DraftingFitting, Version 2

My Pants Drafting Experience #2

Two days to think about things other than  pants and drafting, did indeed clear my mind and offer a logical/reasonable direction. I realized if any of the measurements were off, everything was likely to be at least a little off. So I restarted by watching/listening once again to The Taking Measurements Lesson. I saw nothing that I had not done the first time. But perhaps error could have crept in.

I am measuring myself, by myself; at best,  a bit awkward. I always hope that any error is small and can be caught/corrected easily later on.  I wondered this time about my method of measuring the levels.  When Suzy measures she has an assistant, the client, holding the tape measure at certain point while  Suzy stretches out the tape measure straight to the next pont. I find it quite easy to measure circumference while checking the mirror to be sure I am keeping the tape measure horizontal. Measuring the vertical levels required a bid of fudging. I would measure and find the largest circumference and then put a dot on my body to indicate the level.  I measured the levels by putting the tape measure on the dot and smoothing it down vertically and recording the distance. Could I have gotten off? I am sure that I measured some curves rather than keeping the tape measure perfectly straight. I could not read the numbers on the tape by looking in the mirror (mature vision has a number of downsides).  So how much error could my process have introduced?  The two days allowed me to come up with a plan; a plan that I hoped would find previous errors and minimize the current.

I have a 48″ builders ruler with horizontal and vertical bubble-levels. Purchased after “the kids” broke my only yardstick and believe it or not, this was the only yardstick of any kind I could find in the closest town at any store.  The bubble-levels themselves were of great interest and have disappeared–not sure exactly with whom or when. The ruler still functions wonderfully in my sewing even though I have now acquired several spare yardsticks including a square walking stick. I laid out my base draft (the first one with all the extraneous marks and numbers).  Had to tape it down to keep it from shifting around.  Then using Quilters Glow Tape

Click pic to find vendor

marked each of my levels onto the builders ruler.

I can’t show you the next part. It involves underwear and bare skin as well as mirrors. So I will do my best to describe.  Standing in front of the mirror with 1/4″ elastic tied around my waist, I first found the largest circumferences of high and low hip; thigh and knee; then marked my flesh with a sharpie.   Step 2, was holding the builders ruler vertically next to my side and  using a 12″ ruler  form a horizontal guide between my sharpie mark and the builders ruler measurements. I expected differences of a quarter-inch here or there. Maybe a half-inch.  I was truly surprised to find that while some of the levels were spot on (calf, knee) others were more than just a little off.  I had a *lightbulb* moment.  I was wearing shoes.  I always wear shoes.  I sew. I have discovered “everywhere that Beverly goes, the pins are sure to follow“.  (Apologies for revising that classic children’s rhyme.) I was taking measurements in shoes.  I also wore shoes and took measurements for V1 in shoes . This time I carefully noted the heel height (1″) and marked that off.

While I was at it, I made the effort to determine where my crotch level is by holding the 12″ ruler between my legs and lining up across the builders ruler. The 12″ ruler did not want to be perfectly horizontal.  I forced it to do so and came up with an 11″ crotch depth. V1 calculated crotch depth was 10.5″.  However I was truly curious about the ruler tilting. It makes sense. I know my waist is tilted and I know my real undercarriage is not level. Just for fun, I noted the front crotch was tilted upward 1/2″ and the back downward 1″.  Gee, I usually shorten a pant front crotch about 1″ and either lengthen or scoop the back 1″.  However this isn’t part of Suzy Furrer’s drafting instructions, so I just made note and set it aside for future thought.

I returned to Draft V1, lined up the builders ruler and drew the levels as just noted.  You know, I couldn’t help hoping that accounting for the shoe issue could mean just shuffling the ruler a little. No, no indeed. The levels that are off, are off far more than just that of the heel width.

The original level lines are black, the new in blue. I am sorry this is difficult to see.

I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad to see my waist, high hip and low hip levels were about the same distance apart for V2 as for V1. The same for the new crotch and thigh levels. I had really hoped for change.  I know that there is almost as many inches from waist to low hip as from low hip to thigh. This isn’t showing on either draft. Nor are there corrections in Lessons Truing or Most Common Fitting Errors that would help. Definitely was hoping for an improvement on the crotch level as the total crotch length of V1 was short 4″.  The new CL may have added 1″ but  I still need 3″…. from where? Once again the corrections are not in either of the immediate following lessons.

I decided to copy the new frame-work and plot out the draft a second time while watching the instructions for about the 4th (maybe more) time. Front draft of V2, pretty much came out the same:

I made one important change on the front. When I drafted the V2 side seam, I drew my curve from waist to high hip and then to the low hip before shifting the curve out towards the full thigh measurement.  On v1, I drew the curve from waist, high hip to thigh. This  by-passed the low hip and added more ease.  As a result of the V2 curve, the side-seam curves more from thigh to knee than it did with V1. Actually that’s minor change, but I think it reflects my body better and will produce a better fitting leg.

Moving along to the back draft:


I was surprised that using a sharpie did not make the lines easier to see.

The side seam is again a slightly different shape due to being copied from the front and 1/2″ over. I expected and am pleased with it.  The crotch, well I am almost pleased. While watching the lesson I saw that twice (02:23 and again 16:54) Suzy is clearly shown arranging the curve between crotch point and knee without consideration for the actual thigh width. So while I was trying to make my curve from crotch point to thigh to knee, she had zoomed on by.  Towards the end of the lesson, Suzy checks to see that the inseam has cleared the thigh measurement. “Cleared”, that is all she is interested in.

Ready for the pics on truing? Not happening today. Nor in the near future. In fact, as of now, I have hit the pause button on this project.  I folded up all the tissues and carefully labeled them. They are in a folder and filed away should I suddenly get smarter. My reason? I was trying drafting because I thought I could create a better fitting pant. I know a pant from this draft is going to be

  1. too short in the crotch
  2. have oodles and oodles (I estimate 8″) of ease over the back thigh
  3. and I don’t know what else

The back-of-thigh ease is one of my biggest complaints about all the pants or pants patterns.  This pattern drafting process is not addressing it at all. Keep in mind, Suzy is teaching how to draft for the average figure. I am not what the industry considers average, although I am not that different from many middle/elderly American women. Suzy’s class doesn’t provide sufficient information for me to correct where I differ. I think drafting may have given me a hint. Making a neat curve from my knee to the crotch point of the length I need, puts a lot of fabric back there. I need a different crotch point but I need the same crotch length. I also see where I get the strange waistline of my own pants. In pants that fit me the crotch slopes down to the sides (Or up from the sides depending on your view point.)  That is the result of needing 4 more inches to go around my tummy and tush than the standard draft would create. The solution will be, as I’ve already done on pants that fit, slash and spread the crotch.

There will not be a muslin either.  I would problems that I have already fixed and BTW have already been fixed by people who do draft for the more typical curvy figure.  Personally, I think there are 2 better possible paths to my ideal slim-pant pattern than starting with this basic draft. I’m thinking:

  1. working with the blue-tape DG2 pattern
  2. working with Vogue V1411.

I  have this nebulous idea that the frame-work might be very useful as is. I want to experiment with that.  Let you know.  Oh and thanks for coming along on this journey with me.  I truly enjoy you suggestions. It was my readers that suggested both my possible paths to success. Thank you. Thank you all.

DraftingFitting, Truing

Truing the Pants Sloper

After the short break with the Rhombus Wrap, I turned my attention back to drafting pants from personal measurements.   Suzy has you trim the front and work against the back. But I am uneasy, even having check measurements and calculations, twice. I am uneasy.  I traced the front and back and trimmed the front but left 1/2″ excess tissue.

I feel relieved that we are addressing the  whack-a-doodle crotch first:

Suzy places the front inseam together. Her’s meet. Mine form a big void. I rewind and find that they should meet at the knee line and the crotch point. Oh, OK. Try again (that’s the pic above). Well void is still there but continuing on…..  Suzy then insures the crotch makes a nice U. She flattens the point which formed where they met. She also draws the back crotch a little deeper to keep the back crotch shape.  I do nothing to mine.  I’m wondering still if I have lined up the crotches correctly.  Next, and also a relief, we measure the crotch.  My number is 29. Thank heavens it is also the number I got from My Bowl shared in the post a few days earlier. My pant crotch however measures 25″.  I am 4″ short. Da^^^^! I was hoping to find the pant crotch too long and I could chop some off, redraw the curves and be singing. No, I need to figure out how to add 4″ which Suzy doesn’t really explain.  She talks and gives example of “less than an inch” . Always if the “difference is less than and inch”  I do nothing to the crotch but continue to follow the lesson.

I find that my waist needs to be squared off slightly. Suzy says it is up to me and I choose to make the front lower and match the back. ‘Fraid I’m reaching back into my fitting solutions with other patterns.  I always need to make that seam shorter at the waist. So for me, shorter it is, even if only 1/8″

We also make sure the side seams mirror each other and are the same length.  Once again I change the length but again by less than 1/8″

I know I am nit-picking. maybe needlessly. But I need something to do besides stand there and listen to Suzy. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to be this careful at the tissue stage.

We compare inseams from hem to knee. Mine is good. My HBLs match, probably because I traced back off the front. Suzy wants us to check, so I do. Comparing the inseam from knee to crotch point however reveals more difference.

They do not match. I change the back inseam, moving it out to match the front. I see another concern. On the IPAD screen I am seeing  her crotch lines are at the same level.  I remember very clearly, because I had to change my crotch level and a couple of other lines too, that she said the back crotch line should be 1/2″ lower than the front. So what is right? Should I have left the back crotch at its original level? Could that be why the curve is so odd? It also means that the crotch points are not the same level. I wonder how much that contributed to the awful crotch point shape.

We go on to measure inseam and side seam.  My side seams match, so we’ll just skip that. But my inseams, Good heavens!  I “rewound the tape” several times to see if I was measuring the wrong place.  As far as I can tell, I am supposed to measure from the crotch point along the inseam curve all the way  to the floor of both the front and back inseam.  I know these measurements are  not going to be close. I remember that whack-a-doodle crotch 4.75″ long with a front crotch just over an inch. If I have added 3″ more to the back, how can they match.    I was not surprised at the results

  • Front Inseam:  32
  • Back Inseam:  34

That is a 2″ difference. I was expecting more.

All along the draft for the back leg has added much more than the 1-1.5″ ease used in the calculations. I know right now, even without a test, I’m going to be grabbing handfuls of fabric over my back thigh below the butt. Handfuls! I especially wanted to get away from that.

I started feeling apprehensive when taking the measurements. Standard height for high and low hip is 4 and 8.5″ below waist. Mine is 3 and 6. I promise you that is right. If I measure 1/2″ above or below the 3 and 6″ the measurement becomes smaller. Even Suzy says you want to measure at the widest level.  If I  moved the levels down, then I would not have enough ease at the wide points but have too much at the revised levels. Doesn’t make sense to me. Oh and my waist has never been 1/4″ above my belly button. Not now, not when I was 13, weighed 96 pounds and had a waist.    Another question when taking measurements  was the thigh.  Again, I measured at the widest point and recorded that and the level from above the knee, all as instructed. When I drafted, I thought “WOW those are close together” but Suzy had said they could be. I again hesitated/stopped/rechecked when drawing the crotch and inseam. They were so weird.  Especially when I compare with my pants that do fit. I have nothing that odd even pants I have altered greatly to fit.

I’m not making a muslin. Next lesson is common fitting issues. I will watch even though I don’t hope to find the answer. I need a time out. Maybe I’ll watch Netflix instead.


PS Suzy is not at fault. I have boundless admiration and respect for her. The skirt sloper worked perfectly, except for my dart error. I keep thinking I missed something. I did something wrong.


PPS I count this as a “crash and burn”.  May have licked my wounds and shed a few tears, too.  I had hoped by drafting with my own dimensions I could make a pant muslin that, for once, was close to fitting.  I even had this tiny bit of hope a pant sloper would be as much of a success as the skirt sloper. I guess it’s just not to be. I haven’t thrown the tissues away. They are folded neatly and filed away.  I may get smarter. It has happened before. I could figure out what went wrong. I did with the skirt sloper.  And then again, you, dear reader, could offer suggestions to make it work.  You have before.

Back, DraftingFitting

You have got to see this!

Having completed the front, drafting the back seemed reasonable even familiar except for one thing and it blew my mind. Let me tell you about the experience.

Simple enough to start. Copy the front onto a new sheet of paper.  I included the frame-work (black) which wasn’t necessary but felt comforting. Yeah, I’m weird. Then copied the front (orange).  I made my guidelines/other marks and initially my  lines all  in pencil. Then after checking and rechecking, traced over the pencil in turquoise green. Guess what had my eyes bulging:

If you said “crotch” we’re both on the same page. Suzy gives a specific formula that is for everybody (calculated back hip divided by 2 then minus 3/4″).  Mine was 4.75″. WOW. In a way it makes sense. I am forever scooping and extending the back  crotch. Also do you really know any curvy/plus sized woman who is only 2″ deep (as you look at her from the side)?  Well for years that 2″ was all I ever say on a paper pattern. Doesn’t it make sense to you that a curvy girl needs more seating room than most people? I’m almost OK with the 4.75″ inches, except I needed a very sharp curve to connect crotch point to thigh onto knee. It is such an odd shape that I stopped to recheck all my marks and calculations. They are right on. Someone is going to remember that I use my High Hip measurement instead of low hip because my tummy is larger. The difference is 1/8″ which would require the curve being 1/8″ deeper. I don’t think that helps.

Using Suzy’s directions, I end up with a lot more ease along my entire leg.

It is no longer a close-fitting leg. After the thigh, the rest of the leg finishes with 3 or more inches of ease. We’re getting into trouser territory here.

I am a little uneasy with the torso portion.

The waist slants upward, which I was not really expecting and the crotch slants towards the center of the back.  Possibly that is because of the dart and method of its adding.  You measure over from the side seam half the width of the waist; add a 1″ dart; measure over to the other half of the waist. That becomes the top of the back crotch.  The back crotch upright is higher than the front because one of the first things Suzy has you do is extend it 1.25″.  Between the two procedures, the waist and crotch upright are unexpected, at least to me.  Possibly if I had measured from crotch upright over; added dart and then measured the rest of the waist the crotch would not have the slant it does. I think I understand what Suzy is doing.  She is adamant that the side and inseam of both front and back need to be alike for these seams to hang nicely.

There is still another lesson in which the back and front are trued. Suzy promises that both back and front will change again and it could be drastic. So for now, I’m just going with it. But I’m reluctant to make even a muslin with a crotch like this:




Drafting Pant Front

I decided to draft a pants pattern.  I have been very reluctant to do this.  I drafted a bodice and was very disappointed to find, that was only the beginning (cue scary music from the first Mummy”. But I had to admit that drafting the bodice, even to someone else’s measurements helped me understand why the pattern was shaped as it was; and more importantly why I might need to make certain alterations and where. I think my most disillusioned experiences were learning that many standard measurements are used instead of a figure calculated on the individual’s measurements. Second horrid revelation was that often the pattern maker just draws “a nice curve”. If they miss the points?  Oh well. I can tell what the “oh well”. The “oh well” is a lot of wasted time/effort/fabric on a garment that fits oddly if at all. But but back to the positive, there are enough good reason to draft patterns especially when I can adjust  for my body.

Another positive, I just successfully drafted a skirt! OK it was a straight skirt and admittedly there’s not too many places you can get in trouble. Thing is, I did it! It was easier than I expected, (probably because I’ve already slogged my way through the more difficult bodice sloper) and afterwards I realized my mistake that created an anomaly.  After correcting my mistake,  everything about a skirt became logical to me. I am hoping that by starting with sufficient circumference placed in correct relationship for my body will make fitting pants easier and will help me understand where I am going wrong on commercial patterns.

*My drafting mistake was marking the darts but not adjusting the waist length to include the dart width. This caused a very sharp curve between waist and hip which was difficult to sew and press.

So once again I am taking a Craftsy Course. I am viewing “The Pants Sloper” presented by Suzy Furrer. I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for Suzy. Here’s a lady that knows what she is talking about. Yes part of that is vocabulary but it’s also her presentation. As she goes along she adds tips to make the work easier and explains why we are doing things. Sometimes she asks that we just ‘go with it’ and then later she makes it clear why.  I do like the Craftsy format as well and the downloadable materials. I also like double time. I watched the class first at normal speed which is fast enough I don’t fall asleep and slow enough I can take notes.  But then I took my IPAD with me while drafting my own pant sloper so I could play the instructions whenever I forgot what I should be doing — get this– at double time. That fast speed may not be the most flattering  for the speaker but it sure is humourous and I get to the spot I need to review pretty quickly. Anyway. I have completed the draft of my front leg and wanted to share not only my draft but my observations:


Black lines are the frame
Orange the finished pattern
Pencil marks and scribbles are the work as it progressed


I couldn’t help but be uneasy about the shape of the waist:

Final dart is in Orange. I nearly always either eliminate front darts or move them towards my side seam so that they are not hitting my tummy.

As with the skirt sloper, I followed Suzy’s instructions but the finished shape made me uneasy because in every pattern I have, that fits, the waistline slopes upward to center front. This is sloping upward to the side seam.  I left the waistline as per Suzy’s instructions because it worked on the skirt.  Nothing succeeds like success and I can tell you a pattern that is fitted and looks typical is success to me.  Over my lifetime of sewing, I’ve adapted patterns (at least a little) to fit me that I thought were perfect to start with. They certainly fit friends and relatives; and I didn’t think I was that much different from my friends and especially different from my relatives. I confess to always being uneasy about these deviations, even as I accept them when they work. So because of my personal experience, I wanted to see a waistline that sloped down towards my side seam but accept this because it worked just recently on the skirt sloper. (Accepted at least for now.)  I am terribly pleased that I remembered not only to mark the dart but adjust the waistline length to include the dart. The result is a much more reasonable curve at the side seam.  Also of note is the side seam curve:

My tummy is larger than my hips–the cumulation of physical/age/health issues and good eating. So instead of the low hip measurement as instructed, I used the tummy to create my frame. But look carefully. The schematic includes Suzy’s minimum easy (don’t remember if it is industry standard or just Suzy knowledge). So with minimum ease the skirt should curve smoothly from waist to low hip. My curve is going beyond both wider and lower. Why? Because, as per instructions, I measured my thighs. My  largest, torso pattern-measurement is 11.5″ my thigh pattern-measurement is 12″. I need 1/2″ more fabric when I get down to my thighs. Initially I penciled in the curve with the high hip (tummy) measurement.  My goal is to start with enough but not too much circumference. So before I traced over my lines with Orange Sharpie, I placed my tick mark 1/2″ over and redrew both leg and torso curve/lines to accommodate my wider thigh measurement.  Fortunately, I will be fitting. I pinch out any excess ease at that time.

I expected the crotch and extension would be more interesting but it was my inseam curve which boggled my mind

How many pants do you have with such a sharp curve under the crotch?  Only jeans and tights, right? I have 6 different plastic curves for drafting and art work. I tried all of them to find a curve that would nicely connect crotch point, thigh and knee. Which BTW, I should point out, my knee with inner fad pad measures more than my shapely calve. This is another place where I pondered and fretted. ***Actually just a few moments after I wondered if my crotch line should be so close to my thigh line. But I looked carefully all over the sloper and could see that each oddity I identify corresponds to my measurements, what I see in the mirror and what I see on patterns that I have been able to fit. Anyway, weird inseam. Again, I’m going with it. I’ve already located a muslin fabric I can just toss if this goes south.

***I decided the thigh line was in the right place. It’s easy to look in the mirror and seem that my thigh is widest about an inch below my undercarriage which is where is landed based on the distance from knee to thigh-widest point. I’m glad I watched the first segment where Suzy took measurements. I started to skip it because I’ve taken my body measurements thousands of times over the last 6+decades. But I then it occurred to me if she measured just slightly different that what I was accustomed, I could have a problem. 

That’s about it.  Suzy suggests between 16-18″ base (hemline). I opted for a 16″ because I have been able to  fit pants with an 18″ hem circumference and then slim it to 17″.  When the leg gets smaller I have horrid drag lines I can’t get rid of.  I can fit loose trousers. I already have Silhouette Patterns 3200 fitting just beautifully. It’s these slim, semi-fit and close-fitting pants that bust my chops.

I’ll be back tomorrow with –pun intended– the back sloper.


DraftingFitting, My Bowl

My Bowl

Have you tried copying your true crotch shape? It is quite revealing and may even explain some of your pant fitting issues. There is an easy and inexpensive Aluminium Foil method which I also think of as the “tin foil crotch”.  There are several methods actually and I’ve tried a few in the past.  I wanted to repeat the exercise because I seem a bit befuddled as to how much length I need to cover the undercarriage i.e. the crotch extension length.

For this exercise, I like to use a flexible ruler

and I use small stretchy hair elastics to ‘mark the spot’.  Spots (plural) in this case.  I tied 1/4″ elastic around my waist.  Then slid 5 elastics onto my ruler. (I had to wrap the elastic around the ruler twice to get them to stay in place.) I put one at the zero mark. This is the end that I put on my back at the 1/4″ elastic.  I formed the ruler around my crotch up to my front waist and slid the last elastic up to that point.  The other 3 elastics were moved to sit at my inseam and at the front and back points where my body curves underneath.  I like to double-check everything. So standing in front of the full length mirror, I placed a 12″ ruler between my legs.  Initially it was slanted just like I know that I am.  My undercarriage is not level.  It is tilted towards the back. However, I made the ruler level and moved the 2 elastics marking beginning and end of curve.  It is with relief I can tell you, they didn’t move by much.  I took the curve off my body. Had to do that a couple of times because it would reform.  Finally, I measured how much I needed to bring the marker at the front waist forward so that the ruler could slide down and off without further distortion.

Before starting this exercise, I had cut a square of 18″ wide tissue paper and made an inverted cross (No I’m not a sat*n^st. That’s just the first word that popped in my mind)  Now I placed the formed curve on the tissue with inseam on the upright and curve markers on the cross line.

Did I not warn you this would be revealing?  Before we go further, I see inaccuracy.  I have the curve marks placed about level, when logically the back mark should be lower than the front. The other thing I notice is that I have my front waist lower than my back. Absolutely wrong. Just as my undercarriage dips towards the back, the back waist lowers.  But I know these things, so I think I can work with them. If it becomes too much of a visual distortion for me. I would cut a new tissue, make a new cross and  trace “My Bowl” in a more accurate angle.

First thing that strikes me is how un-U-like I am. When I open a pants pattern and put front and back crotches together, I usually see a big U, sometimes a big and little Ll. In years passed, some patterns would have a V-shaped crotch. (The V never worked for anyone.) According to the visual above,  I am very round. Like a fishbowl.  I am relieved to see that the curve as I marked it is much longer than most patterns allow. I am relieved because I have added as much as 3″ to a pattern to give me enough length.  However, I am not immediately operating on my fitted pants patterns. They fit. Why mess with a good thing?  But I did wonder why they work.  And I think “Bias” is the answer. To my knowledge at this point, a  pants crotch is cut almost entirely on a bias if not true bias. Bias, no matter whether working with stretch or nonstretch fabrics is amazing in its ability to conform to the object (my body) beneath.


So another exploratory exercise that concludes with me not knowing where this knowledge is taking me, IOW what do I do next. But I am relieved to see the shape and the position of the markers. It confirms my actual sewing experience.

5682 - Jeans, Airlie, DG2

The DG2 Crotch Shape

I not only read you comments, but I take them to heart. So when it was suggested that I buy a new pair of my DG2 jeans and trace that crotch, I thought “Why not?”.  Just so happens Diane Gilman had just put her jeans on sale. I pay between $60-80 for DG2 jeans. I didn’t need another pair but for $30 I couldn’t pass the sale up. I used this opportunity to buy a slightly different color, Olive, that still needs my needs for my bottoms to be neutral. I wouldn’t wear olive with every color in the rainbow. But I can’t think of a thing in my closet I would not pair with the Olive jeans. I know it might not always be the best color combination but it will look OK.  So with suggestion from TheYellowRose in my ear and a new pair of DG2 jeans in hand, “Why not?”

I used the masking tape method.

It goes pretty fast. Does use a lot of tape. I didn’t copy the entire leg. I copied the back from yoke to 4″ of inseam. The front I copied from waistband to 4″ of inseam. Once taped, I carefully removed and placed on tissue paper where I smoothed and firmly pressed.

Before trimming away the excess tissue and stray tape ends to reveal a neat copy:


Next step was comparing with my 5682 and the Airlie pant. I still have the tissue on which I copied both patterns. 5682 is the Orange colored lines; Airlie is in blue. I tried to align crotch point and upright with each for a pic.  BACKS:


It’s hard for me to pinpoint the grain of fabric after it’s sewn so I did try to align grain lines.

I was surprised at how different the DG2 is from either 5682 or Airlie. I thought Airlie would have less circumference being as the fabric recommended has 40% stretch while the DG2 measures 20-25%.

Over all, I thought DG2 would be very close to 5682 (orange lines). It was stunningly different both front and back.

I satisfied my curiosity but otherwise, not sure where I am going with this.  Your comments and suggestions are again, more than welcome.


Airlie, StyleArc

Knock Knees? Hyper-extended Calf?

After my last post (8/7), I really thought I was done not only with this muslin, but with the Airlie pattern. My Plan …Z had been to morph 5682 to include the Airlie pocket, a straight-elasticized waistband and join the yoke to the back leg. Then a couple of people suggested some possible alterations I had not considered.



Knock Knees are defined as knees that turn in-ward so that the feet are apart when the knees touch. Mine don’t actually turn-inward but I have a pad of fat which becomes larger as I gain weight (and incidentally years). The fat pad can have the effect of knock knees.  When I’m posing for fit pictures, I always try to stand with my feet about as far apart as my shoulders, about 6-7″. My knees are not touching. Any touching seen is excess fabric hanging towards my center of gravity.  In the past, I have a couple of knock knee alterations; without success. But there is no harm in trying something new. I was allowed to see a page from Sandra Betzina’s book  Fast Fit title. I owned that book in the past and a few others she wrote.  I have enormous respect for Sandra.  I’m a believer that she knows wherefore of which  she speaks. But her books leave me discombobulated. My books end up with more post-its than print.  I just can never find the info a second time without asking someone for help.  When I want a quick double-check, I don’t want to be delayed 2 days. I’ve given  all her books in my possession to others but I was happy enough for someone to remind me of and allow me to see this page “Knock Knees”.  I won’t post pic because I’m positive it is  copyrighted. I will however add some discussion and my own photos.  I think I’m in the clear for having given Sandra full credit. The way the law is these days, you never know. Anyway, you are to slice the leg horizontally about an inch below the crotch point. Attach a 2 or 3″ strip of fabric:

Then you rejoin the lower leg at an angle. Mine spreads 1″ at the crotch (I decided I had a lot of wrinkles and needed a lot of fix); and overlaps 1″ at the side seam

Do on both front and back. Stitch leg back together and take pics:

Curious, I took 2 sets of pics which I’m sharing, one with my knees touching the other as I’m normally standing for fitting. To determine if there is an improvement caused by this alteration, we need to see the last fitting pics again:

I vote no. I don’t see any improvement. I may even see a few more wrinkles than there were before.  I also have a 2nd set of directions for basically the same issue and similar fix. The difference is that author does not overlap at the side seam. The wedge they add zeros at the side seam; opens at the inseam by the amount desired. If I’d seen any improvement following Sandra’s instructions, I might have tried again with the other set of instructions.


… was the second suggestion indirectly offered. By that I mean I was wasting time on Yahoo and came across a tube from Joy extolling the virtues of Angela Wolf’s Craftsy/Blueprint class on  sewing and fitting pants. I admire Angela and have taken several classes plus watched her shows on TV(PBS).   I’m happy to see a younger demographic and fresh ideas being exposed. Angela however does not compare in knowledge to Sandra. Don’t care about her FIT certificate. I have, too many times, yelled at the TV for something incorrect she shows or says. (I would never do that in person). It absolutely grates on my nerves that she, a professional, doesn’t know the vocabulary or why she is doing something. I believe words are important and it is important to use them correctly. Not saying I shouldn’t apologize for my short-comings but I really want a professional, who has the nerve to be telling me I’m wrong and should do it her way, I want her to use words correctly.  “Look at this here” is not a good description! Finger tapping that serves mostly to cover up the place I should be looking, doesn’t get it either. I also think if you don’t know why you are doing something, you are not leading the charge; you are blindly following along in the beaten path. In which case it is highly unlikely for you to ever develop and show me something new or different. The Craftsy class Joy was so excited about gives a perfect example of what I mean:

Angela freely admits that this shouldn’t work to fix the mess which bunches up on the backside of our pants. Nonetheless, her solution is to pinch out the amount of mess;  measure the pinch and then remove that amount across the back leg only. In her class she slashes the pattern piece and overlaps 2″.  Then she points in the direction of the hem and says in effect the back leg is too short now (you think?) and needs length added; slash and add here” as her finger waves in the air.   See, she both doesn’t know what the alteration does and doesn’t give specific instructions when she is in a  profession in which 1/8″ and 1/4″ are important. Grrr! But don’t let me turn you off. Not only do I make grammar and vocabulary mistakes, I am somewhat anal. My instructions would have started “Find and uncap your 1/4″ chisel Tip Sharpie….”  Lots of people justifiably complain that I put them to sleep before I get to the good stuff.

I’ve never even considered that I might have a hyper-extended calf. I did now. I can remember nearly all my life someone hissing at me to ‘unlock your knees’.  I do have a tendency to “lock them knees back” probably putting my calves in an hyper-extended position. Again, I thought,  nothing to lose by trying a different alteration.  Seems as though none of my logical solutions are working. Maybe it’s time to try something illogical?I did not repeat her exact alteration and I know that can make a difference because I’ve experence that with other alterations. Something have to be done exactly and in a specific order or you are wasting your time. I drew lines on the leg so I was sure to be cutting across grain but I didn’t cut. I folded and pinned…

…before running to the SM to stitch  1″ from the line. I made a tick mark 2″ above the front hem; aligned with the back hem and stitched the leg back to to the front.  Angela does warn that you need to retrue the inseam. But she didn’t have to deal with this:

I’ve got 2 dressmaking curves plus a bunch of smaller drafting curves. I twisted and turned; slide up and back. I could not make a nice arc using my curves. I finally free-handed about 5 lines

And finished stitching both the leg and the crotch before taking pics.

To be honest, I made both alterations at the same time. I made the Knock Knee on one leg, Hyper-Extended Calf on the other and took pics once. That’s why when you look at my pics, you consistently only see either right or left legs:

and as before side by side with the last fitting pics.

Once again, I don’t see any improvement. If you do, please point it out. I’d really love to find my fix. Ummm pants fitting fix, that is.




5682 - Jeans, Airlie

3 Pant Patterns Day 3: Grains Aligned

I have been examining my fitting pattern of 5682, the progressive tissues of Airlie and my unsewn DG2 jean. I’ve been looking at minutae trying to decide what is different and what effect it has. When my brain started smouldering I knew it was time for a different tack (sailing, not sewing).  Instead of the tissues, I compared 5682 with the original Airlie pattern.  I was again surprised at how closely they resembled each other. I’d almost swear they were drafted by the same person and changed only to eliminate the back yoke and add a different waistband. It seemed to me that all the changes were from the back yoke up. So why does it affect the back of the leg?  If not for the back of the leg, I’d wear Airlie Muslin 1

I was desperate, no doubt about that, but I also truly wanted to see the difference beween my fitted 5682 and Airlie.  In blue, I traced the original Airlie . Pinned the pocket in place so I was not having to account for pocket pieces. Not one more change to Airlie–at least at this point.  I placed 5682 on top and lined up the grain lines, before tracing my fitted 5682 on top in orage.  I added the yoke to 5682 and then belatedly, added the waistband to both.  Yoke, and waistbands were overlapped so that their seam allowances could be ignored.  Took Pictures. Well even though it’s only back and front, there are enough lines to be confunsing.  Also more than enough to start telling a different tale about these drafts.

The first thing I want to point out is how Airlie’s pocket sits.  I saw the same thing when I added the pocket to the Yellow Stripe 5682.  The side seam slopes sharpely up

On my body, the highest point is my center front waist everything slopes down to the sides and then gently from the sides up to CB.  The high side seam is not right for me.  I can see I need to open up the WB on the Yellow stripe and correct that immy.

Since were looking at the front, lets look at all of it but compared with the 5682.

So yes the 5682, orange, is much higher than Airlie, blue. But do recall that I had already added to Airlie for the muslins and I believe all of this has been accounted for. What I am really find interesting is the leg shape.  Earlier I aligned the pattern pieces on top of each other with the grain in the same direction but not matched.  For this comparison, I aligned grainlines and crotch points.  Crotch points may be slightly off because I’ve added length to the 5682 which is not in this tracing of the original. I’m taking points with a grain of salt, it is how the legs are distributing the circumferece and the actual shape of the crotch that caught my eye.  On 5682, there is less ease along the inseam more along the side seam. Interesting because I usually don’t need more along the side seam, I need in the seat area. I know with the muslins that the original crotch shape had been changed. However  Muslin 1 and Fit 1 were the nicests fit. None of the changes enhanced the front at all. Some made it worse .

And what we’ve all be waiting for, the Back:

The legs align much better .  5682, has a more ease along the entire side seam, but not much. 1/2″ at the most. The crotch is vastly different. Vastly. There is more ease in the inseam above the knee as well as more next to the crotch.  5682 crotch point is at least 1″ longer the Airlie. However the crotch upright is probably 3/4″ shorter and there isn’t nearly the scoop of the Airlie back crotch. No wonder further scooping and darting of the back didn’t help!

One further item I compared using the pants, is where the waist rests on my body. The both rest  right at my waist.  I made the test by putting the Airlie on and marking my body with a Sharpie; then putting the 5682 on and checking where it rested. It they are exactly together, it’s not more than a 1/16″ apart.   To me, it further attest to how similar these two pattern are. The change in the back crotch extension was done to 5682 by me. I added all that length which I know also added the extra by the inseam down to the knee. Where the crotch rises, I believe, is the real difference in the 2 crotches.


I have a question for all of you.  When I heard/read that people copy their crotch curve to a new pattern, I always assumed the copied just the test tube shape (in whatever form it has morphed) onto the new pattern.  Is that right, or do you copy more? do you include the waist? The side seam? Any part of the inseam?




5682 - Jeans, Airlie

3 Pant Patterns Day 2

So yesterday’s exercise was a lot of food for thought.  One of the questions which occurred to me was “how far/much different had the Airlie pant become from its original. So not comparing to the 5682 or the DG2 RTW jean, but to the original.  Most changes I made to Airlie were small or done in small increments. The largest at any time was a 1″ tuck for the leg length. The largest over all was adding 3″ to the total crotch extension ( 1.5″ when divided) which was done in 1/2” increments. I wondered with all the incremental changes, how different was the final?  So I smoothed out each of the backs (1, 2, &3) and compared each to the original, uncut pattern.  No pics because, white tissue on top of white paper photos like a picture of a big blank white board. Unfortunately for the visual orientated, this post will be entirely in words.

Comparing the Original back with #1.  The extra 1″ I added to the side seam for fit insurance is the first thing that jumps out at me but is of no consequence, really. It doesn’t change the shape and  was easily trimmed away.  Secondly of note is the 1/2″ added at the end of the crotch to make it longer and go further between my legs. I made the legs shorter, but didn’t think that affect the fit above the knee. The dart I made along CB crotch reduced the height 1″ as I needed. Surprisingly, and something I had not noted or even thought about, that dart changed the angle of the back crotch upright.  As originally drafted the back crotch leans slightly towards the side seam and away from the CB vertical. After the dart, the crotch leans the opposite and even passes the CB vertical.

Comparing Original with #2, the side seam has been reduced to 1/2″ over the 3/8″ drafted (i.e. is now 7/8″ instead of 1-3/8″), again not a biggie. The crotch is extended 1.5″ which is really out there and I noticed that it droops. Yes the point is 3/8″ lower than the original. Should it be?  I did the knee slash method of extending, which keeps all the pieces attached and creates a nice crotch curve. The point isn’t lower because of my error unless the instructions were supposed to say raise point xx” and I didn’t raise the point.   So,I note the drooping here, but not sure this is an error. I also note that the inseam has developed a sharp corner at the knee and somehow removes about 3/8″ knee circumference.  Maybe I give more significance than I should, but it reminds me I need to accommodate my  knobby knees.

Comparing Original with #3 the only real change I see is that the crotch upright now leans in the original direction (towards the side seam) and CB has moved towards the side seam 1.5″ from it’s original position. Hello?  Does anybody remember seeing that yesterday?

So that’s how that happened.

Sadly, these comparisons didn’t give me any new clues on how to fix the back wrinkles. It did occur to me that I had not done a typical alteration, that of shortening the side seam length. I seem to get these interesting folds extending from about the dart in front, across the side seam terminating beneath the dart in back. Picking up the side seam i.e. shortening the side seam length above the hip completely removes them. Copy that alteration to the pattern, and I do not ever again see those folds.  I didn’t recall having done that, so I took 5 minutes to rip out the waistband and drop it 1″ lower at the side seam tapering back to its place at both CF and CB. Nope, no help.

I’ve started wondering if it is a bad idea to choose pattern by girth. If I choose size based on my hip, then I need to shorten the back crotch length because pattern drafters assume the wider you get the taller you grow. Not true, and so I need to reduce the back crotch length.  Tummy/waist girth is assumed to be much smaller than hip/seat, unless pregnant. Not for me.  I have to add tummy room and finally front crotch height. See I need 3 alterations because I choose pattern size by the girth of my hips. Oh and usually I make a 4th alteration, adding 1″ width to the back and removing it from the front because I am not symmetrical i.e. there isn’t as much of me on the front as the back all up and down my frame but that isn’t because of my girth. It is because  I’m a similar to a large busted woman. Pattern makers measure the full bust circumference and divide that measurement in half to draft the top half of blouse.  The large busted woman finds she has too much fabric in back while the front strains to close and cover her assets and where most of her girth resides. This is so common that it  had been widely recognized and many patterns are now drafted with B C and D cup sizes i.e. larger circumference in front than in back or giving FBA instructions. I’m similar but on the other side of the waist i.e. more in front at the tummy switching to more in back at the seat.    Wouldn’t it have been better for me to start with something that fit my frame and added a little  ease where it is needed?  I’m choosing my top/blouse patterns by shoulders/frame. I usually make a large but I choose the size by comparing my TNT’s to the pattern.  Depending upon the draft, I may well use anything between small and extra large. Then I add at the seams between waist and seat. tops have gotten to be very easy fitting for me –although I should note that I often start with my “block” and simply append whatever style detail interests me in which case no fitting is needed.


Sigh, I think my brain is smouldering. Suffering from information overload. I’ve gone back in time to 10 years ago when my pants didn’t fit and I didn’t know why.







5682 - Jeans, Airlie

A Discussion of 3 Pant Patterns

Before starting this post, be sure you have your coffee/tea in hand and quite possibly a snack as this will be a long; laden with pictures. I will be discussing and comparing my experiences with 3 pants patterns

  1. Butterick B5682 a jeans pattern published by the Big 4 which has become my TNT. As I recall, it was amazingly easy to fit especially  because it was published by the Big 4.  It has been years, decades since I was able to fit and wear a Big 4 pant pattern.  Their crotch just didn’t fit.  I relied upon Kwik Sew for several years; then Burda.  The only consistently reliable pant pattern for me has been Trudy Jansen‘s 906 Designer Jean. I was surprised and delighted to be able to fit this Butterick pattern and it has become my basis for many pant adaptaions.  It is a jean pattern but more of a mom jean; not high fashion fit. It rests at the waist, with a narrow 1″ waistband extending just above. While it is a comfortable fit.  I agree that some tweaks need to be made so it is attractive.
  2. Style Arc Airlie a recent and deep disappointment for me. It’s not the 2 muslins, expense and waiting time and the innumberable fittings,  but rather the fact only a few years back Style Arc pant patterns were quick and easy for me to fit; and I mean I got a beautiful fit.  Knowing it had been quite some time since I’d been able to fit Style Arc patterns, I definitely hesitated to purchase Airlie.  I took the chance; ordered “all the way from Australia” and then felt deeply disappointed in myself with the repeated failures.
  3. The last pattern I will compare with is not actually a pattern, but rather my favorite RTW jean, the Diane Gilman 2, Baby Boot Cut Jean. I’ve loved this pant since the first time I slipped my legs into it.  It just felt good; really good. Immediately, due to my personal fit preferences, I went up one size over recommended. After a year, I switched from petite sizing to women’s petite because I have developed a thick waist. PW sizing gave me more than enough ease at the waist. I’d love to be able to duplicate the fit. So after about 6 years, I have a DG2 that has shrunk lengthwise.  I was about to shorten the leg and call it summer when I realized this could be the perfect opportunity to duplicate the fit.  I spent a few quality evenings with a seam ripper and extracted the front, back, yoke and waistband.

I’ve carefully pressed but those crotch points make no sense at all.  I also carefully measured the stretch in several places. Several because the pant is stretched out of shape much as we expect elderly clothes to do.  I measure between 20 to 25% stretch which is pretty standard in the fabric I buy. It was a relief to know that it isn’t entirely the stretch which is making this fit so nicely. That means, I may indeed be able to duplicate.

I am not addressing other pant patterns that I use and love because I am looking for something specific in these pants/patterns and review.  I am looking for a slacks fit i.e. slim, body skimming but not body revealing.  My other patterns and pant styles have their place in my wardrobe and in my life but  in this post I’m zeroing in on a semi-fitted  standard adapted for my body.

I preped for  this comparison by making sure the 3 patterns were distinctively different.  I figured RTW jeans would be obvious and mostly photogenic. I especially wanted to distinguish between 5682 and Airlie in pics. Painting 5682 rust brown took a few minutes, plus drying time and did the trick.

I compared the 3rd version (Arlie 3) with 5682 first, placing

Arlie on top. The legs are very similar. 5682 front leg side seam may be a little narrower but I’m not concerned as much with that as I am the difference in crotch both as to the shape in the front curve and how Airlie3 angles out at the front waist.  Both have had 1″ added at CF.  5682 should actually jut out there even further as it has an attached fly facing.  The difference in front crotch length is due to the difference in waist band width.

The back surprised me. The legs look much alike. I’m stunned by the difference in the back crotch angel. That’s 1+” on the 5682.  If youclick the back pic, also note how the back leg angels at the knee. OK, I should smooth out that curve, but I don’t think a mere smoothing will offset the 3/8″ more fabric at the knee the 5682 sports.

Reversing so that 5682 is on top:

is even more surprising. White interesting bits of Airlie peep out along the edge and crotch, ignore the extra at the top back; Airlie doesn’t need a back yoke 5682 does.

Moving onto DG2

Myabe not too much info there. DG2 seems to almost completely cover 5682.  If I had been asked before this experiment, I would have guessed the stretch jeans to be much smaller than the pattern drafted for non-woven fabrics. To my surprise that’s not the significant difference.   If you click the pics, it becomes obvious that wear has horribly stretched these out not only in the crotch but also along the waist. These are the P and not the larger waist PW jeans. I’m really wondering if I should have used this pair for pattern or comparison since it is both so old and so misshapen. In my defense, I didn’t realize the crotch would be so incredible. Look how the back crotch cannot be smoothed out to any semblance of flat. It must fold.  How do I copy a crotch like that.

There’s actually more to learn by putting 5682 tissue on top of the DG2 jean

I did not get a really good full front pic so I cropped them down to the signifiant difference.  The  crotches are very differenely shaped.  Although I’m not sharing a pic, the DG2 is much closer in shape to the Airlie crotch that my TNT 5682.  I’m surprised to see additional ease along the front inseam of DG2.  I love the way these fit (other than the P being too tight in the waist), whilst I’m always complaing about my self-sewn pants having to much ease over the back thigh which I always assummed the front also contributed. ???

I think it interesting that the DG2 back seems to be stretch out a bit just before the crotch curve.  Is it stretch for my rear? Other than the wear-shaped crotches (which I find hard to evaluate), what I notice the most is having about an extra 1/2″ on each side of the leg over the knee.  My DG2’s usually develop permanent horizontal stretch marks in back of the knee BUT not the diagonal drag lines I see on nearly all my self-sewn pants. Well heck, I see at least a little  knee diagonal on all my pants including  RTW that’s not a trouser.  I’ve tried shifting the pant-leg over and a few other suggestions. Any leg is fitted, will have knee diagonals when I put it on.  As long as they’re small and especially if they merge into horizontal knee wrinkles, I just ignore them. They’re on the back, so really not that hard to ignore.

This little exercise took me a couple of hours. I needed to prep 5692 the day before and press all the pattern/jeans pieces just before starting.  I take multiple photos trying to get not only the stuff I want to show but show it without blurring or color shift. So I wasted/spent lots of time taking pics.   That aside, I really do have lots of information to think about.  Where the pants are different is interesting to me and sometimes  unexpected; as were some of the places the pants/patterns were the same. It’s a great relief for me to know I don’t have to hunt down 40% stretch fabrics to use Airlie (if I ever fit Airlie). It may even be possible to use a non-stretch fabric with this pattern that specified a fabric with 40% stretch.  The difference in the back crotch between 5682 and Airlie3 was totally unexpected. I believe the Airlie started very close to the same shape as 5682. That’s something to check and test; as is the angle change of the inseam which adds more ease by my knee.  Ummm, much to think about. Very much.