Behind the Scene: Adding a Side Strip

Admittedly, the virtual addition unlimited ease to the legs didn’t reduce the wrinkles (and I was hoping for eliminating), but perhaps correcting the lack of ease in the tummy and hip could.

To my surprise I was able to cut a 2″ strip,  35″ long from the remnant. Two of them in fact, and on grain. Which means I have strips as long as the entire side seam and they have the same stretch as the Grey pant. Inserting the strips was easy. Rip open the entire side seam and baste into place.   I did both side seams because  that’s the only way to see how the new ease will affect the fit. And what did that get me?:

The front now definitely looks too large. Sigh 1″ extra was not enough 2″ extra ease is too much. Looking at the seat, it really doesn’t look much better, like even adding 2″ was not enough.  But it calls to mind  a post shared by Lynn  but originally posted on the StitchsandSeams blog. The author mused about the fact she seemed to  add ease and add ease (repeat a few more times) without making the seat look better.  Does that not seem to be my issue? I added 1 then 2 inches still the seat looks not one white better. At this point I wonder if ease may not be the issue.

I was thinking about the back crotch i.e. do I scoop, make longer, yada yada when I realized I would not wear this pant had it looked perfect at the first try on because I felt this strong restriction of my front thighs even though I could pinch 2″ of ease.  The restriction seemed to cross my thigh diagonally, like the arrows in the pic below:

As I paid real attention to the feel of the restriction, the pulling of the fabric I realized it was pulling pretty much where and how I had made the Top Of Inseam (TOI) Dart in the tissue. I had to find out, did the TOI cause this problem for me? After cutting a 3″ strip of fabric from the remnant, I opened the inseam, sketched in the dart and then slashed open.  I did not open the side seam so it was a little fussy to add the strip, separate the slash 1.5″ before stitching the strip to the pant.  (The dart made in the tissue was  3/4″ deep. That means it removed 1.5″ of fabric. To remove the TOI, I need to add the same amount as previously removed.)   Finally baste the inseam together and try it on before taking pics.

Note I ‘removed’ the TOI only from the left leg. The right leg is untouched. The front feels so much more comfortable on the left leg. Also note how the hem hangs evenly– that’s due to the reverse dart. I know because I stopped, straightened up the pant and took a second set of pics. I don’t note any real difference on the side. The back leg looks better below the knee. It’s hanging more evenly; more vertically and not canted to the inside like the right leg.  However, I wouldn’t say that the wrinkles between waist and knee are improved.

Just for ?fun?  let’s compare Fit 02 (below on the left) and the last fit and the TOI undone (below on the right)


Well,maybe I’m wrong.  Going back that far, the back does look a little better.  Even though not something to brag about.

Sadly I’m not anywhere near the final alterations made to M3:

But I am also not feeling as frustrated. Mostly because I’m not doing a lot all at once. The changes above were done over a period of 3 days and they were done  after I had already successfully sewn other garments. So I’m not spending a bunch of time all at once . I’m not spending a lot a time on any single alteration. AND I’m experiencing success every day in different projects.  Hence, I’m not as frustrated as I have been with pants.

Well there will be a few more “Behind the Scene” posts. I still have an idea or two that can be executed on this Grey Test.




V1411: Behind The Scene: Releasing the Leg Seams

I think I may be making a few posts along this line as I am figure out what went wrong  with V1411 i.e. how could it look so good in Muslin 3 with the Top Of Inseam Dart but so bad when the same was incorporated into the pattern:

So I let Grey sit in the closet for a few days whilst thinking about the obviously lack of total ease. Yeah, even though I’m showing the backs for comparison, the Grey’s front was too tight.  Letting out the side seams had made both front and back look and feel a little better but there wasn’t enough improvement.  I was contemplating opening up the side seam and adding a strip of fabric; perhaps doing something decorative with the strip when I started wondering, did I have a side seam issue or an inseam?   I mean all the pulls came from the inseam. Mostly the appear horizontal (not enough ease) with few pointing towards the knees; none exactly to the crotch; and -what caught my eye- none reach the side seam. I’m of the opinion that changes need to be made close to where they occur.  I acknowledge that may not be true 100% of the time, but I prefer to start by adjusting the garment where the wrinkles appear. So should I be adding a strip to the inseam instead of the side seam?

I decided to release the side seam of the left leg and the inseam of the right leg, in turn at the calf, knee and thigh. I thought I would be checking to see if the issue was at the any or all of these places and if it was an inseam or side seam issue.  First I ripped out next to the calves:

Seeing little or no improvement, I left about an inch of seam intact and ripped out about the knee:

Maybe the tiniest improvement, maybe not so let out the thigh area:

Huh. And a 2nd Huh. Removing the stitching allowed the seam to pull apart as much as needed.  It’s like adding unlimited ease. IMO, unlimited leg ease, didn’t lessen let alone eliminate the back wrinkles. The front has in fact gained a few. Not what I had in mind. <shakes head> Nope, not what I had in mind, at all.




ETA: Spelling corrections. 

I made the changes listed at the end of yesterday’s post then trued the seams with careful walking.  I was delighted to find one more correction, my front piece was longer than the back.  No wonder the sides appeared rouched. The Front was 1/4″ longer on the inseam and 1/2″ longer on the side seam.  I trimmed at the top of the inseam (hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me) and took a small dart near the top of the side seam.

I have high hopes this version of V1411 may be wearable. But there is a little warning voice saying “Reel it in, Bev. Reel it in.” Meaning don’t get too excited for I will be in tears if it fails. So I’m hunting for a fabric which will be a good test for knit pants but I won’t care if it goes in the trash when I find a grey, stretch suiting. It’s a herringbone weave that’s hardly noticeable because of the light color.  I actually wondered why I even had it.  I  rarely purchased  fabric especially for muslins.  Usually, enough of it comes in the door because I misunderstood the description. I was puzzling about the fabric source when I tested the stretch factor. 20% stretch in a light color with a good hand for pants? Oh yeah, this will be perfect no matter where, when or why it got here.  I press it lightly using a little seam; lay it out on my cutting table and arrange my pattern pieces on top and get set for cutting.

And just like that, I have once again proved that sewing a pant is easier than sin.  No fooling, I’ve spent more time planning and testing and altering the tissue for this exercise then I spent cutting and stitching together FIT 01:



I’m glad I’d reeled in my expectations because this fit was both surprising and disappointing. The pattern specifies a moderate knit. That’s not a real  clear definition. Leaves a lot of room for error. I have a chart that lists Moderate as being between 1 and 2.5″.  This fabric has 2″.  Having chosen  size according to my hip and selected a fabric right  smack dab in the middle of “Moderate Stretch Rating” , my pant should have enough ease. Besides the lack of of visible ease, I  feel restricted in the front thigh. That never happens to me.  Obviously, there’s TMI in those photos above but there is good news. The front crotch is sitting comfortably and the sides seams are nearly vertical.  The all important back caused my jaw to drop.

Yes it is too tight, but more importantly to me right now is that the Top of the Inseam Dart everyone practically screams at me to make, has been made. It was made to the tune of 1.5″. Compare this grey pant with TOID to M3 without the dart

Sigh. But I know sometimes you have to solve the obvious problems which in this case is not enough ease. So I let out the side seams as far as possible which adds 1″ circumference.

The front looks really good but suffers from a too long side seam. On me, when horizontal lines cross the side seams,  that always because the the side is too long in relation to the center front.  Confirming the side seam being too long, is that the center front is sitting where it should be. It, the CF, is not too short and pulling downward on the sides.   I probably would not mind another 1/4″1/2″ ease in front. But I’ve let out the side seams as far as possible and I don’t have enough fabric to cut another front.

Also important to me is that the side seam is still nearly vertical:

It starts at the front, bends a little towards the thigh (which is not feeling tight like in Fit01) and then bends back towards the ankle.  Ah, if only I could add a little more ease, front and sides would earn a big thumbs up.

By the way, I think I’ve worn jeans with this backside.  The waist looks fine to me.  It doesn’t look or feel like it is pulling down at either the center-back or seat. Lines below the WB are a direct result of the WB choice i.e. gathered by elastic. I think the back seat needs a more than just a little additional ease even though the crotch is looking good even if a little revealing where it crosses the seat. My concern on the back, is  mostly the horizontal lines between seat and knee. I think they say not enough ease for the front thigh and maybe the calve.  From the back, I can easily see the effect on the inseam length of the 1.5″ inseam dart. To me it is clear the hem tilts upward from back of leg towards the inseam.

As far as further changes go, I’m at an impasse. Side and in-seams have been let out as far as possible; I don’t have enough fabric to cut another front or back. A possible save would be a side-seam insertion of some kind. Maybe with decorative element because it would have to be constructed from multiple pieces.  If I make the effort to finish this pant, there is still another issue: its light grey color.  I won’t wear a long-legged pant in that color very often–maybe once or twice per year.  It becomes an albatross and is eliminated the first time my closet becomes overstuffed.

So what will I do with this grey test/muslin?  I’m setting it in the back of the closet for the next few days.  I’m undecided as to whether to finish  now and donate or make the effort to make a save knowing I will seldom wear the finished pant (that’s presuming additional ease is the only issue.)

One thing I am particularly happy with, I haven’t spent an unreasonable amount of time on this test. Ignoring the first 2 muslins for V1440 because I goofed at the get-go in choosing size. Considering just from Muslin 3 and now the Grey almost-wearable pair, I’ve invested maybe 5 days, only 2 on the latter.  That’s not a horrible amount of time and I don’t feel, yet, like I’m going around in circles. Even though this is not a full success and I’m stumped as what to do, I’m feeling up not depressed.  That’s a good thing.




Back into the Dark: V1411

Despite the long line of abject failures, I just can’t resist working on pants fitting. My daily attire is a top of some kind (knit, blouse) and pants. I rarely wear skirts or dresses and have a very small collection of either. I mean, pants are of major importance to me.  Until recently, I couldn’t find RTW pants that were even  close to fitting. Those pants are jeans. I don’t want to wear jeans all the time. Nothing wrong with it if you do, it’s just not me.  I’m pretty sure I’m not getting 3218 to fit unless I get way smarter so I need set it aside and to turn my attention elsewhere.

I realized, in my eagerness to use the new-to-me crotch knowledge and then my subsequent disappointment that this knowledge didn’t lead me to the Grail of Pants Fitting, I think I  overlooked a near success.  Fact is  V1411 was almost fit but I dropped it because I didn’t want to make pants with so many pieces and seams and the hem circumference was going to be about 18″ when I wanted a narrower hem. Oh and that fabric was nasty.

Looking back at the last fitting of Muslin 3:

I’d have to be honest and say If the worst thing about Muslin 3 (above) was the right back leg, I’d wear these pants with glee!  Not saying there isn’t more to do  just that I seemed to luck into a pattern that might not need a lot of changes.  I selected a size G and used the  size-I crotch. Trimmed the waistband and crotch seam allowance to 3/8″ and then hit near success on the right leg with a  3/4″ deep, fish-eye dart.

OK, I had a few missteps along the way. At first, I selected the wrong size. Tried to correct the back leg fitting by tweaking the left back leg  at that seam line.  I found the knee seam was too low to be effective with the under seat fitting I needed. Tried putting a similar seam higher up. Still across the left, back leg but about half way between knee and butt.  It did help but was not nearly as helpful as the same depth fish-eye dart placed immediately below the seat on the right leg.

I’ve never succeeded in transferring the under-seat fish-eye dart to the tissue. Oh I can measure and draw it on the tissue even alter the tissue. But a dart incorporated into the pattern doesn’t have the effectiveness as when it was stitched into fabric. Doesn’t help for me to deepen or move it around. I did have success with Jen Stearns Diagonal Dart.  Jen’s dart is pretty daunting. But it was successful. Wonder why I haven’t tried it in a long time?  Maybe because I was introduced to Peggy Sagers Top of Inseam dart. If Peggy’s Dart works on my muslin, it works for me when transferred to the tissue. Oh and it’s a lot easier for me to  transfer the Top of Inseam Dart. YMMV of course.

The  inseam dart could be placed similarly as the fish-eye dart and have about the same depth.  I decided to take a few minutes to rip out the other darts and stitch the inseam dart stitch  on my left leg (front has a safety-pin) both front and back.  The inseam dart doesn’t cross the side seam.

I realize that not all drag lines were eliminated. Partially that’s because it’s hard to accurately apply even that dart on-the-fly as it were. It easily gets off grain, off direction and can be variable in depth where it shouldn’t be.  Even so  it was a definite improvement.  I think I have a new tool kit:

  • Bringing forward from the nearly successful  Muslin 3
    • Traced  G side, waist and hem stitching lines, I crotch.
    • Increase front Crotch length 3/4″
    • Decrease Back Crotch length -1.5″
    • Note Possible to choose different size at least for crotch  but for now repeating successes
    • Add 1/4″ to hem length
    • SA
      • Waistband 3/8″
        • waist was later stitched at 3/4″
      • Crotch 3/8″
      • Hem 1.25″
      • All others 5/8″
  • New Alterations
    • Pinned back Diagonal seam together
      • eliminates the seam
      • unsuccessful fitting aid
    • 1/4″ tuck down center front
      • front has 1/2″ too much circumferences
    • Top of Inseam Dart
      • 3/4″
      • all around Zeroing at the side seams.




V1411 Muslin/Test 3

So I trace G waist and side seams.  Even though I’ve repeated done this, I measure the crotch front and back and adjust them to my own (-1.5″ back; +3/4″ front) based on my current measures.  Then  I make a few quick changes having nothing to do with fit and all about my convenience. I add 1/4″ to the leg length because I prefer a 1-1/4″ hem and the legs seem too short at the current length . I trim the crotch seam to 3/8″ because a 5/8″ crotch seam just won’t curve until it is in messy clips. I reduce the waist SA to 3/8″.(I’ve already seen it didn’t hurt.) After a brief hesitation, I reduce the diagonal, back-leg seam to 1/4″. I prefer to reduce such interior  seams and serge rather than stitch, finish edges and press open. Besides,. I’ve already decided that I will be taking that seam in i.e. making it deeper–not letting it out. In my mind, there’s no point in keeping the wider seam.

Finally my attention turns to fabric. The rest of my ponte is either expensive or dark colors. I have a grey ponte I’m afraid is of the same ilk as the first ponte which stretched lengthwise dern near forever. Now is not the time for messing with unpredictable fabric. My eyes fall upon a short stack of Bengaline fabrics. I was curious about Bengaline because I kept reading that the Aussie’s used Bengaline frequently and seemed to depend upon it as a staple if not outright love the fabric. Every piece I’ve bought has been horrible. It feels like a rain coat. Doesn’t breathe. Cold sweat in the winter. Boiling hot in the summer. It water spots and bubbles. My attempts at pressing make that tendency even worse.  Generally I get along fine with polyester. But not this time. Whatever is unique about Bengaline makes me hate it. Everytime I start to use from that stack, I put it back because I want to wear the planned pants. This time I’m making test garments. I can stand this stuff long enough for testing. I choose the camel colored Bengaline because wrinkles and pull lines will be easiest to see in the lighter color.  I smooth it as best possible onto my cutting table cut-ends together. (Note: With Bengaline the 40% stretch is length wise. I place my pattern pieces to take advantage of the stretch.)

FIT01 I can’t say it often enough: It is too bad pants are so hard to fit because they are terribly easy to sew. And quick!

I truly hate Bengaline for how it acts as it is being cut. If I use scissors, I have cut a choppy line making it hard for me to accurately judge the stitching line. When I use the rotary cutter, the fabric advances in front of the blade. I have to cut 3-4″ lift the blade and cut again.  I am almost sure some of the rippling seen along the side seam is due to cutting. I am ignoring them.  What I am shaking my head over is that the pant has way too much ease. I’ve gone from not enough ease and not enough seam allowance –to reach the circumference I need– to drowning in it. Additionally the same elastic I used with the other muslins, isn’t holding the Bengaline pant up at the waist. In the back view, I am actually holding the front waist in place. Before more pics that must be fixed.

The side line is encouraging. It breaks several inches above the ankle. This is a result of pant length. No biggie. The rest of the side seam is fairly perpendicular to the floor. I am already one up on Muslin 1 and 2. OK I have to admit not being crammed into pant with not enough circumference is a second Thumbs UP. Look again, the back is not bubbling beneath the waist nor feathering along the back crotch. A 3rd Thumps Up!  The front crotch feels too long, but the waist is horizontal to the floor in the side view. I don’t believe front or back crotch are too short. I will withhold judgement on the length of the front crotch for

Fit 02 with elastic shortened 1″ and seams stitched at 3/4″ instead of 5/8″.

I shortened the elastic 1″ which helped but did not solve the issue of holding the pant at the waist. It makes me wonder with this dozen wearings (counting both previous muslins) has it stretched and can’t recover? Is it just the fabric? Like, can the elastic not work inside the Bengaline? Did going up a size (from F to G) add more fabric and weight than the elastic can’t support? Or has the elastic always been this way but the previous tests garments were so lacking in circumference that they held the waist in place and this elastic merely snugged the elastic to my body? I don’t know. To tell the truth, I’m getting tired of this pattern. I am persisting only because I really want to know if changing the crotch length to match with the measurements( developed when I drafted a pant pattern) will make fitting pants easier and faster for me.

While the elastic remains in question, I was at least able to situate the waistband back onto my own waist after each pic. Yes, with every movement including a slight turn in place would cause the waist to  slide about.

I am encouraged by the above Fit 01 Pics. The front looks pretty good. I’d say the back is good too (except that the side view shows the back piece looking smaller than the front) and when I look at the side line

it’s not as perpendicular as in Fit01.  When/if I alter the tissue, I will remove 1/2″ from the front and leave the back alone.

I’m still discounting most drag lines.  In the front pic I managed to twist my body which twisted the pants in that view.  I saw the ripples forming on the sides  as I cut the fabric and then again as I was stitching.

I do not plan to wear this test pant. My hatred of Bengaline is unabated. In fact I’ve already put the darkest colored Bengaline in the donate box. Bottom line, I’m not worrying about every little wrinkle or fold. I am in fact satisfied that had I started with the correct version, G, which came closest to fitting my hip, I would now be hours in advance of where I am. I am satisfied that the crotch fits fine although I still reserve a little question as to whether the front should be shortened a bit more.

Fit03 Taking in the Diagonal Back-Leg Seam.

I took a pic of the front. Saw nothing significant and did not include it for critique. I also did not take pics of the sides. What’s there is there and I am OK with it.

I had 2 possible methods in mind.  One is the dart. It’s just like Peggy’s Inseam Dart except made about the level of the  knee.

Made on the left leg it definitely, definitely affect leg length.

and also the circumference as the seams are no longer balanced.

The Inseam Dart  (made just under the bum) works well for 2 reasons 1)Peggy recommends concentrating changes at the Hip Line dart and making a little tweak of no more than 1/4″ at the top of the inseam. I’ve used the Inseam Dart many times. Many. For it to work for my pants it has to be 3/4″ deep (total 1.5″) removed.) 2) the inseam dart is made on both front and back pattern pieces. Leg lengths remain the equal and truing  occurs just below the crotch not effecting the leg shape very much. Although it would require additional effort (both truing and lengthening), it was my first choice which I made on the LEFT LEG:

Dart ——- Back  Fit02

I must say I’m rather pleased. Many of the drag lines on the back of the LEFT leg have disappeared or been reduced compared to the previous (Fit 02) shown in the right pic.

It troubles me that the dart might need to be deeper than 3/4″. I might also make further improvement by making the Inseam Dart right up next to the crotch.  Still that’s a lot of work

  1. Inseam Dart
  2. Dart across back of leg
  3. Lengthen the leg to make both front and back sides the same
  4. True the seam circumference wise

But, I’ll do it if that is the best solution.

My other thought was to turn the diagonal back-leg seam into a fish eye dart i.e. neither side nor inseam would be shorter and no need to correct for length because both ends are the terminus while about half way is deepened.

I made it 3/4″ deep as well. I realized if it had an effect I could always spritz away the water-soluble thread and make the fish eye dart deeper or shallower. I made this dart on the RIGHT leg.

For easy comparison, I repeated the Fit 02 pic before the pic of the Right Leg With Fish Eye Dart and….


…WOW what a difference! It has very few, almost insignificant drag lines a distance away but both above and below the diagonal, back-leg seam.  The fish eye dart is hands down the WINNER.

I tried Ann’s Flat Seat Adjustment  long ago, almost 13 years ago. She, and many who followed her directions,

Note: I could not easily find a link to Ann’s pics or instructions. SG has been ‘rebooted’ and the files while not lots aren’t that easy to locate.

successfully make a fish eye dart directly beneath the seat. But when I make it I find, the muslin would look better but when transferred to the pattern, all -every single last one of- the folds/ripples/draglines would be there in the good garment.  I tried it again several  times since. I always have the same result (test looks good, real garment disappointing.)   But I wonder if it will be difference now that I know and have adjusted my crotch length.  I also wonder if the fish eye dart worked well (there are some issues still) close to the knee but would not have an effect if placed under the butt where all the wrinkles are. You know, sometimes I think I would be better off if not so curious because I had to try.  I had to move the fisheye dart from the diagonal seam to under the butt.

Fit04: Fish Eye Dart Moved to Under the Butt

Wow. Good, very good.

So that answers my original questions

  • Will choosing my the crotch length making fitting faster, easier?
    • YES, but the crotch length must also be correctly divided (between front/back) AND waist/hip circumference cannot be ignored. Choosing size needs to be crotch length, hip circumference, waist circumference dependent and then the tissue adjusted to correct measurements.
  • Does the Diagonal Back-Leg Seam of V1411 facilitate cleaning up the mess under the butt?
    • YES, again, BUT the fish eye dart is the better method requiring fewer dependent corrections and removing the most draglines/folds/ripples. BUT the diagonal seam is not required. The fish eye dart can be orientated horizontally and moved under the butt.

I don’t see myself using this pattern to its utmost.  At this point in my life, I need so many adjustments, it is better for me to start by copying my sloper and dividing the copy in a manner reasonably close to the inspiration (or inspiration pattern) containing multiple seams.  I’ve got the pattern in the donate box now.

I want to take a break, (lord I am tired of this pattern), then return to pant fitting/making. The next step on my journey is, well, nebulous. I am not sure if I’d like to select  a new-to-me pattern or see if one of my TNT’s would fit better/easier using the size selection method of Crotch length/Hip and Waist circumferences. I’ll keep you posted.


V1411, Test 2

My mind cleared or at least stopped going in circles and started looking for solutions. I could not see using the fit of this ponte to alter the tissue. I just didn’t trust that the adjustments needed for it would work on the next fabric.  I decided to alter my pattern tissue to my measurements, trim the ponte and make PJ’s; then  continue fitting with another fabric.

Tissue was adapted so the front and back crotch are the length of my front and back crotch. Total crotch length remains the same. Although I had much improved the back by tweaking that diagonal seam, I didn’t change it.  I considered adding Peggy’s Inseam Dart, but decided I’d made significant changes already. I had two objectives in using this pattern. 1) Did choosing my pattern by crotch length make fitting easier; and 2) did Sandra Betzina’s addition of a seam in the back leg make it possible to remove all the mess on the back leg without lots of tweaking.

I spent a good 4 hours sorting through the stash for test fabric. (Also spent a few hours on-line looking for cheap test fabric.) Filled up 2 boxes with fabric to be donated. Well I realized that a lot of the fabrics I set aside for muslin were either dark-colored or all the type fabric/stretch. Since this is clean up month, I got rid of them. What’s the point of keeping fabric I won’t use? Had to dig into the ‘good’ fabric to find a ponte that would work. Stretch  is 40% crosswise and 0% lengthwise.  I spent hours and hours prep (yes I’m counting all the fabric sorting) but at long last I was where I wanted to be 2 days ago: a muslin of a pattern selected based on crotch length.

Wasn’t quite expecting this. I had adjusted the waistband width because it had been difficult to attach to the pant. I thought it all went into seam allowance by it could bes affecting the total crotch length. So far though, I think this fit is considerably improved. I was contemplating adding ease to CF and maybe let out the crotch when I looked at the side seam thus:

The pant wants to pull towards the back. I could just offset the back to front side seam, but remembering the front, I think I will let both out 1/4″ from knee to waist.

Fit 02:

Ummmm first I have not soiled myself.  I thought this fabric a lighter grey than it is and I am having to  adjust the exposure so we can see the wrinkles.

Letting out 1/4″ add 1″ and the results above, are spectacular IMO however the side seam still does not drop perfectly perpendicular.

It’s just a little divot towards the back, you may have to look closely to see it, and there are still pull lines from the front. Unfortunately, I can’t let the side seams out further, they are now 1/4″ wide. 1/8″ SA’s always shred on me.  I’ve been told the same thing happens to other sewists. Puzzled, I check the pattern and discover my chosen width F is smaller than my body. I should have traced the G which has about 2″ of wearing.  Damn! It’s another stupid error on my part. What the heck? Why am I making so many mistakes?


Sigh. Starting over….

1411, Silhouette Patterns

Inseam Dart

Ever wonder exactly what Peggy’s Inseam Dart, placed at the top of the inseam, actually does to your pants pattern?  She says it just re-angles the leg. One thing it can’t help but do is shorten the inseam. I’ve never heard anyone mention offsetting the shortened length and in every broadcast I’ve watched Peggy insists all it does is re-angle the leg.  While trying to decide whether to apply the inseam dart to V1411, I checked the end result of the inseam dart.

Here’s the front before the dart.

In the pic above, I laid my pattern piece on  another sheet of aisle runner and traced around the perimeter with an orange pen.  Then I made the dart in my pattern.  The resulting inseam at the crotch has always caught my attention  and required my effort to smooth the inseam back in place. I put a purple block around that very prominent jog.

Then I placed the tissue back on top of the tracing; lined up the hem and the grainline before tracing the pattern a second time but only where there were differences and for better visibility  in blue.

I could see some substantial changes just looking at the two above. But for a real clear view, I removed my pattern and examined where the blue line was drawn.

I may be nit-picking or Peggy could have misspoke, but it looks to me like it is the top part of the pant which changes angle and of course there is that really prominent jog.

There’s  the real possibility had I made a tiny 1/8″ dart the differences would be nil. The tiny dart has never worked for me. For the inseam dart to clear away the rest of the back-thigh wrinkles, it has to be a substantial 1/2″ or total 1″ length removed. Because Peggy applies the dart to both front and back, no further change seems to be needed. But I can tell you when I wear pants made with the inseam dart, the inner hem always peaks. The hem line definitely rises from the front to about 1″ on the inseam and then levels back off towards the back.  I haven’t tried to address this because even at 1″ it isn’t terribly noticeable when I’m out and about. In fact it is most noticeable when I press the freshly laundered pair. It becomes a permanent peak even through the wash.

OK, this may not happen to anyone else. It could be a result of the depth of inseam-dart I require. It also could just be something in my physiology. I’m not sure. I’m sharing because I thought you might find this interesting.



V1411: Fitting

I will cut to the chase on this one. I spent 9 fitting sessions trying to resolve fit issues. It was frustrating. Some were due to my sewing mistakes. I shut-off the lights after the second day of tweaking the crotch; tweaking waistband, tweaking, tweaking, tweaking; and thought, maybe this is one pattern that just can’t be fit.  I have encountered several patterns of this genre and was much comforted by my Sewing Angel telling me I wasn’t the only one;  some patterns were just drafted wrong.  But after 2 days, I kept asking myself: “How is it I can use proven circumferences; proven crotch length and still not be able to fit to come close to fitting  the pants. Overnight I had a thought. Traipsed downstairs before breakfast and measured the crotch of the basted together pant. Measuring right on the stitching line, I discovered  that the total length was correct but the front was 1″ too short and the back 1”  too long. I did a quick adjustment offsetting the WB and took new pics. For the first time, I made progress.

Between Butt and Knee Fit 01

Fit 09 (same territory), much much improved!

For Fit 10 With the crotch measuring the correct total amount in both places, I tweaked that back seam Sandra Betzina gave us in V1411.  I stitched the seam, dart fashion 1/2″ deeper (inseam + 1/2″  tapering to zero  at the side seam). Again, good progress

I  am a bit cattywampus to the camera in the Fit10 pic but the area it pictures is the same . There is again a remarkable reduction of wrinkles on the back leg.

I was really pleased at this point.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep tweaking the back seam or correct my pattern and recut my muslin.

Eager to proceed, I decided to remove all the basting and run the fabric through a wash so it would recover before cutting it a 2nd time.  Once the washer was started, I spread out my pattern pieces.  This time, I carefully marked the stitching line along the waist, crotch and inseam. Then I carefully measured. Totally shocked. Totally. Incredibly the pattern back crotch was 1/2″ longer then it should be — not the 1-3/4″ I had to adjust to make the test garment close to fitting.  Repeating for the front, I found  instead of the front crotch being 1″ too short the pattern was 2″ too short.  I had to sit down.  The pattern was developed for stretch fabrics; ponte being #1 on the list. When I tested my ponte it has 45% crosswise stretch and 20% lengthwise. Yet it seemed to stretch more lengthwise and more on the front than on the back. Could I have erred in my testing? I had 1/4 yard left so I tested  my fabric a 2nd time.  The uncut portion again measured 45% crosswise and 20% lengthwise stretch.  I have had slinky change this much and more but everyone does.  Ponte has always been a more stable knit. Ponte has always acted on my body as it did when tested.

My mind was a whirl. None of my other pontes or knits (other than slinky) show this much change.  Even Bengaline, a woven, stretch fabric is more stable. So do I alter my pattern or toss the fabric?



V1411 Tissue Fitting

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.