Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today, I'm thankful for PANTS THAT FIT

Yes, I'm also thankful for the many other blessings in my family and will later enjoy our turkey dinner together. Even though our routine has been to almost always eat dinners at home, sitting around the table and sharing the events of the day, lately it's been rare for us all to be here at the same dinner time since 17 yo DS has both a part-time job and a full-time (true love!) girlfriend and14 yo DS has started up with wrestling team. I'm very thankful we had many years of sitting down together but I'm more thankful that my sons are healthy and active and growing up normal (term used loosely!), even if it takes them away from the family fold more often.

Back to the pants …

Below is what I've been trying to correct. See how the fabric is bunching and wrinkling into a quasi-X shape? Try to find *that* in yer fittin' books. I dare ya! Does it look like I have knock-knees? Maybe a tiny bit, but not really. Especially if you imagine those legs without the thigh fluff (which I do on a daily basis!). But that's the alteration I need. Not because that's what my body type is, but because that's how the made-up pattern fits me. Or, more correctly, doesn't fit me or my thighs. Because my thighs require more fabric (LOTS more) at the inseam than thinner legs, the fitting issue mimics knocked knees, or to be more PC, "inwardly rotated legs."

The pants below (pardon the upside down Spongebob boats) are the last in a series of muslins cut and sewed during yesterday's self-declared Pants Work Day. I'm pretty darned pleased with the results. There are absolutely no more diagonal wrinkles or false crotch smiles. There's a tiny bit of vertical fold under the cheek that the camera is picking up but which is not glaringly noticeable to my naked eye looking in the mirror. Besides, if I altered out those wrinkles, chances are I wouldn't be able to walk without the pants tugging my legs. One has to balance fit with function, and comfort.

Here's the front view. Again, I'm pleased. And again there are wrinkles that I choose to ignore. I like my pants snug at the tummy. I feel more "contained" that way, especially since I almost live in jeans and I'm used to their snug fit. What I'm most pleased about is that the crotch is high and snug (not too snug). Before this alteration session, I needed to compromise because if I pulled pants up to where I prefer wearing them in the front, then the back would diagonally wrinkle even more. Now I have the best of both worlds — snug at the crotch front and back and no fabric bunching under my butt. These pants feel like they were made for me. ;-)

I used to think a fisheye dart (FED) was the solution, but I've changed my mind. I'm female, so I'm entitled! While a FED did help a lot, it never quite got me all the way there. If you look closely at the results pic for that link, you should be able to see (very) subtle diagonal wrinkles wanting to point to my inner thighs. Yes, it's hard to tell because this is a still shot, but trust me, as soon as I took a step or pulled them up snugger in the crotch, they were easier to spot.

I also used to think that the fit problems were because fabric was getting hung up on extended calves and to some extent, it was. But that's only because it wasn't hanging correctly from up above. I.e., from just below the crotch to the knee.

So, if not the FED, then what? Below is the final pattern (still marked up from the experiments). I'm not sure what to call the changes I wound up with. An inseam wedge? An inseam cross-twistie?

The lines on the left are the wedge, which I found in Fast Fit. I slashed the pattern at the crotch line and rotated just the inseam side downward to add more length between crotch and knee. Those results were pretty darn good but I thought I needed just a little bit more inseam length and a little less outseam length so I tried a cross-twistie. That is, I slashed at the knee line and used the center point as my pivot point to add more length to the inseam and remove the same amount from the outseam.

If you think you might need this too, keep in mind that both the inseam wedge and the cross-twistie shift the angle of the leg. (BTW, both of these alterations mean you must redraw the grainline and other reference lines.) If you don't need that shift, you may also need to add a step of moving the leg back and truing up the seamlines. I think the Singer Sewing Pants that Fit book has a knock-kneed alteration that does just that. For me, the wedge just seemed to address what I needed. Your mileage may vary!


  1. Interesting solution, Debbie! You must look more closely at your pants than I do, because the number of times I have looked at that fish eye link sinc eyou posted it originally, I have never seen that wrinkle!

    In checking it again today while reading your entry, I did notice that I had been forgetting a step when doing my own fishing ... I have not been raising the crotch point. This may be the solution to me pant problems!

  2. Hi Debbie,

    I love your blog, and I love your reviews on PR. Have learned so much from reading both :-) Although our Canadian Thanksgiving is long gone (it's in October), and I'm two days late, I'm thankful for you, and for all the other wonderful dressmakers who contribute regularly to PR.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving!


  3. Debbie,
    I'm about to embark yet again on getting my pants to fit so your newest method is timely for me. For this go round, I'm starting from scratch again, with the shaped crotch curve measured to reflect my body space and angled waistline. Then, when I get that inevitable rear draping, I'll be following this solution. Thanks so much...Mina (mClones from PR)

  4. Thanks Debbie - I really need the fisheye dart - lightbulb moment for me as I couldn't figure out where all the excess fabric was coming from. I may even need to approach complete strangers who I see need this enlightenment (no, I won't really). I did notice it was much worse on ready to wear pants :) Did you keep the FED as well as the wedges?
    Jude (PR motomoda)

  5. Thanks Debbie - I wish I would have seen this before I cut out my pants yesterday! This is the exact problem I'm having. I'll have to try it on my next pair of pants!

  6. Debbie, your pants fitting documents, not to mention all your sewing writing, has been so helpful - you have a gift for communicating the "lessons" and making them understandable. Though I am taking fitting on PR, I use your sites as a resource frequently and am going to try this wedge and twist thing on my next pair of pants, in lieu of a fish eye dart perhaps. Thanks for great fish eye instructions also. You should definitely write a book!!

  7. Hi Debbie - Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is the very same problem that I experience with pants. In fact it also sends 3/4 length pants off skew if you know what I mean. I always felt that if I hauled up the outsides of the legs they sat flat instead of hanging at an angle. I found it first on your sewing tips page and then traced it back to your blog. I have only recently realised I need to do a high hip adjustment and now I'm up for the wedge adjustment too. The final fit of your trousers is great. MareeAlison, Sydney.

  8. merry christmas and a wonderfull year, from costa rica! and of course congratutalions for your blog I seem to have your same issues with my pants so I will try your recomendations!!! thanks a lot


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