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Pants fitting

Annette_Smith | Posted in Fitting on

I am having a lot of trouble fitting pants. Just when I think I have it right the crotch seam seems to lenthen, especially after I have finished and worn them. They fit OK when I tried them on when sewing and fitting them. Is it usual for this seam to stretch at all? I am a larger size and maybe a lot of the seam is on the bias. I measured the crotch seam length when drafting the pattern 9of course), made a toile and had someone help me fit it. I took about 5cm off the seam at the front waist then and seem to need to do the same again. It’s very confusing and frustrating.


  1. silkscape_ | | #1

    perhaps the weight of the fabric is pulling the pants down as they are worn? is it an elastic waist? what type of fabric? do you have the same problem with other fabrics? maybe you should wear the toile around for an afternoon.

    1. Sue_Waggoner | | #2

      *I agree pants fitting can be frustrating. Another thought, are you wearing the same undergarments when fitting as you wear with the pants? Wearing pantyhose will change the fit a little. I was having problems with fitting for bagging in the back end and found that adding a little extra ease in the front made a world of difference.

      1. silkscape_ | | #3

        *Here's another thought. I have discovered that my front crotch length is quite a bit shorter than the back. Generally, if I make pants as is, the front comes up way too far. I don't notice it as much in the muslin stage, only when wearing. So, now I know that I have to add a bit to the back adn subtract from the front. Took me awhile to realize that. Pants are tricky.

        1. Liz_Maynard | | #4

          *I've had same problems and it is frustrating!! Sandra Betzina has a pant pattern in Vogue for mature figure with great instructions on alterations. I made my sample pant out of pant fabric off bargain table and it took me all day to perfect the fit. I made adjustments to pattern after I had the fit too. The nice thing is they feel wonderful and I've gotten lots of compliments on how slim I look--It's all the pants! AS for the crotch seam (Annette) try sewing stabilizer into the curved part of the seam and that should prevent the stretching.

          1. Nancy_Peters | | #5

            *Ah, this seems to be a discussion I could use. My problem is sliding.I used Karen H.'s technique (from Threads)for making a perfect crotch curve using a flexible ruler, then slightly narrowing the thigh. They fit beautiful. Then as I wear them, the back slides down and the front slides up. Next thing I know I have the inseam in the front of my thighs, the waist is under my bust and my fanny shows. (that may be a little exagerated :^p) Anyone know how to fix this?I have been playing with the crotch seam for 15 years. I draft my own patterns, have used SB's and every one elses pattern. Oh, the eternal search for the perfect fit.BTW this happens in loose, elastic waist pants as well as fitted, waistband pants. I have a full belly (think 8 mos) and "normal" aging (think starting to droop) butt.Nancy Clearwater, FL

          2. Joyce_Murphy | | #6

            *NancyI don't have a solution, but I do have a way to look at the problem. Sometimes solutions present themselves when we have a better understanding of what is going on.Why are your pants sliding forward? You are asking the waistband (or elastic) to stay situated over the top of the "roundness" of your tummy in front and it doesn't want to stay there. It wants to gravitate to the smaller circumference above the roundness. As the waistband moves up in front it takes the whole pant with it, the inseam moves forward and the pant pulls down in back. Problem is your waistband will always want to do this. So what to do about it. You have 4 choices.1) Leave the fit the way it is and put up with the problem so as to keep the waistband looking straight across the front when you position it there. A looser waistband will help you achieve this better than a tighter one. The tighter the band the more it is going to want to "travel" up.2) Position the front waistband where it wants to go and cut your pants accordingly. By this I mean, add to the front crotch length at the waist in order to cover the tummy. The waist will be up under the bust, but the inseam and the back will stay where they belong.3) What happens when you position the waistband slightly below the tummy? This encourages the pants to travel down in front, but at the same time this happens the waistband stays situated higher in back. Try it out by putting on a pair of pants and pinning out a horizontal tuck across the front about 3" below the band. Taper the tuck from nothing at each side seam. The pant may naturally want to come up in back as it "hugs" deeper into the back waist. If it looks and feels awful that way, forget it. It works for some people. It is a comfortable fit for walking and sitting. It may not be flattering though and that's the down side. To cut for this option, remove crotch length at the front waist, and add to crotch length at the back waist.4) Another style option may help. Experiment with different styles by going out and trying on pants. Position them on your waist differently and see what happens. See if elastic part way around either on sides or just across the back helps your pants ride differently, or a pant with a faced waist might be less noticable that it is riding too high in front than having a waistband there.The only other thing I have to offer is encouragement to keep at it. Pant fitting is always a challenge, and I got to hand it to those who don't give up on what sometimes feels like such as illusive goal.Sorry, to be so late with a response.Joyce MurphyJSM [email protected]://www.jsmpatterns.com

          3. Reiko | | #8

            Ms. Murphy,

            I enjoyed your articles on the Threads magazines.(Issue #119= July 2005, P34-P39, and #122 = January 2006, P36-P41).  I understand your concept and it is a good method, however I don't understand your alteration of the pattern.


            For my case, I have a protruding tommy and flat seat, so  I have to create MORE body space in back and LESS body space in front.  If I remove some amount from center back seam, and add the same amount to the side seam (I will do the opposite alteration for the front pattern), I understand the look will be different from the original pattern.  However, isn't the measurement the same as the original pattern?


            Your help will be greatly appreciated.


            p/s: I understand you have a class in my backyard (Laurel, MD) on April 4th to 8th, but unfortunaterly, I can't attend that class.


            Thank you,






          4. mem | | #10

            Ok I have had the opposite problem but what you are describing is the need to keep the measurement he same but redistribute it away from the back crotch seam and into the front crotch seam.Cutting into the curve will increase the body space available and lengthen the seam which seems counterintuitive but is so.If them amounts you need to add or take out are not very large you coud do that but I would slash from the front seam across the pattern at the level of your bulge and out to the side seam then open this up by the amount you need to to have your inseam sitting where it should be and the waist at the waist or above the bulge  . On the back seam slash as above but instead of opening  it out overlap, until you have taken out the amount to have all the seams sitting where they should be. It isn't important that you have a total length which is greater or smaller than the total seam length on your pattern.. When you have these distances worked out make up a muslin and check that all is well and that your side seams hanging straight down  as they should be . When making up the garment I ALWAYS include a stay in the crotch seam as this will counter the drooping crotch seam problem you can have after wearing them for a while . I also put a stay in the waistband seam.

          5. Reiko | | #11

            Dear Mem,

            Thank you for your suggestion.  When I altered my pants, I added the amount I needed to the front waist/abdomen area(center front seam).  What I was cofused by the article of Ms. Murphy was removing from the side seam and adding the same amount to the center seam.  I though she was alterering from the original pattern.  And I thougt, if you exchange same amount from side to center seam, it does not change anything from the original pattern to the amount I need for my size.




          6. mem | | #12

            You are talking about increasing your waist measurement or acroos the bulge measuremnt?? I am talking about chaning the length of the seam which runs from your center font down betwen your legs and the center back . Lengthening  or shortening this seam at the appropriate places will solve your problem . You wont need to change the side seams at all unless you have a large hip or thigh meausurement.

          7. Reiko | | #13

            Hi Mem,

            I am talking about altering my waist as well as my tummy size.  I always added the amount I neede at the center seam.  My question was raised because one of the  members of my American Sewing Guild neighborhood group asked about pants fitting session, and we looked into the article by Ms. Murphy(issues#119, July '05, #122, January 06).  I will inform her of your help.

            Thank you,



          8. lizabeth | | #9

            Hi Liz,
            Could you please tell me the number of the Vogue pattern for mature figures that Sandra Betzina has?I am struggling with Palmer Pletch at the moment and would like to try anything that already has allowance for ####full tummy and flat bottom designed in.thanks Lizabeth

  2. FitToSew | | #7

    Hi Annette,

    You could try making a seam stay for your crotch seam.  Simply sew a preshrunk, narrow cotton twill tape into your crotch seamline.  Seams Great might be a good alternative for light fabrics.

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