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pants bind at knee when walking

lorisews | Posted in Fitting on


I have tried several different patterns of relatively fitted women’s pants, including a couple of Sandra Betzina’s. I know I have a flat seat, and a bit of knock knee, and somewhat large thighs and calves, but even after adjustments for those (I don’t think I needed the flat seat adjustment in Sandra’s) I find that when I bring my leg forward with knee raised to walk, it binds so that I can’t really walk. The pull is through to the butt, but scooping more out of the back crotch does not help, nor adding to back crotch extension. Unless maybe I am not making big enough adjustments. Enough ease according to Betzina’s “Fast Fit”. Thoughts?



  1. suesew | | #1

    Is the pull across the front of your leg as well? Do you have a protruding tummy that could be lifting fabric that should really be hanging?

    1. woggy | | #2

      Suesew,I have been researching, reading, etc. on making pants and have never come across this explanation of a tummy lifting fabric - although it makes sense. Could you explain this a tad more, please?I keep thinking it is my protruding tummy that is causing most of my problems in the crotch area.Thanks,Woggy

      1. suesew | | #8

        If you have a protruding tummy it takes more fabric to go from your waist to the crotch. It's simple math. I have seen women whose pants fit better worn backwards because they have a flat back side and carry all their weight in the front. You may need more height for the fabric to reach the crotch depth or more width in the crotch extension (the part between your legs) to give you enough ease to fit around your unique body.
        Try putting a piece of elastic around your waist where you like to wear your pants and measure from waist back to waist front through the crotch. Mark where the crotch seam and inseams should meet. Try sitting down and see what shifts where. This will give you some idea of where you may want to add a little ease. Even a half inch added to a crotch seam can be big. You don't want folds of fabric hanging between your legs. A too wide crotch extension will collaspe. Once you have these measurements you can compare them to a pattern (or to a pair of pants you like that fit.)

    2. lorisews | | #4

      Maybe some slight pull across the front of the leg, more pull in the buttocks. I don't have ready to wear fitted styles except in stretch fabrics - those do the same thing but work because of the stretch. Not sure if that is how they are supposed to be. I do have a bit of a tummy. What would you suggest?

  2. GailAnn | | #3

    Do you have a similar problem in ready to wear?  I do.  So I don't wear pants very much.  Gail

  3. woodruff | | #5

    One common cause of this kind of binding is, believe it or not, a crotch that is too low, that hangs too far from the body. It is like having an armhole too deep: You can't raise your arm without pulling the waistline up, too.Try grabbing the crotch seam below your waist and yanking it up a bit. Doo you find that the binding sensation is less when you walk? If so, the crotch seam is indeed too low.

    1. lorisews | | #6

      Thanks, I'll check that out!

      1. suesew | | #7

        I was also going to suggest lifting it in the front (which would have the same effect as previously suggested with the crotch depth. But I'm not sure where your problem really is yet.

      2. Teaf5 | | #9

        I agree with woodruff that your problem is likely to be a too-long crotch.  In rtw, it's call "rise," and a low-rise works best for me, coming up to my natural waist despite a tummy.  I'm tall, but have a very short rise, which seems to be used by the Lee, Chaus, and Liz Claiborne lines.

        In patterns, I take nearly an inch out of front and back crotch lengths, folding the pattern up at the horizontal line marked on some patterns (about midway up the center back and front seams).  I also find that patterns described as being  1 or 2 inches below the natural waistline fit better and tend to rest at my waistline anyway.

        For my flat bottom, I dip the waistline down at least 1/2" in the center back, which pulls the fabric up and makes the legs of the pants hang much better.

        1. lorisews | | #10

          I have a short rise too, but that didn't seem to be the real problem. I think it is something to do with the back crotch. (There is no pull from the tummy or front thigh, there is some slack there). I played with spreading it more open in the upper back crotch (basically straightening out the back crotch curve) and pinning out the resulting extra along the hip and that seemed to help. Also I shaped a coat hanger wire to my crotch and it looks to me like maybe I should scoop out a pretty big droop-dip in the lower curve of the back crotch. I'll have to try those in a fresh muslin to see if that is what the deal is.

          1. User avater
            blingy | | #11

            I have just read your post tonight and I know exactly what you mean.  Any pants pattern I have made does the same thing, its like a cord goes taught on the back side of the thigh and pulls hard around the knee.  I was wondering if the back waist pulls down when you sit.  I have found some help by increasing the back waist height, I think this allows more fabric to fit over my rear end, but still, I feel the pull through the back thigh to the knee when moving.  I know you posted this some time ago and I was wondering what the outcome has been.  Please keep us posted.

          2. lorisews | | #12

            I finally said to myself, you know, self, boys' and mens' pants really fit you better than women's, why not start from there (I have almost no waist, slim hips, flat, low butt). . .So I got a flat front Kwik Sew men's pant pattern, added some to the thigh at the front inseam, did some knock knee adjustment . . .And I was then able to slim the legs down to the fit I wanted (actually just slimmer down to the knee, then flared back out the rest of the way) with no problem. Maybe the difference in the men's crotch?

  4. Tatsy | | #13

    I have one pair of jeans that fits like a glove.  The inseam is curved to give more room in front over the knee and less in back. This effectively makes the inseam longer. It also gets rid of unsightly extra fabric.

  5. From my Stash.... | | #14

    You've got a lot of great answers.  My first guess was going with the protruding stomach, since you've already done the adjustments for the back and the knock-knees.(And I have both the stomach and knee problem).

    The too low crotch is an easy one to check out and you've been given the right advice to fix it.

    When you try on the muslin (with the 1/4 in elastic tied around your waist),

    does the pulling go away when you pull down the front of the pants?  If yes, then you need a longer front crotch length.  The amount needed to be added to the centre front will be determined by how far below the elastic the pants are at the center front seam. 

    If you pull up the pants and the crotch is closer to your body, does the pulling go away?  In that case, you need to shorten the crotch depth all the way around  

    Good luck, I know it's frustrating, but you are getting closer to the fix. 

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