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Pants grainline question

AnneAudette | Posted in Fitting on


I’m using scrap material for knee-length test pants.  The waist is unfinished.  For now I’m using a fitting band.  The right and left front grainlines are hanging perpendicular to the floor.  The right and left back grainlines are distorted at the crotchline and gradually swing inward.  Because of the length of the test pants, it looks like the grainline is “off” about an inch at the knee.

What do I need to do to correct this?

Thanks a lot!






  1. woggy | | #1


    Do your thighs touch or come very close together?  If so, you will need to lengthen your outside seam.  You do this buy inserting a wedge on the back piece.  Many of us have a higher hip that causes this problem.

    The wedge is placed at the low hip area but then you will need to straighten your center back seam since the wedge throws the center back seam off.  Once you straighten the center back seam, you will then need to add to the side seam the amount that was removed when you straightened the center back.

    You might also have to "scoop" your back crotch seam.  Women's pelvises tend to slant down and the pattern companies don't allow for this.  Starting at the inseam, start lowering the crotch seam about a quarter of an inch - baste this seam - then as you round up towards your waist, you want to slant back to the original center back seam.

    You might have to "scoop" more than a quarter of inch which is why you baste the seam.  Pants require lots of adjusting for many of us.

    If these 2 alterations still don't solve the problem, you might have to also add a wedge on the inseam.  This is a knock knee alteration but it also works if your thighs touch or are close together.

    You will find lots of info on making pants at patternreview.com - check the message boards on this site especially under "Fitting Problems"

    Good luck!

    1. AnneAudette | | #2

      Hi, Woggy:

      Thank you so much for responding to my post.  I went to patternreview.com, printed out the recent posts on fitting pants.  I studied that for awhile.

      I thought about your question regarding inner thighs.  I believe that's the route I need to take.  I looked at my store-bought pjs and noticed the hem at the inseam hangs higher than the hem at the side seam.

      I'm going to start by adding the "knock-knee" wedge and see what happens.


      Thanks again for your post.  I'm learning a lot!


    2. ricstew | | #3

      would you mind explaining the knock knee wedge a little more? I think that is what I need for DD!!



      1. woggy | | #4


        If someone's thighs touch from the pelvis down, a knock knee adjustment is needed.  What is happening is the grainline is thrown off.

        There are 2 ways to do this alteration and both pattern pieces need to be changed:

        1. Slice the pattern front and back all the way across at the knee.  Shift the bottom portion of the pattern over about 1/2 inch - no more than 1 inch - to the inseam.  Redraw the the inseam line from the crotch point down to the new inseam line of the bottom portion. 

        Redraw the outter seam line from the hip area down to the hem line.

        Wide hips and thighs throw off the grainline so repositioning the lower portion of the pattern will keep the grainline where it needs to be.

        2. This alteration is taken from Sandra Betzina's "Sew Fast" book.  If you have that book you can read it or get it from the library.  Debbie Cook (poster at patternreview.com) has a website that shows these alterations and the pictures are quite good.

        Now for this alteration.  About an inch below the crotch line, at the inseam, slash the pattern towards the outer seam but not through the outer seam.  Open the slash about a 1/2 inch.  The bottom portion of the inseam is now lowered and you are adding length to the inseam.  You might have to take the outer seam in a tad to make up for this length on the inseam.

        I hope this helps.  Fitting pants is really an art due to all the directions the material must bend around our bodies.  I have just begun to figure this out and I have been sewing for 40 years!


        1. ricstew | | #5

          Wow many thanks Woggy!

          I actually looked at Debbies instructions the other night but was unsure of the reasoning behind it. You exlained that perfectly! :) Now i get it!

          I have sewn for about 20 years....from when the kids were little. I can throw a pair of pj's together in no time flat. Then DD hit the teen aged years .................so no more sewing for her!...........but now she is in her early 20"s and needs to look professional but is'nt easy to fit any more! She has curves!




          1. woggy | | #6

            Curves! Yes, I am very familar with that word!  I am convinced that the pattern makers do not take curves into consideration when making patterns for women.

            Many years ago, I had the good fortune of meeting someone who took a pair of pants that fit me and made a pattern for me.  The pants fit beautifully every time I made them.  But that was 20 lbs ago and before menopause - ugh.

            Glad to hear that this alteration might help you!


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