Pattern: Simplicity 1696
Size: 14 Curvy, Heavily altered
Fabric: Something from stash
The tissue fit and alterations for my new pants are all done. I chose this pattern because of the modern styling–slightly dropped waistline, front and back pockets, and slim legs. I like the 1 inch seam allowances for fitting, too. I’m starting with Curvy, rather than Average, to avoid adding extra hip width when I narrow the back leg. I’ll explain.
Warning: There may be alligators in this narrative, so tread carefully. I’m no expert.
The two references I use when fitting pants are Palmer-Pletsch’s Pants for Real People, and Sara Veblen’s Perfect Fitting book (AWESOME!). I like PFRP because of the tissue fit method and its use of 1 inch sideseams for fine-tuning fit. PF shows balancing and making sure the grain lines and horizontal reference lines come out level. I don’t generally make muslins the way that Veblen recommends because I can never get my alterations right without making several.
(I don’t want to make several muslins. I’d rather make several wearable test garments getting progressively better on each when I’m hoping for a TNT pattern. If it’s a garment that I only expect to make one of, I’ll do the muslins.)
Anyway, I know from experience that a pattern straight out of the envelope will never fit my cylindrical torso and bird legs. There will always be alterations.
First, to fit the bird legs I need to fold out some width as described in PFRP. This is folded out from waist to hem along the grainline, narrowing the leg nicely. My hip circumference still requires the width of the original pattern, so I have to add width back at the side hip. The Curvy version of this pattern already had extra width at the hip, so that eliminated adding tissue there.
Next I altered for cylindrical torso and droopy…um…well, you know. My pin fit revealed that I needed to drop the back crotch an add extension to make the back meet the front at the inner leg. This is the back tissue after I added those alterations. I drew the new seam in pink, and I believe you can see my fold and added extension.
When I pinned that together and tried it, I could tell that the pattern was just too wide under the tushie. From the fullest point of my hip downward, unaltered pants always hang in folds–all the while pulling into the crotch because of too little crotch extension. (I’ve read the term “butt puddles” which is an apt description!) I managed to eliminate the problem on my jeans, so I decided to try the same alteration here. It’s similar to this flat seat alteration by Ann Rowley on Flickr, except I’m preserving the crotch length and (hopefully) eliminating fullness further down.
I started by marking cutting lines (similar to a bust adjustment):
Then I cut along the lines and slid the intersection toward the center, keeping the top level and blending back into the leg at the bottom.
The net result is some straightening of the CB seam, lowering the back crotch, and a bit less fabric where I need a bit less. Perhaps this photo, where I did this to the front of my jeans, will make it more clear:
I also altered the front of Simplicity 1696 this same way.
Then the waistband needed a little more curve at the top. I pinned out the excess and retraced the waistband pieces.
Next I’ll find some not-so-dear fabric and cut the pattern. I expect it will be pretty good, and certainly wearable.
If you have never used it, try the tissue fit. Work through it carefully and pay attention to the balance lines. Make sure your vertical grainlines fall straight (perpendicular to the floor) and your horizontals are level all round.
You can make it work, and it takes more time to read about it than it does to do it!