2018Revisit, 3200 Sally's Pant, DraftingFitting

Shades of 906

I could call the pant done. After all the hip line and inseam darts didn’t help the back leg at all and so are not needed. The spectacularly successful alterations were getting the crotch length correct and adding ease to the front knee to offset my knock knees.– Thank you Gayle for suggesting!  Re the knock knee, when the medicine works, the diagnosis is a bit moot. IOW may as well quit denying I have knock knees since a knock knee alteration fixes 2 symptoms. So I could call the pant done. Just make sure I use fabric which drapes close to the body and be happy that I have a slack-type pant that finishes with a 19.5″ hem. WaaaHOOOOO! That’s a winner!!!

But I have a curious mind and am still wondering how I can fix all the loose-fitting back-thigh area when the rest of the pant is semi-fit. I am going back to the drafting I did previously. I remember being so stunned at the back crotch shape when I initially created the inseam.

To me that was just wrong. When I smoothed out that curve like Suzy was said to do I would added lots of back thigh ease. Lots. The way the thigh is calculated and plotted, my thigh point is placed about 1/2″ inside the framework Yes, with 1″ ease as Suzy recommends, my thigh plots inside the pant drafting framework  I stopped and measured my pants draft and discovered I would be adding 4-6″ ease over the back thigh (did not calculate ease in the front thigh).  In the ease charts I have 4-6″ is loose-fitting. I am wanting a semi-fit which would be closer to 2-3″ ease. I did the math. I need to remove close to 4″ ease. Well that’s a lot. So I decided to rip open the crotch, add a 1″ dart, wide end at the crotch and descending about 6″ into the thigh of the pants. I did not sew the crotch back together. There’s no question in my mind that I will have pull lines and wrinkles because the dart takes away too much crotch length.  All I want to know right now, is how much ease do I want over my back thigh and how much I need to remove. So without stitching the crotch together, I took pictures of the back with first a 1″ dart and then a 1-3/4″ dart:

2″ dart          2 3/4″ dart

To avoid the whole right leg, left pic confusion I once again cropped the picture to include only the leg I am working on.  


I didn’t see much change with the 2″ dart (stitched 1″ deep) but the leg felt  better. Have to confess I really didn’t feel that much difference with the next one. the 2 3/4″ dart (stitched 1 3/8) but the pic says worlds. Yes it is already very clear there are pull lines developing from the shortened crotch.  So I added a 2nd dart removing another 2″; then changed the first dart back to 1″ wide. Maybe a bit crazy but 4-3/4 felt too tight; 4″ felt much better and it even looked better.

4-3/4         4″ darts

So great, I’ve proved that adding the crotch length added the excess fabric over my thighs. So what? Everyone else seems to feel that’s OK. Just wear as is. I think that “everyone else” with a hip equal to mine, must have larger thighs than I do and so to them, it is OK.  I may be making a completely wrong assumption but why is that I am the only one who complains that their ‘fitted’ pants have too much ease over the thigh? Why is it that everyone else, can take a hip-line or inseam dart and the mess under their tush disappears. Why is different about my body? I think my thighs must not have the heft theirs do.  However, that doesn’t answer the question of: what next. Sure I can make the dart in my pattern, but then I have to address the increasing number of drag lines radiating from the back crotch. They are always, always solved by adding length. If I add length, I will be adding ease back where I just darted it out.  I seem to be stuck in a conundrum.  Is there an answer?

Well I wonder if Trudy Jensen may have found the solution years ago. The crotch shape of her Designer Jean pattern #906 intrigued me. It’s a jean pattern. I am searching for a slack/trouser, semi-fitted pants pattern.  But look carefully at the unusual shape of the back crotch, because this jean fits me wonderfully no matter what size I need to make.

I always call it the Fish-Hook Crotch. If I had pair the front crotch on the left side, you’d see how it continues on to match the front.


I’m sure someone out there is thinking “If that crotch is so great for you, why don’t you just copy it to your new pattern?” Because that didn’t work.  When I copied it to another pants pattern, the back problems were not solved. At first I thought, well Ms Jansen does something different in her draft I don’t know about. So I bought several other of her pant styles expecting to find more patterns that fit perfectly and easily. Didn’t happen. Nope. She didn’t use this crotch shape in any of the other pants patterns I purchase.  I did try her patterns; ruining more fabric while trying to make the new pants patterns fit as nicely as the 906. All was not wasted, I did learn something helpful from the experience.  I learned that sometimes scooping a little bit; making the crotch at least a little bit like the 906, I could solve my issues with many pants pattern. Not all, but many. Then my body changed again. You know, human growth is well documented for ages new-born to about 18.  After that it’s a little sketchy and I don’t remember anything about the issues I face now. Which by the way are not all that unusual. After I retired and moved, I made connections with many people my age and older. When I talk with them, they acknowledge my issues; sympathize and offer solutions  the medical community demeans. But they work; these solutions work.

Well, as usual, I’ve gotten off the rails here, let’s return to sewing for my current body and why I think the TJ906 crotch could be helpful. Note that the crotch extension seems short. I don’t think it extends 2″ past where the crotch upright would be. Also look at how the crotch upright is leaning drastically. Rarely have I seen a crotch lean like that. While this crotch works on this pattern for me, most of my other patterns have fit far better by changing the crotch to a more upright, an L shape (think Christine Johnson). But here is what I am thinking and the direction I’m going:  What happens if I shorten the extension and  create a new crotch curve by forcing the flexible ruler into the height of the pattern, but curved to end at the length desired, my back-crotch length.

I start by copying my already fitting back pattern.

Umm, that’s already fitting except for the extra ease over my back thigh.  I copied the crotch level line that I drew and also drew a crotch upright line extending it well below the crotch level line.

Look closely at that pic.  I made tick marks 1″ apart between what I hope is the crotch upright and the crotch point along the crotch level line. I had thought to remove the same amount of length as I pinched-out on the musline to form darts. I was immediately struck by how much that would remove. WOW that hardly leaves a back crotch extension of maybe 2″. Not sure it would leave a back crotch to same length as the front!  I couldn’t wrap my mind around a back crotch that short. I stopped to measure the back crotch, including seam allowances (17 5/8″). Then I pulled out the 906 crotch and laid it top. Just to make it a little more visible, I outlined the 906 crotch withblue dashes.

I decided that was such a winner, that even though I hadn’t been able to transfer it to other patterns, I would use that length and remove roughly 1.5″

I put the 906 crotch away and forced the flexible curve onto my pattern so that the top was at 0 and the end point (17 5/8″) at the mark for the 906 crotch.

I copied that curve..

Using my metal curve,  I made a connecting line between the new crotch point and the knee. Then it was time for truing. The inseams did not match. This new inseam was too short and curved in too much. Suzy says, and I believe I’ve had the experience,  if the inseams aren’t close in shape and exact in length they will be difficult to sew and will create issues during fitting. I copied the  front inseam- curve from crotch to hem in pencil and once again using my curve corrected the entire back inseam. Then traced over that final line in green Sharpie.

I am not entirely happy. I was hoping to remove a lot more fabric from across my back thigh. But even if I have to repeat this process, at least I’ve made a good start. The only way to tell my progress is a new muslin. I selected a sister fabric to what was used in Muslin 1. It too is a cotton-Lycra shirting. Purchased on-line, it didn’t thrill me on arrival. I pulled it and put it back on the shelf several times for other projects before moving it to the muslin fabric. I just don’t like it. It too is a large flower print, in the same dark brown but yellow background. Since it is a very similar fabric  the fit should  be similar.

The biggest change in the pattern and therefore the muslin, is the new back crotch. I did add the knee- ease tested on the previous muslin. I thought that proven enough I shouldn’t encounter major issues. Which is why I am surprised at how differently this muslin fits between waist and low hip. It is definitely tighter at the waist. I no longer have those lady times and issues i.e I did not gain 5 pounds overnight.  Old women like me are more likely to struggle with sluggish bowels. Not currently an issue for me either.  The pattern in a new fabric is too tight from waist all the way to the low hip but not below. I feel it. May as well not have any Lycra. I do see the pull lines from the crotch probably due to the new back crotch.  What really concerns me most on the front, is the pant legs falling together between knee and ankle. Didn’t I correct that with the 1/2″ knee adjustment? I made the alteration to the front leg and cut the new front with the alteration in place. Hmmm.

How about some positives.  I see as well as feel that the back thigh ease has been reduced some–just not as much as I want. It is progress. Also, I have definitely had worse looking backs. Anyone who has read this blog of any length of time will agree, this is not the worst pant back-view I have posted.  But it isn’t nearly as nice as I was hoping. To my eyes, the crotch is obviously too short. Instead of wrinkles over the thigh, it is puffy. Pretty sure that’s a fabric issue because one of the things I told myself when the other back was finished: :chose fabric that will drape close to the body. That means no jean fabrics; no stiff twills and now I should add no shirtings. Most of the diagonals are of course due to the back crotch which was not shortened at all. In fact I had a scare during sewing because instead of a smooth join the crotch peaked at the inseam:

I’ve actually ignored such a peak. The resulting pant was d@mn!!@@#$%%!! uncomfortable. Also, the curve is not a “nice curve”. It undulates. It must be a nice smooth curve for fit and comfort. So using my metal curve I drew a smooth crotch curve ; stitched and trimmed.  I trimmed the peak 1/2″.

Not good. In fact scary. Scary enough that I pulled out the flexible ruler and measured again. Relief filled me as the final measure was 18″.  The back crotch length actually grew. I am assuming the front crotch length is the same since I didn’t do anything to the front (other than the knock knee adjustment.)

As in front, the leg starts swinging towards each other at the knee all the way to the ankle; and dang it all, the hem is not level. It was. I can recheck the knock-knee adjustment made but sadly I don’t think  it is the solution I thought it was. This takes me back to 10-12 years ago when I first starting fitting the back of my pants using photos. I would make the recommended correction. It worked in the muslin. Add the correction to the tissue. Make another pant only to find out the alteration didn’t work. Why did it work for the muslin and then not work in the real pant? Because it  isn’t the real problem. The problem is something else. When I find the real cause, I will find a real and permanent solution.

So now what. Well I still have the back pattern which fits but has the excess over the back thigh. I will use it, if I need full-length pants. I don’t anticipating making those until the end of September after I pull out the Autumn clothes and do an inventory.  I gleaned suggestions from the comments you all have made and created a text file to use when I feel like tackling this again, I have some ideas. There is a possibility that I need a fabric with more stretch. Denim typically has stretch even without Lycra. So maybe this fabric didn’t have enough stretch? I think I’m on the right path. That is,  I really believe the reason I have so much excess ease/fabric over  the thigh is the length I need  to add to the back crotch. Whatever suggestions I try, have to retain the crotch as drafted i.e. length and shape, but somehow reduce the ease over the thigh. I also need to look carefully at what is causing the legs to swing together below the knee and what is causing the uneven hem.

While I have some suggestions and ideas, I’m putting this on hold for a few weeks. As I said, I don’t anticipate sewing full-length pants for a few more weeks.  I have noticed that several of my summer tops are not going to make it into next year. Already, I’m planning on replacing them using TNT’s. Even though I made a few dresses this year, some will not be retained for next year both due to wear and that I’m not really in love with them. So I’m planning to make a few summer dresses in the next few weeks, again using TNT’s. BECAUSE using tested patterns allows me to indulge in fun sewing i.e. machine embroidery, painting, decorative stitches etc, etc.  The next few weeks are all going to be devoted to fun, fun, fun in the sewing room. (Can we make a song with that?)





2018Revisit, 3200 Sally's Pant, DraftingFitting

Revisiting Sally’s Pant

I had time to mull over the question of new muslin or new wearable pants while copying changes from fitting back to the tissue. I decided, it wouldn’t hurt to make another quick muslin but no finishing; not even ravel prevention. Just cut, stitch and slip into. My fabric is a cotton/poly twill with a smidgen of Lycra fro stretch. Again, Lycra not the best when trying to fit basics that can become slopers. Truth is, nearly all of the real pants fabrics I buy either have a Lycra content or I intend to use them for the wide, 22-24″ leg, trousers and they are very drapey. I bought this fabric a few years before I retired thinking of a summer jacket.  12 years on, I have little use for such jackets. But I had thought I might make pants. Always hesitated because I really didn’t like the paisley print. This was a brain purchased and not a heart purchase. I was looking for jacket fabrics. I used to like my jackets to have a little more personality. A paisley print would have been perfect, just not in those colors. When I decided against jacket use, I put it in the pants pile of fabric. I picked it up and put it back several times. Same problem: I really don’t like the olive, brown and black print. I was considering dyeing it.  Today, I opted to use it as a pants muslin because dyeing is not an exact science as far as I am concerned and had the print been more to my liking, this fabric would already be in a garment and probably worn-out. So after transferring all the changes to the tissue, it became a pant muslin. So that I could see the fitting issues, I turned the print inside.

So this pant has been fitted to my waist by copying my hip curve from my skirt sloper and adjusting the darts. It does not have front darts nor did I add my 3/8″ wedge to the center front. The only other alteration was shortening the legs– no hip-line dart, no inseam dart. Nothing else. Hip curve, waist darts, shorten leg. The front and sides look better than ever before.

..but I’m not wild about the back. I could ignore the few ripples around my high and low hips; even the divot at thigh level. The fabric has body. Much more body than the normal jean denim.  I am concerned about the back leg between thigh crease and floor.  For that I compared this muslin with the previous 3 fitting sessions.

Yes 3 fitting. First pic is of muslin 1 fit 1 which contains the inseam dart. Middle pic shows the Fit 2 on the left leg (right side of picture) and Fit3 on the right leg (left side of picture).  The first muslin was made of a crisp cotton Lycra shirting. Although it would make a crisp shirt especially after starching, it does not have the body and firmness of the current muslin picture all the way to the right.  I note that between the legs looks much better in Muslin 2. However the body of this fabric reveals the pull of the knee which I couldn’t see before. I think it was there, I just didn’t realize it.

I’ve been wanting to explore a suggestion made for knock knees  by adding 1/2″ ease along the front leg by the side of the knee. I ripped the leg apart and added a 1 1/2″ strip then stitched it back together with a fish-eye dart 1/2″ at its widest point.

As before front and side are not that remarkable. In fact I’m not sure there is any improvement but the back is most definitely interesting

I don’t see the dominate pull at the knee. Maybe a ghost? But look at this hem:

For the first time in years, the right hem is nearly level while the left shows its characteristic upward lift on the inseam.  The uneven hem was so standard for me, I thought it was supposed to be that way. I haven’t even bought a pant, including my DG2’s that didn’t eventually lift at the inseam hem.  You can see the absence of the knee pull lines better in the hem leg pic too.  While it looks level at the moment,  I am not 100% sure I’ve added enough ease with the 1/2″ fish-eye dart. This is an issue I would need to revisit a few launderings down to road.

So in times past I have called my pant fitting DONE. At other times, I have experimented with various solutions including Peggy’s hip-line and inseam darts.  I have another idea.  Which I will share, tomorrow.




2018Revisit, 3200 Sally's Pant, DraftingFitting

Revist 3200: Muslin Sallys Pant Size 22

I started by tracing the framework established for drafting my personal pant pattern (the one I didn’t finish drafting and fitting).  I still think that frame-work could be useful even though I have issues. (Chief of which is the crotch being 2″ too short and the curve from crotch point, though thigh to knee adding too much ease across my thigh. Good new, at least I understand why I get so much ease.)   So I traced the framework and set aside for later.

Then I traced size 22 front and back. I thought already had a waistband which fit nicely. I saw no point and tracing and fitting a second.  Then I slipped the frame-work beneath front and back size 22 tracing to see how they related–err–did they relate.  I lined them up along the crotch level lines and then sort of centered the pattern tracing over the framework.  I was surprised at how much they matched up.  I saw few differences. The back waist was about 1.5″ above the framework waistline; the front about 1″ above the framework. But that makes perfect sense. If Peggy followed standard drafting procedures, she dropped the back crotch line 1/2″ below the front. I did not. So that accounts for the extra 1/2″ of the back. As for the remainder, the draft crotch length was 2″ shorter than the measured crotch length. I’m not really sure where I went off the rails, but that fact accounts for the difference. IOW the draft total crotch length is 27″; the pattern is 29″ and there should have been pattern above the frame-work.

I started making my planned changes to the tracing.  Sadly, the tracing did not show up well in pictures. No point in sharing those pics, so let me just tell you what I did.  According to my calculations I needed to add 3/4″ at the front waist. No surprise really as I often add a wedge at the crotch front.  I made 3/8″ wide wedge. Just a bitty narrow thing. I also made the 1″  inseam dart at the top of the leg which Peggy Sagers so highly recommends. I do believe it helps because I see the leg change from being spread eagle to resembling a more normal human stance. Knowing it was still possible to have crotch height issues, I added 7/8″ at the top of the waist for a little  fit insurance.   Last thing I did was adding 1/2″ fitting insurance to the side seams. Most people add a full 1″ or at least make the seam allowance a full inch. I did not because my 3-page Excel worksheet of calculations indicated the crotch length should be correct but all the pattern ease would be too much.

Some of you Sager’s fans are probably asking about the Hip Line Dart.  Peggy emphasizes making the hip line dart and if that doesn’t clean up all the back mess, make the inseam darts. She doesn’t say to make to make the inseam dart and then the hip line. But after all the fun I had drafting, I am not sure the mess over my leg is due to standard practice of slashing and adding  1″ to the back crotch (which then us old ladies have to remove). I really think my issue is the long back crotch that I need and which when the inseam is drawn ease is added over the back thigh. Besides, I know when I make the hip line dart, I immediately add a 1″ wedge at the waist center-back.  I need the up-right length.  I need a 29″ crotch. What’s the point of removing it 7″ below only to add it at the top”?

My muslin fabric is a cotton/lycra shirting. To tell the truth, I might be tempted to use a similar fabric for summer-weight pants. That little bit of lycra is enough to shed wrinkles throughout the day and make bending, stretching etc comfortable. However, this is one of those fabrics I pulled from the shipping box and asked myself if I had even looked at the pic before adding to cart. Not only did I seem to add without looking closely  but I went back and changed the quantity to 2.5 yard  — an action that must be manually done. Oh and I did that without noticing  I was buying a print of huge flowers. Even for a shirt, I am unlikely to wear a print of flowers that are bigger than a dinner plate. It’s just not part of my personality. But, turned inside out,  it makes an OK muslin.

I still anticipated some fitting adventures and therefore serged finished the edges.  I also installed a zipper. Using water-soluble thread in the bobbin makes for easy alterations and easy removal when the muslin goes into the trash.  During fitting the zipper is wonderful. Much better than pinning, unpinning and stepping on pins. Much better. To my surprise, the initial muslin had much too much ease at the waist. Well, throughout the pant but most noticeable at the waist.  I stitched the side seams 1/4″ deeper. Waist was still too loose which had me wondering if the 3/8″ I added at center front during pattern-making was a mistake. 2nd fitting I added a 3/8″ deep tuck in the front. Which felt fine at first but as I was taking pics  the waist became too loose.  I finished pics holding the waist up.  But I had first pics and I wanted to look at them. Up stairs I went…


Well I thought I had pics. Looks like I  have right side, back and left side. I had another 2 backs and another 2 of just the cover stitch machine. Hmm..cameras can be mysterious creatures. Still there are some things I can tell I need to do before the next set of pics.

The waist needs to be smaller yes, but do I need to take in the front or back.  I looked closely at the sides. I even superimposed straight lines along the seams:

I’ve decided to increase the back darts 1/8″ (total removed will be 1″) and leave the front alone, for now.  I liked the look of the hip from the back

Looking at the side view, well I really think it is too tight for a trouser/slack. I will let out the side seam at the hip 1/4″ (total added 1″).  Also, after the last waist change, it started looking a little tight across the tummy. I will start the side seam change with 1/8″ at tummy level (3″ down from waist) down to crotch level.  Lastly, I’m going to cut about 2″ off the leg length. At this time, I don’t want the leg puddling on the floor. It causes wrinkles up above.  Wrinkles that I would fret about needlessly. Won’t change the tissue yet – well won’t change the tissue until the end– but especially not whacking 2″ off the leg length. I want the legs to fly above the floor and close to my ankle during fitting. Later I will want the default length about 1/2″ above the floor.

So the thought was check the pants; do the next alterations which already included tweaking the waist again (for a third time.)  Instead I thought, “I am an idiot!”  Has it been 2 weeks since I fit the skirt sloper?  Why not copy that perfectly fitting waist? Both this pattern and the sloper hang from the natural waist. I really should have though of this before!! I pulled out the skirt sloper and copied the hip curve.  Then I measured the waistband and marked center back, both sides and center front. Whoa! This pant waistband could not have been fit. It is at least 4″ longer than my skirt waist. good thing I thought to use the skirt. I could have been tweak for a couple of hours.  That lead to a very good feeling and fitting waist. Now onto some serious fitting:

Also, to shorten the leg, I took a 1/2″ tuck about 2″ above the ankle. I am surprised at how nice and smooth this is hanging. The front crotch looks perfect and the entire crotch feels comfortable.  The leg looks nice although the side is breaking about 6″ above my knee and there is a ghost of down ward lines about 3″ below crotch and definite pull line at about the same level as the side break.  Interesting the lower diagonal drifts over the center and becomes part of a crease line, if I made a crease line.

I see the sides looking nicely as well. Normally I expect some drape lines along the side, the result of the side being too long. I note with pleasure, that the waistband sits level. In the first fitting, before the waistband was corrected, the front slanted upward about 2″ above my waist and the back drops towards the floor. Due to the vertical folds, I think there could be too much ease in the thigh area. Both sides have similar diagonals which continue almost to the ankle.  I do have a rather trim ankle, so excess there is expected. I’m looking carefully at how the back follows my body curvature. It is just enough to me.  It is not body hugging like I expect of my jeans. Neither does it flare like my wide-leg, beach-romping trousers.  I like this look.

I always hold my breath until I can see the back.

While the front and sides were very smooth, the back has a series of small diagonals above the high hip. Otherwise, you are seeing ghosts of the print and a fold-line I didn’t iron away.

From the bottom of the bum to the knee, I see lots of extra ease. There is a small, short diagonal coming from the inseam. I’m not sure if that is a fitting error or an excess length because

I can see I did not get the hem completely off the floor. Maybe more importantly, I can see that the inseam is not level with the side seam. Entirely my doing. I made Peggy’s Inseam dart which definitely shortened the inseam but not the side seam.  At no point have I restored the length.  I don’t remember Peggy ever saying it needed to be restored.  Did I fall asleep when  she mentioned that? Every time? I mean she must have 2 full tubes describing fitting a pant and the subject comes up almost at every broadcast.  How did I miss it? If that is, I need to offset the lost length.  Do anyone making the inseam dart feel the need to correct for  it down the leg some place?

Planned changes for Fit #3?

  1. A little fish eye dart beneath the waist where those little diagonal lines are occurring.
  2. Increase the depth of the tuck I made to shorten the leg
  3. Figure out where the length removed during the inseam dart should be restored

Got to admit, in times I pass, I would quit right now; find a nice fabric and make a wearable pair. But I  want to know about the decisions I made to get to this point. So I’m going to follow through with those 3 alterations.

I stitched the  1/2″ leg tuck at 1″ then turned to the waistband.  I was surprised to see that I had not stitched the waistband evenly. No it wobbled. So I took it out. Carefully pinned into place and stitched a second time.  Not sure if that will make a difference but it is worth the try.  Then  I started considering how to offset the length lost with the inseam dart.  Slashing and spreading was the obvious solution but where? Since my knee always seems to be a problem, I slashed there.  Cut a 2″ strip of fabric from the remnants and then paid h3ll stitching that into the pant leg. It was a struggle and I am sure not perfectly even.  I took comfort in the fact that if it was indeed the right move, it would be easier to make the alteration on the tissue.

As you look at the pics, recall that I made the slash-and-spread on only one leg, my right leg. The left leg should look at about the same.

I’m hoping you can see either the big safety-pin in the leg or the slash with the fabric peeking out.  That’s the right leg. I do believe that the right leg looks better. Still a little bumpy below the leg. I may still have room for improvement. Then again, All I made need is for alteration to be done at the tissue level.

I also think the right side leg, looks better, even though not nearly as much length is added and, of course, none is added at the seam itself.

Does my right leg look better? (It’s the one on the left side of the picture. I am not entirely sure. I seem to have a bunch of fabric between my ankles from both legs.  Surely that can’t help to make the legs hang straight.  Also when looking from the back, I’m not sure I spread the slash far enough.

Look at how the raw edge on seam is higher than the other seam.  Since I was folding and guestimating, maybe I didn’t fold evenly. Still that looks a lot higher on one side than the other.

What next?

I am tempted to remove the inseam dart from the tissue and run up a quick muslin. But you know me, I kinda of ready to finish to this muslin by confirming it in good fabric. I want to get back to the question in my mind that started this journey: how do I reduce the amount of ease added over my thigh when the crotch line is as long as I need it?


2018Revisit, 3200 Sally's Pant, DraftingFitting

Revisiting Silhouette Patterns 3200

I’m trying to think this thru. Why does 3200 work with a 24″ hem? Not anything slimmer? Where did the hem go wrong?

As I recall I fit this pattern with not too much effort actually spending more time with style enhancements (various waist finishes, pockets etc). But when I pulled the folder out last week to make the purple pants I was stunned by the lack of contents.  I had a front and back; a shorts set; and 3 waist finishes. What happened to the other things I remembered doing? Things like making the 24″ hem 18′ and 20 “? Things like pockets?  I don’t know and at the time I didn’t look further because I just wanted to make a quick pair of pull-on pants. I am revisiting the pattern from scratch today. Going all the way back to the original tissue. I am curious about how it was drafted and how the choices Peggy made work on my body. Also, I’d like to get back to the point of having various hem circumferences and I’d like to know what to do about all the fabric under the butt. (Note, Peggy’s Hip Line and Inseam Darts did work. They did fix the wrinkle mess below the butt as long as the hem has a 24″ circumference . Any attempt of mine to reduce the hem on the purple stripe pants was an immediate failure.)

I did not pinpoint a size immediately. I mean usually I chose a size and get to work. This time I spent I pressed the wrinkles from the tissue and spent a few hours measuring. I chose the W sizing because of the back crotch extension.  I know I need it. Why not start with it long enough? I acquired the measurements of and 18 and 20 along with the measurements from the pants drafting and the S3200 which fits (as long as the hem circumference is 24″)

Looking over the pages of handwritten measurements I noticed something startling. I even checked and rechecked.  An 18 should finish with a 17″ hem; 20 finish at 17.25″ (that’s less the 1.5″ seam allowances).  I’m was rather stunned that the 22 had finished with the 24″ hem circumferences. What happened?  Why the increase of 5″? I increased  the inseam and side seam allowances to 1″.  That would be an increase of 5/8″ each seam and nearly 4 inches but I stitched the pant together along a 1″ stitching line. The extra added for fit insurance should have been totally negated.  I slashed and spread the back vertically to add 1″ giving me enough butt room.  But then, as always, I took a 1″ vertical tuck in the front which should have totally offset the 1″ added to the back.  Besides, that should have only increased the hem from 17.25 18.25.  I am still puzzled. I start checking more and find out, I used as size 24 the first time, not the 22 as stated earlier. The hem of a size 24 is 22″. How it jumped 2″ more is still a question in my mind

A point of interest to me, the last 2 pairs of 3200 have seemed just a little short in the crotch length. I assumed it was due to the elastic-as-waistband application which involved trimming length at the waist of the pant which would then be occupied by the elastic. Not so, the crotch is 1/2″ short which would be 1/4″ when divided between back and front.

Realizing that I had previously worked with the size 24, I decided now to also compare those measurements. By now I have marked everything, so it really was a simple to smooth out the tissues and slide the ruler into place so I may have well measure the size 22. You know, have the whole range 18-24.  Now I’ve got a bunch of measurements. Not exactly a jumble, but still the question of how to make sense of it all?  Being the retired Computer Systems Analyst I am, I set up an MS Excel worksheet and plugged all the numbers in.  Then I calculated net measurements i.e without seam allowances and hems. Nice worksheet. But how does it make sense?  Where are the comparisons to show me what happened? Well I can guess with the Draft and  Fitted 3200. Draft was taken from my body with minimal ease added. I’m 99% sure those measures are correct but I could have either measured at the wrong level or the wrong amount. The Fitted 3200 has been cut, slashed, tucked, spread and whatever else several times so a trouser would fit my body. And the rest of the sizes? Well I stepped back and then leaned in closer.  I compared the measurements of my draft to each of the sizes by subtracting the pattern measurement from draft measurement. WOW what spread sheet. Printed 3, landscape-pages long:

With only a few minutes perusal, I could say “Of Course!” Of course the 24 was easy to fit. The most important difference was crotch length of 30″.  I need a crotch length of 29.  One of the early alterations I made on the Size 24 was  a 1/2″ tuck across the torso i.e. removing 1/2″ crotch length.  Most of the remaining difference can be attributed to style i.e. a trouser especially as the biggest differences occurred in the leg ease. Within the torso/body there is approximately 3″ ease which is a bit much for a trouser unless I wanted a very loose-fitting trouser as I did with the Aqua Pants.

However the hem circumference was still most curious. I finished with 24″ hems. The  pattern should finish with 20.5″ hems. Darn near my favorite wide-leg hem circumference.  How did I get an extra 4″?  I am still uncertain.

So what would it look if I choose a size with the same crotch length (29) as my own?

That would be the size 22. I recall thinking that I could have started with a size smaller (admitting even then that it was better to start too large than too small.)  Ease would have been a little less, 2.5″ and the pant leg hem should have finished at 19 1/8″. I would be in heaven having a trouser with a 19″ hem circumference.  I debated on posting the measurements and calculations so you see them.  My experience as a Systems Analyst is that most people would not have made it through all the text above. Post columns of figures and they’d go to sleep if not leave the room.  Not wanting you to abandon me, I continue to summarize. Most of the differences between a size 22 and my draft size are small; less than an inch.  I was not surprised to see the biggest crucial difference is at the thigh measurement. The pattern has a sweet inseam curve. Remember my draft had an awkward curve as it tried to touch  crotch point,  my thigh measurement (at a mere 1.5″ below the crotch level) and then knee.  From my recent drafting experience,  I think if standard drafting procedures are used I am always going to have too much ease under the bum. Every draft is going to have the issue of creating a long crotch and curving back to my thigh.  Making a nice curving connection will always add that extra width.

Now what? A muslin of course– which will make for a more interesting blog post.


3200 Sally's Pant

Purple Stripe Pants

Do you ever dream about your sewing?  I know I’m weird and this may be one of my weirdest, but I started seeing a narrow-striped pant; then  purple narrow-striped pants and finally floral embroidered, purple narrow striped pants.  In my dreams. Yeah, not seeing them anywhere in real life or Pinterest or the home shopping channels. Just in my dreams. So I had to make them.

My fabric is a cotton-poly seersucker purchased I think in April.  I like seersucker for summer so when this fabric popped up on sale, I had to have it.  I chose to use SP3200, Silhouette Patterns 3200 because:  it fits. Oh and I was seeing a trouser silhouette in my dreams. I chose to use the elastic-as-waistband application again because it is so easy. I finish up the rest of the pant; trim about 1/2″ from the top/waist and then serge 2″ elastic at the waist.  If you don’t mind the elastic showing or in my case can cover it up with your tops, it’s about the best casual waistband e-v-e-r!

As for embroidery I hunted through my embarrassingly large collection locating several I thought resembled my dream.  I further sorted and discarded until I found an 8″ embroidery that was perfect – or as close as possible. I mean it is hard to remember all the details of a dream.  My choice:

Named JB075 but I have no idea who the digitizer or source is. Just that I like it for this project. There is one other issue: placement.

when I’m fully clothed, my embroidery is nearly invisible. (Sad Face.)  What was the point?  In the future I must remember to place my pants’ embroideries lower on the leg or at the hem. Embroidering the front pocket area is a waste of thread.

I hadn’t planned to make any fitting changes.

I actually planned to open the folder containing my pattern and its variations and select the 18″ hem version. To my surprise and a bit of horror, the contents were limited to the 22″ hem, 3 waistband variations and an inseam pocket. I didn’t want to spend time creating a new pattern right then and decided to embroider and construct the pant but just before hemming, I would slendarize the legs.

Imagine my surprise when every effort to reduce the hem by even 1/2″ produced wrinkles beneath the bum almost to the ankles. It mattered not whether I basted inseam, side seam, above the knee or below. I even made vertical and horizontal fish eye darts knowing the strip would camouflage. But any disturbance and these pants would wrinkle.  Instead of the 20 minutes I estimated, it was 2 hours later before I admitted this wasn’t going to work and I ripped out all basting. I just hemmed my pants.

I fear I have managed to distorted the legs a little as there are now slight diagonal lines where there were none before. Leg width/hem circumference is something I need to attend to when I can focus on the project. In the meantime, in this fabric, seersucker the 24″hem look nice. I think I’ll wear them with pleasure.

3200 Sally's Pant, Shorts

First Summer Shorts

I was pretty happy with my shorts supply when I swapped out my winter for summer clothes.  I reasoned that with 6 pairs and I enough to go all summer. I knew I would want to add a pair or two just to make something new and also to keep refreshing the wardrobe. Shorts are, after all, something I can count on wearing every summer. I had a rude awakening when I started actually wearing my shorts. I had forgotten that all these were made before I finished tweaking my TNT’s, Peggy Sagers 3200 and Butterick 5682.  Pair had something seriously wrong.  One pair was fine while I was standing, but I couldn’t sit. Seriously, they had no stretch and would not give enough for my body to bend into sitting position.  How the heck did I wear those last year? I have not gained weight. The scales at my doctor’s office are steadly going down. Not rocketing to the bottom, but a pound less when I visit (my visits are quarterly). I’m 6 pounds less now then when I made the shorts. A few pulled sharply down at CB whenever I sat. Well, I have no intention of running around with my bum showing, so into the Goodwill box they went too. I’m left with 3 pairs of shorts which is not enough during hot weather. Time to start sewing shorts!

First pair is cut from a black and white stripe of cotton/poly seersucker. I don’t care whether seersucker is in or out, I love it for summer garments.  Most of my life, it’s been the fabric I could count on to look the same on a summer afternoon as it did in the morning.  I’d rather be slightly rumpled all day then to look like something the cat hacked up in the evening. KWIM?

I had already traced 3200 for shorts length. I did myself a favor by tracing it for the longest length shorts I would want and then marking fold lines along the leg for shorter versions. Now I folded it for the 4″ short.  I chalked an extra 1″ onto the sides and added 1-1/4″ length at the waist for a fold over waistband. My 4″ inseam is actually marked at the 5-1/4″ level to include the hem so no need to add for a hem. I wanted pockets so dug through my patterns until I could find what I call the CLD pocket.

The CLD pocket is really a thing of beauty.  Louise Cutting includes this pocket or instructions for it  in a number of her pants patterns.  The front side seam is faced at the pocket opening. A single pocket shape (you can vary it) is attached to the back side seam. The pocket attached to the back is placed under the front and top stitched. Yeah, so not clear. It is an easy pocket application. Has the virtue of never gaping; can be added after the fact (with a little seam ripping) and made from a scrap. But you do need to follow an exact procedure or you’ll muck it up. I did. I forgot to read the directions and missed steps resulting in some ripping and creative sewing..  Have a nice pocket, but this could have been so much easier.

I wanted to work some more with the new CS and used the 2340 to top stitch pockets and hems. Hems were fine — I’ve got a new if still awkward procedure for removing the work — but those pockets had me screaming. I used the pocket shape with sharp corners. 2340 does not make nice right angle turns. I had quite a mess..

.. which I top stitched at the sewing machine

trying to at least secure the pocket if not make it look a little better.  I was frustrated by the time I finished and even suggested, to myself, that I put the Janome back up and set the 2340 aside until I triple needles was the exact look I wanted.  But I remembered that it wasn’t all that easy when I first got the Janome 900CPX.  For months all I would do is a hemming stitch. I can remember letting out a deep relaxed sigh each time I completed a decent hem. It was months before I would try anything else. I haven had the 2340 but 3 weeks. Already I pushing it and probably myself.

Note: I can now see real advantages to my Janome 900CPX over the 2340CV.  The 900 is much easier to thread and to remove the work from machine. Removing the work from the 2340 is a real fight that seams to be accompanied by either rethreading the machine, or unintentionally raveling

the hem and having to over stitch at the sewing machine. Also, having 3 needles means threading THREE needles with THREE cones of thread. That’s just not going to happen with some colors. In which case I will be winding a bobbin to use at the 2340. I don’t like a lot of fuss. Sewing: YES. Fuss and futzing: NO. Threading is futzing.

A second goof, probably the first really because I did not add enough length for a fold over waistband.  I made it work but I must have spent 10 minutes measuring, pinning, folding etc. I think though my measuring was just a little off. These both look and feel just a little close in the crotch

Happily a little scooping took care of it but I don’t seem to have pics after the scoop.

Next time I’m going to read the pocket and waistband instructions. It’s nice to have a multitude of techniques to use, I just need to be reminded of the construction details before I cut.

3200 Sally's Pant, Elastic as Waistband

Embroidered Summer Pants

So into my stash I dug to find an excellent poly cotton in light blue. This is such a wonderful fabric. I wonder if it is still in production because this came from the old Walmart $1 table over 2 decades ago. At the time I bought 5 yards of every color they offered. Sniff, not only are those days over, this is the last of those fabrics; a fabric that handles and wears so well.

I didn’t spend an inordinate time choosing my embroidery design.  Knew immediately that it would be something small with lots of repeats.

A single motif would have had a lot of embroiders complaining it was too small to be any good. Repeated 3 rows and umpty-frat number of times across a 22″ hem it becomes impressive. Oh and took 4 hoopings, total 207,352 stitches and 3 days to finish. (4 bobbins, three 5000-yard spools of machine embroidery thread.) But it was worth it.

I used Silhouette Pattern 3200.  I had slimmed the leg hem. Originally it was 22″ and I slimmed it down to 20″.  I wanted a fuller leg. Something I wear occasionally even though I know the slimmer leg is more flattering and works with more tops. To make the hem fuller, I laid the fabric out, placed pattern pieces on top and with my tailor’s chalk  drew a vertical line from about thigh height to hem; angled to add 1″ at the side seam hem. I was envisioning a wider hem, but this is good.

Not only is the leg width not the best, this is also not a flattering stance!

I had to do a little playing to use the Elastic as Waistband method that Peggy Sagers introduced in her 3-Piece Yoga Pant Pattern 3418.  Initially, I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this waistband construction.  I even wrote Peggy whose response was something to the effect of just read it carefully and you’ll get it.  I did; and I grew to like this application even though initially it  seemed really weird to have visible elastic.   I’m wondering, will the feeling the white elastic looks like my underwear sticking out, will I get over that  and start liking the white elastic?  Time will tell and I’m not really sure it matters since I usually wear my blouses untucked which totally covers the waistband anyway.

So as I started to say, I needed a little playing to get this right for SP3200.  I cut the fabric as usual; serge finished all the edges; stitched the side seams and then spent 3 days embroidering the hems. Construction felt like nothing from that point. I zoomed through serging the inseams and stitching the crotch. I didn’t bother fitting because I’ve used this pattern many times after working at the fit through the first muslin. But I stopped at the waistband to ‘give it  think’.  My fabric waistband finishes 1″ wide. Sits at the waist and extends 1″ above. I like it. It feels secure unlike some of these low-rise crotches that I swear will be revealing all in seconds.  I cut my elastic the usual length for this brand. I am using the WAWAK 2″ elastic.  Developed quite a fondness for it but I keep a record of each elastic I purchase and the length that finally fit for me. All elastics are not all the same. For example, another excellent elastic I purchase from Cutting Line Designs is not snug enough unless I cut it 7″ shorter than my waist circumference. I joined my elastic in a circle by butting the ends and using a 3-step zig zag with a short length of bias tape beneath.  Really makes a nice flat join. Up to this point construction was pretty much typical with a 3-day break to embroider.  My thinking on the waistband went like this:  I’m using a 2″ elastic. I don’t want it to sit or extend higher than a fabric waistband would sit. So I need to trim some length at the top of the pant. How much? Well normally my WB extends 1″ above the waist which I still want. So 2″ wide elastic  -1″ wide WB,  would leave 1″ of elastic unneeded. Turn the thought around and that would be 1″ at the top of the pant not needed. Unsure because the elastic application instruction have me stitching 3/8″ above the bottom edge of the elastic, I basted the elastic to the pant 1-3/8″from the top of the pant. A quick try-on told me my initial thinking was correct. Spritz and rip the elastic from the pant and restitch after placing the elastic 1″ below the top of the pant.  Perfect!

And here it is worn with the camp shirt finished just days before:


Man, I can just see me walking barefoot down the beach!


3200 Sally's Pant, Silhouette Patterns

Pants 1

I purchased that beautiful, warm-brown rayon a year or two ago from Casual Elegance. No they don’t have any now. It was recommended for pants. As soon as it arrived I knew why. It is a crepe weave which means it will resist wrinkling and hang nicely. Additionally it is heavy. Not wool coat heavy but heavier than the typical wool crepe you might buy for pants. I’ve wanted to use it but held out until I had a pattern I could trust. That pattern is Sally’s Pant #3200, Silhouette Patterns.    Sally’s pant surprised me.  Back in May I worked with it a second time. I thought I had lots more work to do, but suddenly it was close enough and good enough to be used.  I was however disappointed with the hem circumference. I was expecting 17-18 inches. It finished at 22″. For me. With all my alterations, it finished at 22″. However, that’s a nice circumference for the trouser pants I needed and made for my Autumn 2016 6PAC.

I made 1 fitting change. I made a 1/4″ dart above the hip extending about 4″ towards the center back/front. Just enough to remove the diagonal wrinkles (orange arrows) that had been forming on the previous versions. I also walked the side seams and trimmed them to match which  removed any rouching (red arrows)  occurring on side seam

I wanted these to be great.  Not just good, but GREAT!  I added a front zipper, double stitching the crotch to keep it from stretching; added the slant pockets;  stitched all the darts (all 6 of them) and carefully added the waistband, button and buttonhole.

Good fabric deserves good design. These feel wonderful to wear. They almost have a swish–the result of the 22″ hem circumference.  Any of the folds you see move about depending upon how I stand. The fabric is much darker IRL.  I had to lighten it 85% so we could see details.

They look and feel perfect. Love them.



I really love this pair of pants and will keep the pattern intact. However, I still would prefer that my trouser have a hem circumference of 20″ or less. In fact I like 18 best. Still I don’t want to ruin a good pattern. When I attempt to change the hem in the future, I’ll start by making a copy of this pattern.

3200 Sally's Pant, Silhouette Patterns

Sally Pant 2(Too)

I’m getting ready to make those loose summer pants I said I needed at the end of my summer wardrobe evaluation.

Should be easy, right? Just pull out one of TNTs and start sewing?  But I made a grave error last year. I got so excited wih the very idea that I even could fit pants using Peggy Sagers procedures that I tossed all my pant TNTs. All except TJ906 because it’s a jean and it doesn’t ever need fitting. When I was evaluating pants for spring and summer, I was shocked to see all those pants I fit using Peggy’s procedure had developed X wrinkles.   I don’t think this is Peggy’s fault or that her procedure is at fault.  I think I’m missing some critical piece of information.  I need the answer to exactly why are my pants distorted through wear? (Remember they were beautiful when first fit and in pictures taken in the next few weeks).  I need exacts that I can translate into pattern alterations.  In the mean time, I still need pants to wear. Specifically, I want loose pants for summer.  “Loose” so on those days that start nice but get windy and cool, I don’t need to change pants. Just pull these loose pants over whatever I’m already wearing. Or on those blistering, hot days, those days I know I must cover up my legs or cope with 2nd degree sunburn, I can slip these loose pant on- without shorts beneath- and be protected from the sun but not overheated as I would be with in a good pair of jeans. I’m continuing to work with Sally’s Pant because I  think the majority of my fit issues are already solved whereas with my other pants patterns I need to start from scratch..

To use this pattern year round, I’d want to reduce the hem circumference and reduce the excess ease over the back thigh. Well, for summer loose pants, I don’t need to worry at all about the hem circumference. I may even want a little more. But I do think I’d like to take away at least some of that thigh ease. I carefully looked at the inseams of the tissue.  I shortened the legs by folding out 3.5″ at the knee level then trued the inseam and side seam with my curve and ruler. Especially after watching Suzy Furrer draft a pants sloper, I’m wondering if I could draw the inseam different. I saw her plot a few points and then freehand draw in the crotch.  With the inseam, she shifted a hip curve, not the french curve, up and down until she found a curve she liked. Those two important curves were determined not by body shape but by whim. Is that how all pattern makers draft pants? I’m thinking I should be looking more intently and adjusting that curve to correspond with my body. So the next pair is going to be another test/muslin garment but I’m crossing my fingers hoping I can make a wearable.

Even so, I chose fabric from the stash pile.  It’s a 56″ wide cotton/poly with aqua, white and peach stripes. It’s a nice fabric except that aqua color has never matched or been in the same hue range as any other blue I’ve ever purchased. It is also transparent/semi-transparent. Do I really want to make pants that show my polka-dot panties?  I have several similar fabrics I’ve purchased over the years with which I wanted to make light weight pants.  The fabrics looked fine in the store (or the online pic with description), but  single layer in my hands look far too transparent. I’ve  decided to work on solutions for the opaqueness with the promise that if I can’t find easy solutions, all those fabrics will go in the muslin stash.  I mean, I don’t want to keep pulling fabrics out and putting them away because they don’t meet my transparency requirements.  Neither do I want to donate a box of beautiful fabrics.  I’ve got one idea to try: underlining with another transparent fabric.  Because it is summer, I don’t want to use any of my poly fabrics. Don’t want to use any of the crinkle fabrics. Don’t want to use patterned fabrics that would grin through. After rejecting my way through the stash, I finally ordered a 100% cotton voile.  I like the weight, the transparency. Don’t like the shrinkage (2 yards became 1-3/4). Don’t like the wrinkle.  But I’m using it for this pair of pants. If it works, I plan to order more.

I have a clear view of what I want my summer pants to look like. Long legs, yes. But because these are a “quick change garment” and to minimize the bulk when wearing 2 pairs of pants (at the same time) I want to make pull-on pants with a 1″ wide elastic waistband. That’s nobody’s favorite look and certainly not flattering to me. It is possible to achieve this style with a separate waistband. However, I decided to make a cut on waistband to again minimize bulk but especially because it makes sewing time so much shorter. No zipper. No waistband. That much less sewing. But I extended  2-3/4″ upward from the waist.  This edge will be folded down 1.5″ and stitched at 3/8″ before inserting the elastic. I didn’t  alter the pattern piece. I chalked it on the fabric and wrote down details for future reference.  The downside to the cut-on waistband is that I definitely have to have 2-1/4″ yards of fabric. A separate waistband is fabric conserving. A cut-on is not.

One more note before we get going. Peggy is absolutely right that neither serge finishing nor underlining are not faster than lining a garment. I cut fabric, underlining and then serged around all 4 sides of all 4 pieces. Whatever time I saved by skipping the zipper and separate waistband was more than consumed by the underlining.  Still, I prefer to either serge-finish or underline.  Once the serging is done (I realize I could have basted the sides instead of serging), I’m no longer dealing with 8 pieces but 4.  At that point, making a single garment instead 0f 2 which much be joined.  Also, an underlined garment  is easier for me to iron.  A lining always drives me nuts at the ironing board. I just can’t seem to manipulate the lining and fashion fabric equally.  Usually I settle for making the fashion fabric look good and console myself with the idea that the lining won’t show. IOW no one will know my lining is wrinkled is because I couldn’t iron it.

The first fitting :



Let’s be honest, it could have been a lot worse. Instead I noted that the butt was tighter than expected.  Did the wool of Muslin 1 really adapt that much or is it that the 2 layers  (fashion fabric + underlining) were much less… um…. forgiving? I noted that the X wrinkles are beginning to form at my knees. The front and sides seem to be most affected by extra length between waist and hip (diagonal drag lines from waist to high hip). Is that because I chalked in the waistband or again the change in fabric?   Or because I made an on-the-fly adaptation? I had planned to fold down 1.5″ and stitch 3/8″ from the cut edge.  The elastic wouldn’t feed through so restitched at 1/4″ from the edge.  I think the pants could have gained about 1/4″ length at the waist.

For fitting #2, I folded the waistband at the side seams 1-3/4″ (instead of the 1.5″ planned) and restitched the WB 1.25″ from the folded edge  vs the cut edge.   I  restitched the legs with a 1/4″ seam allowance .


The butt is still too tight and  there’s not much more I can do. Both side and inseams are stitched with 1/4″. seam allowances I can’t let them out any more. I can let the back crotch out 1/8″ which will add total 1/4″ ease across. An interesting point on both Fit 01 and 02 is that the side seams appear to be perpendicular to the floor. The front now has too much ease. It is larger and looser than what I would normally prefer. The butt still too tight. Why isn’t the side seam pulling towards the back?  I know that has happened to me in the past. Shirley Adams clearly illustrated this in her series. But  it seems as though it doesn’t happen anymore to my pants. The back does not take the ease it needs from side and front. Why not?  What has changed?

I’m pleased with that most of the diagonal lines have disappeared beneath the waist.  Maybe a little more adjustment is needed?

For fit 3 I’m making 2 changes: 1) release the back crotch seam 1/8″; 2) shorten the side seam another 1/4″ ie. fold down 2″ stitch at 1.25″


 to be continued


3200 Sally's Pant

3400 Sally’s Pant

I purchased this pattern sometime ago, I think late 2016.  I dwaddled and delayed when it came to using and fitting because my previous experiences with Silhouette Patterns have not been wonderful. I finally decided I wanted to do this now. I have a number of woven, non-stretch fabrics I’d like to use as pants.   I want a narrower leg then my other patterns produce. Not a skinny. But a slim leg 16-17″ in circumference at most 18″.  I am unable to tweak the leg of any of my patterns down to that circumference. I have tried. When I do, my pants develop really awful X wrinkles in the back. I’m hoping the key to success is starting with a pattern that has been drafted for the mature figure and for the smaller circumference.

I used Peggy’s sitting measurement method i.e. I draped the tape measure around my hips and  sat down.  Knowing that I like semi-fitted to semi-loose clothing, I allowed the tape measure to slip just a bit more and noted that number. Then I compared the regular and the W sizing. I fit Peggy’s description of the small woman who has added padding. I looked at the W and the regular back and  opted to use the W.  Let me share a pic of the crotch

The regular does not have that nice long ledge called a crotch extension.  The regular would probably be suitable for the typical 65-year-old who complains they have no butt.  I have the issue of being as deep as I am broad and I need that ledge.  I compared it with my fitted PP113

PP113 is the pattern on top with all the red, yellow, cut and pasting.  The new 3400 back just barely peeks out beneath the crotch extension, on the inseam and up at the waist side-seam. While there are differences, the two backs are a lot alike which gave me hope.  The truth is, my shape is my shape. Any pattern which is going to fit me, is going to fit my shape and is probably going to look a lot like other patterns which fit my shape.

For the record, I chose size 24W. (In retrospect, I might have been able to go down 1 size.)

I’m really having problems choosing test fabric.  Although I’ve added several more to the muslin stack, I never seem to have good test-fabrics.   I used a balanced weave poly/cotton fabric. Quite old.  I’m sure I bought this fabric years ago. I’m also sure I bought pants and blouses made from this fabric. (Back when I didn’t have time to sew, I bought whether it fit or not.) It is a light weight fabric and looks crappy just sitting on the ironing board. No amount of starch improved its looks. But it was good enough to diagnose major wrinkles.

I cut my fabric with an extra 1″ seam allowance along the side and in- seams. I trimmed the hems off with a pinking blade.  I had no desire to pin up or stitch hems but I didn’t want the excess length to contribute extra wrinkles. I basted everything together with water-soluble thread in the bobbin. That includes adding the waistband.  Peggy fits without the waistband attached. It’s one of those personal experience things.  My experience is that I start with a waistband that fits or I redo all the fitting when I finally attach the waistband. YMMV. Peggy certainly does not agree.

As much as possible, I intended to follow Peggy’s fitting procedure, but I couldn’t resist looking at the fresh-from-the-envelope fit:

I’ve had worse. The first fitting at least felt comfortable; the back X wasn’t prominent; nor was the keyhole front.

I settled the crotch into position.  The back crotch looked OK . So instead of an even tuck I made a 1/2″ dart across the front which narrowed to 1/4″ at the side seams and continued across the back terminating just under the dart next to the back crotch.  I could not resist at this point taking a little ease from the front and made a 1/4″ vertical tuck.  It is entirely usual for me to make a vertical tuck of 1/2″ on the front then spread the back vertically 1″ thereby transferring ease from front to back. I know what Peggy says about circumference. My body, my sewing for my body repeatedly suggests taking ease from the front and putting it in the back.  Peggy’s directions make sense (circumference is circumference) and I’ve wondered why my garments don’t just use the ease on the front. Why don’t they just pull what they need from the front with the only indication of error being a side seam curving?  I don’t know. But you can clearly see that the front above looks too large; while the front below looks fine.

Still some issues with the back.  So I made a 1/2″  hip line dart as Peggy advises:

Well photos could be better. As I said before, the fabric did not respond to starch. Also since I had WST in the bobbin I was spraying carefully to avoid seams and ironing with a dry iron. I was especially pleased that the back leg is falling relatively nicely. There aren’t any X wrinkles. The front crotch hints at an issue, but it’s not bad enough for me to fix right now. It could after all be the crappy fabric.  I did make a few other tweaks in a few other fittings.  I tried to pinch out a little ease along the side seam, but then I got VPL.  Reset the waistband up and down 1/8-1/4″ but decided that wasn’t helping either. I also extended the crotch depth adjustments completely across the back (earlier I had terminated it under the darts)…

…which seemed to help. But I decided overall the changes I was making weren’t improving the fit. So it was time for a decent fabric. When I started transferring the alterations to the tissue,  I realized I had inadvertently add 3/4″ to the hem circumference (shouldn’t that be mostly offset by the 1/2″ ease I removed from the front?). When cutting, I had added 1″ fit insurance to the side and in seams.  The side seams were stitched at 1-3/8″ (Peggy uses a 3/8″ SA). But I stitched the inseams at 1″ which added 3/8″ ease to hems and crotch.  I took a few minutes to correct that error and regretted it as soon as I saw the pics:

I think that’s especially interesting when you look back up at the tissue pictures and see how similar the crotches are.

My tissue alterations became:

  • Leg Length -3.5″
  • Front and back crotch extensions+3/8″
  • Crotch length 1/4″ tuck (evenly across front, side,back)
  • Crotch Depth
    • Front 1/8″
    • Back 3/8″
  • Hem Allowance 1.25″
  • Seam Allowances
    • waist no change (3/8″
    • crotch no change (3/8″)
    • Side seam 1/2″
    • Inseam 1/4″
  • Waistband
    • copied from PP113 with side seams and belt loops marked

I also made an inseam pocket pattern piece.

I must have chosen, ironed and put away 10 fabrics when trying to choose for a ‘real’ pant. I wasn’t wild about the final fit of the test pair. Even knowing that fabric was wrong and old couldn’t alleviate the unease I was feeling. My final choice was a herringbone-weave, tropical-weight wool. In days gone by, I would have shopped long and hard for such a fabric.  Tropical weight wool could be worn most of the year excepting the very hottest weeks in summer. I knew a few women who wore it even then.  Tropical weight wool seemed wrinkle resistant; would give almost like denim. Was long wearing. Weight gain seemed to be its greatest enemy.  But my life is more casual now. Fabrics perfect for the office have become dress-up items . I wanted to make casual pants. I opted to make the dressier tropical-weight wool because if this bombed, I probably wouldn’t mind.  I stitched with poly thread in both the bobbin and needle as well as the serger.  I serged the inseams as well as finishing all the other raw edges with the serger.  I did baste the waistband in place for the first fitting. But I hadn’t needed to. After examining those pics, I went back down stairs and finished the pants.

Despite the pic on the index page, I’m not loving these pants. I find it odd that the back of the pants in fitting looked better than the finished pair.

Fitting       ———————– Finished

What’s with that?  The change is hemming the legs and nailing down the waistband. Yet the finished back looks worse than the fitting.

Again hemming and stitching the waistband produced a front with a keyhole

Really? I will admit that I saw hints of the keyhole all the way back to Fit01 of Muslin 1.  It just wasn’t this prominent.  Good news though, when I get dressed “It” is covered.

Never underestimate the value of styling and accessories!

There’s  a predictable series of question that need answering.  Things we dressmakers are always have  interest. but I won’t answer them in PR Order. I already indicated size and fabric choices and a laundry list of changes I made. I didn’t follow the pattern instructions.  I followed the instructions that Peggy sprinkles through-out her YouTube videos. For anyone that is a visual learner, I’d recommend self-immersion in the videos. You’ll see her process over and over with many different types of bodies.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, absolutely.  Peggy’s drafting is above reproach.  My changes result from my fitting issues. Other than my fitting issues, I had no problems with the pattern.  The final pair, I cut, stitched, did Fit 01 and finished in about 2 hours time.  It doesn’t get better than that for me.

Would you sew it again? YES. In fact I’m planning 2 pairs with some style changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Let me start with LIKES  

That was probably the easiest choosing size process I’ve ever used.  I didn’t measure the pattern in multiple places. Didn’t check crotch length/depth. Just let the tape measure go limp.

Despite the length and verbiage of this post, that’s the fastest I think I’ve fit pants since I was a kid. Definitely beats the 9 month I spent in 2003/4.  I did follow Peggy’s steps.  Because I’m fitting alone it takes me a little longer that the 5-7 minutes she shows in the videos. Peggy pins, visually checks and asks her model.  I pinch, then baste,  take pics. Repeat. I make one change at a time. When Peggy is fitting, she pins one area at a time then continues the next.  Her model’s pants baste the 3-4 changes needed in one trip to the sewing machine.  Even with the extra time I need for taking pics, trotting upstairs and processing photos, I was able to fit this pattern in about 6 hours including choosing size, fabric and cutting said fabric.


Just one: Leg and Hem circumference. I put these two together because one affects the other. I knew from the very first try-on that the back leg had too much ease. I didn’t complain because I thought I would fit it out.

All this ease makes for a big, elephant-leg appearance which I could not remove.  Unfortunately my butt needs the circumference. I can’t just tuck from waist to hem and remove the ease. I know I added to the problem when I inadvertently added 3/8″ to the crotch points.  I couldn’t remove those either. I tried. When I took in the inseam the crotch cut into both front and back as well as inseams rippling, pulling upward and general ugliness. I need the crotch length.

I am really unhappy with the hem circumference. My leg finished at 21-3/4″. Without my error, it would have been 21″.  Why do I care? Because the back of the envelope said

Scan from back of pattern envelope.

21″ is a long way from the 17″ I was promised.   I bought this pattern this pattern because it advertised  a 17″ hem circumference. 17.5″ would be close. 21 is not. I’m very unhappy with hem circumference and I DO NOT THINK THE GARMENT LOOKS LIKE THE ENVELOPE.  (Sorry,  Wordpress only gives me  so many tool to emphasize a point).  The leg on the envelope looks much, much slimmer than the leg in my pics.

So what’s in my future for this pattern? I’m wanting a couple of very casual summer pants. I envision them with 22-24″ hems, in light weight, flowing fabrics. While my standard hem is 1.25″ I think this is a place for a deeper hem 2″ at least maybe 3″.  Depends upon how much fabric I have because hem’s are a place where fabric can be conserved or consumed. The 21″ hem will be easy to adapt for my desired 22-24″.  I will scoop the front crotch a little. I already tried adjusting the crotch depth and length as well as messing the waistband. I’m convinced now that the curve is wrong in relation to my body.  It could be just fine for you.  Beyond that, I’m just not sure.  I could try regular instead of women’s sizing. I could curve the inseam more and revisit the correction I made when removing leg length. (Just a note, I removed leg length at about the knee level so I could leave the 17″ hem intact.) Frankly, I could do a lot of work trying to reach a 20″ hem, but I already have 2 patterns that do. I have no hope of turning the 21″ circumference into 17. None.

It may be time to admit that my body needs either  jeans draft (TJ906), a stretch pant/jean (DG2) or a women’s trouser (PP113, Eureka) with a 19-20″ hem. It may be time to let go of the woven-pant-with-17″-hem dream. I’ve certainly thrown enough patterns, fabric and time at that dream. Maybe it’s better to pursue something else?