The Gross Error

Let me tell you it was not fun to transfer all the changes back to the tissue. I had tweaked some areas multiple times which I now wanted to make into a net change.  I needed to add length to the crotches and take away from the waistband width (I’d used part of the seam allowances to give myself enough crotch length.) I’d darted the side front and side back several times. Oh and lots of other little changes.   The last thing I did was to compare the pocket piece. I’d made so many changes, I was sure it would need some adjusting. I was in shock. Absolute shock. The pocket was horribly, horribly wrong. If I attached it in the waist seam, only the corner of the hand opening would have been caught in the side seam. I am not a fan of hanging pockets. Those not caught in the waist seam will over time, crumple and become unattractive front bulges.  Not attached all along the side seam and the pocket will pull loose. Apparently, I put a lot of strain right at that point.

It dawned on me, like the proverbial light bulb, that the issues I had in Fittings 4-10 were probably the result of forcing the pant to fit the pocket. Think about it. It’s quite common for women’s knit tops to be longer on the side front than the side back.  The front is eased to the back which causes  a little bulge to form in front for your little front bulges. It’s almost standard for the back inseam in jeans to be shorter than the front. Again the front and back are ease together and the result is the back forms little pooch for your pooches. Let’s not forget the well-accepted practice of men’s bespoke which asks “dress right or left” so that the tailor can provide a little room for the male anatomy. Got the picture? Except there was no need for a pooch where I forced it.

My recollection of the pocket pieces were tracing and using as is. That perplexed me.  I’d made similar changes to those patterns; how could they have fit? So I drug out the original pattern and compared the pieces. First comparing traced pocket pieces to pattern originals (they matched) and then pocket pieces to pant. They didn’t match.

I use the size 18 which is the set of dashes  third from the outside. Here the pocket has been folded along the side and top drafted lines and aligned as best possible, on the front piece.

I also got to looking at the front fly and realized when folded into position the fly did not match at the pant waist:

We’re looking not at the original pattern, but a newly traced copy.

Which explains why I always have this problem:

i.e. when sewn the top of the fly is not caught in the waistband. It can droop. Usually I let it droop as shown on the pink jeans because I knew about it and thought it resulted from some sewing error of my own.

I do wonder if these two issues were by design i.e. were they drafted this way? For me however, they aren’t working. I can tell by the rotten time I had fitting the pink jeans.

When I realized these issues, I went into a mild shock. The pant fly was not so bad. I have been assuming I’m doing something wrong in the sewing and letting the fly lie as it will. But the pocket I am always forcing into position. Thinking back, there have been times  I created my pocket pattern pieces by tracing the upper pant and cutting the tissue to my desired pocket shape.

But the question now was what to do going forward.  Continue apply the fitting changes to the tissue?  I certainly wanted to fix both pocket and fly issues. The fly might not be critical. BUT I wasn’t sure how many of the fitting changes I made were due to the pocket. That were a lot of tweaks to the front that had to be reflected in the back. Would those changes have been needed anyway? So do I proceed to apply the fitting changes or restart with the well-taped pattern I began with for the pink jeans?  Or was it time to go back to the original?

I had to put things away and think about it. Seriously. 2 days of puttering around the house occasionally looking in on the pattern pieces strewn about my cutting table. In the end, I decided to go back to the beginning. All the way back to slipping the tape measure around my hips over my underwear and choosing size based on the tape measure reading. It was with some relief, again, that I was able to choose the same size, 18. I traced it. Then sat it aside for another day. Man, this thinking stuff takes time.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around Peggy Sager’s teachings. Some I still don’t agree with. This time though I said, this is not a pattern I have no clues about.  I just successfully – not beautifully but successfully fit this pattern. I know things about this pant. I know that I like a certain front and back crotch length. I know I like a certain inseam length. I know several hem circumferences that I prefer.  I know how much ease my butt requires. I know, I know, I know. I know lots of things. Peggy repeated urges that you copy the things you like.  So I carefully measured the things I knew I liked and applied them to the newly traced copy of TJ906.

I do mean carefully.  I used my Curve Runner to measure the top and bottom of the waistband along the stitching line.  Compared that with the stitching line of the new tissue. That means I had to mark the seam allowances and the front overlap. Carefully as in with lots of care and thought; I applied changes to the crotch length, the inseam and the hem circumference. I marked my preferred seam allowances except for the side seams.  Since this is a fitting exercise, I expanded them to 1″.  I walked the seams, along the stitching line.  Carefully. Very, carefully.  One thing I decided was to  not sew the front pocket. I will make and  the back pocket in the last stages of fitting. I will stitch and give the impression of a front pocket. But for now, I want to eliminate the front pocket as a fitting issue.  When I can isolate the front pocket as the fitting issue, that means future versions, then I will create my own pocket pieces from the fitted front tissue.

Then I picked fabric. I hunted for fabric that would be an autumn/winter weight, light in color and no stretch.  Could not find such a pant-worthy fabric in my stash. I picked a 10% stretch (cotton/lycra), in a medium-dark brown denim. Sigh, I managed to avoid black and the darkest of blues and brown, but the winter selection was sorely lacking in light colored pant fabrics. My fault  really. Light colored clothing gets ruined at the first snow.  Somehow snow dissolves rock-like gunk which gets thrown up onto clothing staining it forever. Sturdy outer layers are crucial. Dark colors supreme (if you want to wear your clothing more than once!). So I picked the medium, dark brown and hoped my software can lighten the pics enough to be seen.

Come along on this journey with me.  I’m still unsure of the decisions I made. Even after waiting another 72 hours (dr appt in distant city), I keep wondering if I’ve made the right decisions. The pattern pieces look too small. Yet I know they are larger than my calculations and that my fabric has a fudge factor (10% stretch). Not to mention that when I chose size, I was in-between. I choose the next size up. So I should have another fudge factor from having started with a pattern slightly too larger.  Still, my eyes say “I dunno…”

2 thoughts on “The Gross Error”

  1. If I make very many changes I don’t include the pocket. I’m always amazed at how much fabric I need across the stomach. It’s almost like I don’t have a mirror or a tape measure!!

    1. I’m convinced pocket and front fly disguise a tummy very well! I thought this was fit. I’m wearing 2 pairs made from it last year. Or so I thought. My senior memory is now in charge


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