Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Fitting Pants

Alipye | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all, I am new to the Gathering group, but a long time Threads subscriber and sewer, knitter (hand and machine) and quilter, and most off all I golf.  So, obviously I am scattered, so much to do and so little time.  Anyway, I wanted to start a discussion on the perfect fitting pants, I know there have been numerous articles and lectures on this subject, but here is one that I have not seen mentioned.  We take into consideration the walking ease in wrap around skirts, but no one ever talks about the pull you sometimes get at the knee when wearing pants. 

I know jeans are very popular because they are so comfortable, ever wonder why? I think that is because the proportion between the depth and length of the crotch is so close to the body that there is no drag from the crotch.  Dress pants however allow an 1″ at the least, below the crotch and this affects the walking stride, there is drag when you take a step, sooo, my question is what is the proportion between the length/depth of the crotch to the width at the knee. 

May be I am stressing too much on a fitting problem, but when you are short and don’t want pant legs too wide you think about tapering the legs, then you run into  drag, so there has to be an ideal proportion that works.  Anyone have any ideas???


  1. woggy | | #1

    Hi and welcome!

    The reason why jeans are comfortable to wear has to do with the slant of the back crotch seam above the curve.  The slant causes a dart in the back giving it more ease.  They were designed this way for cowboys to be able to sit in a saddle all day long.  Most jean patterns have quite a slant to them.

    A woman with a flat fanny needs a straighter back seam to avoid the gap that one has under the waist.

    Wedges are designed into the center back seam to allow fabric to fit over one's fanny.

    Folks on patternreview.com have been disecting pants fitting/alteration for quite some time, myself included.

    What I have discovered in this never ending process is that for some women their fanny's begin to drop and are below their center point of their bodies.  Back crotch curves do not dip down which is needed.  My fanny is a good inch below the center of my body where the front and back crotch points meet.  This causes lots of wrinkles under my fanny.

    Many books and authors recommend "scooping" the back crotch curve so it is shaped like a dropped fanny.  I have not been successful with this alteration.

    Pants should hang about 1/2 inch from your body.  The longer the distance the harder it is to walk in them - think sleeve to arm hole.  The farther the top of the sleeve is down off your shoulder, the harder it is to raise your arm.

    If you have wide hips, this throws the center of the pant leg off that requires an alteration.  If your thighs touch or are very close to touching, this requires another alteration.  For every one alteration you do, another one pops up.

    I am convinced woman's patterns are not made for the older "heading south" body! but for some tall, small and high fanny with no belly mythical body.



    1. tmorris1 | | #3

      Woggy;If it makes you feel any better, I am tall (6ft 1 inch), small (size 6), and I am not talking about my fanny, but the patterns do not fit me either. At all. The thing you have to do is spend time altering one good pattern and use it for everything.T.

    2. fabricholic | | #4

      I have made some shorts for myself that turned out well, except for one thing; the material goes under my fanny. Other than that, they fit. What is causing this or how can I fix this problem? Anyone know?Marcy

      1. User avater
        CostumerVal | | #5

        The back crotch curve is shallow and the back inseam is steep.  The tight fitting clothes  have almost no curve in the back crotch and then they pinch in the seam to hug the thighs.  Loose trousers have a deep and steep crotch and the inseam is almost straight.  Shorts have a wider leg than trousers so you can sit without them riding up.  Just like the loose sleeve in the campshirts.  I'ld suggest making the crotch curve more like your natural shape and adding fabric at the side seam the same amount that you take out of the crotch.  If you want to try it on the ones you've already made, you can resew the crotch curve and add a fabric strip in the side seams.

        1. fabricholic | | #7

          Thanks for your reply. To see that I understand you, I have made a pitiful drawing. The line on the left is a crotch curve with almost no curve and the one on the right is what I need to make; steep and deep crotch. Is this correct? Also, do I start out with a 1" or 1/2"? What would you suggest?Thanks,

    3. Alipye | | #8

      Hi, I want to thank everyone who responded to my question regarding fitting pants.  I have a lot of good information to ponder now.  One thing that I am trying, is to use a flexible ruler that conforms to my croth shape, I shaped it to my body, then stepped out of it and drew the crotch, I found that I need a little more room across my tummy, and my behind has dropped, sooooo that's what happens with age I guess,  I don't like the look of it, but I am going to try it in a muslin.  Will report back when I do.

      Thanks again for all the responses.  This is a great group.


  2. tmorris1 | | #2


    The most flattering line on a leg is to drop from the widest part of your hip straight to the floor. If you are shorter, then this creates an uninterrupted line straight to the floor making your legs look longer. If you are heavier, then the added appearance of length is slimming.


  3. DONNAKAYE | | #6

    There is an old rule in fitting that still holds true today:  Drag lines point to the problem area.

    The problem, in my opinion, is not the depth of crotch but, rather, the lack of ease between the crotch and the knee, or to just below the knee (i.e., in the inseam).  Some folks have a fuller inside thigh (I have lately come to suffer from this dilemma, after a hysterectomy!), and some folks have more fullness in front as compared to back.  For some folks, the pants will drag or be tight across the front thigh but not the back and vice-versa.  One thing to always check on any pants pattern:  Are the lengths of the front and back inseam the same?  If they are, you're likely to get these problems.  An old solution, for example, to the "pooch" that hangs underneath the derrere (the back "frown," we call it), is to ease the back inseam into the front inseam, then steam press with a wool-treated press cloth to "shrink" the fullness in the back inseam at that point into the front inseam.

    My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to check your pants pattern for this fitting problem first, then go on to crotch depth and the like.  IMHO, if you've got room to sit down comfortably without being "cut" in the crotch (such as long-waisted or large tummy), then don't fool with the crotch depth.

    The other problem is not so much a crotch depth problem as it is a front crotch length problem.  The "fix" for this is to try adding length to the front front crotch where it meets the inseam, then taper back to nothing at or just above the knee.  The beauty in this solution is that no other alterations need be made.  You may wind up with a tad more front inseam, but, again, that can be eased and shrunk with a good steam-pressing.....

  4. DONNAKAYE | | #9

    Okay, here goes!  My mom manufactured, sold and gave pants fitting seminars nationwide.  I've been using my basic master pants pattern for so long I didn't remember the particular features, so I went back and compared a commercial pants pattern to mom's.  Here's what I found.

    1)  The center back seam is on straight of grain.  Mother pounded this into my head for twenty plus years, so no matter what the style, I use a straight-of-grain CB seam.  This eliminates (in part; pressing does the rest) what mom called the back "frown."

    2)  The front inseam is slightly larger than the back inseam!  At first I thought I had looked at this wrong, but that is what she did.  I often wondered why I never had that drag on the front of the legs!  It's been a while since I stitched a pair of slacks, but now I recall always having to ease the front inseam into the back.  Another way of looking at this but which amounts to the same thing is that this allows for a shorter crotch depth on the pants front (so you don't get that poofy thing going on there in the front, where the hip meets the leg, or just below the abdomen, what mom called the front "smile"). 

    3)  Press the front crease before joining to the back.

    4)  After the back is joined to the front (i.e., you will have the two legs stitched up but not the crotch seam), the front crease is laid straight on the cutting table.  This will leave a "bunch" of fabric underneath the seat, between the seat and the knees.  Shrink that all out with the iron -- steam, steam, steam, press, press, press, with a dampened press cloth and then a wool-treated press cloth.

    Voila!  I've been preaching this method for years to friends and family only to have it fall on deaf ears!  And every time they see me in a pair of mom's pants, they want to know how I got them to fit so well!  (Okay, enough of my whining, huh?)

    Hope y'all enjoy my rantings!


    1. solosmocker | | #10

      Your rantings are fabulous!!! This is wonderful pantsfitting info that I am going to print off and put with my sloper. I have a good fitting pants pattern after much tweaking but maybe I can even get it better! I remember a Sewing with Nancy program where she explained how the front in seam was (should be, who knows with paterns) longer and how you needed to work with your feed dogs to ease it in. I find that works great for me. I normally have my integrated dual feed engaged and I just disengage it for that part of the operation and put the front inseam down toward the feed dogs. One thing you mentioned that I am not sure about - pressing the crease prior to stitching. I am never quite sure where to fold, but when the pants are done I do. Can you suggest how to fold this properly to get the crease? I have full front thighs so am always afraid that will pull the crease out of whack although frankly that doesn't happen with my new improved sloper. Thanks Donna. Oh, how lucky for you! a member of a sewing dynasty! Your mom sounds like someone I would have loved to have taken classes from. Thanks again,solo

      Edited 8/10/2007 12:20 pm ET by solosmocker

    2. fabricholic | | #11

      Hi DonnaKaye,What do you mean the front inseam is larger? Is it longer or the actual seam allowance bigger? I take longer to understand.Marcy

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #12

        Oh, your message is so funny!  "I take longer to understand."  Good knee-slapper!  Sorry about that!

        The front inseam is longer than the back inseam.  I've attached a diagram.  Keep in mind it's not to scale (I'm a lousy draw-er), but I think you'll get the point....

        1. fabricholic | | #13

          Thanks DonnaKaye,I see now. I don't understand what it does, but I can make my pattern look like that. I guess that's why I always do better with pictures.

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #14

            Well, the purpose (as best I can understand mom's logic; she's not around anymore to ask her) is this:  When you walk and sit down in slacks, it requires more fabric to make the turn around the front of the thigh, because the legs bend forward, so you don't get that pulling feeling.  At the same time, since the ease is built in to the inseam (that is, instead of lengthening the front crotch, which is what most commercial patterns do), you're not getting that poofy thing going on in the upper thigh/lower abdominal area.  (Ever make a pair of slacks that just had too much fullness in that area?  Yuk!)  In other words, it keeps the fit snug against the body where it should be and gives ease where it's needed....Make sense?  Y'all forgive me, please, if my memory is a little rusty!  I'm trying to remember all that mom taught me!

          2. fabricholic | | #15

            Yes, I was going to say that I don't need more front crotch length. Thanks for the tips. You said "ya'll". Are you from the south, also?

          3. DONNAKAYE | | #17

            Yay!  From southwest Louisiana!  Heart of Cajun country!

          4. solosmocker | | #18

            I was raised in Lafayette! Born in NO. Small world!solo

            Edited 8/10/2007 6:50 pm ET by solosmocker

          5. DONNAKAYE | | #19

            I live in Carencro, born in N.O.  Where are you now?

          6. solosmocker | | #33

            Hi, Donna! Its been a long journey but we are semi retired for the past two years and living in way way upstate NY near the Ottawa border of Canada. Talk about extremes! Our past winter saw 40 below 3 times! But it is beautiful up here in the Adirondacks and we just love it. The only downside is I think I am the only sewist in this part of NY and definitely the only smocker! Forums such as this wonderful one put me in much needed communication with those who share my same passion. solo

            Edited 8/12/2007 12:41 pm ET by solosmocker

          7. DONNAKAYE | | #35

            Solosmocker, your name, then, fits you well.  I want to try machine embroidery on smocking for a peasant top.  Any advice?

          8. solosmocker | | #38

            Hi, Donna! This is a wonderful thread. I am learning so much and at first chance will go check my pants pattern I drafted and implement your advice. I always have that big blob of fabric in my lap, however much worse with RTW. You and your Mom both look quite the fashionistas. She was a beautiful lady. What a wonderful legacy and thanks so much for sharing with us all. I do all my smocking with a pleater and hand embroidery. However, I have seen machine smocking by Deb Yedziniak that is pretty impressive. I believe she has CDs available. You still have to pleat it though. Thanks again for all this great info. I definitely would be interested in the pattern and instructions you mentioned. solo

          9. Ralphetta | | #21

            I've always liked Burda because they have a much shorter f crotch.  I'm going to try your suggestion about the inseam, maybe I'll get an even better fit.  Sandra Betzina teaches pressing the crease before sewing the legs together and it does seem to work well.  She also says to gently pull and steam that pie-shaped extension on the pants back crotch after you cut out the pattern.  Then put your pattern back on the piece and trim off any excess that stretched out.  It works.

          10. starzoe | | #22

            Regarding the pressing of the crease before sewing. If you use that mark to sew a double-needle line, you will forever have a crease line that makes even crinkled pants look good.

          11. stitchagain | | #82



            I wish I had time to read this very long thread.

            Sandra Betzina has something interested posted on her website:  Vogue is recalling some of their Today's Fit patterns.  She noticed that the pants patterns Vogue published were not the patterns that she send them.  The differrence seems to be the topic of a lot of these postings:  that back curve and the depth of it, or is it width? 

            Well I'd thought I'd mention it to show that even professionals disagree  (the Vogue people changed it to fit their ideas of "fit")





          12. solosmocker | | #83

            Here is a link to Sandra's website and the topic at hand. Very interesting:

          13. Sewdance | | #84

            I wasn't able to access the pictures on SB's website. Can anyone give me a direct link to the comparison of the 2 patterns?Thanks!

          14. cat42 | | #86

            I sent SB an email and she sent me copy of the photo, but its hard to see the differences, since the Vogue tissue is multi-size. I'll attach the jpg files; hopefully you can access them.
            Ooops--accidentally did 2 copies of one file. I just corrected that.

            Edited 9/7/2007 1:06 pm ET by cat42

          15. cat42 | | #48

            Another reason for the front inseam being longer than the back inseam, is it makes the back crotch pull up to cup under the derriere better. When easing the two inseams together, it should be done at the upper end of the inseam, between the crotch and about 1/3 - 1/2 of the way down toward the knee.Regarding CB being on straight grain: I have a bit of a large derriere (protruding). The only way I've figured out how I can get enough length to go over that hump is to put the CB on a slope. If I simply lengthen the CB seam while on the straight grain, then the top of the CB seam is much higher (about 3 inches) than the top of the side seam, which puts the back waist on the bias, and that causes funny drags lines between waist and the protruding bum.Do you have a suggestion as to how I can get the needed length and still keep CB on grain?BTW, most good-fitting commercial jeans have the CB seam quite on the bias. That's the only way to get that tight-as-skin fit. But then jeans are a whole other matter than slacks.

          16. DONNAKAYE | | #49

            I had another posting about jeans, but, as you say, that's for another day.  I'm going to look in Audrey's pants fitting notes about alterations for a large derriere.  What I've been saying about CB on straight grain is that that is the starting point for a good fit because the fabric hangs properly on the body to begin with.  Problem is, I can't see what the rest of the basic pants pattern you have looks like or how it's cut.  This is all very difficult to "diagnose," because I don't know what pattern you're beginning with, and, of course, everyone is using different patterns.  Suggestions are only generic.  I can give more reliable information if I know exactly what the pattern looks like that you're altering from.  I'm getting the impression that although you may have a large derriere, you may be shallow between the waist and the derriere, but a photo of your fitting problem would be most helpful....d.

          17. cat42 | | #50

            Regarding my large derriere:
            I've given up on commercial patterns, and am trying to create my own basic pattern, from my skirt sloper. This pattern is fitted at the waist with darts (2 on each front and each back), slim in the hips and tapered, but not tight fitting, legs. I require a fair amount of darting in the back. The waist of each back piece is 9 inches, while the full hip (7 inches below the waist) is 13 inches. I have high hip fluff just behind the side seam (less than 3 inches below waist), but the sides of my hips are slim. I'm thick from front to back, both in abdomen and derierre. Back crotch depth is 13 inches (waist to crotch level), but back crotch length is 21 inches from waist to inseam.I have slim thighs and long legs--I look a bit like a beach ball set on two 2x4s. (LOL).So far on my basic pants pattern, I've learned that I need a longer-than-average extension on the back crotch, because I'm thick from front to back. however the extension on the front is "normal". If I extend it farther, it just puffs out at front. I do cut the crotch depth shallower in front (12.25 inches) than back (13 inches).Also, I'm knock kneed; my thighs touch from crotch to knee, so I've learned that the inseams must fall fairly vertical from the crotch.Sorry I don't have photos, but its very hard to take photos of ones self.

          18. cat42 | | #53

            I just tried changing my basic pant pattern so that the CB seam was on-grain. The top of the original pant was drawn with the skirt sloper; I just aligned the CB of the sloper with the tilted CB pant seam, per an old fitting article in Threads.When I altered my pattern to put the CB ob-grain, I didn't do it the way DonnaKaye indicated in her drawings, but it amounted to the same thing. Instead, I just used my straight skirt sloper to redraw the top of the pant, aligning the CB of sloper with the straight of grain, and positioning the waist of the sloper the distance from crotch line that equals my crotch depth. Then I used my french curve to smooth out the junction of curved lower part of crotch seam to the straight upper part.My basic pant pattern already has the front inseam about 5/8 inch longer than the back inseam, so I didn't need to correct that.I have knock knees, so I adjusted by slashing across front and back leg pattern at the knee, then for both the front and the back leg, sliding the lower leg toward the inside about an inch, and then redrawing the inseam from crotch point to the moved lower part of the leg. This new line has a slightcurve right below the crotch, but is mostly straight to the knee. Then I redrew the sideseam using a french curve, from hipline to the lower leg.Last change was to redraw the straight-of-grain, using the grainline of the lower leg and extending upward. I always draw this line so that it is down the center of the lower leg, and then it also becomes my crease line, on both front and back.In the past the main problem I've had with pants is that the back creaseline twists toward the inside of the leg below the knee, and I also get drape (or grain) related drag lines from my hip to the inside of the knee. THese problems are depicted in a drawing, attached.I would like to report that at least in my first draft of the muslin with the modified pattern, those problems have disappeared, and I can attribute that to straightening out the CB seam to being on grain. DonnaKaye and her mother are right on!However, because of my large derriere, my CB pulls down a couple inches. I'm gonna play with lowering the crotch curve, which should help that some, and I guess I'll add the rest by raising the waist at CB. I don't need to add it to body depth (by extending the crotch point on the back), because the depth is just right as it is--any more and it would start to get baggy.Thanks! DonnaKayeI'll keep you all posted after I make them out of pant-weight fabric. In the meantime, here are some computer drawings I've made. The first is what was wrong with the pants before the latest alterations. The second details the changes made. These are both jpg files. In case you have trouble opening them, I've put both of these sets of drawings into a jpg file, the third file attached.

          19. DONNAKAYE | | #54

            Right on!  I am so happy to finally see someone actually try the alteration!  Let me know how the derriere thing goes; I'm very curious!

            BTW, what software did you use to draw your diagrams?  Fabulous!

            Edited 8/21/2007 8:56 am ET by DonnaKaye

          20. cat42 | | #56

            I have a Mac laptop, and I use the drawing program in Appleworks (Its the old Claris Draw program). When I had a PC, I used PhotoShop, I think. Do my drawings come across OK? It's hard to do curves--kinda like trying to control an etch-a-sketch.

            Edited 8/21/2007 11:29 am ET by cat42

          21. DeeOh | | #58

            Your discussion on pants fitting is fabulous.  If you ever offer the patterns you referred to, I want them. 

    3. MargieT | | #16

      Thanks for the great information. 

    4. Josefly | | #20

      Thanks so much for this information. I, too, have copied it off for future use.

      1. DeeOh | | #57

        I have just discovered this discussion on pants fitting and it has so much information I want to print off to refer to later.  You said you did that.  How do I print just the parts of the discussion that refer to my problems?  Tia DEEOH

        1. solosmocker | | #59

          Donna, I just want to tell you that I checked the pants pattern I drafted and the CB seam is on the straight of grain!!! This definitely works. The pants I have made from this pattern fit wonderfully for the first time in years. I feel like I took a class from you and passed. Thanks so much for all this info, Donna.solo

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #61

            Hello, solo!  Wow!  That makes two good reports in one day!  Anyone else out there willing to give this a try?  I don't know exactly WHY it works to have CB on straight grain (I mean other than the obvious, that it hangs straight of grain), but it WORKS.... I can't want to hear from more of you!

        2. solosmocker | | #60

          Left click with your mouse on the section that you want to print. This should be hilited in a different color now. Go into file, click on print. Now click on the button that says "selection" and then hit print. It will print out only what you highlighted. If you want to click the entire thread, as there is so much wonderful info throughout, no need to hilite anything. Just go into "file" at the top left of the screen and click on print. When the window comes up click print, or OK and the entire thread will print out for you. solo

          1. DeeOh | | #63

            Thank you.  You're very kind to help me out.

        3. Josefly | | #62

          Looks like you got an answer to your question. I agree that's the way to print the sections you want.If you roll your cursor across the "Options" button at the bottom of any message you want to save, a menu will pop up. Print is one of the options listed on the menu, and e-mail is another I often use to e-mail the message to myself. I have a good-sized file of these messages I've saved in a separate sewing folder in my e-mail account. I print few of these since they're so accessible on my laptop.I've copied other articles from the Threads newsletter and other web-sites, just by clicking on "Save As" under the File menu in your browser options...I can re-name the sewing tip so it's identifiable to me, and put it in a sewing folder on my desktop. Those articles can be printed out then at my convenience or need.

          Edited 8/21/2007 8:20 pm ET by Josefly

          1. DeeOh | | #64

            thanks to you too, Josefly.  The folder on the desktop sounds like a good idea.  Very accessible.

    5. Tatsy | | #23


      I'm pretty sure I took your mom's class in the early 70's.  Those instructions sound so familiar.  Her directions for adjusting the width of the front and back crotch seams were the best I've ever seen.


      1. DONNAKAYE | | #24

        Tatsy, where might you have taken the class?

        1. Tatsy | | #25

          Bakersfield, CA.  I'm not sure which store, Hancock's I think.  I found the instruction book. The business name was Leonora's and it was published in 1975, so it must have been mid to late 70's.

          Edited 8/12/2007 12:15 am ET by Tatsy

    6. Alipye | | #26

      Wow!!! At last someone has addressed the problem I've been bothered by, the drag on the knee/thigh area when you walk and sit.  For lack of a better way of expressing it, I called it walking ease, thought that the crotch was the culprit, since jeans and close fitted sleeves give you so much more flexibility.  But I have never heard of the front inseam being longer than the back inseam.  I've actually seen Sandra Betzina when she was on TV steaming in the back in seam as it was 1/4 inch or so longer than the front.

      BTW when you say the center back seam is on the straight of grain... do you mean that the built in dart that the slope provides is not necessary?  I've never seen a pair of pants without the slant on the back center seam.  Do you know of a pattern that is sold commercially that incorporates this concept?  OR maybe you mean that the slant of the center back seam is put on the straight of grain, what then would happen to the rest of the pant leg, would it be off grain??  Am I not understanding what you are explaining and making things more complicated that necessary?  Help

      Thank you for helping!


      1. DONNAKAYE | | #27

        I'm attaching a very poorly done sketch of what I'm talking about.

        I've added darts to this illustration so that you can see that too.

        This is from my mom's pattern, which she manufactured and sold for over twenty years.  I have copied and furnished this pattern to a few folks on this site for the cost of shipping in the past, but I'm beginning to get more and more requests for it along with the course instruction mom did.  (Audrey Childress Fashion Sewing Seminars, or previously known as "Sewing Show").  If I can get enough of an enthusiastic response, I'll put everything back into print and begin to circulate it again.  In any event, I don't plan to advertise or anything; I'll just sell them by word of mouth.  In real life I'm a busy court reporter, so I have my hands full enough without adding another full-blown business!

        There are also a couple of items that mom had manufactured and marketed.  One is the best invention since sliced bread: a pants board.  I've attached a drawing of one.  Nothing I've ever used can substitute for this little gem.  If interested, I can have my husband make some.  If no interest, then I'll scrub the project....

        I also have master patterns for bodices and skirts, both knit and woven.....donna

        1. Alipye | | #30

          DonnaKaye, I for one think it is a splendid idea, I would be willing to pay whatever you considered reasonable for the pattern and the instructions.  You know, it is gems like your Mom's that make or break a good pattern, knowing those little things that make the big difference in the drape and fall of a garment. 

          First of all thank you for taking the time to respond and to draw little graphics for us, considering you have your hands full with court reporting.  But if I may persist, your back crotch seam is straight up and down along the grain line, right?  there are patterns that have a huge slant in the back crotch, if one were to put that on the grain line, the rest of the pant leg would be off grain, right?  So are you saying, remove that big dart/slant in the back seam and keep it on grain, then add darts to shape the back.   Am I understanding you correctly? 

          This is a great discussion, very educational, thanks again


          1. DONNAKAYE | | #31

            Folks, I am currently drafting and scanning the simple three-stop process to straighten the grain at CB of a pants pattern that has an off-grain CB.  Will post in a minute.  Should come through in three separate .pdf files....Donna

          2. DONNAKAYE | | #32

            Folks, I've received a number of requests for the sequence of alteration to make the CB pants seam straight of grain.  I've attached my (very poorly drawn) sketches of the easy three-step process.  Hope this is clear.  Any questions welcome.  Enjoy!

          3. Josefly | | #36

            DonnaKaye, thank you so much for providing those sketches, and the information that the straight-grain center-back seam will solve some pants-fitting and drape problems. Did your mom recommend having a straight-grain center-front seam as well?

          4. DONNAKAYE | | #37

            Yes.  And the front inseam on her master patterns is longer than the back inseam.  In other words, the front crotch is not as deep as the back.  Do you need an illustration of that?  I've already posted it, I think....d.

          5. woggy | | #41

            Hi to all,I recently purchased Connine Crawford's new DVD pant drafting video. she uses a straight center back seam from the curve to almost 2 inches below the waist. This 2 inches is curved inward like the side seam. She states that the straight center back seam eliminates lots of problems.My experience has been that the straight center back is wonderful for older women whose fanny has dropped. Joyce Murphy shows this in a Threads article about body space. If you look at her drawing for "less space" she has added to the center back seam and it looks straight. Then she removes what she has added to the center back from the side seam. What this drawing is doing is changing the shape of the curve for flat butts. This will keep the waist from crotch area on the straight of grain.Sandra Betizina recommends in her "Fast Fit" book to lower the back inseam by 1/2" lower than the front inseam and this alteration will do what DonnaKaye has written in her previous posts. To do this alteration, about an inch below the crotch line, slash the pattern from the inseam over to the side seam but not through the side seam, then overlap the top portion onto the bottom but don't take out anymore than 1/2" to 3/4". When I did this alteration my center back seam became perfectly straight and I lost all the folds under my waistband. However, I have since learned that removing this wedge from the pant leg controls the the bias of that area so I don't know if this works for all styles of pants.What is recommend for this alteration instead (in many drafting books and including Palmer & Pletsch book on fitting pants) is to sew 1/4 inch below the original crotch stitching. This has been posted on this board a few times. This type of alteration keeps the pants on grain. You might have to sew more than a few 1/4 inch seams in this area before you get the pants to hang right. By doing this alteration you are increasing the length of the center back seam. And you are taking away width in that area so you might have to add back to the side seams across from where you did this alteration.I have finally figured this all out after posting many questions on patternreview.com and reading old posts on this site. It has taken about a year, many bolts of muslin but I almost have a pair that fits. The last piece of the puzzle for me is that I have wide hips and my thighs touch at the top. This requires a "knock knee" alteration because my figure is pulling the pants off grain. This is because my inner and outer leg seams curve in instead of being straight. I need to slash through the pant leg from the inside to the outer seam and open the pants up (insert a wedge) then this will stop my legs from pulling up at the inside hem line plus stop the diagonal lines from my knee to under my fanny.So DonnaKaye, I too would love a copy of your mom's pattern and instructions. Have you thought about a website? The Minott Method has a website and requires folks to send checks for the books. Maybe you could have a site like that and not have to worry about charge cards, etc. Just wait till the check clears the bank, then send the items. Just a thought. Woggy

            Edited 8/12/2007 8:07 pm ET by woggy

          6. DONNAKAYE | | #42

            My thanks goes to all of you on this thread for making my day.  You can't imagine how lonesome I am for mom and her awesome creativity.  I'm sure any mother out there can appreciate the bond she and I had.

            Audrey taught for over 35 years and was a Certified Master Teacher Trainer in the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction.  She trained under Edna Bryte Bishop herself and Kitty Rotruck.  Matter of fact, I still have Barbie doll clothes that Mrs. Bishop made for me when she came to stay with us at my mother's home in Metairie, La., and even some that she cut out with her own hand with the pattern still pinned to the fabric.  (I want to shadow-box everything Edna B. did herself.)

            She traveled nationwide with her seminars for over fifteen years, bringing her knowledge and creativity to people from all walks of life.  It was truly a privilege to travel with  her and see the business side as well as the creative side.  My greatest satisfaction in all the years she taught was watching students get excited about sewing.  She was Mrs. Louisiana 1965, and a fashion model prior to that time.

            Towards the end of her career she opened a small garment factory and manufactured bridals, uniforms, whatever came her way, while training disenfranchised single moms or whoever else might need to be placed in garment manufacturing jobs.  So in addition to everything else, she dedicated her last years to helping the underprivileged and struggling members of our community to acquire a skill and put their lives back on track.  I wish everyone could see the lifelong impact she had on so many people's lives.

            She was daring, cutting-edge, never went with the flow, and -- yes -- flamboyant and absolutely glamorous.  Everything she did was "over the top."

            Mom's last workshop was in the summer of 1993.  If you have the old Issue No. 45, you'll see her ad, "Audrey Childress 18th Annual Couture Workshop."  I attended that workshop and assisted her (I was the go-fer!).  I don't know if any of you on this site happened to attend that workshop.  I'd like to hear from you if you did.

            I hope you will all forgive me for bragging on my mother all the time, I know I'm a squeaky door, but I've never felt that she got the recognition she deserved from her peers.  This forum is one small contribution I can make to her memory.  She was truly one classy southern lady, and she is sorely missed.

            My love and appreciation to you all.

            Donna Kaye Childress


          7. Alipye | | #44

            All I can say is Bravo and thank you for sharing some of your Mom's background. You have every right to be pround, what a legacy she left!  We are all so grateful to you for taking the time and sharing some of her tips with us.  Again a BIG THANK YOU!!


          8. zuwena | | #77

            Brag on, DonnaKaye! You and your mother deserve to be proud of her accomplishments. I'm glad you have this opportunity to do so and to share her talents with us so willingly. Z

          9. User avater
            VKStitcher | | #80

            Donna Kaye,

            I'm just getting around to reading this discussion on fitting pants.  Your post brought tears to my eyes--your love and admiration for your mother truly shows.  Thank you for sharing her expertise and knowledge with us.  Go ahead and be that "squeaky door"--I (and many more I'm sure) would love to hear more about her methods.  What a gift it is that you also share her love of sewing and teaching others, and that her passion and creativity continues to inspire others through you.

            Your descriptions and drawings are excellent.  I've always had issues with pants fitting properly, so I'm going to try your suggestions with the next pair I make.


          10. DONNAKAYE | | #81

            Vickie, thank you for your kindness.  Actually, thank you, everyone.  I always feel like I have a home with kindred spirits here.  I really enjoy this forum.

            Good luck with your pants.  If you have any issues, please don't hesitate to mail me....

            Donna Kaye Childress

          11. Josefly | | #46

            Thank you for clearing that up about the center-front seam. I don't need for you to re-post the drawings, though, thanks. I saw them and can find them again. I think they're very clear. I'm betting your mother was as proud of you as you are of her. It's so generous of you to help us, with all you've learned from your mom.

          12. Alipye | | #43

            Hi, first of all I must congratulate you on your penmanship and clean drawings.  You have had a lot of experience at your Mom's knee.  Question:  You refer to the CB seam being parallel to the grain line throughout your instruction, I am confused now, since in the drawing you have arrow lines pointing to the Side Seam as being parallel to the grainline.   I kept thinking it was the back crotch seam that was the Center Back seam, that is why i was having a hard time visualizing making it parallel.  Do you mean just the top half or so of the back crotch seam, before the curve and hook begins?  Donna, I hope I am not getting on your nerves with my endless questions.  I know you are a busy working lady, so we appreciate your time and input.



          13. DONNAKAYE | | #45

            Alipye, I can't say I understand your query, about arrows pointing to the side seam as straight of grain.  The arrows pointing at the side seams indicate, or at least that's what I thought they did, to remove the same amount from the upper side seam as was added by slashing the pattern horizontally at the hipline.  (Gee whiz, did that even make sense?  Sometimes I think we need a degree to communicate this stuff to one another, and I marvel that we do as well as we can, considering we're not seeing it live!)  I guess the best I can say is that all you're really doing is straightening the center back seam, from an off-grain line to a straight-grain line.  I know I did write, in Step 1, the word "perpendicular."  Is that what you mean?  If so, what I meant by that is that the slash line itself is perpendicular to the lengthwise arrow (in other words, the horizontal slash line is at 90 degrees to the lengthwise arrow).  If I confused you with that word, sorry, the mistake is mine.  Does this help?  I hope so!  If not, then my pitiful little drawings probably did more to confuse folks than help!

          14. Alipye | | #52

            Gosh Donna I am sorry if my question was confusing.  Your drawing could not have been better done, it was clear and I understood the concept that the back center seam should be on grain,  thank you for taking the time to unravel our rantings.


          15. cat42 | | #65

            I'm fine tuning my pant muslin, with CB on straight grain. I've raised the waist at center back to give more room over my protruding derriere. Now I'm trying to position the darts. I have to take up about 4 inches at the waist on each back piece. When I try on the muslin, the bulk of the extra fabric seems to want to congregate in an area 6" to each side of center back, so I know my darting should be in this area.Because of this, I've decided to slope the CB slightly, moving in at the waist 1/2 inch from the straight grain, and joining the original crotch curve at the widest point of my buttocks, about 7 inches below the waist. Now I just have another 3 1/2 inches to take up.Here's my question. The pant seems to create a diagonal drag line from the wide hip point at center back, upward toward the waist/side-seam juncture, to the area where my high-hip fluff is. This creates an inverted triangle area, into which the excess fabric at the back waist congregates. how do I eliminate this drag line? If I tug downward below the high-hip fluff, it helps, but if I add height here at the waist, then the back side seam will be too long for the front side seam. And also, what's your recommendation on darting? I'm attaching a sketch of pant back, pant back pattern, and side view profile of me below the waist, all in one pdf file.Cat

          16. DONNAKAYE | | #66

            You can still make a high-hip alteration on the back.  Simply ease in the difference between the waist and the fullest part of the hips.

            As for the fullness in the small of the back, I know it sounds weird, and it's going to look even weirder on the pattern, but shave off some of the fullness from the side seam from the waistline to about halfway down to the hipline.  Yes, the pattern piece will look very strange.  Take two or three small darts, and stitch the dart with an "outside curve."  My diagrams are pretty pathetic, I know, compared to yours!

            In your case it's going to work better, I think, to take smaller darts but stitch the outside curve.  My darts in my diagram are enlarged for clarity and proportionately probably won't look at lot like those.  Then STRAIGHT UP CENTER BACK -- again!

            The outside curve dart is key to a good fit for a "swayback," which is a problem I also have.  I'm shallow in the small of the back.

            Stitch your muslin with generous seams, THEN add to the waistline AFTER makiing these alterations if the waist is now a bit snug.  In your case it's just going to be a question of juggling back and forth between the waistline and getting the darts placed and stitched properly, with the proper amount of ease.  Also, don't forget your steam iron.  A lot of this excess can be pressed out with good pressing technique.  Also, the outside curve dart will not dimple if you stitch it correctly.  Take a "fat" curve, but when you get near the termination point, take three or four tiny stitches right on the fold, then MACHINE KNOT.

            Keep me posted!

          17. cat42 | | #67

            I"m experimenting with the outside curve darts as you suggest. I'm sure I'm stitching them right, but they still poke out at the end. I'll attach a sketch (hopefully the proportions will be correct) of what my darts look like. The longest one can't be more than 5 inches, in order to be 1" away from widest point of hipI do like the way the outside-curve darts keep it snug just below the waist. I just don't like the pokey ends....Doing some math: I need to take up 4.5 inches. I've shaved off 1/2 inch at the back sideseam as you suggest (1/2 inch at waist, tapering to original seam halfway down to wide hip point). That leaves 4 inches to take up. if I do 3 equal darts, the outside one can take up 3/4 inch (3/8" from dart fold at waist), the middle one can take up 1.25" (5/8" from dart fold), and the inside one can take up 2 inches (1" from dart fold).Only the narrowest one lies smoothly, even after pressing with lots of steam. So I'm thinking I need 4 darts (???) The two on the outside would take up 3/4 inch each (3/8" from dart fold), and the 2 inner ones would take up 1.25" (5/8" from dart fold. These inner ones may still be too wide. It would be easier if I could make them longer--more room to work out the take-up--but I can't.I tried shaving off more at the back sideseam (so the darts could be narrower), but then I get pull lines at the side seam. So I'm still thinking I need to take off 1/2 inch at CB, or add that 1/2 inch to the amount I need to ease in across the waistband seam (total of 1 1/4 inches of ease).I should note that I'm using osnaberg for my muslin. It could be that a heavier, pant-weight fabric will behave better at the dart points. Will just have to see. In the meantime, any other suggestions?

          18. DONNAKAYE | | #68

            Okay.  I'm following.  Let me ask you this:  When you do the high hip alteration and shave off a little from the CB seam, do you still get the drag line from the waistline downwards at a diagonal?  I guess what I mean is, did you do the high hip alteration?

            Edited 8/23/2007 7:02 pm ET by DonnaKaye

          19. cat42 | | #70

            I can't tell you if I did the hi-hip alteration until I know what you mean by that. I did raise the waistline seam in that area, about 1/2 inch at side seam, like you showed in your sketch (where you also shaved some off the sideseam). I did just what you showed there, and I've indicated those changes on attached sketch, in red.When I added a slight tilt to the CB seam (only from waist to about 4 inches down--also in red on sketch), I did still have the diagonal drag lines that make the inverted triangle. I should say that the top ends of the diagonal drag line end at a point about 3 inches below the waistline (the hi-hip line) and in from the sideseam about 4 inches, and the bottom ends are at the CB seam about 7 inches below the waist (the wide hip line). I concluded by that that I need either more length over the hi-hip fluff (raise the waist more in that area), or more width across the high hip, or both.So, I added a little bit more curve to the back sideseam to widen at the high hip, adding about 1/4 inch between points about 2 inches below waist and 5 inches below waist, then tapering to original sideseam at the hipline (7 inches below waist) and at the waistline. And I added a bit more length (raised the waistline) in the hip hip area, raising it another 3/8 inch (but tapering to the previous waistline at the side seam)Those changes do more or less make the diagonal lines go away, except that it's hard to make the new waistline stay at the waist. But, I still have those darned pokey darts, tho they are improved somewhat by the disappearance of the diagonal drag lines. And at this point it doesn't seem to make any difference whether the CB is on grain or on slight tilt at the top, except that the tilt does act as a dart to take in some of all my excess fabric at the waist.About the darts: I've been sewing them with a long basting stitch, so they are easy to rip out if I need to change them. So its hard to make 3-4 short stitches at the end, next to the fold. Instead, I take 2 of the longer stitches, just shy of 1/4 inch.I'm so frustrated right now, that I think I'll take a break from it tomorrow. I'll resume Saturday. Here's sketch

          20. DONNAKAYE | | #69

            By the way, it'd be okay to have a little bit of ease into the waistband.  That's fine.  The outside curve dart can be a little tricky.  The secret formula is that you've got to actually stop the outside curve a little ways from the termination point and then stitch exactly along the fold, catching, like, one or two threads.  I'm sure you're stitching it right.  No, if it doesn't work for you in a lighter weight fabric, then I think it would only magnify in a heavier weight.  Can I send you a sample?  Email me privately and send your address and I'll drop one in the mail to you in musline tomorrow....d.

          21. cat42 | | #71

            PS, when I raised the back waistline at the side seam, this caused a problem when I sew it to the front, because I did not raise the front waistline. And I know I can't raise the waistline on the front because then I get diagonal drag lines on the front from the crotch area downward and outward in the knee area, because the sideseam is moved downward. These disappear when I pull up the waist at the sideseam back to where the original waistline was.So the only way to correct the difference between the back and front is either to shorten the back leg at the sideseam (at the hem), or lengthen the front leg at the sideseam (at the hem). This makes the hemline not on level (not perpendicular to grainline). Is that OK?

          22. DONNAKAYE | | #72

            Let me try to make it a little simpler for you.  The drag lines you indicate in the back pants travel from lower middle butt up to hipline just below or at the waist.    First, that's telling me that your side side on the pants back need to be raised a little at the waistline; in other words, it's seeking fabric from that area that falls just under the waist, where you've probably got a little bit of extra flesh.  It may also be that you need to widen the side seam a little at that point -- in other words, you may need length and width in that area.  Okay.  Are you saying that when you do that the problem still exists but that now you have a new problem?  You've done so many things to the pants that I'm beginning to get a little lost.  Let me backtrack.

            You straightened CB and made one or two other alterations that I can remember right now, and you said your pants fit pretty well at that point other than the fact that you had all this fullness at the small of your back.  Right?  Have I got that right?  Then, when you tried to start removing the fullness, these drag lines came back in.  Am I still right?  Please confirm that I've got that message right, because I'm a little lost.  I'd like to get us back to the point where you had a pretty good fit other than the fact of all this fluff under the back waist.  Can you educate me on whether I understand you correctly so far?  Also, is there any way you can send me step by step actual photos?   Gosh, I wish we could meet face to face.  I so want to resolve this problem for you.  Please email me privately at your earliest convenience to discuss some other issues with your particular figure type. 

          23. cat42 | | #73

            The diagonal drag lines been there from beginning, even when I first reported a better fit with CB on straight grain. But I thought they would go away when I got the darting added. Bad assumption. Other than that, yes, you are on track. Adding length and width in high-hip area did make the diagonal drag lines go away. The new problem introduced is that now the back sideseam is longer than the front sideseam, and I don't know how to resolve that. But I don't want to deal with that now. I want to get the back right first. And that means resolving the poky darts.I'll keep playing with the outside curve dart. Perhaps I'm not doing it right.I'll see what I can do with step by step photos. Do you want them of paper pattern, or of the muslin? Easier to do the paper pattern, since muslin is all sewn together...And I'll send you an email privately per your request.

          24. DONNAKAYE | | #74

            The high hip alteration needs to happen on both front and back, so the outside seam length will not be an issue for you.....d.

          25. cat42 | | #75

            Progress report:
            I took out all my darts and started over. I have 3 darts on each back; none is sewn more than 5/8" from fold; the closest to center are sewn with slight outward curve; the one closest to sideseam is sewn without the curve. The point of each is about 1/2" above where the drag lines used to be. (I can still induce the drag lines by puling up on the pant above the hi-hip). They should probably be another 1/2" shorter.CB is on straight grain, but tapers in a tad in top 2 inches above the waist, just for trying on. When I sew to waistband, I'll remove that taper, and instead, ease in that fullness.CF is on straight grain.I took in both front and back at sideseam in the hi-hip area only (3" down from waist) the same amount, about 3/8" at waist; and raised the waistline in the high hip area about 1/2". I think it needs to raise just a bit more directly above the high hip. I had too much curve over the full hip area, so I straightened that out, taking a bigger seam down side from just below high hip to below the crotch depth line. Now the full hip is a little snug, but the ripple at side seam is goneThe overall fit is pretty good. Need to widen at the high and full hip a bit, and add a little bit of length directly over the high hip fluff. To add width, I'll add about 1/4" evenly from crotch depth line to waist, and ease in that extra fullness at waist over the high hip fluff. This widening will give just a bit more room in high hip and full hip areas, without altering the curve of the sideseam, which is good now.My osnaberg is pretty worn out, so I'm gonna get an inexpensive calico and give it a try.This has certainly been challenging!

          26. DONNAKAYE | | #76

            Let's all give cat42 a round of applause for her efforts.  We've almost got her there!  Be patient for final results!

          27. GailAnn | | #85


          28. cat42 | | #87

            Check DonnaKaye's posting a few posts later, for part 3 of that series of drawings (she inadvertently included 2 copies of part 1 the first time).You will note that her method changes the angle of the crotch curve, from mostly horizontal to mostly bias. This didn't work for me. Here's the way I move my CB to on-grain without altering the crotch curve.1. Draw horizontal line (perpendicular to grain) at point where crotch curve straightens out.
            2. From point where that line meets sideseam, pivot ruler upward along crotch curve until it is perpendicular to CB. Draw that line.
            3. Slash along line 1.
            4. Pivoting at sideseam, move upper pant so that line 2 meets line 1.
            5. Check crotch depth; raise upper part (keeping CB on grain) as necessary to achieve correct crotch depth.Sketch attached.

          29. DONNAKAYE | | #88

            GailAnn, I see where cat42 mentioned in this thread that adjusting to make the CB seam straight of grain the way I showed it did not yield good results because the crotch curve had been changed.  Cat42 is a very astute sewer and is absolutely right about that: in her case the alteration should be made just at the top line of the crotch curve if you're going to slash and spread.  My way of doing it does indeed change the crotch curve.  So I'm going to jump on cat42's wagon on this one.  I stand corrected.  Thanks, cat!

          30. woggy | | #89

            So glad you explained this! I tried your alteration and it did not work for me either. Now I get it.

          31. zuwena | | #90


            Would it be asking to much to ask you to put this change in diagram form as you did with your original instructions.  I tend to be visually oriented and I would like to compare this change with the other diagram you provided.  Thanks.  Z

          32. DONNAKAYE | | #91

            I will certainly put this in diagram for for everyone, but I'm borrowing a neighbor's computer at this time as my phone, internet and fax have been down for nearly ten days and my neighbors are probably getting a little tired of me!  Soon as I'm up and running at my own desk, I would be happy to oblige.  Sorry to the group for any misinformation....Donna

            Edited 9/12/2007 9:47 am ET by DonnaKaye

          33. cat42 | | #92

            Did you see the diagram that I did for moving CB to on-grain, without changing the bottom of the crotch curve? I'll attach it again. One thing I didn't mention is that the new CB/crotch curve may not be long enough, so you may need to add to the crotch extension, or raise the waist at CB, tapering to nothing at the side seam. Which of these you do depends on the overall fit. For me, I had to raise the waist at CB.

          34. zuwena | | #93

            Yes I did see this but thank you for putting it and the explanation back up. I am following this "thread" avidly and one of my concerns is the crotch curve, the length of the "fork" and what is the best way to accommodate both my particular problems and in general. I'm not sure I'm clear when to extend the length of the depth and when to extend the fork. I guess there is a trial and error aspect to this based on what the body dimensions present. Z

          35. cat42 | | #94

            Threads had 2 great articles on fitting pants from the waist down, that you might want to check out. This method has to do with providing enough room for the body space, and thus determines where to put the crotch curve length (whether in the extension--what you call the fork--or to raise the waist).They've also had short fitting articles with ideas. One of which is to use a bendable ruler or a bent wire and curve it around your crotch from back waist to front waist; then use that to draw your crotch curve. When I do this, I slide 5 rubber bands onto the wire. Two mark front and back waist; two mark widest point (hip level) on front and back; and one marks the crotch point (where front and back crotch curve meet at inseam). I bend the wire to follow my crotch curve, and slide the rubber bands to the appropriate positions. The positioning of the widest point is critical, so one must not be arbitrary. Then without unbending the wire, I step out of it and lay it on a piece of heavy paper (like poster board). Next I bend the wire to straighten it out only between the waist and hip points, leaving the curve intact below the hip markers. I trace along the inside of the curve with a pencil, and mark the rubber band positions. Then using my french curve, I even out any bumps or inconsistencies; using a straight edge, I straighten the lines between waist and hip. Then I cut it apart at the inseam marker, and cut along the smoothed-out curves, to make a front and back template, which I can then use to redraw the crotch curve of any pattern.DonnaKaye's idea of keeping CF and CB on-grain has caused me to alter my curves accordingly, between waist and hip markers only, as I indicated on earlier sketch. This only alters the angle between the curvy part and the straight part. It does not alter the curved part at all.Sketch of this wire/bendable-ruler method attached.Edited 9/14/2007 12:27 pm ET by cat42

            Edited 9/14/2007 12:29 pm ET by cat42

          36. solosmocker | | #95

            Using the rubberband markers is brilliant. There is so much fabulous info in this thread. I certainly have learned a lot.

          37. cat42 | | #96

            PS to my last post:
            something else that can alter the crotch curve to make it different from the template, is how slim you want the legs. Basically, if you want wide legs, the crotch curve is quite sharp, almost a right angle, and the waist darts are very narrow. If you want skin-tight legs, such as for jeans, the waist darting is severe (most of it is incorporated in the back yoke seam, and in the curving of the top band), and the crotch has little curve--is mostly bias. Also for jeans, the waistline is raised at CB, in order to provide the needed length.For slim but not skin-tight legs, the back crotch curve has a little bias between the vertical CB part and the horizontal part. The front curve is similar, but not much of it is horizontal.Karen Howland had a Threads fitting article on how to taper a leg, and how that affects crotch curve. She also illustrates the differences between trousers, slacks and dartless jeans. I've used her technique with good results. See volume 106, April/May 2003, pages 22-23.

          38. zuwena | | #98

            As luck would have it, I have vol 106 and shall review it. Thanks again. Z

          39. zuwena | | #97

            Thanks cat42. I had been looking for a bendable ruler but could not find one long enough to go all around. I think I found 2 places on the web but the rulers were all short of 30inches. What kind of "wire" are you using as an alternative? And, for the crotch marker--are you using a weight or something to give you an approximate place. I hope all of this doesn't seem to obvious and I should have gotten it. Thanks. Z

          40. cat42 | | #99

            I have a bendable ruler that I had for my work as an engineer. Someone in Gatherings suggested a length of romex (house wiring). Someone else suggested taking apart a metal hanger....As for finding the crotch: After years of making slacks for myself, I know where I like the inseam to be and I used that position. I don't know of any other way. If you have RTW pants that fit, you can make note of where the inseam position is on your body and try to duplicate that.Maybe other have more ideas for finding the inseam position?

          41. zuwena | | #100

            Thanks. The Romex seems doable if I am unable to find the ruler from an engineering supply house. Z

          42. woggy | | #101

            To find your inseam, I once read the following:Stand up straight, raise your arm up to the ceiling, take your first finger and "point to it." I followed these directions using a curve I made out of heavy duty foil. I put a piece of chewing gum on the tip of my finger so it would stick to the area that my finger touched when I pointed to it. Worked just fine and finally found my correct center.Just a thought!

          43. cat42 | | #102

            You've come up with a clever way of doing this. How clever we all are, us sew-ers (I hate using the word 'sewers,' because that's where all the bathrom waste goes, so I hypenate it).

          44. user-217847 | | #103


            I read some where that if you place a small weight on a small key ring thingy and stand straight it will slip into the correct position.


          45. woggy | | #104

            Tried that but it didn't work for me due to a forward tilted pelvis and flat fanny. My center is skewed so I found the gum trick worked perfectly for me.

          46. Carolinemary | | #105

            I noticed the reference to the flexible ruler. Clotilde's Notions sells a nice one that is about 18 inches long and has a tape measure along one edge. It's very useful!

          47. DONNAKAYE | | #106

            Friends, I just want to tell you how proud I am of everyone on this thread for all the efforts and knowledge you have shared with the group.  I sometimes forget how difficult pants fitting can be.  Audrey fitted me into my pants patterns over the years, so I am completely spoiled rotten with having a perfectly fitted pants pattern throughout my life.  She also showed me how to design all my own clothes (or nearly all of them) and how to adapt or revise a commercial pattern to fit me based on my own basic pattern, so, once again, I am spoiled in that department.  I am so happy to be able to share her learnings and techniques (and her patterns with whoever might want them) for perfectly fitted pants.  I will be the first to tell you that I am no expert; I just learned from one.  I am certainly not in the sewing industry as a profession, but there are lots of days I wish I had chosen my mother's profession over my own (court reporting).  (Note:  But I do love court reporting and would encourage young people to pursue it; sometimes I just love sewing more.)

            So many of you on this thread have way more practical "in-the-trenches" knowledge and experience than I do.  Mother "sheltered" me from many sewing troubles and frustrations when she taught me proven methods that work from childhood.  I'm sure I'll be directing many questions to you in the future, however.

            I am going to try to post some photographs of Audrey's pants on me in the next week or so.  I just made  a pair in off-white matte jersey with a coordinating tunic top (the pattern for the tunic is one I thought I had lost but finally found -- hooray!).  The waistband is elasticized and was encased in the fashion fabric first then stitched into the waistline at 5/8".  (I use the same master pattern for both knits and wovens.)

            Please read this pants fitting  thread carefully to see where I may have made corrections to my earlier comments based on someone else's correct observation....and have fun!

          48. cat42 | | #107

            Has there ever been a longer thread? This is the 108th post!I wonder if the people who oversee Threads Gatherings could go through this thread and sort out the information that is updated in a later post, and perhaps publish the learnings in the magazine? It is awfuly difficult to weed through so many posts!Still, it's lotsa fun!Cat

          49. Cherrypops | | #108

            Hi Cat,

            I have enjoyed reading this thread.  You ask if there is a longer thread?.. Yes there is.. 144 posts by our New Members...New Members Please Say Hello 6481.1 Many new members have described their talents and have then posted throughout the forum. 153 comments have posted about their sewing machine.

            It is great to see so many wonderful ladies and the gents too discusssing and sharing a variety of information.

            This forum has been going for many years, and a lot of original members are still here.

            We all deserve a 'pat on the back'


          50. fabricholic | | #109

            I can't wait to see the outfits. Encasing the waistband in fabric first is a new one on me. Keep the knowledge coming. I love it.Marcy

          51. Tatsy | | #110

            Encasing the elastic in fabric first, then attaching it to the pants gives a much more finished, showable waistband than simply turning the fabric over to make a casing.  It also helps ease in some of the difference between hip and waist measure because the measurement which will tug up over your hips is not necessarily the number that will drape pleasantly over the same part of the anatomy.  Even easing out a half-inch or so can give a slimmer look.

          52. fabricholic | | #111

            I am all for a more finished look. I don't want the home-made look.

          53. GailAnn | | #112

            What a great waistband idea!  I can hardly wait to try it! Gail

          54. DONNAKAYE | | #34

            Sorry, folks.  I accidentally posted Step 1 twice and didn't include Step 3.  Here it is....d.

          55. Alipye | | #40

            DonnaKaye, I can't begin to tell you how much I, and I am sure the rest of the group appreciate this thread and your valuable contribution.  I was fitted for pants once at a seminar by Peggy Sagers.  She took scissors to our muslins while we were wearing them and cut  across the CB seam and opened up a big triangle just like your Mom's pattern, except we were still wearing the muslin.  We then took it off and redrew the pattern and made another muslin.  I guess she was straightening out the CB seam too, except she explained it differently.  I still have that muslin that has been well used and a little out of shape.  Thank you so much for taking so much time with this.  I am getting very excited about drafting my next pair of pants. 

            You said you uploaded the pattern, please tell me where I have to go to look at it, if it is not an attachment, are there files that is maintained by this group? 

            Here a virtual hug for you!


        2. Sewdance | | #55

          I would definitely be interested in the pants board if you were to produce it again (or provide dimensions for making it)Thank you,

      2. DONNAKAYE | | #28

        Alipye, I've uploaded the diagram of the pants.  Bottom line is, a straight of grain center back seam provides a far better first fitting than anything with an off grain center back seam.  Although we all love those snug-fitting jeans, the off grain center back makes for a frown under the butt.  We've become so accustomed to it we don't even notice it anymore.  I can tell you that when girls first started wearing jeans in the late fifties and early sixties, it was definitely noticed and commented upon by the fashion designers of the day.  It is actually a very unflattering feature of jeans, at least for most figure types -- in the real world.  Even my jeans I leave straight of grain on center back and then simply ease the darts into the yoke so that the ease is invisible.  Then I steam, steam, steam, press, press, press.  I still have great jeans but without that butt thing going on back there.....

        The principle, as I recall mom saying, is that when the fabric at center back hangs on the straight of grain it "covers a multitude of sins."  There are many, many fitting problems (I witnessed this firsthand, as I traveled with mom on the road for her pants and other seminars for years and grew up sewing at her knee, starting at four  years-old) that are immediately resolved when using that and a longer front inseam as a starting point.  In other words, subsequent alterations decrease in frequency and degree.  I watched mom put her sample pants onto literally hundreds of bodies, and there were notably few that required what I would call truly radical alterations.  (There were, of course, exceptions.  Mom even fitted folks with significant bodily  deformities, and amputees.)

        Of course, the more flesh you have below the waist, the greater the ease requirements.  Mom liked taking two very small tucks at the front waist and one dart at the back.  The tucks gave the illusion of length to her petite 5'4" figure type.

        By the way, I simply couldn't resist posting a picture of me and mom in downtown New Orleans in the late '70s.  It's attached.

        I'm here if you want to chat!

      3. DONNAKAYE | | #29

        . . . and here is a photograph of mom only a few years before she passed away.

        She was 63 in this photo.

        1. Alipye | | #39

          the pic of you and your Mom is great, and the second pic you sent of her is amazing. She was one beautiful lady, can't believe she was 63 at the time.  You have great genes, Congrats. Ali

        2. amapola | | #51


    7. amapola | | #47

      Thank yoou for the information. I'm going to try it. It would be nice to have the book that your mother taught printed. I would be the first one to buy it. Amapola

    8. cafms | | #78

      I have located my master pattern from your Mother's classes that I took in the late 70's or early 80's.  In addition I have a booket called Tailoring For The 80's with very good instructions for tailoring.  The pants pattern, a pattern for a raglan sleeve jacket, a design ruler, and the tailoring book all say Mr Ray on them with a picture of him in the front of the book but her picture is in the back.  I have the slip of paper where she noted which size pants I should try on,  the changes to that size and which curve of the darts to use.  Wish it would still fit me now.  I may have to try to figure out which one would fit now and give them a try again.  I wondered if there were instructions that went with the patterns. If so I haven't found those yet. 

       I also have instructions for a dress called a "Grecian dress" that was made of a length of Quiana fabric.  I remember she wore it at the class. 

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #79

        Wow!  That's awesome!  Yes, "Mr. Ray" was my stepdad.  He assisted her in the business, demonstrating how the patterns could be used.  He toured with her for a number of years until he became too ill to work.  Sadly, he passed away ni '98.  Mom toured in a Greyhound bus, so Ray decided to give up his career to help her out on the road.  With a background in industrial management and merchandising, his knowledge and experience went a long way, plus she had "a man around the house" to help with all the physical work -- packing and unpacking the bus, etc.

        Some of the later patterns will say "Mr. Ray" on them, and he is also referenced in some of the books.  (The earlier patterns didn't bear his name.)  I can't remember exactly which year he started traveling with her, but it probably was sometime around the late '70s or early '80s.  That sounds about right.

        Had you ever made anything from the Tailoring for the '80s series?

  5. RussAJ | | #113

    Donna, I met you at your mothers years ago I enclosed the car port to make an office for the sewing show. I also met Your Grand Father and loved him to pieces. MS Audrey was also very fond of her hats and had many and wore them well. What a Beautiful and Classy Lady. I am so sorry she is not living any longer as I would sure love to vist with her again. Thanks for your post and the Pants alteration seems to trigger a memory of the Curve. Regards,


This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All