sdBev's Pants!

The Narrow Back

Posted on: April 23, 2015

I want a slack type fit. Smooth over waist and hip. Trim down the leg to the ankle. Not flowing. Nor like a body hugging jean. PP113 fits wonderfully as long as I want a loose trouser pattern.  As soon as I start trying to achieve a “slack” i.e.  reduce the hem circumference and trim away some of the ease over the back hip, the dreaded X wrinkle returns.  Admittedly, this happens to my Eureka and MSS pattern as well; and the wrong fabric can ruin any pattern.  As I pondered this, I decided to view the fitting DVD (which accompanied the pattern) a second time. After all, it’s been over a year since I viewed the DVD.  I’ve played with this pattern multiple times. Traced and fit at least 3 times.  I was surprised when Pam recommended one of the models switch to the narrow back. Huh? That woman’s rear didn’t look particularly flat to me, but the tissue pattern clearly puffed out over her back thigh–exactly what I see on myself.  So nothing would do  but I try the narrow back for myself.

I traced both front and back. Just for fun I traced both the narrow back (in pink) and the wide back (in green).

 

I was expecting that the green outline, would have a longer crotch extension and be over all wider.  I was not expecting that the red line would have a higher upright, the extension is dropped (green arrows) and almost as long and most notably both inseam and side seam are definitely shaped (purple arrows) . Oh and the narrow back is at least 1/2″ narrower at the hem. There are clearly two different drafts.

I almost stopped here. I knew I didn’t need the longer crotch upright; and the dropped extension is a bit shorter. Also my body seems to always appreciate a pant with a little more length going between the legs.  But I do end up scooping the crotch just a bit (I need more of a J hook) and I really like the look of the shaping of the side and inseams.  So I decided, What the heck. I’ve wasted so much material on pants, one more cut wouldn’t matter.

With every pattern I make a series of tweaks.  For starters, I’m shorter than the “average” figure.  I will require at least a length alteration. I’m also lazy and like to serge and be done. So when a pattern fits, I reduce all  seam widths except the side-seam. That way I can serge most of the garment and still be able to tweak fit for individual fabrics.  I’ve been recording changes on my patterns but as recorded they tell me where I am now as opposed to how I got here. IOW I know that I’m going to serge the inseam at 1/4″ but I don’t know how if I removed 3/8″ or 3/4″ to finally arrive at my 1/4″ serging seam allowance.   Since this is a pattern I use over and over, I decided to record changes in a different way.  I have two pages in my sewing journal. One is labeled “front”. The other “back”.  I’m recording the net changes as I go along.  For instances I know that I need to shorten the leg.  I started with 3″. Compared it with my existing pattern and increased that by 1/2″.  In my book on both the Front page and Back page, I’ve noted “shorten leg 3.5″.  It was 3″ and then changed to 3.5″ when I realized I needed to shorten an extra .5”.   Since I’m really not sure how I arrived at the last pattern, I’ve started with 4 pattern alterations

  1. Less 3.5″ leg length
  2. 1/4″ evenly tucked across back crotch depth (total 1/2″ removed from back crotch upright)
  3. A wedge  3/8″ at the center front, 1/4″ at the side seam on the front pattern piece.
  4. Eliminate 1 dart from front pattern piece.

I can see this alterations on my previous pattern which fits pretty good with most fabrics,excellent with some fabrics and is a total waste of some fabrics. I’m pretty confident with that pattern, but still holding my breath on this one.

I chose a light weight but firm suiting. It’s labeled “mixed fibers” which made me wonder if I should even purchase it. However, that makes it more than suitable for a muslin. It’s a bit scratchy.  Could be nylon. Could be wool. It doesn’t shrink so I don’t think wool.  I serged the edges immediately because I wasn’t sure how much handling it would get and how badly it would ravel. I was immediately thankful for that choice, because just carrying it to the serger caused minor raveling.

Let’s get right to fit.  Each of the next 3 photos shows the fit (from left to right : 1) out of the envelope 5/8″ standard seam allowances , 2) decreasing side seams to 3/8″ 3) offsetting  side seams 1/4″ back, 3/4″ front.

It’s important to me to note, that the only thing I have done is adjust the inherent ease. By offsetting the seams, I’m removing ease from the front and adding it to the back. The back goes from being obviously too tight, to almost perfect.  I could stand another 1/4″ (on both side seams) but I don’t have any left. On the back, I don’t have any left. 1/4″ is as narrow as seam as I will use and even then I can get into trouble.

I’d look at the front

and  ask “is this OK”.  Front he front view I wasn’t sure if I had an issue. But the side

Clearly shows that there is more front room than back room.  This is a clear example of what Gale Greig-Hazen (and I think KatherineF) teach:  you have to put fabric where fabric is needed.   Because the final pant

is dang near perfect. I tend to shift my weight from one leg to another which accounts for the one back drag line. It was not visible at the final fitting (last pic on the right of all 3 above). I added pockets and embroidered them.

I’m hoping this “muslin” is wearable for several years. I think it’s going to be cool for summer and of course warmer spring and fall days.

Pattern alterations:

Started with

  1. Less 3.5″ leg length
  2. 1/4″ evenly tucked across back crotch depth (total 1/2″ removed from back crotch upright)
  3. A wedge  3/8″ at the center front, 1/4″ at the side seam on the front pattern piece.
  4. Eliminate 1 dart from front pattern piece.

Adding

  1. Vertical 1/8″ tuck on front (removes 1/4″ ease per leg)
  2. Slash and spread 1″ on back (adds 1″ ease per leg)
  3. Increase back dart width or add 1 additional back dart.

 

I have to say, this sounds a lot like what I did with Eureka, MSS and several of the Burda pant patterns that I fit.  I’m tempted to immediately add 1″ to the back and remove 1″ from the front because that’s exactly what I did to the Eureka, MSS and Burda patterns. But I like to progress carefully and while I know I need to remove some from the front, I’m not sure exactly how much. I’d rather have a little roomy front, than too tight.  Right now, I’m pretty pleased. Surprised that the narrow back works for me and pleased with how well it looks especially with so little effort on my part.

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4 Responses to "The Narrow Back"

Looks good Bev. Cute pockets!

Thanks
I was tickled pink. Just love the fit.
bev

I’d say you’re pretty close to being perfect. I really like the added pockets.

Thank you Virginia. I say pretty close is good enough! So glad you like my pockets. I have a real weakness for machine embroidery. Thanks again

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