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SFD Day 4

Posted on: May 1, 2012

originally published3/18/12

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You have to understand. In the last 3 days, I have measured my body twice and my crotch 5 times. I plotted dots and constructed a tissue with basic alterations 5 times. I have made, photographed, evaluated and shared 2 muslins. You have to understand, I’ve put some effort into this pants fitting system.

 

 

Today, I began by comparing the draft with the crotch calculated with the half-and-half (HAH) method TO the draft created with the COM (crotchOmeter) method. I know that the crotch extensions on the HAH draft are wrong. The front is too long creating that poufy look in front, while the back is too short and therefore is pulling the entire inseam up and into my butt. I was thinking that by using the COM method the crotches will be proportionately altered. To my surprise, the back crotch is taller, the front shorter and the extensions are exactly the same. From my pictures (see previous post) you should be able to tell that I do not need more or less length or rise as it is often called. My pants are not pulling down at either the center front or center back at the waistline. All the misfitting is down there in the U of the crotch.

 

I look further. The COM back side seam is now 4″ taller than the front side seam. As if trying to balance 2 inches wasn’t bad enough. The HAH draft is already too tall at the side seam and now I’ve added another inch to lop off??

 

Just for giggles and grins, I pull out the JSM draft to compare.  The back of the SFD is higher both at the side seam and crotch and the extension is 3/4″ shorter. The leg of the SFD is wider while the hip is narrower. On the front the SFD crotch extension is longer and the entire pant is wider by at least 1/2″. Even more at the hem.

 

I stand there dumb founded. I think this exercise is going to develop something very similar to the commercial draft I purchased and have been using for at least 3 years. The biggest exception being the SFD draft will have wider legs! Yes, because before I pulled out the JSM draft I was thinking I needed to work with the HAH draft instead of the COM draft because what I needed were changes to the crotch extensions and lowering of the side seams. The COM draft does exactly the opposite of what I need. Looking at the JSM draft, I realized that what I planned to do with the HAH draft would recreate the JSM draft. Big Whoop. I’ve spent hours and hours recreating the same draft I’ve been using for 3 years.

 

Have I learned anything that would make this futile exercise worth while?

 

When drafting and fitting the SFD Pants, I saw some interesting things.

 

  • My waist, high hip and full hip dots could not be aligned on the standard curve. From Glenda’s instructions I’d say this is common. But the point to me is that I am not proportioned according to the standard.
    • This is important information. Knowing that my shoulder was 1″ shorter than the standard, led to alteration which corrected half of my fitting issues with tops.
    • But I”m not sure how this relates to commercial patterns and the alteration I need to make to get them to fit.
  • On muslin #1, the knock knee adjustment significantly changed the curve from crotch tip to hem.
    • I wonder if it is the knock knees for which I need to adjust or if it is the curve of the inner leg.
    • You see as we gain weight, they draft patterns for us by adding length and width at key points. On the inseam, you see a longer leg .  The crotch is lengthened, but the curve is also made wider and shallower.
    • Look at these upside down letters:
      • When designers add to the crotch point, it creates a leg curve more like the U on the left.  But when I look in the mirror, I’m more like the V on the right.  I don’t stand with my legs that far apart, but my legs do angle upwards to a narrow cross piece not a wide piece.   The normal alteration, on the left, seems to assume that as you gain weight your legs are also getting further apart at the crotch. Maybe you do. I don’t.
    • When I made the knock knee alteration, the inseam curve returned to a shape more like the upside down V and the distance between the legs became more like my own proportions.

 

I’m not entirely sure how to interpret these observations. But they are the kind of information I was hoping to learn i.e. where do I differ from the standards.  I think that’s the key to getting most patterns to fit the way the designer envisioned.  I think the key to altering commercial patterns to fit is knowing the standard and knowing where/how much  I deviate.

 

My conclusion is, I’m done creating a SFD Blueprint. I’m not going to repeat this for tops. I already know how to easily alter commercail top patterns to fit me. The SFD pants kit has added nothing but questions to my repertoire. I don’t want to repeat my SFD experience with tops. But then  no system works for everyone. PERIOD.  I had high hopes, but I must be too difficult to fit to use a one-size-fits-all system.

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SFD Day 3

Posted on: May 1, 2012

originally published3/17/12

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I think I’ve figured out why I’m so obsessed with pants fitting.  Pants fitting is like a puzzle and I am an puzzle lover.  Pants are just another puzzle for me to put together.

 

But onto Day 3 with the Sure Fit Designs Pants Kit. I don’t have any way to obtain assistance at least for the next few days.  I’m reluctant to start another project and still have no idea what I’m going to do with the Silk Matka Jacket. My thoughts last night and most of this morning were more about why this pattern could have taken such an abrupt change in Draft #3 (the front inseam is 4″ longer than the back inseam) .  My measurements are about 2″ larger overall (except for the crotch measurement) but I would think that alone would not cause the inseams to be unbalanced.  The crotch lengths were different as well. I had used the actual crotch measurements which resulted from using the Crotch-O-Meter.  I wondered if the big difference could result from the unequal crotch lengths.

 

So I made Draft #4 with  the correct body  measurements but using SFD front/back crotch length calculation. I’m really going through the tissue paper here. But it’s a puzzle I can’t leave alone.  I finish everything. Measure the total crotch length and make a 1/4″ correction.  Measure the side seams and correct the pants length.  Would you believe that Draft 4 has the same issue as Draft 3?  Yes the inseams are unbalanced.

 

So now I”m really puzzled.  I recheck measurements. I walk seams again. Finally I realize that the way I’m shortening the legs is the reason why the inseams are unbalanced.  I’m going to quote the instruction 6.c. Pants Length “…measure from side waist point to hem level by walking the tape measure by standing the tape on edge as you measure around the hip curve to the desired hem level. Mark level. Then shift vellum up or down until your personal hem level line up with the Master Pattern.”

 

Those instructions might work well if I had no curves or less padding.What happens when walking around the hip curve is that a lot of distance is measured on my back pattern up in the waist-to-hip area. Much more than is measured on my front pattern. You may have to think about that to understand.  What I did, was attach some more tissue at the bottom; draw the pant leg without regard to my pant length; and then just chop 2″ off the bottom of both front and back leg.  Inseams are now balanced!

 

But the side seams are CRAP!  Not only that, but I remember that’s why I didn’t trust Draft #1.  With Draft #1 I was having problems with the tissue sliding around and I assumed that the error was entirely my own and resulting from the tissue-slip.  SFD does address this under 8 “Difference Between Front and Back Crotch Lengths.” The procedure given is intended to “basically splitting the difference between the highest and lowest…” There is a lot of difference between my pattern pieces.  I’m really stunned and spend considerable time trying to decide how to balance these two pieces.  Eventually I draw in on the front a wedge 1-3/4″ high at the side seam tapering to nothing towards the center front.  I’ve never ever made another such alteration. I can only hope it works.

 

Fortunately, the muslin fabric I’m working with I can afford to trash.  It’s a polyester twill at least 20 years old.  The stores and my wardrobe used to be filled with pants made from this stuff.  It was wonderful to wear and nothing to launder.  It’s biggest issues, 20 years ago, was that it pilled and snagged badly.  Oh and I forgot stains.  They say you can’t dye polyester, but man oh man the stains it would take.  The piece I’m working with has several stains and 1 not-to-bad snag. It’s good for muslins.   I also sacrificed a zipper.  It’s just easier to fit with a zipper instead of trying to put pins in the front.

 

But the real question is how does it fit?  First off the waist was 2″ too large.  That could be from the waistline balancing I had to do except that I added 2 1″ darts to the back pants pattern and the balancing was all done to the front.  Not sure what I should think about that.

Well the wedge seems to be too high and all I did was make the front meet the back.  I also see the side seam pulling towards the back at the hip which surprises me greatly.  The hip area feels comfortable. I can pinch almost 2 inches which means there must be 3″ of ease right there.  I also see the side seam angling towards the front at the hem.

 

And then we can look at the front:…

…. which looks too big just about everywhere- except at my pantie line– and the legs bow.  I’m not bow legged.  If anything, I’m knock kneed.

 

Lets proceed to the back:

It’s now obvious that the waistband is traveling upwards at the sides. That needs to be corrected.  The pant looks too small across my hip.  I’m not sure about the crotch.  I think if I fix the front crotch, the back is going to be too short.  There is absolutely too much ease in the legs.  Funny enough I feel the inseam rubbing on my inner thigh.  The dreaded X wrinkles are forming.  I see them clearly though you might have a bit of problem.  What a hoot, I definitely look bow-legged from the back and see the inseams pull up from the hem.

 

What you can’t see, is that the hem circumference is nearly 22″.  This is not a good width for me and frankly I’m displeased.  These are described as a slim leg.

 

I’m not going to continue working on this Draft which is actually #5.  I’m going to work on Draft 4 (the draft created using the CrotchOMeter COM).  The biggest reason being that I know the crotch on this draft is wrong. I can easily see that in the way the crotch is pulling the inseam upward all the way from the hem. I’m pretty sure if I pulled the sides up, yes up futher, and trimmed them off at the top the bow-leg look would go away.  I think the bow-leg is actually occuring because the sides are too long caused  by my adding the front wedge.  That in turn in pushing the leg downward. So I have a crotch pulling upward in the center because it is too short and the sides pushing downward from the top because they are too long.  I also think some of the back leg wrinkles will need a knock knee alteration.  Usually, I prefer to correct the waistline first, but since I know the crotch is going to have to be corrected, I changing to the next draft.

So what am I going to do next?  Then I’m going to look hard at the 2 drafts I did today.  This draft obviously doesn’t fit in the crotch.  (This draft was  created by using the divide in half -1, +1 instructions).  My pants that fit all have front and back crotches more like the crotch created with SFD’s Crotch-O-Meter.  Although I hate taking a step backwards, I’m going to start up with the CrotchOMeter draft, adding the wedge at the waistline and darts in the back.  Since this back is too small, I’ll be adding 1″ to the back side seams of the COM draft.  I think I’ll need  two more muslins to get the SFD pants to fit.  This one with the COM draft and then one with a knock-knee alteration.  But I won’t like the pants. I don’t like pant legs with 22″ circumferences. So eventually, I may address the issue of the wide leg (on this slim leg design).

 

I was hoping for a blue print with which to quickly alter other pants patterns. My hopes are sinking as I work through this and see what still needs to be done.

SFD: Day Two

Posted on: May 1, 2012

originally published 3/17/12

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I wasn’t sure why the SFD pant was too tight, but decided to start with remeasuring my body. I  had the bright idea to take a good fitting pant, my JSM’s in Modern Gab to use for marking my preferred waistline.  I slipped them on and marked (with a children’s washable marker) on my body the top of the waistband.  Then I pinned  1″ elastic around my waist and snugged it up to that band.  MY preferred waistband was now clearly marked and wouldn’t be migrating up or down.  Then I measured downward from the bottom of the elastic and put tic marks on each of my sides at 2,3,4,5, 7, 8, 9 and 10″.    It really helped me keep the tape measure even across the body and of course I knew I was measuring in the right place.

 

I also constructed and used the Crotch-O-Meter as described in the pants kit.  I know from experience that my back and front crotch lengths greatly different especially the extensions.  I was unsurprised to find a 4″ difference.  I repeated the process twice just to be sure.  Then I measured the crotches from both pattern pieces, added together and found that the crotch length would be 1/4″ too short.  Since this is typically an issue for me, I added the 1/4″ to the back crotch tip.

 

Final correction was the pant length.  Following the instructions, I stood the tape measure up on its edge and measured down the side seam making a tic at my length.  I aligned that tic with the pattern hem line and drew in my hems.

 

Next up was trimming the tissue to the seam allowance.  I spent a few minutes pressing and spray starching my next muslin fabric and spread it carefully on the cutting table preparing to layout the pattern pieces and cut the fabric.

 

I had a sudden inspiration to walk the seam and inseams.  The side seams walked perfectly.  Not even 1/16″ off.  Beautiful.  But when I walked my inseams, I found the front inseam to be 4″ longer than the back inseam. ???   ??   ???

 

First thought was to recheck everything I’d done.  Which gave me the same results as I already had.

 

I simply didn’t know what had happened to create the unequal inseams.  Had it been 1/2″ or so, I might not  have been worried.  But 4″ has me envisioning ruffles on the inseams of my pants. I stopped that evening and wrote to Glenda.  The following day, I received a very nice email from her husband stating that Glenda was off work for the first time in 2 years on a much needed break.  I don’t doubt that for an instant.  Most people don’t realize it, but an entrepreneur doesn’t work 40 hours a week with 2 weeks vacation every year.  They are more likely to work 24/7 with 15 minutes allowed for meals. 15 minutes for all 3 daily meals. But it leave me wondering what do.

originally published 3/16/12

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I received the SFD (Sure Fit Designs) Pants Kit earlier this week. Having just spent an intensive week of measuring self, several patterns and multiple muslins, I really wasn’t in the mood for taking a bunch more measures. However, I needed time to think about the Silk Matka Jacket and so I began the SFD-PK.

 

I’m unenthused. Sorry, but I read through the directions and I felt distinctly unenthused.  Only 5 measurements are required (waist, high hip, full hip, crotch and pant length). Only 5 for a system that is designed to fit all bodies no matter their fit-issues.  Also, as I read the instructions, I realized I would be drafting a basic pattern, stitching a muslin  and then making a bunch of alterations.  Hello, isn’t that what I’m already doing with the $3.99 patterns?   But I’ve spent my money and I do favor the idea of creating a blueprint……

 

Draft #1.  I construct the fabric waist tie as instructed.  That’s a good idea.  It gives me a large visible marker for my waist.   I measure my hips in several places. The instructions are vague, with good reason, as to where some of these places will be.  Truly, our body shapes have a great deal to do with where the waist should be measured as well as where is the high hip or full hip.  So I understand why it says to measure between 2 and 4 inches below your waist.  That’s a lot of territory when it comes to pants fitting. So starting 2″ down from the waist and every 1″ thereafter, I measure my body. I  remeasure the crotch even though I’ve measured it dozens of times in the past few weeks.  Unsurprisingly, I record the same measurements as I did 2 weeks ago when working with TJ902.  I do note one exceptional issue:  the waist tie does not want to stay at my “designated waist”.  Because I am truly pear shaped,  my torso above the waist continues to gradually decrease. Therefore, my waist tie wants to gradually and continually shift upward.  I note this here and now, because I believe this to be a significant contributor to my problems. I did NOT construct the Crotch-o-Meter. I used instead the back and front crotch measurements which have worked for me in my perfected pants patterns.  I note an EXTREMELY GOOD OMEN.  Drawing in the back crotch in accordance to my measurements and with SFD stylus produces a back crotch curve that looks like it could fit. But it is impossible to balance the side-seams. The back side seam is 4-5″ taller than the front.  That’s just not going to work.. SCRATCH Draft 1.

 

I will also say here, that I had problems with the master pattern and tissue shifting as I am drawing. I solved this by pressing the back side of the master tissue (on a low setting with no steam) and taping it down at all 4 corners. I taped my tissue (vellum) only at the top and bottom. Having to realign the tissue was annoying and time-consuming. I mention this because, it could have been a factor with Draft #1 not working so well.

 

Draft #2.  I decide to use Glenda’s crotch procedure and divide the total crotch measurement by 2; then adding 1″ to the back and subtracting 1″ from the front.  Replot and draw front and back pant pattern. My full hip measurement is in-between the dots.  I choose the larger size above the crotch and the lower size below. Why?  Well I always notice too much ease in back of the thigh but I’m sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I’d prefer a little extra ease rather than not enough across my rear.  My high hip measure  won’t align in the curve between waist and lower hip.  I can’t even come close  no matter how I shift the stylus. I even turned the stylus to the wrong side.  Finally I follow Glenda’s instructions and just ignore the high hip dot when drawing the pattern.

 

This time, there is no problem with balancing the side seams, other than they are 2″ too long.   To my disappointment the instructions are to “shift the vellum up or down until … hem levels line up”.  I am in effect removing all the extra length just above the ankle without any consideration that the length of my thigh bone may not be equal to the length of my shin; and of course, no corrective actions.  It is surprising to me that being “high waisted” is commonly acknowledged and corrected. While having uneven thigh/shin lengths is not even a consideration.

 

But I persist.

 

Knowing full well that my back crotch length always needs to be extended I follow the directions and add 1/2″ to the back crotch tip.  I figure I can always trim that off if it is too much but adding a half-inch after I’ve sewn everything together might not work so well.

 

May I say that Glenda does not praise the Stylus nearly enough? It is so much more versatile than the French Curve or the Vari Form Curve I use.  The SFD Stylus is the right size for drawing dressmaking curves.  It also has the right curves/arcs for our bodies.  I’m not sure the Stylus was worth the entire invoicet I just paid, but it might be.

 

I continued to fine tune the tissue.  So far I’ve

  1. added length to the back crotch tip and redrawn the back inseam curve
  2. removed 2″ from the pant length and designated the hem

But I realize that I must do something for my knee fitting issues. I’ve said before that I don’t have “true” knock knees. A person with knock knees will be standing straight and tall, yet their knees will visibly be turning inwards.  Mine don’t physically turn inwards, but I do accumulate fat on the inner knee.  I don’t have thunder thighs, just knee swishes.  In most pants, certainly when wearing a skirt and pantie hose, my pouches of knee fat will rub across each other producing a swishing sound.  You might sometimes hear this with corduroy pants.  I hear this even when wearing 100% silk tights. So even though I don’t think I’m really knock-kneed, I followed Instruction #8 on page 13; or I tried.  The recommendation is to draw in the knee level on the pattern; cut it apart and then shift between 1/2 and 1-1/2″ (inwards for knock-knees outwards for bow-legs) then redraw blending the side and inseam lines.

 

Right.

 

First off, where were the instructions for finding the knee level?  I’m not saying they aren’t there, I’m saying I didn’t see the instruction when I needed them, can’t find them easily and am d@^^^ ^^ near frustrated. So I punted.  I know that the knee level for a commercial pant pattern can be found by matching the hem line with the crotch line, smoothing the tissue so a fold is formed.  That’s what I did. I think it has a good chance of being accurate since I’d already altered the pant length. But it may not.  For one thing, the pant length, is the length I want to wear my pants, which is about 1/2″ above the floor.  I’m not really sure I’ve located the correct knee level, but I am hopeful.

 

2nd shift how much?  How do I know whether to shift .5″? 1″? 1.5″  There is no guidance. All I could do was a WAG (wild A$$ gue$$). From my time as a programmer, I know that the fastest way to to narrow the field is by halves. (Uh, that’s a complicated set of explanations usually occupying a full chapter with many pages in a standard text book. Let’s not do this here. OK?)  So I shifted 3/4″ at my guestimated knee line and redrew the lines.

 

I drafted the waistband using the instructions; added seam allowances everywhere and then trimmed my tissue.

 

For my muslin (this is Muslin 1 Draft #2) I’m using a polyester crepe.  I didn’t do a burn test, it could be acrylic.  I don’t really care. The fabric has been in my stash for at least 20 years.  Long ago I made a beautiful winter blouse.  I thought the remainder might make a summer blouse but, Truth-Be-Told, this fabric is too dang hot for summer use.  It gave me another thought about purchasing current patterns.  Patterns that I bought 20 years ago were drafted not only to achieve the ease and silhouettes of the time, but were drafted to work with the fabrics of the time, like this polyester crepe.  When I made and wore that winter blouse, it was beautiful, appropriate, comfortable,… just all around excellent.  Last year I made a blouse from a similar fabric and was terribly disappointed.  I like the pattern, shape, ease, etc.  but I intensely disliked the fabric. The fabric is “wrong” for today’s patterns.

 

But back to Muslin #1  On the pattern, I folded up the hem allowance and added a fly front. I serged all edges first. I mean this is a crepe likely to ravel like crazy.  I didn’t add a front zipper because I don’t plan on wearing this beyond the first fitting.  I added interfacing to the leg at the hems and in the waistband. Some things, like appropriate interfacing, need to be done to even check the draft and fit.  I stitched the darts in the default place (I’m worried about fit not design details). To my shock the muslin is too, way-too tight. I don’t understand.  Polyester should not shrink. I’m not considering the  puckered seams.  If this had been for a wearable garment instead of a muslin, I would have resolved the puckering either by changing needle-sizes, needle type or machine tensions.  The puckering could be resolved.  I’m not concerned about the pantie line show through.  This is a muslin.  I’m glad to use up and discard this fabric.

 

I am concerned about the side seam curving to the front and the revelation of my curves and torso mid-line I’m also wondering about the front side-seam which pulls sharply backwards at the ankle, while at the same place the back side seam balloons outward. What’s up with that?

 

 

AND I am amazed at the back view. Let me share it before commenting:

Again too tight from waist to the full hip and I would say I’m locking the leg on the left .  But I would say (even though my front pics didn’t turn out) that the crotch is pretty good. The crotch feels short.  Is the crotch too short, or is it the area is overall too tight?

 

But I am AMAZED, just ASTOUNDED that the normal X wrinkles are nowhere present. I see a slight tug at the crotch indicating that it is still a bit short. My front pic came out to blurred, but I think in this pair the front crotch needs to be just a bit longer because there are front smile lines you-know where.

 

But here’s the big thing:  I HAVEN’T MADE A SINGLE ALTERATION TO THE MUSLIN. The back looks like that from the get go.

 

I’m beginning to thing that the SFD Pants kit could be pretty amazing.  No pant pattern has ever fit out of the envelope.  I always need to tweak just a bit.  This is not surprising.  In fact it would be shocking if a pant pattern did fit me without the slightest alteration.  My height alone, 3″ shorter than the standard, demands that alteration must be made.  My posture (see above) contributes issues and that’s without even considering that I am nearly as deep as I am wide; that I am high waisted; that my waist/hip ratio is no-where near the standard.   This muslin does not fit me, yet I am PLEASED; very, very pleased.  The back of my pants is most troublesome to fit.  To have the back looking this good is astonishing.

 

But I curtail my enthusiasm.  I realize that I’ve violated some primary fitting laws.  I’m calling the legs could when I have not even begun to fit the waist.  I learned long ago that I must fit pants starting at the waistline.  Changing the waistband even a little has an astonishing effect on how the rest of the pant looks.

 

So Plan of Action:

 

  • Verify accuracy of Draft #2
    • Make and Use Crotch-0-Meter
    • Verify Body Measurements
      • If Body Measurements are incorrect
        • Create Draft #3 with correct body Measurements
        • Create Muslin #3 with Draft #3
      • If Body Measurement are correct.
        • Verify Dots correctly marked
          • If Dots correctly marked
            • Measure Muslin #1 (could it have shrunk?)
              • If Muslin #1 and Draft #2 measurements are the same
                • Create Draft #3 going up 2 dots
                • Create Muslin #2 from Draft #3
              • If Muslin #1 and Draft #2 measurements are different
                • Create Muslin #2 with a different fabric using Draft #2

I’m almost embarrassed to admit I really think like this. I learned it during my sophomore year in high school in Geometry.  It works for me.