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Pants! Help!

andryea | Posted in Fitting on

I want to make a pair of pants so bad! I hate shopping for them because it is near to impossible to find any ready to wear that actually fit and I could afford! Add to that that it could literally take all day trying on hundreds of pairs! Who’s got that kind of time?

I just want to make a pair…that’s not too much to ask is it? Well, as many of us sewers know…easier said than done…just look at these discussions regarding pant fitting issues.

Anyway, I saw in Threads issue #102 a review about a pant pattern from Petite Plus and since I am petite (5’2″) and plus (167lbs) I thought I’d give it a try. Well, I am pleased to say that their flat front pant pattern #601 came pretty darn close to fitting the first time than anyother pant pattern I have ever tried BUT it is not yet perfect… I still need to fine tune the fit and do not know exactly what needs fixing and how to alter the pattern. I am so close… yet so far.

The problem is that there is too much fabric in the front… in the ‘Y’ area, you know the place don’t you?… down by the crotch: across the front below the belly button, it’s way too blousey and poofy. What should I be doing with all this extra fabric?

Another problem is that the waistband seems too high, like the front crotch length is too long for my body (although the back is perfect). Can I simply lower the top edge of the pattern and relocate the waistband on the pattern. What then do I do with the two darts that are in the front…lengthen them?

Can anybody help me??? Is there a book or reference that can I could refer to for help?

Looking forward to many new pairs of EVERYDAY DRESS pants!


  1. susanmwilson | | #1

    Hi, I think I can help a bit (might not save this pair, but your next pair will be close to perfect!!). 

    - To correct the front poufs, put the pants on and pin out the excess fabric in horizontal tucks across the front.  Now measure this and pinch/fold out the same amount on the pattern piece.  Smooth out curves on the seamlines if you need to.  Check to see if this has affected the length and add anything to the bottom hem if you need to.

    - To fix the waistline, yes you can just cut off excess from the top seam.  Try this: take a piece of elastic about your waist measure and tie it on.  Sit it at your natural waistline.  Then put on the pants, and pull up the waist until it is where you want it, and mark that on the pants.  Now redraw this new waistline on your pattern, and move the darts down with it.  When you sew, the waistband may be angled, but lots of people have an angled waist, so that's pretty normal.  You can also shorten or lenthen your darts to conform with where your body is curved, the dart takes in fullness so the bottom of the dart should be at your fullest measurement, which may be higher or lower than the pattern.  So you need to measure how much below your waist the fullest part of your hip is VISUALLY ignoring where you think your hips are!

    - There is fantastic article in the Aug/Sept Threads that shows how to construct a waistband with a center back seam (like men's pants).  I just made a pair of pants and it is easy to do -- it allows you to do a final fit with the waistband and zipper/closure already sewn on the pants, to tweak the fit, and only have to make any adjustments to one seam!  This is a great technique and I would highly recommend it!

    - Finally, there are 2-3 fit books most people seem to find useful, "Fantastic Fit for Every Body", which I have and is pretty good.  It shows fitting challenges and before-and-afters on real people with detailed technical instructions.   Also "Fast Fit" by Sandra Betzina is pretty good,  less comprehensive, covers a wide range of fit issues but less detailed on  the technical instructions.   I don't have "Fit for Real People" but it may be the most comprehensive of the three based on input from people who have several books.  Perhaps your local library has all 3 for comparison.

    1. andryea | | #2

      Thanks for your help. Both of your fitting ideas sound logical and sensible...I seem to just freak out when things don't fit and consequently give up without a fight. This time I am determined to win. I will attempt your suggestions.

      I am wondering about whether or not the waistband application (I remember the article you spoke of) will actually work on this pair of pants as they have a zipper center back. What do you think?


      1. susanmwilson | | #3

        If you did the alteration they mentioned, you would end up with a seam in the center front waistband, so if you don't care, it's worth it.  You can also switch the zipper to a side seam (easier to do up!, but  you'd lose a pocket if there are any).  Since it's set nto a bit more curve, if the pattern doesn't call for it, reinforce the where the zipper is inserted with fusible interfacing the length of the zipper and over the stitching line about 1/2" on either side.   Also, try an invisible zip if you haven't .....it gives the sleekest line, looks like ready to wear and so easy to insert!

        Of course you don't need to do anything extra to the pattern like moving zips around, but it's fun to have a pattern perfected that you can sew up quickly!  Good luck, Sue

  2. dorothy_c59 | | #4

    When you try them on with the elastic round your natural waistline, don't forget to sit down in them on a firm chair as well. You don't want to take out too much of the front crotch depth.

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