SBCC Manhattan Trousers

SBCC Manhattan Trousers Finished

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.

3 way mirrorI 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

Petite 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.


Source: Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick Manhattan Trousers

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.

Inward Knees

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.

Inward Knee Adjustment

“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. Droopy Butt Adjustment

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.

Full Butt Adjustment

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.

SBCC Manhattan Trousers Front

SBCC Manhattan Trousers Back

Happy sewing,
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16 Responses to SBCC Manhattan Trousers

  1. Joy says:

    These fit you so well! I love them. Thank you for your post. I am petite, and I am considering buying this pattern, so your review helped me get the courage to make them!

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  4. aleah says:

    Okay, I guess I need to make red jeans and photograph them in your backyard now… seems to be a trend.
    These look great! I laughed so hard when I saw your first headline – yes, stupid complicated. BUT, once you have a pattern that fits you can just keep making more!

  5. Betsy says:

    These look lovely! glad you see you have persevered over the UFO pant. Honestly, I had just given up on you, lol! I was sure these were destined for UFO oblivion. but you salvaged them beautifully and I hope you will use them again now that you have invested the time to make them work.

    • They were not UFO pants. Though if you find UFO printed fabric that I would make pants from, I think that would be pretty funny/punny. They were just on stand by as life got in the way of my sewing time. I’m definitely going to make more pants from the pattern.

  6. Caroline says:

    I love the pants, they look great. Here’s to some fun pant sewing when (if) i ever get back.

  7. Gail says:

    Gotta love red pants! The only advice I would offer is to pinch out the horizontal fold at the front crotch. I have to do this adjustment on my pants patterns. I’m a petite too 🙂 You’ve done a great fitting & sewing job on these pants!

    • Thanks for the advice. There is some funny business going on there. Have you had success with any particular pant pattern?

      • Gail says:

        The Jalie Jeans pattern fits me better than any other pants pattern straight from the envelope. I’ve had to do the adjustment I mentioned above on the Jalie pattern as well as Big4 patterns. That horizontal fold below the zipper is because the front crotch length is too long. When you transfer the adjustment to your flat pattern be sure to place it in the exact location as on your pants. You will fold out the excess and taper to zero as if you are folding a dart. You have a perfect fit in the back! I’m envious 🙂

        • Thanks for the tips on the Jalie Jeans and the fitting. I’ll look at the Jalie pattern pieces to see if it looks similar to my final pattern piece. I definitely need to take out the excess of the front.

  8. Accordion3 says:


    Your perseverance is very impressive.

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