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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Trouser fitting and Finding my Trouser Style.



It's my goal to find a style of pant that suits me.  I need to make a pair of formal pants and I also need some casual corduroy pants to go with some nice hand knit jumpers.  

I have made lots of casual pants over the last year or so, but  they are still not quite right.  They look okay-ish and no worse than RTW but there is just an uncomfortable feeling around the crotch.  I have this problem with RTW as well, and all in all, my me-mades are more wearable.

Also, many trousers now have the waistband slightly below the waist.  While a slightly below waist band may work on curvier shapes as they have bigger bottoms to hold the pant up, this principle does not work so well if you have a tummy that is quite large compared to the hips.

I am also very slim in the leg, so most pants are just baggy and unflattering on me.  I did think I might try Burda 7017:
 

This looked like an okay sort of pant for a relaxed corduroy pant.  The waist was high, which I like, and the legs slim.  I was worried that they might be a bit baggy around the hips for me, so I made a muslin:


I cut these as size 6-8 through the hips and 12 at the waist.  Look how curved these are around the hip.  They look like jodphurs on me.  Some of you might say that it is simple to take the sides in, but if I do, what is going to happen to the back:


Do you see how wrinkled these are?  This pattern is cut for a curvy or pear shaped  bottom and fuller thighs. Taking in the sides will just make the wrinkles worse.  A great chunk needs to be folded out higher up, quite a few diagonal folds have to be made, and it is likely that I won't get anything I like afterwards.  And it will take hours.


And in any case, the side view is totally offputting:


I mean, I think I could fit a nappy on under these.  Nappy pants are not really a very flattering look.

So, I have decided that this pattern is not worth making up for me.  It might work in a soft fabric, but really, I don't want soft, floppy, relaxed, nappy pants. Now, or ever.  I wanted nice corduroy pants that were comfortable to wear.  So I have put the pattern to one side for taking to the Op Shop.

*****

I then decided that maybe I would shelve the corduroy pants project and make the smarter pants that I have been avoiding for nearly two years.

I liked the look of Vogue 9032, view C, the slim leg pant:

 

Now, I had some misgivings about this, as the waistband is contoured and designed to sit just below the waist.  I have a very high rise, and also a little pot belly.  These two features do not work well with this sort of pant, but I had to try to find out for myself that this pattern will not work in the current form.



I'm not too worried about the gap at the front, as  I cut these out as size 12 at the waist/tummy area and size 8 hips.  I had forgotten that Vogue is smaller in the waist than Burda -and I had forgotten to add the smidge more that I usually add at the front. 

The back looked like this:

Really not a very flattering rear view.  The contoured band does not suit me, and the princess seams don't really look that great on me.  The crotch shape was not right either and was uncomfortable.

I also had the feeling I had was that these were going to fall down.  I felt I needed a firm waistband, or a high waisted version of this pant.

And as for the side view:

Yes, this is the flattering look that a lower, contoured waistband give me.  Pot Belly, and that nice fitted princess back just emphasises my lack of curvy bottom.

I really do need darts to fit my tummy curve, I have decided.  

So I am going to pass on this pant for now.  I might revisit and mix that princess back with a different and more flattering front - with appropriate alterations to the crotch area.

But first I need to discover what these alterations are. So I decided to find a plain, simple pant with darts, that was as straightly tapered in the leg as possible to suit my straight leg shape.  This pattern looks like it will make an ideal pants sloper to gauge shape and possible alterations needed.

I had McCalls 6711 in my pattern stash:




 This looks like it will work nicely for what I want.  Front and back darts, and it even has pockets.  The trousers are faced with a back zip.  I want a waistband and a front zip, but these are simple changes.

Here is my muslin:


I cut size 14 waist and high hip and then size 8 through the hip and leg.  Inner leg is size 8.   Given that this is an old sheet, I think the pants look quite good.  Better than the first two patterns I showed you.

The side view  is much more flatttering:



 I lifted the front rise slightly, and the back rise as well.  I do have a slanted waistline, and that is fine with me.  I also have a small centre back, and I need pants to fit in here or they slide down.  So the rise is quite high at the back.

But it doesn't look high when viewed from the back:

These look a lot better than the first two pants.  I think these might work.  They are still a bit full in the back, but in some pictures this is not noticeable.  And as these pants are going to be made in a woven, ease is needed so you can sit down.  Nice, simple, pants.  I think this is the style for me.


And I have noticed that models, who have very slim, fine, limbs also tend to have trousers that look like this down the back leg.  I just don't have a thigh girth to help fill the fabric out.  But if you start taking in, you just get even more distortions.  So I think this is a pant that works for me pretty much as is.

I did have to add to the back crotch quite a bit. I'll assess whether that is enough in the test garment.  The crotch now feels comfortable. 

I'm going to make it up in a better fabric now as a test garment.  I hope to post that next week...

And if it is a success, this will be my smart pant and my corduroy pants pattern as well as a basic sloper pattern to work with.

Fingers crossed X...

And, a note on trouser style - it really is important to know your body shape and what styles suit it.  And if you are not sure if a trouser style suits you, make a quick muslin. If the style does not work for you, if you do not feel good in it, if it is not comfortable or flattering, and you know you won't wear it, move on.  I know patterns can be expensive, but it is more expensive to make something up that you do not like and will not wear.  


Sarah Liz.




39 comments:

  1. You are right that the last pair are the best place to start. Re the fullness in the back, you might find a flat bottom adjustment does the trick - although you are right that you do need room to move. I used the Style Arc tutorial on my Barb pants and it worked well. It takes out depth not width or something.... works anyway. Good luck with the pants - I so admire your tenacity and knowing what works for you (and more importantly) discarding quickly what doesn't.

    http://www.stylearc.com.au/stylearc/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=69

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    1. Yes, the discard bit is most important.

      I do sometimes do a FBA but not that used by Style Arc. There are also other ways to do this, that I am slowly working through.

      I have the FB Flo and will make it up one day.

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  2. I totally agree the McCalls pants are working for you..You just amaze me, at how well you pick up on , what needs to be done.
    So happy that you realize the others didnt work and moved on.. That helps us to stay happy sewers..ha
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. Hi Judy, yes moving on is most important - and not feeling you are the problem if the pattern does not suit :).

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  3. I do like the last pair as well. I think, judging by all your frustration with pants, you would probably benefit from going through making a custom pant sloper. I mean I have never made anything like this, but I can't help think that it would probably leave you with something just like you want it :-)

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    1. Yes it is a good idea to make a sloper, but they do not eliminate all the problems. I have made slopers twice and they were no better than this :)

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    2. and there I thought if you have a basic pants block that would be tailored to you and fit you perfectly, all your problems would be solved ... sigh, another sewing myth debunked ... whenever I come up with fitting issues, I always tell myself that maybe one day when I have the time, I would try to create the basic blocks that would make fitting so much easier, but hearing now that it hasn't worked for you, I might as well shelf that dream :-)

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    3. Don't shelve it Giggles - dreams just need work - and that is what I am doing. A basic block is just the starting point - it does not sort out problems like where measurements are distributed. For instance, if hips are 100 cm, then half will be allocated to front, half to back. But some figures have more than half at the back, or more than half at the front. When I did my block, years ago, I did not understand these and many other principles. As I learn them, I will pass them on.

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  4. Looking good, Sarah Liz. I think we might be on the right track. I have started to make a muslin of the tapered pants from my successful New Look pattern. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, too, for both of us. :)

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    1. Yes, Kathy, I hope so. I think it will be a long track, but better to than a long walk down the wrong track:).

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  5. Great job in quickly analyzing your fit issues and developing a plan to tackle them. I look forward to seeing what adjustments you make and how well they turn out. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Aisha - I will share more next week :)

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  6. I agree the last one is a much better fit (how I admire your approach to this!). I agree with Gaye - I also saw that flat bottom alteration (though I need the opposite!). However, would it not be worth making a block, as Giggles suggested? That's my next term task in pattern cutting class, even though I'll be making trousers this term (timetabling is odd!). One you have that you can make any modifications to style you want. Good luck with taking this pair forward.

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    1. I'll talk more about blocks and FBA's and the crotch curve shape in my next post :)

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  7. I have to hand it to you! you do have patience! lol! looks like you finally got the look you were going for in the last muslin, looking good!

    Helen

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    1. Limited patience Helen, but perseverance yes :)

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  8. The last look for sure. I have the same type of problems you do with the bigger belly, small hips. So some of what you've done will help me too. Thanks!

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    1. A lot of us have this problem, so I will keep sharing what I find out :)

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  9. Agree with the last one also. You are inspiring in how you always figure out what will work for you.... no matter what! Good Luck!

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    1. Thank you Lisa - the main thing is I know how to toss an idea that is not going to work :)

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  10. The nappy pants comment made me hoot with laughter!!! The last ones are definitely the best. I like the look of these on you. Good luck with this pattern Sarah Liz :)x

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    1. I'm glad you had a good laugh - I must put more humour in my posts. I'll post more on these pants next week :)

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  11. My vote also for the McCall pattern. Have to hand it to you I would have wadded up the second pair and trashed them. Looking good so far!

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    1. Yes, the first two would certainly have been wadders if I made them up - that's why I like making up quick muslins :).

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  12. The McCalls are looking pretty good. It is a bit hard to see what is happening on your side seams,are like they are going to the back slightly? I would definitely do the flat bottom adjustment, that takes the excess, you can still sit down and move.

    I really like the way you are handling this and look forward to seeing your next version.

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    1. Hi Sharon - I can't take out any more with the back of these pants - there is just enough ease when I bend my knee forward. There is another way I can fix this, I think, but I am going by easy steps. The seam does look as though it is going back, but I have checked and it is straight down the centre of my leg - my posture is the problem, I'm like a little toy tin soldier. Very erect posture and small narrow back makes for interesting fitting problems.

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  13. As always - a truly impressive dedication to getting it right.

    A heavier weight fabric will hang better around your back thighs. Letting out the calf and ankle side seams will make the pants hang straighter but they won't be slim pants anymore.

    Have you considered the gloriously named "Flat bottomed Flo" from Style Arc?

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    1. Yes, I thought about letting out the legs, but of course, I wanted to look like the young model - which isn't going to happen :)

      I have the Flat Bottom Flo somewhere - on the list to be made up.

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  14. Pants are so simple to construct by a pain in the rear to fit!! I like the McCall's pattern it looks like you have a good base to work with. Good luck!

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    1. Did you mean that pun, Annie :). !! Thank you

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  15. You are so dedicated in the search for the perfect pattern! I usually do just one trial run and then need a loooong break until the next one.Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the end result!

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  16. You are so dedicated in the search for the perfect pattern! I usually do just one trial run and then need a loooong break until the next one.Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the end result!

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    1. Yes, those long breaks can be so needed after this sort of exercise :)

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  17. I admire your perseverance in the pursuit of the right trouser pattern for you. Thank you for sharing. It's an eye opener to appreciate the effort that goes into getting style and fit right - construction really is the easy part.

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    1. Yes, it only takes a few hours to sew them up, but it can take much longer finding a style that suits :)

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  18. You're doing a great job at this. I started a couple of months ago and put it away. I like the "stomach curve." That's what I'll call it.

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  19. Keep working on these as they show a lot of promise. The side view is definitely more flattering. It might a lot of tries but it will be worth it in the end. :)

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    1. I'll make a trial up next to see what I think of the pant as a garment :)

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