DraftingFitting, Version 2

My Pants Drafting Experience #2

Two days to think about things other than  pants and drafting, did indeed clear my mind and offer a logical/reasonable direction. I realized if any of the measurements were off, everything was likely to be at least a little off. So I restarted by watching/listening once again to The Taking Measurements Lesson. I saw nothing that I had not done the first time. But perhaps error could have crept in.

I am measuring myself, by myself; at best,  a bit awkward. I always hope that any error is small and can be caught/corrected easily later on.  I wondered this time about my method of measuring the levels.  When Suzy measures she has an assistant, the client, holding the tape measure at certain point while  Suzy stretches out the tape measure straight to the next pont. I find it quite easy to measure circumference while checking the mirror to be sure I am keeping the tape measure horizontal. Measuring the vertical levels required a bid of fudging. I would measure and find the largest circumference and then put a dot on my body to indicate the level.  I measured the levels by putting the tape measure on the dot and smoothing it down vertically and recording the distance. Could I have gotten off? I am sure that I measured some curves rather than keeping the tape measure perfectly straight. I could not read the numbers on the tape by looking in the mirror (mature vision has a number of downsides).  So how much error could my process have introduced?  The two days allowed me to come up with a plan; a plan that I hoped would find previous errors and minimize the current.

I have a 48″ builders ruler with horizontal and vertical bubble-levels. Purchased after “the kids” broke my only yardstick and believe it or not, this was the only yardstick of any kind I could find in the closest town at any store.  The bubble-levels themselves were of great interest and have disappeared–not sure exactly with whom or when. The ruler still functions wonderfully in my sewing even though I have now acquired several spare yardsticks including a square walking stick. I laid out my base draft (the first one with all the extraneous marks and numbers).  Had to tape it down to keep it from shifting around.  Then using Quilters Glow Tape

Click pic to find vendor

marked each of my levels onto the builders ruler.

I can’t show you the next part. It involves underwear and bare skin as well as mirrors. So I will do my best to describe.  Standing in front of the mirror with 1/4″ elastic tied around my waist, I first found the largest circumferences of high and low hip; thigh and knee; then marked my flesh with a sharpie.   Step 2, was holding the builders ruler vertically next to my side and  using a 12″ ruler  form a horizontal guide between my sharpie mark and the builders ruler measurements. I expected differences of a quarter-inch here or there. Maybe a half-inch.  I was truly surprised to find that while some of the levels were spot on (calf, knee) others were more than just a little off.  I had a *lightbulb* moment.  I was wearing shoes.  I always wear shoes.  I sew. I have discovered “everywhere that Beverly goes, the pins are sure to follow“.  (Apologies for revising that classic children’s rhyme.) I was taking measurements in shoes.  I also wore shoes and took measurements for V1 in shoes . This time I carefully noted the heel height (1″) and marked that off.

While I was at it, I made the effort to determine where my crotch level is by holding the 12″ ruler between my legs and lining up across the builders ruler. The 12″ ruler did not want to be perfectly horizontal.  I forced it to do so and came up with an 11″ crotch depth. V1 calculated crotch depth was 10.5″.  However I was truly curious about the ruler tilting. It makes sense. I know my waist is tilted and I know my real undercarriage is not level. Just for fun, I noted the front crotch was tilted upward 1/2″ and the back downward 1″.  Gee, I usually shorten a pant front crotch about 1″ and either lengthen or scoop the back 1″.  However this isn’t part of Suzy Furrer’s drafting instructions, so I just made note and set it aside for future thought.

I returned to Draft V1, lined up the builders ruler and drew the levels as just noted.  You know, I couldn’t help hoping that accounting for the shoe issue could mean just shuffling the ruler a little. No, no indeed. The levels that are off, are off far more than just that of the heel width.

The original level lines are black, the new in blue. I am sorry this is difficult to see.

I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad to see my waist, high hip and low hip levels were about the same distance apart for V2 as for V1. The same for the new crotch and thigh levels. I had really hoped for change.  I know that there is almost as many inches from waist to low hip as from low hip to thigh. This isn’t showing on either draft. Nor are there corrections in Lessons Truing or Most Common Fitting Errors that would help. Definitely was hoping for an improvement on the crotch level as the total crotch length of V1 was short 4″.  The new CL may have added 1″ but  I still need 3″…. from where? Once again the corrections are not in either of the immediate following lessons.

I decided to copy the new frame-work and plot out the draft a second time while watching the instructions for about the 4th (maybe more) time. Front draft of V2, pretty much came out the same:

I made one important change on the front. When I drafted the V2 side seam, I drew my curve from waist to high hip and then to the low hip before shifting the curve out towards the full thigh measurement.  On v1, I drew the curve from waist, high hip to thigh. This  by-passed the low hip and added more ease.  As a result of the V2 curve, the side-seam curves more from thigh to knee than it did with V1. Actually that’s minor change, but I think it reflects my body better and will produce a better fitting leg.

Moving along to the back draft:


I was surprised that using a sharpie did not make the lines easier to see.

The side seam is again a slightly different shape due to being copied from the front and 1/2″ over. I expected and am pleased with it.  The crotch, well I am almost pleased. While watching the lesson I saw that twice (02:23 and again 16:54) Suzy is clearly shown arranging the curve between crotch point and knee without consideration for the actual thigh width. So while I was trying to make my curve from crotch point to thigh to knee, she had zoomed on by.  Towards the end of the lesson, Suzy checks to see that the inseam has cleared the thigh measurement. “Cleared”, that is all she is interested in.

Ready for the pics on truing? Not happening today. Nor in the near future. In fact, as of now, I have hit the pause button on this project.  I folded up all the tissues and carefully labeled them. They are in a folder and filed away should I suddenly get smarter. My reason? I was trying drafting because I thought I could create a better fitting pant. I know a pant from this draft is going to be

  1. too short in the crotch
  2. have oodles and oodles (I estimate 8″) of ease over the back thigh
  3. and I don’t know what else

The back-of-thigh ease is one of my biggest complaints about all the pants or pants patterns.  This pattern drafting process is not addressing it at all. Keep in mind, Suzy is teaching how to draft for the average figure. I am not what the industry considers average, although I am not that different from many middle/elderly American women. Suzy’s class doesn’t provide sufficient information for me to correct where I differ. I think drafting may have given me a hint. Making a neat curve from my knee to the crotch point of the length I need, puts a lot of fabric back there. I need a different crotch point but I need the same crotch length. I also see where I get the strange waistline of my own pants. In pants that fit me the crotch slopes down to the sides (Or up from the sides depending on your view point.)  That is the result of needing 4 more inches to go around my tummy and tush than the standard draft would create. The solution will be, as I’ve already done on pants that fit, slash and spread the crotch.

There will not be a muslin either.  I would problems that I have already fixed and BTW have already been fixed by people who do draft for the more typical curvy figure.  Personally, I think there are 2 better possible paths to my ideal slim-pant pattern than starting with this basic draft. I’m thinking:

  1. working with the blue-tape DG2 pattern
  2. working with Vogue V1411.

I  have this nebulous idea that the frame-work might be very useful as is. I want to experiment with that.  Let you know.  Oh and thanks for coming along on this journey with me.  I truly enjoy you suggestions. It was my readers that suggested both my possible paths to success. Thank you. Thank you all.