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.

7 thoughts on “Terrific Trousers #2”

  1. So sorry you wasted all that time Bev. It is easy to see why a new sewer gets disheartened when someone as experienced as you has as much trouble. Sometimes it’s good just to reach for those TNT patterns.

    1. I switch back and forth. I use a TNT or what used to be a TNT (weight changes ruin TNT status) but then I like to experiment with something new.

  2. Once I get a pants pattern fitted, I just make style alterations, which I think are simple and fun compared to fitting issues. This works until I have a personal size change great enough to require total re-fitting, or until I try to make a pair of slacks out of a different fabric. For instance, I tore through 7 pants patterns this summer until I found something I could fit successfully in a stretch woven suiting. (I ended up using Vogue 8859, which looks like leggings in the photo, which is recommended for knits only, yet which has enough fullness at the bottom to accommodate my cowboy boots–boot cut. Nice job providing a photo, Vogue!)

    So, I was wondering–once you have a TNT pattern, why do you keep trying new patterns? (This is not a criticism–I’m just curious about your motivations.) Do you enjoy the fitting process itself? I think it’s just hard work, and the fun is in design changes, which are fun because they can surprise you. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, if you care to comment.

  3. OMG, Bev, thank you so much for investigating this pattern out loud and in public. I have owned it for many years and always intended to wiggle my way through it labyrinth but something always came up instead. You took one for the team here, thanks again.

    1. I can’t help but wonder if I missed something important. But the pattern is easy to trace not at all like looking through Ottobre Design or Burda master pattern mazes. So I don’t know. I’m waiting for someone more talented to make it up and show me where I went wrong. Thanks for moral support. Always need that.

  4. Hello sdbev,
    I have just discovered your pants blog. Since al while now I am very intrigued by the pants fitting theme, just like you: Glad to be not the only pants-nerd all over the (www-) world! 🙂
    Unfortunately my english is not very good, sorry for that (I am a german), but I began a new blog post series about my pants fitting results – and it is in english. have a look here
    I am following this blog now with interest to future.

    Immi Meyer

    1. I speak absolutely no German, so I’m glad you made those lasts posts in English. No you’re not the only pants nerd. There are several of us. I’ve had someone ask why I keep trying new pants patterns. If they have to ask, I don’t think I can explain. You have to be a pants nerd to understand.

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