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.

Eureka Pant, KathyRuddy

Grrr Foiled by Fabric ….. yet again!

I was pleased with the final alterations to my muslin of the Eureka pant. Had a few questions about the leg and  a little hesitant once I realized how the fabric stretched when body-warmed.  But I transferred the changes as accurately as possible to the tissue, trimmed seam allowances as appropriate for me for cutting a “real” pair from very nice fabric.

I think I need to start making notes to myself.  I made the changes to the tissue one day.  I made a mental note to add 1″ seam allowances on the following day, while cutting the fabric. Well instead “Sweet and Low” I must have added “Stupid Flow” to my morning coffee. When I got down to the sewing room I had completely forgotten about increasing the seam allowances. I cut the fabric as per the tissue. Oh yes I regretted it.

The result, while I wouldn’t wear it, is interesting.  Sorry no pics. There are somethings I just don’t share.  Public views of my girlie parts rank high on that list.  Let me describe. The side seam is perpendicular. The back is too tight between HBL 1 and 3.  While the outline of my underwear is detectable, the rest of the area is fine.  I saw 1 diagonal  line between knee and bum which I believe is related to not enough ease across the hip.  From all sides, the pant is too short which I think is odd since I removed 2″ less than I had pinned up for the hem. The front shows that I still need to lift the waist at the side between grain line and side seam.  Otherwise the pant as a whole could be OK.  In fact, other than the hem length, I might wear these,,,  if I was willing to don industrial-strength shape wear.  I’m not. I mean, I’m not willing to wear strong shaping underwear.  I do wear a back support, knee support and wrist support as needed.  I may eventually need to wear these support devices continuously.  I may even need corrective surgery in the future. For now, however, I  wear support when needed and add enough ease to my clothing to conceal my support devices.

The problem with my “real” pant goes back to the chosen muslin fabric.  It did not stretch in any direction as long as it (the fabric) was cold.  Once on my body, it stretched subtly but significantly.  A secondary issue is not cutting  the side seam allowances 1″ wide.  Something Kathy Rudy emphasizes over and over is “Cut big. Sew small” .  This garment could have been saved if it had 1″ side seam-allowances. The side seams could have been released, adding enough ease in the needed areas.  The hema, could have been faced with bias tape or a faux-cuff added.

The question I face now is: Can I adapt my pattern without making a whole new muslin?  It is  clear to me that I must find a way that when there is ever a doubt, I can/will  add more width  to the seam allowances,  not merely plan to do it.  It’s also clear to me that muslin fabric must be more carefully chosen.  Are these changes possible?

Ummmmm,  have to think about that and get back to ya…

PS  Suggestions definitely welcome.


One Pattern Many Looks

I’ve taken several Craftsy Classes. One I started but did not finished. Two I haven’t started (purchased during a very good sale).  I’ve added lots of classes to my wish list, but as I learn about the Craftsy format, I delete more and more. The first classes I took were definitely “meh” variety.  The information was good, but could have been presented as a free blog post with maybe an open sew along. Definitely not woth the cost but I hesitated to ask for a refund. I knew Craftsy was just getting going and while I was unimpressed, others (several of whom I admire greatly) couldn’t get enough of Craftsy.  I refuse to pay $50 for an online class.  I won’t buy a book for that price.  When I received an offer to purchase this class for $35, I hesitated. I will pay $30 for a book. But it’s a book I’ve had a chance to thumb through and determine if it’s an hour’s worth of entertainment or something that I will use over and over. I actually don’t really like the video format.  My short term memory needs a little assistance. So if i want to remember the information in a video, I need to stop the video and make notes and sketches.  With a book, I slap a post it note on the page. With an ebook, I make a bookmark. But, I really would like to fit one pants pattern and be able to adapt it to a multiple of styles. That’s not as easy as it sounds.  I’ve tried.  Even what seemed so minor, adjusting a pants leg width 1″, didn’t turn out well.   I’d love to know the secret tweeks the designers use to change pant shapes and adapt for different fabrics.  I’d really like to know.  So with Craftsy’s guarantee in mind (love it or refund it), I purchased and started viewing “One Pattern, Many Looks: Pants” by Kathy Ruddy.

This is the first Craftsy Course I can truly rave about.  First off Kathy is very personable. She comes across the screen as knowledgeable, experienced and down to earth.   She is able to full describe the task at hand so that you understand.  The visuals help, but I think I could figure out what to do with just the text.  I was very enaged with  this class, I wanted to go on and on.  Let me give you a  recap

Lesson 1 Meet Kathy Ruddy:  Doesn’t add any important knowledge. Kathy introduces herself gives a autobiography and encourages you to download the course materials.

Lesson 2 Creating the Pattern Block:  The class needs a basic pant pattern with a waistline at the natural waist, no pockets and slacks legs (i.e. neither belled or severely tapered.) Kathy recommends a Vogue pattern, but acknowledging that maybe you don’t want to run out and buy a pattern, describes what to look for and then takes the time to show you how to convert your existing pattern into a pattern that will work as basic.  Upside is that you don’t have to buy a new pattern.  I felt it was a little extra instruction, a bonus.  She is reverse-engineering these patterns and explaining how the shape was created.  It’s food for thought.  I filed it away as information to create that kind of shape when my basic pattern fits.  I am BTW using the Eureka Pant from Fit for Art Patterns in conjunction with the class.  I chose this pattern because I just purchased it and it does fit the standard for a basic block.

Lesson 3 Refining the Fit:  Not every figure  variation is covered, but she does a good job of covering the major differences and is the 2nd source I’ve seen describe the dropped rear. It’s a common physical difference rarely recognized by designers or manufactures ,  and the reason all my pants crotches are scooped in the back creating.  Of great interest to me personally was the change for removing excess ease directly under my rear and removing the twist which sometimes happens in legs.  Can’t wait to try these solutions. It is important to solve your individual fitting challenges before going onto the following lessons.

Lesson 4 Leg Design changes:  Finally I know why my leg changes don’t work.  Every thing I’ve read said to take the same amount from the inseam and side seam.  Kathy gives two rules for how to remove/add ease and tells you how and where to true the new lines.   Then she helps you realign the straight of grain.  She illustrates the process with a striped fabric. She  makes such sense that I’m eager to try her method.

Lesson 5 Faced Waists and Hidden Zippers:  Confession time I skipped through the hidden zipper segment.  I used those 30-40 years ago when they first came out and I was incapable of sewing a  nice zipper installation.  I’ve solved my zipper issue.  I don’t really want people staring at my clothing wondering how do I get in and out of that thing. So hidden zippers are not of interest to me and I don’t have a single one in my stash.  However I watched the Faced Waists twice.  This is a look I love.  I was fascinated by how the facing changed shape using two easy clips and over-lapping the dart legs.  I think I understand now and can make a faced waistband for all the varieties of waistband heights that I like to wear.

Lesson 6 Elastic Waist:  Kathy has an easy way to install elastic that doesn’t involve pulling elastic through a casing.  I’ve seen this technique in the past but didn’t like to use it.   All elastic does not have the same stretch and it seems that all waistlines don’t have the same circumference even when I’m making the same size but different patterns.  Kathy’s method overcomes both of these issues.  I’m curious enough to give her procedure a try but being me, I’ll be using large removable stitching.

Lesson 7 Adding a Zipper:  I didn’t want to write myself any notes.  I’m not impressed with zipper guards — that extra piece of fabric behind the jeans zipper.  My tender skin is always protected from zipper teeth with underwear.  I don’t have a burning desire to copy exactly ALL designer details.  I don’t need to make you feel like I’m rich enough to purchase Chanel or Valentino etc etc.  If there was a display near me, I’d go and see the work of these famous designers and I’d probably learn something. But for my everyday, casual life I don’t need a extra step to install a good zipper.  YMMV

Lesson 8 Slashed Pockets:  Loved this lesson.  The course materials include the “slash” Kathy uses.  It is curved and she explains why.  This is one of several pockets she talks about in the course. Since I both love and need pockets, I was especially attentive.

Lesson 9: Back Yoke and Patch Pockets: Another fascinating lesson.  Kathy takes the basic pant and shows how to make the yoke that you want.  It’s wonderful to see it change shape (similar to the waist facing)  She also uses this lesson to show how to copy RTW details to include placement.  Kathy encourages snoop shopping. Even praises the designer for the effort they go to in creating their garments. As she says, they’ve invested a lot of time to get these details right. Why not learn from them?  She shares a neat pocket copied from RTW even including the shape in the course materials.

Lesson 10 Welt Pockets:  These are special tailoring details we all love. Kathy shares a procedure that is easy enough for a beginner. You do need a special supply:  tear away stabilizer.  You might be able to use paper.  I’m fortunate to have a stash of embroidery supplies so I’m all set to try her method.


As I work with the information Kathy Ruddy provided, I will be referring back to this post or Craftsy. I thought it only fair that instead of, out the blue, writing  Kathy Ruddy this and Kathy Ruddy that,  it would be a good idea to post this evaluation. Again it is the first Craftsy Course that I can rave about and think I will use the majority of the material presented.