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Focus on the Waist to Fit Pants

Use a simple method to improve the fit of any pants pattern
Threads #207, Feb./March 2020

No matter how close your measurements are to those listed on a pattern’s size chart, you are likely to need some fit adjustments for comfort and appearance. With pants, a key area to fit is the section from the waistline to the hips. Everyone has a different slope from narrow to wide, a different distribution of padding, and a different waistline angle.

Pants patterns are typically shaped with darts: These bring in the garment’s circumference at the waist, and create space and shaping for the abdomen, hips, and buttocks. A pattern may include one or two darts on each side in back, and one or no darts on each side in front. This configuration may be all right or may be all wrong, depending on your shape. The darts may take in too much or not enough circumference at the waist, or they may not be positioned where your body needs the shaping.

Solve waist- and hip-fitting issues on a faced waistline by customizing the darts. Pattern: Simplicity 8137. Fabric: cotton/spandex sateen, MoodFabrics.com.

Fortunately, customizing the fit at the waist is a straightforward process for most pants styles. Begin by pinning darts that follow your figure. These darts can be transferred directly to a pattern with a faced or traditional straight waistband. If your pattern has a contoured waistband, you can use the same process, then convert the darted waistline area into a contoured waistband.

Fitting darts is easier to do with a sewing buddy, and you may need to test a few options before settling on the ideal dart intake and placement. Be prepared to make a muslin and to sew and revise the darts a couple of times to find the fit and look you prefer. It is worth the investment of time, as you…

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