Pant Pattern Success

I’ve had time to contemplate the thrilling near perfect fit of Burda 2000-11-140.  This success is overwhelming because I’ve struggled for so long to find a reliable, simple fitting procedure for pants.  My recurring complaint is that I know why my tops don’t fit and therefore I know exactly what to do to fit tops BUT pants remain a mystery. With this success I’ve found a few more clues; a few more cause and effect solutions.

I  know that I’m 2 or 3 inches shorter than the industry standard.  That explains why I must shorten the back waist length in tops and shorten the leg in pants.  I’m OK with this and do it without question or thought.  Shortening the leg length 2″ solves a problem neatly, cleanly.

I know that my waist is tilted.  It’s my posture which results in a shorter front crotch than back crotch.  Interesting, most  pattern companies now recognize that this is standard.  But for many years I removed 1″ from the front crotch length and added 1″ to the back crotch length. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is that nearly all pants patterns are now adapted for the tilted waist –the way most bodies really are. But the point is my waist is tilted, which results in the front crotch being too long and the back too short. Shortening the front 1″  and adding 1″ to the back crotch length solves the fitting problem neatly, cleanly.

I know I have as much depth as width.   It explains why I seem to always be adding length to the back extension. But the recommended procedure is unsatisfying.  The recommended procedure is to slash and spread the back crotch and thereby the upper leg (or thigh).  This procedure adds the length I need for the crotch but it creates another problem by  adding additional ease to the back thigh.  So while it fixes one issue, it creates  another.  Not clean. Not neat. Not finished

I know that I”m not typically knock-kneed, but I do have fitting-symptoms of the condition.  My knee structure is straight whereas the diagnosis of knock-knee specifies that the knee will turn inward.  What I have is a saddle bag of fat on the inseam of each knee.  I have the fit effect of knock-knees no matter  the true diagnosis.  Thing is, I don’t have knock knee fitting issues with every pant. A puzzling difference because I don’t know when to alter for knock knees, when to ignore and when to blame fabric/pattern and throw it all in the trash.  I can’t fix the issue at the tissue stage, like I do with leg length and tilted waist, because I don’t know if I’m going to have issues until after I make the pattern.  Even then some fabrics will work well and others create those horrible X wrinkles.  Puzzling. Confusing. Not clean. Not neat. Not finished.

It’s these last two (body depth and knee saddle bags) which I think I’ve neatly solved, at least with Burda patterns. Making the pant one additional size larger, only on the back inseam, adds the body depth I need at the crotch and adds ease for the knee saddle bags at the same time without causing another issue.  By making one change, I’m fixing two issues  without creating another issue. Fabric choice doesn’t seem to have an effect.  This is similar to my narrow shoulder adjustment in that one change solves multiple issues …. neatly, cleanly.

I also have a question about this fitting procedure with Burda pants patterns is: Why do I need to choose a Burda PANTS pattern two sizes larger than the chart?  I don’t do that for tops. For tops, I trace the recommended size, shorten the back-waist length and make a narrow shoulder adjustment.  With 2 quick alterations, the same alterations I use for the Big 4,  I nearly always have a top pattern which fits me (I’m ignoring Burda’s habit of plunging necklines for everything except pajamas).  Why doesn’t that happen with Burda pant patterns?   I think the answer may be in my desired fit.  I prefer a looser fit than that of my European cousins. I don’t like to feel my clothes rubbing against my body. This may be because  I have some health issues (trying to avoid TMI here) which benefit from a bit of ease and natural fibers. When my clothes are too tight, health issues flare.  I also have a mental set of “tight enough to show a woman, loose enough to be a lady”;  an attitude fostered by years in the work force where in clothing could derail careers.   But I’ve also heard numerous complaints that the American Big 4 have “ridiculous” amounts of ease. It could be that I’m accustomed to more ease even if I complain about it.

Pant Fitting Issue Summary

  • Height
    • 2-3″ shorter than the industry standard
        • leg length is too long
          • shorten leg 2″
  • Waist circumference
    • waist is larger than dimensions on the charts
  • Tilted waist
    • crotch is 1″ longer in back and 1″ shorter in front
      • front has a bubble while center back pulls down at waist
        • shorten front 1″ add 1″ length to back crotch (included in many patterns_
  • Body depth
    • body is as deep as wide
      • bu tt vortex i.e. pant is pulled into crotch resulting in diagonal wrinkles forming around the an__ 0ra_ice
        • add length to the back extension or make the back inseam one size larger
  • KnockKnees
    • Pouches of fat on inner knee have effect of knock knees
      • diagonal wrinkles from between knee and calves; in conjunction with the body depth issues, the famous X wrinkles are readily apparent
        • slash tissue at knee and move bottom half inward; true all lines; or since body depth is an issue make the back inseam one size larger

I think I may have solved and understand all but 1 of my fitting issues:  that of my waist.  My waist is larger than the dimensions on the industry charts. Oddly I’m often adding darts rather than adding ease at the waist.  I also find that my straight waistband needs more length in front than the back; and that I frequently shorten the darts (both front and back) by 1 inch.  I find fitting the waist-band/facing to be critical in fitting the rest of the pant.  When the waist fits, the pant hangs correctly from my body. If the waist doesn’t fit the pant drops puddling below my bu tt in back and above the hip-joint in front.  Places that fit when the pant is in the correct waistline alignment, become too small when they drop lower.

As I pursue this 2012 goal of understanding why my pants fit or don’t, my perspective has changed.  Before I was looking at wrinkles (and vortexes).  Now I’m seeing my body is shaped ___ The industry standard is ___  I have ___ wrinkle I fix the wrinkles by ___.  I”m pleased with this change.  I don’t feel like I fully understand but the picture is getting a little more clear.

4 thoughts on “Pant Pattern Success”

  1. I perfected the Burda pattern of my dreams a few years ago and I laid it on top of Big 4 patterns as a fitting model. I noticed that the leg shapes and grain lines were much different, probably because of the crotch extension depths being quite different. As I sewed this TNT pattern using different fabric the fit changed with each. My best fitted pant came from actually draping the pant lining to my body! But that fit changed with any weight gained or lost. My conclusion? Pants fit is dependent on weight, body conditioning, fabric and maybe even the weather 🙂 You’re doing soooo good, I am really happy for your discoveries and learning along with you.

    1. Etelvina
      I just moved my blog to WordPress about 2 months ago. When I moved, I also split-off the pants fitting journey into it’s own blog. Most of the information I post is scattered around the internet. What is unique is seeing how I apply the information to my particular figure. I’m glad to have you as a follower and hope my misadventures can help you.

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