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Sandra Betzina “Today’s Fit” Patterns

Cherrypops | Posted in Patterns on

Hi, I found this info from a previous post:

Sandra Betzina has (Vogue 7608). I’m not personally familiar with the construction methods she uses, but I do think there’s some real merit to her design: she conflates the back yoke and back waistband into one piece, so you get the look of a jeans yoke, but the fit of a contoured waistband. This is rather clever, as the back waist is so often the major fit problem for women when it comes to jeans.

I would like to know if anyone here has made pants from this pattern? OR Vogue 8202- it is a similar style with a back yoke.

If so, what was your fabric of choice? Were the pattern instructions easy to follow? Did the final garment look like the design picture?

I have viewed the pattern in the pattern books here in Australia.

I am 5’4″. and being small waisted 28″ I always have problems with the back of pants. Using belts just ‘bunches’ the fabric around my waist and my hips are 34″. The rtw pants look shocking.

I sew yes, but I haven’t sewn from a Vogue pattern before.

All responses appreciated,

(Sydney Australia)


Edited 2/4/2007 1:41 am by Cherrypops


  1. woodruff | | #1

    Not to "plug" another site, but there's information about this pattern at http://www.patternreview.comQuite a number of people there have made it up and posted reviews, complete with pictures of the finished garment. To see them, just type 7608 into the search box.

    1. cheerphil | | #6

      Hope it isn't too late to resuscitate this discussion. I have made these jeans 3 times in the past 2 years or so and would like to start another pair this weekend. I was one of the reviewers on patternreviews.com and my original problem was that the crotch area is irritatingly baggy with this pattern. I have seen several other comments about the same issue in various sewing forums, but never found a satisfactory solution.The way I fixed it was by taking in the inseam until I obtained a better fit, though I'm still not 100% happy. Ideally, I would like to make the alterations to the pattern itself.Enter Betzina's article in this month's Threads at http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00238.asp. Take a look at the photo at the top of the article. both pairs of pants clearly show the exact same bagginess in the crotch area! Does anybody know whether this is an intended feature of the pants? Am I missing something here about couture and jeans?The article goes on to describe how to alter the pattern front, which seems reasonable and easy enough to do. In this case it would involve slashing the front and taking out an inch or so in the zipper. However, since the photo shows the extra bulk below the zipper, I'm not totally convinced it's going to work. I will try Betzina's approach (with reservations), but am also curious about other sewers' experiences with this pattern.Philippa

      1. sewelegant | | #7

        Could this be a crotch depth solution?  It appears to me like too much length in the torso area.  When you measure from your waist at the side (while sitting on a hard surface) over the hip area to the sitting surface... that is the depth measurement and I'm sure Sandra Betzina probably addresses this, but how much you add for "ease" could make it too long.  Especially if the fabric stretches.

      2. Josefly | | #8

        This is another of those cases where poorly fitting garments are shown in a Threads article - an inconsistency I find frustrating, and which makes me doubtful, as it did you, about actually being able to use the pattern for fitting myself. As much as I love Threads, I get embarrassed when I see photos like that. That photo should be an example of a problem that needs to be corrected, not an example of good-fitting pants.I do think the crotch length is the problem in the front, though, and the correction would be to shorten the pattern piece between the waist and the point where the crotch seam begins its curve, which would be in the zipper area. The stiffness of the inserted zipper would force the wrinkling down below the zipper, causing that unattractive fold or bulge in the fabric. The curving part of the center front seam needs to be brought up closer to the body. I notice in the rtw jeans and pants that fit me best, the front crotch curve is much shorter and less curved than that in most patterns, with the back crotch extending more toward the front. There may be more in play here, though. I'm not a fitting expert, and still am in the process of finding my own perfect fit. It may be that only the center front of the pants needs shortening, and the waistline seam would taper out to the original length at the side seams. There are a lot of comments on this topic in the archives of this forum.Good luck with your fitting attempts, and let us know how you resolve it, please.

        1. cheerphil | | #9

          Thanks for both of your replies. I hadn't considered the crotch depth, though I think this could be part of the issue. When I made the pants the 2nd time I shortened the entire torso area by about 1.5" all round, which should have addressed this, and they did fit better than the first pair. According to the pattern the waistband is supposed to come 1" below the waist and I found mine higher, so this was a logical alteration.As for the curve being more pronounced than RTW, that is something I measured last night, because I was thinking the same thing. My favourite FDJ do not have this bulge and the curve appears to be about a 1/2" shorter than in the pattern. I will probably make the pants this evening & will provide an update afterwards.Philippa

          1. Josefly | | #10

            Good, I look forward to hearing how your changes work out.FDJ? fitted designer jeans?

            Edited 3/29/2008 12:36 pm ET by Josefly

          2. cheerphil | | #11

            French Dressing Jeans.I love their fit and would wear only their jeans if I weren't so obstinate about making my own ;-)

          3. cheerphil | | #12

            They're finished and I am much happier!The fit is much better than before. In the end I removed almost 2" from the length of the zipper, leaving the waist and back as per the pattern.I also reduced the curve in the crotch area by almost 1" by increasing the seam allowance. I was aware that this would not be a good dressmaking technique, but I didn't want to alter the curve while cutting out the pattern, just to be on the safe side. However, since it worked, I think I will significantly reduce the curve in the front next time without any nervousness.Even though I consider these two adjustments to be fairly radical, there is still a small amount of bagginess, though I can live with it. I guess I'm just disappointed in the pattern - while implying a higher quality fit, the effect is really the opposite. I had begun to believe it was my shape that was off, but the photo in the Threads article definitely shows the same problem. In this case, I am quite happy to have seen Threads' disappointing photos ;-)One other thing, if anybody else is considering making these jeans, you might want to make a note of the topstitching of the side seams: if you try this in the order per the instructions, it will be physically impossible. The instructions call for sewing the inseam first, then the side seams, and thirdly topstitching the sides.My RTW jeans have the topstitching on the inseam which makes sense to me because that's where a lot of stress occurs. I think the switch here is either an error or decorative. In any event, I would do the topstitching after completing the first seam (either one) and before stitching the second. Otherwise it's impossible to get the machine all the way down the length of the pants.Lastly, if you're wondering why I'm persevering so much with a pattern that has a number of defects, I should mention that it has a very nice slightly low-slung waistband with a V-shape at the back, avoiding the use of pleats or darts. It's a comfortable fit and although all the topstitching is a little tedious, it does look attractive.

          4. Josefly | | #13

            Good news for you - getting a good-fitting pair of jeans. And thank you for the description of the changes you made and how they worked out for you. One question. You say you shortened the center front seam by about 2 inches. (That sounds like a lot of length to take out to me, especially if you shortened the crotch by another inch by taking a wider seam allowance at the crotch point.) Did you shorten the pattern all the way across to the side seams by that much, by folding up a 1-inch tuck in the pattern piece, or did you slash the pattern to the side seam and lap it at the center-front only? When you shortened the crotch curve by taking a wider seam allowance, (I assume you mean when you sewed the inseam) did you take the wider seam shortening the front only, or both front and back?And another question - where is the remaining bagginess? Still in the crotch length, or in the thighs, or elsewhere?Also, does the waistband itself have a v-shape at the back, or did you mean there's a yoke in the back. The pattern does sound as if it has some good features.I agree that the top-stitching on either the outseam or the inseam would be difficult to do after joining both seams. I made pants in 7 different sizes for gifts this winter, and flat-felled the outseams before joining the inseams. Because the fabric was very prone to fray, I wanted to finish the inseam allowances, too, but had quite a time getting it done from top to bottom. These were men's pants, and not jeans, so there was more room - I think women's pants would've been impossible, and certainly jeans, unless they were very wide-legged.

          5. cheerphil | | #14

            I only took the extra length out of the front - I slashed the pattern so no length was taken out of the sides or the back. The instructions actually say to take the extra length out all round, and I did make a pair last year this way. Although the fit is ok when I'm standing, they go a little lower than I'm comfortable with when I bend down. It seemed counterintuitive to me to correct the back and sides when it is the front that has the problem. That's why I was intrigued when I saw Betzina's Threads article online, which talks about slashing only the front. Maybe she wrote it after seeing that her original instructions don't really work for the majority of women?The slash method worked best for me, I think. It corrected most of the bulge in the front, and my underwear does not show at the back when I bend.Regarding the crotch curve adjustment, I simply took it off both the front & back, thinking that if it didn't work, I would redo it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was fine. These are jeans though, and I would like to be more careful with dressier pants. This is an area I am going to study some more before making any more. I think I am going to measure the shape of all the RTW trousers and the various patterns I have, both in the back and the front, to come up with a pattern piece that gives an optimal fit.You're right about the v-shape waistband - it is a yoke, but there is no waistband above the yoke piece. The front has a slightly-shaped regular waistband.Lastly, I learned about flat-felled seams and french seams in high school and remember being fascinated with the technique. However, after more than 20 years of sewing with a serger and thinking about techniques that work (and a decent dose of cutting corners & laziness!) I came to the conclusion that pants are much easier to make if you sew the seams the regular way, press them open and then to the side, and add a double line of topstitching. Guess I won't win any technical prizes this way, but it's something that works for me.

          6. Josefly | | #16

            I own only my old Singer Touch 'N Sew from 1966, so flat-fell or french seams or hong kong finish are my only options for finishing seams. With the flat-fell seams I spend way more time at the ironing board than at the sewing machine. I've never liked the way zig-zagged sa's look, or the added bulk of them. Oboy, did I wish I had a serger when I was making all those pants! It would've gone SOOO much faster. Because on some of the pants I bound the seam allowances of the inseam and crotch with Seams Great, that sheer (and slippery and hard to control) bias seam binding. It took me forever to do, especially until I devised a better way of handling the binding. Ugh! It does make for a nice, lightweight and unbulky seam finish, though. As long as you don't touch it with a hot iron!Thanks again for your description of what fitting technique worked for you, and congratulations on getting a step further in your process. I hope the same techniques will work on the other, non-jeans, pants you want to make.

            Edited 3/30/2008 10:24 pm ET by Josefly

          7. cheerphil | | #18

            You are obviously much more patient than I am!!

          8. desigknityog | | #29

            The current issue of Sewstylish (also a Taunton magazine) has a fantastic article on fitting pants... which includes an explanation of why the inseam adjustment is not the best way to go to adjust the crotch length.  The author, Joyce Murphy, introduces several new terms, and the illustrations make her understanding of fitting the crotch area appear to be very straightforward.  She discusses the "body space" which is the area enclosed by the 2 sloping crotch curves when the F and B pattern pieces are aligned so that the crotch points are overlapped. In her method, you would make a full muslin to determine the pattern adjustments.  Then first adjust any problem with the crotch depth. Next, if necessary, adjust the body space by altering the "crotch width" (illustrated in the article) by making adjustments to the crotch seam with a compensatory adjustment to the side seam on the F, B or both.

            I haven't tried to fit a pants pattern by this method yet, but am very eager to try it. I plan to buy the fabric from a Los Angeles company called HempTraders.  They are also on the web and have a selection of great fabrics for garment and home dec. I bought their set of swatches and plan to use a hemp/cotton blend that has a wonderful weight. 

            Good luck on your jeans project!

          9. cheerphil | | #30

            I am going to look for that SewStylish article - I don't find a reference to it in the website info on the current issue, but perhaps I'll have better luck at the bookstore.I would agree with your comment about curve adjustments not being such a smart idea. My thinking was that because the pattern had more length in its curve than my RTW well-fitting pants, I could get away with an adjustment there, and in my case it did work.When I first made the pants, I did what the pattern suggested, and removed an inch or so from the entire pattern, i.e. front, side and back, all the way round. I realized that while it looked ok while standing up, the loss of fabric at the back makes my underwear show when I bend (a pet hate of mine!). In the latest pair, I removed the additional fabric only in the zipper area. In other words, the side and back seams are exactly as per the pattern. I find that the fit is much better at the back now.By the way, I did receive a reply from Sandra Betzina's assistant, who confirmed that this particular pattern was NOT one of the ones with errors. However she suggested "keeping an eye out for when Sandra is in your area doing a workshop or event, so you can work with her personally on refining fit." This is exactly what I don't need. I was originally taken by the entire Betzina/Vogue premise that these patterns had been double- and triple checked and designed to fit real women. The fact that the Threads photo shows exactly what I mean, and I have seen comments about this same problem on other sewing websites, makes me realize the problem doesn't lie with me, but the pattern. I do think I will take a look at Hot Patterns next!

          10. ShannonG4d | | #31

            I'd like to chime in here about the fit of the Betzina pants....

            The fitting criteria for these patterns is based on a certain body type, which Betzina developed from research.  The patterns are intended to fit a more rounded figure, with a bit of tummy and the need for some shaping in the thighs. When you pull these jeans patterns out of the envelope, you'll notice immediately that there is more fabric around the tummy, the thigh area has a curve in the seam, and the crotch hook is longer than in other patterns.  This is to reflect her research, and these patterns do fit a certain figure type much more accurately than other patterns. 

            That said, the models in the magazine do NOT fit the Betzina sizing body type.  That's why you're seeing bagginess and poor fit in the photos.  It's not a reflection of a poor pattern, but a poor match between pattern shape and body shape.  In order to perfectly fit those model shapes, the shaping that Betzina's patterns require would have to be completely eliminated.  Those models do not need extra tummy room, there is no need for an extended crotch hook, and the thigh area has no need for curves.  When the shaping of the B pattern is placed on the straighter figure, bagginess occurs. 

            There are several really good jeans patterns on the market.  Betzina's is one of them; I've made half a dozen pair, and they fit very well.  But I have the body shape that is reflected in her basic draft.  I've also made jeans from the McCalls Palmer and Pletsch patterns, and they also fit (but with more alterations for my own shape).  Marfy has a great jeans pattern, as does Silhouette Patterns, Hot Patterns, Burda, and http://www.burdastyle.com (The last one is a free pattern download).  Each pattern has a specific shape, and each designer has a basic shape in mind when the pattern is designed.  If your body is close to that shape, your alterations will be lessened, and good fit, with fewer alterations, will be easier to accomplish. 


          11. cheerphil | | #32

            What you wrote makes complete sense and totally explains the cause of my problem. While I would never have thought that my size 14, post-2 children shape was less curvy around the tummy than the average woman in my size range, you probably are right. Now I'm seriously wondering about the statistical validity of Betzina's sampling!!In a way I am actually very happy to have encountered this, because my playing around with the pattern and the discussion in this thread has helped me to think about the theory behind pants fitting and pattern construction in a way that I would otherwise never have done. All the comments in the past few weeks have been more constructive than anything I have found in any of my textbooks or even Threads articles. I hope others feel the same way.Philippa

          12. ShannonG4d | | #33

            I would not be concerned about the 'statistical validity' of the sizing.  This pattern sizing addresses shapes that are not addressed in any other pattern company, so they are valid for the body shape in question.  And there are many who do fit that demographic in sizing, so there is need for the patterns.  I know many women who cannot find good fit from any other source.

            Take a look at the burdastyle free download.  From the description of your fitting issues, I think it might be a good starting point.  The crotch hook is the famous "Burda crotch", which fits many women beautifully.  The front of the jeans is flatter than Betzina's, and the side seams are straight.  Besides, it's free:)  You will need to register to have access to the patterns, after which you can print the pattern at home on your printer.  Instructions for taping the pieces together are included.

            Use your full hip measurement to determine the size.  I find this to be particularly needed with European patterns, as they tend to fit more closely through the hip area.  Altering the waistline is a breeze compared to altering the crotch area:)

            Let us know how your next jeans turn out!


          13. Josefly | | #34

            Thank you so much for the information about the fitting for various pattern-makers. It really explains a lot, especially about the photos in that jeans article. Too bad Sandra Betzina didn't have some say in how the pants were photographed, and on whom.

        2. rekha | | #19

          This is another of those cases where poorly fitting garments are shown in a Threads article

          Quite right you are. I will give you another example: Terry Horlamus' article on pattern grading (see http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00224.asp).

          View Image

          View Image

          This author is the director of NY fashion academy. I wrote to him asking him how line 27and 28 could be on different locations. From an initial response I have no other response.

          Edited 3/31/2008 2:07 pm ET by rekha

          1. Josefly | | #20

            I know it's frustrating when you have a question and can't get an answer. How long has it been since you contacted the author?I confess though that I don't see a conflict in the two possible pattern-alteration lines. Are you asking why there would be two alteration lines between the center-front and the dart? Like the pants pattern, the skirt has corresponding pairs of alteration lines.

            Edited 3/31/2008 7:35 pm ET by Josefly

          2. starzoe | | #21

            I am not keen on the "slash and spread" method of pattern grading, in fact "grading" itself is not a reliable method to get a good fit. This is from experience over many years of sewing and and taking design classes - and later on teaching those pattern design classes.The gist of the slash and spread is in the quote from that article by Horlamus "grade up or down A SIZE OR TWO". But after that you get an unreliable pattern. A larger size needs deeper armcyes, different lengths and perhaps shape and location of darts but the neck doesn't necessarily need widening, neither does the wrist when the whole arm is graded.If the commercial pattern companies' size 12 is the norm and they grade up to 18 and down to 6, the only person it is likely to come close to fitting is the original size 12.

          3. WandaJ | | #22

            That's an interesting last statement you made. What is the reason for the size not changing?

          4. starzoe | | #23

            I don't quite understand your question, although if you mean the last paragraph where I mention that the pattern will fit "only the size 12", I should have said "of all the patterns graded, none of the altered patterns will fit properly" meaning that if you grade a pattern you are (in most cases) enlarging all body measurements the same amount. Just because a person needs an enlarged bust doesn't mean she needs the same enlargement at the waist, between the bust points, dart length and at the neckline.Most grading instructions do not mention that any graded pattern needs tweaking to take care of the above problem and so, at least in my opinion, if you are going to have to do this, in the beginning you might as well used a refined form of alteration to change what is needed and skip the grading except where it might be part of the "refined" sizing.

          5. WandaJ | | #24

            Thanks. Now, I understand about the 'size 12.'

          6. stitchagain | | #25

            I am not an expert but what I found most helpful on this subject was Fashion Incubators posting "Grading is not Morphing" (http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/grading_is_not_morphing.html).



          7. starzoe | | #26

            Exactly. The question she was addressing from a would-be designer states the situation very well. When I taught pattern design, so many young women signed up for the course and left after the first lesson because they had the idea that they could, without knowing a bit about sewing, or fabric, or the complexities involved in "designing", become a "designer". Most of them brought a poor drawing of something they had dreamt up and certainly not prepared for my course even though it was thoroughly described in the curriculum.

          8. stitchagain | | #27

            It takes all kinds.

            I have certainly seen some famous designers start with "poor drawings".

            The more I learn about sewing and all its uses, the more I feel I need to learn.



      3. lorisews | | #15

        You might check out Sandra's website, seems the pattern company altered some of her pant patterns without her knowledge, and she had them reissued. Perhaps you have one of those altered copies? She is supposedly all about European fit and less baggy under the seat.

        1. cheerphil | | #17

          Great idea! I remember reading about this at least a year ago and had completely forgotten. I can't find any reference to this on the site right now. I have sent Sandra Betzina an email enquiry...hopefully I'll get a reply before too long.

      4. berniejh | | #28

        Ditch the Betzina pattern & get a Hot Patterns pants pattern - never again will you have pants with a baggy crotch.

  2. fabricholic | | #2

    I like sewing from Vogue patterns. I haven't sewn this one, yet. Plan to, though. Marcy

    1. user-238478 | | #3

      Anyone tried the SB  T-shirt with the drapey neckline.. V2945 is the number.  I am headed to JoAnn Fab. today because the Vogue patterns are $3.99.  This one is one my list....

      Thanks!  nancy r.

      1. fabricholic | | #4

        No. I haven't. Where are the Vogue on sale?Marcy

        1. Teaf5 | | #5

          Her initial post says "Joann Fabrics," so check there. If you don't receive the flyer, you can always check the current ones online, even if you aren't registered. You can see all the specials but don't get the coupons.

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