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?)