Tj906 Working the Process

So where was I?  Ah yes, wondering why I was doing so much to the pattern this time that I’d never even considered previously.  Well I traced the wrong size. Yes indeed I traced the size I was already using. The size that I couldn’t fit into anymore. But I decided I needed to “work the process”. I felt I needed to start at the beginning and do what all the work instead of skipping ahead based on last year’s experience. So I check the sizing page.  Know what?  According to the sizing page, even if I had traced the size I intended it still would have been the wrong size.  Why?  Because the sizing chart shows finished measurements first. I chose size by finished measurements which would have given me ZERO ease. Not even with denim do I want zero ease. I need to trace 2 sizes larger than I was using.  It’s a miracle these jeans came anywhere near fitting let alone giving me two wearable garments and a set of OK denims.

I traced the correct size but  kept the same waistband. Once the waistband fits, it fits. Tracing another copy/size wasn’t going to help. I had “done the work” to fit the waistband.   I decided that I wanted to seriously incorporate Lena (of TheSewingSpace) concept of balance lines. Working with this 5 piece (plus pocket) pattern was challenging. The grain lines are marked on the pattern piece. None of the other lines Lena uses are there. The notch on the lower leg occurs where the flare starts.  Generally a flare should begin just below your knee. The notch was 1.5″ below my true knee. I used the notches for the lower leg balance line anyway. I knew that the leg had to match up evenly at that point or the flare would be—awkward. I calculated the front crotch balance line by measuring 5/8″ (the pattern seam allowance) down from the point and drawing a line perpendicular to the grain line.  I extended the grain lines from top to bottom.  I notched each end of the balance lines.  When I cut my fabric, I used the purple pen to quickly mark the fabric visible within the notches. I removed the pattern and then,using my 48″ ruler, lined up the purple marks and drew my balance lines.  Also, normally when I get ready to install the zipper I take the pant fronts to the ironing board and I measure 1.5″ from the edge of the zipper fly. I fold that over and press.  This time I notched the pattern and marked the zipper line on the fabric before moving it.  If the usual jean/pant making routine required such effort and precision, I’d never make a pair of pants. Honest, I’d just live with whatever I could buy in the store ’cause I never see my rear when I’m walking. But for fitting purposes I did want to be precise.

I took the few moments required to measure and calculate the total circumference at the waist and hip on the pattern.  My measuring tape said there was plenty of distance. Which is why I was surprised with the first fitting:

I expect to see plenty of ease everywhere. I was surprised to see and feel how tight this was across my tummy. I was expecting more vertical folds and fewer panty lines.  So what was going on here? The pants are puddling on the floor. Anytime the fabric is hung up, it puddles above the hang.  This is very similar to the rings surrounding the pebble just thrown into a pool of water. There will be lots of close concentric ripples (rings) and then some further and further apart.  It’s impossible to really judge the leg at this length.  Also I’m using a blouse weight cotton. It has no stretch. Not one itty bitty bit of give. The pattern was designed with 1.5″ ease for non-stretch denim. Denim will accumulate warmth from the body and stretch.  Even though the crotch obviously looks too short, I know from experience that the real issue is above that. I should have measured the pattern for my tummy as well as the waist and hip. In this first picture the fabric is puddling on the floor, but also above my tummy.

The first thing I did was fold up the pants by 4″.  During fitting, I’d rather the hems be swinging high over the floor.  I checked side seam. (Side seams become the balance line for the side view) . As suspected it radically leaned forward between crotch balance line and waistband. I added two 3/8″ wedges to the front.  I’m reluctant to  add or remove gross amounts from any one place.  My experience is that it throws the grain off and creates weirdly shaped alterations that won’t work when transferred back to the tissue. Then I took more pictures. I suspected that the crotch would be better once the pant could slide down into place. The back had serious vertical rumpled lines between waistband and hip. Like gathering.  All the fabric that the front was trying to steal, had been moved to the back. Now the back had too much. I tried removing the excess by working with the seam in the center of the leg and slashing the yoke directly above. That didn’t work. Oddly I’m trying to remove a large wedge in a small distance.  I don’t like to do this, but I offset the front and back side seam 1.75″. That’s a lot. I’m not sure it was enough.   The next pic combines the two fitting sessions:

While this was is improvement over the first fitting, it wasn’t the fit I wanted. The side seam is impossible to line up. No matter how I tweak, the side seam leans forward or backward. There are masses of diagonal folds and excess ease in the front, but I still see hints of my tummy roll and I still see fabric being pushed up above my tummy and along the side seams as viewed from the front.  What really strikes me though, is the angle of the front leg.  I know it’s hard to see but my feet are about 8″ apart. See that white line by my feet.  It’s a piece of tape that I stand on every time I take pics.  Because how far apart I stand seems to make a difference in how the leg hangs, I made two marks on the tape for where to position my feet. So I stand  with the tape going under my arches and a mark just visible next to the inner foot (of each foot).  The side seam is right up next to the ankle. The legs leaning inwards.  I decide it is time to tackle the obvious lack of ease across the front thigh. The crotch has steadily become more comfortable with each change but still feels a little close. I can improve both of these issues at the same time. I let out the entire inseam its maximum which adds 3/4″  to the crotch length and leg width.


This is much improved in several places! Let’s start on the back. The VPL has disappeared. The leg is hanging correctly and many of the drag lines have just simply disappeared. There still appears to be excess width underneath the waistband while those pesky V wrinkles above the crotch have gotten worse.

The side view is much much better. Most of the wrinkles have just dropped away. I note that the leg balance line is still tipping forward and the side seam will not hang completely straight. It starts at the waistband leans forward to the crotch balance line and then back to the knee where it hangs straight until just above the hem. At the hem it bends sharply forward. I’ll ignore the last bend. It could be catching on my shoe. Possibly for fitting, I should have taken the time to turn them up at least another inch.

The front however, has me totally perplexed.  There is still a hit of my tummy roll (will that thing never go away?)  The balance lines are relatively straight except where they traverse the mass of wrinkles at the crotch.  Looking closely it’s clear the a camel toe is developing at the crotch.  Adding the width I need for front thigh and the total length I need for the crotch has caused a camel toe!   Oh and looking at the back again, I think I need more length at the back crotch extension.  Yep the back crotch is still disappearing into that vortex.

However I’ve made so many changes which help but don’t fix the issue that I am ….. perplexed. Not frustrated.  I’m pretty an@l, in case you didn’t notice.  I really can dig into the details.  Did I tell you I started life as an accountant? Yeah, that kind of an@l. So I’m not sure what my next step should be. Letting more out of the inseam, or adding a wedge at the crotch isn’t going to help that camel toe. Taking the inseam in, is going to create more issues at the back side, the leg angle and above.  That little bit of ease really made a difference.


And then it’s dinner time. Enough for today.



4 thoughts on “Tj906 Working the Process”

  1. I was also going to refer you to fashion-incubator’s posts on camel toe, but I see Kelley has done that already. Hope that will help you.

    1. Thanks Linda. I think I’ve gotten bogged down in minutiae and need to change my approach. I think the FashionIncubator is a wealth of knowledge. Love her.

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