Eleanor, Jalie, Shorts

For the Fit of It

Wanting to tweak the fit of my Eleanor shorts, I made another pair. I did not mess with pockets. Even cut off the faux zipper that I always like. But remembering the issues of the previous pair I made a series of minor changes to the tissue:

  • 1/2″ ease added front and back pieces
  • 1/2″ wedge across leg top
  • 3/4″ crotch scoop
  • 1/4″ added at top of crotch
  • shorten legs 1″

I picked another fabric and made sure it had the right amount of stretch. I went all the way back to the pattern directions. It shows 3″ stretched to 3-5/8″. That’s about 17% stretch.  My fabric has 20% stretch.

I’ve always loved how quickly this pant sews together. So I put the waistband together. Set it aside. Stitched yoke to back leg and serge finished seams. Serge finished front seams. Stitch the crotches together. Pressed lightly and stopped in my tracks. To my shock the crotch had developed an incredibly high peak at the inseam:

I’m not bothered by a little nub. That folds over or trims off.  This is about 1-1.5″ high. I got my curve and tried to elegantly join back to front crotch.  That’s the purple line you see in the pic above. I trimmed it away and said Nuh Huh.

I had this incredibly long crotch (above).

I thought I may as well finish and try these on. If nothing else it would tell me if I’ve added sufficient ease and if the length is now proportional to my tops. I stitched the sides together. Hemmed the legs; added the waistband to the top of the legs.  A poof of steam and then some pics.

I’m really socked that adding 2″ of ease didn’t take care of the fit issue; and stunned by the bubble along the yoke.  Yoke was not touched. I add ease and it  bubbles? I’m getting VPL and  I think the front crotch needs a little reshaping.  It’s just on the verge of camel toe.  I’m rather stunned. I expected between the additional ease and crotch reshaping that it would be better than the previous:

Above Previous Pair of Eleanor Shorts.

Not hardly.

The only things I’ve god right is the length and proportion:

Because I never wear my blouses tucked, my shorts are wearable around the house. It’s just that I was hoping to make shorts wearable in public.

I’m not sure what I will do next. I’m working with a copy of the pattern fit using Peggy Sagers procedure. Those pants fit when I made them but after wearing for a few months they developed X wrinkles in the back. It’s not just the Eleanors either. All my pants patterns (except TJ906 which fit without going through Peggy’s process) developed the X wrinkles after a few months of wear.  I have no more 20% stretch fabrics in the ‘shorts stack’.  I need shorts right now which means I’ll probably switch to 906 and make shorts. Which will give me time to think about the fitting problem.



Eleanor, Jalie, Shorts

Eleanor Shorts

I need more shorts. Yep 5 pair just ain’t gettin’ it for me. I’m down there in the laundry about every 3 days sorting thru and making sure the summer shorts get cleaned. Once fitting is done, my pants aren’t exciting garments. I keep my pants basic;  plain and usually one of 3 colors: midnight black, chocolate-brown or navy blue. Well, I do like to embroidery the pocket, so maybe not perfectly plain.

I  rarely buy fabric for shorts. The remnants from other projects are collected and shorted by length. Those about one-and-a-quarter yards long are shorts candidates. So for the Summer Shorts Projects, the first thing I did was sort through the remnants designated “shorts candidates”.  I donated some of them. I’m just not wearing 100% wool shorts. Hoping Goodwill can find someone with an idea for a small cut of a good quality wool. Once pressed and carefully measured, some of the other candidates were of insufficient length. I really need just over a yard. 7/8 will not do.  I carefully stacked the remainder and finished cleaning the stash room. I planned to start shorts sewing in the morning. Overnight my creative side offered me options for a blue jean remnant and a silver sage corduroy. (It’s interesting that I pull out corduroy in early November and pack it away early May because it’s too warm to wear. However I promptly pull out the corduroy remnants and wear the resulting shorts.  I even wore corduroy shorts in the Grand Canyon. In August. And I was comfortable.)

The Silver Sage Corduroy had  good stretch. Not sure how much. I  grasped two edges and yanked apart. I was quite pleased with how far it could be yanked. Obviously, not 100% cotton as it must contain a substantial amount of Lycra to stretch like that. Point is: stretch determined pattern.  Over night and in my mind, I’d been turning over pattern choices.  I didn’t want to do a lot of pattern work and had settled upon 906 for non-stretch fabrics and Jalie’s Eleanor for stretch fabrics; both patterns I thought already fit. I will be using this shorts pattern several times this summer and decided to make a shorts version. Very easy to do. I traced my existing TNT from waist to knee line i.e. lengthen/shorten line about midway on the leg. This should be longer than I prefer shorts but a good place to start.  I reread my notes which said I had made a 3/4″ crotch scoop. Well the back pattern didn’t look like it had been scooped. But I wrote that down. So did I scoop the fabric but not the pattern? Can’t remember. I think the safest plan is starting as  the pattern is now  knowing I will probably make more tweaks.

“More tweaks?” Yes and on all my pants patterns except  my 906 .  See last year I gleefully refit all my pants patterns after I discovered I could indeed achieve a near perfect fit by following Peggy Sagers’ fitting procedure. At the end of winter, I took pictures of all the pants I’d made and fit. I was dismayed to see the X wrinkles had formed in the back. They were not there when I fit the pants. 4-6 months later, the back of my pants even freshly washed, lightly starched and pressed fell into X wrinkles.  I know I will be tweaking pants patterns including the Eleanor pattern. Looking at it now, I’m anticipating an extra tweaking.

My 1-7/8 yard, silver sage fabric had flaws and two  8X10″ rectangles missing from the corners. That and its unusual color is probably why it was still sitting in the stash instead of part of my winter wardrobe.  I’ve noted before that the Eleanor is very fabric conserving. Proved again by my cutting 2 pairs of shorts all the while maintaining grain direction and avoiding the fabric flaws.  I cut one set of back pockets and fired up the embroidery machine.  Yep I’m back to machine embroidery. I’d say “like a fiend”  but it feels more like with glee. I love machine embroidery. (I’ll share the details in a separate post). When the embroidery finished I stitched up this pair of shorts. OMG I love this pattern. It is so easy to put together. Seriously fast.  Well, I didn’t stop for fitting so maybe that helped.

Before I share pics, let me say none of last winter’s Eleanors looked this bad. But I’m reluctant to change circumference as I didn’t measure the fabric’s  stretch. This could be a fabric issue and not a pattern issue.


The wrinkles visible beneath the waistband on the front are even more visible on the sides. It is typical for me to remove a 1/2″ wedge above my hip bone. That wedge (dart) always extends onto the back pattern piece. It really looks like I need to make that change but again I don’t know if I have a circumference issue, a length issue.  a fabric issue or a pattern issue.  I jumped into sewing without checking the fabric stretch.

When I start seeing the curve of my cheeks, I know I have to do something now. I’m annoyed that the CB is obviously dipped. Did or did not my Eleanor’s fit last winter?  Or did I make fitting changes but not transfer to the pattern.  I made a 3/8″ scoop immediately and took a second pic of the back side:

Not much improvement. I’m especially displeased by all the excess fabric over the back thigh.    I absolutely loved this pattern for its fit. From the get go, this fit nicely.

I scooped again, because I could still feel the back pulling on my coccyx.  I broke mine back in 2000.  Slid down a flight of stairs on it.  It looks fine but when I fit pants I can tell something has changed.

OK still not a huge improvement. Thing is, when I’m fully decked out, I look good:

Those bank line views need only a smile to be perfect. So I’m not doing anything further to this pair of shorts.

Tissue Changes to make:

  1. Scoop crotch 3/4″
  2. Add 1/2″ CB length just under the yoke.
  3. Side Fish eye darts from front dart to back dart 1/2″ deep.
Eleanor, Jalie

Eleanor 2

After making my tissue changes, I selected a wonderful fabric.  Surprisingly, it’s a Joann’s Rayon Ponte.  The inside looks like you expect of Ponte but the outside is a nice smooth knit that is wonderful to touch. This fabric is beefy — I wouldn’t wear it in the blazing heat of summer.  Marked at 50% off, I paid $15/yard. Wish I had bought more, but I’m not sure how well the rayon ponte holds up.

I finished the waistband first thing, again.  using the Wawak elastic. Skipped pockets. Didn’t even top stitch to give the appearance of front pockets. Stitched the yokes and crotch permanently but decided up water-soluble thread for side seams and waistband attachment. I pinned the hems up and took the first pics. OMG these are near perfect! I  have some horizontal wrinkles at the knee, totally acceptable to me.    I’m going to wear these a time or two and take more pics.  Garments can hang a bit differently after they’ve been on your body. Denim is famous for this.

So I replaced the WST with permanent stitching. Used a blind hem for my pants and took Final pics. This ponte is such a dark blue that even lightened 100%  It’s difficult to see. However the front is near perfect:


as is the side:


Looking at the WB I think I’ve  shortened the back elastic a bit much.  That’s more of a feeling then being able to point out a definite issue.  I do think that I still need to shorten the side seams bout the hip about 1/4″

dscn6468_exposure_resizeThe back has a couple of issues.  I feel it pulling down at CB waist. I need to add a little length.  The crotch has been scooped 3/4″. That’s usually more than enough. It does feel comfortable which can be attributed as much to the fabric as the fit. Those horizontal wrinkles I saw at fitting have been joined by more diagonals above the knee.  I’m questioning exactly the issue. Is the hip to knee-length too long for this particular fabric? I shortened that area another 1/2″ making it a total of 2″ shorter. 2″ is what I’ve used on the other pants which fit nicely. This Ponte had  30%  widthwise stretch. No appreciable lengthwise stretch. I mean, I feel it give, but when I try to measure lengthwise stretch I keep coming up with ZERO. When that happens usually I think the widthwise stretch has somehow also become diagonal/bias stretch. What is astonishing to me is how well these look at the first fitting and how much/badly that changed just a day later from hanging in the closet.

I stand by my decision to wear them a few times and see what happens. They could shrink a little. Denim is infamous for growing; Rayon for shrinking.  If it shrinks, I’m betting 90% of the wrinkles disappear.

Note to self:  Possible tissue alterations

  • 1/4″ under waist dart
  • spread 1/4″ at CB below waist.
  • leg may need to be shortened for 4-way stretch or 30%+stretch fabrics.

New Eleanor’s

Now this will sound insane, but I’m refitting Jalie’s Eleanor.  Yes my great fitting pattern that doesn’t need to be refit. The thing is I’ve discovered that I need new blue jeans. Specifically blue colored jeans.  I also want to know if Peggy Sager’s pants fitting procedure is reliable or if easily fitting  Otto #11 5/2016 was a fluke. So I’m starting from scratch, almost.  I know what I had to do to fit the 11’s.  I’m going to repeat that and modify Peggy’s procedure through these steps:

  • Trace size CC
  • Shorten the leg 1.5″
  • Remove 1″ at hip level (dart)
  • 1″ inseam horseshoe dart
  • Scoop crotch 1/2″
  • Use Seam Allowances
    • side seam front 1/2″
    • side seam back 3/4″ (my prominent seat always needs a little extra ease
    • Crotch 3/8″
    • All else 1/4″

I selected a fairly recently acquired fabric. Bought at a time when large florals were popular for pants.  Didn’t think I could do the large florals but an ice-dye print? Maybe. However, it has marinated for 3-4 years because I just can’t see myself wearing something like this. I think if will make a fine muslin.  If the first fit is successful I can use it as PJ’s to gauge DH’s reaction. If he’s negative, I know I won’t want to wear it publicly.  This fabric is a cotton/poly/lycra twill with a built-in lining. The lining is a very thin, almost transparent batiste. Not sure how the two layers are attached because the fabric still has the required 20% stretch.

I finish the waistband immediately. It’s satisfying to having something done so quickly. I’m using Wawak’s braided elastic .  It’s a little firmer than Louise Cuttings famous elastic. No matter how much I shortened Louise’s elastic it would stretch some more and this type of pant would droop. Wawak’s  stitches easily. Slides up over my butt without problems and holds at the waist without dropping slightly through the day.  I also permanently stitched the crotch and back pocket pieces.  I had taped the front pockets pieces to the pattern and cut them on the pant front. When I started sewing, I top stitched to give an appearance of a front pocket. Hey these pockets aren’t big enough to hold a key. Mostly they just rumple up and have to be pressed to stay flat. Top stitching gives me the look of front pockets without the fiddly sewing of such itty bitty pieces.  Side seams, yoke, hems and attaching waistband to pant were all stitched with water-soluble thread (WST).


I’m going to cut to the chase. I  tweaked the muslin 5 times.

3 of those tweaks were because I wimped. With the last pair of Eleanors I had decided the AA length was perfect for me. I wimped when I realized I would be shortening the back crotch length (taking the CB dart doesn’t just pull up the bottom part of the pant).  I thought the extra 1/2″ the CC length would be needed. Nope.

The other 2 tweaks involved scooping the crotch. I have that supposedly rare high-low anomaly i.e. the bottom of my crotch is not parallel with the floor. It is tilted upwards towards the front. Even the easily fit Eureka’s, PP113s and TJ906 needed to be scooped just a little (1/4″). I did scoop the back crotch tissue but I scooped in the wrong place. It may be easier to show:


On the left in red, I scooped the tissue in the well of the crotch.  I should have extended the crotch upright down then curved upward (left side purple).  When extending the stitching to the front, the front curve is changed slightly. Just enough that front and back meet smoothly over the inseam. Then I trim the SA to 3/8″.   I stitched the final side seams at 1/4″ instead of the 1/2″ I allowed. I don’t like this ‘reveal everything’  trend. I want my garment to skim my curves. Letting out those seams was just enough for me.

Note I needed to adjust the exposure of the pictures to clearly see the drag lines. The fabric is  much darker than the pics.



I still have a few issues.  The leg is too long and has to be adjusted above the knee.  I’m shorter from hip crease to knee than the average person. I know that because anytime the legs are shaped, I can’t hack the fabric off the bottom to fix the fit issue.  The side seam between waistband and hip crease is too long.  I can tell because I can pinch the side seam and remove a substantial number of drag lines on side, front, back.  To correct the length any more on this muslin, I’d need to remove the triple-stitched back pockets. (Why did I put pockets on a muslin?) There is a time when you can no longer tweak the fabric. You have to change the tissue and cut new fabric.

For the next pair I plan these steps :

  • Trace size CC width AA length (1/2″ less length than CC)
  • Shorten the leg 2″ above knee
  • Remove 1/2″ at hip (dart)
  • 1″ inseam horseshoe dart
  • Scoop crotch 3/4″ (extending the back crotch upright not in the well as done on this muslin)
  • Use Seam Allowances
    • side seam 1/2″  by adding
      • front 3/4
      • back 1″ (I add 1/4″ extra ease to the back hip whether it’s tops or bottoms. Helps to cover my prominent seat.)
    • Crotch 3/8″
    • All else 1/4″

Eleanor for the Spring 6PAC

After two 6PAC Tops, I decided I should add bottoms which for me translates as long pants. Seriously, Spring in South Dakota is not all that warm. Add winds in the 25-35 mile per hour range and you want to cover up those legs–especially if said winds pick up a little sand left over from snow season. I opted to use the Jalie Eleanor pattern for both a pinky-beige bengaline and a dark turquoise RPL fabrics.  All the possible fabrics i.e those in the turquoise/beige color range,  were knits with considerable stretch. I suppose I could have used TJ906, but I was curious about a few possibilities for the Eleanor. Specifically, I wanted to convert the back leg from two pieces to one and I wanted to nail down which elastic at what length I will be using.

I sewed the Bengaline first, opting to not only nix the front and back pockets but the faux fly as well.  That made it possible to get these to the point of testing elastics in record time. I used Louise Cuttings elastic in one of my test Jalie’s.  I seem to always be hitching up that pair of pants.  Now, don’t take this as a diss. Absolutely LC’s elastic is the superior to any other if using her MSS pant or the waistline treatment on other patterns. The Jalie Eleanor sits just below the waist. Plumber’s Butt shouldn’t be an issue, but it was.  Just to be sure I hadn’t used an incorrect length, I further shortened LC’s elastic another 2″, i.e. 1″ from each piece. I basted the waistband to the pant and knew within seconds that yes my figure + Eleanor didn’t work well with LC’s elastic, YMMV. They would drop as quick as I pulled them up.   I opened the waistband and threaded 34″ of WAWAK 1″ elastic through and secured it by stitching in the ditch at each of the seams. Ah, elastic nice. Bengaline Jalies hug waist instead of drooping. Unfortunately Bengaline Jalies are not completely attractive:

Not sharing front or back view.  Front says “Bev you have a belly”. Back has diagonal wrinkles over the back thigh — same problem I always complain about with other patterns.


Although the stretch is the similar, the Bengaline just doesn’t drape as well as the RPL and did not look as nice as any of the previous Eleanors or as nice as the following pair made with another RPL. For the Dark Turquoise RPL Eleanor, I nixed front and back pockets, front fly and back yoke.  I traced a copy of the back leg and added the yoke creating a 1 piece back leg. When the waistband is added, these look very much like a close-fitting Yoga-type pant. But they look very nice.

Fabric makes all the difference.

So happy to have my pants done.

Eleanor, Knee Spread Alteration, KnockKnees

Knee Spread Alteration

One of the issues with knock knees is the greater length needed to go over the knee .  J Sterns and a few others recommend slashing and spreading just under the crotch as in this diagram from cationdesigns

I have a problem with this particular alteration because it looks too much like the plus-size, problem patterns I’ve had to deal with.  It’s as though when drafting for plus sizes, the drafter assumes that the frame, my bones, spread further apart as I get fatter. My legs do not get further apart. Those hip sockets are fixed. If anything, the thigh gap gets smaller and closer together.  Also when I look at my legs the leg from crotch to knee doesn’t seem to angle outwards. To me my thigh area angles and the calf portion angles outward. But I’ve seen alterations work really well and they didn’t seem logical to me, so I’m keeping this alteration in mind for future investigation.   What I’m working with now is an alteration I refer to as the knee-spread. As shown by SewStashSew 

I like this alteration for a couple of reasons.  I agree that the knock knee needs more length. Over the years, I’ve noticed that my inseam will slowly shrink until it’s at least 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. Doesn’t matter whether I made the pants or purchased RTW. The inseam and side seam start level. With each laundry, the inseam becomes a little shorter.  For years I blamed the pattern companies’ and RTW’s habit of making the inseam shorter between crotch and knee. (I’m rethinking that.  )

I also like this alteration because it makes the change where the change is needed.  When Gale Grigg Hazen  was traveling and giving lectures, she always emphasized that the change needs to be made where it corresponds to the body. For example, she was not in favor of shortening the hem at the side seam to adapt for a full bust. If you needed more length over the bust, she wanted you to put the length over the bust even if that meant changing the style lines.  She had a point and I’ve never forgotten her lecture. I do think the more weight I carry the more her theories fit my personal clothing construction alterations.  So when I see something like the knit spread that puts length at the knee where the length is needed, I’m more favorably impressed. More likely to make this alteration that seems logical, reasonable to me. The one thing that bothers me about this alteration is the change of the grain line.  Usually pant pattern are drafted with the grain line vertical to and bisecting the hem. That way the leg hangs straight.  Following these instructions, the grain line is shifted.  No longer perpendicular to the hem and no longer is the grain running straight down the leg.  I’ve learned the hard way to respect the grain. Yet I understand that we are adapting for a physical deviation, however minor’ and we need to do something different if I’m to get different results.

Finally, I like this alteration because it creates a pattern that follows my own structure:


You did not think I was going to post pictures of my naked leg, did you?  I took several pictures but I wanted to focus on the essence of my leg shape between crotch and ankle. So I selected the best pictures and made a composite.  My technical knowledge petered out so I used pen and vellum to trace my legs.  Then scanned the tracing.  From it (the tracing) I think we can see my leg shape well enough.  Note that the knee is touching in both front and back views. Even then I still have thigh gap. My thighs never meet. This is not typical for knock knees. In fact the definitions I’ve read specify that the thighs will be pressed together. Note, I’m not standing with one leg in front of the other. My lower legs  are naturally forced apart, just as described in the definition of knock knees.  My knock knees are less prominent the less I weigh. Right now I have goodly fat bulges on both knees and very obvious knock knees..  An interesting point you can not see in the tracing but is visible in the photos, my right leg twists just slightly between knee and ankle.  It’s most obvious from the back.  Normally I stand with one leg in front of the other and none of this is noticed.

I also traced the prominent skeletal lines:

As we look at the pic, that’s front on the left  and back on the right, just as in the pic above. I marked a horizontal from outside to outside of the body at the crotch line, knee and ankle.  Then I made a little tick mid way of each leg, knee and ankle.  When I joined the ticks with a vertical the lines and possibly my legs look fairly straight.  My bones look straight. It’s when flesh is apparent that I think ‘knock knee’.

I decided to try this knee spread alteration. I still have questions as to whether I am truly knock kneed.  I admit to having some features of the knock kneed and maybe that’s enough to require corresponding alterations.

I traced my Jalie pattern using the “Near Perfect” version.  It’s possible I might need a combination of alterations. But I didn’t think the Knee Slide helped in the least.  It didn’t the first time I used it.  It didn’t work last time. Why incorporate it now?  I made the knee spread alteration 5/8″ on both front and back pattern pieces.  I chose 5/8″ because most of my inseams shrink to be 3/4″ shorter than the side seam. But not always.  It depends entirely on the fabric.  I can never be sure how much a fabric will shrinkt two years down the road.  So I chose an in between number i.e. in between the least amount of shrinkage (1/2″) and the most common (3/4″). I will not be making the faux fly or messing with pockets.  This is a test which may end up a disaster. I am using the back yoke.  I have to use a different elastic for the waistband. Up to now, I’ve made all Eleanors with the same elastic. But it’s all gone. I’ll use my favorite which Louise Cutting sells at Cutting Line Designs. I’d rather not be dealing with the elastic variable, but it is what it is. LC’s elastic is 1.25″ wide instead of the 1″ called for but it will still fit inside the waistband.  This is elastic is also softer and stretches further.  For starters I have chosen to use 1″ less length than I did with the previous elastic.

My fabric chose me. All the sorting and stacking I did last week produced not a single stretch fabric for pants. But I have somehow manged to get 2 cuts of exactly the same turquoise RPL.  It has 50% stretch . I think the Near Perfect Jalies had 40% stretch.  If so, I will need to tweak the fit.

One of the things I do love about the Eleanor is how quickly it sews together.  I serged yokes to backs and then serged inseams. Also nailed the elastic into place with a triple zig-zag. But I BASTED together everything else . Expecting at least some fitting adjustments , I used water-soluble thread with a 3mm stitch length.


Fitting Pics tomorrow.


Eleanor, KnockKnees

JalieEleanor with Knock Knee Alteration

I’ve decided, I really do have knock knees. I’ve always seen knock knees described as the knee turning inward or the leg rotating inward. My knee is pretty straight on. As far as rotating, that’s what the earth does, right? Neither leg nor knee look like they are rotating to me. So for years I’ve said I’m NOT knock kneed.  There is a distinctive pad of fat on my inner knee.  I thought that might cause the same fitting issues as a knock knee but continued to deny I was actually knock kneed. Here recently I took pictures of my bare leg between hip and ankle. No, I’m no posting those pics. In those pics I see my  thigh bone curves/bows outward creating thigh gap no matter how much I weight (or don’t weigh) but at the same time my legs angle towards the knees.  Like an inverted triangle with the tip at my knees.  My lower legs cannot come together unless I shift a leg forward (or back) and they splay outward from knee to ankle but straight, no bowing.

Interestingly I seem to have bowed, knock knees after all.  I think it may not always be obvious because I generally stand with one leg in front of the other rather than spread apart shoulder-width or side by side.

That’s really food for future thought and maybe alterations because I’d already decided I wanted to try a knock knee alteration.  Nearly every pant I make has some hint of drag lines around the knee like these (from the Near Perfect Eleanor)

So I copied the last pattern and added a 1″ Knock Knee Alteration to both back and front. 1″ is pretty substantial. Jennifer Sterns Knock Knee Alteration recommends making the alteration 1/4″ at a time.   But I’ve been this route before.  At the time, I stopped at a 3/4″ alteration because that was the recommended maximum.  I decided there was no point in repeating in quarter-inch increments since my previous attempts had no effect upon these drag lines. I decided to go for 1″ and adjust from there.

I made a wadder. Actually it was a beautiful pair of Eleanors sewn from a cotton/lycra twill.  Gorgeous fabric but without the required 20% stretch.  I could not pull them up over my hips.  Had no idea about the effect of the knock knee alteration.  How could I have possibly made such a goof?  Well I didn’t measure the stretch of the fabric. I pulled. It stretched.  I felt kind of dumb when I couldn’t pull the pants up.

So I selected another fabric and this time I measured the stretch.  A good yank on this poly knit fabric creates a 50% stretch.  Boy can you tell it.  Stretch measured to just before the fabric is obviously stretched is 30%.   Eleanor requires 20% stretch so I should be good to go.  I also used Louise’s elastic this time because I was out of the elastic used previously. I do prefer Louise’s elastic. It is softer and a little more stretchy but I wanted to be consistent.  I cut both pieces of elastic 1″ shorter.  My pattern has 5/8 side seam-allowances so I can adapt ease for the various fabrics.  I know from experience that the same fabric from different bolts will behave slightly differently. I want the option to add a bit of ease.  I serged this together with 1/4″ seam allowances pretty much without stopping. I figured if there was too much ease, I would make a seam on the sewing machine 5/8″ or whatever needed to reduce ease.  In retrospect, I need to mark this version as needing 50% stretch.  The result is just a little tighter than I like.

Pic 2: One foot in front of the other i.e Typical Bank Line Pose

Fortunately, my blouses/tops will cover those wazy hips. They won’t cover the back of leg and knee wrinkles which get worse depending upon how I stand:

Pic 3: Feet shoulder-width apart

The good news is that these are a deep, dark brown, I guess they would be black-brown or brown-black.  In the bank line you see:

which is no wrinkles at all. Don’t forget, I’ll probably be standing with one leg in front of the other (as in Pic2) which decreases the leg wrinkles.

Back to the Knock Knee Alteration….. I ‘m not sure it improved the drag lines at the knee.  Comparing side-by-side  with the ‘Almost Perfect Eleanor”

I think there are more back-of-leg and knee wrinkles on this version. Is that because there is less stretch?  Percentage of stretch is definitely a factor.  Compare with the first Eleanor which has negative ease butd did not have J. Sterns diagonal overlap:


When it comes to the knee drag lines, I”m just not sure how much of an improvement we’re looking at.

The 2-1/4 yards of fabric felt hefty when I pulled it off the shelf and did my stretch test. However I began to doubt its winter-cold weather applicability whilst serging. The finished garment tells me it’s a spring/summer/fall garment instead of the winter garment I desired.  I love the Jalie Eleanor and will continue to work at reducing the wrinkles. I’ve kept this garment but wonder if I’ll ever wear it because I’ll probably improve the fit before weather permits its wear.

As for the alterations, I need to think some more.


Jalie Eleanor: Some second thoughts.

I know I left yesterday’s post on a down note but today I’d like to move past my personal fitting issues and talk about the style and construction features of Jalie’s Eleanor.


First THUMBS UP for the speed with which this can be sewn together. I traced, cut and serged the first pair in under 3 hours.  I think more like 2.

It is  a pull-on jean. Although I think it is more of a Yoga pant with jean styling or maybe a jean with yoga pant styling. But in my mind it is not clearly one or the other but borrows elements from both. I happen to like the styling and would give it a THUMBS UP.

It has a faux-fly which I didn’t stitch until I made Pant #6 (the near-perfect).  I was surprised at how  a nice detail that became.  The fly pieces are cut on  the pant (not separate pieces to be attached adding time to the sewing) and then fold to one side which gives a nice heft and a guide line for stitching.  I stitched from the inside.  The fly looks real, even though there isn’t a zipper. The fly stitching lines are slimming — something I always appreciate having but especially over my tummy. I give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the faux fly

I also didn’t stitch the faux front pockets.  I hate the ‘real’ pockets on my DG2 jeans. They are so shallow they are unusable.  In fact they are an ugly distraction. When I get a new pair of DG2’s,  I try them on, take pictures and then stitch the pockets closed before cutting off the bag. Much better; much, much better that Jalie recognized these should just be for show. However, it’s a bit fiddly to sew and I did not make them during the tissue alteration and fitting process. Nor will I make these pockets when “it’s for reals”.  I plan to face the ‘pocket opening’ with bias tape and applique to a pocket back. I know this will be easier than trying to line up the two sharply curved pieces for stitching and then top-stitching.  I give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the faux pocket but prefer my own application method.

I do love the slim leg.  I’ve been trying for years to find a pattern with a slim leg that is not figure revealing — as in “counting hairs” revealing.  Yes I would not be praising this pattern had I not also used Jennifer Stern’s fitting procedure. Bottom line, this is the leg I’m looking for but you may not like what I’ve created.  I created my leg by going up two sizes and adding ease along the inseam. The drafted leg is much slimmer than what I’ve created. Keep that in mind if you decide to make this pattern yourself.  I give Jalie  a PUSH on this because I’m not using the leg as they drafted but  I like the leg I’m using.

I did not use the back pocket either. I wanted to; the fabrics I used did not. I don’t care for the scant 1″ hem.  In my experience with beefy fabrics,  the turn-of-cloth will create either a smaller pocket or smaller hem.  With the fabrics I was using, the hem kept becoming 1/2″ which was objectionable to me.  The real reason I didn’t use pockets this time was that the fabric would not form nice crisp edges and corners. Regrettably my mind was focused on other details and not until I hung the final pair on hanger did I realize I could have fused interfacing to the entire pocket and solved all my issues.  Definitely MY BAD. I’m experienced enough that I should have solved this issue early on. I’ll give Jalie a THUMBS UP for the pockets because they are important for jeans styling.

I can’t give Jalie an unqulified rating on the drafting. Mostly the pieces seemed to fit together well but I had some discrepancies most notably the length of the back and front inseam. I have not been exhaustive in discovering the source of the discrepancy and freely admit that I could be it. At the same time, I can’t remember a time that I made a half inch tracing error without noticing it.  I routinely notice and correct 1/16″ discrepancies. How could I have missed something so much larger? I just don’t know.  I’m noting the discrepancy here and admitting it’s presently unsolved but likely to be me.

I saved the waistband evaluation till now because the WB is truly noteworthy.

  • The waistband  is drafted in two pieces  to add additional shaping.  The curved shapes remove ease at the waist while retaining the same ease as the upper hip.  Very ingenious. I like this draft better than Pamela’s instructions for creating a Yoga pant using PP113 as the basis
  •  Jalie really nails that elastic in place. It is not going to roll or shift and if Jalie’s instructions are followed, no one is even going to know  it is even there. That’s because the elastic  is stitched to the inside and  private side of the waistband.
  • THUMBS DOWN for lumpy waistband side seams. The waistband is two pieces and folded in half (total 4 layers). The elastic is two pieces (and match the length of the waistband at its narrowest). Creating 6  layers in the WB side seam.   Very thick and lumpy.
  • THUMBS DOWN  There is no adjusting the elastic once it’s sewn.  I’m  not replacing it either if it permanently stretches out of shape before the garment dies.  Too many stitches to remove and replace. Not doing it. No. Nuh. Nah nah.  <head shake>
  • I also prefer to fold the WB in half WST and baste the cut edges together.  That keeps them from flapping around and not being caught in the permanent stitching.  Very important if -like me- you tend to use narrow seam allowances. (I like 1/4 and 3/8″ SAs.)  I didn’t see an instruction to baste the cut edges together.  Maybe I just missed it. So I’m not rating this merely stating my preference.
  • For the fitting process, I stitched the WB side seams; folded the WB in half and pressed. Then I  joined the elastic in a circle. Marked both WB and elastic in quarters before snuggling the elastic inside the WB.  I stitched through both layers of WB twice; once just below the elastic and a second time 1/4″ above the cut edges. Totally looks like a normal Yoga Waistband.
    • In this configuration, the elastic will have a tendency to move (rotate, roll etc).  Because of that I top stitched CB, CF and both side seams.
    • Worked well during the fitting process.
      • Allowed me to adjust the elastic during fitting.
        • I both increased and decreased the length
        • Will need to be able to adapt for other elastics as well.
      • I admit that for actual garments I prefer to emulate the invisible elastic application and don’t have a solution yet
  • Overall, I like the look of Jalie’s Elastic Application when finished and will be seeking an application that produces the same effect.

So despite yesterday’s sour note, I like this pattern. I like the style and with Jen’s help, I like the fit.  I’m not quite ready to award it TNT status but I am ready to make it a permanent addition to my pants wardrobe.


The Near Perfect: Eleanor

Grab your coffee (tea or whatever); find a good chair and make yourself comfortable. This is going to be a long post with several photos. I’m not dividing it into multi-posts. I been involved in a  two-week project which resulted in near-perfect pair of pants:

(I promise I will lighten the rest of the photos so you can really see the fit.)

Several weeks ago I was intrigued by Jalie’s new pants pattern the Eleanor


It was Dawn’s post (Two On Two Off) that alerted me to the arrival of this new pattern. It comes with a cute back story here ; and is described as “pull on jeans… fitted through waist and hips, straight from the knee down. Very easy to turn into skinny jeans!”

OK jeans, so not trousers. Not loose at all. But I like a good fitting pair of jeans. Just not skinny jeans (although I do have one pair of skinny jeans). I hesitated to buy largely because of the international purchasing hassles I can run into, but also because I’ve recently struggled with several patterns and wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved in the pants fitting process.  Pants fitting is usually a multi-muslin process which is also time-consuming. It is rare to be able to fit a pant pattern to myself with only tweaking fit. That’s why I loved Pamela’s 113 so much. My first 113 was wearable and subsequent versions have tweaked the fit but mostly been fun changes.  When Pattern Review started carrying the Eleanor , I bought…..and started sewing and sewing and sewing.  I have sewn 6 pairs of Eleanors in the last 2 weeks:

first ———————— through ———————— last


Insane? Thing is, every pair I made,  I kept thinking I just needed to change one thing to have a good pair of pants and great pattern. The first pair (grey far left),   I chose to use the recommended size (based on hip girth)  and knit fabric with 20% stretch (the recommended minimum). I didn’t believe that this would publically wearable. I was thinking a pair of PJ’s to test the pattern. But it is skin-tight. Not a sexy come hither look either. More like “Why is she punishing me?” . I was expecting fitted (Butterick Ease chart) but this was almost negative ease.  These are tighter than my actual, real tights.  The first thing I did was mark the hip, thigh and knee position on my body with pins. I looked in the mirror and said “yep that’s were my rear sticks out the furtherest” and put a pin in it.  Did the same for knee (Yep that’s the middle of my knee) and thigh.   Took the PJ’s off, measured the location of the pins and marked the corresponding point on the pattern. (The pattern has knee notches, but lets you guess where the hip and thigh were plotted.) Now I could measure the pattern and chose a size based upon measurements (shades of Peggy Sagers. Eh?)  To my surprise, the recommend size had 1/4″ of ease. That’s barely positive ease. Close doesn’t adequately describe it for me.  I measured 5 sizes on the pattern sheet before having a brain flash and measuring my favorite DG2 jeans too.  I went up two sizes over the recommended.  Will you need to do the same?  Not necessarily. I’m at the top end of the recommended size. I almost selected the next size up to start with because I know that I prefer a little more ease than RTW; but decided to trust Jalie because their stretch jeans are so wonderful (but come to think of it, I make my Jalie jeans one size larger.)

I made the second pair, also intended to be PJ’s, two sizes larger than the recommended size and using a firm rib knit which I suspect is 100% polyester.  They are the light olive-green, 2nd from the left in my ‘Pantheon’ above.  You’re seeing the unscooped version. When I scooped the back crotch nearly all the back leg wrinkles disappeared — also the slight front camel toe disappeared. Just from a 1/2″ scoop!

I thought: ” I’ve got it. These are going to be great.”   I made the 3rd pair (3rd from the left) using a really good cotton/lycra twill after scooping the pattern’s back crotch  1/2″. Holy cow,  these in the good fabric had more wrinkles than the 2nd pair in the crappy fabric.

Pair #4 in a light olive Ponte (4th from the left and 3rd from the right) I decided to incorporate Jennifer Sterns diagonal overlap alteration.  These pants were slightly better. Jen’s alteration definitely improved the back wrinkles so I posted a question at Craftsy asking if there was a maximum the diagonal could be over lapped.

Side Note: I’m enrolled and have now completed Jennifer Sterns Craftsy Course  “the Perfect Jeans”. This is a commercial class which is relatively inexpensive if bought on sale.  I’m reluctant to quote her exact method because it may be copyrighted.  However, Ann’s Pearls of Wisdom at Stitcher’s Guild, contains a very similar alteration in the Flat Seat Adjustment thread which can be viewed for free.  There are differences between the two methods.  Jen is very specific about where the change needs to be made and how deep; both of which are body dependent and highly individualized. You have to discover the depth and location on your own body. Which may be the reason why Jen’s method worked for me, but Ann’s Flat Seat Adjustment left me protesting that I don’t have a flat butt as evidenced here  and no need for the FSA. This adjustment is something you have to work with.  It’s unlikely that any set of directions will be spot on the first time. If you have the same back wrinkles as I do, I recommend trying Ann’s free method. If that doesn’t work or is not entirely satisfactory, then pay for Jen’s class.

Jen answered within 24 hours which made me happy.  Her answer was to try scooping. Apparently while there is not an exact number at which you have to stop (2″, 3″ ?”of overlap) you want to minimize pattern distortion. I almost posted pictures at Craftsy but decided if I was going to take her time, I would follow all her directions.  Kind of like going to the doctor. Why are you paying him, taking his time, if you won’t tell him the whole truth or follow all his instructions?   Hence pair #5 – 2nd from the right.

I carefully measured and followed every one of Jen’s directions.  The 5th pair incorporates only three tissue changes. I added 3/4″ to the side at the back hip,  folded 2″ length out of the leg above the knee; and added 3/4″ width along the entire back inseam . The length between butt and knee is an area that Jen specifies measuring.  Her explanation was not entirely clear to me  but I think she says the incorrect length from crotch to knee can create wrinkles because the fabric cannot move freely where it needs to move.  I added the 3/4″ to the back inseam because I used to be able to fit Burda pants patterns with the same alteration and it was the key to the easy fit of Pamela’s Patterns #113.  On all the previous versions, I could see the stress wrinkles Jen was saying means add length to the crotch; also I knew sooner or later I was going to do something about my knock knees.  This is a known, a tried and proven solution for both of my issues. Why not do it now?

To my shock Pair #5 was fairly close to fitting at the first try-on. During basting I noticed that I was stretching the front inseam to match the back. Huh? I thought the inseams should be equal in length or sometimes a designer would make the back inseam shorter, not longer as it obviously was.  Could I have traced incorrectly?  Sure, but I’ve never made a half-inch tracing error without realizing it.  When I place notches and dots, the misalignment becomes obvious.  I had “taped like I meant it” so there was not much checking I could do without destroying my working copy.  I did compare my back and front tissues and discovered that my front inseam was definitely shorter than the back. I still had my very first two-sizes-two-small tissue which had not been altered in any way and I compared them to each other and to the original pattern. Sure enough, I’m coming up with the back inseam is longer than the front. Why did no one else using this pattern notice or say anything?  Well, it could still be my error.  I tend to repeat my errors and need a second person to draw my attention to where I’m making my mistake. But also, this pair and this pair alone was made from Bengaline and was cut crossgrain. That means I had width wise stretch but not vertical.  Most knits would easily disguise that 1/2″ difference.  This unyielding Bengaline wouldn’t.   I scooped the crotch on pair #5 and called it wearable before proceeding to …

Pair #6, the near perfect pair.  My fabric is “stretch Silhouette Double Knit” 98% polyester 2% lycra.  I’d buy a warehouse full of this fabric.  It is spongy and thick. Reminds me of Slinky but doesn’t have quite the same amount of droop. I know people who hung their Slinky for 24 hours before cutting and another 24 before hemming just because they loved everything about Slinky except it’s tendency to grow length-wise during wear.  I, myself, threw away my first slinky T-shirt because the crew neck line of the morning, turned into bosom-baring by lunch.   But back to the Silhouette Double Knit, I’m looking for more because while it does bend and flex and yes grow a little, but over all  it is the Slinky I always really wanted.

Pair #6, has the 3/4″ added to the hip back side seam; 3/4″ added to the entire back inseam;  and the 2″ fold above the knee — all as in pair #5 and as discovered during Jen’s measuring process. Additionally  I  folded a 1/4″ tuck above the knee ( back only). This removes total of 1/2″ length from the back between butt and knee. I did not make a corresponding change to the front because when I walked the side seams I found the 1/4″ tuck made them even. Apparently my back had been longer than the front (and I’m still claiming responsibility for the difference). I added a 1/2″ length at the back crotch. I felt (rather being able to see) the center back dipping while standing.  Another good Craftsy class is Plus Size Pant Fitting by Kathleen Cheetham. I’m not quite a plus size but I have issue that I haven’t been able to solve with normal-sized-people directions so I looked elsewhere.  I finished Kathleen’s course too and was most impressed by the short lesson for the girl with the full seat.  Kathleen is again very specific about adding more crotch height by slashing at the hip line.  When that is taped into place, she points out the divot at the side seam.  I’ve always done the slash where ever I wanted and ignored the  divot.  Kathleen makes this into an opportunity to add width right where the full-seated need it.  This is a great lesson to view, if you need it, and worth the cost of the entire course to me.  I easily added another 1/4″ (total now of 1″) right where I need it.  I’ve got to tell you, that I’m ecstatic about this.  I know from my bodice fitting that I need more ease across the back at the hip.  It doesn’t work, not on my body, to split the addition between front and back.  What I end up with is a flaring front and a back that hugs my butt. Placing the ease where I need it, over my full seat, allows the bodice to drape beautifully and the side seams hang vertically evenly dividing front and back.

Then and only then when all other tried, tested and found-to-be-true alterations were complete, did I do Jen’s 1.5″ Diagonal Overlap. I had pinched this out on Pant #5. So I knew where and about how much.  When slashed, overlapped and taped into place the side seam is shortened.  I removed 1.5″ length on the side seam, now I had to add 1.5″ height at the top of the side seam and re-draw the line between side seam and center back. Again, I followed Peggy Sagger’s lead.  I aligned my curve with the original top-of-back-leg line and then pivoted to meet the new height.  I also had a weird side seam between hip and knee. I used my curve to redraw the side seam which added a little ease to the thigh. The inseam was sharpely peaked outward entirely due to the amount of the overlap.  It’s part of the distortion Jen was trying to warn me about.  I used my curve to smooth out the inseam which removed ease almost exactly across from where  added when I smoothed the side seam.   Finally, the crotch had been pinched where it was slashed and pulled down that 1.5″ to form the overlap.  I used my curve but instead of trying to align with the previous crotch curve, I rotated until I had a nice looking curve.  I stepped back and said “Hey, that’s the same curve as TJ906”.  Makes me wonder if Trudy Jansen discovered and kept to herself the fact a number of us need less length over the back thigh.

I serged the first version (first and far left in the pantheon above) but like the succeeding versions, I basted Pair #6 together using a 3mm stitch and water-soluble thread. I was stunned at the first try on. Just stunned. I had a few bubbles along the back side seam and that was the worst fitting element. Every way I turned and then in the pics was flowing smooth fabric.

Apparently, I did not need to add the full 1.5″ height at the side seam which caused the side bubbles.  I ripped open seams. Having used WST was a simple matter of spritzing a little water, grabbing the bobbin thread and giving it a yank.  I trimmed 3/4″ from the top of the back leg at the side seam and redrew that line for a second time. I needed to scoop the back crotch just a bit and in so doing smoothed the entire curve which skimmed just a little from the front crotch as well.  I serged the whole kit and caboodle together. Serged. Done. OK I lied. I stitched the waistband to the pant at the sewing machine because I wanted to offset the waistband.  Front, back and sides  just felt a little ‘tall’ above the crotch.  I suspect this is a fabric issue because I didn’t have this impression with the first try-on or any of the other versions.  And now what everyone really wants to know,,,,,,, ta ta ta dah!!!!!! The FINAL FIT:

Pics are much lightened; about 80%

Keep in mind, this is still a close fitting garment.  I’m aiming for the same amount of ease as in my beloved DG2’s. Initially, I experienced a little camel toe in the front. Not sure, but there still could be a hint.    I experienced the same issue with the Ascona (which I did not finish fitting).  I have rolls; rolls of flesh and fat.  My slim tom-boy shape has been eroded by the years, the kid, the computer…. I’m pleased with this pic because only one roll is really evident and even it, like the others, are  smoothed over.

If I could, this is the only view anyone would ever see  and I say that despite the speck that my camera seems to have picked up. The pant looks low in the front but is entirely comfortable.  If it were higher, I would feel my lower lungs being constricted and I would  be picking at it (pulling down, folding over, pull and release etc etc).  I’ve come to accept that my waist is tilted or more accurately, roller coaster shaped.  The side seam is pretty straight, just leaning like the Tower of Pisa.  I could but may not bother working at fixing the tilted side seam. For now, I’m just going to admire the smooth flow of fabric from waist, dropping until it breaks – like it should – at the front of the foot. Very shapely. Nice. Especially for a woman of my age, weight and personal shape.

And the picture you really wanted to see, My Butt:

Sorry. I just couldn’t resist 5th grade humour.  Must be because I’ve been so long at the computer writing, editing this post…..

The leg wrinkles change with how I stand or as in the pic at the far left (wb too low) or far right (wb too high) , exactly where the waistband sits on my body.  I may have cut the elastic too long.  The most obvious constant to me is the wrinkles at the knee.  This is the first area I will tweak  in the future.  I could do a knock knee adjustment. But I think shortening the back inseam with an 1/8 or 1/4″ dart (at the inseam, zero at the side seam) should be first.  I really don’t know of jean draft that doesn’t make the back inseam shorter than the front. The theory is a shorter back inseam causes the fabric to tuck under your seat giving you a trimmer appearance.  Well I could certainly use that. I’m also aware that the butt isn’t exactly what I want.  I scooped this time but did not transfer that to the tissue.  My crotch is oddly peaked due to the Diagonal Overlap.  Instead of correcting the shape after stitching, I really want to smooth that out so that when I the crotch is smoothly shaped. I think I’m looking at two little tweaks, but dang every version I’ve said “I just need to do this one little thing.”

Despite all that I’ve written and shared, I really don’t consider the first 4 versions significant when evaluating the pattern.  I feel the final fit resulted not from the draft   but from using Jen’s fitting instructions. I expect some strong push back on that statement. Numerous people have used this pattern and posted glowing reviews.  But I was on the verge of tossing the pattern at Pant #4. Four fabrics, four bad fits.  How many bad fitting muslins do you make before deciding the draft doesn’t work?



Summary Tissue Changes:

  • two sizes larger than recommended
  • +3/4″ to side seam from hip to waist
  • +3/4″ to entire back inseam
  • +1/2″ to back crotch
    • slash and spread at hip line
    • +1/4″ smooth divot at side seam total 1″ added to side seam hip still 3/4″ at waist
  • -2″ above knee back and front
  • -1/1″ (1/4″ tuck) above knee on back only
  • 1.5″ Diagonal Overlap
    • causing +3.4″ side seam height back only
    • Smoothing side seam, inseam and crotch curve

Proposed Changes

  • Smooth crotch curve
    • pin front to back along inseam and side seam then smooth the curve
  • 1/4″ dart at back inseam (zero at side seam) above knee
  • Knock Knee alteration
  • Possible front crotch scoop for camel toe
  • Possible back crotch scoop