In a comment on my Muslin #3 – Pat mentioned another pants fitting system she’d tried successfully. I decided to give it a go – Fit for Art Patterns: Eureka! Pants That Fit. I went online, found the pattern – it arrived last week – I went to work.
First I read the booklet to get an idea about how this system works. They (Carrie Emerson, Rae Cumbie and Sarah Veblen ) start out by saying Sewing pants is easy. I agree – getting a comfortable, flattering fit is the challenge! Their system is based on three prevalent body types – their template pattern includes one front and THREE different backs – one for people like me – no bum, a second for a reasonably rounded ass, third for “full” bottoms. What they’ve done, in other words, is make some of the most common pants adjustments:
In Back 1, they’ve lowered the back waistline, decreased the crotch depth, slightly deepened the crotch curve, taken in the upper legs – all the adjustments I’d have to make for a pattern to fit my body shape. The sizing chart suggests for my measurements I make a Back 2 (for regular bums) but I knew that would be a mistake, so I chose Back 1 (for no bums) and traced both the front and back onto tracing paper. I decided an XS would work for the back but I made a combination of XS/S for the front.
In the booklet they recommend leaving a back opening for fitting – no good for me – I can’t pin that myself when testing the muslin, and in the end I’m going to have a fly front, so I set up the pattern tracing with a fly front. The template also has a straight waistband – I used the curved waistband I had used to construct the earlier muslins which fit quite comfortably just below my bellybutton. Then I cut out a muslin.
I sewed in a zippered fly front (Sandra Betzina’s technique – I’ll never put in a fly front any other way – this is SO straightforward), stitched up the centre back seam, the side seams, then tried the muslin on. The centre front seam didn’t quite come together – that meant I had to widen the front side seam about 3/8″ on each side. The legs were still a bit full through the thigh – I tried taking them in on the side seam – that introduced some pulling into the back, I put the side seams back and took the leg in on the inner side seam – the muslin still didn’t hang quite right but I had a hunch if I just took a smidgeon from both inner and outer leg when I redrafted the pattern I’d be OK. I marked on the muslin where I wanted the top of the waist to land, subtracted the waistband width (2″), marked that, (then added back 5/8″ to get the cutting line for the top of the pants. I finished the muslin by adding a waistband just to see if I was right about the location of the waistband top edge – I was!
Once finished, I could tell the back seam needed to be made a wee bit fuller (~ 3/8′) and the crotch a wee bit deeper – both back and front (~ 3/8″).
So I now set about redrafting the pattern with adjustments – this time using Swedish tracing paper so I’d end up with a durable pattern. Working from my traced paper pattern, I added 3/8″ to the front at waist (gradually decreasing from the waist to the belly line – I only needed the extra at the waist), I took my “crotch curve” (this came from a package: The New Magic-Fit Master Pattern for Pants – a pants fitting system from 1984!) and dropped the crotch a bit and increased the fullness of the centre back seam 3/8″, I slightly reshaped the thighs on the side and inseam slimming them to the knee line, I straightened the leg from knee to hem.
Yesterday, I cut out the pattern in an 8 weight denim (light-medium weight) and got to work. I finished the pants this afternoon.
I have to say, this is probably as close as I’m going to get to the fit I’m looking for. The front falls straight with no extra fabric in the thighs:
The side seam is straight down the middle and no dipping under the bum:
And the back falls straight.
The pants are comfortable, I can sit in them without having them pull in the back, the thighs are about the right width.
These pants are a smidgeon long – (I used my standard 27 1/2″ inseam but I think with the depth of the crotch I could use 27″); however, I know, with washing, the denim will shrink a bit in length even though I washed it before I used it. This way, the pants will end up the right length!
I added pockets to the outside of the front, and pockets to the back. So these pants are a cross between trousers and jeans. I incorporated a tab on the front of the waistband to accommodate an off centre button – (a centred button chews the front of my sweaters – off-centre I’m fine).
Now to try another pair in a twill.