Hi, I’m fairly new to this gathering. I’m an experienced sewer, starting at age 4 and I”m now 58. I’m learning to draft patterns for my own designs, and also how to fit my middle-age overweight body. I’ve been struggling with fitting pants.
I am narrow side to side, but thick front to back (both a protruding tummy and rear), and that I am knock kneed. I make a knock-knee adjustment by straigtening the inseam for front and back leg, to be closer to vertical, then repositioning the crease lines so they are still centered on each leg piece from the knee down. I use the new creaseline for the grain line. I also cut with 1″ seam allowance along waist, side and inseams to allow room for fitting. Then I do a thread tracing along the front and back crease lines, and along the front and back hipline before fitting a pant, to ensure they stay level and on center.
Here’s my problem:
Everything hangs great while I fit the waist, hips, and side seams. I have to scoop out the back crotch seam a bit to get the back waist to be up on my waist and to keep the back hip line level.
But then when I sew the inseam, the front crease line moves about 1 inch toward the outside above the knee to the ankle; the back crease line moves the same amount toward the inside leg from just above the knee all the way down, causing a twist, and a drag line along the twist, between outside of buttock and knee. I’ve tried having the front leg narrower at the crotch (almost no scoop) and the back leg wider at crotch by the same amount, and that helps only a little.
Help! How can I get the crease lines to hang straight?
I've always put the crease lines in after I have finished the pants, so it's hard to understand the nature of your fitting problem. Have you tried a different pants pattern or comparing your pattern to a pair of ready-made pants that fit well?
Yes, I've compared my pattern to other patterns--all have the same problem. I've never bought ready-to-wear because they never fit, so I can't compare to that. Before I gained 40 pounds, I had no problem with the fit of pants I made myself. I gained my weight in my buttocks and my tummy, and that is affecting fit and drape. Regarding where to put the crease line, I've always lined up the inseam and the sideseam from hem to Knee to find the center of each leg, front and back. That center becomes the crease. If instead I make the crease fall across the center of my knee, it will no longer be centered on the pant leg, but rather offset by an inch (toward the inseam on the front leg, and toward the side seam on the back leg. And that drag line in the back resulting from the twist of the leg will still be there.I really think the solution lies in the crotch curve, and the front-to-back depth of the crotch curve, as well as the angle of the inseam right below the crotch (related to my knock-knee problem). But I just can't seem to figure out just what to do with these.
Could you post a few pictures to help us figure out the reason of your problem?
How do I post pictures in this medium? I don't have any photos, but I could do some computer sketches.
You can attach files to your message. When you compose it, there is a purple button "Attach Files" close to the bottom of the page.
OK, I'll work on some sketches, but it may take awhile as I leave for a 4-week tour of Norway next week. May have to wait til I get back. I do see that button to attach files. Thanks!
OK,, I drew some sketches; one of pant front as worn, and the front pattern piece. same for back (as worn, and the pattern piece). I tried to do this previously, but you can't open the files because I forgot to include the file extension (.jpg). So trying again. check the back drawing first, as that's where the problem is most visible.
Have you checked the suggestions for a knock knee alteration in Sandra Betzina's book, Fast Fit? She says that the inner leg seam needs to be lengthened and the side seam shortened. This is done by cutting the pattern apart horizontally 1 inch under the crotch point and spreading it at the inner leg and overlapping at the side seam on both front and back. The instructions given in the book are more complete than this, but this is the general idea.
Thanks for your suggestion. Yes, I have that book and I tried her alteration, but it didn't seem to work for me. The knock-knee alteration that I have done, which helps a little, was described in an older issue of Threads: cut upper and lower part of leg apart at the knee. Slide the lower leg toward the inseam, and then true the seam from knee to crotch. This effectively straightens out the inseam below the crotch, which I appear to need. however, it also pulls the centered crease line toward the center of the body on both back and front. I do need this on the front, but it's the wrong direction on the back.Sandra Betzina's fix effectively moves that centered crease line back toward the outside. Perhaps I should do that only on the back leg, and then simply lengthen the front inseam at the hem (rather than at the knee). What do you think?
I left out something from the last post: before cutting the pattern on the horizontal line, extend the grainline up to the waist. After making the alteration, extend that line down to correct for grainline distortion.
Your sketch of the front is great but unfortunately there is a problem with the back one. I get nothing when I try to open it.
I am pretty sure the solution lies in the crotch front and back curves but I have to leave for the day. More coming tonight or tomorrow.
From: cat42 10:46 am
To: LiseLaure unread (14 of 14)
5615.14 in reply to 5615.12
Sorry you had trouble with one of my sketches. I'll try both again (I believe it was the back that had nothing?)Hmm, I tried again, but it still comes up blank. I'll resave from the original software and see if that helps. I see its a larger file this time, so I'm crossing my fingersRegarding crotch curve: my sketches are not very accurate as to what my curves look like. I have trouble with the drawing software on curves. The front crotch curve is unaltered from the original pattern, but the inseam below the curve is slanted only slightly--nearly vertical, due to the knock-knee adjustment I just described in another posting. The back crotch curve scoops low because gravity has pulled me down in that area, and then the extension toward the inseam is lengthened because of my protruding buttocks. I used to provide the needed lengthening of the crotch curve by extending the slanted part (slashing along hipline and then opening up a wedge), butall that bias that makes the rear quite saggy after I've sat down for awhile. So I decided to follow the advice from the Threads article about fitting from the waist down and allowing room for the body space.Perhaps I drop the curve too far down? Perhaps I need to compromise and do a little bit of each means of lengthening the back crotch curve? I dunno.
This time I can get your sketch of the back. Your sketches are great! I only regret they don't show us your bodyshape as a picture would do. Here are a few comments, suggestions and questions too (sorry if you already know some of what follows) :
- What pattern do you use? Did you draft it yourself? If yes, what method did you employ? I am asking because your crotch curve, especially its back part, looks more like an American crotch curve than like a European one and most women get a better fit with the last one. European patterns have a longer and deeper back crotch curve. But maybe, as you wrote, your sketches are simply not very accurate regarding the crotch curve.
- What kind of fit do you aim? A trousers fit, a slacks one or a jeans fit? Jeans have shorter crotch extensions than slacks and trousers, and crotch creases. These are due to the closer fit and part of the look (see 3993.18). Your sketches show one dart on the front and two darts on the back, so I guess you look for a trousers fit. If I am right and as you wrote you are "thick front to back" you need a really long and deep enough back crotch curve.
- If I were you, I would at first sew the inseams, let the outseams open and fit the crotch curve rather than the opposite (sew the outseams, fit the crotch and close the inseams).
- I think you have to address the drag lines you have on the back before dealing with the leg twist. You might have to scoop more the back crotch curve, and maybe also to shorten the back inseam from the top (you get a better fit under the buttocks when the back inseam is shorter than the front one by about ½" and stretched from knee to crotch when it is sewn to the front one). If the back waist is then to high, just apply your waistband lower.
- To correct the leg twist, Kenneth King suggests the following procedure on his "Trousers draft" CD. Mark your desired inseam placement on your muslin, then correct your pattern by the same amount. You have to add to the back outseam what you removed from the back inseam and to move the grainline by the same amount to keep it equidistant. If the hemline is then not perpendicular to the grainline anymore, lengthen the bottom of the back inseam until it is again and shorten the top of the inseam to keep its length constant.<!----><!---->
Hope this helps.
If you prefer to discuss with me directly, my email is [email protected]Here's my replies to your very thoughtful points:
What I'm trying to do is get a good fitting slim pant that I can use as a sloper to create other styles like trousers and jeans. I started with a Sandra Betzina pattern for slim-fitting slacks. She uses the european crotch curve. But her patterns are way too big below the hip for me (I don't have saddle bags on the sides). So then I followed Karen Kauffman's fitting article (Threads) on drafting pants from a straight skirt sloper, using the crotch curve from the Betzina pattern. Thats what gave me the good fit from waist to hip.From there I experimented with ways to lengthen the back crotch curve to accommodate my buttocks, and I found that Karen's suggestion of slicing the pattern at the hip and opening up a wedge made too much bias and a bad fit after wearing for a few hours. So I then tried making a longer back crotch extension (as suggested in Threads article by Joyce Murphy on creating room for body space)--by slicing pattern at crotch line, then sliding upper part to outside, thus lengthening the crotch extension-- and that seems to work best for me, but that's when I noticed my crease line is not centered. also, how do you know when it's long enough??So I thougt it might be from my knock knees. I've read three different ways to correct for this. Palmer-Pletsch suggest drawing a new inseam line straight from back crotch point to hem, which effectively widens pant at knee near the inseam. Another, similar method (from a Threads fitting column, suggests slicing the pattern along the knee line and moving the lower half toward the inside, then truing the inseam from crotch point to new lower leg position, and outseam from hip to new leg position ). The third method is Sandra Bezina's suggestion of slicing at crotch and then pivoting so that inseam gets longer (opening a wedge at inseam) and outseam gets shorter. Note that the first two methods do the opposite by shortening the inseam.I tried all options. The second one seems to work best but it could be behind the crease line moving toward the inside of the leg on the back, since the lower leg is moved in that direction.Regarding the drag lines: I think they are related to the twist--they have a common cause: something is off-grain. But I dont' know how to find out what that something is.I do already have a shorter inseam on back than on front, as I have found it improves fit in the crotch curve area.Your last point (from Kenneth King): I'm not sure I understand. Could you give a bit more detail--sketches would be nice? (Or, where can I find his CD?) Here's something that I tried, that may be what you mean: After trying on the muslin with my thread-traced crease/grainline, I marked where that line should have been had it crossed the center of my knee. On the back the correct point is 1.5 inches to the outside, and on the front, it is 1.5 inches to the inside. then I sliced my pattern at the knee and slid the lower part over so that its centered crease/grainline lines up with the marked point at the knee. This meant sliding the front lower leg toward center, and the back lower leg toward the outside (opposite of the knock-knee adjustment). Then truing the seamlines. This is where I am right now. I'm still getting the twist. So perhaps you meant something else.I'm thinking that I need to add more to the crotch's back extension, but that makes the pant too big at the thigh. Still, that would be better than where I am now. And from there, I will try, as you suggest, to fit the inseam first, before the side seam. However, if this is partly a grain problem, how do I figure that out?Catherine
Sorry, I haven't had time to answer you earlier.
- "What I'm trying to do is get a good fitting slim pant that I can use as a sloper to create other styles like trousers and jeans.": Trousers, slacks and jeans differ in their style (pleated vs flat front for instance) but also in their fit (trousers hang straight from the abdomen and buttocks while jeans contour them, slacks being in between). While changing the style of pants is easy, changing their fit is more complicated because it depends notably on the length of the crotch extensions. See "Easy Guide to Sewing Pants" by Lynn MacIntyre (page 10) or article "Who Needs Calvin Klein?" by Jerry Sider in Threads # 28, or compare pants slopers on http://pattern.stringcodes.com/pat-AD.html.
- "I followed Karen Kauffman's fitting article (Threads) on drafting pants from a straight skirt sloper, using the crotch curve from the Betzina pattern.": Do you mean Karen Howland? I am always impressed by her deep understanding of the geometry behind patternmaking and regret the disappearance of her fitting article in Threads.
- "From there I experimented with ways to lengthen the back crotch curve to accommodate my buttocks, and I found that Karen's suggestion of slicing the pattern at the hip and opening up a wedge made too much bias and a bad fit after wearing for a few hours.": The wedge height is a function of the fit (the higher the wedge and the shorter the crotch extension the closer the fit) and of the figure (the flatter the buttocks, the lower the wedge and the deeper the crotch curve). Finding the right height is sometimes tricky.
- "So I then tried making a longer back crotch extension (as suggested in Threads article by Joyce Murphy on creating room for body space)--by slicing pattern at crotch line, then sliding upper part to outside, thus lengthening the crotch extension-- and that seems to work best for me, but that's when I noticed my crease line is not centered. also, how do you know when it's long enough??": Your front crotch extension, measured perpendicular to the grainline, shouldn't be longer than one-fifth of your front hip arc (the width of your front pattern shouldn't exceed 1 1/5 x your front hip arc). Correct it if needed. Then measure your crotch length from the center back waist to the center front waist (I prefer to add no ease) and the front crotch length of your (front) pattern. The difference between the two gives you the back crotch length your (back) pattern should have, whatever its style is (trousers have some ease, jeans none). Then you'll have to play with the wedge height, the "deepness" of the crotch curve and the crotch extension length to get the good fit you aim to. You have to keep the back crotch length constant. So if you open the wedge more, shorten the extension accordingly.
- Regarding your knock knees, I suggest you to try Liechty's, Pottberg's and Rasband's method ("Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach" page 194): Form a tuck across the outseam at thigh level until the front creaseline hangs straight, then let out the inseam if the fabric binds against the knee.
- Kenneth King's CD can be ordered directly from him (see http://www.kennethdking.com/book.html). Personally I got better results with the drafting method available on http://www.leenas.com/English/draw_women_pants.html than with King's one but I nevertheless highly recommend his CD which is full of information.
- "I'm thinking that I need to add more to the crotch's back extension, but that makes the pant too big at the thigh." I know personally what you mean. Try to open the wedge and/or to scoop the crotch curve a little more instead.
- "Here's something that I tried, that may be what you mean: After trying on the muslin with my thread-traced crease/grainline, I marked where that line should have been had it crossed the center of my knee. On the back the correct point is 1.5 inches to the outside, and on the front, it is 1.5 inches to the inside. then I sliced my pattern at the knee and slid the lower part over so that its centered crease/grainline lines up with the marked point at the knee. This meant sliding the front lower leg toward center, and the back lower leg toward the outside (opposite of the knock-knee adjustment). Then truing the seamlines. This is where I am right now. I'm still getting the twist. So perhaps you meant something else.": I guess your idea joins that of King but the differences between your method and his might change the result. He suggests changing the back pattern only; you changed both. Your new grainline is parallel to the old one, his new one isn't. I think you'll get the same result as he does if your slash your (back) pattern at thigh level and overlap it at the outseam to move the bottom of the leg by the amount you need. Then lengthen the leg parallel to the hemline to keep the outseam length the same and remove the same amount from the top of the inseam to keep this one constant too.
P.S. I presume you checked your pattern crotch height against yours.
Wow! Thank you 'sew' much!! great, thoughtful and helpful info. couple questions/comments (take your time in answering, as I'll be traveling for 4 weeks).--What is a hip arc? Is it the width of the patern piece (the front in this case), at the hip?
--Yes, I did measure and use my crotch depth, measured at side seam (difference between side length and inseam length).
--You're right, I meant Karen Howland and I REALLY miss her feature. Just about everything I know about alteration and drafting I learned from her articles. but I have a friend named Karen Hauffman, so I accidentally used her name.
--I hope Liechty's, Pottberg's and Rasband's method ("Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach") is still available. When I get back from my trip, I'll see if I can find it.
--your suggestion for changing the position of the centered crease line is just what Sandra Betzina suggests for fixing knock-knees, except she cuts the pattern right below the crotch instead of a bit further down on the thigh. However, I note that you added the other fix, which is adding width at inseam to clear the knee. I will definitely try this combo. The problem I had with Sandra's method is that it made the pull at the knee worse, so your addition may be just the ticket, tho it may make the leg too wide at the knee. Could I then shave a bit off the outseam? But if I do that, the creaseline would no longer be centered at the knee. Sigh.This will be a project to look forward to, after my Europe trip.
When speaking of body measurements, an arc is about the quarter of a circumference from a center to a side. You can measure your front waist arc (center front waist to side waist seam), your back hip arc (center back to side seam at hip level), etc. "About" because the front waist arc of most women is 1/2" longer than their back waist arc for instance (its the opposite for the hips). A front hip arc + ease corresponds to the width of the front pattern at hip level.
"Fitting & Pattern Alteration" is still available (http://www.fairchildbooks.com/book.cms?bookId=74). It's a handbook, not very fun to look at, but it covers every possible figure challenge, even the ones you never suspected they exist, such as "inward rotation of the elbow".
Regarding your knock-knees and Liechty's & al. method (not mine), I think you can take in the outseam if needed. The creaseline wouldn't be centered anymore only if it was before you took in the outseam. Was it ? I mean on the body not on the pattern - if you take in and let out equally from knee to hem, the creaseline will be still centered on the pattern too. I think what matters in your case is that the result is visually pleasant rather perfectly centered on the knee (I still mean on the body). In addition if the creaseline is centered at knee level, I doubt it can be centered at ankle level too in presence of knock-knees. I would thus pin the inseam and outseam so that they don't bind and that the whole leg is as centered as possible. I suppose you are aware that fuller pants legs are very likely to be more flattering to you than close-fitting ones.
Have a nice trip to Europe and let us know how your pants turn out.
Edited 9/28/2006 1:29 am by LiseLaure
The twisting is definitely from the knock knee addition. Try my suggestion above.
Have you tried balancing the legs? If the hem and the knee distance to center of leg is not the same the leg will twist. Editing here, the hem distance and the knee distance are not the same. I mean hem to center, center to outside. Same at knee. Fold leg in half from hem to knee so that the inside and outside match. Measure inside to center and then center to outside. They have to be the same. Above this they can be increased or decreased. If you need more room in the body then that is where you need to adjust. Take a look at the 2 Threads articles by Joyce Murphy on body space. The other thing is, I don't know about you, but at 56 my rear is a whole lot lower than it used to be. If you line up the inseam for about 4" there should be a definite angle downward. If you need more room remove it from cb and cf and add what you removed to the side seams easing it into the side seam below the crotch.
NancyEdited 10/4/2006 9:17 am ET by SewNancyEdited 10/4/2006 9:19 am ET by SewNancy
Edited 10/4/2006 9:19 am ET by SewNancy
Make sure that anything that you add to the hip stops before you get to the knee. below the knee that pattern must be centered. Fold the pattern in half bottom to knee line, open up and measure the inside to center and then the outside to center at the knee make sure they are the same. Secondly, I found that Joyce Murphys method found in 2 articles in Threads is a fantastic and easy to use fitting method. you either add or subtract body space after fitting the waist and hip. It works. I also, found that Hot Patterns razer pant is the easiest pattern I have ever fit. Not the instruction, however, but the crotch curve is the best I ahve ever seen. It is an L shaped back crotch and I just lowered it for my 57 year old flat rear end. I have made 6 pairs of pants from it and after fine tuning for stretch woven, I just made a pair of pants that is the most flattering and comfortable I have ever made.
I think the problem lies in the alteration you are doing.
There has been a quite a discussion on this figure problem at the Pattern Review website.
I posted and attached a diagram very similar to your problem under my name: woggy in the message board area for pattern alteration suggestions.
For knock knees, the alteration is done at the knees. Cut the pattern at the knee line, shift the pattern pieces towards the inseam up to 1 1/2 inches, depending on the curve of your knees. This alteration is done on all four pieces. Straighten both inseam and outer seam lines. Redraw your grain line on the pattern using the grain line from the bottom portion of the pattern and draw it up towards the thigh.
This alteration also stops the verticle wrinkles you get on the back of your pants and will keep your seams straight.
What it does is swing your grain line in properly from the knees down.
If you go to Pattern Review in the the message section and click on Pattern alterations, scroll down and look for a post by Duchess - there are 79 responses to her post about her pants. Lots of great info in this message plus pictures and diagrams regarding suggestions for improving her pants.
A few folks tried this alteration and found it to work. Most moved the pattern piece in an inch.
You can also find this alteration on page 68 if Lynn MacIntyre's book, "Easy Guide to Sewing Pants."
Thanks for this. Where is this pattern review and message board? Is it on the Threads website? Sorry I'm a dunce; I'm' new to this Gathering.By the way, I read similar instruction in a fitting article in Threads, and I tried it (2-3 years ago?), but it must not have worked for me because I went back to square one. I will try it again, tho, now that I've improved the crotch curve for a better fit there.I do believe this IS a grain problem, as the drag lines indicate something is off grain. And since they point to the knee at one end, I do think my knock-knees are the culprit.
Pattern Review can be found at http://www.patternreview.com
You want http://www.patternreview.comExcellent pants fitting discussions there, and lots of photos.That said, having sewn since dinosaurs walked the earth, I think I can say that it's just about impossible to fit your own rear. My solution, after WAY too many years of frustration, was to have a professional fit a pattern to me, in a private session at the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. It was so successful, and so fast, that I regret having taken so long to do that.
It sounds like you need some solid help! I learned how to fit my pants at a hands-on seminar given by Peggy Sagers at a Sewing Expo. There were all kinds of bodies in our group, and every one of them ended up with a pants pattern that fit. It was amazing.
Since then I've gone to some of Sagers' four-day seminars and plan to go again, because I enjoy them so much. (It's my get away from home treat.) If you're interested, the dates are listed on her site: http://www.silhouettepatterns.com. (And no, I have no financial or business connection with this. I'm just a very happy customer.)
thanks! I'll definitely keep this in mind. And someone else recommended something similar offered by Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. I just may try one of these! But at the same time, I'm bound and determined to figure this out. I'm a scientist you see, and I just find it hard to admit that I could be totally stumped. I've gotten lots of great suggestions and will try them all as soon as I get back from my trip to Sweden and Norway.
I wonder if you have a problem in the way you are standing do you have flat feet ?What happens to the grain line if you draw it in down the center front and back . Maybe you need to draw that in and the have large seam allowances and just fiddle until you get it hanging vertically . I wonder if the front leg is too narrow ?
Very astute, I do have flat feet, but I wear my orthotic sandals when fitting to compensate for that problem, so I don't think that is contributing to the twist. I really do think it is my knock knees. I have tried cutting with grainline and crease as it falls when wearing, which puts the gran/crease off-center on pattern. Of course that works, but then I cannot fold with seamlines of lower legs matched up to find the crease when I re-iron after washing, so that is a bummer. I'd really like to figure out the problem without doing that.
hi just a small thought what would happen if you took your pants pattern and split it full length and cut the pants using 4more seams and then you can fit it a bit better and more to your figure and then you have your built in cress
If you did make a pair with a seam where the crease goes, it might help you to figure out how to then alter a regular pant leg. You might be able to SEE where things need to be changed.
to thehat: Yes, I have done that (extra seams along center of both front and back legs, to create center and side back, center and side front), and it was an interesting experiment. I used a Vogue pattern by Sandra Betzina that has those extra seams, and with them the crease lines do fall where they are supposed to fall. So then I tried to use them to make a pattern without those extra seams, but it resulted in the leg twisting as usual, probably because I did not make the right compromises when the center back and side back seams diverged from each other. Perhaps I should try that again.and to Ralphetta: Yes, good suggestion of comparing my successful pattern (when I get one) with an unsuccessful one so I will know what caused the twist. When I get to that point, I'll post to this group to let you know what worked and what didn't.to all: you all have such creative suggestions and ideas. Right now I'm touring Sweden and Norway and so will not be able to experiment with your suggestions until I get home at the end of October.
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