After sharing my latest pants sewing project here I decided to revisit my self-drafted slim pants pattern in search of the Holy Grail of pants fit. So today I’ll tell you the story of my adventures in pants fitting. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin 🙂
‘The Great Pants Saga’ started a few years ago when I had a pair of RTW pants which fitted me fairly well (not perfect but ok). Granted they were made in stretch Ponte fabric so maybe they were a bit more forgiving in fit but I decided to take a pattern off them.
I originally made two or three pants mockups and the final outcome was a reasonably well-fitting pattern which I used quite a bit and I ended up sewing several pairs (some were more successful than others). Over the next few years, however, I tweaked the design here and there and as a result, I gradually noticed more and more fit flaws. I was also learning how to recognise the little anomalies of my body shape and was beginning to identify what was wrong with the fit of my original pants
After yet another not-quite-right make I decided once and for all to start out afresh and do battle with the pants fitting demons.
My Personal Fit Issues
I’ll start by explaining the fit problems that I was seeing and feeling:
So, I have knock knees and these cause draglines that angled towards my inner knee area. I also stand with my knees pushed back (I’m a bit hypermobile) and this makes the lower back hemline poke out.
I have quite a low bottom and although I’m not blessed with much real estate back there I often felt like I didn’t have quite enough sitting room. My waistline is also angled and is a lot higher at the back so obviously, I need more depth back there.
The front crotch line never felt right. It was as though the fabric was pulling together at the area around the bottom of the zip and width needed to be added at that point.
Pattern Drafting Fun
My drafting adventures started off by making some adjustments to my original pattern. I made sure to check and align the grain lines and did a knock knee alteration. Many thanks to one of my regular readers who very kindly sent me some images for knock knee adjustments. Thank you Joan!
There are a couple of ways to do the KK alteration. One is simply to add extra width to the inseam area (recommended in the Palmer Pletsch book Pants For Real People) and another way is to divide the pattern at knee level and to move the lower section inwards and then to true the outer and inner seams. My first toile after redrawing my pattern wasn’t quite right. I could see an improvement but I still needed to do a bit more of an extreme knock knee alteration. And the front crotch line wasn’t right either. I ended up doing a second toile and then some further adjustments after that as well well. I also did a pattern adaptation for the lower back leg which involved dividing it in two vertically and creating a curved seam for calf shape.
My List Of Fit Adjustments
These are all the adjustments I used in more detail with some pattern images at the end:
- Waistline…I scooped it down at the front and kept the back quite high.
- Front Crotch Curve… This is now a very, very shallow curve. I’ve found out that it’s called a flat pubis adjustment (a charming title!)
- Back Crotch And Back Seam…The crotch curve is fairly shallow and the back seam or fork as it is sometimes called is at quite an angle to accommodate my low bottom and give me room to sit down. Skinny or slim fit pants always have angled back seams. On a wide-leg pant, the seam is usually much straighter.
- Knock Knee Adjustments…I decided to just use the simple method of adding quite a bit more width at the knee area on the inside leg.
- Side Seams….I hade to bring my side seams in towards knee level in order to follow my thigh curve and to bring the leg angle in after the knock knee alteration on the inside leg.
- Back Calf Shaping…I mentioned that I stand with my knees pushed back and it makes the hems poke out at the back. To fix this I divided the lower back leg down the middle from knee level, then I slashed and spread both sides just a little amount. The slashes were concentrated mostly around the middle area. I then traced off the new shapes and transferred them onto cardboard. The lower leg at the back now follows the shape of my calf by curving back in.
Here are some photos so that you can see the shapes of my pattern pieces:
Ok, so now that I’ve told you all about the pattern. I have actually made it up and tried it out, and for that, I used some olive green viscose/poly blend fabric with a little bit of stretch. I bought it from Clothspot last year.
I’ve done a zip fly fastening and created a slightly curved waistband (I think I prefer this type to just a straight one). On the inside I’ve added a lovely pop of colour with some crimson binding around the band and the zip guard. The final finishing touch, though, is a button detail at the ankle. It was fairly easy to do…just a matter of adding a fabric extension several linches up from the hemline and then making some buttonholes. The buttons came from Totally Buttons.
So the verdict? Well, I have to say that overall I’m quite chuffed with the outcome. I will be doing another very slight adjustment to the angle of the back legs on my final pattern because I feel that I might have done a smidge less of a knock knee alteration than on the front legs. I still need to straighten the front crotch curve a bit more too.
To be honest, though, I think I’ve become way too obsessed with trying to get rid of every. single. little. wrinkle. I mean, realistically, when you put fabric around a human body and they move around there will always be a few wrinkles appearing here and there. We have to move and sit don’t we? So I’m going to do those final few adjustments and then call this a victory. So please excuse me while I do a little happy dance!
**Footnote…it’ll be interesting when I eventually cut into some grey stretch denim to make some more pants. A slightly stiffer fabric will definitely make a difference. You’ll be the first person I show them to, so you can be sure I’ll let you know how it went.**
Well, I hope you enjoyed my pants pattern adventures and maybe discovered some useful tips too. I’m actually carrying on with the theme of fitting next week so be sure to pop back for that won’t you?
In the meantime I’ll be taking a break from pants and sewing a couple of tops instead. See you soon!