Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pants. This is Why I Do Not Make Them.

Although I prefer skirts and dresses, there are times in the winter where I wish I had a pair of nice-looking, professional, trouser-y pants.  I am SO glad to have discovered Levi's 512s, which fit my body perfectly, so I don't need to worry about jeans.  But dress pants?  They do not exist.

Everyone loves the Burda crotch, and Burda fits me well in general, so I figured how hard could it be?  I traced off 02-2010-102 and blithely set to it.

Muslin 1-Front
V.1 Front
Muslin 1-Back
V.1 Back

V.1  Out of the envelope (with larger SAs, to increase size to about 40 at the hip).  There was no way I was going to document the original front fit before I let out the CF seam and cut open the front waistband at CF to release it.  Horrible.  I do not have a pants body.  Smile does not even begin to describe it.  More like grimace.

The back is a wrinkled mess.

Muslin 2-Front
V.2 Front

Muslin 2-Back
V.2 Back

V.2  Saddlebag width increase; lengthen back crotch by 3/8"; add more room at CF seam for belly; knock knee adjustment to square off inseam from crotch as shown on Debbie Cook's blog.  Front smile lines continue and little appreciable change to back--the wrinkles may be slightly less deep but they are the same shape.  It is odd how doing a HUGE adjustment with the knock knee (in the case of the back crotch, moving the inseam 2 inches toward the inside) can have no effect whatsoever.

Muslin 2 Front with 3 Back
V.2 Front on V.3 Back

Muslin 3 Back on Muslin 2 Front
V.3 Back on V.2 Front

V.3.0  Added huge wedge to back by cutting from knee up through dart and spreading; same front as V.2.  The additional booty room does allow the wrinkles to relax a bit, but the much larger back is folding over the front at the inseam.

Muslin 3-Front
V.3 Front

Muslin 3-Back
V.3 Back

V.3.1, in addition to back wedge, increased front crotch length slightly; shortened waistline by 1/2" at CF, tapering to nothing at side seam.  This helps eliminate the front smile lines.  No appreciable effect on back.

Muslin 3-Back with Shortened Crotch
V.3.2 Back

V.3.2:  took up the back crotch by taking a horizontal dart, which lifted out the diagonal wrinkling on the legs

Muslin 4-Front
V.4 Front
Muslin 4-Back
V.4 Back

V.4  Further increase to front crotch length; removed back width wedge; shortened back crotch seam at about mid-butt; kept original length of CF crotch (too high to be attractive, I think).  Some wrinkling is reappearing at center front.  (I had eaten some cookies by this point, I'm not gonna lie.)

Muslin 4-Back with Shortened Crotch
V.4.1 Back

V.4.1:  even more length pinned out of back crotch.  It seems to help but the center back waist is now pulled down and there is still some wad of kleenex at the back crotch.  In addition, the more the back is shortened, the more the smile reappears at the front crotch.

At this point I was SO FRUSTRATED.  I decided to approach it from another angle and tried on all the pants in my closet.  All but one had the smile line at the bottom of the front crotch. 

RTW Pants 1 Front
RTW Pants 1 Front
RTW Pants 1 Back
RTW Pants 1 Back

The best fitting crotch is on a hideous, unflattering pair of pants.  I think it has to do with the high waist and narrowish legs, but they are awful pants.  However, no smile.  Interestingly, the crotch intersection is way, way up front, slightly more than two inches below the zipper--totally the opposite of what I've been doing to the pants pattern (shortening the back crotch and extending the front).  There are some strange folds on the front inseam right at the crotch, though, that appear to be a bit...how to put delicately?... a la Georgia O'Keeffe.  This may be a result of the forward crotch.  Because of the shape, I think they are worse than a smile. (Sorry the photo is so terrible, they are a rich, matte black and I do not have enough photo wizardry to make them very visible.)

The back fit exhibits the diagonal folds present on all my pants coming from upper outseam and heading toward lower inseam.


RTW Pants 2 Front
RTW Pants 2 Front
RTW Pants 2 Front Lifted
RTW Pants 2 Front with "lengthened" front crotch

The other pants have the smile line at the bottom of front crotch.  Tugging the center front upward eliminates the smile (indicating more length needed on front crotch???).

RTW Pants 2 Back
RTW Pants 2 Back
RTW Pants 2-Fisheye Under Booty
RTW Pants 2 Back with fisheye dart under booty

Back view shows the same diagonal folding from upper outer thigh toward lower inner thigh.  Pinching out a fish-eye dart under the booty straightens out the leg wrinkles. 

The whole mess can be seen here.

I think I may have to give pants a rest.  I have 3 decent-looking pairs in the closet (got rid of the rest, except the hideous ones with the fitting crotch as a curiousity), though they are not the classy trousers I envision but fitted at the booty, as you can see in these examples.  They are not wool and are not lined, but they are better than my muslin, which does not necessarily seem to be getting better, only different. 

Pants!  Ugh!


Tina B said...

I am not in any way skilled at fitting pants, but I wonder if you actually need to shorten the front crotch to get rid of the smile. THe pants are wrinkling (I think) because they are too long for your body - hence, they straighten out when you pull them. So if you eliminate some length, they might fit your body's front. Does that make sense? And, to the experienced fitters out there, is that right?

One thing, I admire your perseverance. I would've given up and then just eaten all the cookies.

Anne L said...

I think you should get a pants fitting pattern and make a play date with Renee - I suggest McCall's Palmer/Pletsch and the book that goes with it. It makes it so much easier - and fitting is just a nightmare with a "real" pair with ease and all that.

Good luck when you go for it next time. :-)

Rebecca said...

I would have given up too. Have you thought about copying your Levi's and making them in a suiting fabric or even a ponte knit?

Good Luck!

Alison Cummins said...

RE Ms. O’Keefe, Kathleen Fasanella has written about what the less delicate of us refer to as camel toe.

(Scroll down for the Jeans and Pants Fitting tutorials.)

Apparently there is also a tradeoff in pants fitting between smile and movement. The more the pants legs move out at an angle making an inverted V, the more the crotch resembles underpants, the more comfy and movement permitting they are — and the smilier they are.

If you want your pants legs to drop straight down and smile-free, the opposite of underpants, in order to permit comfortable movement you need Marlene Dietrich pants with a nice high waist and a crotch a third of the way down to your knees.

There are a couple of very old Threads articles on this. I’ve scanned an enlightening diagram from one that I can email you if you like.

a little sewing said...

On the bright side, you made LOTS of positive progress in the pants you sewed.

I am another pants-perplexed-person with a somewhat similar shape to yours.

Recently ordered a couple pants patterns from Style Arc because the draft seems to be closer to RTW. I get a better pants fit in RTW than any patterns, so fingers are crossed.

Linda T said...

Have you watched the Peggy Sagers' pants fitting webcasts (there are two free ones at her site). I learned alot from them. silhouettepatterns.com

puu said...

did you try checking the pants-fitting cheat sheets at fashionable stitch and the colette blog? the ladies at each blog did a fairly extensive trouser-fitting series--maybe there is some information there.

this is exactly why the only trouser pattern i have is a 1940s one...and i muslinned and fitted it with kenneth king and susan khalje!

Mary said...

trena, v.4 is so close that I hope you continue. I feel your pain, and am here cheering you on. I got pretty close with my baggy Clovers (will never wear skin tight pants like that when not on a horse). v. 4 looks as though the pants are hanging smoothly and there is enough ease to sit. Wide trousers are coming back and those would look really cute on you ;-)

Seraphinalina said...

You are a very brave woman. I would have had more than cookies with that many versions of pants.

Karin said...

I admire your perseverance! Pants are a pain.
Each iteration does look better than the last though. So, I do think you are making progress.
My only suggestion is that your initial muslin looks a size too small to me. Perhaps if you started with a smaller initial pattern to tweak it would go better.

MushyWear said...

I admire your tenacity with trying to get these pants fitted. I do hope you'll give it another go when you've had a chance to recover! Looks like there are some good pants fitting resources out there as mentioned in some of the previous comments.

melissa said...

Wow that's a whole lotta muslins!! I totally applaud your tenacity here.

v4 looks pretty good to me, actually - what's the problem with those?

Frankly, I think it'd be easier to diagnose the wrinkles with a closer fitting pattern - with loose-fit styles, it's hard to see where changes need to be made.

Venus de Hilo said...

Honey, I feel your pain, having been through similar frustrations. Wish I could confidently say "keep at it, you'll get there", but I never achieved better than "meh" (better than RTW) even with all the good pants-tailoring advice out there. I'm waiting for palazzo pants to come back into style before trying again.

Anonymous said...

Trena, good for you for challenging yourself with this project. Pants fitting sucks. Have you thought about doing a little snoop shopping & examining the cut of different RTW trousers? While I have different fitting issues than you, I've learned some interesting things doing this. One of my all time best fitting pants were a slim cut style from GAP with a bias CB seam---laid out flat, w/leg on grain, it looked crazy but hugged my seat & back thigh attractively. (fabric had maybe 4% lycra--I'm sure that helped) anyway, good luck--BethS

Clio said...

Oh, whenever I say something like "how hard could it be?" or "I simply have to..." it inevitably ends in disaster. BUT I think you've made HUGE progress - V4.0 doesn't look half bad.

Oh, um, I'm sure you know this, but just in case, make sure to try sitting down in the pants, too. (Ask me how I know...)

Janet said...

You are a rock star! You made great progress from v1 to v4.

The last time I made pants for myself I was 24 and either I was dang lucky or oblivious to the "fit".

T. Sedai said...

I have noticed that Burda pants seem to have a longer front crotch seam than the Vogue 1051 pants I have tried. It is more pronounced with the Burda fly-front styles than the side-zip styles I think. I noticed that the Burdas lie flat when I stand totally square, but they get big smile lines when I move (though, I suppose this is also probably due to my rather large skater's thighs). Though I would consider myself more of a Burda girl (in general, I get the best fit from them), the Vogue 1051 are the best "out of the envelope" fit I have gotten so far with pants. I think your later versions are looking pretty good, but if you are too frustrated with these I might recommend trying out the Vogue pattern and seeing if you get better results.

Becky said...

It definitely is beginning to look better as you go!

They are frustrating to fit--I've seen several sewing bloggers post pics of celebs with wrinkled-crotch pants, too. So even the people with the personal stylists have trouble. But the one time I got a fit I was really proud of, it felt like a much bigger accomplishment than any skirt I've ever made!

Adelaide B said...

Pants suck. I have a couple of patterns that I think about making up, but then I remember how much pants suck.

LinB said...

Oh, you are a brave, brave woman, to show us so many iterations of the not-fitting garments in this post! I'm torn between cheering you on to try, try, again; and agreeing with you that perhaps you do not have a pants body. On the whole, I think you'll probably conquer this Everest. My best-fitting trousers have a relatively low-hanging crotch -- very un-jeans-like. Best rtw fit has what you observed -- the back crotch is extended far, far forward, to meet the front crotch mere inches below the zipper. This makes the meet-in-the-middle bits very biased, and they pull in for a flattering "hug."

Steph F. said...

Yes! What courage for you to post these pictures, yet it reveals the horror and dread that many of us have faced even with ready to wear.

I have never gotten that far myself. I have thrown sewn pants away, not quite knowing what was wrong with them.

It is still a mystery to me how to get the crotch depth correct with front vs. back on my pear shape, even with a size 6.

You have a very flattering figure, it should not be this difficult!


Thank you for putting forth so much effort. It is motivating!

sdBev said...

Pants are the hardest to fit, but with V4 you are nearly there. Those are in fact wearable. I have one suggestion. I baste my pants completely together including the waistband. I make sure the waistband fits me before going any further.

Amanda S. said...

You are very persistent! This post made me laugh, although I am sorry for your troubles. And I hardly ever make pants either, mostly because I have a certain store that I buy them from that fit me perfectly. But, I really want some fitted tapering pants that I've seen in recent fashion shows but that I can't find in my regular RTW haunts yet. I am going to use a Burda pattern since I've always heard about their superiority... or maybe not.

annie said...

I feel your pain. Years ago I bought a "guaranteed to fit" pant pattern and they did/do. Sadly the company went out of business. I've taken classes from nationally known sewing teachers and even disassembled a pair of well-fitting RTW. Which didn't fit when I tried to duplicate them. But as the others have said, it looks as if you are almost there.

Nethwen said...

I have the same problems when I try to sew pants. The pictures you have here could be of me in my muslins. I admire your persistence. I have taken a break until I gain more sewing and fitting knowledge. I live in pants and dislike skirts, so one day, I will sew a pair of trousers that fit at least as well as RTW. One day...

Julia said...

What Alison Cummins said. Right on. I have a fairly curvy/quirky lower half and I have decided that if I want pant legs that drop smoothly down, I have to have very wide legs and a 30s-style crotch fit, i.e. not at ALL snug. The geometry of my body from front to back just doesn't allow snugness without lots of pulling and "smiles".

Summer said...

I'm impressed, both by your patience and perseverance and showing photos of your muslins. You are an amazing woman :)

Don't fisheye dart under the butt too much or you won't be able to sit down ;) Also, looser trouser-style pants should look mighty fine on your person. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You are so awesome - keep going, keep going!!! I feel like you're *almost* there!

KID, MD said...

You've gotten some great advice already! I'm mostly here to commiserate. Pants fitting sucks. I mostly wear pants - chasing my kids is too hard in a dress - and I've made more pairs than I can count, and I still don't feel like I have it figured out, but I will say that with each new pair I learn something new that I can take to the next pair. Sometimes it takes several wearings before I figure it out, so I would say, make a pair that is "good enough" and wear them around to see what you can do better. I've also noticed that I get a better fit with a short front crotch hook and a longer back hook. No idea why - my brain doesn't work in 3 dimensions.

badmomgoodmom said...

I am in awe of your perseverance. I agree with the others that shortening the back crotch is making things worse in other areas.

One thing that has helped me with fitting the 12" drop between my waist and hip in pants and skirts is to use 2 back darts per side or 4 total. That distributes the fullness more evenly and causes less distortion at the CB and side seams.

Unknown said...

You certainly did your best before giving up, it sounds like an awful lot of frustration! :(
I was going to attempt a pair of pants (I never have yet), at the beginning of Feb, but now I'm rethinking that. They looks so hard!

Anonymous said...

I second trying www.stylearc.com.au pants patterns, they really do fit :)

But you are so clever getting the last version to look as good as they do !!

Sew-4-Fun said...

Fitting pants suck, big time!!! But it's not you, it's the patterns. Everyone has these same issues. That's why we all complain about sewing pants so much. :) The fact that Levi 501's fit you means you do have a pants' body.

Btw, one tip if you ever get brave enough to try pants again (not likely LOL!), start with a smaller size next time. The main issue I see is the original size is way too big for you in the hip and crotch. But really pretty all pant patterns are atrocious and not worth the effort so just RTW if you need pants. Skirts and dresses and way more fun to sew.

liza jane said...

Ok, I snorted out loud when I read the camel toe comment- lol!

I am absolutely no help but I can commiserate. I have many of the same fit issues you do. And most of my rtw pants have the same smile lines. I am trying to work out fit issues as we speak so I'll let you know if I discover anything enlightening. Doesn't seem that way right now...

Anonymous said...

Drop the crotch. Pants which fall in a smooth unsmiley way from hip to ankle always, always have a very loose fit in the crotch, it's the only way the fabric can fit over all of the curves without pulling, creasing, tugging, etc. Drop the crotch seam.
Take men's dress pants as an example - beautiful smooth line, and a very low crotch compared to what we're used to seeing in jeans or RTW.

Elizabeth Made This said...

Ugh, I'm sending you hugs. Pants fitting is definitely not for the faint of heart, which after all of that, you clearly aren't! Keep trucking...it's worth all of the frustration...and cookies. ;)

The fit on your last RTW pants looks the best I think...particularly the curve of the hip and how it's sitting on your backside. Could you copy these pants with the saran wrap method and tweak them from there?

Carol said...

I would have been drinking by version 2, so I am impressed with your tenacity. Like you I am small in the waist compared to hips and only two weeks ago came to the dawning realisation that a high waisted pant with a looser leg is way more flattering on me than slim line skinny leg pants. I bought some Levis Bold Curve jeans that fit well and I am about to tackle the mammoth project of comparing my favourite jeans pattern to the Levis and see if I can make a pair. You've inspired me again.

waikikimum said...

I hear your pain. I have just been going through my own pants fitting saga on PR. Your last version looks so much better so keep a record and when you feel ready for fitting again you will almost be there. Mine still have issues but I have learnt a lot and also realize that no wrinkles means I can't move!!! I have found that for my pants to be comfortable my crotch intersection is in fact VERY forward and so I have kept the front the same and added a whole lot to the back crotch point. Congratulatons on getting this far and your perserverence. So many people will learn a lot from this post. Kathy

Liz said...

I thought version 1 wasn't too bad and as others suggested, perhaps a little big. I would go back to that version and take some length out of the back crotch fork (I always need to remove about an inch) tapering to nothing about mid thigh, but don't add to the front. I find safety pins are a better option than normal pins if you don't want any injuries! Also, as you are petite, perhaps you need to reduce the crotch depth on both front and back, say about 3/8". Don't give up - a well fitting pair of pants is better than money in the bank!

Kyle said...

I read this post with HUGE interest. I feel it is time for me to make a pair of pants (both to grow as a sewist and also so I can make velveteen pants that I love for winter) and I think we have similar shaped bodies. At PR Day Austin I went to a pants fitting workshop. The instructor measured us and compared us to the pattern itself in many ways (including front crotch and back crotch measurement), put the measurements on the pattern, then we made a muslin, tried it on, and she further tweaked it. I took it apart (as it is now our custom fitted pants pattern) to make pants but didn't take a pic first to see what the muslin looked like, as I really have NO idea how pants are really supposed to fit. I don't have any RTW pants without smiles, you know? And now I'm afraid of making a real fly front. But anyway, if there are any pants fitting gurus in your area it might be worth the time and money--it was also amazing because she measured us for ALL measurements and they were all SMALLER than when I measured myself. wtf?
I love someone else's suggestion about making pants out of ponte...hrm, I think I will put that on my to-do list!!!

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

Like many others I had to laugh and cry along with you. Pants are so weird. My new year's sewing resolution is to make pants. I buy all my pants at Ann Taylor as they fit me perfectly, so during a recent closet cleaning I decided to sacrifice an old pair, which I plan to cut up and make a pattern from them. Now if those don't fit I will be mystified. . . but not surprised. like I said, pants are weird. :)

L said...

I've worked on fitting pants for a while and recently had help developing a sloper from a professional. Here's what I think about smiles and fit. If there isn't *some* extra fabric somewhere, when you sit down the pants are going to pop open and be too tight. Your second RTW version are decent and could stand a little tweaking. Any other major change will make them look nice as long as you stand perfectly still. Even the skinniest of skinny models with zero curvature have pants that involve some extra fabric for movement and sitting. I've come to the point where any pants I make will be much better fitting than RTW because it will be the right length and cover me arse when I sit down. A little twist here or there is a non-issue. Take a rest from making pants and revisit it later when you have more time.


neighbourhood.gal said...

Woot! I am all inspired to try again with pants. (And blog about it.)

StephC said...

If you feel like taking another whack at pants, I think I can help you out. I'd email you about it but I can't find your address! Basically, I'm developing a method for beaming pants blocks I draft to pants-hungry sewists the world over... It's something I've been doing for a while with my peeps in brisbane, but I'm pleased to be offering it online too. If you'd like to help me develop the service (for free) drop me an email- stephc (at) 3hourspast (dot) com....

Paola said...

All of the above. After heaps of trial and error I have a pants pattern I am happy with. I am now not allowed to change shape.
I have a fairly rounded rear. I had a the smilies going on at the front crotch. I shortened the curve significantly - it is barely 2 inches long.My back pattern has a really long back crotch curve

the craftytraveller said...

I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but I just had to comment because your perseverance demands it! I had no idea that fitting trousers correctly could be such a mine field of problems! Good luck.

Josie said...

Hi, Good luck to you - Pants are HARD! One tip that hasn't been mentioned is the one-step crotch alteration (http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/review/readreview.pl?ID=160). It fixed the fabric pooling under my butt which is a start!

Keep at it, you will get there.

I Love Crafts said...

I hate trying to get pants to fit and haven't made any for a long time because of that! I plan to start again and bought books about pants fitting and have been reading all the blog posts I can find. I have some similar fitting issues as you at the back (diagonal baggy lines) but I can never find anyone dealing with that topic, although its seems quite common.I also hate it when books just have drawings of some common problem, as I would much prefer to see an actual photo! My take on those diagonal lines are: the inseam at the back, between the knee and crotch point needs to be stretched with an iron. and then shortened from the top to match the front inseam. Then the whole buttock part needs to be smoothed up and out towards the side seam, so you will be adding to the centre back seam and removing from the side seam so you still have enough fabric to cover your butt. Now I think I will go and cut out a pair of pants and if this works on me, I will send you pictures!

SueC56 said...

Thanks so much for posting all this. We all work with similar issues!


kbenco said...

I empathise greatly. Trouser fitting is not for the faint hearted.
That is a lot of hard work,and the progress is obvious from 1 to 4.
I think this will be a very good record when you are ready to have another go,and if it was easy, there would be lots of fabulously well fitting RTW trousers out there- which is not my experience.

marysews said...

I only have to wear pants when riding on the back of DH's motorcycle. For that reason, I own four pairs of jeans and one pair of dress slacks. I do not like making pants. Besides, I prefer to wear dresses and skirts -- and make them, too!

kathy said...

Amazingly Wow!
Seriously Wow!
A+++ for effort!

BeckyMc said...

I think you are very close to a great fit! I am following closely. trying to do the same thing. I agree that the front crotch on your last attempt is a little too long. Instead of pulling it up at the waist, take out a fisheye dart across the two fronts, tapering to nothing at the side seams. (That's one I have to do too, with a very short rise in front.)
I got directed to your Japan fabric shopping post from PR.com. Thank You! I am going to Tokyo for the first time in about 10 days. Your post says:
"The first fabric store we visited handed me the map at right. It is very cute and in English. If you find yourself heading to Japan, I'll see if I can PDF it and email it to you (not sure my scanner can handle odd sizes)."
Is it possible to email that map? If so, my email addy is becky at mckeent dot com
Love reading your blog.

BeckyMc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BeckyMc said...

Oops. My comment about the front crotch pertained to the
RTW Pants 2.

Rachel said...

I admire your perserverance in getting these pants to fit. I have never had good success with pants and quit sewing them for awhile. I am about to try one more time, but if I am not successful this time, I am done with them. I'll stick to skirts, dresses, jackets, and tops.

Reethi said...

I haven't read all the comments, and maybe someone's already suggested it before, but have you tried a Burda petite pant pattern? That seemed to fit me better than the regular size.

And wow on the effort! I mean to do what you do, but usually give up and drink myself silly instead - the pants-fitting trauma is usually too much.

Kristy Chan said...

You had amazing patience for this project - I think I would have eaten a whole block of chocolate and not just cookies at version 4 (thus making the problem worse). I've completely sworn off making fitted pants for the exact same problem you're having, unless I'm making elastic waist pj pants or maternity pants, I'm living in the 1950s and sticking to dresses and skirts......

Mrs. Micawber said...

When I think of the pants I used to blithely turn out in high school and early college, and how they all seemed to fit so well... Somehow it starting going downhill after that. Now I won't even think about sewing pants. I echo all the comments above and applaud your perseverance.

Finding decently-fitting RTW pants is also a huge trial - especially after reading years of Threads and knowing exactly how to spot the fit problems. Thank God for stretch fabrics!

Good luck.

Joy said...

You've made so much progress - don't give up! Plus you have a great pictorial record for when you feel like giving it another go.

I've flipped through my "Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach"...It seems a "long lower torso" would cause smilies. They recommend a horizontal slash and spread midway between waist and crotch. (That's essentially what you did.) It looks like you've already figured out most of the book's other ideas.

That said, v.4 looks good. How do you think v. 4 would look a little slimmer fitting and in a nicer fabric?

Anonymous said...

Sorry-no patience to read all those comments to see if this has been said. I think a lot of the problem was the weight of the fabric-it looked too light and shimmery? Perhaps a little bit of a pressing issue-though I know you were just making a sample.

mrsmole said...

Try Coni Crawford Butterick 5222. I sew for many clients and when they want pants this is the pattern I choose. Deeper back crotch length, no baggy seat, no baggy back legs, side seams hang straight no matter whether I make a size 10 or 24...they hang great and the client can sit down without having the center back waist pull down. Her instructions are wonderful and she has you start with adding 1 inch to the top of the waist area for adjustments in self-fitting.

Audrey said...

How frustrating. Though I admire your persistance. Maybe starting from a pattern which was drafted for a certain shape and altering it for your shape was part of the problem. You have a really nice shape, one that many women have. Slim waist and upper hip, wider side to side in the lower hip area and average size thighs. Maybe it would be better to start from a pants pattern drafted from your measurements and tweak it for the parts of your lower torso that can't be "described" by a measurement. I had "success with pants" after taking a pants pattern drafting class that included making a muslin and having a professional (teacher) fit it on me. The class I took was at G Street, with Annette Hickman. I have even set up and taken private classes from her when there were no classes offered at G street

Elizabeth said...

Last pair of pants I ever made was in high school! Enough said right?!

Lynn said...

Trena--I didn't read through all the 63 comments..but if the jeans fit you why can't you take a pair apart and follow those guidelines, just adding more ease? I also struggles with pants...but unlike you, that's all I ever wear!

Victoria said...

I feel your pain! I have a similar problem--close but no cigar. I'm tempted to draft pants! Much applause to you for working so hard at it:)

Anonymous said...

I admire your persistence, Trena! Pant fitting can be so difficult! I have found that success is closer when the draft of the pattern matches my physique. For my cylindrical body (thick front to back), Burda and Simplicity are best. Vogue and Butterick are a nightmare to fit me, but could be better for YOUR slender figure. In any case, good luck!

Eve in Montreal

MySummerTouch said...

Burda pants are made for GERMAN ladies, who are shaped as a man. This means no butt, no hips. Your shape is much more girly, like mine. I made Burda pants once and not going to do it, unless it is something with no shape - I had the same issues as you had!
Well, I've heard La Mia Boutique magazine is great for womanly shaped figures, I didn't make one, but so many women are happy with them at Russian sewing forums, and they are shaped womanly!
Or the second choice to draft your own pattern yourself!

Nancy K said...

Take a break and try again, because you can get pants to fit you. If I can do it, so can you. I don't see that you have knock knees at all and even if you did 2 " is a huge amount to add for it. I do see that your back is too big. The fisheye dart is definitely needed below your rear end.
Kenneth King has a new way to adjust the back to fit the front. Just add what you took out to the hem. Do not try and change the side seam to match the front or you'll be back to where you started. I asked him about it at the fit clinic.
I also think that you should look at Peggy Sagers pants fitting webcasts. I don't agree with everything she says, but it's a good start.

MNBarb said...

OH GOD PANTS! I've been trying to fit pants for a year. I'm wearing a pair at work right now that look similar to one of your muslins. I live in a cold climate and HAVE to wear pants. I don't have the solution but do know that your stance, similar to mine, makes it more difficult to fit the back of pants. If your bum is slightly tucked under you will have some extra fabric there when you stand.I've eaten so many cookies in this endeavor that I might need to move up a size!

Julie said...

I'm so glad you posted all these photos, you're a braver woman than I am. I'm embarking on a pants-sewing adventure, myself, and I've learned from watching your progress, so really: Thank you!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is, I plan to make a pants pattern that 'works' for me - I'm facing similar issues and now from all the adjustments I see why maybe the pattern companies have not bothered to include any easy changes the way they do for different heights of people! I admire your efforts and I'm pinning this to refer back to when I finally dig in!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for means of altering RTW pants and found this
webcast which explains how to alter a pattern for various pant
related issues.
Whilst it wasn't exactly what I wanted
it did help me work out possible solutions.
It would be a lot more useful to those of you
making pants from scratch.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your struggles. I've been going through similar frustration, but with different issues. For a recent weight gain, I have to adjust the front for the belly and the back for a high portruding bottom. I have very little curve between the waist and hips on the side and a short crotch depth.

After reading many fitting web pages, making two patterns and 4 muslim samples, I think I have it. My fitting involved scooping out the back crotch and lengthening it at the top of the waist. The biggest help was adding a seam down the center of the back of each leg all the way to the waist. This allowed for nice shaping of the full hip. The main advantage of the seam is it allows for decreasing the length in that seam without disturbing the side seam. I made 3 darts from the side seam to the center where 1/4" was removedin each. I saw a demonstration of fitting with this seam in a YouTube video about an eye dart. On my first try of these darts, I placed two too high causing my butt to appear even more prominent, but on the second go round, I started at the knee and placed each 2 inches higher than the last. Another advantage of this center back leg seam is I can put a little slit at the bottom for interest without exposing the spider veins at the side of my leg.

Once I'm sure the fitting is satisfactory, I hope to figure out an easy way to take them in despite welt seaming. It would be especially nice to figure out how to drop the weight so this would be necessary?

Another thing I thought I'd try is making a seam down the front of the leg and eliminating the side seam so I could have the side panels a lighter color than the center panels. The side panels would also be convenient placement for machine embroidery. Such fun!