902, template

Trudy Jansen 902: Begin with Measurements

originally published3/1/12


I bought Turdy Jansen patterns 902 and 905 after having such a wonderful experience with TJ906; and then I let them languish.  In all honesty, I was really really happy with the Joyce Simmons Miller trouser fit (JSM);  my Burda 143’s (also a trouser draft but a bit slimmer) and of course the jean draft from TJ906.  I felt like I pretty much had pants covered.


I let these pattern languish but they crossed my mind when I started puzzling about the Why?  Why do pants fit?  Notice that is a positive:  why do pants fit when they do fit.  What makes pants fit?    I realized I was repeating over and over “I understand that top’s don’t fit me as drafted because my shoulder is 1″ shorter than the standard shoulder all pattern cutters use. But I don’t understand why pants don’t fit”.  I was repeating this over and over.  I was whining.  I was making myself a victim of the all important “Standard Measurements“. Then it occurred to be that I could do something to increase my understanding and quit being a victim.


Not by drafting my own pattern but by comparing my body measurements with the pattern measurements. I don’t  want to draft patterns. I don’t even like tracing patterns. I realized, if I wanted to make preprinted pants patterns fit, I needed more than just waist, hip and inseam measurements.  I decided to take these circumference and length-from-waist measurements:

  • Waist
  • High Hip
  • Abdomen (my abdomen pokes out below the high hip)
  • Divot (I have an inny curve on my side)
  • Hip
  • Rear (where it juts out)
  • Crotch
  • Thigh
  • MidKnee
  • FatKnee
  • Ankle
  • From Waist to ankle, over the rear (which I believe to be longer than side seams).


I took separate measurements of the front and back of each of these places.  I’ve long realized that my measurements cannot evenly be divided by two (i.e. front and back) and create a garment which fits me.  I say I took the measures but truth is, a partner is needed for accuracy.  My DH was happy to help.


It took me about 2 hours to carefully measure two nicely fitting patterns (143 and 906) and then compare with my body’s measurements.  I added the yoke and contour waistband measurements but subtracted for seam allowances. Then I traced and measured a new, previously unfit pattern the TJ902.  BTW, each of these patterns is designed for woven, non-stretch fabrics.


From this I realized that the patterns which fit had very similar measurements.  No no, I always thought the difference was in the crotch shape or depth. But while there might be a quarter inch difference, usually it was a quarter inch too much on the front and quarter of an inch less on back.  The crotch curves were not identical, but all had a deep J with a substantial back extension.  It was interesting that my crotch measures a total of 24.75 inches but the patterns I like all measured 26.75 inches and all have longer back crotches. Apparently, I like 2″ of ease and yes I definitely need the longer back crotch extension ergo the longer back crotch because I am almost as deep as I am wide.


I’m really not surprised by the previous observations. They’re pretty much as I expected.  It was the Thigh, Mid-Knee, Fat-Knee and ankle measurements that offered new insights.  I must explain the Fat-Knee reference. My knees do not turn inward in the manner that you would see in someone who is truly, physically knock-kneed. But I have a little pouch of fat on the inner knee. This little pouch is 2″ below and has the same circumference as the mid-knee.  In effect my leg measurement is the same from the top of the knee, through the mid-knee and 2″ below the mid-knee.  What’s interesting is that all the patterns  are at least 1/2″ smaller where my Fat Knee would go.  It seems that the standard is to taper the lower leg beginning just above the knee which is too soon for my leg. That’s true for a boot leg cut too even though it is quickly increased for the hem.


Because I’m 3″ shorter than the average figure, I believe that I need to remove 3″ length over all.  I remove 1″ above the waist, for tops. I’ve been shortening my pants a standard 2″ by removing 1″ above the knee and 1″ below the knee. The math works, but what this also does is to raise a narrower part of the leg-pattern before my leg itself narrows.  I’m wondering if this is contributing to the back of thigh diagonal wrinkles.  Wrinkles which seem to start at the knee and point to the middle of my cheeks.


I know the rule of thumb is that the wrinkles point to the problem. But which end is the pointing to the problem and which end is where the problem quits having an effect?  Do I need more for my rear (which sort of sticks out) or is it my knee? The measurements say there is plenty of ease over my rear even where it sticks out; and across my thighs. But the measurements say there isn’t enough ease across my fat-knee.  Typically, where there is a lack of ease, the garment tries to creep-up the body until there enough ease can be stolen.  Is that what’s happening here?  There’s not enough ease for my fat-knee and so the bottom of the leg is is creeping upward to provide more ease but also wrinkling across the back thigh because it can’t push further up?




Warning:  Many SO’s think taking measurements is your way of spicing up the relationship.  You may want to dress accordingly.