Sunday, September 12, 2010


Aren't all pants pullon? LOL.

TNT pair? Tried and true. Are these the elusive well-fitting pants I've been stalking for years?

These are not the way I would have wanted my pants to fit years ago. About thirty years ago a middle-aged friend of mine told me that pants should hang straight down in the back from the fullest part. I thought Hey, that's for old people and I'm not old. I want some definition in the back!

Well, I had my definition and probably many fit wrinkles. At that time I don't think I checked for wrinkling; I checked for fit.

Time has passed. I have made my pattern larger over the years for three reasons: 1) I have expanded 2) pants got looser fitting (although slim again in the last few years) 3) I have aged--I have aged?!--and want a little more ease, especially to hide the "bumps".

numbered this pattern 92508, the day I made them. I'm guessing it is a poly linen blend, possibly with some silk. It was part of a stack of fabric purchased from someone. Between that date and now I did make: one of the few muslins I have ever made; two more pairs but in dark colors which won't photo well, and a second left leg for these. I used someone else's iron (don't ask) which melted some of the fabric on the left leg. Since I had plenty of fabric left, I ripped out the entire left pant leg and made another one.

This last pic is to show typical pants on me. This pair, made December, 1990, from poly rayon gabardine aren't this bad. I adjusted them for the pic so they looked more like pants from the past fit because the worst pairs are gone; plus the others were in darker colors so would not show all the wrinkles.
This pair is pattern 4383 (April 3, 1983) which is the day I said, "I got it; I got it!" I used 4383 for years, every few years adding a tad here and there to the pattern, or scooping out somewhere.
I made a slew of underlays; overlays; yokes, front and back; pockets of all types; pleats; variations of leg widths; cuffs; various closures; design details (tabs, belt loops, etc). This way I could just pick this piece and that piece and have totally different looking pants. Some of these pieces, though made for 4383, are still usable; others need some adjusting.
Over the years there have been a few pattern numbers and revisions, but most were based on 4383.
For almost every commercial pattern: if they fit well in front are way too small in the back; if they fit well in the back, they are quite baggy in the front.
To fit pants I have to allow for:
--tilted pelvis ("tucked under")
--swayback, slight
--large-ish, low fanny (a "shelf")
--large front thighs, slight
--large high abdomen
--stance: twisted legs
--stance: hip and leg bone structure
--one back side slightly larger than other (just noticed)
I have a trousers pattern so what's left is to get an updated TNT pattern for slacks, combining the fit of these pullons with ones which have good upper abdoman and waist fit.
I will then be set with basic patterns for pullon pants, slacks, and trousers. No jeans--I don't wear them.
Fitting pants is easy. It took me only about thirty years; about ten patterns, morphed several times; and about a thousand try-ons.
Note: the little bump in the back of the side view pic is a doorknob, which I am certain is not attached to me.
Note: I didn't mention short stature as a fitting issue. I do height adjustments so automatically that I don't even consider them to be a fitting issue.


Joansie said...

I think my comment went into never-never land. Anyhow, I admire your skills at being able to alter a pattern. I used to sew a lot when I was a "perfect size".

FirePhrase said...

I have a friend with an EXTREMELY short in-seam (shorter than petite, though she's got a long torso and big feet - who says God doesn't have sense of humor?). Have you found any patterns that are particularly good for short legs?

glorm said...

Joansie, I know you have mentioned that you had sewn and had made doll clothes, but I think of you as a fantastic knitter.

I had to be determined to get pants, a staple item, to fit. Pants are one of the easiest items to sew, but the hardest to fit.

glorm said...

FP, I haven't used a commercial pattern in years. I buy them on occasion, hoping to find one which comes close to my own pattern, but not much luck.

Pant leg length adjustments are one of the easiest to do. Petite patterns are long gone, but patterns usually have length adjustment lines on them. I usually don't do more than 1 1/2" in any one place. If more is needed, I will shorten above and below the knee. Then use a ruler to "true" the lines (so those jagged lines don't become part of the pants LOL)

poplin said...

No doubt: pants are the hardest to fit. Now, if I can find time to sew them, that would be nice!

Those pants look terrific on you. Is this pair a muslin? Are we going to see some color in the future?

glorm said...

Poplin, you're going to have even less time beginning next month.

Thank you for the compliment. No, these are wearable pants; the muslin was made out of muslin--LOL.

As for color, most of my pants have color--blues, greens, reds, pinks, etc. One day I wore a red pair and my neighbor said, "Red pants?" I don't know what she meant by that, but I love them. I like color. The reason I made these is that I figured if they didn't work out, it was no big deal because of the low price I paid for some very nice fabric. And, as I mentioned, dark ones in photos hide what it is the person is trying to show.