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

? on style and protruding tummy

ricstew | Posted in Fitting on

Hi all!

I have been playing with muslins to make myself pants………..but I have some particular fitting issues…………

Due to mulitple abdo surgeries I have what my Dr calls a skin ‘apron’ and a very protruding tummy. I cant wear anything that squishes me down as it causes pain….so I have sorted out the front section of the pants and I am quite happy with that…………but it causes the legs of the pants at the front to be huge! The inside legs seems to be sort of caught up at the upper thigh. If I pull the outer hip up it sort of dissapears? but I dont need the pants any higher at the high hip………..I feel i need to make a wedge adjustment somewhere but I am not sure where…..

You know that funny dippy line that is sometimes seen with curvy saddlebags? Well I have that on the front/side of the abdo………all my pants seem to dip into this ‘line’. I think I need to make them hang from the upper abdo to cover this……….but when i do this the front pant leg is way wider than the back………a good stiff wind and I reckon I could fly!

Is there some rule of thumb about how wide a pants hem should be compared to the hipine so I dont look like I am waiting for the wind to change direction?

Any advice would be appreciated!!!!!!




  1. solosmocker | | #1

    I am not a fitting expert but have you tried the following on your muslin? Adding to the front only inseam/ crotch area. Add maybe half an inch starting at the point of the pants in the crotch and taper down about6 inches back to the normal seam. My build causes me to get smilies on the front and that is how I handle it. I then go in to enlarging the hip area if necessary after that adjustment it made. I think my smilies are the same as your dip wrinkles in the front. Correct me if I am wrong. Also, I have a small tummy bump and ad a 1/4 inch to center front only and taper back to the normal waistline at the side seam. Is that how you adjusted for your "apron", by adding to the upper waistline seam in the front only? If you didn't do it this way and did your tummy adjustment just by adding width, that could account for your bagginess in the front.

    Again, I am not an expert, and I hope one of our fitting experts chimes in, but these are the ways I adjust for my tummy and my smilies. Hope this at least gives you a couple of things to try. Good luck and let us know what has worked for you.

    1. ricstew | | #3

      Thanks Ladies.......I have been working with a Lutterloh crutch line which I like but have worked out I am actually 2 different sizes from front to back if that makes sense. On the larger front side I have straightened the c/f and added to the top edge and it now is fine for my tumm but boy does it make the legs wide! I have included pics of muslin no 3A.........I straightened the side seams a little last night and that has helped but when I saw the bum photo was I shocked! I havent a  sewing buddy so now im gonna ignore what hubby says..........im sure he would say that looks fine! even if I had my arms and legs stuck thru a wheat bag!

      In the pic labeled tummy you can see where my 'apron' starts at the hip and goes down at the front. That is where I need to cover up......but if I start the hang of the fabric at the top, the pants seem to end up huge! I never tuck my shirt in!

      I am sorry for the poor quality pics but I wore the pants to work to photo but I had a flat battery!

      I think I am back to the drawing board............bummer:(

      How do they get maternity pants narrow when the tummy is big? Where does all that extra fabric go?



      1. tmorris1 | | #4

        Maternity pants have an elastic or stretch fabric panel at the front so that the tummy area has much more ease than the rest of the pant.Have you tried a support garment underneath? Not one that takes 3 people and a jar of petroleum jelly to wrestle into, but one of the looser ones. Just a tiny bit of support might help with smoothing things out and keeping them in place without being restricting.

        1. ricstew | | #5

          LOL yes I have tried them! but due to an allergy to the elastic they use, the synthetic fibres and the squishy effect i cant stand them on for more than 10 mins! Im afraid i wear cotton full grundies with a bound leg...................such an elegant garment with so much sex appeal ..........not :(

          Have been reading the pants for real ppl book ( again!) and wonder if I shouldnt try a pleated style that falls from the high tummy area................hmmmm.........I will have to fix the rear end problem first!



          1. tmorris1 | | #6

            Oh go on, its better than looking like your bottom is the first prize winner in a lace eating contest!!! lolI wouldn't recommend the pleats though, they tend to make a person look even paunchier through the mid section than they already are, and they tent horribly in the crotch. Maybe you could try on a pair of RTW maternity pants to see if indeed they are more comfortable before you make any decisions.

          2. ricstew | | #7

            Hehehe I am afraid I have gobbled all the lace I intend to for this lifetime! Way past that!

            I gotta admit the maternity idea just doesnt float my boat! Its bad enough having having a fluffy tummy........I am not really huge. just very self concious......I have a definate uniform that is worn to work.......I prefer trousers that cover me up when I am doing house calls ( nursing lol ) if only i could get the fit right!

            I am looking at the body shape concept.........wonder if I could get that to work!



          3. woodruff | | #9

            To judge from your photos, that's not much of a tummy, but any tummy poses fitting problems. Reading "Fit For Real People" very closely is a great approach, because they do manage to get a good fit on ladies with fitting problems that are quite severe.I would not rule out pleats. If you use a fabric that drapes well and a good pants pattern--and Burda would be that, since they have the best crotch curve and the most fitting options in a single envelope--I know from experience that you can get a very nice, smooth effect in the front. My favorite pants are pleated.One trick I find useful: Go for a slightly lowered waist; not the hiphugger look, but about an inch lower than usual. Cinching in the waistband above your tummy, at your true waist, accentuates the bulge.

          4. user-51823 | | #10

            don't abandon the maternity pants yet. they don't all have those big panels. modern maternity clothes are quite hip and some styles are made from woven or slightly stretchy knits but simply cut differently around the belly. in better maternity stores and depts, they may be grouped by trimester so there will be some intended for a smaller tummy bulge than one has at 40 weeks. i agree that trying on and examining good maternity pants may give you some useful tips.

      2. Crazy K | | #8

        Not sure if this would help you but.........when daughter was pg and not large enough for true maternity wear I made her several pair of slacks..........slightly stretchy but stable knits.  I just used a regular pattern for a pull-on pant and changed the front by adding fabric to the cf starting in the area of the low abdo and raising the waistline some.  It gave her breathing room for her protruding tummy without increasing the leg sizes at all.

        Now, you must realize, I am not a designer and I am horrible at altering patterns but this worked great for her and it just might work for you.  Perhaps you have already tried this............if you have, sorry for the redundancy!!


      3. fabricholic | | #12

        Can't you add a wedge in the center front pattern piece cutting the pattern from the center front to the, but not into, the side seam line? I have a bigger gut than you. Or is it from the side seam, but not into the center front? Help me out guys. I'm at work and can't look it up. It shouldn't touch the leg area. There is a way. Don't give up.Marcy

        1. ricstew | | #13

          Many thanks ladies!

          I actually have my one and only Burda pattern lying on the floor comparing the crutch lines! lol Unfortuantly it is for fitted pants :(...........however the front line seems to be quite a bit straighter..........with the inner leg seam on a much more acute angle.......according to thier meaurement chart i would be a size 22 (hip 116 cm ) but that includes measuring over my tummy.............maybe I should measure below it and the make the tum bigger? If i measure below ( directly over my pubic bone ) i am109cm? so the difference of 7cm is what i need to add to the front? ( plus ease)

          that really only takes me down one size.............a size 20 on the back and a 22 on the front? is that possible? will it all match up! and then to top it off im a sz 24 at the waist! ................hmmmmm creative tracing just what I like!

          I am afraid the looking at materinty stuff cant happen around here! I live in a small country town with very few shops.........no maternity stuff at all..........have no idea where the pregnant girls get their clothes from ......mail order perhaps?

          My next plan of attack is to trace off a Lutterloh pant for 'curvy' figures and compare the lines........public holiday here today! Ideal for playing with sewing!



          1. solosmocker | | #14

            Hi! It's very possible you are one size in the front and a different one in the back. In jackets, I am very small in the back and take a size larger for the front. If that works for you, just do it. I think we fitting we pigeonhole ourselves, moi included, and have a hard time grasping something when it really works. I am enjoying following your quest for well fitting pants and please keep us posted on your journey.

          2. ricstew | | #17

            I feel really guilty when I see your solosmocker name! I have put aside all my smocking and embroidery on the quest for clothes that fit!

            I will get back to it!

            The more I read the more I am getting confused..........so I am going to go with what I see works...............




          3. user-217847 | | #18

            Hi there Jan,

            I'm truely loving this discussion and all the advise you've been given I don't as a rule wear trousers (tracky dacks around the house) because of the belly, I now feel inclined to give it a go.remind me where you live, there must be a cheaper way to get patterns to you than you having to order from the states. no disrespect intended ladies.

            till later, lee

          4. ricstew | | #21

            Wally I LOVE my tracky daks! soft comfortable indestructable........dont need ironing! I have them on now! With my Bombay bloomers..........what more could a woman want?

            I actually live out in the Central West of NSW............my closest fabric shop is 200km away now............they are closing at a rapid rate of knots! But I had a brainwave! I wonder if Spotlight sell Burda cause I can ring them and order..........will go and check the website!

            Ok profile of badly made pants ( I wore the blue ones to work and tried to pay attention to what was happening.....)

            1.....the crutch pulls forward and bunches up when I walk...................hmmmm back crutch too short? or front? I am tending towards back crutch just because of the way it feels..........sorta pulling towards the front. The back crutch feels way forward tho!

            2......wrinkles under the front waistband..........I did lengthen the front and they are not tight. Maybe because the back crutch is pulling forward? hmmmm..........dunno about this one.

            3 back waist too short........this is my fault cause I trimmed it from the top.........dumb move.........

            4....too much hip/upper thigh curve.............cut straighter.......measure where my "curves' really are

            5 barely enuf seat room...........sitting causes the back to ride down ( maybe see above to dumb move?)

            6 all those wrinkley doovers on the bum............probably caused by the dodgy crutch!

            On the bright side my hems are nice and even! and the zipper is straight!

            Thankyou Galey for saying my hem is the right width! Its nice to have at least one win!

            And may all the ladies who wear big cotton grundies stand up and take a bow! We dont get panty lines!



          5. fabricholic | | #22

            Hi Jan,Did you measure the length of crotch you need? All you have to do is get a tape measure, put the tip where you want the back waist to end and pull tape through and between your legs all the way up to where you want the top of your waist to be. Record that measurement, this is the total crotch length, Record the measurement from your back waist to the middle of your crotch, this will be the crotch back length. The measurement from the middle to the front waist will be the front crotch length. Sit on something hard, like the floor and take a ruler and measure from floor to the top of your waist and this is the crotch depth. You can add 1" for ease. If you know all of this, please excuse me, but it sounded like you were playing the guessing game. Ignore this if you already know this information. I just want to help you.Marcy

          6. ricstew | | #24

            I ordered 2 Burda patterns over the phone but they will take 2 weeks to come! from 200km away...............$32 later..........it really would have been cheaper and probably quicker to order from the States! and I bet I get a phone call to say they dont have them in stock!

            So in the mean time I have traced out another Lutterloh..........and done exactly what Fabricholic says............measured! The second number after mine is with 1" of ease added....

            front crotch length        mine = 12.5"...(13.5.)........pattern = 12.25 so  add 1.24"

            back crotch length        mine = 16.5....(17.5)........pattern = 17" so add 1/2"

            crotch depth                 mine = 10.5....(11.5).......pattern front = 11.75" so minus 1/4"

                                                                                 pattern back = 11.5" ...leave the same

            so now I am totally confused..................in theory I am taking away from the front crotch depth but adding at the length?

            Just as well I have plenty of muslin fabric!

            As for the local high school.........they have a texile technoligy ( sp?) class. I have seen the stuff they make..........not good.....no garments......I actually know the teacher ( I taught her dd to ride a pony)  and she cant sew! How she got the job is anyones guess

            ...........a couple of years ago one of the kids wanted to sew garments and she had to do a correspondence course as it was beyond the teachers skills..............last year one of the kids wanted to make a very complicated quilt..........she was left high and dry and ended up asking for help with the local quilting ladies.........:( I dont know how that ended........last I saw she was in tears! This was her yr 12 major assignment!

            So the local school is no help to me! We dont have a college or anything for hundreds of miles out here..............So I am going this alone except for you wonderful ladies, stitches mags, threads mags and the PP books!

            Ok im off to do some more measuring!



          7. tmorris1 | | #25

            To Get rid of "smile lines, you lengthen the crotch, for frown lines, shorten the crotch. The reason that you are lengthening the length, but shortening the depth is because the curve of the crotch is off (it needs to be deeper.) I had suggested the flexible ruler, because with this you can actually copy the shape of your crotch curve. If you are wider from front to back, then you require more space from front to back...does this make any sense?Grab a pair of pants that fit you and turn them inside out one leg into the other and compare the actual shape of the curve to your pattern. I think that you will find that there is more depth from front to back on your well fitting pants than the pattern.

          8. ricstew | | #26

            I understand the smile/frown bit! I did that with DD pants!

            and I am pretty sure I understand the ruler bit too...........I havent got a flexable one so I did it with alfoil! The back seat curve is wider but not lower than the crutch line and the front is wider as well.............I need more space from front to back than the pattern allows?...........on the actual curve itself? so If I move the crutch seam line on the actual curve towards the c/b or c/f this gives more 'space'?

            So those measurments should tell me how much to move it?

            hmmm gonna go dig in the wardrobe..........I may have thrown all the pants out if a fit of pique!



          9. tmorris1 | | #27

            Yes, I think you are on the right track now. Your crotch depth will only reflect the rise of your pant If you are trying to add length without depth, then you need to add to the seams between your legs. Like This.

          10. ricstew | | #28

            Many thanks!

            This is what I have done so far......see pics! this is the front the back is basically the same!

            How do you know if you need to add it onto the curve of the crutch or to the centre of the crutch line? Or is this where the trial and error bit comes into it!

            I think with my previous muslin(s)  I went in like a bull in a china shop! I didnt stop to rationalise what I had done and the effect it had..............

            Looking at the pattern I have added 1.5" to the c/f ........Boy does this make for along zipper!



          11. tmorris1 | | #29

            Whether to add to the curve or the seam really does depend on your body shape. If you stand sideways in a mirror and look at your profile pretending that you do not have legs, the U shape of the crotch seam should mimic that profile. You may find that after you have made this alteration the width is off again and you will have to take in your side seams. You have to remember that when people develop shape, they do not just get wider from side to side, but from front to back also. This is where you are compensating for that front to back widening.You could try tracing this curve on a mirror (marker will easily clean off)to get an idea of what this true shape is.I know that it looks like a lot of length through the zipper, but this alteration should not affect the rise of the pant. Adding a longer zipper may run you the risk of zipping right down to your gusset line! The extra fabric will be between your legs.

            Edited 4/27/2007 10:22 pm ET by tmorris1

          12. ricstew | | #30

            Ok I understand it I think lol!

            Because this is a Lutterloh and I drew it to my measurments ( over my widest parts!) in theory it should fit across...........but obviously not in length........cause its got further to travel up and down than around than the pattern has............my crutch itself should be the same as the pattern ( with in reason ) beacause my tum is seperate to it and I have allowed the extra to cover it.............I havent actually changed the crutch just the length of the fabric thats needed to travel from the crutch to the waist.........mostly at the front! I also allowed 1" s/a!

            I feel like I am talking around in circles lol but I think I know what I mean! I am not sure anyone else does!



          13. tmorris1 | | #31

            I think you know what you are talking about. Honestly, the most problem I have had is with this seam, because it really does have to mimic your shape to fit correctly, and not bunch, pull, smile, frown, or - heaven forbid - split. Good luck, we're rooting for you.

          14. ricstew | | #32

            I am back again!

            Im going back to the space thingo.................gee I hope all this can help the next person too!

            I have my patterns with the alfoil curve lying on top. I realize it's not perfect but I think I get whats going on at least around the rear end! Lutterloh seems to use an L shaped curve like Burda..........perhaps not quite as flat.........

            Ok so if I take my back seam line and follow it thru and down and make the curve more L shaped but not any lower am I on the right track? Perhaps leaning a little towards the c/b at the lower edge?.......so its more on this..../ ......angle..........does the same apply to the centre front? Wouldnt that wreck the straight edge needed for your zipper?

            and I will be guessing at how much to move it? cause the alfoil isnt perfect! roughly half an inch back?



            edited to add........if i take the seam 1/2 " back wont that take it off the side seams?

            Edited 4/28/2007 1:21 am ET by ricstew

          15. tmorris1 | | #33

            Sorry, I had to email your answer, it was so long, but if anyone wants to read a book on pants fitting, I can post it for you.

          16. ricstew | | #35

            and let me tell you it is a outstanding read!!



          17. fabricholic | | #34

            Wow, you are doing great! You can take your tape measure and put it on it's side and it will do like the foil. I think if you have big thighs, you add to the bottom end of the curve. If you have a bigger tummy, you add to where your tummy is slashing the pattern to the side seam and opening it up just the amount you need to add. You put a piece of paper under this and tape to stabilize pattern. I wish you had Nancy Zieman's book, Fitting Finesse. Sounds like TMorris is helping you out greatly. I am rooting for you, also. I have to do the same thing when I get time, make myself a good pants pattern. Just think of the beautiful pants you will make.Marcy

          18. ricstew | | #36

            Pants are a frustrating and eye opening adventure! I am grateful for all the help I am getting and am determined to get it right! By the end of today I want a decent muslin!..........maybe not perfect but decent and then I can concentrate on the fun stuff!



          19. fabricholic | | #37

            I know, it's so aggravating trying to get a pattern altered for a good fit, when all I want to do is sew some nice pants. We are learning, though, when we do those alterations. That's the plus.Marcy

          20. ricstew | | #38

            Ok I think I am getting closer!!! I still need to refine the curve a little.........and I have cut muslin 2a a little looser so I actually think it needs to be taken in a tiny bit again :) at the crutch. The sides are only pinned........and I was standing wierd.....and hubby should keep his day job........a photographer he is not!

            Let me say this has one weird looking crutch....at least to me... sorta this shape



            ______l         and as straight as that and with pretty much such an acute angle!

            Opinions anyone?



            edited to add there is no darts or anything on the back so the top has no shape! Sorta like me!

            Edited 4/29/2007 3:37 am ET by ricstew

          21. tmorris1 | | #39

            I think that you are doing quite well. Maybe soften that crotch curve a little if you can. It looks to me that once you get the waist fitted, the rest of those wrinkles should flatten (you are holding the side seams a little high in the picture.) If the wrinkle at the top of the bum does not flatten, then pin it out horizontally and transfer the fold to your pattern piece.

          22. ricstew | | #42

            Duh I took them off and realized I had forgotten to clip the curve! I think that will soften the curve a little!

            I am not sure which wrinkle above my bum you mean but the baggy saggy bit is where the back had pulled down in the centre.........it's only being held up with a piece of elastic....not sure if I have the dreaded sway back  but I probably have seeing as when I stand everything is at the front!

            I sorta feel there isnt enough height/length at the top of the waist at the back but I suppose that will tell when I finsh the side seams and look at shaping the waist with darts....

            looking at the pic it seems to be high at the side high hip........I cant get to it tonight so will play some more tommorrow afternoon!

            Many thanks


          23. tmorris1 | | #47

            How is it coming??

          24. ricstew | | #49

            very slow............:(............bloomimg work gets in the way!

            I basted up the side seams last night and made some practice pleats which look awful! so they will be pulled out! I am attempting to decide on what to do with the waist line..........where to put darts etc.........I probably shouldnt have added the 1" s/a onto the waistline???? hmmmm will have to mark 1" down and in theory that should fit lengthwise....................I think I am supposed to allow 1" ease in the waistband too so will have some maths to do ,,,,,:(

            on the bright side I have Friday off!.............but I may have to catch up on housework before I can sew!



          25. tmorris1 | | #51

            JanTry pinning your darts on the outside of your pants while you are wearing them (hubby can help if you are not a contortionist.) The darts can easliy be transferred to the inside, and by pinning them while wearing the pants, you just have to do it once instead of fiddling with them.Good luck, I just know that you will be ripping into that fashion fabric by the weekend.T

          26. ricstew | | #52

            Hmmmm I dont know if I actually trust him with pins!

            and yes that blue wool crepe is just crying out for me to cut it! lol



          27. ricstew | | #53

            opinions needed!!!  ....In the 2 pics DH pinned where he thought 2 darts on each side should go..........one longer one towards the c/b ............one shorter towards the s/s........I think I can work it out from where he has put them but the c/b worries me! Should I take it in at the c/b seam? The side seams are straight and the front has no darts yet.............and yes the elastic is TIGHT!

            One pic is with the c/b pulled up!!! WHOO HOO WEDGY!!!

            and one with out the c/b pulled up!



          28. solosmocker | | #54

            The pulled up is much better, JMHO. Is it me or do any of you fitting experts think the darts need tampering? I am not quite sure how but I am sure more comments are coming. Great job. I love to see you refine this and thanks for sharing. We all learn from these brave photos.

          29. tmorris1 | | #55

            Jan;They look so much better!!! Great job. You are right, maybe hubby should stay away from the pins LOL. Don't worry if you have to take in the CB seam a little, it is to be expected with all of the fiddling that you have had to do. The fit is looking really good darts do need a little refinement, but after you even them up and stitch them down, it will look great. Keep going hon, you are almost there.

          30. Josefly | | #57

            You're doing great with the fitting. Thanks for sharing your process with us.I noticed when you listed your measurements for crotch length, you added an inch in the front and back both, for ease. Is that much ease in the crotch length what is recommended?I seem to remember reading that the top of the inseam should hang about 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the body, but don't know where I read it or if I'm remembering correctly. Anybody know?

            Edited 5/3/2007 11:26 pm ET by Josefly

          31. fabricholic | | #58

            I agree with Josefly. Usually 1" total, which is what I like, is considered generous. Hey, it's looking good, though. Very happy for you.Marcy

          32. ricstew | | #59

            ok darts.....................I know they are supposed to end at/on the biggest bit ( plenty to choose from!)..........but I cant seem to get where these are right for me. The one on the right is longer than the one on the left....................but neither seem right to me?

            I even tried short fat curved darts!

            The darts near the side seams seem fine! but i cant get a pic of those!

            I took in the back s/a a whole lot and that seems to be sitting better.



          33. liselaure | | #62

            Hello Jan,

            I think your darts are too wide for their length. As you have high hips, you can't make them longer. Try to make the dart intake smaller and add a third dart or, better, ease the leftover waistline ease into the waistband (sorry for this ugly sentence but English is a second languag for me). The waistline of pants and skirts should always be longer than the waistband. It allows the garment to fall better over the hips.

            Hope this helps.


          34. ricstew | | #64

            ok I am lost................because I have high hips I cant make long darts?........so I tried shortening them and making them narrow....... then they poked out over my lumpy bits. I ended up with 3 sticky out darts. They stuck straight out like a camels hump! on each side!

            In  the pic below on the right hand side ( a poorly sewn dart!)...........if I make that right one any shorter it jutts right out and looks bad...............and I feel if i taper them more it will flow right over the lump! I did make them narrower and took in more off the c/b seam.

            I even tried curving the s/s a little at the waist but ended up pulling that out to.........more of the jodphur look than I need! I am happy to ease a little into the waistband but not inches.............I will have to ease inches into the front w/b! I dont think the dirndl look is very flattering to me!

            I think another problem is I am sewing an old cotton bedsheet! Hopefully my wool will look heaps better!

            I also learnt to lock the front door when I am sewing in my grundies!

            Lise.......your english is just fine!



            edited to add another picture hopefully with everything straight except the style!


            Edited 5/5/2007 11:18 pm ET by ricstew

          35. liselaure | | #65

            Hello Jan,

            Yes, my explanations were a little short. I was about to leave for the week-end and had little time for my post.

            Darts must end before reaching the apex of the bump which they point toward. When you have high hips, your "bump" is very close to your waistline, thus your darts need to be short. But when the bump is more rounded, like a buttocks is, than pointed, like a breast, a short dart with a large intake can't follow nicely the contour of the bump. So, for the buttocks, the shorter the dart, the smaller the dart intake must be. That's why you may need to add a third dart. Making them curved rather than straight usually helps too.

            In his CD-book "The Trouser Draft", Kenneth King gives the following guidelines for back darts : 3/4" intake for a 3 1/2" long dart, 1" for a 4 1/2" long dart, 1 1/4" intake for a 5 1/2" long dart, etc.

            Hoping this time I was clear,


          36. ricstew | | #66

            ok I can see that now...............so I have reduced my darts by half both length and width and ended up with four..........2 close to the hip and 2 further towards the c/b.

            The 2 near the hip are a take up of 1/2" and 1" long.................waste of time........they stick out so it might be better to ease the waist in there. The 2 nearer the c/b are 1/2 take up and 2" long...........they still show the dimple at the bottom and I may try making them shorter again.............I have a feeling these are going to be very unattractive pants............:(

            Thank you for your very clear explanation Lise..............



          37. user-217847 | | #68

            Hi Jan,

            It's lee have you received your patterns yet? Also  have you tried http://www.knitwit.com.au  they have Burda patterns, (Perth) open weekdays 9.30-5 and Saturdays 9.30 -1   phone no.1300 85 2122  I hope this helps.                                 

            warm regards


          38. ricstew | | #74

            Hi lee........yep I recieved them! It only took 5 days!................but would you believe I left my list at home and rang hubby at lunch time to read them out to me and he mixed up the numbers! I have one pants pattern and one shirt pattern! that I didnt want!

            I will not whinge.........I will not whinge.........I will not whinge!

            I love looking at the knitwit fabrics!



          39. Josefly | | #71

            I appreciate your info on dart width/length ratios.Would you mind posting the address of your wonderful web-site with the article on pants-fitting? I remember seeing it somewhere, but have lost the address.

          40. liselaure | | #72


            I am glad you appreciate my explanations about darts. My newsletter on pants is getting old but is still available at http://www.premiere-impression.net/e/newsletter.html.


          41. fabricholic | | #67

            I like the dart on the left. What's wrong with it?Marcy

          42. Gloriasews | | #69

            I agree - the left dart looks perfect - it's just the right one that is pesky.  I, too, think a curved dart may be the answer - otherwise the back bum view looks great!  I had to laugh at the poster who had to lock her door because she was sewing in her undies - I think we all do this when we're trying to get the perfect fit - it's such a nuisance to dress every time you make an adjustment, eh? 

          43. ricstew | | #73

            the ones one the left still have a dimple at the bottom even tho they are shorter than the others.......:( I tried again last night but danged if I can get rid of the dimple...........:(



          44. Josefly | | #70

            Your fitting process is going well, and I think your pants already fit you better than I've been able to fit myself.About easing the waist seam, though, you said you were worried about easing "inches" into the waistband. I think Nancy Zieman recommends a minimum of one inch and possibly as much as 2 inches should be eased into the waistband, more for those of us with high-hip issues.Don't get discouraged. And thanks again for sharing with us.

          45. ricstew | | #75

            You know I AM discouraged.......:( but i'm not gonna let it beat me!

            I even thought about the elastic waistband but I really dont want to go that way........I would much prefer to have a tailored look......I have enough bulk at the waist as it is! Also an elastic waist is too casual for my workplace...

            I think if I make pants in wool I can ease the waist band somewhat but I will need to make them in a cotton for summer..........not to sure how that will work!



          46. Crazy K | | #78

            Hi.....I'm butting in here.  I've been reading entries and peeked at your pix, etc.  I've been interested because I have fitting issues, too.  My tummy is round but not terribly so but I am so short-waisted and have an extra roll or two around the middle.  O.K.  this has nothing to do with fitting but you mentioned that elastic waists are too casual for your workplace.  They don't have to be if you wear and over-blouse or sweater.  I can't tuck things in since I've gained weight and much of it has gone south!!  I've had some elastic waist pants that when worn with a dressy top or sweater look just like a pair of tailored slacks.............without the waistband!  It may take a bit of creativity but it can work!  There are patterns out there that have a band in front and elastic in the back.......which would work if worn with a jacket and even with a tucked in shirt.  Something to think about.......................

            By the way, your fitting is going quite well I would say.  Your picture looks like you've got a better fit than about 90% of the people I see walking around here!!!!  The other 10% have such great shapes that anything would work!!!!

          47. ricstew | | #79

            I am so sorry this got dropped ( along with the rest of my life!) ...........we had a huge health crisis with my husband..........things seemed to be worked out now with just a few ongoing problems! YAYAYAYAYAYYY!!!!

            So I am back to sewing!!! ( at least when I finish doing all the other stuff i dropped as well!)

            I have muslin no 23454367 looking at me from the cutting table but I cant get to it till I finish some ebay stuff :(



          48. Ralphetta | | #63

            This situation reminds me of dealing with a sleeve cap.  I'm wondering if stitching and steaming would remove some of the fullness that the darts don't remove.  With steam and a ham you might be able to mold the fabric.  Does anyone know if that would be a bad idea? 

          49. Teaf5 | | #76

            You are really brave to post a posterior picture on the internet--good for you! It clearly shows the problem to me, though: Although your waist is much smaller than your hips, you don't have a very rounded bottom; therefore, you don't need much darting in the back at all. A lot of hourglass figures are very curvy and rounded along the sides but are fairly flat in profile.As a result, you need fairly dramatic curvature of the side seam as it rises toward the waistline, but very narrow (maybe only 1/4" wide) darts in the back. By overdarting, you are creating a curved space in the fabric that isn't filled by the more trim body mass underneath.

          50. cat42 | | #80

            I have the same high hip problem, but I also have a protruding derriere. I usually make two darts with little take-up, and then take in the rest with elastic in the wasteband, just across the back. But when I don't want to use elastic, I make 3 darts. One close to the sideseam is short (about 2 inches) with about 1/2 - 3/4 inch take-up, and I sew it in a concave curve. The middle dart is a bit longer with the same amount of takeup. The one toward center back is longest and has the most take up. And I also do a fiar amount of ease, especially near the side seam. I also find that the positioning of each of these darts is very important. If I try on the pants before sewing the darts, the fabric will usually fold a bit where each dart should go.Sometimes when darts pucker or point out, it's because of the weave of the fabric. A twill is a directional weave and will behave differently on each side of center back, because the dart stitching is at an angle; on one side, the angle follows the twill, and on the other side it opposes the twill. The opposition can cause a pucker.And yes, your wool should be more forgiving than an old cotton bed sheet!

          51. Cathie | | #81

            This has been really helpful,  and Jan, you are so funny, and brave to post your pics. We are all learning from this. I have some of the same fitting issues, and, when I read in sewing books what to do, I didn't find it helpful, like all this. Hubby even enjoyed it too. We can even make the cross over from this to the upper section of "fitted" skirts (not the saran wrap look, now so "popular"). Happy sewing!!!!!!! Jan, hope Hubby will be all better soon. Extra prayers from Canada.

          52. ricstew | | #83

            heheheh Cathie Im glad this has been helpful to you...........I think it was more desperation than bravery!

            and a matter of confidence as well.........confidence in my own sewing skills even if I had none in hubby's pinning ones!

            There are some tremendous sewing ppl out there who are happy to share their skills.  I am grateful we can tap in to this ........



          53. ricstew | | #82

            Hi Cat

            its somewhat of a challenging shape!

            I made my wool pants and am happy with the fit of the crutch........the high hip is still a bit of a problem.........I have decided that I too need a curved dart close to the seam line at the hip. I ended up using a Burda pattern.

            I read everything I could find about darts and listened to ppl who have more experience than me........but have come to the conclusion that to suit my curves my darts need to be longer rather than shorter.........I know it goes against the rules but no matter where or how I sewed they looked terrible. The longer darts looked far better. I have worked out I have the low flat bum with high hip fluff! What a contradiction!

            Im going to try the pattern again in a different fabric. I have a nice mystery navy blue a bit like a rayon/linen nobbly sort of weave that is totally different to the crepe. I;m finding the crepe stretches too much with wear :(

            .........as soon as I finsh my ebay stuff......



          54. cat42 | | #84

            Happy July 4 to all American readers!If you basically have a flat bum, the darts closest to center back, and perhaps also the next ones over, can be longer, because you have little protrusion in that area But they should stop 1/2 inch or more before the widest part of your bum, as measured from side seam to side seam across the back. Also, your center back seam will be nearly vertical (little darting in that seam).Since your hips at the side are curvy at the top, just below the waist, and you have that high-hip fluff just behind the sides, that is where the shorter darting is required. You can take some of it in the side seam, and the rest in a short curved dart right over the fluff (or easing/gathers). Here's something worthwhile doing, if for no more than the Ah Ha! you'll get. Find the continuous ridge along your bum that marks the highest point as you move from side to center. In your case, this ridge will be like one side of a "U". It will be high, close to the waist near the side seam and drop steeply across the bum cheek, then level out to horizontal as you approach the side seam (see sketch, attached). Garments will hang from this ridge, so you need to ensure that the fabric stays on-grain when it goes over this ridge. Also, dart points should end above this ridge. This explains why the darts closer to center can be long for you, and the one near the side must be short.You might find it's a good idea to raise the waistline in the high-hip area, to give more fabric to curve over your high hip. The waistline will have a surging wave in it near the side, which will look funny when flat, but will fit you better when sewn. If there is not enough length in that area, you will get a diagonal drag line from the high hip to the inside of the leg (between the knee and crotch. Karen Howland who explained this in a Thread's "Fitting" article. She suggested an experiment with a flat, rectangular piece of fabric like a bath towel: hold it in front of you, with the corners equidistant from the floor. The towel hangs smoothly. Now pull up on one corner. This creates an off-grain drape from the high corner to the opposite side. That's exactly what happens at the high hip.To know just how much to add at the waist, and to help fit the side dart:
            1.--Cut the pants out of a heavy pant-weight gingham or plaid, adding an extra 1" seam allowance (1 5/8" total) at the waist. If you want to save fabric, cut the legs short.

            2.--Baste all but the high hip darts, and baste the side seam, except don't sew above the high hip point. 3.--Try on the pants; tie a string or elastic around your waist, tucking the pant under it.

            4.--Now, view your back side in a mirror. Does the gingham hang straight, with the horizontal lines perfectly horizontal, and the vertical lines perfectly vertical? If not, then tug on the leg where needed to make everything straight. You'll be doing the most tugging in the high hip area. (Best to have someone help you with this, because if you do it yourself, you'll twist your body and pull everything out of alignment.5.--Also check the front after this adjustment to make sure everything is hanging straight, adjusting as necessary, as you did on the back.6.--Now for the fun part: Play with darting in the side seam and the high-hip dart to see just where best to take in the excess, and to find the best point of the high-hip dart. Do this while still wearing the pant. You may find you need to take in more on the back side seam than on the front side seam (the back side seam curves more than the front). You may also find that easing works better than a high-hip dart. Keep in mind that the gingham must hang straight, both vertical and horizontal, and that you don't want any drag lines.7.--You may find that you need to take out the side seam and reposition it to allow more ease on the back side (add length to the back only at the side seam).8.--Once you get it just right, mark the waistline under the elastic string. mark all darts and adjusted seams. Then transfer these changes to your pattern (or draw a new pattern from the marked fabric).This process can get frustrating, when nothing seems to work. So try to let yourself laugh a lot, and take a break if necessary.If you can't find a heavy (pant-weight) gingham or plaid to try this out, you can use a heavy muslin and draw in the horizontal and vertical lines with a marker, from the waist area to about 3 - 5 inches below the crotch, on both front and back. make the lines about 1/2 inch apart. Don't settle for a light-weight gingham, as it will not hang the same as heavier weight fabric for pants. And some upholstery ginghams won't work either, if they have been treated, because they won't drape and stretch properly.

            Edited 7/4/2007 12:31 pm ET by cat42

          55. ricstew | | #85

            Cat you have this to a tee!

            pretty much how my muslins are coming out now and it does look a little weird when lying flat.........my bum is soo flat I could end up with darts down to the knees! and a larger curve for my right hip which is higher than the left..........and the slice and dice I made to the front to allow for my tummy...............it's no wonder RTW didnt fit!

            This is working fine for waisted styles.............now i want to drop the waist an inch.......so I will be fiddling with the pattern again! lol



          56. cat42 | | #86

            Good luck with lowering the waist. I too have hi hip and a bit of a tummy, tho I don't have a flat bum. When I try lowering the waist, my pants won't stay up! I hope that doesn't happen with you.I think a good way to deal with the high hip is to do a curved band around the top, and this would work with lowered-waist pretty well. You start out straight at the center front, and then begin to curve just a bit at the first front dart. Gradually increase the curve so that you have maximum curve around the side seam and the high hip in back. It should be on the bias by the time you have made it through that high hip, then continue straight on the bias to the center back. It will look like a long skinny boomerrang. Because of the bias, it's a good idea to baste narrow twill tape to the top and bottom seamlines, just as is done for Jeans.

          57. ricstew | | #61

            Im pretty sure you are right Josie but I have specific fitting problems in the front crotch..........im happeir if pants hang a wee bit lower and looser than the norm........

            As I am trying to make them to fit my specific curves I think I have actually hoiked them up a bit as well as well as allowing plenty of fabric to play with.........



          58. user-217847 | | #40

            Hi Jan,

            spotlight carries all the major pattern companies, including burda. if you find yourself stuck or in a hurry let me know. spotlight is quite close by and the postal service is not to bad neither. i'm closely watching your fitting exercise, learning heaps.awaiting the final outcome. good luck.

            best wishes lee

          59. ricstew | | #43

            Many thanks Lee! DD is in Canberra at the moment............she went to Spotlight for me but they didnt have the patterns I was after so it was easier just to ring them.........lets see how long they take to come! Most things only take a week from the States!

            Sewing would be so much easier if I didnt have to got to work!



          60. solosmocker | | #45

            Looks like things are coming along nicely. I am just finishing up a pair of pants, my monthly challenge garment. Once I got to the point where you are, I machine basted all seams except enough to get in and out of the pants. Once all those seams are in place it makes a difference and things seemed to further fall into place. I went back and did a tiny bit of tweaking and then committed to real seams. My point in saying this is just to encourage you to keep at it. You are doing great. solo

          61. ricstew | | #50

            Thank you Solo! I keep looking at my 'real' fabric................I cant wait!



          62. fabricholic | | #41

            Looking good, Jan!Marcy

          63. ricstew | | #44

            I have some wonderful teachers Marcy! Worth their weight in gold!



          64. woggy | | #77

            ricstew,I have been following this thread and congrats on your progress.Quick question on the Lutterholf pattern:1. Did you use your bust measurement to use for the dots on your waist?I took a class years ago for this system and tried to make a pattern. My front pattern has a side seam that is whacky and I am guessing it is because I used my hip measurement for the points on the waist.In reviewing my notes, I wrote that all marks on the pattern (dots) above the waist be done with the bust measurement and all marks (dots) on the bottom of the pattern be done with hip measurement. But I don't have anything in my notes on what to use for the waist measurement.Thanks for your help.Woggy

          65. User avater
            Becky-book | | #46

            Hooray for cotton (big) undies!  I even took some white cotton knit and used a pull-on shorts pattern to make old-style bloomers; no leg elastic at all!  Of course I can't wear them under just any thing!



          66. ricstew | | #48

            heheheh I had a go at making undies but I stuffed up the binding!............I may yet try again depending on how hard it is to buy them!



          67. ineedaserger329 | | #23

            my Computer is messed up, but this is really addressed to ALL. Perhaps you have a middle (grade) or high school in the area that offers a home-ec. or sewing class? Even better if you have a child in one of those classes. I learned (and took advantage of) this trick when I was in middle school. Students can purchase patterns at a fraction of the cost through their home-ec class. I purchased several (regularly priced) $10-20 patterns for myself and family, all for under $5.00. However, they often don't offer the same variety of makers, I think my school offered three or four brands to students. after I graduated, they stopped offering home-ec in middle school and I had intensive scheduling for half of High school and couldn't take it....I would've finished highschool the summer before I turned 17, but they switched scheduling back....but that's another story altogether......Good luck I hope you can use this to your advatnage...I will also post this on the tips thread.

          68. mygaley | | #19

            I have a fluffy tummy that looks very like your photos. I also am two sizes difference front to back. Some of the things I have tried are combine a size 16 pants leg with a size 22 waist. I know you already know that your front waist line must be cut higher to accommodate the curve. I have also done this with maternity patterns, but be sure to make a muslin because they are huge! I believe the reason you don't see many maternity clothes these days are because mothers are wearing clothes that are tighter fitting and also there are knits which can cover a lot of figures. I wish to congratulate you on the flattering hem width you have found. You have achieved a very flattering line from waist to floor. We have one more thing in common: I wear cotton granny panties, too. God bless you. Galey

          69. fabricholic | | #20

            No, not granny panties! My daughter teased me for the longest when I started wearing them. I couldn't wear the hipsters anymore, because of my belly. She still loves to tease me about my granny panties. I say whatever fits and is comfortable. That's the main objective for me.

          70. woodruff | | #15

            Well, the cool thing about Burda is that you don't have to be a particular size (really, almost no one is). With all the sizes Burda has in an envelope, the idea is to trace off a fairly customized pattern. So, if the Burda chart indicates that your waist is a size 24, size 24 is the size line you trace for the waist. In tracing your pattern, you'd use a curved ruler to taper from the size you are at the waist to the size you are at the hips. You can do that with Burda, and with any other multisized pattern.Ideally, you choose the hip size by whatever your fullest area is, because pants (and skirts) are supposed to slide over this region without straining or distorting the vertical seams. If, say, your girth is greatest way down in the saddlebag area, you'd choose your hip size by whatever that measurement might be. If the greatest circumference is higher, say at five inches below the waist, you'd choose the hip size by whatever that measurement was. Then you'd taper your waistline tracing in or out to follow the proper size line for your hips.Doing this provides the "skirting" effect in front that keeps nicely-fitting pants from drawing in unattractively at the front crotch. The disadvantage, sort of, is that doing this for larger sizes pretty much dictates that the pants will be wide-legged, and some people don't like that style. Going for a narrower leg inevitably means highlighting the lower tummy curve.I'd suggest two things. One is getting a Burda pattern that is more nearly the style you'd really like, because the Burda crotch curve varies a great deal between closely-fitted pants and full trousers. Second, is there any way you could take a fitting class at your local community college or through adult ed? The reason I ask this is that years of sewing have taught me that it really is almost impossible to measure and fit pants to yourself, if you have a non-standard body. I would have saved myself years of frustration by hiring a pro to fit me earlier than I did.

          71. ricstew | | #16

            God luv ya Woodruff ...we dont have a community college or adult ed..........we barely have a community out here! I did once make enquiry's about a course at TAFE ( sort like a college) I was hoping to do it by distance ed but the $800 per term fee was just a wee bit out of the budget!

            I have been trawling the Burda site and have yet to decide on a pattern as it will probably have to ordered form the states ( another thing I cant get is patterns!) but if im gonna get one I may as well get three or so.....I did trace out a 'curvy' pattern from lutterloh but darned if I can see any difference in the crutch line..........

            but I havent totally wasted my day off......................after much cajoling, whinging and finally resorting to bribery I conned DH into helping me make a bum double! Now this is not a pretty site but very entertaining to make.............just waiting for the glue to dry so I can give it a few more coats..........the things I will resort to!

            However it has shown me where I am going wrong! My crutch line is way out.......in the back I need to push it further back but not deeper if that makes sense. I can see where I need to make the fabric hang from..........I just need to work out how to do it! I think I am sorta the same size from the waist to hip at the front except where the tummy suddenly ends and goes back to my pubic bone .........thats why my pants allways seem so big at the front!.........cause they are lol

            I am starting to think a wide legged, pleated style would hang the best from the upper tum.........maybe a stay to help the pleats stay closed and lots of topstitching........

            I havent given up yet!



      4. User avater
        elizhard32 | | #56

        I have the same issue to address when I sew for myself. A couple of years ago I attended a Sandra Betzina lecture and her topic was correcting various fitting problems, she showed me how to correct my fitting problem in minutes. She has a book on this very subject, it's been so long since I had to refer to it I can't remember the name other than it's a Sandra Betzina Book. We have just moved (2 weeks ago) and my sewing room stuff will be the last to be unpacked otherwise I'd run look up the title for you. I'm sure you can find it by googling Sandra Betzina books?

        1. ricstew | | #60

          I actually have one of her books but the hardest parts is the making decisions about which bit needs fixing............

          its a bit like the car wont start..........is it the battery or the starter motor or some other doodad?

          to do this on my own is near impossible.................



      5. cat42 | | #87

        Hi Jan,
        I joined this thread late, so I decided to go back to the beginning, and I see you first started with fitting problems on the front; when you got that somewhat resolved, you moved to the back. is that right?My figure is somewhat like yours, tho I'm not sure what an "Apron tummy" is. My tummy shape is the result of bad posture (overly-arched back), gravity, and wearing too-tight girdles when I was a teen, which just pushed my tummy bulge downward.I'd love to see a sketch of how you finally adjusted the front, if you could, please.I have the same problem of too much fabric in the upper leg. I have followed the articles in Threads about making room for body space in the crotch area, which has resulted in a better crotch fit for me. I had to deepen the back crotch curve. However, now my pant legs are too big below the crotch. I have not yet figured out how to resolve this, but I've been thinking about something to try. If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes. Here's how I came up with my idea.I live in a tourist area where everyone wears jeans, so I get a lot of opportunity to observe how they fit and why. No matter what the person's figure, they always hug the body very closely, even just below the crotch. Even if the person has a large bum and or belly. I first started observing about the grainline at the sideseam. almost always, the front side seam is cut parallel to the grain all the way from the low-rise band to the knee (and also to the hem if not pegged below the knee). The back side seam on the other hand, is cut very curvy, curving outward (convex) through the hip and then angling sharply inward along the thigh, then straightening out below the knee. So I'm thinking this curvyness keeps the pants close to the skin below the bum.Unfortunately, I don't get to observe the inside leg seam without being overly nosey....Another thing I know about jeans (from observing an old RTW of mine) has to do with the crotch curve. And Karen Howland also addresses this in an old Fitting article in Threads, where she explains how to adjust a pattern for narrower legs. As the leg narrows, the lower part of the crotch loses some of its curve, instead moving more on a bias. This is more pronounced on the back curve than the front. This shape on the back not only causes the back leg to be narrower below the crotch, but also causes the front leg to be pulled back, closer to the front of the thigh, right below the crotch.So my conclusion is to cut a more curvy side seam on the back, and adjust the crotch curve as described for jeans, and see if that makes a difference. Right now I have to go to an appointment, but when I get back, I'll try to draw a sketch. I have to draw with a drawing program on my computer, because I don't' have a scanner to scan a paper sketch. Consequently, it takes me awhile...Cat

        1. ricstew | | #88

          Crikey thats too complicated for me!

          All I did was select a pattern that had the style I wanted ( burda ??? flat fronted wide leg, fly zip) and compare measurments. I selected the size that seemed close and measured the crutch line which was pretty spot on to mine. I cut out a muslin with 1" seams just in case. Tried it on and decided the front pulled too tight.

           I lay the front pattern out and split it at the centre, from the waist seam down to about high crutch line. I then split it to the s/s and the fly seam. I gently pulled it until it was about 1/4 in apart and added tissue.Trued up any lines i mucked up  Cut muslin 2..........played with the darts a bit, added a bit to the high hip area but I didnt really touch the crutch.

          So i really only added a wee bit of extra fabric to roughly the lower tummy area.....not enough to make it huge but enough for comfort. I knew my wool would give a bit as well. This pattern is only on the straight grain to roughly above the knees. I need the bias to go round my curves! I cant imagine squishing all of me into something that has no give!




          1. Cathie | | #89

            I have been following all this closely. Jan, the curvey upper hip seam, lengthened, will help me too. And, Cat's idea of observing jean fit to get tips. (At present I am wearing some custom made jeans, made for an athletic man with a large bum. The pants were too short, and my 5 foot 6 inches is shorter than he is, and despite my long legs the pants are not bad. His wife handed them to me). I have swayback, tummy, high hip, and wear belted with my cats/dog, etc. Not too bad. I am interested in the fact that the back is very much longer than front, from crotch to waist. Great ideas about curving the waist line, and slashing and adding for tummy. I don't think Sandra Betzina's idea of higher waist at front works for me, due to being 1) short waisted, and 2) having curved waist (and lots of high hip). Very interested in dart suggestions. Thanks so much!!!!!!!

  2. ineedaserger329 | | #2

    I hope you will forgive me for asking, but have you tried maternity pants? I think they would at least give you a model ot work from that would be less painful on your belly. I hope I have not insulted you with this, I just figured it would give a better feel......

  3. Teaf5 | | #11

    I agree with woodruff that a slightly lower waistline is heavenly for those of us with a tummy--and yours is not bad. As a result of a 10-lb baby and emergency c-section, I have the same "apron" tummy; the new, mid-rise jeans and pants are much, much more comfortable nowadays.

    I also agree that you should be making changes in the center front seam as well as curving the waistline a bit up in the center to cover the swell. If you can find a single pair of rtw pants that fit well in that area, you can copy the crotch curves and seams from it to transfer to your patterns.

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