Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pants: The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

I made the V1166 pants again in the same stretch denim and, gotta say, the fit is improving. You might recall that, for this iteration, I:
  • Lowered the waist by 2 inches
  • Increased dart length and width slightly (1/4 inch on all sides)
  • Lengthened the pants legs by an inch
  • Increased waistband by 4 inches to accommodate the increased width requirement of the lowered waist
I will maintain all of these alterations but I need to add a couple more:
  • Lower the waist 1 inch more (for a total of 3 inches). No need to increase the waistband because the 4 inch increase from the previous alteration is adequate.
  • Lower darts another .25 inch
  • Take .25 inch out of the front crotch starting 2 inches from the base (i.e. the lowest point of the curve)
The front crotch alteration is a wild card adjustment, but I fixed 2 pins in place (seriously carefully!) and determined that it pinches out that puffy lower front thing. Seems that darting the front can only do so much because the excess fabric is lower than the dart extension.

Again, in the latest version, my outer side seam allowances were more than 1.5 inches because of the stretch in the denim. I really should cut the pattern rather than the fabric next time. I have wasted so much! (Natch, the minute I switch fabrics, all bets are off...)

Some thoughts so far:
  • What were the Vogue people thinking when they determined the rise of the original pattern?! I know I'm short-waisted, but seriously - I will have removed 3 inches of fabric from the waist when all is said and done. And they aren't "low rise"!
  • I'm amazed by the volume of alterations I've made overall - and that practically all of them are on the front legs. I placed the new front leg pattern over the (uncut) original and it's an entirely different size and shape. I mean, there are NO similarities at this point. The crotch is a different curve and length, the overall length is different, the waist is lower, the legs are narrower (by an inch). And there I thought (admittedly, only for 5 minutes) that they were perfect right out of the package. Hmmm...
  • I'm intrigued to be creating a sloper - because, it appears, that's what I'm doing. I wonder how it might translate onto other patterns in the future.
The most fascinating element of this process is how sanguine I appear to be. Maybe it's the vacation. Maybe I've had to develop a new pace and some perspective on account of the injury from which I'm still healing. Who knows? All I can say is, I know I should be moving back to the bra experiment, but that fills me with anxiety and I'm not quite ready. Besides, I'll have to rip up a perfectly nice bra and that's vaguely traumatizing.

I believe that every woman (person) has a certain body part, the shape of which is perplexing. For some it's a round, high ass. For others, the thighs are wide. There are those who just can't figure out how to flatter the arms. My "issue" (and I have chosen not to judge it, I am merely observing) is the boobs. Well, it's the boobs being large while the back and shoulders are narrow and the front torso is about average (relative to my pattern size). I've adapted to the FBA (full bust adjustment). That's a scary alteration, btw. About as complex as it gets. Then all the variables add to the complexities and, before you know it, you're hyperventilating.

This doesn't mean that my lower half is standard issue. I mean, this fitting process is proving that at every stage. But somehow the alterations seem knowable - more linear, in general. When I buy RTW pants, it is not an unpleasant process. Many times, I try on items that are ugly and ill-fitting, but I simply blame the garment and move on. I really don't take it personally. Not like when a blouse with buttons doesn't fit, or when a jacket won't close.

Why is this? I am, apparently, no more physically unusual in my upper body than in my lower body. (And BTW, neither are you.) Do I simply like pants more? Is it a matter of a top-half mental block? Are pants easier (in my books, definitely, but some people swear that they aren't)? Is my spatial reasoning that much improved these days? Is it beginner's romance?

What do you think? Whether you sew, or no, do you have a preferred body part when it comes to fitting and buying or making clothes? Has sewing liberated you from this? Which do you find more difficult to fit - pants or tops?


  1. My experience with shopping with clients is that pants are way harder to fit than tops - mostly because so many tops are made of jersey and stretch to accommodation many shapes, whilst the rise in pants is VERY hard to fit. YOu might also find with your pattern alteration's it's the shape of the rise (wide or narrow on that U shape when cutting, put a pair of pants that fit you well through the rise inside out, one leg in the other and see the shape of the rise, it may give you a clue).

    Women's bodies are all so different, yet we expect manufacturing "standard" to fit us all - pure madness!

    Have a great Christmas xx

  2. I sew - and I've found pants easier than tops - probably because once you get a well drafted pants pattern/sloper you can do prety much anything with it with only 'cosmetic' tweaks. But it seems like every time I want a new style of top, I'm starting from scratch. it may just be me, but I feel like I need a dozen different top slopers for all the different types of top I want (blouse, t-shirt, drapey top, etc.)

  3. The way I curve, what I want, which is smooth fitting and no wrinkles, isn't at all possible. I've had to accept that with tops and pants.

    With pants, I have a flat, wide behind, forward thrusting thighs, and protruding calves. That's a lot of going around and is why trousers that hang from the hips look best on me... or skirts. Luckily, I like both.

    For the most part, sewing has helped me come to terms with what flatters and what doesn't. It's a constant journey.

    Happy Holidays.

  4. Sewing has helped me come to terms with what works and what doesn't, and to accept that perhaps what I wanted was unreasonable. I am happier for it.

  5. Imogen, that's a great idea! And, of course, your experience is so relevant! You see more women's bodies about fit issues than most other people, ever.

    birdmommy: I share your perspective. I guess we're lucky that way? :-)

    Myrna: I totally agree about the value of sewing as it helps us to understand our own shapes! Seems that everyone has better luck with the hip-height waistband - or most of us anyway - and all for different reasons!

    Mardel: Of course, occasionally one has to give it a go anyway (Drape Drape Gather No. 3 dress, anyone?) :-)