Knee Spread Alteration, KnockKnees

Knee Spread Alteration: Fitting


The ‘Bank Line’ pics above tell me that DH has nothing to be ashamed of and neither do I.  I might want to think about lengthening my blouses if I’m going to continue wearing  slim pants without a 3rd layer. My vests or other 3rd layers will cover up the issues I object to.  Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised. I did think I might have to acknowledge this as a definite muslin and throw it pant away.

The 50% stretch of the fabric was a bigger issue than I expected. I removed 1/2″ ease from the front and stitched the back at 1/4″ instead of the 1cm SA’s planned. I thought I had already made this change to the tissue.  These days, it is typical for me to add 1/2″ ease to the back and remove the same amount from the front. Like my entire back side is 1 size bigger than my front or like I buy size 14 but my back is a 16 and my front is a 12, KWIM?   Not only did this fabric have 50% horizontal stretch, it has 25% vertical. I trimmed 3/4″ from the waistband and would have trimmed more except that the elastic interfered. Speaking of elastic, the 1″ initially removed was not enough. I removed an additional inch from both front and back to make the elastic a total of 4″ shorter than the previous elastic; AND I could have removed more. I scooped the back crotch three times.  The first time, my pattern alterations had created an odd, uneven crotch. I needed to scoop just to have a nice curve.  Later I scooped 1/4″ each time which greatly reduced the back-of-leg wrinkles but also shortened the leg length. I could scooped even more except for the pant length thing.  I’m seriously thinking I need to shorten that back leg.

I love to see the fitting progression and thought I’d share a few with you.

As we look into the pic, the unfitted pant is on the left, final version on the right. I removed 1/2″ ease from the front because the side seam evenly divided me 1/3 back to 2/3 front; and there were masses of diagonals in back.  Once I removed the ease  as shown in pic 3  (3rd from left, 2rd from right) I’m sure everyone will say “more tummy room”.  All those wrinkles are gone though by the last pic. Why? Because I know from experience the front diagonal lines that point to the side and were repeated on the back, mean that I’ve gotten my side seam too long.  I chopped 3/4″ off the top of each side seam. Suddenly, last pic on the right,  no tummy wrinkles.

Scoop, scoop, scoop:

Despite removing a hundred wrinkles, I am disappointed in the sheer number that remain. I think the Near Perfect Eleanor used a firmer fabric. The combination of softer RPL and 50/25 stretch did not help this version at all. I just did reach the point were it was counterproductive to continue scooping.  But I think  these are wearable. Certainly better than 99.9% of the RTW  I’ve tried on.

I was very concerned about the grain line adapted because of the alteration .  I carefully made notches and matched them because I know if the notches don’t match the pant absolutely will twist.

I think it was a valid concern.  I clearly see a drape towards the side seam of the leg, above the hem. Although it has lessened by the final pair (far pair on the right as we look at the pic).  The backs have a very similar drape.  Previous Eleanors clearly break at the front of the shoe

.. and their corresponding backs just hang to the floor.   I deliberately leave my pants a bit long.  At my house, all the clothing goes into the washer and dryer for cleaning.  Even  fabrics designed for this kind of maintenance will shrink over time–sometimes rapidly!

When I’m looking at the current Eleanors, I have to ask, was the grain line drawn incorrectly or is this just the result of softer fabric with 4 way stretch?

Unlike the Xmas Dress, I’m not in a place of not knowing what to do.  The pants are wearable but Im not sure the knee spread alteration was effective. The Bank Line pics look good, the fitting close ups show the drape below the knee.  I’m copying my Eleanor again because I want to record the fitting changes needed for a 50% stretch fabric. My copy will add 1/2″ ease to the back and remove the same from the front.  I will shorten the crotch length 1/2″ both back and front.  Scoop the back crotch 1/2″ and make the entire crotch curve smooth. I’ve not decided exactly how to shorten the back leg.  Will it be enough to shorten at the inseam or do I need to tuck then entire leg and then ease it to the front leg  Whichever I choose, I’ll mark this new pattern 50% stretch and carefully put it away.  The next time I work on pant fitting, I plan to use J Sterns Jeans pattern and fitting procedure.  As for the Eleanors, they are good enough most times and perfect from time to time.  When I just want to sew pants, I can choose from Eleanor, TJ906 or PP113.

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.