Vogue 7973: Testing a pants fitting theory

originally published2/7/12


I simply had to know how effective the fish hook crotch is for my body.


I chose to test it on Vogue 7973,



you know the pattern with the funny shallow back crotch curve.


I like this pattern for several reasons It has the same styling as a favored pair of work pants, when I worked.  Mine were constructed of cotton with just 1 or 2% Lycra. Just enough for comforts sake but also that small amount of Lycra has a wonderful effect on wrinkles providing that the pants fit well to start with. To help with the fitting, the pants have 8 darts: 4 in the front 4 in the back. The waist ends just below my natural waist. The sides appear slightly curved.  On my favored pants the pattern facing was replaced by a 2″ wide elastic band. Both this pattern and my pants are/were designed with a back zipper, slim legs and no pockets. I wore my pants week after week, month after month until they were embarassingly shabby.  I looked and looked but until now did not find another exact RTW pair or this close of a pattern match.  I’m pleased to have found this pattern. These were flattering as well as comfortable pants and I will be glad to have more in my closet.


For this muslin, I moved the zipper to the front. After all, I can usually fit the pants front easily. It is the back which eludes me. I cut one size larger than usual and removed 2 inches from the length of the leg: 1 inch above the knee and 1 inch below the knee. As I do not have full thighs or calves,  I trued the cutting line towards the narrower side.   I added the fish hook crotch by aligning the fish hook with the pattern waist and crotch. I think it is important to note that the back crotch was already an inch longer than the front crotch.


Someone has finally realized that the average woman needs more in the rear than the front. Another consider I have but didn’t make any adjustments for,  is the longer front crotch extension on the pattern. My front crotches are usually rather short maybe an inch or so. This looks to be about 3 inches long. I notice that adding the fish hook crotch loses me some width across the back and some volume where the fish hook trims into the crotch extension but it definitely elongates the entire back crotch which seemed to be drafted 1″ longer than the front.



The Green line is fish hook; Black the original crotch; Red a mistake.

I am using an older polyester fabric. In its day it was valuable for professional garments. This particular piece while in a nice light color, has flaws which I didn’t bother to cut around. I did check for grain alignment and I also kept directional alignment i.e. the waist was always at the top of the fabric.  This requires more fabric meaning I have a largish useless piece left over. I was not worried about nap.  I plan to wear these no more than twice,,, at home.  But I kept the directional alignment because I’ve seen odd results other than changes in color due to nap.  I’ve had pants legs that twisted, even though they were cut on grain; ruching like ripples along side seams and other odd drag lines.  These things were solved by recutting honoring directional alignment.  I don’t wish to even have to consider such issues.  Really, I don’t want any other results than: does copying the fish hook crotch solve my under-butt/back leg wrinkles while providing sufficient depth and width on the back crotch?  I may in the future muslin these pants without the fish hook crotch just to see what happens if I use that odd shallow back crotch curve.


I cut the fabric, marked darts and notches and then serged all the edges.  I’m really not sure how much handling this muslin will receive. But I do know how difficult it can be to work with a shredding seam. Immediate serging, even on a muslin, takes 5 minutes and eliminates potential headaches. I stitched all the pieces with my HV Ruby’s basting stitch.  I love how this long stitch just zooms through the process actually greatly reducing the time needed; and when necessary is easily removed. But those seams looks pretty ugly. I can see wide gaps, at least 3/8″ between one stitch and the next.  You know, basting might have an interesting decorative application.


I made one big change in my stitching process. Usually I stitch the inseam from hem to knee on a one to one basis. Then I ease the inseam from the knee to about 1/2″ below the crotch points.  I’ve had problems in the past with some fabrics which refused to ease between the given notches but easily fit between knee and crotch point.  I’ve begun to wonder if my laziness here contributes to the wrinkling which occurs on the inseam beginning at the knee and extending upwards.


Could this wrinkling result from incorrectly easing?

I do want that all to ease together i.e. I don’t want to snip off even 1/8″ from either front or back inseam. So I did some pretesting and settled upon easing between the crotch point and 6″ down.  Each fabric may need the same pretesting. But look we’re not talking about a huge amount of time.  Just a few pinch and pulls after pinning from hem to 4″ above the knee.


During pressing, I notice that the sides are quite curvy.  I had to put the pressing hem under the side seams to press properly.  So I think that what I’m seeing as a slight curve in the pattern side is much more.  This is a concern because, I’m pretty straight on my side and then suddenly dip in at the top of the hip bone. Darts are my friend. I often increase the depth of the darts and add a second or third short dart to control volume at the waist.  I made no changes, but I do wonder how this effects the fit.  I remember that my TJ906 has straight sides, but the center back leg seams are very curvy. TJ906 situated the curve where my curve is.  I believe that the curve which TJ906 has in the center back leg has been moved/referred to the side seam in Vogue 7973 because it simply isn’t possible to put the curve in the middle of the one piece back but a curve is definitely needed for most, including my own, backsides.