On the Quest for a Better Fitting Leg

I made this Jinni  using the leg with the center back seam; and a nice 10% stretch, grey tweed fabric. This fabric is a little light for winter wear so the pants might actually see more use in the other 3 season of the year. A big plus is that it does drape nicely. IOW, I’m not blaming the fabric this time.  Nor do I have the pattern issues experienced with my last pair, Crepe  Jinni‘s. The pant should fit with little effort and it did, initially.

I have not settled the issue of exactly where the waistband needs to be placed. Interestingly the waist band needs to be the same length each time but the crotch depth seems to change. So where it it attached to the pant is the issue.  I will blame that on the fabric but it is easy to correct and prepare for.  I have a 1″ seam allowance at the top of pant leg. I baste the WB in place and then adjust it up or down as needed. Took me 2 tries. Ripped it out once and the second was perfect. My plan worked!! The whole pant hung smooth and lovely.

So I started adjusting the shape of the pant legs by adjusting the center-back, leg seam. Not sure exactly where or how much I could change, I worked on only 1 leg. The leg started having long vertical folds and diagonal pull lines. I made 5 adjustments, changing where I started taking in and how deep. The wrinkles would change but not go away until I took out the entire adjustment. I thought maybe the issue was that the CB leg needed to stay on the straight of grain. So I tried adjusting the side and inseams.  Nope. Same vertical and diagonal drag lines. OK, maybe the leg I was working on was somehow not cut on grain. I know off grain pieces will fall weirdly. In retrospect I should have realized this probably wasn’t a grain issue because without the alterations at the seams, the pant hung beautifully.   I changed and worked on the other leg. Same results PLUS along the way I kept noticing that the area between WB and seat would develop V’s and the CB under the waist would look poofy. Easy fix, take in the CB another smidge. Which also means taking off the WB and adjusting. it.

To make a long story short (I have been working with these pants since I posted the Crepe Jinni’s) (15 fittings), I realized I was going around in circles. Whatever was “off” was something I couldn’t identify. Worse yet, the final back and front…

no longer hung perfectly!  Fortunately, the sides do look nice:

My trouser pattern does have excessive ease. I never think twice about the long vertical folds except that they worsened during adjusting the seams for a closer fit– I removed ease and the vertical folds got worse!!

I know somebody is going to ask, “Why are you trying to change a perfectly fitting pair of pants?’  Because I prefer big on top and slim on the bottom. These trousers look fine when I am posing for fit pictures. But combined with a typical me-top and a typical me-stance the story is a little different:


They are definitely not fashionable; nowhere near au current. But, they are comfortable; they fit better than anything else I’ve had to wear this year; and they make exactly the kind of shorts I am most fond of ROOMY..




Crepe Jinni

Not a food, but my new Jinni trousers in black polyester crepe.

Wonderful fabric purchased from fabricmartfabrics.com. It’s a recent purchase too. I rarely buy fabric and sew it immediately. This is a special case because I need black pants that fit me and this crepe is perfect for trousers. It is heavy. Not like wool but heavier than you would want in a blouse fabric. Still thin but it does have a cushy thickness. Has a 10% stretch factor which is very comfortable. Hardly needs pressing at all. Just a geat fabric.

As you can see, I still have not closely fit this pattern i.e. there are still vertical folds extending almost from waist to hem.  It is still very much a trouser.  I wanted to try fitting the back leg a little closer and maybe remove some of the excess ease added when I altered the pattern to offset my crotch alteration.   I added a center back-leg seam by splitting the back-leg pattern vertically along the grainline and adding 1/4″ to either side of the split. When I sewed the trousers, I put both sides of the leg together and serged them.

Look closely to see the center back-leg seam.

Sewing proceeded fairly normally IOW I serge finished all the raw edges and inserted the zipper but when I tried to sew the side seams I ran into a problem. Neither side nor inseams were the same length. I spent about an hour tracing this because I had 4 patterns at this point (original, fitted for non-stretch fabrics, fitted for 10% stretch fabrics and the new fitted for 10% stretch with 2-piece back leg.).  Eventually I discovered and then confirmed that after the final fitting of the 10% stretch version, I had double the front depth change i.e. instead of a tuck 3/4″ I made it 1.5″.  Then copied the error to this new version with the 2-piece back leg. Once discovered, the error was easily corrected on the pattern. Fixing the pant took a little more effort. Somehow making the change at the hem worked. After that I tried to fit the back leg closer to my body, but I swear it turned into a big bow along that back-leg seam. Not sure if it was the accumulated changes or something else. Decided to leave the pant looking good if a little roomy.

Side seams hang perfectly. It is so comfortable to wear. Hope the wider leg remains popular a long, long, long ol’ time.


12% Jinni

Title a little confusing?  Sorry, I wanted a easy title I could search for.   What I mean is that I’m using the Jinni pant pattern again but with a 12% stretch fabric.  Don’t know fiber content, Ive lost the label .  I know that it drapes nicely like the Fine Line Twill used in the previous Jinni and it is blue.  Why is blue important? Last year I ran into a problem of looking in my closet and seeing brown bottoms but blue or black tops. Seems I had consistently chosen brown fabric to sew into pants while choosing black or blue for tops!   That is a wardrobe error I dont wish to repeat, so I am deliberately rotating between my major colors (black, blue, brown). When finished, the Fine Line Twill pants fit beautifully. But I felt uneasy about some of the fitting changes I made.  I wanted to sew a similar fabric to check that those changes applied all the time an were not just tweaks for the Fine Line Twill fabric.

After choosing my fabric, I decided to reduce the hem circumference in addition to the other changes I made to the tissue after the previous pair.  I am anxious not to ruin a good pant pattern so I copied the previous tissue and then marked a 1/2″ reduction on both inseam and side seam.

I trimmed tissues and then walked the seams. Was not  surprised to find the back side seam 1/4” longer than the front. I had seen that on the Fine Line twill as well but didn’t want to make a change until I could verify the tissue was incorrect.  After that, I pressed my fabric, laid it out on the cutting table and placed the tissue on top. As is my habit,  I turned off the lights and left the room. Id love to start cutting immediately but experience tells me to take a break and see if I remember something else I should do or if I have done something wrong now.

Next day I cut the fabric, serged the edges and put the zipper in. Then I loaded the water-soluble thread bobbin to baste darts, side and inseams before basting the waistband. I slipped the basted pants on for the first fitting. Not surprisingly, the crotch hung too low. Just as the muslin and Caramel pants,  fitting this navy pinstripe was all about depth and waist-adjustments.  I am not sure I can totally eliminate these factors. So far, each fabric has needed a different  adjustments. I’ll take the hit for the waist adjustments.  I have marked my waistband but don’t believe the marking when I start the next pant.  Quite probably, if I would just honor my own findings about the waistband and waist adjustments, fitting could be a little faster. The depth adjustments are really curious. The muslin (broadcloth) with ZERO stretch either cross or lengthwise needed a -2.75 depth change to the front; -3.5″ on the sides and none/ZERO  at the center back.  The Caramel Pants (Fine Line Twill) with 10% cross wise stretch needed -2″ on the front and sides but – 3″ at center back. This  Navy Pinstripe (content unk) 12% cross and 1% length wise requires depth adjustments of -1.75 in Front and sides and -2.75 center back.  Ah, if only I used the same fabric over and over again. But I can’t even buy the same fabric over and over It was a real hunt to find similar stretch and drape in that embarrassingly large  collection of pant fabric I have downstairs.

To my delight, I was finished with 2 fittings. TWO.  Never happens for me with pants. Never that I remember. I’ve lightened the pics considerably so we can see the draglines. Oh and keep in mind, I’ve altered these into trousers even though I wanted slacks.

To  me what really counts, is how I look in the bank line:

Front view should be titled “when the flash catches you in the middle of your “cheese”.

Also I will be glad when my hair grows out enough I don’t feel the need to wear my wig.

Jinni, Jinni, My Bowl

The Fabric Always Wins, Especially In Pants

I transferred the waistband location  added SA and marked the darts, but I did not transfer any of the other changes made to the muslin.  For fitting insurance, I marked 1/2″ above the marked seam allowance. I can always trim. Adding after-the-fact is difficult if not impossible.  Plus that gives extra to shape for the dart tops.

Then I begin the job of choosing a fabric.  The muslin looked so good I wanted to use a reasonable good fabric in this (I hoped) first pair of pants. Because my alterations have increased the hem circumference to 24″, I wanted a fabric that draped close to the body but not  reveal all.  Normally my pant colors are black, dark navy blue and dark chocolate brown.  All colors that are difficult to photograph and  will be difficult for me to see drag lines.  My chosen fabric is a caramel brown.  It is Polyester with a little Lycra which Fabricmartfabric advertised a Fine  Twill.  I love this stuff. Buy it everytime I see it on their website. Has 10% crosswise stretch–no vertical stretch.  It is light weight as in ounces per square yards but feels  heavy in-hand and drapes like crepe.  The weight I have  is not a winter fabric unless I wear thick tights or long johns.  It works fine for fall,  spring and some summer occasions.

I cut my fabric and serge finished all the edges.  I put the zipper in then swapped out to water-soluble thread in the bobbin before basting everything together.

As with the muslin, fitting was all about correctly placing the waistband aka crotch depth. I was shocked that my crotch depth was 2″ too long.  Here’s my first fitting.


I embarked on a series of fitting adjustments all tweaking the crotch depth and adapting the waist to the WB.  Eventually I settle on decreasing the front crotch and sides 2″ but the back 3″.  I also offset the back side seam to add another 1/2″ ease across the seat (and there is still a hint of  VPL).  I want you to see the final fitting before the finished garment:

Last fitting:

Pretty nice, if I do say so myself. From there I opened seams where they crossed just enough to get and make permanent stitches.  I trimmed the excess at the top and the point which formed where the inseams and crotch met. Hemmed and applied the waistband. Nothing was entirely ripped. Buttonhole and button were carefully placed to they would occupy the same place at the clips. The finished pant fits slightly different from the final fitting.


I immediately noticed that the waistband was not as firmly in place as before and I could feel the pant drop slightly.  It also appears that I have lost 5 pounds in the 24 hours between last fitting and final pictures.  I really should start automatically inserting elastic before I nail the waistband in place. Just for info purposes, last fitting was done about 2 o’clock the day before. Final pics about 2 o’clock the next day.  TMI but no I have not been starving myself, peeing a lot or had diarrhea. Well moving along… the  real problem with this pair of pants is: once I have a good fitting pair of pants, I can’t stand to wear the others. I will have to be making more and making them soon.

I did not transfer my depth changes to the pattern.  I am unsure why the torso (from waist to crotch) grew 2″ in front, 1″ on the sides, and  3″ in back. Honestly, I didn’t know whether the fiber (poly lycra), the weave (fine twill)  or 10%  width-wise stretch which made the huge difference. Normally a 10% stretch fabric behaves much the same and is treated as a stable weave/knit.  I know there can be some difference even if the fiber and weave are the same.  I expect  more difference when the stretch factor gets to 25% and am pretty sure that a 50% or greater stretch will almost require an entirely different pattern.

I’ve made a trouser.  I didn’t start out to create a trouser. I would prefer to wear a pant with lesser ease.  Not sure that will be possible for me. First my round, prominent rear will always need additional fabric. Covering the seat will probably add fabric across the thigh.  As I explained in the previous post, I just don’t know how to draw a curve adding 3″ to the side while dovetailing into the thigh side seam without adding more ease in the thigh as well.  Because of how I did my tissue alteration for the seat, I added 3″ to the hem. That created a 24″ hem circumference.  Even with this nicely draping polyester fabric, I don’t like the 24″ finished hem circumference.   I am narrow shouldered and short. A big wide leg, makes me look shorter and my shoulders narrower. In future makes, I will attempt to make the legs narrower, about 20″.  However, for the next pair, I want to test  crotch depth changes by sewing the same (i.e.no other tissue changes) with a similar fabric.


Culottes, Jinni, Shorts

Jinni Shorts

After finishing the Jinni muslin, I copied the pattern and transferred all my fitting changes.  I made a copy of the tissue with fitting changes, measured up from the hem along the grainline to create a 10″ inseam aka shorts.  I prefer shorts that don’t cling to my legs, so I added 1″ to the side seam at hem level an drew a line from there straight up to the hip. Then added a turn back allowance for the hems. Ta da! Shorts pattern ready for use.

Time to choose fabric.  I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that not all the shorts I deemed “wearable” at the beginning of summer are comfortable in the crotch. I think I am comparing those shorts to the new-npt-perfected shorts I’ve been making in recent weeks. I’d really like to replace the now uncomfortable shorts. I made a quick eval and decided  the worst of shorts I want to replace are black.  So,I hunt in the stash for 2- yard lengths of fabric in black. I have none in non-stretch fabrics.  The fabric I settle on has a gorgeous texture weave that reminds me of snake skin.  Because it is black, the texture is very subtle until you are close. All the pics have been lightened about 70% so we can see the drag lines. Unfortunately, it has 10% stretch which causes me to reconsider. Overall, my experience with 10% stretch is it handles the same as non-stretch but during wear has just that extra amount of give to  make movement comfortable and it tends to snap back i.e. doesn’t seat-out or form bulges. I decide this fabric with 10%  stretch is OK to use.

I press the fabric then layout the pattern before cutting.  I know that I need to be a little open-minded about the fit. First I’m not entirely sure I transferred the fitting changes exactly.  Was pretty close to ‘exactly’ but there is room for error. Also I’m dealing with a different type fabric from my muslin.  I have to make allowances for the fabric because, to quote Peggy sagers “the fabric always wins.”   With that in mind, I serge finish edges and  put a zipper in with permanent stitches before swapping for a bobbin with water-soluble thread and basing all the other seams.

Fingers crossed, I give my shorts a first try-on.  I concentrated on setting the crotch where it was comfortable and making sure the waistband fit. I was fitting in the afternoon fit,  concerned me because I clearly saw what a huge difference between morning and afternoon fittings with the Jinni muslin.  However I have to start fitting at some time and most of my sewing is done in the afternoon.  To my surprise, the waistband felt perfect. As did the front and back crotch an well everything.  Let me repeat, everything felt good. I was ready to finish and wear these.    Pictures tell a different fitting story:

Huh?  What happened to the  near-perfect fit of the Jinni Muslin? When I was finished with the muslin, the front and sides were perfect; the back needed a little scooping but otherwise looked terrific. Now working with a stretch fabric, a more forgiving fabric,  the sides are too long, the darts too long,and there are issues with both front and back crotch.

OK maybe I didn’t get the crotch scoops transferred correctly and maybe the WB is a little off on the side seams.  I begin fitting making 1/4″ changes each fitting. After 2 days, 10 fittings and picture session, I paused.  I realized the last scoop and lowerings had no effect.  None. Zip Zilch.  Instead of looking and thinking “a little change here” I did a more thorough evaluation.  To my knowledge pants fit when (1) I have enough ease, (2)the crotch height (front and back) is the right length and the (3) crotch extensions are the right length.  Should add a (4) because the waistband can make everything look wrong.

The waistband was fine. Not riding up. Not too tight. WB was fine i.e. #4 fit.

I pinched the side seams and realized there was plenty of ease across my widests points i.e. #1 problem fits.

The front crotch was now hanging and rubbing too far down and the back crotch was forming bubbles under the waist band  So crotch heights were now too long but had been correct previously i.e. #2 fit before alterations.

The only thing left that could be wrong was the length of the crotch extension/fork i.e. #3 was wrong.  Just to confirm, I added 2″ gussets. Well yes indeed that helped, but  not enough.   I was very surprised because the muslin had been scooped at least 1″ and this pant had been scooped the same amount. Scooping increases the length of the back crotch extension.  I had now added 2″ length to the 3″ Back fork as drafted.  Total 5″.  How much fork length would be enough? I cut 6″ gussets. Umm, the gussets I used were 6″ wide and 10″long rectangles evenly adding width the entire length of my shorts inseam .  When I tried the shorts on I said, ” I’ve got culottes! ” But  those crotches looked great!


Thing is that would be like a total of 9″.  According to my bowl, center of my body to butt apex is 6.5″. To me it seems a bit off that the shorts would require a 9″ back fork.

I could have sewn some more that day. Done some more experimenting but I stopped to think.  I’m not a culottes wearer but I don’t like to ruin a good pair of pants even when they resemble a skirt.  Overnight I decided, a pair of culottes in my closet would be fine.  I finished them. Replaced all the basting with permanent stitching and hemmed the legs.  I mean, a wearable is always a win, isn’t it?

As for crotch length, I think I need a new game plan.



Don’t think you will find this pattern anywhere. It was drafted by an elderly lady in the 1990’s  who has pretty much disappeared even from social media. It’s possible she is deceased because if alive she would be about 95. However, if anyone knows anymore about her please share.  I  have a copy of her pant pattern because my Sewing Angel took pity on me and said “Try this”.  Figured I may as well run up a quick muslin. Only an hour and I could report back on another failure. Except….

To my shock, after the first muslin, I decided to invest a little more time.


Right out of the envelope was better than either the Eureka or Fit Nice (Kessinger) pants both of which I’ve spent a lot of time on and still arent close to perfect. Jinny was about on par with my 906 jeans i.e. looked like it need a little tweaking for near perfection.

Fit02 03,

I scooped the bottom back crotch (Sarah Veblem calls this lowering the crotch) twice for a total depth of 1″.

Fit 4,5

Fit 03 looked so good, I begin adjusting a waistband. No easy task since my waist seems to change every time I zip and button my pants.. Eventually, I had the length adjusted and the side-seams placed along the WB so they would be perpendicular to the floor. Fit05 pics  were done late in the day. Front and sides? Good to go!!! What happened to the butt????


Sewing Angel explained the she works on fitting pants only before noon because she experiences the same morphing body as I.  So with no changes, I mean not a single pinch, poke, or pin, I try the pant on first thing when I get down to the sewing room.


Not bad!  Maybe a little more scooping in back is needed but most of the issues have simply disappeared.

I was surprised by this pattern.  I’ve spent hours and hours; days and days on other patterns. I invested more time getting the Jinni WB right, than fitting the rest of the leg. I made a few easy changes that made an immediate improvements.

Still have a little more to do at this point, especially on the back. But I think I will leave that for the next muslin/test because, unfortunately, I don’t expect to wear this pant at all.  I’m living in shorts right now because it is summer.  It will be a few weeks before I even consider putting on pants with long legs. Secondly, this fabric is from the late-80’s and 90’s.  Our choices were really limited. You could choose cotton, silk, wool, nylon, rayon (if you felt rich) and, oh yeah, polyester.  Poly was not a wonderful fabric for slacks during the summer months.  This 100% cotton would have been a much more comfortable fabric. But it would wrinkle as badly or worse than linen. In the 80’s, I just accepted that. Probably because I knew everybody at work would look the same. It’s not a look I want to wear today.  We have much better choices. So it makes a good muslin/test garment which I am unlikely to wear no matter how good it is.