Eleanor, Knee Spread Alteration, KnockKnees

Knee Spread Alteration

One of the issues with knock knees is the greater length needed to go over the knee .  J Sterns and a few others recommend slashing and spreading just under the crotch as in this diagram from cationdesigns

I have a problem with this particular alteration because it looks too much like the plus-size, problem patterns I’ve had to deal with.  It’s as though when drafting for plus sizes, the drafter assumes that the frame, my bones, spread further apart as I get fatter. My legs do not get further apart. Those hip sockets are fixed. If anything, the thigh gap gets smaller and closer together.  Also when I look at my legs the leg from crotch to knee doesn’t seem to angle outwards. To me my thigh area angles and the calf portion angles outward. But I’ve seen alterations work really well and they didn’t seem logical to me, so I’m keeping this alteration in mind for future investigation.   What I’m working with now is an alteration I refer to as the knee-spread. As shown by SewStashSew 

I like this alteration for a couple of reasons.  I agree that the knock knee needs more length. Over the years, I’ve noticed that my inseam will slowly shrink until it’s at least 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. Doesn’t matter whether I made the pants or purchased RTW. The inseam and side seam start level. With each laundry, the inseam becomes a little shorter.  For years I blamed the pattern companies’ and RTW’s habit of making the inseam shorter between crotch and knee. (I’m rethinking that.  )

I also like this alteration because it makes the change where the change is needed.  When Gale Grigg Hazen  was traveling and giving lectures, she always emphasized that the change needs to be made where it corresponds to the body. For example, she was not in favor of shortening the hem at the side seam to adapt for a full bust. If you needed more length over the bust, she wanted you to put the length over the bust even if that meant changing the style lines.  She had a point and I’ve never forgotten her lecture. I do think the more weight I carry the more her theories fit my personal clothing construction alterations.  So when I see something like the knit spread that puts length at the knee where the length is needed, I’m more favorably impressed. More likely to make this alteration that seems logical, reasonable to me. The one thing that bothers me about this alteration is the change of the grain line.  Usually pant pattern are drafted with the grain line vertical to and bisecting the hem. That way the leg hangs straight.  Following these instructions, the grain line is shifted.  No longer perpendicular to the hem and no longer is the grain running straight down the leg.  I’ve learned the hard way to respect the grain. Yet I understand that we are adapting for a physical deviation, however minor’ and we need to do something different if I’m to get different results.

Finally, I like this alteration because it creates a pattern that follows my own structure:

 

You did not think I was going to post pictures of my naked leg, did you?  I took several pictures but I wanted to focus on the essence of my leg shape between crotch and ankle. So I selected the best pictures and made a composite.  My technical knowledge petered out so I used pen and vellum to trace my legs.  Then scanned the tracing.  From it (the tracing) I think we can see my leg shape well enough.  Note that the knee is touching in both front and back views. Even then I still have thigh gap. My thighs never meet. This is not typical for knock knees. In fact the definitions I’ve read specify that the thighs will be pressed together. Note, I’m not standing with one leg in front of the other. My lower legs  are naturally forced apart, just as described in the definition of knock knees.  My knock knees are less prominent the less I weigh. Right now I have goodly fat bulges on both knees and very obvious knock knees..  An interesting point you can not see in the tracing but is visible in the photos, my right leg twists just slightly between knee and ankle.  It’s most obvious from the back.  Normally I stand with one leg in front of the other and none of this is noticed.

I also traced the prominent skeletal lines:

As we look at the pic, that’s front on the left  and back on the right, just as in the pic above. I marked a horizontal from outside to outside of the body at the crotch line, knee and ankle.  Then I made a little tick mid way of each leg, knee and ankle.  When I joined the ticks with a vertical the lines and possibly my legs look fairly straight.  My bones look straight. It’s when flesh is apparent that I think ‘knock knee’.

I decided to try this knee spread alteration. I still have questions as to whether I am truly knock kneed.  I admit to having some features of the knock kneed and maybe that’s enough to require corresponding alterations.

I traced my Jalie pattern using the “Near Perfect” version.  It’s possible I might need a combination of alterations. But I didn’t think the Knee Slide helped in the least.  It didn’t the first time I used it.  It didn’t work last time. Why incorporate it now?  I made the knee spread alteration 5/8″ on both front and back pattern pieces.  I chose 5/8″ because most of my inseams shrink to be 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. But not always.  It depends entirely on the fabric.  I can never be sure how much a fabric will shrinkt two years down the road.  So I chose an in between number i.e. in between the least amount of shrinkage (1/2″) and the most common (3/4″). I will not be making the faux fly or messing with pockets.  This is a test which may end up a disaster. I am using the back yoke.  I have to use a different elastic for the waistband. Up to now, I’ve made all Eleanors with the same elastic. But it’s all gone. I’ll use my favorite which Louise Cutting sells at Cutting Line Designs. I’d rather not be dealing with the elastic variable, but it is what it is. LC’s elastic is 1.25″ wide instead of the 1″ called for but it will still fit inside the waistband.  This is elastic is also softer and stretches further.  For starters I have chosen to use 1″ less length than I did with the previous elastic.

My fabric chose me. All the sorting and stacking I did last week produced not a single stretch fabric for pants. But I have somehow manged to get 2 cuts of exactly the same turquoise RPL.  It has 50% stretch . I think the Near Perfect Jalies had 40% stretch.  If so, I will need to tweak the fit.

One of the things I do love about the Eleanor is how quickly it sews together.  I serged yokes to backs and then serged inseams. Also nailed the elastic into place with a triple zig-zag. But I BASTED together everything else . Expecting at least some fitting adjustments , I used water-soluble thread with a 3mm stitch length.

 

Fitting Pics tomorrow.

 

Advertisements
Eleanor, KnockKnees

JalieEleanor with Knock Knee Alteration

I’ve decided, I really do have knock knees. I’ve always seen knock knees described as the knee turning inward or the leg rotating inward. My knee is pretty straight on. As far as rotating, that’s what the earth does, right? Neither leg nor knee look like they are rotating to me. So for years I’ve said I’m NOT knock kneed.  There is a distinctive pad of fat on my inner knee.  I thought that might cause the same fitting issues as a knock knee but continued to deny I was actually knock kneed. Here recently I took pictures of my bare leg between hip and ankle. No, I’m no posting those pics. In those pics I see my  thigh bone curves/bows outward creating thigh gap no matter how much I weight (or don’t weigh) but at the same time my legs angle towards the knees.  Like an inverted triangle with the tip at my knees.  My lower legs cannot come together unless I shift a leg forward (or back) and they splay outward from knee to ankle but straight, no bowing.

Interestingly I seem to have bowed, knock knees after all.  I think it may not always be obvious because I generally stand with one leg in front of the other rather than spread apart shoulder-width or side by side.

That’s really food for future thought and maybe alterations because I’d already decided I wanted to try a knock knee alteration.  Nearly every pant I make has some hint of drag lines around the knee like these (from the Near Perfect Eleanor)

So I copied the last pattern and added a 1″ Knock Knee Alteration to both back and front. 1″ is pretty substantial. Jennifer Sterns Knock Knee Alteration recommends making the alteration 1/4″ at a time.   But I’ve been this route before.  At the time, I stopped at a 3/4″ alteration because that was the recommended maximum.  I decided there was no point in repeating in quarter-inch increments since my previous attempts had no effect upon these drag lines. I decided to go for 1″ and adjust from there.

I made a wadder. Actually it was a beautiful pair of Eleanors sewn from a cotton/lycra twill.  Gorgeous fabric but without the required 20% stretch.  I could not pull them up over my hips.  Had no idea about the effect of the knock knee alteration.  How could I have possibly made such a goof?  Well I didn’t measure the stretch of the fabric. I pulled. It stretched.  I felt kind of dumb when I couldn’t pull the pants up.

So I selected another fabric and this time I measured the stretch.  A good yank on this poly knit fabric creates a 50% stretch.  Boy can you tell it.  Stretch measured to just before the fabric is obviously stretched is 30%.   Eleanor requires 20% stretch so I should be good to go.  I also used Louise’s elastic this time because I was out of the elastic used previously. I do prefer Louise’s elastic. It is softer and a little more stretchy but I wanted to be consistent.  I cut both pieces of elastic 1″ shorter.  My pattern has 5/8 side seam-allowances so I can adapt ease for the various fabrics.  I know from experience that the same fabric from different bolts will behave slightly differently. I want the option to add a bit of ease.  I serged this together with 1/4″ seam allowances pretty much without stopping. I figured if there was too much ease, I would make a seam on the sewing machine 5/8″ or whatever needed to reduce ease.  In retrospect, I need to mark this version as needing 50% stretch.  The result is just a little tighter than I like.

Pic 2: One foot in front of the other i.e Typical Bank Line Pose

Fortunately, my blouses/tops will cover those wazy hips. They won’t cover the back of leg and knee wrinkles which get worse depending upon how I stand:

Pic 3: Feet shoulder-width apart

The good news is that these are a deep, dark brown, I guess they would be black-brown or brown-black.  In the bank line you see:

which is no wrinkles at all. Don’t forget, I’ll probably be standing with one leg in front of the other (as in Pic2) which decreases the leg wrinkles.

Back to the Knock Knee Alteration….. I ‘m not sure it improved the drag lines at the knee.  Comparing side-by-side  with the ‘Almost Perfect Eleanor”

I think there are more back-of-leg and knee wrinkles on this version. Is that because there is less stretch?  Percentage of stretch is definitely a factor.  Compare with the first Eleanor which has negative ease butd did not have J. Sterns diagonal overlap:

 

When it comes to the knee drag lines, I”m just not sure how much of an improvement we’re looking at.

The 2-1/4 yards of fabric felt hefty when I pulled it off the shelf and did my stretch test. However I began to doubt its winter-cold weather applicability whilst serging. The finished garment tells me it’s a spring/summer/fall garment instead of the winter garment I desired.  I love the Jalie Eleanor and will continue to work at reducing the wrinkles. I’ve kept this garment but wonder if I’ll ever wear it because I’ll probably improve the fit before weather permits its wear.

As for the alterations, I need to think some more.

Closures, PP113

Pants with Pocket Closure

Winter is slowly taking over. Day by day. Temperature drop by temperature drop.  I am testing out my winter wardrobe by wearing a new set every day. OK not necessarily new to me garments, but garments that I carefully cleaned, pressed and hung in my closet as ‘ready’ for winter. It took no time at all to start noticing I didn’t have enough brown pants.  Most of what I have is blue. I need to rectify that and chose to make a nice pair of trousers in brown twill suiting.

This is a 100% polyester fabric and proves my point that polyester can be high quality.  This has wonderful weight and drape.  Pressing did require a few extra seconds to allow the heat and steam to persuade seams to lie flat and pressed either open or to one side.  I opted to use the last well fitted version of the pattern and for something different moved the closure from zipper to open pocket.  This is easy to do and great to use when you don’t have a matching zipper or are in a hurry.  It is not apparent to the viewer that there even is a closure:

The closure is hidden in the pocket and created by leaving the pocket bag partially unstitched

Essentially you are making inseam pockets.  4 pocket bags are cut.  The right side is stitched together like making an inseam pocket. The right side is a little trickier. The inside ‘seam’ is finished before attaching the bags to the front and back side seams.  The side seam is stitched from hem, up to about 2″ into the pocket. Turn the work so you can stitch back down that 2″ and around the bottom of the pocket bag and up the side leaving 6″ open.  The waistband needs to be extended by the width of the top of the pocket bag.  The front pocket is folded in and secured to the front pant. The back pocket is left free. The waistband is applied along this long waistband which becomes the correct length after the button, snap or hooks are sewn into place.  Clear as mud?  Sorry. This is one that is easier to do than describe and step by steps would be boringly long.

I see the pic at the top of the page, as being me in the bank line.  I lightened that pic for a better view:

To me, this is totally acceptable. I made trousers. They have a 20″ hem. They are supposed to be loose; easy wearing, comfortable.  What’s more, because pp113 is a TNT pattern and the closure was so easy, these pants took only 4 hours to make from start to finish which included 1 fitting session.  However when I lifted my shirt to take photos of the waist, I shifted my weight and twisted the pants because this :

\

would suggest that I need to work on the pattern some more.  I don’t think so. I think I twisted my body see how my left leg looks about 2/3’s the size of my right leg. I think I’m standing funny and the bank line pictures are right.

Anyway, 1 pair of brown pants in the closet and ready to be worn.