In the weeks I have avoided pants sewing, I have been thinking. I return over and over to the thought I am not using the correct critical measurement to select a pants pattern. Like all of you, I was taught to select by my hip size and then tweak other dimensions. I will admit this worked perfectly when I weighed 96 pounds. But the women of my family, and in whose footsteps I follow, have a history of steadily gaining weight as they age. Much as I fought it, I did too. So what worked when I was 96 pounds, did not work once I hit about 120. I was able to adapt and create acceptable wearables for many years and many pounds. Or so I thought. My greatest disillusionment occurred when I learned to take fitting pics. My back pants pics horrified me, but I continued to choose my pants patterns by hip size and found myself in an epic battle to create nicely fitting pants. I made multiple alterations in multiple amounts. I could count on it taking a couple of muslins and several days to fit a new pant pattern when I could fit the new pattern. Some I was never able to fit. It truly felt like a forever war in which I lost more battles then I won. It is obvious to me that I didn’t know something important. I don’t blame myself entirely. I read blogs wherein others recount the same heroic pants fitting efforts. Recently, I completed the drafting classes partly hoping to learn something new that would solve all my pants fitting problems. Well I think I did learn at least one important fact: for the inseam curve to nicely meet the crotch curve it will add some territory in the back thigh area; and the longer the crotch curve is, the longer the inseam curve will be and the more territory (fabric) will be added. To me, that is obviously my issue. As I gain weight, I need to extend the crotch, which then needs the longer inseam etc, etc.
So in the last few weeks I’ve been shifting my focus more and more to the crotch length. I’ve spent the last few days consolidating the measurements of SP3200 (Sally’s Pant), my DG2 jean, my body measurements and the measurements from the drafting calculations all in one Excel Worksheet. I added new measurements for 5682, the Butterick pattern I like for jeans. It struck me that the pants I like the best DG2 and SP3200, 5682 all started with a crotch measurement near my own. I began to wonder if instead of hip circumference I should select a pattern size by the crotch length.
I pulled out a new-to-me pattern, this Sandra Betzina.
I bought it as several PR reviewers said it fit wonderfully especially with their very pear-shaped bodies. ‘Good Fit’ + ‘Pear Shaped’, I’m in. But I put it away when the pattern arrived because it contained multiple pieces that weren’t evident in the modeled pics
Yeah that’s 2 pieces for the back leg, 4 for the front plus 2 pieces for the waistband. 8 pieces I need to figure out how to join and fit.
I pulled retrieved after that mammoth session consolidating measurements; measured V1411 and added a new page to the worksheet. I looked carefully at front and back crotch length independent and as a total. I gathered the waist, hip, and hem measurements but did not consider them at this juncture. At the end of this exercise, I could say that the V1411 H-crotch was a half-inch short and the I-crotch a half-inch too long. I am usually in between sizes and merely smiled at this revelation. It was half-way expected (pun intended).
So then I looked carefully at waist and hip circumferences of H and I sizes. Looking at the pattern, I realized should I decide to use the H or I sizes, I would spend the first 2 or more fitting sessions removing ease. Lots and lots of ease. This hardly seemed a better solution than choosing a smaller size and increasing the front and back crotch lengths, chopping away at the waist and scooping the crotch and all that other stuff I do. I continued to contemplate the waist and hip measurements and realized I was slightly smaller circumference wise than an E and slightly bigger than an F. I could choose the smaller size and steal some ease from the seam allowances. The problem with at is that the drafted stitching/size lines, the draft, is obscured if not lost. Which means pattern pieces no longer meet up exactly — I have to fudge them. A little massaging can work wonders, a lot can ruin the garment. My final decision was to trace the larger Size I along the crotch and inseam; Size F along the waist and side seam. No yoke to worry about. Waistband is two long rectangles. I measured and noted their dimensions but did not trace. I see this as more of a fitting exercise rather than embellishment or opportunity to use small pieces of fabrics.
I’m using the 2 pieces of the back but I’ve opted to use the front guide rather than the 4 front pieces . Simply put, fitting will be less complicated with fewer pieces.
Interesting how 2 full days of work can be so quickly summarized.
This pattern requires a stretch fabric. Although it doesn’t say how much stretch it does call for ponte, double-knit and stretch wovens. Sigh, I haven’t anything like that in the muslin stash. I must expend some of my good fabrics and have elected to work with an olive-green ponte. It has 45% crosswise stretch and 20% lengthwise stretch. I’m not in love with this olive/drab green. So if this exercise bombs, I’ve got PJ’s. OTOH if I can make it fit ,olive is popular this year and a good coordinate for many of my spring colors. It could be a win. IOW, I can wear the resulting garment no matter how good the fit.