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.