Eureka Pant

My First Eureka Pants

I finished my first pair of Eureka pants using a very good fabric.  This is the kind of fabric you want to wear.  It is a nylon/poly/lycra blend woven with a subtle vertical stripe. The fabric has a fabulous drape and would have been perfect for One-Seams.  After my last fiasco (counting the muslin and first trial of the Eureka pant), someone suggested that I use 10″ instead of 4″ when calculating stretch. With the 4″ sample, this fabric had 25% stretch i.e. it stretched from 4 to 5 inches.  With the 10″ sample it has 15% stretch i.e. it stretched from 10 to 11.5 inches.  I know for a fact that the larger the data sample, the more accurate your final database and program will be.  I’m assuming that’s true here and will adopt a 10″ sample standard.

I apologize for the quality of the photos.  My camera is acting up again.  I’ve decided to replace it and ordered new but until the new one arrives, the pictures are what they are.


I traced the pattern a second time.  This time I carefully compared the pattern with the MSS pattern.  At the first tracing I looked carefully at the crotch shapes (which I shared in the first post) but not compared the tissues as a whole.  When looking from the bird’s-eye view, I could see that the fitted MSS is shorter at the top and bottom; the Eureka has the big back crotch; but otherwise both are very similar.

I decided to make one tissue alteration immediately. I  trimmed a wedge across the top 2″ wide at CB extending across the sides and narrowing  to 1″ at the front.  I applied the wedge above the first HBL because that’s where I made the changes on the muslin which kept the HBL’s evenly horizontal.   This is the biggest change I made to the first Eureka muslin and it is the obvious difference between the two patterns.  I added 1″ to the side seams.  I didn’t want to take a chance on forgetting to add the safety factor while cutting out the fabric as I’d done with the fabric that got me.  I stitched two front and back darts, a total of 4 darts (one on each piece).  Then I tried it on

The pictures I’m showing are finished shots i.e. these are being comfortably worn as is.


The fabric feels heavenly but as you can see the finished front does indicate a little of my belly flap- the result of child-bearing, weight gain/loss and Father Time or Granny Gravity. I suppose I could wear some slimming undergarments. I’m instead hoping that my blouses, which I never tuck, will disguise it for me.  I hemmed at 1.5″, then 2.5″ and finally 3.5″. Funny, wasn’t that the amount I took off the hem of the first tracing?  Yes it was. Maybe the fabric of the first muslin wasn’t the entire problem after all.

I didn’t notice this at the first fitting or photos, but the waistband seems to tilt up towards the CF in this photo.  I’m not sure if it’s the photo though, because I felt like the front waist was coming up a little high.  What I paid the most attention to was the side seam.  It’s about as perpendicular as it can get.  The leg just falls smoothly from waist to hem. Well it does from the side view.

There are so many good things to say about the back.  Starting with the ease I added on a whim.  Well not exactly a whim. The backs of the Eureka and MSS had about the same ease. I had noticed that my MSS consistently needs another 1″ of ease only on the back. I split the tissue of the Eureka along the grain line and added the 1″ in the middle of the back.  This worked really well. When I basted the side seams I basted them at the same distance (1-5/8″) instead of trying to offset the back and front side seam. I do see the diagonal fold between hip and knee only on the right leg (left as you are looking into the picture.) That didn’t occur in the first fitting pictures.  The biggest difference between these pictures and the first pictures of this version is the hem and serging the excess off the side seam. Oh and everything is nailed down instead of basted into place.   Looking in the mirror I thought the pant looked a little loose overall but decided to leave it. There are fabrics, and this is one of them, that should have more ease. Some fabrics need more ease because they have no stretch. In that case more fabric is required so that the body can move and sit.  This fabric needs more ease because it clings to the body.  I refer you back to the picture of the front and visible tummy flap.  That is the fabric clinging to body.

I also noted the twist between calve and hem.  I didn’t try to correct it.  After the pant was done I pulled out my notes from Kathy Rudy’s One Pattern Many Looks class. I  untaped the wedge across the top and compared the leg as Kathy instructs. When I pinned the two inseams together,  I found that the back inseam is shorter than the front.  This is typical, but I don’t personally subscribe to the theory.  That’s based on my personal experience. Please note that I do not have a model’s body; and my body is most certainly different from your own.  But for my body and the fabrics I sew with, following that theory often creates ruching along the front inseam. I don’t completely understand why. I know that I have the dropped rear, my waist is tilted (shorter front crotch length than back) and that I am shorter than the standard. Not to mention the difference in body weight. I do know that other sewists and other real people don’t have the same experience. But I’m sewing for my body and my body needs the inseams to be the same length.

At the side seam, I started by pinning all the HBL’s together. From the top HBL to the knee HBL the pattern lays nice and flat.  When I try to pin the waist together the front bows. When I try to pin the hem together, a diagonal forms between hem and calve just like it is on my back leg. When I pin so everything is flat, the back side seam at the waist is clearly 3/16″ shorter than the front and the back hem is 1/4″ longer on both inseam and side seam.  Could I have traced these incorrectly? It’s possible the tissue slipped. I say possible knowing that I routinely use 4 pieces of tape to secure the original and then another 4 pieces to secure my tracing tissue. I also smooth my tissues twice before each taping and I keep checking to be sure the tissue is not shifting. But hey, I could have made a mistake. It wouldn’t be the first time.  I trimmed the back leg 1/4″ at the hem and added 3/16″ at the top  and then taped my 2″ horizontal fold back into place.  I won’t say the pattern is wrong but I would recommend that you pin the pattern together starting with the HBL’s and check to be sure the lengths are even (excepting maybe the stretch at the top of the back inseam).  Kathy Ruby clearly explains that it’s not enough to match hems and pin upward. In this case I would have thought there was a hair’s difference on the side seam and that the inseam was only stretched 1/2″. Matching HBL’s, which are commonly translated to notches on the pattern, revealed that the vertical seams had significantly different lengths.

I do think I still have some fitting tweaks to make.

  • I’ve already corrected the leg lengths.
  • I think I need to increase the wedge I made (at the top)  another 1/4″ in the front (making the front crotch shorter, pulling the waistband down and more horizontally across my body).
  • I want to reshape the front hip curve slightly.  When I look I think at the pics, I see the front peaks on the side seam at the Hip HBL and a fold develops directly beneath.  The back curves smoothly from waist to Hip.
  • I want to remove a little more ease on the front between the top HBL and the hem.
  • On the back, I only want to remove ease under the bum. I was excited about Kathy Rudy’s specific alteration for this.  Most of my pants have excess ease right under the bum.  I’ve not ignored it; but all the other alterations I’ve made have only added drag lines.

Final evaluation of this pattern:  I’m really pleased.  In all 3 versions (muslin, Gotcha Twill, and this lovely nylon) I have not touched the crotch curve and none of the pants have displayed a butt vortex or diagonals between hip and knee or any crotch related issues.  The major alterations are the wedge which shortens the top of the torso between waist and the first HBL; and 1″ additional ease for the back. These were quick and simple changes making me wish Fit for Art would produce many more pant styles.

Eureka Pant, KathyRuddy

Grrr Foiled by Fabric ….. yet again!

I was pleased with the final alterations to my muslin of the Eureka pant. Had a few questions about the leg and  a little hesitant once I realized how the fabric stretched when body-warmed.  But I transferred the changes as accurately as possible to the tissue, trimmed seam allowances as appropriate for me for cutting a “real” pair from very nice fabric.

I think I need to start making notes to myself.  I made the changes to the tissue one day.  I made a mental note to add 1″ seam allowances on the following day, while cutting the fabric. Well instead “Sweet and Low” I must have added “Stupid Flow” to my morning coffee. When I got down to the sewing room I had completely forgotten about increasing the seam allowances. I cut the fabric as per the tissue. Oh yes I regretted it.

The result, while I wouldn’t wear it, is interesting.  Sorry no pics. There are somethings I just don’t share.  Public views of my girlie parts rank high on that list.  Let me describe. The side seam is perpendicular. The back is too tight between HBL 1 and 3.  While the outline of my underwear is detectable, the rest of the area is fine.  I saw 1 diagonal  line between knee and bum which I believe is related to not enough ease across the hip.  From all sides, the pant is too short which I think is odd since I removed 2″ less than I had pinned up for the hem. The front shows that I still need to lift the waist at the side between grain line and side seam.  Otherwise the pant as a whole could be OK.  In fact, other than the hem length, I might wear these,,,  if I was willing to don industrial-strength shape wear.  I’m not. I mean, I’m not willing to wear strong shaping underwear.  I do wear a back support, knee support and wrist support as needed.  I may eventually need to wear these support devices continuously.  I may even need corrective surgery in the future. For now, however, I  wear support when needed and add enough ease to my clothing to conceal my support devices.

The problem with my “real” pant goes back to the chosen muslin fabric.  It did not stretch in any direction as long as it (the fabric) was cold.  Once on my body, it stretched subtly but significantly.  A secondary issue is not cutting  the side seam allowances 1″ wide.  Something Kathy Rudy emphasizes over and over is “Cut big. Sew small” .  This garment could have been saved if it had 1″ side seam-allowances. The side seams could have been released, adding enough ease in the needed areas.  The hema, could have been faced with bias tape or a faux-cuff added.

The question I face now is: Can I adapt my pattern without making a whole new muslin?  It is  clear to me that I must find a way that when there is ever a doubt, I can/will  add more width  to the seam allowances,  not merely plan to do it.  It’s also clear to me that muslin fabric must be more carefully chosen.  Are these changes possible?

Ummmmm,  have to think about that and get back to ya…

PS  Suggestions definitely welcome.


One Pattern Many Looks

I’ve taken several Craftsy Classes. One I started but did not finished. Two I haven’t started (purchased during a very good sale).  I’ve added lots of classes to my wish list, but as I learn about the Craftsy format, I delete more and more. The first classes I took were definitely “meh” variety.  The information was good, but could have been presented as a free blog post with maybe an open sew along. Definitely not woth the cost but I hesitated to ask for a refund. I knew Craftsy was just getting going and while I was unimpressed, others (several of whom I admire greatly) couldn’t get enough of Craftsy.  I refuse to pay $50 for an online class.  I won’t buy a book for that price.  When I received an offer to purchase this class for $35, I hesitated. I will pay $30 for a book. But it’s a book I’ve had a chance to thumb through and determine if it’s an hour’s worth of entertainment or something that I will use over and over. I actually don’t really like the video format.  My short term memory needs a little assistance. So if i want to remember the information in a video, I need to stop the video and make notes and sketches.  With a book, I slap a post it note on the page. With an ebook, I make a bookmark. But, I really would like to fit one pants pattern and be able to adapt it to a multiple of styles. That’s not as easy as it sounds.  I’ve tried.  Even what seemed so minor, adjusting a pants leg width 1″, didn’t turn out well.   I’d love to know the secret tweeks the designers use to change pant shapes and adapt for different fabrics.  I’d really like to know.  So with Craftsy’s guarantee in mind (love it or refund it), I purchased and started viewing “One Pattern, Many Looks: Pants” by Kathy Ruddy.

This is the first Craftsy Course I can truly rave about.  First off Kathy is very personable. She comes across the screen as knowledgeable, experienced and down to earth.   She is able to full describe the task at hand so that you understand.  The visuals help, but I think I could figure out what to do with just the text.  I was very enaged with  this class, I wanted to go on and on.  Let me give you a  recap

Lesson 1 Meet Kathy Ruddy:  Doesn’t add any important knowledge. Kathy introduces herself gives a autobiography and encourages you to download the course materials.

Lesson 2 Creating the Pattern Block:  The class needs a basic pant pattern with a waistline at the natural waist, no pockets and slacks legs (i.e. neither belled or severely tapered.) Kathy recommends a Vogue pattern, but acknowledging that maybe you don’t want to run out and buy a pattern, describes what to look for and then takes the time to show you how to convert your existing pattern into a pattern that will work as basic.  Upside is that you don’t have to buy a new pattern.  I felt it was a little extra instruction, a bonus.  She is reverse-engineering these patterns and explaining how the shape was created.  It’s food for thought.  I filed it away as information to create that kind of shape when my basic pattern fits.  I am BTW using the Eureka Pant from Fit for Art Patterns in conjunction with the class.  I chose this pattern because I just purchased it and it does fit the standard for a basic block.

Lesson 3 Refining the Fit:  Not every figure  variation is covered, but she does a good job of covering the major differences and is the 2nd source I’ve seen describe the dropped rear. It’s a common physical difference rarely recognized by designers or manufactures ,  and the reason all my pants crotches are scooped in the back creating.  Of great interest to me personally was the change for removing excess ease directly under my rear and removing the twist which sometimes happens in legs.  Can’t wait to try these solutions. It is important to solve your individual fitting challenges before going onto the following lessons.

Lesson 4 Leg Design changes:  Finally I know why my leg changes don’t work.  Every thing I’ve read said to take the same amount from the inseam and side seam.  Kathy gives two rules for how to remove/add ease and tells you how and where to true the new lines.   Then she helps you realign the straight of grain.  She illustrates the process with a striped fabric. She  makes such sense that I’m eager to try her method.

Lesson 5 Faced Waists and Hidden Zippers:  Confession time I skipped through the hidden zipper segment.  I used those 30-40 years ago when they first came out and I was incapable of sewing a  nice zipper installation.  I’ve solved my zipper issue.  I don’t really want people staring at my clothing wondering how do I get in and out of that thing. So hidden zippers are not of interest to me and I don’t have a single one in my stash.  However I watched the Faced Waists twice.  This is a look I love.  I was fascinated by how the facing changed shape using two easy clips and over-lapping the dart legs.  I think I understand now and can make a faced waistband for all the varieties of waistband heights that I like to wear.

Lesson 6 Elastic Waist:  Kathy has an easy way to install elastic that doesn’t involve pulling elastic through a casing.  I’ve seen this technique in the past but didn’t like to use it.   All elastic does not have the same stretch and it seems that all waistlines don’t have the same circumference even when I’m making the same size but different patterns.  Kathy’s method overcomes both of these issues.  I’m curious enough to give her procedure a try but being me, I’ll be using large removable stitching.

Lesson 7 Adding a Zipper:  I didn’t want to write myself any notes.  I’m not impressed with zipper guards — that extra piece of fabric behind the jeans zipper.  My tender skin is always protected from zipper teeth with underwear.  I don’t have a burning desire to copy exactly ALL designer details.  I don’t need to make you feel like I’m rich enough to purchase Chanel or Valentino etc etc.  If there was a display near me, I’d go and see the work of these famous designers and I’d probably learn something. But for my everyday, casual life I don’t need a extra step to install a good zipper.  YMMV

Lesson 8 Slashed Pockets:  Loved this lesson.  The course materials include the “slash” Kathy uses.  It is curved and she explains why.  This is one of several pockets she talks about in the course. Since I both love and need pockets, I was especially attentive.

Lesson 9: Back Yoke and Patch Pockets: Another fascinating lesson.  Kathy takes the basic pant and shows how to make the yoke that you want.  It’s wonderful to see it change shape (similar to the waist facing)  She also uses this lesson to show how to copy RTW details to include placement.  Kathy encourages snoop shopping. Even praises the designer for the effort they go to in creating their garments. As she says, they’ve invested a lot of time to get these details right. Why not learn from them?  She shares a neat pocket copied from RTW even including the shape in the course materials.

Lesson 10 Welt Pockets:  These are special tailoring details we all love. Kathy shares a procedure that is easy enough for a beginner. You do need a special supply:  tear away stabilizer.  You might be able to use paper.  I’m fortunate to have a stash of embroidery supplies so I’m all set to try her method.


As I work with the information Kathy Ruddy provided, I will be referring back to this post or Craftsy. I thought it only fair that instead of, out the blue, writing  Kathy Ruddy this and Kathy Ruddy that,  it would be a good idea to post this evaluation. Again it is the first Craftsy Course that I can rave about and think I will use the majority of the material presented.

Eureka Pant

Eureka Pant Fitting

 I want to start with a discussion about the pattern draft.  The front piece is unremarkable. Other than being longer at both top and bottom, I really don’t see other differences from my favorite patterns.  However the back is astonishing.  Look at the back crotch:

Maybe it would help if I compared the back with the MSS back, a pattern with  fit I do like.

MSS is on top, Eureka pant below.

The Eureka crotch (Back #3)  is at least 1″ longer than the MSS.  I’ve never seen a crotch this long.  My first reaction was astonishment at that extension.  Then I noted that it was not a hooked crotch. It’s pretty much a capital L with the angle slightly smoothed. I thought I would need to scoop the crotch eventually.  Also note, if you can, that the crotch upright is not a straight line.  In fact both front and back crotch uprights have double curves. The double curves are slight. You have to look closely.  I left the back crotch as is but I wanted a front zipper and so the front crotch extension was straightened.  Also look at the curve of the side seam.  If you are hippy or blessed with saddle bags, this pattern is going to help you.  Please note, I didn’t even look at Back 1 or 2. They could be entirely different. I read the description of Back #3 and said “That’s me!” and that’s the one I’m using.  So other than what you can see here, the big back crotch, wobbly line upright and curved side seam, the Eureka looks pretty standard. Much like a basic block. 

For the first fitting, I basted in the zipper, 4 back darts, 2 front darts, crotch and side seams.  The directions have you add 2″ to the top at cutting time which I did but didn’t need.  I folded and pinned 6″ of leg into hem and then took pictures.  I was shocked!  The pant felt tight in the waist but fine everywhere else.  The pictures looked excellent both back, side and front except that the side seam leaned towards the back from the first (highest on the body) HBL to the waist, indicating that the back darts were too deep. 

From there it went down hill.  I released 1 of the back darts. The side seam was now vertical, but the waist obviously tight across the tummy. Odd to me that releasing a back dart suddenly adds volume under the tummy and makes the tummy look very prominent. But then I’ve known for a long time that you do one alteration at a time because one alteration will affect the next.  Next fitting I released the front darts. 3rd fitting I offset the side seams. This looked much better across the tummy and front, except that the waist itself was too loose and side seam again leaning towards the back. Next fitting, add small dart to front.

Ah, waist looks good, tummy looks good but now the back which previously sat nicely at the natural waist, is now trying to crawl upwards, the front has developed a drape across the lower leg and the HBL’s are no longer horizontal. They are dipping at the side seam and center back. Next fitting, pull up across the back and onto the front to the first dart 1/2″. (I should have expected this.  Looking at the patterns above, the MSS back is 1″ shorter than the Eureka  without the 2″ extension) Also I decided it was time to examine leg length.  The knee line, or what the HBL I thought was the knee line, was 3.5″ below the middle of my knee.  With so much to adjust, I chose to make 3 horizontal tucks, 5/8″ each on only one front and back leg.  The HBL’s look great but I’ve developed my old nemises the diagonal lines from the knee to butt.  I decide that now is not the time to work on the leg although I note that the grainline is now perfectly vertical from waist the hem. The leg does need to be shortened, just not there and probably not that much.   I also make a mental not that perhaps it is not entirely the crotch’s fault when those diagonals develop.

My final alteration was to pin out the excess hip curve.   I pinned out 1.25″ tapering at the 3rd HBL and the knee. I made the adjustment evenly on front and back, but it really needs to be more taken out of  the front than the back. 

Ok lots of words to describe 4 alterations

  1. Waist circumference
  2. Crotch Height
  3. Leg ease 
  4. Leg Length.

Note that the crotch curve never needed to change. This is the first pattern I’ve worked with that didn’t need the crotch scooped as the final alteration. 

However, this muslin is a mess. The 3 leg-length tucks would not lie flat. I trimmed them. Well I whacked them down to 1/2″ using the scalloped blade in the rotary cutter. They stick out like ruffles but inside the pant leg. So much length removed in that short distance really distorted the leg shape. The unaltered leg looks really nice from waist to hip except being too long it piles up in horizontal folds along the lower leg .  The horizontal tuck I made across the back, side and into the front, also will not lay flat, adding girth where I least need it.  To add fuel to the fire, the fabric is not as I originally evaluated i.e  polyester with no stretch.  I’m not sure it is polyester.  I’m not making a burn test, because this is going into the trash as soon as I’m sure I’ve transferred all the changes to the tissue.  The biggest problem with this fabric is that as the body warms it, it stretches.  I didn’t believe my eyes and tested the stretch in several cross grain areas.  I hunted up a large leftover and tested it. The leftover did not stretch. That means this would have been a horrible garment. You would have started the day with either a too tight fit or a perfect fit and ended the day with a size much larger, drooped and probably a wrinkled mess.  I realized how the fabric had changed just before the last alteration (tuning the side seams to fit my curve). At that point I put everything down, turned off the sewing machine and “had a think”.  Could I trust this muslin?  Should the alterations be transferred to the tissue or should I start with a new muslin?   I have another issue.  The pant fabrics I buy intending to wear, I want a little Lycra.  Lycra adds a bit of comfort and allows for a closer fit.  With a bit of stretch in the fabric, It’s not necessary to surround my body with yards of fabric (which make me look even larger). Over the last few years I’ve sewn most of the non-stretch pant fabrics in my stash. What’s left and keeps sitting there while I make muslins, are beautiful stretch fabrics. I really want to use the stretch fabrics I’ve purchased, but I like to start fitting the pattern by using a non-stretch woven.  The amount of stretch varies from fabric to fabric.  If I make a pattern for one stretch fabric, I can’t be sure the pattern will work in the next stretch fabric. But if I make the pattern in a non-stretch woven, I know I’ll need to reduce varying amounts of ease, but will always be able to fit me.  The exception would be slinky.  Slinky stretchs so much you almost have to start with a smaller pattern. I don’t make pants of slinky.  Just don’t.  I finally decide to finish fitting this muslin (I was so close), copy the changes to the tissue and mark the tissue “20% stretch”.  I’m gambling that the final pattern will work.  I will construct a real pant and reveal ,,,,, soon.

Eureka Pant

The Eureka Pant

I decided I had to try the Eureka Pant after Janis shared her version with us at SG.  I thought I ordered the pattern earlier but when I first started, I couldn’t find the pattern in my stash or a record of purchase.  That’s when I made the ill-fated Terrific Trousers (still think I must have done something terribly  wrong, but moving on….).  I made Otto 5/2013 Style #2 because Eureka pattern hadn’t arrived and I needed another pair of pants.  When the pattern arrived, I finished Style #2 hurriedly ( I didn’t really complete Style 2 as well as I first intended.)  But I digress, Eureka is here. I’ve read the instructions and I’m ready to start.

I was surprised to find a size Medium recommended.  Mind you, I’m quite pleased that I’m no longer a 2X but I’ve not lost all padding.  Most clothing in the size large fits. I need an XL sometimes. But a medium is too small. Far too small. Nonetheless my hip and abdomen measurements fall well within the size range listed for a medium.

I chose the Style #3 back after carefully reading the description.  I was pleased with the verbiage used.  Fit is described in terms of how a RTW pant behaves on the body.  It was easy to peg me as a Back #3.   After tracing the front and back pattern pieces (along with all grain lines, HBL, dart and other markings), I pulled out my tape measure. Just to be sure.  I mean I’m normally a large or x-large. I didn’t completely trust the medium recommendation. It’s really a simple and quick thing to do. I measured across the front and back at the hip line. Multiplied that times 2 and compared with my hip measurement.  Repeat same for the abdomen.  I’m pleased to report that medium should work for me.

My muslin fabric is a polyester twill purchased many years ago when Walmart still cared about customers. The fabric had a flaw which didn’t matter because at $1/yard I purchased 5 yards and made a few garments by cutting around the flaw.  I’m left with about enough to make the pants muslin.  It doesn’t stretch but does fray. So after cutting, I transferred all the pattern markings and then serge finished all edges.  

Next, I basted in a front zipper. Fit For Art recommends leaving the seam open but does allow those who are fitting themselves to use either a side or front opening.  I admit, the reasoning is good. The thought is that the zipper will interfere with fitting the torso.  That can be true. I won’t contest it generally.  Except for me.  I seldom have fitting problems with the front. I do however become very irate with trying to pin seams together and then looking around and see if the @!!##! thing fits while pins poke and prick me.  I basted in the zipper. Basted the inseams. Basted the side seams.  Folded the hems up 4″ and pinned in place.  Then decided, what the heck, I have a pretty good idea of what darts should be like on my body and I basted in 4 darts (2 front, 4 back).

Then I tried on my muslin for the first fitting.

Details, tomorrow.

1038 Terrific Trousers

Terrific Trousers #2

Similar to the PatternReview poster, I spent hours working with this pattern, about 6. First thing I have to tell you is that there are significant differences between the Terrific Trouser (TT) apple and pear drafts.  I wish I could make a little chart here, but I don’t have the smarts yet so a descriptive of the differences will have to do.

Looking at sizing, in relationship to my measurements just before starting to work with the pattern.  I would use an Apple Size XL but a Pear size L but would need an entirely different size for the waist. For an apple I need the next size larger but for the pear my waist requires 3 sizes more.  I find this surprising as I normally use a size smaller at the waist and just leave out the front darts.  For pants, I take an extra dart in the back and when possible (some designs just don’t lend themselves to this) curve the side seam at the waist a little bit more.

There are several large tissue sheets.  They are needed for the two drafts and the various templates. As I sorted through the first major pieces I found were the fronts.  The apple front crotch was deeper and had a longer front extension.  Not good for me.  I know from experience that a little hook in front gives me the smoothest appearance. I know because I’ve seen in patterns and RTW that if I have  a long extension on the front piece, I will have a bubble in the front.  Reminds me of a female hyena who has grown the part she needs to be dominant. The pear front crotch is more upright and has the tiny hook I need. I also noted that the side seam of the pear curves in at the waist which is something else I find helpful.

On both front and back I found that the grain lines shift.  That’s hard to explain but between apple and pear draft, the grain lines are not in the exact same relation. They are tilted as if going from a trouser draft to a slack draft and that makes a difference in how the fabric hangs on the body.

I then found the backs.   The apple has a slanted crotch which is deeper and much longer, extension. While the pear has a more upright crotch, and the shorter extension. Front and back combined have a  U-shaped crotch. Very important.  I cannot even proceed if I’m looking at V-shaped crotches. I know this from experience. Both RTW and pattern experience.  I’ve lost count of the number of patterns I’ve tried to fit and failed. I have 5 patterns which fit. All have a nice U shape.  Here’s the thing, my shape,,,, is,,,, my shape.  For a long time I was ever hopeful that the next V-draft would be different enough to fit beautifully. But it doesn’t matter how you tweak the waist, hip or leg ease or shape.  If the crotch shape of the pattern doesn’t fit my crotch shape, the pants will look awful.  My shape requires a deep U with a little scoop out of the bottom back.    I’ve never gotten any other shape to work. I no longer hope that a V shape will miraculously fit. I know it won’t.

So why did I buy this pattern?  I loved the idea of having one pattern that I can tweak to have wide, boot, or tapered legs.  I was also curious about how the apple and pear shapes would accommodate my tummy and hips.  I thought I might be cutting an apple front and a pear back.  To my surprise I decided upon the pear front (small hook and curved waist) with an apple back (deep crotch, long extension).

I traced my pieces.  I had a heck of a time locating the waist and pocket pieces for the pear front.  Since there were such obvious differences between the apple and pear drafts, I wanted to use the small pieces that corresponded to the major pieces i.e. front and back.  I finally found these pieces by looking in detail at each of the templates. But I thought had I been a new sewist I would be thoroughly upset by now.  As it was, I was beginning to wonder if I had a defective pattern.

I pinned the pocket to the front and compared both back and front with the MSS pant. The fronts were nearly the same. Not enough difference to note.  The backs however caused concern.  The back extension was 1.25 inches shorter and the back crotch upright was an inch shorter than the corresponding MSS piece. I decided to trace the TT crotch which would be the same as the MSS. That turned out to be the 5x.  Now I had an issue.  Do I try to true that extension with the leg size L??  It made for a steep curve the likes of which I haven’t used before. I decided since I hadn’t even considered the effect of my knock knees (primarily because they usually aren’t a problem with wide leg pants)  I would trace the 5x back inseam.  This added a little over 1″ ease to the back leg.  As this is a wide leg, I probably won’t notice the extra ease. I’m not so sure about how it will affect the boot and tapered legs.   I also added the 1″ I needed to the upright.  There just is no sense in fooling myself.  I’m using the MSS for comparison but I know on all 5 pants patterns that fit me, I needed to add the height to the upright or, the pant will pull down in the center back. I do not wish to wear a plumber’s butt pant. I corrected the upright by measuring up 1″ and making a mark. then I matched my french curve with the curve of the back as drafted. Keeping the side seam end in place, I rotated the french curve at the CB upward until at the 1″ mark. I drew my new waistline.  It looks like an upward slope.

I cut my fabric, a cotton/poly blend that is semi-sheer and has several large flaws.  It was a Walmart find from long ago. I’d already cut around these flaws to make a blouse. I thought it would be fine for a muslin but because you can see the outline of my body when I’m behind a strong light (think Sun), I don’t think it would make a good item in my wardrobe. Just to be sure I wouldn’t be tempted, (I’m ever hopeful that the first draft will be a winner) I used a Sharpie Pen to mark the grain, and horizontal balance lines (HBL).  I did not cut the pocket bag or the waistband facing.  I basted the pocket  to the front and basted in a zipper.  Then I pinned the front side seam to the back side seam and…

…. came to an abrupt halt.  There was 3 inches difference in side seam lengths. None of the HBL’s would match no matter where I started pinning. Was I supposed to ease the side seams?  I checked the instructions. No nothing about easing anywhere.  OK so maybe the apple and pear can’t be combined. I pulled out the pear back and compared with the pear front I have traced. Sunnybeach, it didn’t match either.  The front pear I traced was 3″ shorter than the back pear tissue and the HBL’s didn’t align. OK maybe the HBL’s aren’t really HBL’s.  I really expect a notch at the knee which matches on front and back.  I also expect lines marked “crotch depth” to match and the top of the side seam to match.   Maybe I could ignore what I think are HBL’s. BUT the pant front is still 3″ shorter than the pant back. Did I attach the pocket at the right place?  Yes. Did I make a mistake when tracing the front?  That has happened to me before and that’s why I always tape the pattern and my tracing tissue to the top of my cutting table. Just in case, I pulled out the front tissue and compared it with my tracing. They were the same. I’m still not believing the pattern is wrong.  It’s not unusual for me to make a mistake, miss an instruction yada yada.  I compare the front pattern tissue to the back pattern tissue. I did take pictures. None of them were clear enough to share.  I see the same thing. The HBL’s do not align and the front is shorter than the back.  Either I’ve made a colossal mistake I can’t see or this pattern is wrong.

You know, it’s hard enough for me to fit pants with a well drafted pattern and adequate instructions.  I scoop the whole mess off the top of my cutting table and into the trash.  I’m not a patient person.


ETA:  I’ll make another comment about this pattern.  I really was concerned about how well it would fit because of the picture the company chose to share on the face of the envelope.  I see several issues I’d want to correct. But then, maybe it’s just the way the ladies are standing or the fabric used. I checked the website to see more examples.  I got into a loop between the Gallery which had no pictures and the pattern description which had the same picture as the envelope.  The company owes me nothing, of course, but I’ve come to  expect a little more from the Indy pattern co’s. I like to see more views. I particularly like to see back views especially for pants. I also like more complete instructions.  I buy all CLD patterns even if I know I’ll never make the garment.  I buy the patterns for the wonderful instructions.  I know from the envelope that this pattern can successfully be made. Just not by me. 6 hours is all I’m interested in investing.

1038 Terrific Trousers

Dana Marie Terrific Trousers

Sometimes I think I’m a glutton for punishment.  I’m starting a new pattern, Dana Marie Design Co (formerly Purrfection Artistic Wearables) Terrific Trousers

I think I purchased it during a recent sale at Nancy’s Notions but the pattern is available in several places.

It is, I think, classic styling with several options.

There is the choice of sizes XS to 5XL all in the same envelope.  I know it’s less confusing to have a single size within an envelope. But I like having all sizes because I change sizes. When I change sizes, I can copy the new size without the need to purchase a new pattern.  This pattern also contains 3 leg styles, wide, boot cut and tapered.  My JSM pattern contained boot cut with instructions for adapting to wide and tapered. Also, the pattern is styled for two basic  figure types, the pear and the apple. That’s a lot of choices within one pattern plus it’s easy to use pockets from other patterns or change the leg length shorts->capri->floor.

I started my journey by reading the enclosed directions and checking the site for additional information. I’ve got to admit, that especially for the most difficult garment to fit and sew in a pattern that offers so many options, I think it is short on instructions.   The one review at is negative. Between the two I have more questions than answers.  For one thing, do you know if you are apple or pear-shaped?  I think I’m a pear in the back and apple in the front.  Partially that’s due to some health issues.  Today, for example, my apple front is very prominent.  It’s larger than my rear. Often my “apple” (which is below my small bust) shrinks and becomes just “a bit of a tummy”. However, I never have a flat derriere.   To  make the MSS fit, I removed 2″ of ease from the front and transferred it to the back. I wouldn’t do that if I consistently had a flat derriere and a big tummy. Do the Terrific Trousers instruction have any information to help me determine which shape to use?  No, just 2 cute line drawings neither of which represent me.  You have to know your shape before tackling this pattern and that’s a whole ‘nother book.

The instructions quote the old and never reliable method of determining crotch depth by sitting on a hard chair.  I don’t have a hard chair. Nope at my age I want everything soft and comfy.  Yes I know public places I could go to that would have hard chairs, but I’m not going there. I absolutely am not doing any measuring and subsequent explaining in view of the general public. Don’t care if most of the general public would be friends, neighbors and relatives.  There are some things I prefer to keep to myself.   Since I’ve had lots of experience fitting pants patterns, my solution will be to use Louise Cuttings instructions (MSS pants) and add 1″ extra length at the top.  I may not need that 1″ because the instructions state that the pattern is drafted for the tilted waist which usually adds 1″ height to the back crotch and reduces the front crotch height by 1″.   I haven’t looked at the shape of the crotch yet, but I can tell you before unfolding the tissue if I’m not looking a a U shape (Burda, JSM) there is no way these pants will ever work. V shaped (Vogue, McCalls) or ski slopes (Kwik Sew and Ottobre Design)  absolutely will not work for me. I’ve tried them.  Many times.   I must have a long enough crotch extension to fit me.  While I continue to contemplate the instructions, I know this could be a show killer.  If the crotch shape is wrong, this pattern is dead to me.

I also won’t be measuring my pant length according to her instructions.  I’ll cheat. You bet.  I’ve got 5 patterns that fit me.  I’ll compare leg length with a pattern I know I like and use that length with a 2″ hem.  I do like the instruction note which state that tapered pants are usually hemmed at ankle length while the others are longer. Still it is a personal preference, so I’ll use mine.

Next is a real gem of information.  She advises cutting the size which most closely matches your own even if that means cutting between sizes or cutting different sizes for waist, hip and thigh.  It’s the system I use with Burda Ottobre Design tops. It consistently produces patterns which need nothing more than fabric fitting. (Every fabric acts differently.  Even the same fabric in a different color will behave differently. You always need to baste the side seams and tweak the fit according to how the fabric wants to hang. That’s a fabric fitting.)

I skipped by the fly instructions and breezed over the other construction details.  Several years back I made an excruciating effort to find a zipper application which would work for me perfectly, every time.  Since then, I don’t deviate. I don’t try someone else’s method. Don’t care if anyone thinks something else is easier, simpler or whatever.  This works for me.  After 30 years of sewing, I have a procedure that works for me.  I’m sticking to it.

So I mostly skipped the construction and started reading the Fitting Solutions.  OK I didn’t read these in detail either.  I was looking for my exact issues that I always have to fight to solve. There may be some exceptionally good fitting information which I missed.  I was looking for what to do when the diagonal wrinkles form between knee and derriere on the back of my pants. Sigh, Dana Marie has nothing to add about my problem.  Either it is a complex issue which requires whole new set of instructions (like what shape are you, apple? pear?), or selecting the right shape and size to start with eliminates the issue later on.

So with that, I’m off to select my sizes, trace my pattern and find a muslin fabric.   Oh and look at that crotch shape.