It’s turned cold here, and I’m hurriedly trying to finish the projects I cut out while it was still warmish. I just finished the pants in today’s post and a top. Next up is a jacket.
What do I say about these pants? I’m not really sure. I can’t decide if I like them or if they are a big fail. I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The pattern is good, but the alterations I made to it may not have been.
For this project, I decided to try using my measurements to alter the flat pattern before cutting out my pants. I have a few Big 4 pant or short patterns that I have made multiples of, and each time, I tweak them just a little bit more to get closer and closer to what I want. I was hoping to skip right to the “what I want” part of things by doing it this way. If I could just figure out the right shape, I could use it on all future pairs of pants. Well…I may have adjusted a bit too fiercely.
Pattern and Fabric
My pattern is Simplicity 8841, View C, but with the patch pockets and no belt or belt loops.
I chose to make it in a cotton twill fabric that is probably on the light side of midweight from Joann Fabrics. This pattern is one for pull on pants, and View C is supposed to be the longer length and have a slim leg. My measurements put me at a 20 waist and right between a 20 and 22 for my hip. Since this was a pull on pant (i.e. elastic waist, no zipper or buttons), I got nervous about the hip being too small, and I wanted the pants to be comfortable when I sat, so I made a straight 22.
Flat Pattern Alterations
I used the book Sewing Pants That Fit from the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I like these books a lot. The pictures and illustrations are very clear and easy to understand, plus you can easily find these books used for a low price online or in thrift stores.
I measured myself, which is something books always recommend that you do with a sewing buddy if possible, because it’s hard to measure yourself. Perhaps to my detriment, I tried on my own anyway, taking into account the fact that the pants are supposed to sit an inch below the natural waist.
It seemed like I was going to need more crotch length, with most of that length in the back.
On the front pattern piece I added a small wedge and a little at the thigh to get the right length.
On the back, I added a wedge and length to the back crotch point.
My first thoughts when I tried these on was that they felt great, but looked bad. All that extra fabric is super comfortable, but some of it had to go!
Fitting Changes After Initial Construction
First up, choosing to make a 22 instead of a 20 was overkill. I should have made the straight 20. The 22 was definitely too big, even for someone like me who likes a lot of ease. In the end, I shaved off 1/8″ from the crotch seam and inseams, and 1/4″ off both side seams, and the pants are still a bit too big.
After that, I took 1″ off the top of the pants, and then 1.75″ more off the front, tapering to nothing at the side seams, because they were just too high-waisted for what they were supposed to be.
I think I should go back into my flat pattern and remove the wedge adjustment I made to the front. I was trying to add length however I could, but that wedge adjustment is actually used for a full abdomen, and although my stomach is fuller than it used to be, this doesn’t seem to be the correct adjustment for me. Even after what I shaved off, it is still too baggy in the front.
I’d also really like my pants to feel slightly higher in the back than the front. I don’t know if I’m the only one on that, but it just feels more comfortable to me.
Rather than achieving my goal of skipping right to the end of fitting, I think I made more problems. I think I’ve learned a few things: I shouldn’t do a wedge adjustment in the front, I SHOULD do a wedge adjustment in the back, and adding length at the back crotch point was probably a good idea (not sure if the front crotch point length was helpful or harmful). Maybe I should have traced off the crotch curves from the Ginger or Morgan jeans, both from Closet Case Patterns. Those patterns fit me pretty well from the beginning. Maybe the lesson here is to be a bit more patient with the fitting process and to just keep trying.
After all the tweaks I did, I still felt the pants were shorter than I wanted and wider at the bottom. They don’t look tapered to me. However, I think I’m done for now. These just aren’t warm enough for the cold weather. I think they’ll have to wait until spring to get more wear. I can always do more evaluation then.
Sorry that these are disappointing – fitting pants is hard! There is a world of difference between fitting an elastic-waist pant and fitting jeans, especially if you have a waist-to-hip ratio (as I do) that’s pretty different. That is, if there’s not much difference between your hip and waist, a pull-on style is going to work better for you than if there’s a big difference in the two. Since I have the latter shape (and it looks like you do, too) I can’t make pull-on styles work for me. Maybe for you, these pants would work with just elastic in the back and a flat front? That’s an easy adjustment to make and would allow you to remove a lot of the front ease.
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Thanks for your thoughts and tips. Those are so helpful! I’ll think over what you said. I like the idea of a flat front and elastic back…and thanks for saving me from using a jeans pattern to fit an elastic waist pattern.
Sure. I’ve totally been there with pants. Once you get the fit down you’ll be so happy to make them again and again
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