1038 Terrific Trousers

Terrific Trousers #2

Similar to the PatternReview poster, I spent hours working with this pattern, about 6. First thing I have to tell you is that there are significant differences between the Terrific Trouser (TT) apple and pear drafts.  I wish I could make a little chart here, but I don’t have the smarts yet so a descriptive of the differences will have to do.

Looking at sizing, in relationship to my measurements just before starting to work with the pattern.  I would use an Apple Size XL but a Pear size L but would need an entirely different size for the waist. For an apple I need the next size larger but for the pear my waist requires 3 sizes more.  I find this surprising as I normally use a size smaller at the waist and just leave out the front darts.  For pants, I take an extra dart in the back and when possible (some designs just don’t lend themselves to this) curve the side seam at the waist a little bit more.

There are several large tissue sheets.  They are needed for the two drafts and the various templates. As I sorted through the first major pieces I found were the fronts.  The apple front crotch was deeper and had a longer front extension.  Not good for me.  I know from experience that a little hook in front gives me the smoothest appearance. I know because I’ve seen in patterns and RTW that if I have  a long extension on the front piece, I will have a bubble in the front.  Reminds me of a female hyena who has grown the part she needs to be dominant. The pear front crotch is more upright and has the tiny hook I need. I also noted that the side seam of the pear curves in at the waist which is something else I find helpful.

On both front and back I found that the grain lines shift.  That’s hard to explain but between apple and pear draft, the grain lines are not in the exact same relation. They are tilted as if going from a trouser draft to a slack draft and that makes a difference in how the fabric hangs on the body.

I then found the backs.   The apple has a slanted crotch which is deeper and much longer, extension. While the pear has a more upright crotch, and the shorter extension. Front and back combined have a  U-shaped crotch. Very important.  I cannot even proceed if I’m looking at V-shaped crotches. I know this from experience. Both RTW and pattern experience.  I’ve lost count of the number of patterns I’ve tried to fit and failed. I have 5 patterns which fit. All have a nice U shape.  Here’s the thing, my shape,,,, is,,,, my shape.  For a long time I was ever hopeful that the next V-draft would be different enough to fit beautifully. But it doesn’t matter how you tweak the waist, hip or leg ease or shape.  If the crotch shape of the pattern doesn’t fit my crotch shape, the pants will look awful.  My shape requires a deep U with a little scoop out of the bottom back.    I’ve never gotten any other shape to work. I no longer hope that a V shape will miraculously fit. I know it won’t.

So why did I buy this pattern?  I loved the idea of having one pattern that I can tweak to have wide, boot, or tapered legs.  I was also curious about how the apple and pear shapes would accommodate my tummy and hips.  I thought I might be cutting an apple front and a pear back.  To my surprise I decided upon the pear front (small hook and curved waist) with an apple back (deep crotch, long extension).

I traced my pieces.  I had a heck of a time locating the waist and pocket pieces for the pear front.  Since there were such obvious differences between the apple and pear drafts, I wanted to use the small pieces that corresponded to the major pieces i.e. front and back.  I finally found these pieces by looking in detail at each of the templates. But I thought had I been a new sewist I would be thoroughly upset by now.  As it was, I was beginning to wonder if I had a defective pattern.

I pinned the pocket to the front and compared both back and front with the MSS pant. The fronts were nearly the same. Not enough difference to note.  The backs however caused concern.  The back extension was 1.25 inches shorter and the back crotch upright was an inch shorter than the corresponding MSS piece. I decided to trace the TT crotch which would be the same as the MSS. That turned out to be the 5x.  Now I had an issue.  Do I try to true that extension with the leg size L??  It made for a steep curve the likes of which I haven’t used before. I decided since I hadn’t even considered the effect of my knock knees (primarily because they usually aren’t a problem with wide leg pants)  I would trace the 5x back inseam.  This added a little over 1″ ease to the back leg.  As this is a wide leg, I probably won’t notice the extra ease. I’m not so sure about how it will affect the boot and tapered legs.   I also added the 1″ I needed to the upright.  There just is no sense in fooling myself.  I’m using the MSS for comparison but I know on all 5 pants patterns that fit me, I needed to add the height to the upright or, the pant will pull down in the center back. I do not wish to wear a plumber’s butt pant. I corrected the upright by measuring up 1″ and making a mark. then I matched my french curve with the curve of the back as drafted. Keeping the side seam end in place, I rotated the french curve at the CB upward until at the 1″ mark. I drew my new waistline.  It looks like an upward slope.

I cut my fabric, a cotton/poly blend that is semi-sheer and has several large flaws.  It was a Walmart find from long ago. I’d already cut around these flaws to make a blouse. I thought it would be fine for a muslin but because you can see the outline of my body when I’m behind a strong light (think Sun), I don’t think it would make a good item in my wardrobe. Just to be sure I wouldn’t be tempted, (I’m ever hopeful that the first draft will be a winner) I used a Sharpie Pen to mark the grain, and horizontal balance lines (HBL).  I did not cut the pocket bag or the waistband facing.  I basted the pocket  to the front and basted in a zipper.  Then I pinned the front side seam to the back side seam and…

…. came to an abrupt halt.  There was 3 inches difference in side seam lengths. None of the HBL’s would match no matter where I started pinning. Was I supposed to ease the side seams?  I checked the instructions. No nothing about easing anywhere.  OK so maybe the apple and pear can’t be combined. I pulled out the pear back and compared with the pear front I have traced. Sunnybeach, it didn’t match either.  The front pear I traced was 3″ shorter than the back pear tissue and the HBL’s didn’t align. OK maybe the HBL’s aren’t really HBL’s.  I really expect a notch at the knee which matches on front and back.  I also expect lines marked “crotch depth” to match and the top of the side seam to match.   Maybe I could ignore what I think are HBL’s. BUT the pant front is still 3″ shorter than the pant back. Did I attach the pocket at the right place?  Yes. Did I make a mistake when tracing the front?  That has happened to me before and that’s why I always tape the pattern and my tracing tissue to the top of my cutting table. Just in case, I pulled out the front tissue and compared it with my tracing. They were the same. I’m still not believing the pattern is wrong.  It’s not unusual for me to make a mistake, miss an instruction yada yada.  I compare the front pattern tissue to the back pattern tissue. I did take pictures. None of them were clear enough to share.  I see the same thing. The HBL’s do not align and the front is shorter than the back.  Either I’ve made a colossal mistake I can’t see or this pattern is wrong.

You know, it’s hard enough for me to fit pants with a well drafted pattern and adequate instructions.  I scoop the whole mess off the top of my cutting table and into the trash.  I’m not a patient person.

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ETA:  I’ll make another comment about this pattern.  I really was concerned about how well it would fit because of the picture the company chose to share on the face of the envelope.  I see several issues I’d want to correct. But then, maybe it’s just the way the ladies are standing or the fabric used. I checked the website to see more examples.  I got into a loop between the Gallery which had no pictures and the pattern description which had the same picture as the envelope.  The company owes me nothing, of course, but I’ve come to  expect a little more from the Indy pattern co’s. I like to see more views. I particularly like to see back views especially for pants. I also like more complete instructions.  I buy all CLD patterns even if I know I’ll never make the garment.  I buy the patterns for the wonderful instructions.  I know from the envelope that this pattern can successfully be made. Just not by me. 6 hours is all I’m interested in investing.

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1038 Terrific Trousers

Dana Marie Terrific Trousers

Sometimes I think I’m a glutton for punishment.  I’m starting a new pattern, Dana Marie Design Co (formerly Purrfection Artistic Wearables) Terrific Trousers

I think I purchased it during a recent sale at Nancy’s Notions but the pattern is available in several places.

It is, I think, classic styling with several options.

There is the choice of sizes XS to 5XL all in the same envelope.  I know it’s less confusing to have a single size within an envelope. But I like having all sizes because I change sizes. When I change sizes, I can copy the new size without the need to purchase a new pattern.  This pattern also contains 3 leg styles, wide, boot cut and tapered.  My JSM pattern contained boot cut with instructions for adapting to wide and tapered. Also, the pattern is styled for two basic  figure types, the pear and the apple. That’s a lot of choices within one pattern plus it’s easy to use pockets from other patterns or change the leg length shorts->capri->floor.

I started my journey by reading the enclosed directions and checking the site for additional information. I’ve got to admit, that especially for the most difficult garment to fit and sew in a pattern that offers so many options, I think it is short on instructions.   The one review at PatternReview.com is negative. Between the two I have more questions than answers.  For one thing, do you know if you are apple or pear-shaped?  I think I’m a pear in the back and apple in the front.  Partially that’s due to some health issues.  Today, for example, my apple front is very prominent.  It’s larger than my rear. Often my “apple” (which is below my small bust) shrinks and becomes just “a bit of a tummy”. However, I never have a flat derriere.   To  make the MSS fit, I removed 2″ of ease from the front and transferred it to the back. I wouldn’t do that if I consistently had a flat derriere and a big tummy. Do the Terrific Trousers instruction have any information to help me determine which shape to use?  No, just 2 cute line drawings neither of which represent me.  You have to know your shape before tackling this pattern and that’s a whole ‘nother book.

The instructions quote the old and never reliable method of determining crotch depth by sitting on a hard chair.  I don’t have a hard chair. Nope at my age I want everything soft and comfy.  Yes I know public places I could go to that would have hard chairs, but I’m not going there. I absolutely am not doing any measuring and subsequent explaining in view of the general public. Don’t care if most of the general public would be friends, neighbors and relatives.  There are some things I prefer to keep to myself.   Since I’ve had lots of experience fitting pants patterns, my solution will be to use Louise Cuttings instructions (MSS pants) and add 1″ extra length at the top.  I may not need that 1″ because the instructions state that the pattern is drafted for the tilted waist which usually adds 1″ height to the back crotch and reduces the front crotch height by 1″.   I haven’t looked at the shape of the crotch yet, but I can tell you before unfolding the tissue if I’m not looking a a U shape (Burda, JSM) there is no way these pants will ever work. V shaped (Vogue, McCalls) or ski slopes (Kwik Sew and Ottobre Design)  absolutely will not work for me. I’ve tried them.  Many times.   I must have a long enough crotch extension to fit me.  While I continue to contemplate the instructions, I know this could be a show killer.  If the crotch shape is wrong, this pattern is dead to me.

I also won’t be measuring my pant length according to her instructions.  I’ll cheat. You bet.  I’ve got 5 patterns that fit me.  I’ll compare leg length with a pattern I know I like and use that length with a 2″ hem.  I do like the instruction note which state that tapered pants are usually hemmed at ankle length while the others are longer. Still it is a personal preference, so I’ll use mine.

Next is a real gem of information.  She advises cutting the size which most closely matches your own even if that means cutting between sizes or cutting different sizes for waist, hip and thigh.  It’s the system I use with Burda Ottobre Design tops. It consistently produces patterns which need nothing more than fabric fitting. (Every fabric acts differently.  Even the same fabric in a different color will behave differently. You always need to baste the side seams and tweak the fit according to how the fabric wants to hang. That’s a fabric fitting.)

I skipped by the fly instructions and breezed over the other construction details.  Several years back I made an excruciating effort to find a zipper application which would work for me perfectly, every time.  Since then, I don’t deviate. I don’t try someone else’s method. Don’t care if anyone thinks something else is easier, simpler or whatever.  This works for me.  After 30 years of sewing, I have a procedure that works for me.  I’m sticking to it.

So I mostly skipped the construction and started reading the Fitting Solutions.  OK I didn’t read these in detail either.  I was looking for my exact issues that I always have to fight to solve. There may be some exceptionally good fitting information which I missed.  I was looking for what to do when the diagonal wrinkles form between knee and derriere on the back of my pants. Sigh, Dana Marie has nothing to add about my problem.  Either it is a complex issue which requires whole new set of instructions (like what shape are you, apple? pear?), or selecting the right shape and size to start with eliminates the issue later on.

So with that, I’m off to select my sizes, trace my pattern and find a muslin fabric.   Oh and look at that crotch shape.