A Perspective Ephiphany

originally published4/28/12


I had an epiphany while I was purging patterns and moving my blog.  I realized that I’ve gotten hung up on THE DESIGNER telling me not to change their crotch shape.  If I was fitting a blouse; and if I had a big hunchback; do you supposed the designer would say “don’t change the back. It’s drafted to fit everybody. ” ?  I’m 3″ shorter than the standard that garments are designed for.  Is there a designer out there that will say “don’t change the length of my <nnn>. It’s drafted perfectly for everybody. If it drags the ground it’s because you tampered with my pattern.”?  I have a tilted waist.  Most designer patterns come with instructions for how to adjust the pant pattern for this physical difference.  The same alteration is in nearly all pants fitting books. One more question for those of you with one hip higher than the other: does the designer ever say “don’t adjust my hip curve.  It fits everybody exactly as drawn.” ?

If there is  a clear difference between your anatomy and the standard for which patterns are drafted, the designers expect you to know what it is and what to do.  I used to know a woman with a substantial dowagers hump.  We attended Bernina Club together.  The designers would look at her and say “…and you know what you have to do. Don’t you?”  They expected her to already know what she needed in order to fit their design to her back and there was never a question that she would do it or a suggestion that she shouldn’t.

That’s the same with every physical anomaly, except for the pants crotch. It seems to me that designers and fitting experts all insist that the crotch shape as they’ve drafted should never be changed. Their crotch shape, whatever it is, will fit every body.   I’ve heard that whether the crotch shape was a deep U or  a simple split in the fabric (Oh yes. See Pattern Free Fashions by Mary Lee Trees Cole). Considering the range of physical shapes and the differences in how people want their clothes to fit, any such advice is nonsense.

It becomes a problem for me because I keep believing them.  I stop fitting pants because THE DESIGNER says “don’t touch the crotch”.   I really want to believe them.  I really want to believe that I can eliminate all the wrinkles by adapting the waistband and crotch depth (either front, back, or both).  I want to believe pants fitting can be so simple.  And so I stop and am not satisfied with the pants.  I seldom get the wonderful fit that others are so ecstatic about. When I have achieved perfect fit, it’s because someone on the side lines has been encouraging me to make a few simple adjustments to the crotch shape.

My epiphany was realizing  they can’t see that my butt is shaped differently. Heck I can hardly tell it.  I think, other than being generously sized, my butt’s not much different than anybody else’s. Yet I know the only pants patterns that have fit me perfectly and were comfortable to wear, were from the patterns on which I added 1/4″ to the back crotch extension and scooped out 1/4″ from the deepest part of the curve.

So what am I going to do with my epiphany? For the most part my JSM pattern is perfect for trousers and TJ906 excellent for my jeans.  My plan for pants is to use either of these 2 patterns in a sandwich draft to adapt new patterns to my shape.

Oh I BTW I broke my tailbone over 10 years ago.  I slipped on the stairs and fell on that bone instead of my head. So it could have been worse.  Do you know what they do for a broke tailbone?  Well then they took a picture, confirmed it was broke and charge me $85 for a 75 cent inflatable donut.  I was to sit on the donut until my tail bone didn’t hurt. Maybe I have a hunchback on the other end.