapes have a great deal to do with where the waist should be measured as well as where is the high hip or full hip.  So I understand why it says to measure between 2 and 4 inches below your waist.  That’s a lot of territory when it comes to pants fitting. So starting 2″ down from the waist and every 1″ thereafter, I measure my body. I  remeasure the crotch even though I’ve measured it dozens of times in the past few weeks.  Unsurprisingly, I record the same measurements as I did 2 weeks ago when working with TJ902.  I do note one exceptional issue:  the waist tie does not want to stay at my “designated waist”.  Because I am truly pear shaped,  my torso above the waist continues to gradually decrease. Therefore, my waist tie wants to gradually and continually shift upward.  I note this here and now, because I believe this to be a significant contributor to my problems. I did NOT construct the Crotch-o-Meter. I used instead the back and front crotch measurements which have worked for me in my perfected pants patterns.  I note an EXTREMELY GOOD OMEN.  Drawing in the back crotch in accordance to my measurements and with SFD stylus produces a back crotch curve that looks like it could fit. But it is impossible to balance the side-seams. The back side seam is 4-5″ taller than the front.  That’s just not going to work.. SCRATCH Draft 1.

 

I will also say here, that I had problems with the master pattern and tissue shifting as I am drawing. I solved this by pressing the back side of the master tissue (on a low setting with no steam) and taping it down at all 4 corners. I taped my tissue (vellum) only at the top and bottom. Having to realign the tissue was annoying and time-consuming. I mention this because, it could have been a factor with Draft #1 not working so well.

 

Draft #2.  I decide to use Glenda’s crotch procedure and divide the total crotch measurement by 2; then adding 1″ to the back and subtracting 1″ from the front.  Replot and draw front and back pant pattern. My full hip measurement is in-between the dots.  I choose the larger size above the crotch and the lower size below. Why?  Well I always notice too much ease in back of the thigh but I’m sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I’d prefer a little extra ease rather than not enough across my rear.  My high hip measure  won’t align in the curve between waist and lower hip.  I can’t even come close  no matter how I shift the stylus. I even turned the stylus to the wrong side.  Finally I follow Glenda’s instructions and just ignore the high hip dot when drawing the pattern.

 

This time, there is no problem with balancing the side seams, other than they are 2″ too long.   To my disappointment the instructions are to “shift the vellum up or down until … hem levels line up”.  I am in effect removing all the extra length just above the ankle without any consideration that the length of my thigh bone may not be equal to the length of my shin; and of course, no corrective actions.  It is surprising to me that being “high waisted” is commonly acknowledged and corrected. While having uneven thigh/shin lengths is not even a consideration.

 

But I persist.

 

Knowing full well that my back crotch length always needs to be extended I follow the directions and add 1/2″ to the back crotch tip.  I figure I can always trim that off if it is too much but adding a half-inch after I’ve sewn everything together might not work so well.

 

May I say that Glenda does not praise the Stylus nearly enough? It is so much more versatile than the French Curve or the Vari Form Curve I use.  The SFD Stylus is the right size for drawing dressmaking curves.  It also has the right curves/arcs for our bodies.  I’m not sure the Stylus was worth the entire invoicet I just paid, but it might be.

 

I continued to fine tune the tissue.  So far I’ve

  1. added length to the back crotch tip and redrawn the back inseam curve
  2. removed 2″ from the pant length and designated the hem

But I realize that I must do something for my knee fitting issues. I’ve said before that I don’t have “true” knock knees. A person with knock knees will be standing straight and tall, yet their knees will visibly be turning inwards.  Mine don’t physically turn inwards, but I do accumulate fat on the inner knee.  I don’t have thunder thighs, just knee swishes.  In most pants, certainly when wearing a skirt and pantie hose, my pouches of knee fat will rub across each other producing a swishing sound.  You might sometimes hear this with corduroy pants.  I hear this even when wearing 100% silk tights. So even though I don’t think I’m really knock-kneed, I followed Instruction #8 on page 13; or I tried.  The recommendation is to draw in the knee level on the pattern; cut it apart and then shift between 1/2 and 1-1/2″ (inwards for knock-knees outwards for bow-legs) then redraw blending the side and inseam lines.

 

Right.

 

First off, where were the instructions for finding the knee level?  I’m not saying they aren’t there, I’m saying I didn’t see the instruction when I needed them, can’t find them easily and am d@^^^ ^^ near frustrated. So I punted.  I know that the knee level for a commercial pant pattern can be found by matching the hem line with the crotch line, smoothing the tissue so a fold is formed.  That’s what I did. I think it has a good chance of being accurate since I’d already altered the pant length. But it may not.  For one thing, the pant length, is the length I want to wear my pants, which is about 1/2″ above the floor.  I’m not really sure I’ve located the correct knee level, but I am hopeful.

 

2nd shift how much?  How do I know whether to shift .5″? 1″? 1.5″  There is no guidance. All I could do was a WAG (wild A$$ gue$$). From my time as a programmer, I know that the fastest way to to narrow the field is by halves. (Uh, that’s a complicated set of explanations usually occupying a full chapter with many pages in a standard text book. Let’s not do this here. OK?)  So I shifted 3/4″ at my guestimated knee line and redrew the lines.

 

I drafted the waistband using the instructions; added seam allowances everywhere and then trimmed my tissue.

 

For my muslin (this is Muslin 1 Draft #2) I’m using a polyester crepe.  I didn’t do a burn test, it could be acrylic.  I don’t really care. The fabric has been in my stash for at least 20 years.  Long ago I made a beautiful winter blouse.  I thought the remainder might make a summer blouse but, Truth-Be-Told, this fabric is too dang hot for summer use.  It gave me another thought about purchasing current patterns.  Patterns that I bought 20 years ago were drafted not only to achieve the ease and silhouettes of the time, but were drafted to work with the fabrics of the time, like this polyester crepe.  When I made and wore that winter blouse, it was beautiful, appropriate, comfortable,… just all around excellent.  Last year I made a blouse from a similar fabric and was terribly disappointed.  I like the pattern, shape, ease, etc.  but I intensely disliked the fabric. The fabric is “wrong” for today’s patterns.

 

But back to Muslin #1  On the pattern, I folded up the hem allowance and added a fly front. I serged all edges first. I mean this is a crepe likely to ravel like crazy.  I didn’t add a front zipper because I don’t plan on wearing this beyond the first fitting.  I added interfacing to the leg at the hems and in the waistband. Some things, like appropriate interfacing, need to be done to even check the draft and fit.  I stitched the darts in the default place (I’m worried about fit not design details). To my shock the muslin is too, way-too tight. I don’t understand.  Polyester should not shrink. I’m not considering the  puckered seams.  If this had been for a wearable garment instead of a muslin, I would have resolved the puckering either by changing needle-sizes, needle type or machine tensions.  The puckering could be resolved.  I’m not concerned about the pantie line show through.  This is a muslin.  I’m glad to use up and discard this fabric.

 

I am concerned about the side seam curving to the front and the revelation of my curves and torso mid-line I’m also wondering about the front side-seam which pulls sharply backwards at the ankle, while at the same place the back side seam balloons outward. What’s up with that?

 

 

AND I am amazed at the back view. Let me share it before commenting:

Again too tight from waist to the full hip and I would say I’m locking the leg on the left .  But I would say (even though my front pics didn’t turn out) that the crotch is pretty good. The crotch feels short.  Is the crotch too short, or is it the area is overall too tight?

 

But I am AMAZED, just ASTOUNDED that the normal X wrinkles are nowhere present. I see a slight tug at the crotch indicating that it is still a bit short. My front pic came out to blurred, but I think in this pair the front crotch needs to be just a bit longer because there are front smile lines you-know where.

 

But here’s the big thing:  I HAVEN’T MADE A SINGLE ALTERATION TO THE MUSLIN. The back looks like that from the get go.

 

I’m beginning to thing that the SFD Pants kit could be pretty amazing.  No pant pattern has ever fit out of the envelope.  I always need to tweak just a bit.  This is not surprising.  In fact it would be shocking if a pant pattern did fit me without the slightest alteration.  My height alone, 3″ shorter than the standard, demands that alteration must be made.  My posture (see above) contributes issues and that’s without even considering that I am nearly as deep as I am wide; that I am high waisted; that my waist/hip ratio is no-where near the standard.   This muslin does not fit me, yet I am PLEASED; very, very pleased.  The back of my pants is most troublesome to fit.  To have the back looking this good is astonishing.

 

But I curtail my enthusiasm.  I realize that I’ve violated some primary fitting laws.  I’m calling the legs could when I have not even begun to fit the waist.  I learned long ago that I must fit pants starting at the waistline.  Changing the waistband even a little has an astonishing effect on how the rest of the pant looks.

 

So Plan of Action:

 

  • Verify accuracy of Draft #2
    • Make and Use Crotch-0-Meter
    • Verify Body Measurements
      • If Body Measurements are incorrect
        • Create Draft #3 with correct body Measurements
        • Create Muslin #3 with Draft #3
      • If Body Measurement are correct.
        • Verify Dots correctly marked
          • If Dots correctly marked
            • Measure Muslin #1 (could it have shrunk?)
              • If Muslin #1 and Draft #2 measurements are the same
                • Create Draft #3 going up 2 dots
                • Create Muslin #2 from Draft #3
              • If Muslin #1 and Draft #2 measurements are different
                • Create Muslin #2 with a different fabric using Draft #2

I’m almost embarrassed to admit I really think like this. I learned it during my sophomore year in high school in Geometry.  It works for me.

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