DraftingFitting, My Bowl

Refining My Bowl

The basic curve and lengths, the dimensions, of my bowl seem correct. But, I am uncertain about a few things which make me uncertain when trying to use the bowl.  I started this exercise to remove my uncertainty by answering specific questions:

  • Where exactly is my inseam?
  • Where exactly are my beginning/ending crotch-extension points in relation to my inseam?
  • Where exactly are my greatest circumferences (tummy and seat) in relation to my inseam and curve?

While I was at it,  I wanted to examine the slope of both my waist and undercarriage in relation to my curve.

I began by nailing down my INSEAM LOCATION

Months ago, I took apart a 5-6 year old pair of my favorite jeans hoping to discover their elusive perfect-for-me curve. I separated half of that old, faded jean into front, back and crotch sections.

To my surprise, the years of wear had so permanently stretched out the jeans and the curve in particular that I couldn’t trace it. I traced something, but didn’t end up with a usable curve. I didn’t toss the lot because I have yet to reach a satisfying pant fit. Now I hunted in the back of the closet for the still-intact half  because I realized it could be useful in determining the position of my inseam.  I retrieved an alcohol marker; removed my jeans and slipped this half pant up over my lower half.  Holding it at the waist, I marked the inseam of the pant onto my body. Done! Well almost.  I now have a definite reference to transfer to flexible curve and then onto my paper crotch.


I removed the half-jeans; tied 1/4″ elastic around my waist and marched into the bathroom after snagging a yardstick and my camera.  I took a few seconds to place and test the location of the camera.   No you aren’t going to look at my hardly dressed body.  I took pics, but then traced the major outlines onto blank paper for discussion.  Starting with the tilt of my waist:

I drew a black dashed line where the yardstick had been held in place; used blue ink to trace the perimeter of my body. That’s quite a bit of my upper leg traced. The knee is just below.  Interesting to see that my waist tilts most in front. Sort of sharply tilts from the side are staying fairly horizontal across the back and side.  There is a curve following my thigh which reveals how much my tummy hangs.  Usually, that is totally disguised by my clothing.  I also have to admit, my fanny is no longer as high as it used to be but it still isn’t flat.  Most important thought is the angle between the black dashed line (yardstick) and my waist (the top of the blue outline) is about as expected. Since I was 15 and 96 pounds I have been shortening the front crotch, lengthening the back by the same amount.  More than few people have commented “your waist is tilted” when discussing fit of my clothes. What was surprising was the line following my undercarriage:

I had placed the yardstick between my legs resting at the back bone, against my body to the pubis.  All along the way, I can feel the yardstick touching. It isn’t as if the yardstick is balanced off two prominent bones. This is how I am “hanging” underneath and it is how I want my pant crotch to follow my body line.  My waist and my undercarriage tilt in different directions!  I can’t help but wonder if this affects some of the wrinkles that I see. More importantly, the reason why I nearly always need to scoop the back crotch of my pants is illustrated. (No kidding most pants rub uncomfortably against my tailbone if I do not scoop the back crotch.)

I put the yardstick aside. Slid 7 markers onto the flexible ruler planning to find and mark onto the curve

  1. Inseam
  2. Water Spout
  3. Garbage Disposal
  4. Tummy High Point
  5. Fanny High Point
  6. Center Front Waist
  7. Center Back Waist

The hardest part of that process is taking the flexible ruler away from the body without distorting the shape just carefully formed. As for the rest, I looked in the mirror and either moved the markers by  visual alignment (inseam marker, tummy, fanny, waist front/back) or by touching the body (what’s left?).

I used tear-away stabilizer for my paper base. Drew the horizontal and vertical axis. Now was when that initial effort of digging out the old jeans and marking my body up paid off.  I knew exactly where to align the vertical axis: my inseam mark.  It did slid a bit below  the horizontal axis when  my water-spout and garbage disposal points were balanced onto the horizontal axis.

There is room for improvement. For starters, maybe the curve should be balanced further below the horizontal axis since the actual curve beginning and endings are about 1/2″ further along the curve (from the water-spout and garbage disposal points being used). But it is clear enough that my seat angles below echoing the schematic above in Pic 02 and  reaffirming that I need the back  crotch scoop.  Also clearly  seen is that the front waist (on the left) is at a lower elevation than the waist back (on the right). For the most part, My Curve is totally as expected. At least it was until I measured the length.  At that time I discovered  the front was 11″ long and the back 15″. That’s less than the previously recorded 13/16.75″  ???WTF??? I did not expect to lose almost 4″” of total length. It did give me pause.  The curve looks good, so I must not have placed my quarter-inch elastic at the right elevation. (I have a couple of indentations along the sides; none directly in front.)  I tie the elastic around my waist; bend side-to-side and back-and-forth so that the elastic finds the narrowest part of my body. If it slides over any part of the rib carriage, I know the elastic is too high. But otherwise, I’ve always been able to accept and measure as the waist wherever the elastic settled.  It’s possible this “waist” is in the right place and the previous elevation was wrong. But, I did have * one nearly-fit muslin that was looking pretty good with the 13/16″ measures.  On this point,  I’m waffling still.

I took a sec to compare this bowl with my previous just by sliding the tissue of Aug Bowl on top of this the Oct Bowl

I expected some rotation of the curve because I chose a different inseam location. So the pic above (dark black is Oct Bowl; blue is Aug Bowl) is not really surprising. Other than the front crotch seems to have developed a flat spot. See there where it rises from water-spout up to the waist full point?  It’s a pretty straight line between the two.  I have been thinking my crotch resembled those caricature of a  tire you know ‘where the rubber meets the road”.   This is a bit different. Is it trust worthy?

Please I invite all suggestions. Have I missed anything?  Am I off track? I know that I am not going to copy this shape point-by-point to my pattern. But I would like to make use of any of the information it provides; and I’d like to make use of that knowledge at the tissue level of pants fitting.


Now I am going to wander off and sew something. Keep myself busy until I can get input from all of you.


*1 The ‘nearly fit’ muslin was V1411 (blog post here). I quit working with it when I realized I wouldn’t want to ever use a pattern with so many pieces. In retrospect, I wonder if I should’t tape the pieces together and finish the fitting.



3 thoughts on “Refining My Bowl”

  1. Hi sdbev,
    I looked at your list of patterns you have tried. Perhaps moving to a knit pattern would be your salvation. Judy Kessinger of FitNice has a generic pants pattern that many like. It molds to fit the body. I have never worked with knits or fabrics with stretch. I like pants that are all cotton or linen. I know the struggles you are having and it took me years to end up with my pattern. I now have it on posterboard so it is a “permanent” pattern for me. I have a slacks version and a culottes version. I don’t even look at other patterns anymore. I wandered around for a few years but returned to JSM and refined the fit. It was the trouser look I wanted. She updated her pattern with a larger waist size which was helpful. Snug fit on my body wasn’t that flattering. I do not wear tunics or over blouses. I tuck my tops in and wear a belt. I learned I was overfitting for many years and that led to my failure. The book about the Seam Method of Pattern Alteration has some great pages of how to use your “bowl.” http://joyful-expressions.blogspot.com/p/tutorial-crotch-curve-correction-wvideo.html Joy does a great job explaining that.

    1. Thank you especially for Joys tutorial.I knew someone had a fantastic tutorial but couldnt remember who.

      I love trying new patterns. Once I know what fitting alterations I need, it is an easy and enjoyable process. Trouble for me is my body has changed frequently in the last 10 years due to age and injury. I no longer know what to do and so I struggle.

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