Otto #11 Long Pants

I love my Otto #11 5/2016 pants. Except for the lantern leg part. Now that I’ve got all my winter pants out, I discovered that I have 5 pairs with a lantern leg variation. I don’t like to wear them. They are too casual.  Too much like sweat pants. So why do I love to see this style on other ladies?  I don’t know. But I do like the fit of these #11’s and want to make them the right length without the lantern part.

I pull out the pattern and after some self-debate add 4″ length to the leg at the bottom. I continue the inseam and side seams at the same angle so it may add a little circumference at the hem. A little, I can offset later. I walk the seams because I’ve found every alteration is a built-in opportunity for error.

Then I choose a fabric.  Not too sure about this fabric. It’s a firm Ponte which should be good for pants but seems a little light for pants, especially winter pants. Still it will make a decent muslin even if the black photos poorly. It’s already fit, right? So the question should be: have I created the right leg length for me and maybe does adding leg length have an effect on drape.

I cut the fabric and start the relatively quick sew. It fits, right? So I continue confidently as if I making a 4th pair. I top stitch a faux-fly because I like the look and also top stitch a faux front-pocket.  I like the look of these details but don’t want to spend much time.  The more I handle this fabric the more I think it’s not a good choice for pants but maybe OK for a muslin and even winter long johns.  I should add that it has 25% stretch. My previous fabric had 20 and 30%. Being right in the middle of that stretch range, I expect the pants to feel nice. They don’t.

Even after scooping the crotch, they look weird:

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I think it’s safe to say they are too tight and that the crotch, even double scooped, is too short. This is just an ugly pair of pants complete with camel toe.  To my disgust the hem circumference is about 20″.  I’m continually seeking that pattern with a slim leg of about 16-18″. I can do better with PP113 and the Eureka’s  The only redeeming feature in this pair I see is that I may have added the right length for the leg.   Now stitched up, I truly hate this fabric. Don’t even want to wear it as long johns.  I’m wondering how I can avoid a future purchase. Part of me says, I really should finish this pair of pants. Learn what it takes to correct the pattern.  Another part of me says, be done with it. Quit ruining fabric. Go back to the TNT’s and work them.  I made this post just so in the future I can remind myself why I quit using the pattern 1) don’t like sweat suit type pants; and 2) the last version (this one) sucks.

2016/5-9 Leggins

Otto #9, 5/2016

I just had to know. Had to know if the alterations I made to Otto #11 5/2016 would be standard for all Otto pants. It would be wonderful, I think, to know that every time I trace an Otto pant, I can make the same corrections and achieve the same excellent fit.

So with that in mind, I traced #9, 5/2016,


the one-piece leggins in the size I used last, 48. (Otto recommends a 44 for me but I like more ease). I’m getting the hang of Peggy Sager’s fitting method and so I think CLD.  Circumference.  Well I did that by choosing the size.  Next L length. Judging from the last pant (Otto #11 5/2016), I make a .75″ tuck (1.5″ total length removed) just above the knee.  Now I’m working on Depth.  First depth change is at the hip.  Oh, this is one piece. Can I make the dart just from CB to an imaginary side seam?  It worked better (the end result was flat instead of crumpled) to slash all the way across from CB to CF; make the 1/2″ (total removed 1″) dart at the CB which automatically tapered to nothing by the time it reached CF. Next depth change I need to make is at the top of the inseam.  A 1″ dart needs to be made on the back inseam zeroing at the side seam; and repeat on the front. Oops. Cant’ do that.  I end up with a tent. Yes folding out a dart that zeros where I imagine a side seam to be (instead of where there really is one) on both front and back inseams creates a tent in my pattern.   I can’t smash it down. Oh it goes down but it’s a crumpled mess not a flat pattern. Can’t make a dart at the top of the inseam. How about a tuck?  That removes L (length) but does not effect D (depth). This needs to be a D change at the top of the inseam. I could slice from hem upwards and create a two piece leg.  Don’t want to. I want a 1 piece leggin.  I see no other possibilities.

I already have a Kwik Sew pattern to make long johns. Since what I’m doing will produce the same pattern as my Kwik Sew, I crumple all the tissue and toss into the trash. Until I get smarter.

I have to admit that the experience made me think back to other one-piece pants patterns that I’ve attempted and some off-the-record advice received. .  On rare occasions I can fit them in the mirror but later can’t sight of myself and wonder why they look so bad.  It’s because I’m curvy. I need more places to adjust for my curvy body. Other curvy women have commented that they never have true success with this type pattern. They need seams and darts to look their best.

I  made this quick blog post so that in the future if I’m tempted to use this pattern again, I will say “been there, didn’t do that because it won’t work” and I won’t waste my time.


2016/5-11, Ottobre Design

Pants Now!

After finishing the brown pair, I begin to wonder how quickly I could make pants using this pattern.  I selected a lovely black ponte from my stash. It looks good even when stretched 40% and recovers in a split second. Incredible fabric.  Hancocks has closed so I have little hope of ever finding it again. Again, lightly pressed and steamed then laid out and cut.  Did I mention that Otto 2016/5 #11 is incredibly fabric conservative?  I had 2 yards of this 62″ wide fabric.  I’m left with 3/4 yard –enough for shorts next year or a variety of neck bindings this year.

This could be a serger garment. I serged the inseams and crotch; serge finished the side seams. I stitched the side seams at 1/2″ double the 1/4″ previously used for the stable knit.  I felt that the greater stretch warranted a deeper seam.

The TALBOTS WAISTBAND  Join the elastic in a circle. Serge one edge of the elastic to the pant waist.  Fold down to the inside. The elastic will no longer be visible.  It’s covered by the right side of the pant that has been turned to the inside. Top stitch along the the serged edge i.e. the now lower edge where you attached the elastic to the pant waist.  I use a narrow zig zag when top stitching on stretch fabrics; and yes this waistband can be used on woven/nonstretch fabrics. The key is starting with a waist that will slip up over your hips without needing a closure such as side or front zipper. 2nd key, is that the pant must fit before attaching the waistband.  I suppose the elastic could be un-serged and the pant refit but I’m not going to do it.

I learned this waistband finish from Pamela’s Patterns DVD.   She found it on a shopping trip to Talbots and therefore calls it the Talbots Waistband.  Since I learned it from her, that’s what I call it.  I love that it is quick, easy and beautifully finished.

After the waistband I added the cuffs.  I serged the seams, folded WST, lightly pressed and then basted the two raw edges together. 3 raw edges are difficult for me to keep aligned. Unlike that Hi-End Designer fabric, this Ponte stretched magnificantly.  The leg and the cuff serged together easily.   Time till done?  Includes finding the fabric, determining stretch, cutting, loading 2 machines with thread and all the sewing.  I did not do any fitting. Nope, didn’t stop even once to check.  Total time to pics: ONE hour, twenty MINUTES.  I mean these are pants I can have right now.  Going some place and need a new pair?  All I need is an hour and half (need 10 min for a quick shower).

Pic lightened 100%. This is really a dark, dark black.

Fit?  Still think I need to scoop the crotch just 1/4″. Also may need to increase the hip dart.  Won’t do that until I see what scooping the crotch does.

2016/5-11, Ottobre Design

#11 in Real Fabric

Once the muslin fits, it’s time for a ‘real’ garment, right?


From my stash I chose a 2-year old Hancock fabric that was marked “High End Designer”.  It has a ribbed appearance but low stretch. However, I wanted the same stretch as the test fabric and it was perfect.  I will say when purchased,  I wondered about it.  Located on the same shelf as the bottom weight Ponte’s,  I wondered if it could have been misfiled but the weight truly was good for pants. Also might have made a very warm cardigan. Properly lined and interfaced, a great jacket. But as I said, I wanted to use it now because its stretch was 10.25%.  Like the muslin fabric, I could pull really hard and make that percentage go up.  I prefer to back it down so it looks like something I’d like to wear.  I don’t remember the fiber content. It does remind me of the Woolray yarn I bought in the 80/90’s for machine knitting pants. That stuff was wonderful. Good stretch. Excellent recovery. Priced so the home MK’er could afford a pair of Jill St John or similar hi-end designer pants. (Back then I think those pants retailed about $200 and we were paying $20 per cone.  Always needed part of a second cone, though).

I pressed lightly counting on the steam to help smooth out any bubbles or slight wrinkles. Partly that’s why I think it at least has a rayon content.  Polyester or acrylic does not cooperate with low temperature, light steam. At least in my sewing room it hasn’t. Laid out my 3 pattern pieces and cut fabric. I serged inseams, side seams and crotch but basted the waistband for the first try-on. To my delight, it’s darn near perfect.

I may want to scoop the crotch a little.  The CB dips down slightly and I feel it tugging on my rear.  I’m not surprised.  I’m the one with front/back crotch anomaly i.e. my crotch isn’t horizontal to the ground. Not just that the back and front crotch lengths are different but my front crotch is higher than the back. Typically, I need to scoop the crotch just a little.  Adding length under the waistband doesn’t help. Instead it will develop little dips.  Add at the hip and the back of leg mess recurs. Nope, the adjustment for me had got to be in the well of the crotch.

For the first time I added the cuffs which I think we’re calling ‘Lanterns’. What a pain. I had to cut a second set. Originally I had added 1/2″ to the cuff side seams.  I added 1.5″ and the cuffs still wouldn’t stretch to meet the leg.  I fought the issue with my serger, breaking a needle in the process and ripping out one half the leg seaming.  Finally eased at the SM and finished the seam at the serger. Finishing was absolutely necessary. Oh, I forgot to mention I’ve never seen a ‘knit’  that raveled like this one. Making me question if it really was a knit.  For the second leg/cuff, I got out the clear elastic and gathered the leg edge first before serging.  I also basted the two raw edges of the cuff together before serging because on the first leg part of the fight was keeping the 3 raw edges aligned with the differential kicked up to 2 and tugging to try to feed the fabrics. But I finished and I’m super pleased except for one thing. These are winter pants!  The fabric is that dang heavy. I won’t be able to wear them until sometime in November!

Note:  Leg width above cuff is 19″.  Cuff edge, with my 1.5″ seam allowancess finishes at 14″ .  Better try on that cuff before serging it to the pant leg.  Nothing like a pant you can’t pull up over your foot.

2016/5-11, Ottobre Design

Otto 2016/05 #11

I’ve fit 3 Otto pants patterns but it’s always a struggle. Needed several muslins and at least one of them looked dreadful on me even after fitting. (The Carrot Pant.) But this latest issue 2016/5, had an interesting looking leg.  I’ve been looking for that slim leg which is not body conscious nor does it flare at the knee or ankle.  I also prefer a waistband either at or just below my natural waist–no plumber’s butt for me. I’ve seen a few patterns that come close, but they’re always issued by companies whose draft I can never fit (Kwik Sew, McCalls etc).  So when this Otto  design posted:

I knew immediately I wanted to try it but I wasn’t using my normal methods. Burda and Otto seem to like a closer fit than me; and since I’m in between sizes, I chose one size larger (48) than the recommended. I located Sheet C, traced the pattern pieces and extended the leg pieces as instructed.  I tried comparing the just traced pieces with  Eleanor, a knit-fabric,  yoga-pant, type pattern which fits me (it took 6 muslins).  Looking at the pics…

…should tell you why I always have to fit from scratch.  My crotch and legs never come close to looking like the new draft. I’ve found I can’t just transfer my crotch to the new draft. Found that out the hard way with lost time and precious fabric. Can’t just measure crotch depth, leg length or ease.  I know there are people out there who always transfer “their crotch” and claim the pattern fits perfectly.  I have 3 great fitting pants patterns to which I did little at all ( TJ906 The Eureka and Pamela Pattern 113).  Each of the crotches are vastly different but each somehow fits.  It is the “whole being much greater than the parts” type situation. I know a new pants pattern means I’m fitting from scratch and will need several muslins.

Otto recommends adding 5/8″ equivalent to all seam allowances. I think that’s a waste at the crotch and inseam.  I added 1/4″ — enough for my serger seam– everywhere except the side seams. I added 1″ to both front and back side seams.  Knowing that I’m 3″ shorter than the standard figure, I shortened the leg above the knee by making a 3/4″ tuck (total 1.5″ length removed).

Also very familiar with my elastics, I cut a 34″ length of 1″ elastic.

I chose a remnant for my first test garment.  With 10.25% stretch, it just barely makes it into the moderate stretch zone. I can stretch 10″ to 11.5 if I pull really hard –but I don’t like to wear pants that are pulled really hard. I laid the parts out carefully and marked knee (both sides) and hip notches. Then I went to watch TV.

Not just any TV but Peggy Sagers 8/8/2016 broadcast on pants draping.  I paused, replays can be the best, to take notes which I’m happy to share.

Image is linked to full size pic which I think you can download or at least click and save.


I didn’t write down everything she said.  Some of her fixes don’t apply to me; others I don’t care about.  Also Peggy doesn’t cover every fitting variation. I don’t recall a single mention of asymmetrical hips, front-back low anomaly, etc , etc.  Pretty much she seems to think no matter the issue,  fix it during  musling.

So I cut my fabric; basted the pieces together, including inserting the elastic.  I can’t tell how pants fit on my body until the waistband is right.  To my delight, the crotch and waist both snuggled right into place. No need to make crotch adjustments, however I could see VPL.  My first alteration was to release  the side seams 1/4″.  With Fit 02  the front looked really good. Below the knee? Excellent. Butt was OK. Below my butt was the normal mass of wrinkles.  I pinched back there as best I could. Felt like the full width of my thumb. Peggy says you can do this yourself but it is difficult to pinch and look over your shoulder into a mirror and decide if you’re helping or hurting. I placed a pin at the furthest protuberance of my rear so I would know where to take my 1/2″ tuck. That was Fit 03.

I’m going to show all the pics of the back right now, but keep in mind Fit 01 (out of the envelope) is not pictured  and  still to share is Fit  3 and 4.

Fit 03, (2nd from the left and the 1/2″ dart across hip)  looked so good that I immediately pinched at the top of the inseam which also looked like a 1/2″ tuck was needed. When sewing I was reminded of a horse shoe and I’m calling it the horse shoe dart.  I started this dart at the front side seam gradually increased from 0 to 1/2″ by the inseam; continued stitching across the back decreasing to 0 by the time I stopped at the back side-seam.  I did this on only 1 leg, the right leg, Fit 04 (3rd from left, 2nd from right).  Fit 04 looked really good but not as clean as Peggy achieved. I pinched some more at the hip and again and the inseam but looking in the mirror, I just couldn’t tell. The only solution seemed to be repeat those darts increasing the depth.  Fit 05, I increased the hip dart to 3/4″. That’s it. I’d wear that leg (pic on the right).

Peggy recommends opening your muslin,making it flat and using that as your pattern. First off, you can see my muslin is still going to have wrinkles and bubbles. More important to me, my storage spaces already over flow. I prefer to have a very thin pattern to store vs that spongy, space-hogging, knit.  I transfer the changes back to the tissue. At that time I also trimmed the front, side, seam-allowance from 1″ to 3/4″; walked seams and filled in any gaps that occurred when the inseam was darted.  I’m thinking I can use this pattern for a stable knit and even a stretch woven. It might also be used on something like a ponte and slinky by taking in the side and waist seams.  I do want to share the differences to the pattern once it is fit. First will be the original. 2nd the fitted pattern.



I’m amazed at how much the angles changed.

A note about time involved, roughly 8 hours. It could have been less. Pinching fabric and looking over my shoulder was an insecure event. I may have spent too much time with my back side turned towards the mirror.   I always followed the mirror sessions with pics because that’s the only way I can really tell if I’m making a difference. A good difference, preferably. Every time I take pics, I run upstairs to look at them on the computer. I always seem to have short conversations with DH and just take a quick peek at what they’re doing on SG. I’ll admit that I might cut hours off the fitting time if I’d stay in the sewing/stash rooms but I enjoy the other 2 activities as well.

I’m really pleased with both Otto’s draft and Peggy’s fitting instructions. I had to see her in action several times.  I think it was the Aug 08, 2016 broadcast where she fit 4 different ladies, 4 different patterns; the entire time discussing what she was doing and why.  The notes helped me when I got into the sewing room.  I think that my knit fabric could have made fitting easier, however, Peggy did fit at least one of the ladies in a non-stretch woven.  I’m hopeful this is a process that I could use in the future.



1/4″ SA except front side seam 3/4; back side seam 1″

3/4″ tuck above knee

3/4″ dart at hip back only

1/2″ horse shoe dart at top of inseam

2010/5-20, Yoga


Similar to franken- pattern, Otto 5/2010 #20 has become a yoga pant frankenstein or yogastein.  I wanted to pursue fitting this pattern and during a recent shopping trip purchased two fabrics I thought would work well.  One is a ponte de roma with purple plaid on the face side. It is a nice fabric, but with that plaid I well understand why it was in the sell aisle at Hancocks for $2/yard.  The other fabric is a royal blue 100% polyester ponte.  I start with the ponte de roma thinking “muslin’ but then realize that I can use the inside as the public side. The inside is dark grey with darker grey lines appearing opposite of the plaid on the face.

As I was pretreating the fabrics, I realized I’m unnecessarily torturing myself with the fit process.   I have 4 pants patterns that fit perfectly or at least really well.  Each pattern required 2-3 muslins to achieve the fit I like. Each has almost exactly the same crotch curve and the same minimal ease.  Does it really make sense to start from square one, yet again?

Is there a way to jump start the fitting process of pants?  I think so. I was told that your crotch curve is your crotch curve.  Which makes sense. It’s quite likely that a body  of a particular shape and size is going to need the same curve and minimal ease with every garment. Oh sure, if I change styles drastically as from ski-slacks to a sarouel  this wouldn’t be true. But I wear typical American trousers, slacks and jeans.  The curve is much the same. Ease differs and grain lines change, but the curve is much the same.  I started by looking at the MSS short pattern. I think I’ve made a pair every other week.  After the first 3 pairs, I played with length and pockets but essentially it was the same short over and over. I faced the fact I would not be making or wearing shorts again until sometime in 2014.   To work with this pattern now, my yoga shorts must change to yoga pants. I wasn’t sure though if I had transferred all the changes from the shorts back to the long-legged pants version.   I pulled out the MSS tissues and compared them. The long legged version, required another 1/4″ scoop from the back crotch.   I don’t really want to mess up this pattern i.e. I don’t want to be chopping it apart, so I put fresh tissue beneath the front and back and using the rotary cutter, created a new working version.   Now I compared the MSS (working version) with the Yoga pant (OYP) tissue that I’d already traced and created an unsatisfactory version.  To my surprise the crotch curve, extensions and uprights were identical. The greatest difference is how the crotch of the OYP is slanted. Indeed the whole top portion (between hip line and waist). juts off at an angle.   I’m going to share two pictures.  The first shows the the two patterns with the grain lines aligned and the OYP on top.

The next one the OYP is still on top, but the crotch curves are aligned

I remember fighting with Kwik Sew patterns and never being able to eliminate the back leg wrinkles. KS has  the same angle as the OYP.  At the time someone kindly told me that they too were never able to sew successfully with KS pants patterns and felt that the issue was the angle of the crotch.  I really don’t feel like fighting any longer with this:

I aligned the pattern pieces by grain and trimmed the MSS to the same height as the OYP. Then I put the leg pieces of the OYP aside (and later threw them in the trash).

I cut my fabric and basted the pieces together.  There was no question in my mind that I would be ripping and resewing seams. I used water soluble thread (WST) in the bobbin to make that process as painless as possible.  I plinked with fitting the pant but couldn’t really figure out what was wrong until I realized the pant wasn’t wrong; I was wanting a narrower waistband piece.  Otto’s design is an 8″ piece, cut two, fold in half and attach to the top of the pant.  There is nothing wrong with this process. Having two pieces gives you two seams to tweak the fit for the waist.  When I realized it was my esthetics that were the issue, I quickly trimmed the waistband piece to my desired length.  I still needed to remove 1/2″ from the top of the legs starting on the front about 2″ from the side seam, completely traversing the back and then onto the other front for about 2″.  This did wonders for the wrinkles on the back, upper leg, but of course meant the crotch was now too short.  I scooped the crotch and also tweaked the front just a tiny bit by removing another 1/4″ from the top at the side seams. The MSS leg is wider than I want with a yoga pant.  Since I’ve changed just about everything else, I decided to remove 1″ from the side seams (total 4″ ease) below the hip.  I was taking pictures at this point when DH happened by and assured me that these pants were perfect.  Apparently he looked only between waist and crotch and pronounced perfection upon seeing:


LOL but they really are pretty good.  I’ve lightened the photos to the max so you can see what I’m seeing. I do think the front is perfect, or will be when I get those legs hemmed.  This is what I expect of a Yoga pant, something comfortable which doesn’t restrict movement but also does not have a lot of ease. (Big floppy pants can also restrict movement.) As far as I’m concerned nothing to dislike about the front.

I’m not sharing a side view, but  it was wrong. I need to remove 1″ ease from the front and add it to the back. It’s possible I might even need a little more ease than that for my rear. My issue is giving my rear enough ease without adding too much over the back-thigh.   I see the wrinkles on the left just under the waistband, I think I don’t have the pant sitting correctly.  Close fitting, knit fabric wants to grab a spot and stay there. So I’m not going to worry about it. It’s possible I should add a little more ease across the butt and take more from the back of the leg especially over the thigh. I do see the vertical line on the left thigh but it’s not mirrored on the right. Instead the right leg has horizontal wrinkles on the back of the knee. I’m inclined to believe that it may be the way I’m standing. Certainly the back of this pant looks nothing like the light blue version above. This is entirely wearable. That blue version was not.   

Will I make these again?  Yes but not right away.  There are a few other garments I really want to make first.  I have high hopes the next time I make these, I can make them even better.

2010/5-20, Yoga

Otto 5/2010 #20 Yoga Pants

OK this just isn’t working for me and to be truthful, I think the fabric is entirely to blame. The interlock which makes a nice beefy T-shirt, is too soft for the lower portion of my body.  It clings what I want  skimmed. I’m not finishing this muslin.  I will note a few lessons learned.

1) Oddly enough size 52 which is 6 sizes too large has the perfect ease for the back.

2) The front needs at least 2″ removed which would reduce it to my usual Otto size.

3) The back crotch needs to be scooped and formed into the Fish hook configuration that works best for me with other patterns.

4) My usual 1″ elastic did not work well. As a minimum  I need to add 2 more inches in length.  More could be better.  A softer elastic might be better.

5) A stretchy fabric with more body is a definite must.  The interlock chosen was just too soft for this style.


I’ve not abandoned the pattern. It is on hold probably until 2014.  I need to locate and purchase the correct fabric for the style.  I hope my readers are not terribly disappointed at not seeing this made up. Since I do like a yoga pant, I’d like to give this pattern a fighting chance to shine.  I promise to share the results when I’m able to find the right fabric. 

2010/5-20, Yoga

Ottobre Design Style 20, Issue 5/2010

For a time, several (15) years ago, I had one pair of yoga pants which I loved dearly.  Loved as in as soon as they were washed and dried, they were worn again.  My weight changed; my body changed;  and I believe  you should dress for the body you have now.  So, with great sorrow, I passed the pants onto another via Goodwill. Why was I fond of these pants and reluctant to let them go?  They were as comfortable as sweat pants but looked nice enough for business casual wear. No kidding. Mine was made of an expensive rayon/poly blend that skimmed the curves; never wrinkled; and laundered easily.  Travel? Oh yes, they could be worn on the plane all day, matched with top and a little bling to be worn for evening cocktails.  While I prefer to send my clothes out for laundering, this pair of pants also took well to a basin of water and dried overnight (usually). They were a great pair of pants.  Why did I not have more?  I purchased these in RTW.  Never had a pattern. Only years later did I realize I was kidding myself about any RTW pants really fitting.  Once I started taking photos of my pants, I realized none, not a single pair either RTW or self sewn, fit my rear.  My initial search pants patterns were for pants which could be tweaked to fit me using woven, non-stretch fabrics.  Knit and woven stretch fabrics were an entirely different nightmare.  I always intended to seek out a pattern for yoga pants and finally, they found me in Ottobre Design Issue 5/2010 Style 20.

I looked through this issue without crediting the photos highly.  Otto has a real ability to make the best patterns look disgusting.  Hey, it’s not just me.  Other sewist who recommended Otto to me warned me that Otto’s fabric choices and photography were woeful and not to be trusted.  I barely glanced at the action shots.  I was unimpressed with these pants until I saw the line drawing.  Then, very pleased, I said “Yoga Shorts!”.  With that, this pattern went into my sewing queue for spring, summer and fall 2013. Here’s the problem. I envisioned shorts. These are not shorts which is clearly shown on page 32 (I think).  They are Capris.

Firstly I can’t create good proportions for myself with Capris.  Partly it’s my figure and partly it’s my choice of lengths for my tops.  The best pant lengths for me are hemmed between mid-knee and  2″ above. A second good range is between my ankle and 1/2″ above the floor. As soon as I focused my eyes on the picture of the model in these pants, I realized I would need to shorten the legs.

I’ve made two other pairs of Otto pants. It wasn’t easy.  One became an immediate donation to Goodwill.  The other was finished and worn after multiple scoops, tucks and as I recall an insertion here and there. Also, the skill for  matching appropriate fabric to the pattern eludes me.  So I’m cautious about proceeding.  Usually I trace an Otto pattern as the sections relate to my body, plus 1 size.  What that means, is the Otto sizing chart says I have a size 42 bust.  A 42 bust is always too small.  It also says I have a size 44 hip. Nope, I can’t even pull my pants up or tops down if I trace a size 44.  After tracing multiple Otto patterns, I’ve settled on a scheme which works fairly well for me:  neck/shoulders 38; front bust 44, back 46; waist and hip 48.  I use a french curve to create the armscye and smooth out the side seam curves after I make my 1″ back waist length adjustment. But this time,,,, this time I threw that all out the window and traced the largest size given.  Here’s my delimna. First off, as explained, the size they say fits me never has enough ease to cover my body. Never.  Next, everyone complains that the American Big 4 pattern companies have way too much ease…. except for me.  I find that I need to narrow the shoulder and trim some off the front bust as well as making the BWL, but over all I don’t think they give me enough ease.  Partly that’s because of my fit preferences.  I like garments that skim my curves and give me a feminine shape but don’t reveal how really overweight I am.  I like the “Skims everything; Reveals nothing” ease formula. AND then there is my final issue, which I admit is totally self-inflicted:  I never seem to choose a fabric with the same stretch-factor as the fabric Otto chose when drafting the pattern. That can be a killer. It has caused me real heart ache time and time again.

I chose again to sew from my remnants.  Pants are difficult for me to fit. I prefer the first pair to be, at the most, a wearable muslin.  The pattern calls for a knit with 10% stretch.  I have nothing like that in my remnants.  I chose a medium weight, interlock, cotton/poly, knit with 25% stretch.  If this works well, I have another pair of shorts for late summer and early fall.  If this is bad news, I’ve made good use of a remnant and moved it out of the stash.

Oh I said “shorts” and the description is “Capri pants”.  After tracing the largest size, I added 1/4″ seams. I found and marked the straight of grain and hip line on both front and back pieces.  Then I compared with my MSS shorts pattern and folded the legs up to end at 1″ above the knee. I added hem allowances with side seam shaping so that I will have above the knee shorts with side-vents.

Next I aligned the back and front pattern pieces so the hems were even and the hip seam lines just touched at the side seam.  I measured.  From looking at the tissue I expected to split the back and front in half vertically and add more ease. But, my measurements say there should be enough fabric to construct these shorts with woven, non-stretch fabrics.  I also compared the crotch curve with the MSS shorts. The curve is slightly different. Not quite as deep or angled. But a crotch for stretchy fabrics should be a little different.  I’m leaving both crotch shape and ease alone for now.  I expect (I hope, hope, hope) that I will be taking in the side seams and even shortening the crotch uprights.  My plan is to baste all the pieces together, excepting the elastic.  To hold during fitting the elastic is going to need sturdy stitches.  But the rest can be held together for a quick photo session using 2.5mm stitch lengths and water-soluble thread (WST) in the bobbin.

I have to admit this decision was partly based on following evjc as she altered a jacket for herself using good fabric and basting stitches.  This is not necessarily a quick or easy fitting method. It is a reliable method if you start with enough fabric and if you apply a little patience to the procedure.


Analyzing Otto 5/2007 #16

Preplexed about emerging fitting issues, I did a full post comparing the most recent versions of Otto #16 5/2007 with the first successful version completed in Dec 2012.  The important thing to note is that a few pounds (3) and suddenly the old X wrinkles in the back have returned with a vengence.  I’m also seeing evidence of a pudgy belly that was not visible on the  Dec version.  To read the full analysis click here.

Just the pics?


Pin Strip Jan 2013

Brown Canvas Feb 2013:

Photo Lightened 100%

3 pounds did all that? Had to be the effect of fabric as well.