OMG Pants Are So Complicated
I’ve made pants before and they always looked great… from the front. For years I was living in ignorance-is-bliss land. I sorta knew that I had some issues from the back from the Pattern Review pics that I took and quickly deleted from my camera. One day I put my ill-fitted big girl pants on and got a full view of this horror show via my 3 way mirror. I have a tutorial for a 3 way mirror using IKEA mirrors if anyone wants to give it a try. Now that I can see my issues clearer, I can clearly see I was still just as clueless.
I searched the internet and blog-o-sphere and found very little that pertained to pants fitting and even less about my specific issues. So I spent some quality time with a very used, older edition of Fitting & Pattern Alteration which as 32 fit adjustments that relates to pants. The book includes an impressive number of fitting issues from cylindrical-shaped torso to large thighs inside to hyper-extended calves. The adjustments I thought I needed, in the order that I tackled them:
1. Petite adjustment
2. Inward knee adjustment
3. “Droopy butt” adjustment
4. Other FBA aka Full butt adjustment
Since I’m pear-shaped and petite I had debated between starting with the Sewaholic Thurlow pants or the SBCC Manhattan trousers. It seemed to be easier to pear a petite pattern rather than petite a pear pattern. That’s a tongue twister. I felt like too much that could go wrong when petite-ing lengths; especially the crotch curves. Adding room for more hips seemed less tricky. So I started with the SBCC Manhattan Trousers which is already pre-petited for me. Check that one off the list.
Inward Knee Adjustment
My podiatrist told me about this issue a long time ago. It basically means my knee caps are not at the middle of my leg but a little more towards my inner leg.
I had no idea that it would manifest more on the back of the pants. This causes diagonal wrinkles that start at your hips and goes in towards your knee at the inseam. The fix is really strange. You pinch out a wedge at the hip/thigh area to remove the excess at the outer seam. Can’t wrap my head around it but it worked. The red pattern outline is my pattern overlaid over the green pattern which is the original pattern.
“Droopy Butt” Adjustment
I put “droopy butt” in quotations since I don’t think my rear is droopy. Well.. not yet. Rather the fullness is low. So my bottom is shaped more like a half tear drop than say someone with a “shelf butt”. The fix is to lower the crotch curve to better match my fullness.
The Other FBA (oFBA)
Last on my list is the other FBA or full butt adjustment. In RTW I’m the person who has to wear a size larger to fit it around my hips/butt area, leaving the waist to be too big and gap-y. It was not attractive. I did my full butt adjustment like many of you do your full bust adjustment. I slashed and spread a wedge shape length-wise and width-wise on each cheek. Don’t slash all the way across, i.e. side seam to side seam because you’ll add crotch length which is a whole different issue. I took some trial of adding, putting them on and looking confusing at myself in the 3 way mirror to figure out how much I needed.
Final Thoughts on Fitting
I’m really pleased at how they turned out. I think Betsy had many sleepless nights after hearing about how many versions of her pant pattern I had made. I assured her it wasn’t the pattern. Betsy wrote a great blog post on fitting pants if you need some sage advice or if you want to see her great Ginger jeans. The reason why I when through so many versions was that I’m non-standard shape so I had to make more adjustments. Plus I take them one and a time so I can see when I do X, Y happens. Instead of I did these 10 things and have no idea what caused the fit to get better or worse.
So here are my pants in red denim that feels like thick paper. I tried the washing it in Coke trick and it didn’t make a difference. I have had success with this trick in the past. Unfortunately, the papery fabric looks horribly wrinkly and makes it look like I have fit issues. Maybe it’s what Anne of Clothing Engineering is talking about in her post about accuracy of photos. Though I think I still need some small tweaks, I’ve been very happily wearing them everywhere.