CLA--Crescent Leg Alteration, Eureka Pant, KathyRuddy

Eureka Pant with CLA

CLA is the abbreviation I’m using for Kathy Ruddy’s “Crescent Leg Alteration”.  I’m really thrilled with this alteration and while I’d normally write about my pant first,  I’m so excited I want to share the alteration first.

Kathy Ruddy details the CLA at the end of Lesson 3, Refining Fit.  For me, it was the most significant alteration in the entire lesson.  Kathy details several important alterations which often receive little or no attention and therefore women remain unsatisfied with their pants because they don’t know what to do.  Kathy gives lots of good information, but the CLA was a new-to-me concept accompanied by absolute relief at her assertion that you should not expect to make the same alteration equally on front and back or even both sides. Indeed if you are asymmetrical (which she also explains) you will need 4 separate pattern pieces and will need to alter each differently.

But back to the CLA.  Before this lesson, I could fix all my pant fitting issues and still have excess ease over the back thigh.  If I tried to take the leg in an equal amount front and back, the front started looking nasty.  If I tried to take in along the inseam, the crotch and knee started looking bad. For the most part, I prefer to wear slacks and trousers with a little ease.  So for a trouser, I would say “it’s a trouser” and ignore the extra fabric over the back thigh.  For slacks and jeans I  kept fussing with the pant’s leg, never finding the solution that would remove the extra fabric without making some other part of the pant look bad.

I will not detail the CLA here.  Kathy deserves your money for this.  But I will say she leaves one issue unclear and that is exactly where do you make this alteration.  She uses a pivot and slide procedure and tells you that the alteration point is somewhere between knee and under the bum.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of territory on my body. In the question and answers following the lesson, she answers more specifically. In case you can’t find or miss that section, I will describe her answer here.  This is a “it depends” situation.  It depends upon your body.  The way to determine your alteration point is to fit your basic pant pattern and solve all the other issues; winding  up where I am now i.e. everything solved but still have extra fabric floating around over my back thigh.  With the fitted pant on your body, grab the deepest  place of “too much fabric”.  Mark it somehow. I used a safety-pin.  Then identify that area on the pattern.  Mine is about 4″ below the crotch HBL but your place could be higher or lower.  I laid the pant and pattern on my cutting table trying to make them exactly across from each other.  Then made a mark on the side seam that  corresponded to my pin. Kathy recommends starting with a 1/2″ deep mark. So from the side seam I moved my mark to the interior 1/2″.

Kathy says the amount of the alteration can vary by person and gives as an example someone who needed a 1.5″ deep CLA.    I’ve already found that the depth of the alteration can also change depending upon fabric.  My first fabric, the pant I’m sharing today, was a no-wale corduroy with 25% stretch.  The depth of CLA for that fabric was 1/2″ . My next fabric (pant to be shared in a future post) was a satin backed moleskin.  I started with 1/2″. Basted the pant together and took pics. It wasn’t enough.  I had to make another 1/2″ alteration (total of 1″) to remove the excess fabric to suit my aesthetics.

Now, onto my Eureka.  I felt that the muslin was coming up over my tummy and ending on my midriff instead of sitting at my waist.  But my pictures said the muslin was fine.  My first pair of Eureka’s also felt too high at center front.  The fitting pictures continued to show the pant sitting at my waist even though it felt like it was higher.  However the final, side view, made when all the seams have been serged and the waistband nailed into place, did clearly show the CF rising.  I didn’t want to rip everything out and besides, I always wear my blouses and tops untucked so this error wouldn’t be visible to anyone.  So I did nothing to that pair of pants. But for this version I trimmed the pattern  from side to center front  1/2″.  I drafted the 1/2″ CLA but cut the pants without it.  I chalked the CLA onto the back leg and started construction of the pant.

I sew the zipper, pockets (if desired), inseam and crotch with permanent stitches. But I use water-soluble thread and baste the side seams, hems and waistband into place.  Then I take pictures and tweak the fit.  I know that no matter how many times I’ve made a pattern, the chosen fabric will make a difference.  Usually, my garment can be adapted for the fabric by adjusting the side seams slightly.  For today’s pants, I eventually trimmed 3/4″  across the top of the pant from the back dart, across side seams and across the center front.  I’m really happy with the final fit.  Unfortunately the only pictures I can find is the full front (posted on  But I can share the nearly-there Fit03

I’m happy with this pair of pants and don’t have any real complaints. I’m pleased at how the waistline seems perfectly horizontal and for the first time, it feels right.  That’s important to me.  I once had a pair of pants which “felt” wrong however the pattern designer refused to work further with me because they looked perfect to her.  For me, if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. I made only a 1/2″ CLA ( which is reflected in this fit).  Looking now I think that another 1/2″ could be in order. But the pants look so much better in the mirror, as well as the pics, plus they feel terrific.   The rest of the drag lines smoothed out after the final stitching and pressing.  I could take new pics — after the pants are washed and pressed.  Yes these are already in the laundry basket. I like to wear new garments quickly because that’s the only way I can be 100% sure that they fit the way I want.

4 thoughts on “Eureka Pant with CLA”

  1. Thank you so much for your review of this lesson! I’d given up on spending any more money on pants fitting, because I’d achieved a fit that wasn’t too bad, and just accepted some of those wrinkles as extra fabric that I needed if I wanted to sit down comfortably.

    Yesterday, the class was 50% off, so I bought it, and watched three lessons right away. The fitting lesson was a real eye-opener for me. Crotch adjustment explanations, pictures, and videos just never worked for me, and I’d given up on them. The Vogue and Kwik-Sew pattern blocks are not terrible for me, so I’ve just made sway-back adjustments and lived with the results. Treating the center back like a full bust adjustment makes perfect sense to me, and I can’t wait to try it.

    The crescent leg adjustment is something that I need, too. I fit all my pants like boot-cut jeans because trouser and pant styles make me look enormous and oddly proportioned. (Long skinny legs and a short, post-menopausal torso.) I’ve always made the shaping adjustments equal on the front and back, and divided them evenly between the inseam and side seam. Gotta try this too.

    If not for your review, I would have assumed that this class was only about altering a basic block for style differences, which I’ve been doing since I was a teenager. Plus, the fitting tips always seem to focus on adjusting for body shapes quite different from mine.

    Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome! It’s the kind of review that I’d like to see myself. Although, admittedly I’d like to have the crescent leg detailed instead of hinted. I think a good review should tell you something about the content as well as indicate whether the teacher connects with the class.

  2. great review Bev. I’ve yet to buy the class. I have my Eureka pattern “fitted” so am now going to do a muslin – real muslin – then I’ll use some denim. Just don’t have enough hours in the day!!

    1. “just don’t have enough hours in the day” That’s me. I thought when I retired, I’d have ‘all this time” but it doesn’t work out that way. Looking forward to seeing your review on the pattern.

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