CLA--Crescent Leg Alteration, Eureka Pant

Better and Worse

I’m still working with Kathy Ruddy’s CLA  attempting to remove the excess ease over my back thigh.

Before I get too far into discussing my photos, I need to make excuses.  Normally I try to take pictures immediately after I’ve finished the garment.  In those final pictures, I’m checking the finished fit and the fabric/garment is probably at it’s best.  I delayed pic’s because I wanted to check these pants with the garments I planned to wear.  I thought I would dress and take photos immediately in the morning. However, several hours passed. Like most of the day. Enough of the day that I think these pants are OK to wear despite the negative commentary I’m about to make.

I successfully added pockets this time. The last attempt was disastrous. I used a jean type front opening. I wanted to finish the hand opening with bias tape and use a single back pocket piece thereby reducing bulk. This polyester moleskin with its satin backing is luxurious.  I fantasized making a cape but realized I’d never wear it.  As a pant, this heavy weight, non-stretch fabric needs a roomy draft with bulk reduction whenever possible. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the bias tape to smoothly round the pocket curve and fold over to the back. The bias tape insisted upon showing. I finally cut a facing from nylon gauze (think old curtain) stitched it in place, turned pressed and trimmed to about 1″ wide. This worked nicely, but what a pain.  The process does make a nice, bulk free, smooth pocket. But I’ll have to remember, it’s a NO-GO to use bias tape on the jean pocket.

The first pictures is not exactly how I’d planned to wear these.  I meant to wear the top shared here and worn in these pictures but with a different vest. The vest worn here:

Pants are suffering from the long day, long underwear and winter static cling.

… but the muted pink of this vest just has no pizzaz.  It looked “off” even as I assembled the 3 hangers (with garments) from the closet.  I think the black vest is a much better combination.  At the beginning of winter, I had started to discard the muted pink vest.  But I was seeing suggestions of this color in the stores and decided to keep the vest and make coordinating garments.  I’m good at moving things out of my closet, mostly to move new items in and  I’ve decided the decision to keep and sew was a mistake. The vest is in the donation box.

When fitting, I lowered the front waistline 3/4″.  I’d already removed 1/2″ at the pattern. You would think with a belly like mine,  lots of front crotch length would be needed. But that is just not the case. The length as given caused pouching just above the leg.  I think the whole front needs to be shortened at the pattern stage. Pulling up in front seems to contribute to diagonal lines at the side seams;  but I also need to take into consideration the CLA that I’m making.

I’m up to a 1″ adjustment, which is the max Kathy recommends during her course, One Pattern Many Looks.  In the discussion she did mention having to make an even larger adjustment for a particular client.

This  feels good when wearing.  It’s only in the pictures that I see I could remove more excess ease from the back thigh.  Except that those dreaded diagonal lines have developed.  Oddly, the finished pant has a little VPL across the back which was not present in the previous pictures.  The pictures just prior to this were made the night before when the pockets, zipper, inseams and crotch were permanently stitched but the side seams and waistband were only basted.  I do blame winter’s static cling for part of the issues. I keep a can of spray around because static cling is an issue every year.

Of the pictures I took, I think it’s the side view that is most telling:


The back VPL is just barely visible.  I still have 1″ seam allowances added to the pattern.  Since with every pant made, I’ve used the full 1″ SA, I plan to reduce the pattern SA.    Looking back at the other 2 front pictures, it’s like the whole front leg is too large and too long.  I’m a little bit surprised by those diagonals on the side-front. Both Kathy Ruddy and Angela Wolf stress laying the pant out on a flat surface and smoothing the leg across grain to avoid twisting the leg.  I did that and I pinned. Normally I put a pin at the knee, the waist and the hem.  I pinned every 3 inches. The leg is not twisted on the inseam, only at the side seam. Before the CLA, the side seams seemed to be even. It’s only after adding  1″ CLA  the leg lengths seem uneven.

I will be very careful when making alterations. I’m planning

  1. Trim Seam allowances (This fabric has no stretch. I can’t imagine another fabric with any less).
    1. Back 3/8″
    2. Front 1/2″ (finished SA 1/2″
  2. Trim 3/4″ across the entire front not just at the crotch.
  3. Walk the side seams

Until I’m satisfied with the CLA, I will continue to make it after the fabric is cut and not add it to the pattern. However, I will walk the seams, after making the CLA on the fabric because I want to know if the CLA is altering the side seam length. Kathy says it makes no difference, but that’s not what I’m seeing. Then again, shortening the front 3/4″ might just take care of all my issues.  In the meantime, I think this pant is fine to wear. I look no worse than anyone else in the bank line. Static cling get’s us all.

CLA--Crescent Leg Alteration, Eureka Pant, KathyRuddy

Eureka Pant with CLA

CLA is the abbreviation I’m using for Kathy Ruddy’s “Crescent Leg Alteration”.  I’m really thrilled with this alteration and while I’d normally write about my pant first,  I’m so excited I want to share the alteration first.

Kathy Ruddy details the CLA at the end of Lesson 3, Refining Fit.  For me, it was the most significant alteration in the entire lesson.  Kathy details several important alterations which often receive little or no attention and therefore women remain unsatisfied with their pants because they don’t know what to do.  Kathy gives lots of good information, but the CLA was a new-to-me concept accompanied by absolute relief at her assertion that you should not expect to make the same alteration equally on front and back or even both sides. Indeed if you are asymmetrical (which she also explains) you will need 4 separate pattern pieces and will need to alter each differently.

But back to the CLA.  Before this lesson, I could fix all my pant fitting issues and still have excess ease over the back thigh.  If I tried to take the leg in an equal amount front and back, the front started looking nasty.  If I tried to take in along the inseam, the crotch and knee started looking bad. For the most part, I prefer to wear slacks and trousers with a little ease.  So for a trouser, I would say “it’s a trouser” and ignore the extra fabric over the back thigh.  For slacks and jeans I  kept fussing with the pant’s leg, never finding the solution that would remove the extra fabric without making some other part of the pant look bad.

I will not detail the CLA here.  Kathy deserves your money for this.  But I will say she leaves one issue unclear and that is exactly where do you make this alteration.  She uses a pivot and slide procedure and tells you that the alteration point is somewhere between knee and under the bum.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of territory on my body. In the question and answers following the lesson, she answers more specifically. In case you can’t find or miss that section, I will describe her answer here.  This is a “it depends” situation.  It depends upon your body.  The way to determine your alteration point is to fit your basic pant pattern and solve all the other issues; winding  up where I am now i.e. everything solved but still have extra fabric floating around over my back thigh.  With the fitted pant on your body, grab the deepest  place of “too much fabric”.  Mark it somehow. I used a safety-pin.  Then identify that area on the pattern.  Mine is about 4″ below the crotch HBL but your place could be higher or lower.  I laid the pant and pattern on my cutting table trying to make them exactly across from each other.  Then made a mark on the side seam that  corresponded to my pin. Kathy recommends starting with a 1/2″ deep mark. So from the side seam I moved my mark to the interior 1/2″.

Kathy says the amount of the alteration can vary by person and gives as an example someone who needed a 1.5″ deep CLA.    I’ve already found that the depth of the alteration can also change depending upon fabric.  My first fabric, the pant I’m sharing today, was a no-wale corduroy with 25% stretch.  The depth of CLA for that fabric was 1/2″ . My next fabric (pant to be shared in a future post) was a satin backed moleskin.  I started with 1/2″. Basted the pant together and took pics. It wasn’t enough.  I had to make another 1/2″ alteration (total of 1″) to remove the excess fabric to suit my aesthetics.

Now, onto my Eureka.  I felt that the muslin was coming up over my tummy and ending on my midriff instead of sitting at my waist.  But my pictures said the muslin was fine.  My first pair of Eureka’s also felt too high at center front.  The fitting pictures continued to show the pant sitting at my waist even though it felt like it was higher.  However the final, side view, made when all the seams have been serged and the waistband nailed into place, did clearly show the CF rising.  I didn’t want to rip everything out and besides, I always wear my blouses and tops untucked so this error wouldn’t be visible to anyone.  So I did nothing to that pair of pants. But for this version I trimmed the pattern  from side to center front  1/2″.  I drafted the 1/2″ CLA but cut the pants without it.  I chalked the CLA onto the back leg and started construction of the pant.

I sew the zipper, pockets (if desired), inseam and crotch with permanent stitches. But I use water-soluble thread and baste the side seams, hems and waistband into place.  Then I take pictures and tweak the fit.  I know that no matter how many times I’ve made a pattern, the chosen fabric will make a difference.  Usually, my garment can be adapted for the fabric by adjusting the side seams slightly.  For today’s pants, I eventually trimmed 3/4″  across the top of the pant from the back dart, across side seams and across the center front.  I’m really happy with the final fit.  Unfortunately the only pictures I can find is the full front (posted on  But I can share the nearly-there Fit03

I’m happy with this pair of pants and don’t have any real complaints. I’m pleased at how the waistline seems perfectly horizontal and for the first time, it feels right.  That’s important to me.  I once had a pair of pants which “felt” wrong however the pattern designer refused to work further with me because they looked perfect to her.  For me, if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. I made only a 1/2″ CLA ( which is reflected in this fit).  Looking now I think that another 1/2″ could be in order. But the pants look so much better in the mirror, as well as the pics, plus they feel terrific.   The rest of the drag lines smoothed out after the final stitching and pressing.  I could take new pics — after the pants are washed and pressed.  Yes these are already in the laundry basket. I like to wear new garments quickly because that’s the only way I can be 100% sure that they fit the way I want.