Drafting VS Alterations

It occurred to me to again question whether I should draft patterns or alter patterns. To this pattern (and so far) I’ve made the following alterations


Front and back:

remove 2″ from seat to knee length

remove 3/4″ from hem length


add 1.5″ to crotch extension

add side wedge 1″ at waist  1/2″ at 6 and 6.5 marks; 0 at seat balance


add Six 1/4″ wedges  from waist to seat balance


draft from waist measurements

move side seam 1″ towards center back

Set 2

Front and Back

Remove 3/4″ from seat to knee length

Add 3/4″ to hem length

Knock Knee Adjustment 1″

Dart placement, width and depth

Change crotch seam allowance to 3/8″


Remove 1/2″ from crotch extension

Remove 1/4″ from crotch height


Horizontal wedge 1/8″ at CF 1/4″ at side seam

Add 1/2″ to inseam starting 2″ down from crotch all the way to the hem

That’s 16 alterations. At the end of each set I needed to true the balance lines and walk the seams. AND I’m not sure that’s the end of my alterations.  I may need more tweaking to get the fit I want. I did not define the excess ease across the back and may still need to do something permanent about it. I always feel that adding to the extension creates excess ease in the thigh which I  would want to to do something about.  Also the general ease across the torso (excepting the bu!t)  is good for non-stretch woven fabrics. But for fabrics with any give (denim) or the tiniest bit of stretch, I probably want a completely new pattern with different ease allowances.

Back to my self-question, should I really give drafting a second chance? My answer is still “no”. Here are the issues:

Drafting assumes that the knee is the mid-point of the leg. I’m shortening the upper leg 2-3/4″. That’s more than a smidge. Unless the leg were really straight i.e. billowy, I will always need to make this adjustment. I can tell by all the excess fabric that hangs up under my bu!t and above my knee.

Once the upper leg is shortened, I need more length for my leg.  I will always need to adapt the lower leg hem.

Drafting assumes the widest point of the hip will be between 7 and 9 inches below your natural waist. Mine is 6.5″.  I will always need to be sure there is enough ease at the  6 and 6.5″  levels.

If I have to add ease at the 6.5 level, then there will be too much ease below and I will need to remove ease between the patterns hip and seat balance lines.

Drafting assumes the circumference measurements (note that was plural) will be divided evenly between back and front. Not true for my body and results in alterations to the waist, hip,  thigh and crotch. I’ve known about the crotch issue since I was a teen. I need a shorter front crotch and I also need a longer back extension.  Whether self drafted or purchased the pattern will always require changing to fit my shape. Remember those 3 bottles of shampoo above

 That wasn’t a mistake. I did a quick search for 8oz of shampoo. Each of those bottles holds 8 oz of product. Each of the bottles is remarkably different. I think drafting and alterations are a similar situation. Drafting creates a generic bottle to fit my volume. But if I want the bottle to fit my form, then I need alterations. The drafted pattern or the purchased pattern may fit generic measurements i.e. hold 8 oz of shampoo. It is the altered pattern which produces a shape which flatters my form. Granted the shapes above are for eye appeal rather than needing to contain a definite form. The analogy works for me hope you were able to follow along because, I still feel altering a purchased pattern helps eliminates some labor needed to create a nicely fitting garment on my body.