Although my SA Flo was not overwhelmingly successful, I know I can fit StyleArc Pants and the Flow in particular by using a larger than recommended size and investing in a few muslins. I’m not sure I want to put in the effort to make Flo work when I already Jalie’s Eleanor which is almost identical. However, Flo was successful enough that I decided to purchase another SA pant pattern the Talia. Talia is advertised as medium-difficulty, pull-on pant drafted for wovens. I like the neat looking welt pockets and I know I’ve sewn similar waistbands in the past. The elastic in back assures a gape-less back while the smooth, front waistband assures a sleek frontal appearance. I have seen Talia made up, unfortunately by a much trimmer woman than I. Nonetheless while the Flo’s I’ve seen turned me off, that one Talia was greatly encouraging. If I can fit Talia around my peculiarities, I think it will make a nice slim legged summer pant.
I purchased and am therefore working with a pattern 2 sizes larger than what SA recommends. I’ve found that I really don’t like body conscious fit. I am comfortable in something semi-fitted and loose. But I don’t want to go back to the billowing layers I wore at my heaviest weight. It’s hard for me to find the in-between. I’ve tried several patterns which should have worked but by the time I made alterations for my body, the legs were quite wide. Eevery time I tried to slim the legs of some of my favorite patterns dreadful, diagonal back lines develop. I’ve turned to trying to fit pants patterns, like the Talia, that are already drafted with a slim leg. When Talia arrived, I traced what I had decided was my size (18) and then immediately measured the hems. They should finish at 16.5. I think I’d like a little slimmer but 16.5 is much narrower than I’ve been able to achieve with other patterns and good enough.
I’m going to be using Jen Sterns Hausmann’s fitting procedure . Not quite in the order she explains on Craftsy, but close. I successfully fit the Eleanor using Jen’s procedure and expect the same changes will be needed. My body hasn’t changed much. Just my pattern selection. I will be making a muslin. I won’t be repeating or illustrating everything from the course.. Much of the instruction does not apply to me. One of my fitting issues is not covered in the class but is in her Workbook. I prefer the class format. Jen treats the class as if she really is fitting you. So it is this is the first step. This is the next step; and the next; etc. until the pant is fit. The Workbook is more like a Resolutions Reference i.e. if you have this problem do this solution like this. I bought the Workbook from Nancy’s Notions which included Jen’s jeans pattern.
When I was sure I’d like to add the Talia to my selection of pant styles, I printed out the PDF from Jen’s Craftsy Course. The course starts with taking your circumference measures at the natural waist, fullest hip and thigh. Next are needed vertical measures: crotch front and back, waist to knee and knee to top of foot. At this point, Jen advises on selecting the pattern size and tracing it. As I said, my previous experience indicates I need a pattern 2 sizes larger then SA recommends.
One thing I love about Jen, is she doesn’t tell you to forget everything you ever learned because it is wrong. In fact I think at one point she says something to the effect that if you’re in her class, you already know your body and are looking for fit answers. Then measure the pattern less seam allowances and compare with your bodily measurements. I’m getting to the point that when a new expert says ‘forget everything else’ I cringe and stop listening. I’ve invested a lot of time and money acquiring this highly personal knowledge. I’ve had too many failures which directly resulted from ‘expert advice’. When confronted, the expert usually says something to the effect ‘you just have to keep trying my advice’ or ‘you must have done something wrong’ or total silence . I love that Jen is not telling me to forget but rather forge ahead with what I know merged into her process and a few new solutions.
Back the Jen’s process. Wherever there is a difference between pattern and your body + ease, adapt the pattern. The size 18 measured plenty of ease. I had to remove 2″ length above the knee and again 2″ below the knee. My crotch measurements weren’t exactly as expected. From my measures I would need to add 3″ to the back crotch. That’s highly unusual for me. Generally I add 1″ to the extension and scoop the back crotch 1/4-1/2″ (depending on stretch) and I’m good. I’ve been sewing a long time. Been fitting really nice pants for at least the last 6 years. Adding 3″ just didn’t sit well with me. It ‘felt’ wrong. So I did a Peggy Sagers. (I told you I think Peggy’s advice is adaptable). I measured the front and back crotch of a pair of comfortable, non-stretch pants I’d worn recently. Those measures equaled the tissue. I decided to add just a little fit assurance by adding a 1″ wedge to the top of the pants front and back crotch and 1″ back crotch extension.
With that I was ready for my Knock Knee alteration. My other two KK alterations haven’t been 100% successful; and I’ve noticed that my inseams all shorten during wear. No fooling it’s like all inseams shrink about 1/2″ on me.Hunting through the Workbook I found Jens knock knee alteration. To my surprise the alteration I’ve been using (cut at the knee and slide towards center of the body) is not recommend by Jen for Knock Knees. She uses that alteration if the pant feels tight along the inner thigh but there is loose fabric over the back thigh. For knock knees, Jen recommends pivoting right under the crotch to increase the inseam length and decrease the side seam 1/4″ . Well, this is a muslin, why not try Jen’s method?
My fabric is a yarn dyed, cotton shirting I purchased thinking DH might enjoy a new shirt. He took one look and refused outright. The fabric has sat in my stash for a few years before being moved to the muslin stacks. It is a very smooth shirting. Not stiff. Not heavy but typical good, men’s-shirting. At one time I was thinking about making summer pants with 20-22″ hems. I think the fabric is better for a muslin. I can see the wrinkles , a good point, but I warn you nobody is going to call these pants gorgeous.
I am enthused about this waistband treatment! I’ve sewn similar in the past. I always attached these pieces to the top of the pant and then struggled handling all that pant fabric and get the waistband pieces wrapped around so they could be correctly sewn and flipped back in place. It’s doable but typically I decide I don’t want to wrestle with that particular waistband today and it has dropped out of my repertoire. SA nearly finishes the waistband before applying to the top of the pant. I was delighted because that meant, I could step into it, same as the Flo and pull it up, thereby checking to see if I had correct ease for a pull-on pant, even before I cut the largest pieces. I was even more delighted when the waistband passed my pull-up test.
From start to first muslin took about 3 hours. Several nice things to note. The waistband is already fit. The legs are the right length. I have a bit more ease than anticipated. My fault I added 5/8″ fit assurance and then stitched the side seams at 3/8″. I did not need the 1″ wedge added center front. Meaning the crotch measurement recorded off my recently worn pants is correct. The back, even with 1″ added to the crotch point and 1″ added to top of crotch back, dipped slightly.
- Remove the 1″ wedge from top center front
- Scoop back crotch 1/2″
- Increase side seam allowance from 3/8″ to 3/4″
- Turn hems up and baste.
… and take more pictures
I increased the seam allowances to a full 1″ and took another set of pictures after Fit 02. I ripped that seam out because this really was the better looking version. The waistband sits levelly and comfortably at my waist. The front is pretty smooth – this is a light weight fabric with no stretch. I possibly see a little too much ease but the deeper side seams of Fit 03 were far too tight. The side seam is almost perpendicular. The waistband seems to be pulling it backwards. I think I need to make the elastic longer. It is the back which has me grimacing, yet unsurprised. I really didn’t want that much gathering at the back waistline. Not sure if I should start removing the excess which possibly occurred because I used a pattern much larger than what Style Arc recommends. Ok I decided. I’m going to ignore that for now because I’m mostly likely going to cover it with my T-shirts. I’m not sure Jen’s Knock Knee alteration had any effect whatsoever.
If it were not for Jen’s fitting procedure those back thigh wrinkles would have me tossing the pattern and muslin entirely. At this point, when you’ve fixed everything else and still have mucho fabric below the butt, Jen says to use her diagonal dart. This is not the typical flat butt alteration. This is a fish eye dart that starts on the inseam, crosses the thigh and terminates on the side seam. It is zero at both beginning and end. The middle is as deep as you need. This is a procedure where a helper is a wonderful gift. Not having that, for the Jalie Eleanor, I twisted my body in various directions while looking in the mirror, pinching and pinning the back of one leg. I got one leg pinned and decided the other could be ‘the control’. IOW, it was such a challenge I didn’t want to pin the other leg. For Talia, I pinched the back of one leg along the same line as used for the Eleanor, but I wasn’t in it. I started with a 3/4″ deep dart; increased to 1.25 and finally at 2″ called it quits. Look at the progression of improvement:
The back right leg goes from masses of wrinkles to “why don’t you do something about your knock knees?” In 3 easy steps. But the dart does have more effect than that
I think the bum is still OK, but the right leg is tight around my hip joint both inseam and side seam. Many of the knock knee wrinkles are greatly reduced, but I see a vertical fold which indicates there is excess leg circumference. Mostly startling to me, the inseam-hem has clearly risen about 1″.
Here’s the thing, Jen warns in the introduction that every change you make can effect a previous change. You can find yourself fixing what you already fixed. The really said part? You may need multiple muslins. I’m at the point where I’ve done every thing I can to Muslin 1.
Time to find fabric for a second muslin.