I’ve been on a quest for a well-fitting pair of pants for about 10 years – really. I can’t buy pants, haven’t been able to for a long time – why? Because I am a size 8 in the bum, but a size 14 in the waist! The best I can manage is to buy size 8 pants, then slash the sides and insert elastic gussets. I got the idea for this kluge from Kathy Ruddy and while she’s putting in the elastic as she constructs the pants from scratch, I usually put the elastic inserts into ready made wear. So a new pair of pants already looks well used before I even get to wear them.
Instead I decided to make pants for myself. Started by having a body scan done by Unique Patterns – that wasn’t successful. For some reason I can’t fathom, the scan didn’t accurately capture my flat ass and skinny legs and so while I can turn out a pair of pants that fit nicely in the front, the back has never quite been right.
Recently, I signed up for Sandra Betzina’s Craftsy class: Pants Fitting Techniques. I’ve been watching the videos and working my way through the pattern adjustments on the pants pattern that comes with the course:
You start by taking your measurements: waist, high hip, hip, crotch rise, side length…. Did all of that. Next I took the pattern pieces and found the size corresponding to my waist measurement: size E, and my hip measurement: size C, marked out my pattern with marker smoothing the transition from the waist to hip, traced the pattern onto tracing paper, cut it out, cut out a muslin and sewed it together. (I should mention that the waistband in the pattern was way to shaped for my waist – so I took a piece of medium-weight interfacing and cut a rectangle the length of my hip measurement (with enough overlap for a fly front), then took in several small darts in the side back and side front until the top fit my waist – that is the waistband I used for the muslin.)
Guess what – way too large! I have no idea how much ease is in the pattern but more than I needed. I took in all the seams until I got a comfortable waist and a relatively close fit through the hips. Oh, I changed one thing in the pattern – I converted a side zipper to a fly front. When the muslin was adjusted, the front fit quite well, but the back still had a baggy bum (ugh) and I tried various fixes: opening the crotch and reducing the back crotch (still somewhat baggy), taking in a horizontal dart below the bum to remove some of the bagginess (still baggy and now there’s a bit of a pull from the side!).
As you can see I next measured all the dimensions between seams and marked the measurements on the muslin so I could made a second draft of the pattern taking into account the adjustments I made on Muslin #1.
I went back to the original pattern, using a different colour marker I drafted a new pattern a size C/D waist and a size B hip, traced it, then cut a second muslin. That’s as far as I’ve got – I’ll report on my progress in a day or so when I’ve got the second muslin sewn together.
Also this time I’m going to use Sandra Betzina’s Easy Fly Front Instructions for inserting a fly front zipper. I haven’t done this before but it definitely looks a lot less fussy than the 3-piece fly front I’ve been using.