Saturday, September 13, 2014

TNT Files: The Quest for Pants That Fit

Or trousers, for the British persuasion.

Before getting into a somewhat photo heavy post I thought I'd share a life update, because a lot has happened. For one, the 3rd anniversary of Mom's passing was on the first and eight days later was her birthday. Right before all this my husband's job was unexpectedly and with no warning, terminated. Georgia is an at-will state so they didn't need a reason to do so.  Later we found out there was a management shift (rumors also of selling the company) and honestly he has so much stress lifted off his shoulders. With unemployment we are still above water but now I can't stress shop for fabric. I mean, I got plenty, TOTALLY stocked up but.. but...  Leh Sigh.  And not so much bad but funny, my Aunts have started reading my blog and I got several tips on how to improve my grammar. For all of you Grammar Enforcers, I will do my best to use it's instead of its,  I promise.  However, I'm still going to do two spaces at the end of a sentence BECAUSE THAT IS THE PROPER WAY.

Ok, on to the actual sewing portion of this program. Remember back in January when I said I had a goal of turning more patterns into TNT's (tried-and-true) that could be remade many times? Well, I've been trying to work on that but its been a snail's pace.  The biggest gap in my wardrobe and sewing repertoire is woven pants for work and Thurlows were at the top of the list. And I've been seriously dragging my feet on this project because fitting pants is something I am not yet good at and well, it is a tedious amount of work. I've become accustomed to the quick fix knits can bring me. But I finally kicked my metaphorical ass in gear and started.  First I did the largest size straight out of the package.

This is what they looked like. Poor cell phone photos but its good enough to relay informations.

So these look like they fit but the problem here is that they are skin tight. I CANNOT sit down in these.  And they are hugely long.  Sewaholic says they draft for the average 5'6" but I'm not so sure. Granted, proportionally speaking my torso is long and legs are short. And my waist is high by comparison.

From the side can you see how the seam is straining forward? That would be my full front thighs and ample booty. 

Ah, now the "smiles" under my butt saying I need more room there. Again I know this LOOKS like it fits by the back seam is 1/4 inch right now. I squatted down after these photos and it went RIIIPPPPP. Not a good thing. So here's the first changes I made.

Oh, man, I didn't annotate the lengthening of the posterior inner thigh. That is that v-shaped slice you see with the washer on top. That was for my second muslin.  The scooped out crotch is for the perky booty bits.  Sorry, I failed to get second muslin fitting photos.

I made this modification where instead of two different front pattern pieces I have one with the fly flap so I can do the flat fly insertion method found here. I highly recommend this method and this modification because it will make your life 10 time easier. Seriously!  I found the link through Erica B, and of course it's from Threads Magazine.

This was done for the second muslin, then elongated a bit for the third one. It certainly helped but I still had false smiles.  I finally stumbled upon a fix for that, which I outline below.

The High Hip Curve Adjustment:

This is actually a new adjustment for me, I kept looking at the fitting photos and thinking that this can't be more inner thigh/crotch curve room because at this point I can basically squat in these without much worry (my litmus test for wearing in public safely). Pants Fit for Real People did not cover this anywhere and I finally found the closest match in Fitting and Pattern Alterations textbook. The high hip curve. I tried to annotate as best I could on how I did this change.  Hence the horribly embarrassing fitting photos. Seriously, the things I do for my hobby!

This photo also points out that my right hip is a bit higher than my left. I think I may have to do a left and right side for my pants some time in the future to adjust for the unevenness. For now, I'm ok with it. Also noticeable here from my first muslin is that I've shortened the legs, looking at this I need to shorten it some more.

Now, this is done below the slashed pocket line. Had I been thinking I would have tried to diagram how that part worked. This is how it works if you have not slash pockets in the front.  It took me a few moments of mental gymnastics to work it out to make front and back even with each other. You may end up taking the waist in just a smidgen because it should sit just above the hip curve now.

So, I'm hoping to cut out a wearable pair today, possibly get it sewn up but we will see!  I cut out a couple things destined for gifts. 


  1. Looks like you're well on your way to some nice pants! Can't wait to see how your day of sewing goes. =)

    Glad the job loss came with the bonus of less stress - hope your husband's search for a new and better one is quick!

    ~ Brooke

  2. Really interesting. I've got exactly the same drag lines on both front and back. After plenty of fiddling with muslins, I've worked out that I need extra room across the inner thigh WITHOUT adding any to the crotch seam. I have left the crotch the same but simply angled the inner thigh seamline straighter, rather than slanted in towards the knee (I brought the seamline back to the original where my own thighs go in to my knee, based on measuring it. Basically, the crotch is right but I need more fabric to go across my inner thighs than any pattern seems to draft for.

    However, I know too, I have the high hip curve, because I'm forever pulling my trousers down at the sides to get them to sit better, but never thought to adjust for it DUH!!! I do with skirts so goodness knows why it takes reading someone else's blog to make the light go on about trousers?
    Dragging the trousers down at the sides though doesn't really change the smile lines across the top of my thighs front and back. It just makes the crotch sit better. I probably have an issue with both thigh and hip and need to work out a ratio between the two adjustments that works for each.

    Also, I have a fitting issue with full front thighs which drags the side seam forward. I did a full thigh adjustment (I think The Colleterie has a tute on that) which also changed that inner seam line as I mentioned above, and wow that made a huge improvement to all the other fitting issues, and the comfort of wear. Now however, it's obvious I need a full butt adjustment too! I am wondering how much these two issues have been masquerading as all the other fitting issues.

    Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about embarrassing fitting photos. I feel that way too about posting that kind of stuff on my blog :-D

  3. Glad to hear things are ok without the hubs job and less stressful, although the "at will" thing still creeps me out.

    The pants are looking great, and great catch on the high hip curve! Can't wait to see a finished pair. :)