Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Reddy, Steady, Go!

Is there anyone out there who really has pants fitting sussed?*

* If so please, please, please chip in and tell me how to fix these pants!  

These red pants were made in time for Me Made May, but by the end of May the pants were feeling a little less than awesome (sorry pants, not your fault. If I need to eat more chips to fill you out I will, promise).

Although the pants looked OK to me from the front, my photos showed me there was some excess fabric in the back. And now that I've noticed, it's really bugging me :(

I have made three pairs of pants that fit well (here, here and here)... but all three were all made from the same pattern. And now that I'm using a new pattern, I'm thinking those pants fitting 'skills' were pure luck :). 

My new-ish red pants, made just in time for Me Made May, use Vogue 1293, an Anne Klein pattern for "Semi-fitted, tapered pants ...[with] contour waistband, carriers, side front pockets, fly front zipper, hem slit, and narrow hem."  The suggested fabrics are Linen, Crepe, and Dupioni, but I used a lovely stretch cotton from Tessuti fabrics (bought last year). Oops!

I muslined the pants in a vile pale blue shiny stretch fabric (no, there are no appalling photos). There was a truckload of excess fabric in the front (perhaps necessary for non-stretch fabric) so I removed a triangular wedge, widest at CF and tapering to nothing at the sides.  I adjusted the pocket pieces to take out this wedge too. I removed a smidgen of length from the waist at the centre back to make the waistband stay level all the way around, and removed some width from the side seams to make them taper. 

Then I sewed them up in my lovely red fabric, with organza strips stabilising the pocket openings. The pocket bags are cute polka dot rayon, but I've misplaced the photos. I love how neat the fly looks, even if I do say so myself...

When I wore these new pants in early May I thought they fitted me really well, and I was really pleased to be part of the red pants trend. The photos make it very clear there's still work to be done, but interestingly (and GOOD news) the fit is a million times better than that of my two favourite pairs of RTW pants:

Exhibit A - look at those folds of fabric!!

and Exhibit B - look at the unintentional harem effect!

With all this room for extra luggage, do I even need a handbag?  

Hmm, but seriously, I would like to improve my pants fitting skills - I want to make this pattern again in an even louder fabric, but I'm holding off till I know how to correct the problems. If you have some advice - nothing nasty, mind - I would really appreciate hearing from you!

Thank you!

- Gabrielle x


  1. I wish I could help you but alas my pant making skills are limited and I got lucky with my last pair. I will be following this thread to see what others in the community have to say! Good luck!

  2. To me it looks like a very simple adjustment. You haven't got a width problem, it's LENGTH in the wrong places. You have got the small of your back covered in all pictures but the wrinkles under the bum and the slight wedgie on the red pants, both say that you need a swayback adjustment paired with a prominent rear adjustment (think of the combination as the "pert bum adjustment" and it won't feel so bad!). Working on the pattern, 3" below the waistline take out a HORIZONTAL wedge that is widest at CB and tapering to nothing at the outside edge. Simply slash across the pattern from the CB leaving a tiny hinge at the outer leg seam and overlap. Try 1 - 1.5cm overlap to start. Then at about 8" below the waist, do exactly the reverse. Insert a wedge of approximately the same size. All you are doing is moving the fullness in the length from the small of your back to the curve of your bum. If you want to you can do one adjustment. Make a muslin. Then do the other. Make a muslin. But I think in your case just one will not show much improvement. I suggest doing both at the same time. You may play with the exact measurements, but I think that will do it. Leave crotch length, curve etc alone. It's nothing to do with those.

    1. How interesting, I love the idea of having a pert bum at my age!

      I think you're right; it really does look like a matter of the lengths being in the wrong places. I will definitely try your suggestions out - and probably just the 1 muslin.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your pants fitting knowledge, I really appreciate it and I imagine many others reading these comments would too!

  3. Interesting comment from Ruth, and as I am suffering "muslinitis" from trying to get pants to fit me I will be interested to see Ruth's suggestions.

    From all of my experimentation I was going to say first up compare the crotch curve on both pants patterns (the one you are really happy and this one) the shape could be the difference.

    Please share the fitting saga, there are a lot of here that want good fitting pants.

    1. Ordinarily this is what I would do to start with - but wouldn't you know it, I've misplaced the pants pattern that fits me! It's a bit of a mystery since I'm pretty ordered with my patterns... I will definitely share my progress. It'll be a dull but useful post!

  4. Having watched Sharon make multiple pants muslins at the last ASG sewing day, I'm convinced that life is too short to make perfect fitting pants! Sorry, I'm not being much help am I? Bit I'd say if you have a pattern that you're reasonably happy with, stick with it

    1. Oh I know life's too short, and I don't have the patience for too many rounds of fitting, but if there's an obvious correction (like transferring length down the curve) I'm definitely going to give it a go! I've lost the pattern that fits in any case...

  5. i would try Ruth's suggestion in a muslin.
    I also think that you are using stretch fabric and the suggested fabric definitely have no stretch. I have found that my pants with stretch tend to stretch out and the under-bumm gets baggier and baggier as the day goes along. Of course I sit in an office all day which is n't good for your bum or your pants. You might try a fabric with less stretch.
    Your waistband looks awesome!


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