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Conversational Threads

Books of ESMOD, a.k.a. Lavigne school

liselaure | Posted in General Sewing Info on


Could anyone give me a feed-back on the books of ESMOD, the International Fashion School in Paris, previously known as the Lavigne school? I am especially interested in the one called “Coupe Femme”, which, I suppose, is about drafting patterns for women. I think that these books are in French and English at the same time and that the pattern drafting method is the “moulage” one. But I wonder what topics are covered, if the explanations are clear, etc.

Thanks in advance,



  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    I have this book and have mentioned it in previous posts. I'm currently separated from my belongings (moving), so can't look at it, but it is a very good book. We used much of it as a text when I attended fashion design college in Montreal. The explanations are quite clear and it covers many topics. I highly recommend it, but not as an only reference. It isn't as complete as other texts (Helen Joseph Armstrong's for instance), but is a good supplemental text. Be aware that the measurements are metric - much more accurate in my opinion, but then, I'm used to working this way.

    1. liselaure | | #2

      Hello Sandy,<!----><!---->

      Thank you very much for your answer. I posted my question because I was hesitating between buying Kenneth King's CDs and Esmod women manual. I wrote to Esmod to ask about the content, but I got no reply. Before your answer, I was inclined to favour the CDs and now I don't know anymore. Maybe I will opt for the CDs now and buy the manual when I have a chance to go to Paris, what will allow me to save on shipping and custom taxes. I already own Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Armstrong and would recommend it to anybody except for the pants slopers. I prefer the ones with a European crotch curve. Incidentally, there are very good directions to draft slacks sloper with such a crotch curve on http://www.leenas.com/English/draw_women_pants.html - once I experimented with Burda's standard measurements and got their sloper. Regarding metric, I am more at ease with it than with imperial that I had to get used to when living in the States. There I more or less taught myself the American methods of patternmaking and now I would like to learn more about the European ones. Thanks again.<!---->Lise-Laure

      Edited 6/29/2005 6:46 am ET by LiseLaure

      1. Elisabeth | | #3

        I'm so glad you mentioned the leenas site. I'm having a pants drafting session today and am looking for additional information and the section you mention is perfect. Earlier I used the Armstrong book to draft slacks and those were so-so slacks. Now I am trying Kenneth Kings Trouser CD and it's better in some ways but I'm not that thrilled with it. I'm trying to figure out why. The draft does resemble a Burda pattern though. Kenneth King's Moulage CD I found to be a big success and would recommend it. I drafted a very nice moulage that fits well and drafted it a couple of times. I ended up printing out the book (at work on the big copier - don't tell anyone!) as my computer is not in my sewing room. A nice plus is that you can email Kenneth King if you have any questions. I am curious about a book called European Cut http://vestisbooks.com/ It has been mentioned on this forum earlier.

        1. HeartFire | | #4

          I have that book (somewhere!) I have not made a sloper from it yet, its fascinating how she goes about preparing the body - dealing with convex areas such as between very protruding shoulder blades. its very detailed, and the details are spelled out very clearly, but it is very involved- marking the body

          1. Elisabeth | | #5

            That sounds really interesting. More in depth information and thoughts on the body shapes would be welcome. A garment is usually more than just a tube with the right circumference and length! On the pants drafts I have been working on I wonder about how the crotch extension length is derived from the hip measurement as if that would work for everybody. I think I'll put European Cut on my wishlist.

        2. liselaure | | #6

          Hello Elisabeth,

          It seems you are interested in pants too (I am addicted to information about pants, especially about pants patterns and about fitting pants). As I wrote, I experimented with the instructions available on http://www.leenas.com/English/draw_women_pants.html and Burda's standard measurements and I got Burda's sloper. But I had to make a few changes. The back of Burda's legs are 3 cm (about 1" 1/4) wider than the front while leena's are 4 cm (about 1" 5/8) wider. So if you want to get Burda's legs, you have to make the leg front 2,5 mm (about 1/8") wider and the back leg the same amount narrower at the knee and hem. In addition, you have to use a really curvy part of your French curve when you draft the crotch curve. To give you an idea, using 66 cm/26" for the waist and 90 cm/35" 1/2 for the hips, I had to draft the front crotch curve so that it goes 2 cm (about 3/4") away from point 13 (see http://www.leenas.com/English/draw_panties.html) and the back crotch curve 2,3 cm (about 7/8") away from point 2; this way I got the exact Burda's crotch curve. Using my own measurements, I got an almost perfect fit - I just needed to deepen a little the back crotch curve and to improve the back waist darts.

          Leena's instructions are for "Drafting patterns for women's pants". Referring to Armstrong's book, I would say that what you get is a slack foundation. But I think it must be easy to turn it into a trouser foundation using Armstrong instructions the reverse way (I haven't tried yet). And you can also turn it into a jeans pattern by adding hip pockets, replacing the back dart with a yoke, etc. It won't cup very much under your buttocks nor be very fitted at thigh level, but it will nevertheless be pretty decent (I tried).

          Regarding what you wrote to Judy - "I wonder about how the crotch extension length is derived from the hip measurement as if that would work for everybody" - I think that it must work only for people who have an average torso. Those whose hip area is narrower from side to side and deeper from front to back probably need longer crotch extensions, while those whose torso is wider and more shallow probably need shorter extensions. If you own "Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach", take a look at pages #158 and 160.

          How did your pants drafting session go?


          Edited 6/29/2005 11:45 am ET by LiseLaure

          Edited 6/29/2005 5:02 pm ET by LiseLaure

          Edited 7/8/2005 4:32 pm ET by LiseLaure

          1. Elisabeth | | #7

            I'm glad I'm not the only one addicted to pants information! Yesterday I fiddled some with two test pants and studied the patterns I had drawn for them. I'm calling everything pants, these were from the Trouser cd by Kenneth King. I think I am obsessed with the theory of the patternmaking right now so exactly which style has become secondary. The missing depth of the body factor bothers me. It seems ridiculous to have the same formula for a broad and curved hip gal with a flat butt as for a narrow straight up and down hipped gal with a fleshy rear. Maybe the inventor of the method was in a more homogenous bodytype society that we are now or maybe it was a time when between a woman's legs was a place people tried to pretend didn't exist! Something happens when the fabric turns on the body and goes through the crotch curve but I can't quite figure what. Yet! I don't think a literal measurement is the answer though.I ended up ripping out the zippers and throwing the test pants away and cleaned up my sewing room. I'm bad like that sometimes, not keeping records! I have new thoughts to try and will start over. Thanks for detailing your Burda variations, I'm going to look more closely at those measurements on my next round. Have you read R.F. Morris' chapter on trousers etc. here? http://vintagesewing.info/1940s/4x-lgcm/lgcm-15.html It is one of the more interesting pants discussions I have read.By the way, I think Esmod has a school in Lyon in case that happens to be closer that Paris to where you are.Any time you want to talk more pants I am here!

          2. liselaure | | #8

            Hello Elisabeth,<!----><!---->


            Sorry for my late reply – due to family reasons – to your post.  You are taking risks with your offer to be available for more talks about pants. As soon as I have more time you may hear a lot from me. It's seems that you too you don't only want methods that work but you also want to fully understand why they do. <!---->


            Regarding the body depth, it must be possible to take it into account when drafting a pattern, because the software Dress Shop uses it. But don’t ask me how it does…<!---->


            Can you precise what you mean with "Something happens when the fabric turns on the body and goes through the crotch curve but I can't quite figure what." ?<!---->


            I read the chapter on trousers available on vintagesewing.info you mentioned. It's really very interesting. It confirmed what I had discovered empirically some time ago, that is the smaller the wedge inserted in the pants back the more ease you need to be able to walk. The shorts with which I made this discovery can definitely be worn – I was just surprised they were not so comfortable as I thought they would be when walking – and, when I am standing, everyone tells me how well they fit me.


            I decided to order European Cut in addition to Kenneth King's trouser CD. I should get them by mid-August. I look forward to them and hope to learn new things. Thanks for letting me know that there is an Esmod school in Lyon. I am not sure to be really closer to Lyon than to Paris, but it gives me one more possibility I will remember.<!---->


            I visited your website. It's beautiful – I like what is sober – and I am sure the garments you make are beautiful too.<!---->


          3. Elisabeth | | #11

            I made a pattern from the leenas.com site instructions and sewed up a test pair. I think they are the most successful so far. The resulting pattern doesn't seem to have any oddities, it makes sense somehow. It is very similar to Kenneth King's Trouser draft but I like the leenas better. I read on her site that it is the scandinavian patternmaking method and is close to the Mueller and Sohn method widely used in Europe. I'll be interested in hearing how you find KK's Trouser compares to leenas.It is that curving around of the fabric along the curve of the crotch seam that is puzzling me. It reminds me of how a cross secition of a cylinder, if taken on the diagonal, is an oval, that kind of thinking. When we look at the flat pattern it's, well, flat, and all that gets talked about is the circling the body of the fabric and the direct going from front to back through the crotch. Maybe I'm just having a blank spot in my head!Years ago I was at a parade with my daughter and watched a military school band go by. It hit me suddenly how well the guys pants fit from behind, there was not a dumpy looking seat in the band. I wondered why all pants didn't look that good on people. After studying pants I can now imagine what the pattern might look like for those marching band pants and I'll bet the pants weren't so comfortable to sit in.How does one take the measurement of depth for the Dress Shop software? There is a book by Luise Krolopp and Margarete Stiegler called "Rocke und Hosen" that I think is the Mueller and Sohn method. You would probably be more likely to see it on your side of the Atlantic.Thank you so much for the website compliment. These days I'm only messing up my sewing room with test pants, not much beautiful coming out, but I am hoping that will change soon!

          4. liselaure | | #15

            Hello Elisabeth!<!----><!---->


            I took a long time to answer you again, but meanwhile I’ve crossed the Atlantic. I was very pleased to read that you got your most successful test pants so far following Leena’s instructions. For me too, these are the best I have tried. I’ll willingly let you know what I think of KK’s trouser when I try it, and of European Cut too if you are interested.


            I’ve never heard of Mueller and Sohn’s method. I started sewing when I was 18 and tried to draft my first patterns 4 or 5 years later, but that’s only when I moved to States a few more years later and discovered all the sewing books available there that I started to read and read and read, and to compare methods, etc. In Switzerland, all you can find in the bookstores and libraries are things such as “Sewing made easy”, “The ABC of sewing”, or “Make you own cushions” (titles are from me). There must be some more advanced books but I don’t know where they are hidden. I will nevertheless try to find “Rocke und Hosen” through libraries and, if I’m successful, have to seriously refresh my German.<!---->


            There is somebody else that I would like to mention here, that’s Karen Howland. I found all her articles about pants in Threads highly interesting, for example the one about making pants legs wider or narrower and the need to change the crotch curve at the same time. I am really impressed but her deep understanding of the geometry behind patternmaking.


            For the body depth measurement for Dress Shop, you have to stand in a corner, your rear touching the wall behind you, to hold a ruler in front of you (I don’t remember at what level) and to measure on the side wall the distance between the corner and the ruler.<!---->


            Edited 7/18/2005 11:20 pm ET by LiseLaure

          5. liselaure | | #19

            Hello Elisabeth!<!----><!---->


            I have new information about the "body depth" factor in pants patterns. I have received "European Cut" by Allemong. She explains that the length of the crotch curve extensions are based on the hip circumference in the American drafting method while they are based on the depth of the lower torso in the European one. To give a summary, the front extension is a function of the front hip arc, which is measured in a way that includes the tummy protrusion. You then have to make a visual estimate of the shape of the buttocks – the rounder, fuller they are, the higher the wedge you insert in the center back seam at hip level. Finally, you use the length of front crotch curve you have drafted and the total crotch length you have measured on the body to calculate and draft the back crotch extension. It sounds really interesting and I look forward to giving it a try, but with a possible moving to Victoria B.C. in two months, it might not happen before a while. I think I'll have to look for a sewing buddy over there to help me with measuring and with fitting trials, if possible somebody as interested in patternmaking and fitting and as meticulous as me. Anybody interested?


            To return to body depth, after having read Allemong I was somewhat surprised because Leena's method, which is Scandinavian and thus European, does use the hip circumference instead. Using this method you nevertheless get what I would call a European crotch curve.<!---->


            Edited 8/6/2005 10:00 am ET by LiseLaure

          6. sewanista | | #20

            Hello Lise-Laure,
            I have just finished a pair of jeans (Kwiksew 3315) and am very happy with the way they look. I have discovered that I have a very low bottom, which means I have to scoop the back crotch below the horizontal line where the crotch seams all meet. I have almost had the courage to scoop it deep enough, but it just looks wrong, even though I know it's probably the right thing to do. I intend to compare the pattern to a standard trouser and find out if there actually is a difference in the spread of the legs. In researching my fitting books, I found a brief reference to this issue in Natalie Bray's book "Dress Fitting". (Her patterncutting books are excellent references, too) It's so brief I'll quote it here: "Defects in the leg part: Creasing of the leg part is mainly due to excessive tightening (particularly on a figure which is not very suitable for trousers), and in most cases cannot be avoided, so that when tight slacks are fashionable it is often disregarded.
            When overfitted, the inner leg seams become too curved and the pattern is then too 'open' in the leg part.
            Up to a point it is possible to correct this by bringing the leg seams closer together. Let out at the bottom of the inner leg seam and reduce by the same amount on the outer seam, running off the two lines at crutch and hip level."
            Ms Bray's method for drafting trousers (in "More Dress Pattern Designing") starts with a fitted skirt block, and uses a fixed proportion to find the crotch extension ( 1/10 hip - 5cm for front, back crotch point is 3/4 hip - 5cm from front crotch point along a horizontal line, which she calls 'Basic line B-F') The centre balance line of the front leg is a vertical line dropped halfway between front crotch point and side seam, with the back leg balance line being the same distance from the side seam as the front balance line is. She later mentions that "the Basic line B-F changes in length, often according to requirements: in sportsear, e.g. in skiing trousers, more B-F length may be needed to provide for a good stride. In general a longer B-F means greater ease in movement". She doesn't say if this greater length is attained through longer extensions or through having more fullness through the hipline of the pant, or how it affects the separation of the legs. She was also writing before the jeans explosion in the late 60's, so her reference to figures not suitable for trousers seems a bit quaint now, but the information is fantastic. I bought my copies new in the 80's - they were reprinted in 1987 by BSP Professional Books, a division of Blackwell Scientific Books, (who also publish Gerry Cooklin's patternmaking books. He's for the professionals!)
            I received a copy of The European Cut by Alledong just yesterday, so it was interesting to read your comments. If I can find a willing measurer, I'll try her system.What a shame we are on opposite sides of the world (Perth, Australia)- I would love to be your fit buddy, as the sewing bug seems to have skipped my generation (I was born in 1967). Many of my sewing friends (in the Australian Sewing Guild) are a good 20 years older than me, and dealing with fit issues I haven't yet got to.

          7. liselaure | | #21

            Hello Sandra!<!----><!---->


            Thank you very much for your last 2 posts. I have been silent for a while because I was traveling and more interested in visiting local fabric and notion stores than Internet cafés, and then I wanted some time to think about it before answering.<!---->


            Like you I wear jeans a lot – they correspond very well to my personal style. As an image consultant, I pay a lot of attention to colors and am not satisfied with the standard jeans blue, which isn't becoming to me. In addition, the more I learn about good fit, the more I am demanding about that of my clothes. So I am really interested in making my own jeans (and tops, and jackets, and… almost everything). Like you again, I am born in 1967 and know nobody in my generation that sews. I would love to have you as my fit buddy and to be yours.<!---->


            I took a look at the Kwiksew pattern #3315 you made. I noticed it's for stretch fabrics only. Garments in stretch fabrics are more comfortable and easier to fit than those in non-stretch ones, but I don't want to be limited to them. I was also wondering about the crotch curve of this pattern. You said you discovered your bottom is very low and had "to scoop the back crotch below the horizontal line where the crotch seams all meet". In patterns with a European crotch curve, the back of the crotch is always lower than the front, because that's the shape of women's pelvis (you can take a look at the top picture on page 37 of European Cut as you have got it). I found that a good way to tell if scooping a little more will help is, if you usually wear panties, to try on your pants with a thong instead (or without anything). <!---->


            All you report about Nathalie Bray's book is interesting, as was what you wrote about Thornton. I would love to take a look at your sewing books…<!---->


            Regarding the way the back of jeans are supposed to look, I was very disappointed to discover that there was no picture of the back of a standing model in Sandra Betzina's article "Making Jeans that Fit" in Threads #111. She also says about nothing about the way jeans are supposed to fit and look.<!---->


            My dream is to find instructions to draft custom jeans patterns that require only minimal fitting, that look like real jeans and that are comfortable. Most of the time, when you come across instructions about drafting a jeans pattern, they explain how to convert the back dart into a yoke and how to narrow the legs but they say nothing about the crotch curve. I first read about this in Threads, in the article about jeans in issue #28 and in Karen Howland's articles – I have the one you mentioned - then in the "Easy guide to sewing pants". Then I got "Patternmaking for Fashion Design" by Joseph-Armstrong and I was really excited. It contains the first – and only ones to that day – instructions I ever found to draft a jeans pattern for woman from scratch instead of simply converting a generic pants pattern. In addition, she is the only one I know that discusses the length of the crotch extensions not only as a function of the style (jeans vs slacks vs trousers vs culottes) but also as a function of the fit you want around the thighs. So I tried it, using the amount of ease prescribed for a relaxed fit, but I was disappointed. Unfortunately it's hard to say why. Too many creases under the buttocks?<!---->


            Then I came across Burda jeans pattern #8408. I compared it with Burda's sloper and was surprised to find no difference at all in the crotch curve! I used it twice, once with a stretch fabric and once with a non-stretch one. In addition to a few small alterations, I shortened the back crotch extension by 1 inch to make it look more like what I consider jeans. I am pretty satisfied with the result but I would like a solution at pattern drafting stage rather than at fitting. <!---->


            Before answering you, I read again the above-mentioned article about drafting a jeans pattern in Threads #28 and realized that although it's intended for men, it does contain suggestions to adapt it for women. So I'll have to give it a try. Made aware of the leg openness by you, I also noticed that in this pattern, the leg crease lines are not centered on the middle of the crotch line as in Armstrong's one but more towards the outseam. And I want to experiment with the "pattern-back guide" to fully understand how it does work.<!---->


            I am now trying to learn more about European patternmaking methods with the hope to find the ultimate answer.<!---->



          8. Elisabeth | | #22

            Hello again,
            I am finally getting back to my pants drafting and making projects. Some life events took me away from my fun time in the sewing room for a while. That is so interesting what you write about the European Cut book. If the front crotch extension is a function of the front hip arc doesn't it seem that the back extension could be calculated from the back hip arc in the same way? Taking the depth measurements as you described for Dress Shop could be very useful for some more specific crotch curve calculations. Standing in a corner to take the depth measurements side to side and front to back is simple to do.I notice that Leena and Kenneth King draft the back on top of the front with a wedge insereted so the hip tilts out more than the Joseph-Armstrong draft. That makes more room for real life buttocks than the straight up and down lines. I wonder what you think of the difference in length of the front and back inseams? The authors of the Pants for Real People book feel that the having ease in the front inseam came from men's tailoring since the men might need a little extra ease in the front for extra parts. They suggest making the front and back inseams the same length for women.

          9. liselaure | | #23

            Dear Elisabeth,<!----><!----><!---->


            I am – temporarily – getting back to sewing too. Last week has been a milestone in my history with pants (see below).<!----><!---->


            Regarding the crotch extensions in "European Cut", I simplified things a little. Actually Allemong gives a fixed length for the front extension for flat abdomens and another one for normal abdomens; only the extension for protruding abdomens is calculated from the front hip arc. I agree that it should be possible to calculate the back extension from the back hip arc the same way, but I won't try to figure out how because her method does work! At least it did for me (see below again).<!----><!---->


            About the difference in length of the front and back inseams, I heard about it only long after having started to read all I could find about pants. I would now recommend it because it works well and because it makes sense: as the back inseam is cut more on the bias than the front one, it will stretch more over time. I am skeptical about the idea of the authors of "Pants for Real People". I think that for men the adjustment explained by Kenneth King at the end of "The Trouser Draft" is more logical. I would thus make the back inseam shorter than the front one even for women. As Sandra Betzina writes in "Fast Fit", it's "a great way to pull in some of the fullness under the seat" or, to quote Leena instead, "it reduces the amount of fabric under the buttocks in order to achieve a better fit of the back pant" (http://www.leenas.com/English/draw_women_pants.html).<!----><!---->


            Since my last post I got KK's CDs and tried his "Trouser Draft". I was somewhat disappointed by the result. It's a rather complicated draft, I don't fully understand the reason of every step and my muslin doesn't fit me as well as the one I made from Leena's draft. But I don't regret at all to have ordered his CD. Although I think I know more about pants than most, I learned plenty of new things. For instance I had heard before about the adjustment for men but I never came across explanations about how to make it exactly. His trick to make pleats hang closed is great too. Etc. I intend to give KK's draft another try with some changes. For example, for the crotch height I will use the difference between my outseam and my inseam instead of the measure I get sited on a chair. I reluctantly used this one because it never worked for me but I wanted to follow KK's exact directions.<!----><!---->


            I then tried Allemong's draft and I was really impressed by the result. I have reached a pretty good one before (see first picture), but it was after several successive adjustments made to a Burda pattern following the instructions Karen Howland gives in Threads #98. Allemong's draft is very simple and each step makes totally sense.<!----><!---->


            The three following pictures show the result I got with Allemong's draft without making any alteration to it. As you can see, it fits like a second skin from waist to hip and corresponds to what Armstrong calls a trouser foundation. You thus have to add wearing ease and to narrow the legs. That's the reason why I then did some experimentation (see last picture – the twill tapes on my dressform are not where they should be so don't pay attention to them). On the left is "Allemong's muslin" with one leg turned and inserted into the other one. On the right is the result of my experimentation. The darts are neither sewn nor basted, only pinned at the waist. I more or less followed Armstrong's instructions to turn a trouser foundation into a slack one. I shortened the back extension by 2 cm (about 3/4") and narrowed the legs. I did nothing above the hip; instead I inserted a 2 cm high wedge at hip level but it turned out to be too much so I pinned out about 1/4". I now look forward to having time to make real pants from my new sloper.<!----><!---->


            Lise-Laure<!----><!---->...[Message truncated]

            Edited 8/30/2005 10:08 am ET by LiseLaure

          10. Elisabeth | | #24

            Those are wonderful! Thank you for posting the pictures. The red pants look like they fit practically perfectly. The Allemong muslin is directly from the book with no alterations? I agree, it works very well for you, wow! Your experimenting and testing is really paying off. It is interesting how the hip level wedge makes such a difference in fit. The center back seam becomes a good dart in a way. But it needs to be just enough with a suitable crotch extension and leg size.I have been re-reading my pants books and, as is sometimes the case, with more knowledge a reading becomes more deeply informative. Then I started looking at the numbers and calculations of the different methods to see what the similarities and the differences might be. I'm not finished yet though. I think I should add the Allemong method to the list too. Yes, I think KK's trouser draft CD is full of excellent pants information. The draft itself wasn't as successful for me as leenas though and I thought the instructions were a bit confusing as well.Just for fun I made up a test pair of pleated trouser type pants from the August Burda magazine. All the trouser drafts I had been doing inspired me. Otherwise I would never have considered the realtively baggy pleated style for myself and a low waisted one at that. I used my leena draft as a sloper and found the Burda to be the same type of shape. To my surprise the test pants turned out quite well, so well that I think I will look for some good fabric to make real pants with. Those are loose fitting pants, though, and certainly don't need the extreme fitting we have been talking about. So now I need to order the Allemong book. I am resisting spending money at the moment since I just had to replace my car and my bank account is suffereing. But another book on pants, I might not be able to resist that for long! In the mean time I will get back to my comparisons and maybe make up some of the other Burda magazine pants.Your Allemong muslin has two darts in each front and back piece which leena and KK do not, but Armstrong does. I wonder if the total dart uptake is the same. I like the look of one dart, two look so cluttered, but two might work better in many cases.

          11. liselaure | | #28

            Hello Elisabeth,


            I never replied to you but have always intended to do it. Maybe you got Allemong's book in the meantime and already have answers to your questions.


            Yes, the Allemong muslin is directly from the book with no alterations. But before drafting the pants sloper, you have to draft and fit your skirt sloper. You then use the waist-to hip part of it for the top of your pants sloper. So, the waist-to-hip part of my muslin was already fitted, but all what is under the hip line has not been altered, the crotch curve included.


            Regarding the number of darts, Allemong provides you with calculations sheets that allow you to determine if you need one or two darts and their intake for your skirt sloper, and thus also for your pants sloper. But unless you have an extremely pronounced hourglass figure, you should be able to replace the two darts by a single one in the pants. If the total dart intake is too big, fabric will bubble at dart point. In this case, I think making the dart narrower and taking in the leftover amount of dart intake at the center and side seams should work.



          12. Elisabeth | | #29

            Hi, and thanks for thinking of me with your reply! I did buy the Allemong book, finally, and have read through it but have not tried the drafts yet. It is good to see that the issue of flat or rounded buttocks is actually addressed in the draft to some degree. That hopefully means fewer alterations for the individual. When one does all the work of measuring meticulously and drafting accurately it seems excessive to need to do extensive alterations to the muslin. I'm still puzzling over the drafts. I took a break from it for a while since it was making me feel crazy! but I am back to it now with a fresh mind. It's good to hear from you and to remember that I am not alone in my drafting obsession. Were you moving to Canada? Hope all is well and you have perfect pants to wear.

          13. chopchop | | #25

            Hi, this is my first time visiting the site and I've been having a wonderful time reading - I thought I was the only person on the planet obsessed with pants!
            I would make the muslins full length as the lower leg often affects the fall of the pant i/e locked knees or bowed legs.

          14. Gabrielle | | #26

            I just thought I'd mention this website as Mr Clark puts out a video & workbook on pants drafting, which includes jeans. I haven't actually used it but it looks interesting.http://www.excelvideos.com/Gabrielle

          15. chopchop | | #27

            Thank you Gabrielle, I'm particularly interested in this subject. Do you know anything about the author of these videos?

          16. sewanista | | #9

            I too am on a quest for the perfect fitting pant, so I've been reading these messages with great interest. I visited the vintage site and had to laugh. It reminded me of an Ogden Nash poem (I think) , something like this:
            Encase your lower limbs in pants
            Your's are the legs, my sweeting.
            You look divine as you advance,
            But have you seen yourself retreating?I think of it everytime I go to the shopping centre and see women in RTW they don't realize looks so bad from behind.
            I learnt about the importance of the fork measurements from a book called "Thornton's Sectional System" by an English tailor J.P.Thornton, dated 1893. He also discusses the importance of the openness of the legs ie whether the trousers will be worn with the ankles together, ("which only seems designed for elegant posing on the shady side of a boulevarde") or the more practical English cut where the legs are held slightly apart. I think this means where the legs are suspended under the hip portion of the pant. The French style back then was to cut trousers with the hem and knees more directly under the crotch, and therefore a more curved hip, while the English cut moved the leg tubes further to the sides. Threads issue#28 (if you can find it) has a jeans article which says because jeans were originally made for riding horses and crouching over gold pans, the legs are well to the sides, which I suspect is why most commercial jeans patterns look more like denim pants than true jeans. No crotch creases (emphasised nowadays by bleaching) when the wearer is standing normally.
            This is a fascinating topic to me, so I'll be interested to hear any more discussions!

          17. Elisabeth | | #12

            That poem needs to be in every dressing room! What an amusing poem. My daughter is convinced that 99% of women wearing pants of some sort have not looked in the three way mirror. I think many of them do look but don't know what good is or maybe just feel like they have a dumpy butt and reinforce that thought.I wish I had Mr. Thornton's book, he sounds like a thinking man. I have been wondering about the "openess of the legs" and just yesterday realized that in all my modern fitting books and in Threads articles the women with well fitting pants are all standing with their feet apart in the full front or full rear photos. "As if they have a load in their pants" popped unflatteringly into my head. Seems like most pants can be made to look pretty good with variations on that pose although the poser looks a little funny. I gave my last pattern draft a small adjustment to curve the hip more angling the legs a little less outward. Having spent more time on the dance floor than on a horse I stand more like a beauty pageant wannabe than a cowboy. Plus my hips have a more womanly width, good for dropping babies, than the hipless wonders on the fashion runways do so I tend to pull the inseams inward a bit in standard pants with my personal pose ("on the shady side of the boulevard"). Isn't it interesting that this is not, at least to my knowledge, addressed in modern pants fitting books?I haven't gotten to jeans yet but, of course, no wonder the pattern jeans pictures don't look quite right and why real jeans look like they are trying to do the russian splits when you lay them flat.Aren't the old texts great to read? I have an old book on textiles which is a wonderful read. Where did you get your J.P. Thornton book?

          18. sewanista | | #14

            Not only is J.P.Thornton a thinking man, he is opinionated, supremely confident and scathing of those he considers his inferiors. Even if I had as much interest in patternmaking as I do in training spiders to knit, I would still enjoy reading his book. I can't remember where I got the book. I suspect it was at a secondhand bookshop in Melbourne, Australia (Melbourne has our most established rag trade, so this sort of book turns up there more often than in Perth) on one of my very rare jaunts across the continent. (I'm on the lonelier side of the country) It cost me A$50 all those years ago. When I had more time for searching through secondhand bookshops I collected quite a few golden oldies, but I now have two toddlers, who despite being the most patient toddlers I've ever met, are not in fact perfect, and couldn't be trusted to let me browse leisurely without deciding to browse themselves. However, I have found that our state library has a copy filed away of his Sectional System for cutting women's clothes. It is my life's ambition to photocopy the entire thing, but someone warned me that libraries don't like their old and rare books being subject to bright lights. The funny thing is, I often find I refer to Mr T quite regularly, most recently while designing a braided jacket, as he covers military insignia pretty thoroughly, and nobody knows how to overbraid like a Rear Admiral (or, to indulge myself with a bad pun regarding pants fitting, a Rear Admirable)

            Edited 7/11/2005 11:37 am ET by sandra

          19. liselaure | | #16

            Hello Sandra,

            I read with interest your message to Elisabeth. What you wrote about the openness of the legs reminded me of a pair of pants - supposed to be jeans but having to much ease for jeans - I made using a pattern of one of the 4 big American patterns companies. When I was standing normally, the front was looking good, but only the front. In order to have the back look O.K. I needed to hold my legs far apart.

            English is not my mother tongue and thus I am not sure I understand correctly what you mean with "most commercial jeans patterns look more like denim pants than true jeans". If you could give me your personal definition of jeans, I would appreciate.

            Regarding crotch creases, especially in the back, I have the feeling that the tighter the fit you want around thighs - and the slimmer the thighs - the less you can avoid them - unless you don't want to be able to move your legs forward. I think it's much easier to fit and get nice-looking trouser-style pants with ease at hip and thigh levels than close-fitting jeans.


          20. sewanista | | #17

            Nice to hear from you! I've been thinking quite hard about jeans at the moment. I find I tend to live in them, even for work. However, I'm at the top end of regular sizes, and the lower end of plus sizes, with a waist of 32" and hip measurement of 44", and I have a big bottom. Jeans I buy always pull downwards at the front to gain the crotch length at the back, so I've decided to test some jeans patterns until I find The One.
            I've also been collecting pictures of RTW jeans in catalogues and magazines, and have realized that the little crotch creases that radiate away from the leg join are important to the look. I used to think that they occurred simply because of the tightness of the thigh, and having minimal ease in the crotch length,(and I think this is partly the case) but when I stood in front of a mirror and spread my ankles apart, I realized they disappeared when my legs were wider than I usually stand. When I tried this in trousers, I got pulling in that area, and they only looked smooth when my ankles were closer. Then I reread Mr Thornton's book, and he discussed the spread quite a lot. He said that when the legs are cut closer together there is less freedom of movement. That makes sense. because it would make the inleg less diagonal, which over the same vertical height means the seam would be shorter. He also says that it is impossible to make perfectly smooth fitting trousers without reducing freedom of movement, so trouser fitting always involves compromises. Elisabeth pointed out that the models in pattern catalogues always stand with their legs apart, to show the trousers with no creases. I hadn't noticed this, but when I looked for it, I realised she was right.
            The back of jeans is harder, because it's difficult to see on myself. The fashion magazine and catalogue models all have a very smooth fit over their bottom and thighs - although they often pose with one leg forward, which suggests they will have horizontal lines under their bottom just like I do. The spread of the legs is determined by the front leg, so the back leg must match, so I think the horizontal lines are because the crotch extension is shorter than on a pair of trousers, cupping under the curve of the buttocks.Like you, I think the horizontal creases are the extra length down the back of the leg that allow room for sitting, but have to go somewhere when the wearer is standing.
            Helen Joseph Armstrong discusses this in her book Patternmaking for Fashion Design, although she doesn't talk about the spread of the legs. She describes the relationship between crotch extension and fit quite well. Also, Karen Howland wrote an excellent article in Threads #93 about how to change the crotch curve relative to the thigh width.

          21. mem1 | | #18

            Wow this is Ph D material. I hadnt realized that about how models stand . I have to say I tried doing some of the same poses and even my pants looked good!!!!

            I live in Melbourne and so hello. I remember the toddler thing only too well I twins and a another one as well .The rag trade has reteated to China I am afraid The bookshops are still here but ven they are becoming more supermarket like !

            Regards marianne

            Edited 7/28/2005 8:23 pm ET by mem

          22. educo | | #10

            Hi, I know this is kinda off topic, but since the websit was mentioned.. I was look at the vintage sewing website and was wondering, what does waist suppression actually mean? Does it mean trying to make the waist smaller than what it is?

          23. Elisabeth | | #13

            Isn't that a funny term? It sounds so stressful! I believe all it means is making the shape of the fabric smaller with darts and such to fit the waist, not making the human smaller fortunately. Maybe if we knew the actual origin of the term it would make sense.

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