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Improve the Bottom Line

Adjust your pants pattern to fit a shapely derrière
Threads magazine - 143 - June/July 2009

For those of us who have a prominent derrière and a relatively small waist, finding a pair of pants that fits can be a frustrating—perhaps even futile—endeavor. What fits at the seat is way off at the waist, and when the waistline feels comfortable, the pants are visibly too tight across the bottom. It’s a lose-lose situation.

This same scenario can occur when you make pants for yourself. Most patterns provide just enough “sitting room” in the center-back seam for an average bottom, but a round bottom requires several inches more for a good fit. This is a win-win situation: With very little effort, a sewer can craft pants that feel comfortable and make her curves look sleek and chic. 

Small waist versus full hip and seat

The fundamental problem with fitting a full seat isn’t the hip/derrière measurement but the difference between the hip and waist circumference. Standard ready-to-wear clothes and commercial patterns generally accommodate a difference of up to 10 inches, so even the classic “36-24-36-inch” figure will have trouble fitting into a pair of slacks. 

For comfort, you might try going up one or two sizes to accommodate a fuller bottom, but you then have to deal with a waistline that’s too large. You can cinch the excess fabric with a belt, but this adds more visual width at the waist. 

Or, you can turn to style as a solution, and limit yourself to tunics or other garments long enough to cover your derrière. This limits your fashion choices, and it’s a shame to hide your trim waist because your pants don’t fit well through the seat. 

Anatomy isn’t destiny 

The buttocks or derrière are composed of muscles and soft tissue. For the most…

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