TJ902: Altering the Tissue Front

Armed with a new measurements, including the additional ones of my torso, I clear the cutting table and spread the pattern. I checked the recommended size. I’m between sizes. Hoping it would mean fewer additions over all, I decided to trace the size larger. I’m still very interested in Lena’s method of fitting using measurements and balance lines so I pull out the worksheets and information I’ve gleaned from her so far.  I extended the grain lines top to bottom. Then using the calculated method Lena describes, I add the seat and hip balance lines. I measure the tissue and start to compare with my body measurements when I have a light bulb moment.  My body measurements do not include ease. Should I simply find the difference between body and tissue measurements and then proceed to alter the tissue, I’m going to develop a skin-tight garment. Not what I wanted. So I check the ease. In the instruction pages, Trudy Jansen provided the information that the pattern includes 1.5″ ease.

My next question was what about length wise ease?  Is it reasonable to assume that the length of the body will be the same as the length of the pattern piece?  I spent a few hours searching for this information.  I could find lots about circumference ease, but not length.  In my own files I unearth a short piece about “movement ease” which states that  3/4″  should be added for the back crotch and 1/2″ for the front crotch.  The fabrics recommended for this pattern are woven, non-stretch and cut on grain. I know that with most knits and length-wise stretchy fabrics, patterns are shortened. But I can’t even find that information.  Maybe I”m looking in the wrong places.  I don’t know. I decide to use the suggested crotch ease and ignore the lengthwise factor for the rest of the pattern…. at least for now.

I needed a spreadsheet to calculate how much I should change the tissue. Another 2 hours spent copying my figures, adding formulae and then verifying.  But then I began confidently altering the pattern.  I always alter the length of my patterns before widths (circumference).  It’s that lesson from long ago when shortening the back-waist length of the tissue caused my blouses and dresses to miraculously fit.  My calculations show that I need to change the crotch depth, the seat to knee distance and the knee to ankle distance. The measurements are cumulative and don’t include any lengthwise ease. That gives me pause…

I elect to shorten the leg above the knee 2″.  I’ve never shortened it that much. The calculation says 3.25″. But like I said the crotch ease has not been accounted for.  There is lots of ease in the knee of the pattern. I don’t really think this section of the leg needs to be that precise. Trousers don’t cling to the leg like a jean would.  I do shorten the hem from 2″ to my personal standard 1.25″. I also straighten the leg at the side seams and inseam for the last 3″ of the leg pattern (including the turned up hem area).  It’s a hint from Nancy Erickson which makes the hem length ease to change in the event that I need a longer/shorter leg.

Leg and Hem Length Alterations

I decide to work on the front first. Body crotch-length + ease is the same as the pattern crotch-length (less seam allowances). It would appear that the front crotch needs no changes. The waist is a different issue. I need to remove 1/4″ at the front waist line. Two inches below the waistline, I need to add 1.5″. Four inches below  1/2″ additional ease is needed but then  SIX inches below the waistline I need to REMOVE 3/8″ ease.

1.5″ seemed like a lot to add in any one place. I made two slashes from waist to the hip balance line and spread the wedges.

Amazingly, the sides bowed and puckered.

I try 3 wedges without any improvement. This thing has more waves than the ocean. I decided to try adding and removing from the side. Did I suddenly develop a heart shape at the high hip?

I decided this was wrong, from several perspectives. My side is a fairly even curve, dipping it at one point and then continuing it’s journey downward smoothly. I couldn’t imagine this heart shape sitting on my hip. Also, I think the curve belongs in front where my tummy is.  I can’t imagine how the huge side-curve  is going to transfer to the center. I think fabric will bubble on the side and be tight across my tummy.  Scratch that idea. I instead, cut 6 slashes between waist and seat balance line.  I spread the slashes 1/4″ apart and taped them in place.

Again the bowing, but not nearly as bad. I smooth out the bowing and take two diagonal tucks (one at the side seam one in the crotch) to flatten the pattern. Unfortunately this makes the crotch too short.  I added 1/2″ the top and then using my stainless steel curve, redrew the waist.  The front tissue in its final glory:

The waist is going to be too wide.  Rather than try to alter the pattern, I’ve decided to fit the waist when I’ve got fabric to persuade.  Oh and this is not quite the final version. I’ve trued the gain line and balance lines, but I can’t walk the seams until the back is altered.

While you’ve read my post in minutes, altering the front was a 4 hour job.