I purchased this pattern sometime ago, I think late 2016. I dwaddled and delayed when it came to using and fitting because my previous experiences with Silhouette Patterns have not been wonderful. I finally decided I wanted to do this now. I have a number of woven, non-stretch fabrics I’d like to use as pants. I want a narrower leg then my other patterns produce. Not a skinny. But a slim leg 16-17″ in circumference at most 18″. I am unable to tweak the leg of any of my patterns down to that circumference. I have tried. When I do, my pants develop really awful X wrinkles in the back. I’m hoping the key to success is starting with a pattern that has been drafted for the mature figure and for the smaller circumference.
I used Peggy’s sitting measurement method i.e. I draped the tape measure around my hips and sat down. Knowing that I like semi-fitted to semi-loose clothing, I allowed the tape measure to slip just a bit more and noted that number. Then I compared the regular and the W sizing. I fit Peggy’s description of the small woman who has added padding. I looked at the W and the regular back and opted to use the W. Let me share a pic of the crotch
The regular does not have that nice long ledge called a crotch extension. The regular would probably be suitable for the typical 65-year-old who complains they have no butt. I have the issue of being as deep as I am broad and I need that ledge. I compared it with my fitted PP113
PP113 is the pattern on top with all the red, yellow, cut and pasting. The new 3400 back just barely peeks out beneath the crotch extension, on the inseam and up at the waist side-seam. While there are differences, the two backs are a lot alike which gave me hope. The truth is, my shape is my shape. Any pattern which is going to fit me, is going to fit my shape and is probably going to look a lot like other patterns which fit my shape.
For the record, I chose size 24W. (In retrospect, I might have been able to go down 1 size.)
I’m really having problems choosing test fabric. Although I’ve added several more to the muslin stack, I never seem to have good test-fabrics. I used a balanced weave poly/cotton fabric. Quite old. I’m sure I bought this fabric years ago. I’m also sure I bought pants and blouses made from this fabric. (Back when I didn’t have time to sew, I bought whether it fit or not.) It is a light weight fabric and looks crappy just sitting on the ironing board. No amount of starch improved its looks. But it was good enough to diagnose major wrinkles.
I cut my fabric with an extra 1″ seam allowance along the side and in- seams. I trimmed the hems off with a pinking blade. I had no desire to pin up or stitch hems but I didn’t want the excess length to contribute extra wrinkles. I basted everything together with water-soluble thread in the bobbin. That includes adding the waistband. Peggy fits without the waistband attached. It’s one of those personal experience things. My experience is that I start with a waistband that fits or I redo all the fitting when I finally attach the waistband. YMMV. Peggy certainly does not agree.
As much as possible, I intended to follow Peggy’s fitting procedure, but I couldn’t resist looking at the fresh-from-the-envelope fit:
I’ve had worse. The first fitting at least felt comfortable; the back X wasn’t prominent; nor was the keyhole front.
I settled the crotch into position. The back crotch looked OK . So instead of an even tuck I made a 1/2″ dart across the front which narrowed to 1/4″ at the side seams and continued across the back terminating just under the dart next to the back crotch. I could not resist at this point taking a little ease from the front and made a 1/4″ vertical tuck. It is entirely usual for me to make a vertical tuck of 1/2″ on the front then spread the back vertically 1″ thereby transferring ease from front to back. I know what Peggy says about circumference. My body, my sewing for my body repeatedly suggests taking ease from the front and putting it in the back. Peggy’s directions make sense (circumference is circumference) and I’ve wondered why my garments don’t just use the ease on the front. Why don’t they just pull what they need from the front with the only indication of error being a side seam curving? I don’t know. But you can clearly see that the front above looks too large; while the front below looks fine.
Still some issues with the back. So I made a 1/2″ hip line dart as Peggy advises:
Well photos could be better. As I said before, the fabric did not respond to starch. Also since I had WST in the bobbin I was spraying carefully to avoid seams and ironing with a dry iron. I was especially pleased that the back leg is falling relatively nicely. There aren’t any X wrinkles. The front crotch hints at an issue, but it’s not bad enough for me to fix right now. It could after all be the crappy fabric. I did make a few other tweaks in a few other fittings. I tried to pinch out a little ease along the side seam, but then I got VPL. Reset the waistband up and down 1/8-1/4″ but decided that wasn’t helping either. I also extended the crotch depth adjustments completely across the back (earlier I had terminated it under the darts)…
…which seemed to help. But I decided overall the changes I was making weren’t improving the fit. So it was time for a decent fabric. When I started transferring the alterations to the tissue, I realized I had inadvertently add 3/4″ to the hem circumference (shouldn’t that be mostly offset by the 1/2″ ease I removed from the front?). When cutting, I had added 1″ fit insurance to the side and in seams. The side seams were stitched at 1-3/8″ (Peggy uses a 3/8″ SA). But I stitched the inseams at 1″ which added 3/8″ ease to hems and crotch. I took a few minutes to correct that error and regretted it as soon as I saw the pics:
I think that’s especially interesting when you look back up at the tissue pictures and see how similar the crotches are.
My tissue alterations became:
- Leg Length -3.5″
- Front and back crotch extensions+3/8″
- Crotch length 1/4″ tuck (evenly across front, side,back)
- Crotch Depth
- Front 1/8″
- Back 3/8″
- Hem Allowance 1.25″
- Seam Allowances
- waist no change (3/8″
- crotch no change (3/8″)
- Side seam 1/2″
- Inseam 1/4″
- copied from PP113 with side seams and belt loops marked
I also made an inseam pocket pattern piece.
I must have chosen, ironed and put away 10 fabrics when trying to choose for a ‘real’ pant. I wasn’t wild about the final fit of the test pair. Even knowing that fabric was wrong and old couldn’t alleviate the unease I was feeling. My final choice was a herringbone-weave, tropical-weight wool. In days gone by, I would have shopped long and hard for such a fabric. Tropical weight wool could be worn most of the year excepting the very hottest weeks in summer. I knew a few women who wore it even then. Tropical weight wool seemed wrinkle resistant; would give almost like denim. Was long wearing. Weight gain seemed to be its greatest enemy. But my life is more casual now. Fabrics perfect for the office have become dress-up items . I wanted to make casual pants. I opted to make the dressier tropical-weight wool because if this bombed, I probably wouldn’t mind. I stitched with poly thread in both the bobbin and needle as well as the serger. I serged the inseams as well as finishing all the other raw edges with the serger. I did baste the waistband in place for the first fitting. But I hadn’t needed to. After examining those pics, I went back down stairs and finished the pants.
Despite the pic on the index page, I’m not loving these pants. I find it odd that the back of the pants in fitting looked better than the finished pair.
Fitting ———————– Finished
What’s with that? The change is hemming the legs and nailing down the waistband. Yet the finished back looks worse than the fitting.
Again hemming and stitching the waistband produced a front with a keyhole
Really? I will admit that I saw hints of the keyhole all the way back to Fit01 of Muslin 1. It just wasn’t this prominent. Good news though, when I get dressed “It” is covered.
Never underestimate the value of styling and accessories!
There’s a predictable series of question that need answering. Things we dressmakers are always have interest. but I won’t answer them in PR Order. I already indicated size and fabric choices and a laundry list of changes I made. I didn’t follow the pattern instructions. I followed the instructions that Peggy sprinkles through-out her YouTube videos. For anyone that is a visual learner, I’d recommend self-immersion in the videos. You’ll see her process over and over with many different types of bodies.
Would you recommend it to others? Yes, absolutely. Peggy’s drafting is above reproach. My changes result from my fitting issues. Other than my fitting issues, I had no problems with the pattern. The final pair, I cut, stitched, did Fit 01 and finished in about 2 hours time. It doesn’t get better than that for me.
Would you sew it again? YES. In fact I’m planning 2 pairs with some style changes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Let me start with LIKES
That was probably the easiest choosing size process I’ve ever used. I didn’t measure the pattern in multiple places. Didn’t check crotch length/depth. Just let the tape measure go limp.
Despite the length and verbiage of this post, that’s the fastest I think I’ve fit pants since I was a kid. Definitely beats the 9 month I spent in 2003/4. I did follow Peggy’s steps. Because I’m fitting alone it takes me a little longer that the 5-7 minutes she shows in the videos. Peggy pins, visually checks and asks her model. I pinch, then baste, take pics. Repeat. I make one change at a time. When Peggy is fitting, she pins one area at a time then continues the next. Her model’s pants baste the 3-4 changes needed in one trip to the sewing machine. Even with the extra time I need for taking pics, trotting upstairs and processing photos, I was able to fit this pattern in about 6 hours including choosing size, fabric and cutting said fabric.
Just one: Leg and Hem circumference. I put these two together because one affects the other. I knew from the very first try-on that the back leg had too much ease. I didn’t complain because I thought I would fit it out.
All this ease makes for a big, elephant-leg appearance which I could not remove. Unfortunately my butt needs the circumference. I can’t just tuck from waist to hem and remove the ease. I know I added to the problem when I inadvertently added 3/8″ to the crotch points. I couldn’t remove those either. I tried. When I took in the inseam the crotch cut into both front and back as well as inseams rippling, pulling upward and general ugliness. I need the crotch length.
I am really unhappy with the hem circumference. My leg finished at 21-3/4″. Without my error, it would have been 21″. Why do I care? Because the back of the envelope said
21″ is a long way from the 17″ I was promised. I bought this pattern this pattern because it advertised a 17″ hem circumference. 17.5″ would be close. 21 is not. I’m very unhappy with hem circumference and I DO NOT THINK THE GARMENT LOOKS LIKE THE ENVELOPE. (Sorry, Wordpress only gives me so many tool to emphasize a point). The leg on the envelope looks much, much slimmer than the leg in my pics.
So what’s in my future for this pattern? I’m wanting a couple of very casual summer pants. I envision them with 22-24″ hems, in light weight, flowing fabrics. While my standard hem is 1.25″ I think this is a place for a deeper hem 2″ at least maybe 3″. Depends upon how much fabric I have because hem’s are a place where fabric can be conserved or consumed. The 21″ hem will be easy to adapt for my desired 22-24″. I will scoop the front crotch a little. I already tried adjusting the crotch depth and length as well as messing the waistband. I’m convinced now that the curve is wrong in relation to my body. It could be just fine for you. Beyond that, I’m just not sure. I could try regular instead of women’s sizing. I could curve the inseam more and revisit the correction I made when removing leg length. (Just a note, I removed leg length at about the knee level so I could leave the 17″ hem intact.) Frankly, I could do a lot of work trying to reach a 20″ hem, but I already have 2 patterns that do. I have no hope of turning the 21″ circumference into 17. None.
It may be time to admit that my body needs either jeans draft (TJ906), a stretch pant/jean (DG2) or a women’s trouser (PP113, Eureka) with a 19-20″ hem. It may be time to let go of the woven-pant-with-17″-hem dream. I’ve certainly thrown enough patterns, fabric and time at that dream. Maybe it’s better to pursue something else?