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pants fitting

KathleenB | Posted in Fitting on

Hi – This is my first posting, so please be kind.  I’m a woman of a “certain age”.  One sad day, my behind went south for the winter and never returned.  As a result, the center back seam on all my pants, both elastic-waist and regular band, pull under, starting about 4 inches below the waist.  I’ve read that I should scoop out the offending seam, and I’ve also read that I should take it in.  I’ve tried adding a 1/4 inch to the back crotch seam, but it didn’t work.  Any solutions will be most appreciated.  Thanks, Kathy


  1. DONNAKAYE | | #1

    Kathy, welcome!  For starters, what pattern are you using?

    1. KathleenB | | #2

      Hi Donnakaye - Thanks for your reply.  I use mcCall, Burda and New Look patterns.  My latest creation was New Look 6887.  size 10.  It's not a new pattern.  It has a 19" leg width with a cut-on,  elastic/drawstring waist.  I got a beautiful fit except for pulling on the center back seam.  Perhaps I need to add more than 1/4 to the back crotch seam?  Your suggestions will be welcome.  Kathy

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #4

        I need a bit more info about these drag lines at CB.  Where do they begin and terminate?  In other words, is the drag line running from the CB seam approx. 4 in. below the wasit and running downwards toward the hem?  Are the drag lines pointing toward the hipline, in a diagonal fashion?  The reason I always need this info is because the golden rule of pattern fitting is that the drag line almost always (with few exceptions, that is) points to the problem.  Also, is the crotch seam comfortable on you, or does it pull or bind you?

        1. KathleenB | | #5

          Hi Donnakaye - I appreciate your interest in my problem.  There are no drag lines per se.  The center back seam lies flat and comfortable for about 4 inches below the waistseam.  Then the seam pulls tight where my botton has dropped.    Gravity is the problem.  It feels to me that if I scooped out the center back seam to make more room, the pants would hang properly.  Or, if I added, say a 1/2 inch to both the front and back crotch lines, that would give me the added room to prevent the pulling under.  Do either or both of these sound like a possible solution to you?  Again, thanks.  You're so nice to do this.  Kathy  

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #7

            If I'm understanding what you're saying correctly, it sounds like you have two problems: 1) crotch needs to be lengthened, i.e., it's tight in the crotch, and 2) you have what's sometimes referred to as a "low seat."  For #1), you will of course need to add length to the crotch seam; for #2), you will probably have to lower the bottom of the crotch curve slightly, maintaining the original crotch point.  I am going to scan a couple of pages from Sandra Betzina's and Nancy Zieman's books on fitting.  These will give you a visual aid.  You should lengthen the crotch seam on the back first, as shown by Nancy, then make the alteration for low seat.  If you'll send me your e-mail address, I'll forward these scanned images to you directly.  My direct e-mail is [email protected].  I hope this helps, but if it doesn't, I have a peach of a pants pattern that my mom developed after 40 years of teaching and fitting thousands of students that I would be willing to send to you for the cost of postage for you to try.

            Donna Childress Brandt


          2. DONNAKAYE | | #8

            I forgot to mention that you might want to pull a pair of pants out of your closet that fits you comfortably in the crotch and drop one leg inside the other (inside out).  Lay your ready-to-wear pants on the pants you've sewn and compare the two.  This should give you a very quick visualization of where the problem most likely lies.....

            Donna Childress Brandt


  2. SewNancy | | #3

    I too have a rear that has gone south, and take out more. I found that I need to scoop out quite a lot. Also, if you are flat in the back as well then you need to straigten the CB seam.

    1. KathleenB | | #6

      Hi Nancy - I'm not used to the technical refinements of the site yet, so I just realized that you had answered my plea.  Yes, I am flat in the back.  How much do you scoop out?  A quarter inch, or more?  Thanks for your input.  Kathy

      1. Teaf | | #9

        Donnakaye's suggestion is by far the easiest way to check your pattern, just don't forget to check the front crotch seam, too!  As another "certain age" lady with a flat, low seat, I also have more tummy than I used to; if I don't remember to add for the tummy (my front crotch seam looks like one from a maternity pattern!), the pants pull across the seat.

        If you don't have readymade pants that fit comfortably--one of the primary reasons I sew--try some new brands, as each fits differently.  I find that Liz Claiborne and Lee slacks fit my current body, but other brands I used to love don't anymore.  Good luck!

        1. KathleenB | | #10

          Dear Teaf - Thanks for your input.  I've ordered the two fitting books mentioned by Donnakaye.  One has arrived and I've been reading it on and off all day.  I think your suggestion to add to the front crotch is suitable also in my case.  I also plan to take almost an inch out of the back pattern from the waist seam tapering to the hem.  In addition, I have to eliminate  a line of horizontal fullness under the behind.  I take a 6 Petite size in RTW pants and a size 10 pattern.   I'm looking forward to experimenting and will advise everyone of the results, good or bad.  Again, thanks, for your contribution.  Kathy     

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