Brown Shorts for Summer Collections

As my planning posts  were being published,  I was able to return to my sewing room. Finally I’ve healed enough to navigate the stairs. I knew what I wanted to sew: summer weight, brown shorts, black jeans, and blue dress slacks.  My machines were threaded with brown. It was a no brainer to sew the brown summer shorts first.

I looked for brown fabrics in my “Under 2’s Stash”  That’s the cuts that have been reduced to under 2 yards. Too big to throw away but not big enough for  every imaginable garment.  I find cuts that are about 1 yard up to 2 yards long are excellent for summer clothing and crafts.  I keep these segregated so that I can find them easily and use them up. Otherwise these small cuts frustrate me. I can’t find them when I want them. When I don’t want them, they’re all I can pull out of the stash.  Lo and behold, there is 1-5/8 yard of brown corduroy in the Under 2’s. It’s the only brown fabric in the Under 2’s. I looked over my brown stash, because I really didn’t want to sew corduroy for summer. But the brown stash didn’t contain any light weight pant fabrics. I scoured the blue and black stashes and found that I  didn’t have much that will work as light weight pants.   I Placed an order through Fashion Fabrics Club but they won’t be here for another week to 10 days.   I  look again at the brown  remnant in the Under 2’s.  I purchased 2 cuts of this particular corduroy.  It was labeled as Baby Corduroy. It is a fine pin wale and heavenly soft.  So soft that it made poor looking pants.  I was always rumpled looking. Like I had just leaped out of bed. Those pants didn’t stay in my closet long.  The remnant sat in the stash for 2 years or better. I decided for the sake of getting things started, I  would use this soft corduroy which would be fine for all but the highest temperatures South Dakota can throw at me.

I also didn’t want to spend a lot of time fitting. Since the latest PP113 is near perfect, I opted to use it by folding the leg up-and-out-of-the-way  about 6″ about the knee line. I also wanted a quick sew. I opted to draft a cut on waist band. Which is  very simple to do.  My straight waistband is 3.5″ wide. I wanted and elastic waistband which looks best if it is folded in half lengthwise and edge stitched along the fold. I added 1/4″ to allow for top stitching 1/8″ away from the fold. I cut tissue 3.75″ wide and the entire length of front waist. Cut a second the entire length of the back waist. I pinned the tissue to my existing pattern along my waistband stitching line.

I also opted to use the MSS pocket.  This pocket is an extension on the back which is placed beneath the side front and to stitched. The front pocket must be finished before hand. I’m not giving the whole secret of the pocket away because I feel the MSS pant by Louise Cutting has several neat tricks that are well worth paying for. The pocket is just one.  Creating this pocket entails a change in my normal construction order. Not a big deal.  The real draw back is that you don’t want to try to adapt for fit after the pocket is sewn. In fact the instructions for the pocket say that it is assumed you have already fit a muslin and need no fitting adjustments.   When I choose to use the MSS pocket, I know I have to be will to accept the final fit whatever it is.

I had my tissue changes made, fabric cut and pants sewn in about 4 hours. I did not stop for fitting. Because of the pocket, either the fit works for me or the final garment is donated.  This really is a winning version of PP113. Easy sew; the pocket is flat against the body. There is some gathering at the waist due to no darts and the elasticized waistband.

My photos are from the point of adjusting the elastic. Every elastic seems slightly different.  The only way to be sure that the elastic is tight enough without being too tight is by trying it on. After these pictures, I removed 2″ length making my Walmart 1″ elastic 32″ long.  Then I butted the edges together on top of a 1″ bias tape remanent and stitched the edges to the bias tape. This gives me a flat, very flat, elastic join.  After that I stretched and snapped the elastic several times rearranging the distribution of the waistband over the elastic. I make a point of telling this, because the final short hangs a bit differently from the pics. Also, the pics have been lighted 55%. The corduroy is a nice deep chestnut-brown which photos as well as black.

So not the best looking pants in the closet. As far as fit goes, I mean. I like the details. See how the pocket opening is practically invisible? I do think I want to shorten the pants just a little more. This is not the best length for me. Overall, I’m happy with my new shorts. Especially happy because they now complete my Basic Brown Summer Collection:



I’m really very pleased with this pattern.  For this version, I added a 3rd dart to the back pattern and increased the vertical tuck in the front piece to remove a full 1″ of ease.

I wasn’t sure about my choice of fabric. This is a cotton. I want to call it ticking but the fabric is not tightly woven. It’d never keep a single feather within a pillow! In fact the fabric is a bit light and I’m not sure pant worthy.  But I just couldn’t help myself. I can absolutely imagine walking along some beach dressed thusly:

I think the front is getting near perfect….

…although I will tweak the fit for each fabric.

Adding the 3rd dart on the back was an error. At fitting time, I released the back dart and stitched a 2nd dart in the front returning the pattern to its original configuration of 2 darts in front and 2 darts in back. This is the first time with this pattern that  I’ve added a 2nd dart to the front of this pattern.

I do see the slight diagonals forming below the waist; kind of over the pocket. Usually, I will finally tweak these away by taking more length off the at the side seam.  I’m putting off that tweak because the diagonals are not as bad as they are on most pants and truthfully could be caused because there isn’t sufficient ease in the back.  I mean, they could just go away once the total ease is correctly divided between front and back according to what my body needs.

When I put in the slant pockets, I taped the slant-edge. It’s under-stitched and turned creating a surprising amount of bulk right at the side seam.  My presser foot did not ride smoothly over that edge when stitching the side seam.  I had to stop, rip stitches and re-do a time or two. So while the side seam at the pocket join looks tight, I’m not sure it’s a lack of front ease causing the diagonals or inflexibility and denseness at that point.

The back clearly needs a smidge more room. Sigh, my scales report that I have indeed added padding even while the tape measure records the same inches.   I can let the side seams out another 1/4″.   Which having seen these “final’ pics I will do.   I’m always amazed at how an improved fit feels so much better and looks great in the mirror BTW that I think it’s perfect but then the pics tell me it’s not.

Summary of pattern changes:

  1. Less 4″ leg length
  2. Crotch depth
    1. Back: 1/4″ evenly tucked  (total 1/2″ removed from back crotch depth)
    2. Front:  3/8″  Wedge at the center front decreasing to  1/4″ at the side seam
  3. Ease
    1. Front: Vertical 1/2″ tuck  (removes 1″ ease per leg)
    2. Back Slash and spread 1″ (adds 1″ ease per leg)
    3. Net ease change =Zero

I look at the net changes and think, “I really didn’t alter the original draft much”.  It’s taken 3  versions to get to this point because I’m cautious and analytical.  Also I’ve learned that in fitting, it’s better to make one change at a time because every change changes something else.

Future change

  1. Ease
    1. Front: Vertical 5/8″ tuck  (removes 1.25″ ease per leg total 2.5″ from the front)
    2. Back Slash and spread 1.25″ (adds 1.25″ ease per leg total 2.5″ added to the back)
    3. Net ease change =Zero

Yeah, I’m just moving ease from the front to the back. But at the same time, each of my versions are very wearable and each version is allowing me to play with other features such as pockets.

I’m liking this pattern so much that I’ve purged my pant pattern-stash.  I’ve kept The Eureka pant, CLD’s MSS pant and  Pants Perfected (today’s pattern PP113). Pants are so difficult for me to fit, that I’d rather spend time adding details than fitting pattern after pattern.  Even PP113, a pattern  I’ve already used multiple times, has taken 3 tries to get very close to perfect.  Of course, another version will be coming up.



Tweaking PP113

So pleased with the narrow back (and the smaller 20″ hem circumference) but it’s not enough to just transfer draping changes back to the pattern. They need to be tested. So I started this next version by

  1. Vertically slashing the back along the grain line and adding an even 1″ ease.
  2. To compensate for that I made a vertical 1/8″ tuck on front (removes 1/4″ ease per leg). I wanted to be bold and take the full 1″ away from the front (just added to the back) but just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
  3. I also increased the dart depth on the back by 1/4″ on each dart. There are two darts so that means I removing a total of 1″ ease at the waistline in the back.

I’m doing a slight bit of rearrangement to the sewing stash and have separated fabric that I think would make good pants. Well, they are fabrics that I’ve seen in RTW pants.  Pamela of Pamela’s Patterns, says as a guideline ask yourself if you would buy a RTW pant made up in this fabric. “Buy” is critical. Because even RTW makes mistakes. I quit buying RTW pants several years ago (the DG2’s are very recent).  RTW pants fit the waist or the bum. They may look and feel great, then I turn around and find that the crotch is way up in there; my lady parts identifiable and in short I don’t buy RTW pants.  So I had to think back to when I was younger and thinner.  Fabrics have changed a lot.  From my stash emerged a beautiful spring green cotton/lycra that I recognized as a perennial favorite.  It is not an “old” fabric. It’s only been in my stash about 2 years.  I’ve delayed using it because I wanted to be sure the resulting garment would be worthy of the fabric. No more. I’m using whatever fabric appeals to me. If I ruin it, Oh well that’s another fabric my son won’t have to deal with when I die.

This has about 10% stretch. 12% if I pull really hard. In and of itself, that adds a new dimension to tweaking this pattern.  I found that I needed to increase my seam allowances. I ended up with a 1-1/8″ SA when a 1/2″ was planned. At final stitching I increased just a bit more which is almost enough on the front:

But too much on the back:

.I also found that increasing the dart depth is not the best answer. The darts became,,, weird. Fortunately,  my tops will cover the worst of it. I added front patch pockets. I like patch pockets because they don’t interfere with any fitting. It seems like I always need to tweak for the effects of fabric.  I love the MSS pocket, but find it awkward to fit when using that pocket. It’s like, I have to be satisfied with the fit no matter what, if I’m going to use the MSS pocket.  If I have any inkling that fit my need adjusting, choose another pocket.

I see the one diagonal on the back which on the first pair I attributed to my stance. Some time ago, it was suggested that one of my hips may be slightly lower than the other. That’s quite common amongst women.  We tend to carry weight (children, groceries, etc) more on one side of our body than the other. Our posture suffers for it.  I notice the effects especially at my shoulders. Clearly to me, one of my shoulder is lower than the other.  I’m not mentally ready to address this phenom either at the shoulder or butt. Except that I also note that the diagonals at the front and side

are usually the result of an uneven waistline. This too is common.  My waistline is not level.  Actually, it’s more like the track of a roller coaster ride.  Usually, I clear up most of those diagonals by offsetting the side seam 1/4″ above the waistband and letting the waist evenly fall back into place along the waistband. But when I did that on this pant, it developed camel toe and crotch creep.; and did so despite the bubble’s beneath the waistband that indicate the crotch is too long. No thanks. I’d rather have a few diagonals.

Despite my criticisms, I’m not unhappy in the least with this pant. Once I quit posing, my pants are going to develop drag lines.  It will be hard to tell which lines are from fit issues and which are from my body in motion.  I will increase the front, vertical tuck to a full 1/2″ removing a net of 1″ ease from the front and add a 3rd back dart.  I’m not sure about correcting for the side diagonals. I got the back too tight. Those under-waistband bubbles could be forming because the pant is snuggling upwards trying to pull more fabric over the widest point. Which BTW could also be contributing to the diagonals. Because this is a cotton/lycra, the bubbles and diagonals may largely disappear after I’ve worn the garment a time or two and permanently stretch out the seating area.   The one thing that’s really out of kilter, is the color/fabric combination.  This lovely green was matched with a full-bodied fabric.  This fabric is more suitable for late fall, early spring or with tights, dead winter. Generally I avoid the lighter colors until summer. There’s a practical reason behind my behavior.  I’ve ruined many pants because winter snows create a muddy oily crud that can’t be washed out. Spring and fall are not nearly as bad, but the same does happen. For that reason and the fact it exists for 3 seasons of the year, you generally see me in dark blue, dark brown and black pants.

I anticipate this pant will have limited wear which is too bad. There this phenom that occurs with fit.  Every time it gets a little better, I hate the previous versions and can barely stand to wear them.  Already I notice that this pair, the previous and the black pair from last winter are incredibly more comfortable than my all my other pants excepting the DG2’s. I can’t wait to make more.





The Narrow Back

I want a slack type fit. Smooth over waist and hip. Trim down the leg to the ankle. Not flowing. Nor like a body hugging jean. PP113 fits wonderfully as long as I want a loose trouser pattern.  As soon as I start trying to achieve a “slack” i.e.  reduce the hem circumference and trim away some of the ease over the back hip, the dreaded X wrinkle returns.  Admittedly, this happens to my Eureka and MSS pattern as well; and the wrong fabric can ruin any pattern.  As I pondered this, I decided to view the fitting DVD (which accompanied the pattern) a second time. After all, it’s been over a year since I viewed the DVD.  I’ve played with this pattern multiple times. Traced and fit at least 3 times.  I was surprised when Pam recommended one of the models switch to the narrow back. Huh? That woman’s rear didn’t look particularly flat to me, but the tissue pattern clearly puffed out over her back thigh–exactly what I see on myself.  So nothing would do  but I try the narrow back for myself.

I traced both front and back. Just for fun I traced both the narrow back (in pink) and the wide back (in green).


I was expecting that the green outline, would have a longer crotch extension and be over all wider.  I was not expecting that the red line would have a higher upright, the extension is dropped (green arrows) and almost as long and most notably both inseam and side seam are definitely shaped (purple arrows) . Oh and the narrow back is at least 1/2″ narrower at the hem. There are clearly two different drafts.

I almost stopped here. I knew I didn’t need the longer crotch upright; and the dropped extension is a bit shorter. Also my body seems to always appreciate a pant with a little more length going between the legs.  But I do end up scooping the crotch just a bit (I need more of a J hook) and I really like the look of the shaping of the side and inseams.  So I decided, What the heck. I’ve wasted so much material on pants, one more cut wouldn’t matter.

With every pattern I make a series of tweaks.  For starters, I’m shorter than the “average” figure.  I will require at least a length alteration. I’m also lazy and like to serge and be done. So when a pattern fits, I reduce all  seam widths except the side-seam. That way I can serge most of the garment and still be able to tweak fit for individual fabrics.  I’ve been recording changes on my patterns but as recorded they tell me where I am now as opposed to how I got here. IOW I know that I’m going to serge the inseam at 1/4″ but I don’t know how if I removed 3/8″ or 3/4″ to finally arrive at my 1/4″ serging seam allowance.   Since this is a pattern I use over and over, I decided to record changes in a different way.  I have two pages in my sewing journal. One is labeled “front”. The other “back”.  I’m recording the net changes as I go along.  For instances I know that I need to shorten the leg.  I started with 3″. Compared it with my existing pattern and increased that by 1/2″.  In my book on both the Front page and Back page, I’ve noted “shorten leg 3.5″.  It was 3″ and then changed to 3.5″ when I realized I needed to shorten an extra .5”.   Since I’m really not sure how I arrived at the last pattern, I’ve started with 4 pattern alterations

  1. Less 3.5″ leg length
  2. 1/4″ evenly tucked across back crotch depth (total 1/2″ removed from back crotch upright)
  3. A wedge  3/8″ at the center front, 1/4″ at the side seam on the front pattern piece.
  4. Eliminate 1 dart from front pattern piece.

I can see this alterations on my previous pattern which fits pretty good with most fabrics,excellent with some fabrics and is a total waste of some fabrics. I’m pretty confident with that pattern, but still holding my breath on this one.

I chose a light weight but firm suiting. It’s labeled “mixed fibers” which made me wonder if I should even purchase it. However, that makes it more than suitable for a muslin. It’s a bit scratchy.  Could be nylon. Could be wool. It doesn’t shrink so I don’t think wool.  I serged the edges immediately because I wasn’t sure how much handling it would get and how badly it would ravel. I was immediately thankful for that choice, because just carrying it to the serger caused minor raveling.

Let’s get right to fit.  Each of the next 3 photos shows the fit (from left to right : 1) out of the envelope 5/8″ standard seam allowances , 2) decreasing side seams to 3/8″ 3) offsetting  side seams 1/4″ back, 3/4″ front.

It’s important to me to note, that the only thing I have done is adjust the inherent ease. By offsetting the seams, I’m removing ease from the front and adding it to the back. The back goes from being obviously too tight, to almost perfect.  I could stand another 1/4″ (on both side seams) but I don’t have any left. On the back, I don’t have any left. 1/4″ is as narrow as seam as I will use and even then I can get into trouble.

I’d look at the front

and  ask “is this OK”.  Front he front view I wasn’t sure if I had an issue. But the side

Clearly shows that there is more front room than back room.  This is a clear example of what Gale Greig-Hazen (and I think KatherineF) teach:  you have to put fabric where fabric is needed.   Because the final pant

is dang near perfect. I tend to shift my weight from one leg to another which accounts for the one back drag line. It was not visible at the final fitting (last pic on the right of all 3 above). I added pockets and embroidered them.

I’m hoping this “muslin” is wearable for several years. I think it’s going to be cool for summer and of course warmer spring and fall days.

Pattern alterations:

Started with

  1. Less 3.5″ leg length
  2. 1/4″ evenly tucked across back crotch depth (total 1/2″ removed from back crotch upright)
  3. A wedge  3/8″ at the center front, 1/4″ at the side seam on the front pattern piece.
  4. Eliminate 1 dart from front pattern piece.


  1. Vertical 1/8″ tuck on front (removes 1/4″ ease per leg)
  2. Slash and spread 1″ on back (adds 1″ ease per leg)
  3. Increase back dart width or add 1 additional back dart.


I have to say, this sounds a lot like what I did with Eureka, MSS and several of the Burda pant patterns that I fit.  I’m tempted to immediately add 1″ to the back and remove 1″ from the front because that’s exactly what I did to the Eureka, MSS and Burda patterns. But I like to progress carefully and while I know I need to remove some from the front, I’m not sure exactly how much. I’d rather have a little roomy front, than too tight.  Right now, I’m pretty pleased. Surprised that the narrow back works for me and pleased with how well it looks especially with so little effort on my part.


Item 5 for the Winter 6PAC

I needed a 2nd pair of pants for my 6PAC and I needed to refit Pamela Pattern #113.  To my surprise adding the PBA to fit my protruding behind has actually introduced my dreaded X wrinkles. I couldn’t tell that with Ver1 or with Ver 2 but it was entirely evident when I made the Ponte version.  With that version (3), I blamed the fabric with the possibility of the waist treatment adding to the issues. But I could not deny that Version 4 made from a cotton crinkle and never shared; or  version 5 a cotton twill (not shared) also badly suffered from the same X wrinkles.  Why? Why suddenly was I seeing X wrinkles?  I looked carefully at PBA Versions 1 and 2 and realized that the wrinkles were lightly indicated.  Those particular fabrics had the right kind of body to minimize the X wrinkles.  Well not all bottom weight fabrics are made cotton/rayon or cotton/lycra. Actually the cotton/rayon in a bottom weight was/is a rare find. Why the PBA should create X wrinkles is a mystery to me. A mystery I don’t want to solve right now.  At the moment I want to complete my winter 6PACs. So I want to use the best of my pants patterns, TJ906 and PP113. Er the version of Pp113 that produced perfect trousers.

Except the original version has gone missing.  How could I have lost it?  I remember carefully labeling, folding and placing in the envelope. Later moving all the pieces from the envelope to a 6 page folder and finally moving all to a 13-sectioned filer. The very first section is labeled “Original Fit”. But it is empty.  The stretch fit has its 2 pieces. The PBA has it’s 2 pieces. But the original fit is empty.  The original fit was not misfiled, or hanging elsewhere.  So I begin the process of fitting from scratch. Again.

I read back through my entries and decided upon size, the front and full back.  My alterations were limited to adding 1″ to the back’s side seams and reducing leg length 2″.

My fabric is a beautiful, high quality twill with slight stretch.  If I remember correctly, this was purchased from Hancocks and has a polyester/lycra content. I stress again, it is high quality. This is not the fabric of inexpensive Walmart slacks. For a twill, it is heavy and thick. It sheds wrinkles.  It took 3 tweaks to make this into a classic trouser with beautiful fit. I wrote down every change both on the fabric and on paper . Before putting away the pieces, I also  summarized all the changes. I may need this again.

Unfortunately this fabric is also darkest black. Even lightened 100%, you can’t see the details.

I chose to use the Faux-Welt pocket. I don’t like stitching pockets after the pant is half-way put together.  (Pam’s recommendation is sew the pant together; check fit and then add pockets).  I stitched the pocket in place and then basted it closed with WST before proceeding to baste the pant together and complete fitting. I have left lots of ease. Which is good and maybe not so good.  As is, my hem circumference is 22″.  I prefer a hem circumference between 16 and 20″. I left it because this fabric wanted to reveal VPL even with 1/2″ less ease. I don’t know why. It irritated me but at the same time I thought with this much ease any of my woven fabrics should fit. Also it’s only a matter of time before wide trouser legs are back in fashion.

Anyway there it is, Piece #5 and my 2nd pair of pants for the Winter 6PAC


A Lovely Ponte

I purchase a fabulous Ponte early this year while visiting Ft Collins Co.  It is a thick, beefy, spongy fabric. I thought it would make perfect pants. I wanted great pants and chose to use PP113 because that has been such a fabulous pattern for me. I mean, I’ve made at least 5 versions of this pattern. Each better than the previously.

I thought it was time to make a knit version of the pattern.  I’ve worked out all the fitting issues and already tested knits. Like  Pamela, I need to increase the side seam to an even 1″ (My normal SA is 1/4″. So I’m taking in about 3/4 more on each side seam.)  I traced the pattern and vertically folded out 1/2″ evenly from top to bottom on both front and back. I have worked with knits that were so stable, they needed to be treated as wovens.  My thought was most knits I use for pants will need a 1/2″ seam. Those that are more stable could be stitched at 1/4″ and those that are stretchier could be sewn with a larger seam allowance 3/4″ or more. Having done so many the exact same style, I craved changed I elected to add the faux welt pocket and  narrow the leg.   I also chose to use the magic waist band. I created a template that would add 1″ to the top of both the front and back.

I omitted the front zipper; happily serged the inseams and crotches together. Fortunately I had presence of mind or maybe just by habit, I basted the side seams and hems into place.  I stitched my elastic into a circle and tried my pants on as directed by Pamela. To my surprise, these were obviously too tight in the rear but too loose in front. Yes they were. VPL was plainly, in-you-face  apparent on back. the front drooped and yet floated. I decided it was a matter of individually adjusting ease front and back because the side seam was absolutely perpendicular to the floor and bisecting my side perfectly.  I offset the side seams to make a 1/4″ Sa for the back and 3/4″ on the front.  I trimmed another 1/4″ scoop from the front at the waistband to rid some of the droopiness….. and tried them on again. This time no VPL and the front looked good enough so I added the faux welt pocket.


You must try the faux welt. It really would be easy had I added it while the fronts were still two different pieces.  Because I checked fit, I was adding the pockets with the inseams and crotches stitched together. It’s a lot of fabric to bus around. Once the faux welt was completed, I stitched side-seams added the magic waistband and stitched hems.


Then I put the pants on for final pictures and ….

…….the real fitting began. I really should have known this: I cannot fit pants to myself until everything including waistband is basted into place.  Between the fitting and final stitching my pants were crawling up my crotch and the legs had developed the dreaded X wrinkles. I was bewildered. I re-read the waistband instructions to see if I’d one something wrong. The previous magic pants had fit beautifully. I had used the pattern with all the ease; no pockets and a different fabric. Did those factors really make all that difference??  I scooped the crotch 1/2″ and carefully adjusted the pant on my body so that the top edge of the waistband was really at my waist and not above.

These are what they are including pockets that pooch despite the front still looking like it has too much ease, and excess wrinkles under the bum. At least they no longer creep uncomfortably into my hoo-hah. Seriously, I blame the fabric. After I removed the worst of the back-action, I narrowed the legs a total of 2″ (1/2″ each seam * two seams = 2″ per leg). I kind of like the leg width at 18″ but wouldn’t mind if it iwas narrower.  This is a heavy fabric which I thought was also a little dressy.  I anticipated wearing these the rest of fall and into winter. During that type of weather I’m also wearing a long-sleeve top which would be untucked and totally cover my behind but not the leg. The upper part of the leg will be covered by my 3rd layer which is usually mid-hip or tunic length. IOW I will be able to wear these without shame.

Did I mention this was an expensive fabric?  I paid $18/per yard the tag said normally $29 (I’m a bargain hunter).  It takes 2 yards  for pants. (I’m short and have a short but deep crotch. ) So I’m at about $40 for these pants. I may be out of sync with the times, but for $40 I expect better looking pants and I mean from all views including the front.

Still the fabric feels fabulous.  I’d like to have several more yards of it.  Unfortunately, Ft Collins is a long ways away and I’m not sure I’ll ever get back there.  I did not find an equal fabric within 200 miles of me and buying on-line is iffy. Maybe I’ll get something this good but probably not. I’d love to make several pairs until I figure out what to do to make it into fabulous pants instead of just passable.

PBA- Protruding B utt Alteration, PP113


I have things to share, but finding the loss of my pen-tablet functions to be severely hampering. I’m excited enough about my 2nd go at PBA2 to persist through the frustration. That and having finally decided which tablet I want, finding out it won’t be here until about June 4th. I like ordering from Amazon. I do wish that estimated delivery times were stated by non-Amazon warehouses. Had I known it would be nearly 2 weeks, I might have bought something else or hied myself to a big city. So onto PBA 2

My fabric is a cotton/rayon blend in a summery yellow color. I was concerned it would not be heavy enough for pants.  I need light weight pants for summer. I burn easily and there are cooler days and places where a bit more coverage is desirable. But I don’t want to expose my underwear either as a visible panty line from a too tight cut or as a shadow beneath the outer layer. I’m happy to say this fabric is perfect. Its rayon content provides a wonderful drape.  It might have been perfect for even a fuller-cut leg like the One-Seams of old.

Indeed, this side view shows how much ease is in the medium-size of Pamerla’s Patterns Style 113.  I’m rather happy with PP113 and in particular, this version. Because of the protruding b utt alteration, I have not added any width to the hemline. It is 20″ as the designer drafted.

What’s very different about this PP113 version, and excites me, is the placement of the PBA.

Red=PBA1; Green=PBA2


On the first version of the PBA (Red lines), I split my back pattern piece the red lines.The lines disected the crotch and waist lines leaving hinges at side seam and hem. The pattern was spread along the lines.  I felt this was a qualified success. PBA1 also did not add ease at the hem, but did add between crotch and knee.  I might have left it alone except I don’t really want billows of fabric over my back thigh. Rather than trousers, I want slacks. I want something that instead of concealing the body beneath, hints at curves and shape.

So I attempted the PBA a second time. As shown with the green lines, the back leg is again disected vertically along the grain. The waist is bisected and opens as much as needed but that split stops just below the tush.  The horizontal split was placed 1″ below the darts because that is where my b utt sticks out the furtherest. OK my b utt is not really a point. From that point and  about an inch my b utt is the same large width. I decided since  that’s the first point at which I start needing the maximum width, that would be the point to start adding extra width. To my delight, the vertical split did not need to descend as far into the leg.  I spread the vertical slash apart 3/4″ (instead of the 1″ last time) and secured it with a little tape. I did the same with the horizontal slash and then smoothed all the flapping pieces, persuading them to lie flat. The back crotch opened up over an inch effectively adding length to the back crotch.  The first fitting was heavenly–almost. The pant felt truly wonderful. Granted the fabric has a lot to do with that but I’ve noticed everytime I really improve the fit of my garments, they feel remarkably more comfortable. My first fitting however showed that the back crotch was now too long. I’m using the same front piece as fit with PBA1. For PBA1  I needed to shorten the front crotch length by about the same amount as I  now removed from the back.  I think that the PBA could be the “magical” alteration I’ve been looking for.

Before I share the back view, let me say that I had the same camera problems as always and…

my right pant leg got hung up around the high hip. Another step forward, a shifting of the weight, even a quick tug and smooth and my right leg would have looked as good as my left.

I won’t be altering the fit of this pant pattern further (unless I change shapes again).  I will be converting to magic pants and pull-ons; adding pockets other details AND most importantly slimming the leg. This 20″ hem circumference is the widest that I like to wear.  Any larger and the pant looks like it is wearing me instead of the other way around.  It is the same width as flared style jeans drafted by Jalie or Trudy Jansens (TJ906).  In the past, I’ve successfully narrowed the leg between knee and hem as much as 3″. I’m also still concerned about the amount of ease over the back thigh.  I am wondering if I I can shorten the back fork.  It’s something I might work with in the future.  My concern as always is avoiding the Big X wrinkles that develop between knee and b utt.

PBA- Protruding B utt Alteration, PP113


ETA: It’s not de ja vue. You could have read this post before! This post went public before I intended.  It really needed this last edit and maybe one more. 

I’ve noticed that the fitting books all read “if you have this problem, do this” or something to that effect.  So when I tell people I have lived 6+ decades and have a mass of fabric beneath my tush, they look a the “this problem” and  promptly advise  a “do this”  of flat-butt alteration.  However, I don’t think I have a flat butt.

That’ s my b utt. I earned that b utt.  It’s a left over from my childhood when running was my favorite activity; high school when I played the Field Hockey Right Wing; and years of walking as a method of solitude, meditation and exercise.  Now that I’m retired, 2 flights of stairs taken many times daily, keep my b utt high.  When i saw the picture above, I decided I needed a FBA (full-bust alteration) for my b utt. I started looking through my library;  searched the internet but found nothing. (Warning do not search the internet for b utt alterations. You will not believe the finds.)  The general attitude seems to be buy a pattern big enough to go around and your pants will fit.  P&P even suggest that I might want the extra fullness over my back-thighs to fill in and disguise how much I stick out back there.

I gave up and went about my sewing. Until the day I was looking in my books for something else… when I delved into Lynda MacIntyre’s “Easy Guide to Sewing Pants“. This book is not just about sewing pants. It includes lots of fitting information including the elusive PBA Prominent Butt Alteration”.  Although I had planned a quick and easy pair of pants, I had to try this alteration.

I traced both front and full-back pattern pieces of PP113, size medium.  It’s possible I didn’t need to trace the front at all. But I’m unsure of exactly what alterations I’d made. I decided to start from scratch and document the changes like I’d  have alzheimer’s today. I’ll spare you the details of the changes I made (which are normal for me) and jump right to the PBA.   The PBA consists of two slashes one horizontal along the HBL starting at the back crotch going to to but not through the side seam. The 2nd  vertically bisects the first along the grain line. It would look like a big cross. The vertical does not cut through either the waist or hems.  Then the PBA is spread apart, taped into place  and the back crotch line trued.

The first question I asked was how much do I spread the PBA. I’m always trying to add 1 inch ease. On the MSS and Eureka pants patterns, I folded out 1″ of ease from the front, then split the back along the grain line and spread the back 1″ (effectively adding 2″ ease to the back hip.)  Other patterns, I’ve tried to create wedges and curves to add 1″ or more at the side seam.  Believe it or not, the PBA slashing and spreading is a better way of adding ease. I spread the vertical grain line apart  1″.I didn’t want to create a bubble at the crotch seam, so I pulled the slash towards the side seam to open it.  I slipped some tissue paper beneath and tacked the spread in place. I worked from the vertical slash towards the side seam and then again from vertical slash towards the crotch allowing the tissue to fall into place. Surprising to me, the slash along  HBL  also opened 1″ at the back crotch.  It wanted to. It just sort of spread open as I was working towards the side seam and settled into place. Frankly I wasn’t sure of what I was doing and decided to trust the paper.

Once all was secured with tape, I cut fabric.  My fabric was purchased about 3 years ago in Rapid City SD. I think I was at Hancocks. I make it a habit to look for good pant fabrics anytime I’m in a real fabric store.   This particular time Hancocks had splurged and added a few colorful denims.  I purchased two, well I purchased 4 fabrics that day, but 2 were in unusual colors, a light rose-pink jacquard and a periwinkle denim. Both with 2% Lycra. I used the rose pick jacquard today.  It tested with 15% stretch which I reluctantly didn’t take advantage. I mean, I didn’t want to stretch this pair of pants to fit.  I wanted to alter the pattern to fit.  I put the darts and zipper in permanently. Skipped the pockets; serge finished all the edges and then using water soluble thread, stitched the pants together for the first try on.

Heavenly, just heavenly. The front crotch was too long –the same complaint I made about the pants Pam fitted on the DVD. Interestingly the first pair of PP113’s I used the 1″ SA on the back to cover my rear. With the PBA, both front and back side seams are an even 1″ — I’m not using the side seam insurance to fit my backside.  I feel like  the PBA creates  less distortion of the design line.   I’m excited that there is less excess ease over the back thigh and the hem circumference has not increased by my attempt to add more b utt ease.

I ripped out the waistband and reset it  3/4″ lower in front; 5/8 lower on the side narrowing to 0 (or no change) at the center back seam line. Perfect. I transferred the change to the pattern by overlappinig and taping the sides along the side stitching line; slashing across front and sides to the center back stitching line and over lapping the pattern pieces; and finally taping the alteration in place.

I finished the pants by narrowing the lower leg between bottom of knee and hem; 1/2″ each side total 2″ per leg. I also scooped the back crotch just slightly because the first pics showed the back crotch creeping between my cheeks. I’ve not transferred the last 2 changes to the pattern.


The front looks a little large to me. I’d like that ease for trousers, but slacks are a different animal.

This is very close to how I want my slacks to look. I want slacks that hint at shape and fall smoothly from my waist.

I am pretty happy with this pair of pants  I do think they are just slightly large for slacks. They’ve been worn for 3 fittings and about 30 minutes before taking pictures. I plan to take in the side seams another 1/4″ and call this version done.

BUT I’m not 100% satisfied with the PBA.  I wasn’t sure where to place the PBA and chose the HBL.  The fullest part of my butt is about 1″ below the bottom of the darts which is 2″ higher than the HBL marked on PP113. When I think back it makes more sense to place the cross over the largest point instead of 2″ below. The split would then  come back together about 2″ above my knee and not be as wide over my thighs. I’m always complaining about the excess fabric in that area — (it is that symptom that causes people to say make a flat-butt alteration)– when in truth when I’m trying to add ease across my b utt, the area over my thighs is also getting more ease.  I also think that a full one- inch spread could be too much. I see that in the length of the back crotch as well as the over all ease in the back.

Oh yes, there will be another version…..



I love these MAGIC PANTS

Before I even started fitting Pamela’s Perfect Pants pattern, I wanted to make the Magic Pants and the Grown-Up Leggings.  Today, I finished the Magic Pants and I’m in love.

It helps that I started with a wonderful fabric.  I think I bought this fabric from Fabricmartfabrics.com.  It is described as “Dark Brown Stretch Poly/Rayon Crepe… Maggy London). It is very similar to the Modern Gab stocked at Fashionsewing.com but  a lot cheaper.  It was a steal that I don’t expect to find again. Also, I couldn’t be 100%  sure how good  it was going to be like until I opened the package. Then it was too late to order more, or I would have.  This brown is so dark that I need to place it next to black or blue to tell the difference.

To make the Magic Pant, start with your already basic fitting pant pattern. Fold out the zipper placket and add 1″ to the top .  Pam likes to use back darts. She says she also like the look of the front darts and will use them; but says it’s your choice. Use. Don’t use. Whatever you want to do will work. I added another 5/8″ ease to the back pattern piece and covered all pieces with non-woven fusible interfacing.  I like to add non-woven fusible interfacing to my TNT patterns. It reinforces the tissue, preserving it from tearing and also grabs a little when placed on fabric.  Instead of chalking the needed change onto the fabric, I made templates that can be reused. for the templates, I copy the pant pattern from Hip HBL up to the waist. I mark the HBL and grain line on the template.  That makes it easier for me to realign the next time I want to use this template.  I copy the other lines of the pattern (darts, notches) onto the template and then add the changes. Once I’m sure the template has all the information I need, I trim the excess tissue.  For the Magic Pants, all that is needed is adding 1″ above the waist.  I also added a 1-1/2″ marker because I use both 1″ and 1.5″ elastic for pants waistlines.

In sewing I didn’t mark or sew any darts probably saving 10 minutes..  I serged the side seams and crotch using 1/4″ seam allowances.  I serge finished the hem and the waistline before turning up and fusing the leg hems into place.  Pam has you leave the waist unfinished for hours.  I serged because I know in the long run, that’s best for me.  I’ll explain in a sec. Pam has you try on the pants to determine the amount the side seams need to be taken in.  She says it is usually between 1/4 and 3/8″ but can vary with the fabric. Then wear the unfinished garment for a few hours to see if it needs to be taken in more.  I immediately stitched the side seams 1/2″ wide/deep.

I’m not sure why I made the following mistake. I know that different elastic stretches different amounts. I knew I was using WAWAK elastic and Pam was using her special elastic. But I followed her instructions to use a 1″ elastic that was the length of my waist measurement-2″. It slipped up easily over my hips. It also slowly worked its way down to my butt. The biggest trouble with this is that I did not follow her instruction for testing the elastic and pant fit before attaching the elastic to the pant.  So I had cut my elastic, joined it in a circle and then using a wide long attached the elastic at the waist. This is why it’s good to serge finish the top edge: I had to rip out the zig zaging  in order to remove and shorten the elastic. Thank heavens it wasn’t serging that had to be ripped.   The WAWAK elastic needed to be shortened 2″ for my taste YMMV.   I also took the pant side-seams in another 1/8″ (each side). That’s a generous 1/8″ almost 1/4”.   I thought it was justified because even holding the pants up, they sagged below my butt and the front just looks — roomy.

I did not wear my pants for hours before finishing. Nope I immediately finished using Pam’s “Talbots Waistband”. (Fold down the elastand stitch-in-the-ditch along each seam and dart.)  Without  the darts,  4 stitch in the ditches was not enough to hold the “waistband” in place.  I also vertically stitched  half way between each of the previous.  It’s wearable. It’s OK but I think in the future I will finish the elastic differently.  I know several  cut-on-waistband finishes. It’s a matter of choosing one that works and looks good to me. (Which is odd because I never tuck my blouses. So why should I care what it looks like as long as it stays in place and will never be seen?)

I think I maybe at the point of scooping the back crotch.  I always have to do this.  Even the Eureka needed a small scoop.   I need the back crotch to be lower than the front instead of on the same horizontal parallel-to-the-floor plane.  That’s me. That’s the way I’m built. I know there are several others out there that have the same crotch shape. I’m also sad to see the back X’s developing. The scoop will help but truth is, my body is shaped the way it is shaped and I stand the way I stand.  The X’s, diagonal pulls crossing from butt-knee-calve, occur anytime my pants hem circumferences  are less than 19″. This pair finished at about 16.


Yes I shared pics before the pants are completely finished. I just need to scoop which will take care of the drooping back waist and excess ease under the butt. (Maybe even help those knee line drags). I also took these pics after carefully pressing but not wearing the pants. Being a woven stretch I’m sure they will continue to stretch while being worn. I’m really happy with this version even at this unfinished point. I spent more time fusing interfacing to the pattern and making templates, than I did sewing — and that includes ripping. I do think that future versions will take a few minutes longer because darts are warranted and I want to add pockets.  Still this is a good pair of pants than can be made in about an hour, maybe hour and a half.

Side and back view of almost finished pants:



PP113 Dropped,Faced Waist

You know how you can overfit  a pair of pants until you can’t move while wearing them?   Well you can also over tweak a pattern and I think, that’s just what I’ve done.

I thought this pair of pants would be a quick check of the changes made on the previous pair.  I was so confident, that I wanted to make this confirming pair interesting. I decided to  cut the pieces for the MSS Pocket and  Pam’s contour waistband.  I planned to check the fit, add the pocket and then the contour waistband.   Should be a 3 hour job. Right

I selected a cotton/polyester fabric with the appearance of linen. It is not linen.  What it is, is the last of bolt of med-grey perfect-for-work-suits purchased many years ago. I didn’t buy the whole bolt, just the majority which I think was about 9 yards.  I did so because the first pair of pants were wonderful to wear and resisted wrinkling.  I looked almost as good at the end of the day as I did at the beginning.  It was fabulous fabric, but I’m down to the last 2+ yards. I tested stretch, something I’ve never done before with this fabric.  10″ stretched to 10″. IOW no stretch at all just like the first pair PP113’s made from  canvas. But I would not have used this fabric, if I’d known the following sequence of events.

For starters, I never had a 3 hour block of time or any large amount of time for working on these pants.  It was just like pre-retirement 30 minutes here; 10 minutes there.   Constant interruption and delay.  This wasn’t such a problem when I was younger.  But now, I don’t remember things so well.  If I’m taken away before I write things down, I may not remember what I’ve done at all.

I transferred the last changes to the pattern, laid out the fabric and cut the pair of pants.  I opted to serge finish all the edges before beginning. To my horror, the newly-inserted, serger needles puckered the edge. One of the things I’ve loved about my Viking S21 serger, is that it adjusts tension perfectly.  Every time. If the tension is off, something is wrong with the threading. Either the thread is not in the guides correctly or caught on something.  The tension is always perfect. But I could find nothing wrong.  I checked that the needles were fully inserted. That helped some.  I replaced the new needles with another pair of new never-used needles.  No help any at all.  I tried a different fabric . It serged perfectly.   I tried two layers of my fabric. Two layers serged without puckering.  Only this fabric in a single layer puckered. None of this fabric used previously has puckered. I made a jacket and 2 pairs of pants. I’ve run it through sewing machines and sergers. Never did I experience puckering with this fabric.  With reluctance, I decide, it’s not the needles; not the machine; somehow it must be the fabric.

At the SM (Designer Ruby) I put the zipper and darts in permanently the basted all the other seams including a straight waistband. For the first time, I didn’t need two darts in front. Oh I needed both back darts as usual, but only 1 front dart.  I thought this odd, but trusted my TNT straight waistband. My waistband is never wrong. So what went wrong with the pattern; or fabric?  In each of the previous pairs of pants I needed to take out ease at the waist and did so by taking in an even amount along the side seams.  I made that change permanent by trimming a scant 3/8″ from the back and front pieces between waist and about 6″ down. I’ll point out again, that the back with its two darts fit the waistband correctly, but the front would have been too tight. I let out 1 front dart on each side and basted the waistband into place.

I tried on the pants.  To my horror, both front side-seams puckered .  Not the back piece. Not the inseams. Nor the crotch. Nor waistband. Only the front side seams puckered like they were deliberately ruched.  I still had the short, diagonal lines right above each hip (as with the last pair of pants) and definitely, this time, the butt was too tight. I’d always questioned the ease across the butt.  The pants always felt comfortable, but in the pics looked — a little close.  Previously, I thought “my old lady eyes” were telling me the fit across the rear was wrong when in truth the fit was fine. This time, there is no question. This pair of pants is clearly too tight across the rear.  I can’t correct it. I’ve already stitched with 1/4″ seam allowances. I can’t let out any more.

I may know what’s wrong with those diagonals.  Pants For Real People (PFRP) say that the side seam is being pulled upward. Their suggestion is “yank it down”.  Mrs Mole said that ease is off . I think, she could be right.  Yes partly, ease is lacking across the butt. I know that because I can see it in the pics  and feel it on my body.  I also see the pant trying to push upward and gain ease from the leg.  So ease is a big factor. Then too, I believe the darts are in the wrong place.  Whenever my pants gape, they gape at center back. Not at the sides. In this pattern, the darts are moved more towards the sides.  I need to move the darts more towards center back . I probably could move one dart to the center back . That would give me a ski-jump slope along the center-back seam . An odd-to-me shape which  has fit more than one pant pattern to my back-side. I also think that I may have canted the darts. I took out 1/2″ crotch depth from center front and sides but only 3/8″ from center back.  That tilted the darts slightly. Maybe I should  un-tilt the darts.

I removed the side-seam basting to  add the pockets. The MSS pocket is really a wonder. Easy to add. Doesn’t affect fit. Can be added while cutting the fabric or like now as a separate piece. The top stitching shows on some fabrics, like the current one, but completely disappears with other fabrics.  I’ve used the MSS pocket at least a dozen times. OK maybe not a dozen, but enough that I felt confident to just sew without reading instructions. M-I-S-T-A-K-E.  Yeah, big time.  I ripped and re-stitched the pocket and side seams several times.  I never did get the front facings completely stitched into place. (Opted to finish with a little permanent bond. The stiff fusible web from Walmart). During the process, I restitched the entire side seams at least twice.  One of the front side seams needed trimming 3/8 length which then  un-ruched. The other?  Didn’t need trimming. It is still the same length. It appears to match the back, side-seam length perfectly.  It lays flat while stitching or at the ironing board.  When I put the pants back on, it is ruched! Gathered! Puckered!. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  and crap!

After more than a week of interruptions, false starts and wonky whatevers, I decide  to finish these pants. Just “get ‘er done” and move along.  I wanted to try out the contour waistband. You’d think that I’d have learned from the pocket fiasco to  check the instructions before starting. But I didn’t (learn or check).  It was not until I was trying to figure-out a front closure that I thought something might be off. Then I checked instructions which say

  • Unzip the zipper. Baste around the waist of the Pants about 1″ from the top edge and through the zipper. Cut 5/8 off the top of the pants, cutting the extra zipper length off.  This is necessary since the contour waistband sits slightly lower than the straight waistband.
  • Sew the back seam together for the waistband and the waistband facing.
  • Put on the pants and the fitting elastic. Make sure it is at you waist!
  • Wrap the waistband around your waist. Pin the top of the contour waistband to the top of the fitting elastic and the bottom of the waistband to the pants. Mark the key points as indicated in the DVD.


What?  I’m sewing and I’m supposed to stop and view the DVD? Huh?  Why is this so complicated?  Am I correctly reading these directions or dreaming this up? Why doesn’t the professional have an easy, simple way to convert for the waistband?  If I wanted complicated, I have several drafting and draping books that have been accumulating dust and disgust.  I want easy; straight forward; or at least understandable.  That’s why I buy patterns and allow books to accumulate dust. I want the pattern drafter/designer to solve these kinds of problems and give me a nice neat cutting line and pattern piece.  I can tell you, I am not stopping to view a DVD every time I want to sew a pair of pants. Not happening. I’m more likely to toss the pattern (and the DVD). So crapola!

I did it my way and … my finished waist is dropped about 7/8″ below my waist.  I have attached a reversed facing (i.e the facing is on the public side instead of inside),  but it is neatly and carefully done.  I really worked at making the facing even in front both at the waist and bottom of the facings where the ends meet and show on the front.  This was also an excellent opportunity to work with my cover-stitch belt-loop folder  (really truly wonderful).  Also, the designer, Pam, does make reference to the PFRP chapters  which show multiple waistline finishes. If I ever get the pattern adjusted for my body, I want to try every waistline finish, plus all the pocket and hem suggestions in those chapters. Funny, I’ve had this book at least 4 years and don’t remember these sections of the book.  I suppose, I’ve always been too focused on fit and missed these design suggestions.

Final Fit

By far, this is not the worst pair of pants I’ve worn.  They do feel a little tight across the rear.  I’m more concerned about the dropped waist. Not all contour waistlines are comfortable for me. They tend to feel like the pants are falling off my body. For care-free wear, I prefer the straight waistband which securely anchors at my waist line. Amazingly, this reversed-facing, waistline-finish look like a contour waistband without not nearly the amount of work.  I do think in the future, I’d prefer to finish at my natural waistline rather than below (aka dropped).  Truth of the matter is, once I’m fully dressed, this pair of pants doesn’t look half bad. Not perfect, but not bad either:

Dressed, Ready for what he day may bring.

Taking a break from this pattern. Not abandoning it. Truth is, 7 years ago, I would have been totally satisfied with the first fitting and never made any further changes. For now I’ve walked and correct the side seams; and added 5/8″ ease to the back (vertically dividing the back to add 5/8″). I may return the leg width to the 21″ hem circumference because successive 1/4″ trims between knee and hem create ugly diagonal lines. Obviously not the way to narrow the lower leg. Also need to check the back dart placement and alignment. Those darts need to be where my pants gape and need to be on-grain.