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.




12 thoughts on “Knock Knees? Hyper-extended Calf?”

    1. Lynn Yes I’ve seen that post but I took another look and noticed that I blend from the top down. Debbie is very emphatic about blending from the bottom up. I need to try it.


  1. I do not see any improvement, sorry you add to work so hard for it. I was just about to recommend Mrs Minott alteration that Lynn recommend above.

    1. Louise
      I also replied to Lynn. I have seen and tried the alterations on Debbie Cook’s blog but I looked again carefully and see that I blend from the top down. Debbie is quite adamant about blending from the bottom up. I missed that before. Will have to try her way.


  2. Still think you need a longer back crotch. Add to the top – at the waist – that will lower the sides and “should” take care of the wrinkles. Like I’ve said before, when I see those wrinkles I want to pull the sides down to give you more length along the back crotch. This alteration has worked for me in the past. Since those pants are finished – release the WB for a few inches on either side of crotch seam and see if it makes a difference. If it does you can always add fabric there.

    1. Have to laugh. That’s exactly the opposite of what Gayle is suggesting! But something has to be causing those curtain swag-like folds. Do you think that when I add length to the crotch extension I am causing the back inseam to be gathered to the front inseam? Am I making the back inseam too much longer than the front inseam? If I make the crotch extension longer by slashing and spreading along the inseam, I am definitely adding more unneeded ease across the thigh although that shouldn’t make the inseam longer.


    2. Don’t add to the crotch extension you don’t want any more fabric back there. That’s why I suggested adding to the top of the crotch.

  3. Bev, I am impressed with your tenacity on the pant fitting. A couple of thoughts if you are interested. 1. Sandra Betzina has a skinny pant pattern and her big fix for the back leg wrinkles is a slanted, horizontal tuck across the back thigh of about 1/2″ (or more if you need it) at the center of the thigh, tapering to nothing at the inner leg seam and side seam. It is really a big dart. She puts an actual seam in the back leg, but you could try a tuck in your sample pair to see if this works. The pattern number is V1411. If you look at the line drawing you will see the line for the seam. I have the same issue as you in me-made pants, and it helped quite a bit. 2. There is a pant fitting video series on the Threads Magazine website by Sarah Veblen. In one of the videos she shows cutting into the center back seam to resolve this issue. But the problem I have with that video is she doesn’t show how to take those changes to the pattern.

    1. Oh I have that pattern! I’m reluctant to use a Big4 pattern because I’ve had such bad luck in the past whereas I used to fit Style Arc very easily. Unfortunately, I did not become a Threads insider. I even dropped my Threads subscription a few years back. I found myself not reading but just flipping through and creating more home insulation (Magazines stacked next to walls works pretty good.) Now that you’ve brought 1411 back into my thinking, I absolutely will get it out and at least look carefully.

      Thanks for your suggestion


  4. Wowzer! I am wishing you the best of luck fitting your pants and surely you will find the perfect fit. It can get frustrating, but following the wrinkles is key and taking up a “dart” at the inside leg under the tush will work – and yes you will need to add to the hemline, but the addition is a different area of the pant pattern. Thanks so much for the criticism in my teaching – Although, I did not go to FIT, I have a business degree. I started my fashion design business right out of college, designing custom apparel. I have been sewing and designing since a very young age. After getting the position on It’s Sew Easy tv my main goal has been to inspire others to design and sew, if you are looking for the master in terminology there are many great teachers. I am just showing what I have learned from experience – fitting many women of every size for custom garments, I have seen and altered it all. It’s Sew Easy only offers a brief time to share tips and tutorials, you might enjoy my weekly facebook live show featuring various alterations.

    I don’t have a fitting class on Crafty, so you might be thinking of someone else on that one. As far as It’s Sew Easy, I will try to move my finger 🙂
    Best of luck fitting those pants, I am sure you will get it soon ♥
    Angela Wolf

    1. Perhaps someone who shares your name? At the time I started my blog I new of one other person with my exact first and last names and a search on the internet revealed 2 other sdBevs.

      I did a search at for “angela wolf” Many classes by someone with the same name appear. I apologize if crediting “Angela Wolf” as a FIT graduate is incorrect. I was certain I’d heard that information both in the introduction of classes and on Sew Easy TV. Also, I’m almost embarrassed to see an “Angela Wolf” commenting and apologize if you were offended. I do not advertise my blog or have it listed publicly in any way. I do not Facebook, Twitter or use other popular apps. My reader count is maybe 40 on a good day. I am happy with that as I understood from WordPress that you must know me to find my blog and I therefore write as if speaking privately with friends who would understand my frustration with trying to follow vague instructions and tapping fingers especially since I myself can be so anal.

      Best wishes to you and the “Angela Wolf” at Craftsy. I am happy to see a younger generation taking up my favorite hobby and sharing it with others.


  5. Hi Bev, I am that “Angela Wolf” from Craftsy and It’s Sew Easy 😉 I found that you were having issues with fit and saw my name. Terminology is not my key feature, but I can fit just about any body shape. In fact, I am going to address your fitting issue on my Facebook live show in October. Your fitting issue is very common and I hope to solve that for you 👖 I wished you lived closer, I would pin those up and solve your fitting dilemma!!! No offense taken on anything you mentioned, just wanted to clarify a few details and I look forward to following your fitting success ♥

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