Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Not That Alteration

One of the things I find really interesting about sewing is how a "what if" thought can totally change my perspective and then I go looking for more information and following the idea up and suddenly I'm moving in new directions thinking not that alteration, this one.

It happened with the center back length. For the longest time, I thought the pooling in the back was because of a sway back and then I realized it was really too long of a center back length. It happened with the yucky wrinkling around my armholes and down my sleeves and then I realized I needed a shorter armhole depth and a high sleeve cap. It happened with those diagonal wrinkles from bust to hip. I thought I needed more hip width and then I realized I needed an FBA. And on it goes. For the longest time...

... I've been making an adjustment for a tipped waist and then I noticed I had a wrinkle below the waistband at the side which made me think that maybe my waist wasn't tipped afterall. What if that extra length at the back had more to do with my back crotch length and less to do with my waist height and what if high back hips were a factor? SO...

... when I made the alterations to this pant pattern, I took out 1" of hip depth, 1" above the knee and 1 1/2" below the knee so the curves of the pattern would match the curves of my body. Based on my inseam and crotch measurements, I was pretty sure that I'd need to lower the crotch about 5/8" and the waistband at least another inch in. I waited. It's easier to take extra fabric off than to put it back on.

The tuck pinned across the front is one inch. I pinned it from side to side which means it then needs to be tapered toward center back maintaining the back crotch length while eliminating the extra fullness. You can just see the folds in the leg in the picture above left and how they "lift" when I pinch the tuck toward the back in the picture above right.

I removed the waistband and lowered it one inch from center front to the side and then tapered it to nothing from the side to center back.

That adjustment helped substantially as you can see above. Next time, I'll take some of the fullness out of the front as well as add back 1/2" of length below the knee. This pair is long enough but I'd like it ever so slightly longer. I have enough fabric to replace the cuffs if I find it too short but I think the length will be okay... with shoes.. when I'm not taking pictures with my hands on my hips. This is the point at which...

... I can start fine tuning the crotch curve. The Burda shape matches mine fairly well but needs just a little bit of work. The corners need to be squared out more to get rid of the pouffing at the front and the pulling at the back and the inseam needs to be shortened by the 5/8" I predicted which lets me know that I am starting to get how to make pants that work for me. YES YES.

I'll make the adjustments to the pattern and next time try it in a less than precious material with similar weight, to see if I can sew the pants from start to finish and end up with good fit, no alterations. What fun that would be.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - progressive learning

"Yeah, but they're PURPLE pants," Bobby said as if that made some kind of distinction. "Hence, I'm awesome.” 
- Amanda Hocking


  1. Ah!! This is the post I've been waiting for!!! My body shape is much the same as yours, which is why I enjoy reading about your alteration journey.

    I've gotten to about where you have in the pants alteration journey. I'm further along in the front, probably have that just about perfect for my body. Still struggling with the back of the pants. And I also recently discovered the thing about armhole depth.

    I'm going to be impatiently waiting to see what you discover about the pants back!

    1. LOL - me too. I'm waiting to see what I discover. One thing I've been researching is the length of the inseam. It tells you a lot about the shape of the crotch compared to your pattern.

  2. I recently discovered this adjustment too!

    1. This and having the top of the waistband at my waist have both made a real difference. Learning is good.

  3. I was going to say that you need a deeper rounded square at your front crotch, which is exactly what I do to mine. I put my pant on inside out, and repinned to match my front crotch. I had to actually do it twice to get it just right. It really worked. Other than that the fit is lovely.

    1. Thanks. I do the turning and pinning thing too and - like you - have found that sometimes you have to do it more than once and work through it in steps. I just got back from journalling and I'm about to work on it.

  4. Interesting about the top of the waistband being at your waist, instead of the bottom of the waistband.
    My waist is so non-existent that it's probably only as wide as a piece of string. Makes fitting a bit of a challenge. :-)

    1. Yup - that about describes mine too and I found this is helping considerably. I also don't go wider than an inch but if the fabric is not too heavy for an elastic to hold up, I'll go for 1/2 or 3/4.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.