Vanessa: A Step Back

I realized with that last pair of Vanessa’s that I’d made a grave error during the original fitting. I had not made Peggy’s inseam dart. My fault. I know that most of the time I need that dart. But occasionally, I have not. It depends upon the underlying draft. When half the wrinkles reappeared after recutting to allow for changes made to the crotch by the Hip Line Dart, I should have known. But I didn’t. Can’t explain. Anyway, I traced size BB again, added 1.25″ for a hem. Made the 2″ Hip Line dart and added a 1/2″ wedge to the CF for the front pooch. This time I added a 1/2″ inseam dart on both back and front legs.  I don’t really understand why the 1″ difference in length made such a difference in the fit of the leg. The leg tapers evenly from crotch to hem. The knee was comfortable but the hem was close. I didn’t want the hem to be any narrower.  Sigh. Still don’t understand why that difference was needed but I made a 1/2″ horizontal tuck about 3″ above the knee on both back and front pattern pieces. After another pause, I decided to make a 1/4″ horizontal side-seam dart to shorten the upper leg side-seam. Nearly always, this is an issue. Most certainly has been with every version of my Vanessa’s that I’ve made. Instead of waiting for my sewing angel to point it out, I made the change now.  Next I made my seam allowance changes.  I prefer 1/4″ along the inseam and 1/2″ along the side seam, 3/8″ everywhere else. Finished my new pattern by trimming all the excess tissue.  Note, I did not correct the total crotch length (that comfortable 15.5″ previously enjoyed). Nor at this point did I attempt to remove any more ease from the back leg.  I felt it was important to see if I have eliminated the other issues before working on that back ease. As for the back crotch, I’m not 100% positive it needs to be 15.5″. I’m mentally more comfortable scooping it out during fitting (especially since I made that odd unusable crotch the muslin before.)

I selected a fabric I would love to wear for summer pants. It is a lighter weight cotton in a soft tan color. No stretch. 0. Zero. None. That does happen to be my preference when fitting a basic pattern.  In record time, I had cut, serged or basted as needed for a first fitting.

OK to clarify, I wasn’t expecting Fit01 to fit. I knew I had removed 2″ from that wonderfully comfortable 15.5″ back crotch length. No way possible that the shorter crotch would be comfortable. This first fitting,  I wanted to define the amount of scooping needed i.e. do I need the full 2″ which was removed or a bit less. From the pic I’m starting with a 1.5″ scoop but won’t be surprised if a greater dip is needed.

A note here:  I’m trying to make this post more succinct than I’ve done in the past. Instead of multiple in-depth posts, I’m going for one summary. So while you are reading one post, please be aware that the activities have taken place over multiple days.


Before I could get back downstairs  to scoop the crotch, I watched an interesting video from Peggy Sagers describing how to take a pant pattern you love and adjust the leg styling.  I thought, she’s really right. With about 90% of the patterns I’ve purchased, I make all the same changes to the new pattern so it is very much like an older and already fitting pattern. Sometimes the differences are nil and I wonder why I bothered. Pants are a little different because of the 3 basic drafts, trousers, jeans and slacks.

As far as 3 drafts I can definitely be disagreed with. Many people see slacks as a styling change to trousers. I think of them as different drafts because of the change in straight-of-grain and a few other things which make the slack draft fit closer to the body.  But, yes, they could be right and I know it.

I’d already realized the crotch of  Sally’s pant 3200 looked a lot like the Vanessa crotch. It was the legs, from thigh to knee  that looked vastly different. Oh and the waistband but that’s not a biggie IMO.  With Peggy’s video fresh in mind, I inverted the pants legs into one; pinned on the ironing board and then superimposed the S3200 back.  I allowed for a 3/8″ seam allowance at the top. The similarity was astonishing!  (Keep in mind that S3200 has been fit to me and the pattern altered to reflect the fitting):

I compared the patterns and traced the S3200 crotch onto my Vanessa pattern tissue.  I also traced the crotch onto the tan pant. Tracing onto a finished pant is fraught with inaccuracies and I did need to correct the pen marks using my curve before stitching and trimming the new crotch curve. Now, I’m hopeful but not truly expecting this to be the final change. What I’m honestly expecting is that I will need to make another tweak before I’m fully satisfied. None the less, after looking in the mirror I took Pics of Fitting #2  and ran upstairs to examine at the big PC.

These are pretty dang good! You really have to consider the fabric. It is non-stretch. Cotton. They look no worse, scratch that, they look better than many of the cotton, non-stretch pants that I’ve purchased off-the rack in years past. When I was a petite 96-pounder. (I graduated from high school weighing a mere 96 pounds. )

I wouldn’t mind wearing these walking down the street and revealing my knee support…

…but they tug a little on my rear and I can feel them creep downward at center-back as I move about. As initially expected, I need to tweak the crotch fit. But I’m tweaking. Not making a new muslin. Not making big changes.

So began a series of 3 scoops and pics to the back crotch; 1/2″ at a time until I had scooped 1.5″ with hardly any difference in feel or look.

My experience says, if you keep doing the same thing with little or no improvement your not doing the right thing. I prepared to put the pants into my closet thinking “until I can get smarter, these are at least not embarrassing to wear.” Then I had another thought. I got out my Curve Runner and measured 13.5″. Huh? I had assumed that copying the 17″ S3200 crotch would create at least a 15″ back crotch curve length. So I got out my flexible ruler, formed it into a curve which I traced along the back crotch.

I stitched, trimmed; and using the Curve Runner measured the new crotch at 15-3/8″.  Despite being off 1/8″ I decided to try on and take pics.

If I’m not ‘there’, I’m really close. BUT I’ve got concerns. As well as things that please me.

First off that fabric. It creates so much mental conflict for me. I love the color. Very versatile. Can’t think of a single top this color won’t go-with. Love the weight and fiber (100% cotton). The ultimate comfort for summer. Hate the way it wrinkles. After each set of pics, I spritz with water or starch and press making the pant look good on the hanger. I take pics and the pant looks horribly wrinkled. It’s the fabric. I’ll probably wear these pants, in summer. Because I  really need summer-comfortable pants which protect me from sun burn without causing heat stroke.  Yes that happens when your temps routinely reach triple digit levels.

The side views are interesting/puzzling. Not really sure if I’m seeing something that needs correcting or just fabric that  rumples badly. Once I’ve fit a pattern, I  prefer to use fabric with a little poly or Lyrca  for daily wear just because those fibers help a pant look/keep looking good as well as increasing the comfort level.

Let’s go onto the fronts which have gone from (as in the Autumn 6PAC) Good-First-Thing-in-the-Morning to OMG-I’m-Glad-I -Wear-Long-Untucked-Tops

I have to rethink my front alteration. Adding a wedge to the front, my long time fix, is definitely not working in congruence with the back crotch changes needed.  As for the much improved back, there is now an  issue of insufficient hip circumference.

I have seen warnings here and there, about possibly needing to add ease at the side as the crotch is scooped. I think I’m definitely beyond “possibility “and into the “how much” realm.

So I took ‘walking pics’ and hung these in the closet.

While creating a 15 3/8″ crotch length has wonderfully improved their look and feel, I’m really at the same point as at the end of Fit 02. Well except those were wearable and these are comfortably wearable. I need to fix the pattern for the front crotch; and the ease of the back hip; and the crotch length before I go any further towards my real target of reducing the ease over the back thigh. Besides, I’m red-faced to admit that I may not want to reduce that particular ease. I’ve noticed that when I sit, my thighs spread enough that these become the right thigh circumference. If I had a little Lycra in the fabric, it  would be a different story. I truly want to fit a pattern with slim legs  for a non-stretch fabric. Also, I’d really rather not make my knee support visible…

…which is clearly happening with this number of inches of fabric around my thigh-to-knee.  Like most people, I’d rather not bring attention to any of my disabilities physical challenges except of course when I’m challenged for parking in a handicapped parking spot to which I am legally entitled.

Despite all my criticism. I’m encouraged, not down-in-the-mouth.  Overall, I like these. I can cover up or ignore my biggest complaints. Besides the deep cleaning I did at the beginning of my sewing session today, for the September Sewing room Soup-up, has reddened and swollen my nose, which is also accompanied by a catch in my back that will not stop until I can sit for an hour or more with a heat pad and taken a couple of mind-altering, prescribed pain pills.


Catch you later,




Shorts, Vanessa

More Thoughts

I spent the previous 2 days starting the September Gussy of my sewing/stash rooms. One the tasks took longer than I planned but I found myself asking some questions about that last muslin (The Vanessa with the crotch dart).

So first thing today I played with my ideas

  1. inseam dart 1/2″ (1″total)
  2. Knee level position
  3. Combined inseam dart and knee level tuck
  4. what happens when these are shorts instead of long-legged pants.

Showing  the inseam dart on the left leg …


I actually took the time to mark on the pant leg where the pattern knee level was and then with the pants on where the center of my knee is. The pattern is  1″ lower than my body. I made a  1/2″ deep (1″ total) tuck above the knee. Important to note that the Knee placement uses a tuck taken evenly front, back and sides; while the inseam dart above takes a 1/2″ at the inseam tapering to zero at the side seam. The inseam dart changes the angle of the leg. The tuck does not it only makes it shorter.


I encouraged with the results,, I put both inseam dart and knee-length tuck on the same leg


This is a leg I could wear without a lot of dissatisfaction if it were not for the visible dart and tuck.  Then I wondered if this pattern will act like past patterns and be fine when converted to shorts. I chopped 19″ off the bottom of the leg, hemmed and bam!


I have a wearable garment. OK room for improvement.  It needs the side seam dart I make (horizontal to the waistband and about 3″ down).  Also, I can really see how much ease is in the back leg. I’ve already removed 1″. Now I pinched out 3 more for  a total of 4″ I’d like to remove. Oh and there was still ease left. I’m not crazy enough to make skin-tight woven pants.


Mostly importantly I have a more ideas for fitting. I’m really zeroing in on that 4″. The rest is reasonably fit, IMO.


Jalie, Vanessa

The Odd Crotch

Overnight, I realized I could have an issue. Remember how I re-cut the crotch?

Well, I got to thinking about the point of the extension

I’m going to take a 1/4″ seam along the inseam (left side) and then  3/8″ along the right which curves upward into the crotch along the way to the waist. I realized that by the time I did that, I would have 1.5-2″ of a string for the back crotch. I would be losing nearly 2″ of crotch length when I stitched this garment together. So what to do

I started by adding another piece of my tissue to fill in what I’d already cut away. One of the reasons I like Aisle Runner for pattern tissue-paper is because I can fix anything by sliding another piece beneath and stitching the two together. Then I marked 1/4″ away for the inseam allowance. Gave it a tink and decided I wanted 3/8″ unsewn; ‘nother tick 3/8″ away from the first; followed by a third tick another 3/8″ away to accommodate the crotch seam allowance (which for me is always 3/8″). No pic, it’s hard to hold the curved ruler, take a pic and trace the curve at the same time. Please try to visualize, I placed the 15.5″ end at the third tick, the 0″ at the top of the waist and then persuaded the ruler to for a curve. Fortunately, this is what the curved ruler does so well. When the excess is trimmed away, I had that odd crotch seen above which translated to an even more odd crotch when the pieces were cut and stitched together:

Well that can’t be worn. Which is why you see the black line drawn on the fabric between front crotch curve and back crotch curve.  I serged along that line to finish the crotch edge. Then stitched the rest of the pant together.

Which probably has you saying:What ??? ???

I did think about it for a few seconds. I had already accepted that this would most likely be discarded as unwearable at the end of today’s sewing session. I couldn’t think of a quick change to the tissue which I could use to recut the fabric. I proceeded because I knew I would learn if I have removed enough ease over the back thigh and also if I had added enough ease to the front piece to take care of poochie:

Also in case that miniscule, unexpected chance that trimming the crotch as above worked and produced a wearable garment, I would know immediately. With this muslin I would have success. Frankly, I’d be glad to alter the tissue right now t to correspond with the trim taken above, if it would mean I’d be able to  make more great fitting pants without making more muslins.

So did it work? Because Vanessa is an easy quick pant to sew,  I had the answer in less than an hour.  I practically zipped it together making one additional change at the SM.  I planned for 1/2″ seam allowances. I stitched at 7/8″ because that worked on the prior fabric which had 10% stretch and this fabric has 20% stretch.

Possibly instead of yes/no, I should discuss how well my changes worked. Poochie is better

Not completely erased and when looking at the entire  waist to crotch view…

…I know I’m not there yet. I’m trying to decide on increasing the dart from 3/8 to 1/2 or 5/8″ (which adds 1/4 and 1/2″ respectively at the front). This is a pull-on pant and some drag lines, gathering lines should be expected.  This is so not a drapey fabric i.e. more drag lines to be expected. But I do think there’s still room for improvement. I’m not sure if the crotch is wrong, because I changed the front crotch as well as the back; or if ease is the answer; or a different fabric is the real best choice. I’ll have to work through this.

Interesting from the side

The back does not appear to dip at the center. As I’m wearing the pant, I feel like it does.  ATM, I’m unsure about those drag lines.I could be looking at too much length on the side. I wonder if it is just the fabric. I mean even with the Lycra, this is not a fabric that snaps back into place. I am pleased, HIGHLY pleased that I’m not seeing any rouching/gathering along the side seam. That happens to me far too many times. From the side, I’m just puzzling out the drag lines wondering if they are length issue (from waist to knee is too long) or if that wild crotch of mine could be causing these too?  So many times, so many different situations, I’ve seen that when I correct the obvious big error that most if not all  the other issues just go away. It’s that removal of the king pin that frees the log jam. Is the crotch the log jam?

Before I turn all the way to the back, look at the full front

As a whole it is comfortable. I moved around; sat down; stood up and  said this fabric would be better in a tailored pant with zipper at the front and narrow waistband holding all in place. Peggy Sagers 3200 might be the better style choice for this fabric. OK, it is what it is so, let’s get to the back

Starting at the top, the waist appears to sit level if a little bunched in a couple of places.  Even though not uncomfortable, it does feel like it is dipping during wear. The pant skims my rear. I do not have VPL (Yeah! Cartwheel. Cheers). The horizontal line is a fold in the fabric from sitting on the shelf 10 years. A 10 minute press did not entirely remove those folds.  I hope I have fixed the pics so you can click and see a bigger view. I prefer the uni-butt look. I know some people think a pant should follow the curve of the cheeks revealing a bifurcated physiology. I ‘m not one of them and would like to make this into a uni-butt. I’m not sure I need to change the tissue. I stitched the side seams at 7/8″ instead of the drafted 1/2″. I could easily let out the side seam or just not sew it that deep the next time.

My crotch dart did remove some excess ease. I think I would like o remove another 1-2″.

Now that the ease has been reduced, the leg looks too long between thigh and knee. I’m wondering if I need to use Peggy’s Horse Shoe, Inseam dart.  Sometimes I do sometimes I don’t. It depends upon the circumference at the knee. If the knee is tight enough it will hold the pant leg at the knee instead of allowing it to drape freely to the ankle.  I did not need the Horse Shoe dart on Peggy’s 3200 trouser. I just hemmed at the correct length. But Vanessa?

So where to next?

  • Another muslin, hopefully wearable. This time I want to choose a fabric better suited for this pattern. I really think this fabric would have been far more attractive if I had used 3200. The fabric needed has less body, more drape.
  • Increase front waist dart/wedge to 1/2″.  I’m going to proceed gradually. The downside of this particular alteration is that plaids and stripes look odd. The bigger the front wedge, the odder those fabrics look. Of course, I’ll cover it all up with my tops, but I prefer to know that it is right as opposed to knowing it is covered up.
  • Make Crotch Dart 3/4″ deep.  I’m going to whip out the template I made at the beginning (shared yesterday), trace around it to restore the previous crotch. That’s after I let out the 1″ crotch dart. I want the total dart depth to be 1-1/2″. If needed, I can make another muslin and increase the depth another time.
  • Redraw the Crotch curve.  I like using the flexible ruler, but I need to think this through and create a continuous curve from front to back. That weird crotch cannot happen again.
  • Not doing the Horse Shoe Dart. Not sure it is needed. My personal experience precludes me from making many changes at the same time.  I’m even reluctant to make the front waist dart/wedge at the same time I’m working on the back thigh.  I’ve had really bad experiences making multiple changes all at once. Bad and confusing. For me it’s actually more efficient to make multiple muslins and understand the effect of each alteration before incorporating the next.

Well onward and upward. Ain’t this fun?