Stout Alteration Tricks: Pants-rise to the occasion.



With the launch of Make and Mend 2011 I thought it would be a good time to introduce a new segment to my blog. I often get asked how I alter patterns for my figure. A lot of it is trail and error. It's sometimes costly time wise, but I have a habit of being a glutton for punishment.


As a template I'm using the slacks that are from my repro pattern.
I can't tell you how many pairs of pants I've made that fit almost. By 'almost' I tend to mean that the seat is good, the legs are straight, but the crotch is just a bit too...what's the word...ouch?

I've added to the sides, changed the darts and done all that I thought I needed to do in order to make them sit straight. Then I decided to deepen the front seat. That worked sometimes and I attempted to deduce why. Then I realized it was all in the angles.

Meet my illustration body. I'll be using these as reference the entire month. I'm a visual person and I'll use any excuse to draw.


When I was thinking about why my slacks always had an inconsistent fit, I decided to look at the body I was fitting them to. Us gals with a extra weigh need to know that we have to often adjust our angles. We have become used to adding more for the bust, arms and waist, but more nuanced adjustments are often overlooked. Take the front of the slacks for instance.


Most slacks are not cut to adjust the extra weight we stout women often have in front. That seam presses against our abdomen and we often get a tight fit at the lower crotch. The key to this area is to give the ponch enough room so that area drapes straight down from the center a bit outward instead of from only from the center thigh.


For me, I have remedied this by making a rather dramatic angle at the lower crotch. This way, when I fit the slacks to me, my belly is not pressing so dramatically against the curve at the crotch. To compensate for the inch or so that will be lost to the dramatic curve, you will have to add some to the lower hip to prevent more pulling. Of course these adjustments will vary depending on your own body. The best way I've found to check is a french curve. Simple, right?


Here is a curve I made on a pair of slacks I've just  cut out. Its a bit more dramatic than what I normally do, but Im experimenting and the clamdiggers that I made recently (see above) turned out so well that I thought I'd try it.

Once you have that area of the body altered, you are going to want to check the front center darts and make sure that area, which is your straight of grain, actually is placed down the center of your leg. Here you can see the original dart placement (the black circles) and my alteration in magenta. This is really important if you are widening slacks. After than it's smooth sailing.


Simple, huh? I can't believe that it's that simple. Use the french curve to see how best your body fits with the alteration. Play with this with some muslin and soon you can have a master pattern for yourself.


Welp that's about it for today. Thanks!

23 comments:

  1. No more anonymous comments. From having that option available for only two days, 5 posts have been spam and three have been unnecessarily bitchy. If you don't like what I do or say or how I do it, at least tell me to my face by letting me know who you are.

    To the anonymous that have been pleasant, sorry others had to ruin it for everyone else.

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  2. Thank you! I only ordered those pants (and jacket) from you yesterday and I'm already biting my nails. I have never made pants, ever! I stopped wearing them when I was 20, so I'm a bit scared- especially since one of the reason for stopping was just the difficulty in finding a fitting pair. But now pants are on my lists for my building a forties wardrobe project and though I first thought of skipping them I have decided to go on. One need to challenge oneself from time to time.

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  3. Thanks, I have this problem, and I'm looking forward to making my first pair of pants.

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  4. Wow, this is clever & helpful! Every attempt to make pants for myself has been a failure. I can figure out bust adjustments but not pants, & now I have a clue one where to start. Thanks :-)

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  5. I wish I could draw like that. I can't even draw a stick figure, lol. I need to figure out something for my thighs because when I make a pencil skirt it never fails that it will be too tight on the front of my thighs. I've attempted shorts, but not pants, but I have a feeling I am going to have the same problem. :]

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  6. Thanks for this post. When I have more time I'll have to study it more thoroughly. You look really cute in your pants. BTW, I hit gold this weekend. Found 14 1940s patterns with 40+ busts at a garage sale. I'll be busy for a long time. 25 cents each!

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  7. Jealous, Jane! Congratulations on such a fantastic find! I hope you will have pictures of the lovely dresses :)

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  8. O_o

    I think we are fitting twins. cuz your drawing looks just like, down to how I hold my arms, LOL.

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  9. those pants are adorable
    I got stout girls issues too
    Can't wait to try and make a pair of pants!!

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  10. Those clamdiggers look great... this will definitely be a trick to bear in mind when I finally get up the courage to try making pants. I have the same problem with tightness across the front, but also have a sway back and 13-inch waist-to-hip difference... it's going to be difficult!

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  11. Ah it's always such a pain making pants! I am same proportions as you are I suspect, and it can be a real trial, often I end up with pants too big cos I've made the wrong adjustments. Thanks for this tutorial, next time I make pants I'm gonna look it up again!

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  12. Brilliant tip and the pants are so cute on you !

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  13. The illustration of the problem and the fix was brilliant. Thank you for posting it. Adjusting pant patterns is a pain. I'll definately be referring to your write up the next time I am making pants.

    I love the clam diggers and the buttons. They look wonderful on you!

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  14. I'm so glad I found your super helpful info for us real women!

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  15. I just found your blog today and I must say that I feel very fortunate in doing so. I am plus sized myself, and I find that store bought clothing is either shapeless or too expensive for my modest budget. My 13 year old daughter on the other hand, is another challenge. She has a very solid build, so although she is not overweight, she doesn't fit into typical sizes. For instance, she is in a girl's size 16, however I can't purchase her jeans in this size because they are too tight on her waist, but fit every where else. If I purchase specialty 1/2-plus sizes for girls, then it fits her waist but the rest of the pants are too loose, especially in the groin. In addition to this, she has long legs, and a short waist, and she is petite for her age. It's very challenging to find anything to fit anymore, especially now that her hips are and other contours of her body are starting to change shape as she goes through puberty. She has an over abundance of shirts, and not enough pants, and now that winter is here, leggings and tunics are not warm enough for her. I purchase most of our clothing from thrift stores mostly because I love a bargain, but also because I'm never sure if something will fit her properly. When she was younger, her "jeans" would be women's capris, because those were the only pants that I could find which fit her proportions properly in her waist, hips, and length...But now that she is older, this is not such a good solution anymore. I feel so frustrated, and inadequate because I collect sewing machines, yet with everything at my disposal, I still don't know how to tailor or make her a pair of pants or jeans that flatters her body and fits her properly. Anyway, I'm sorry this turned into a little rant..I'm just very frustrated.

    Melissa

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  16. Very helpful. I have pondered and pondered how to fix the crotch from being too tight. I knew I would have to add some to the outer seam. This explains what I need to do exactly! Thank you for posting this!

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  17. This is a wonderful post for all us large women. Could I pin it on Pinterest?

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  18. Thanks for such clear instructions. I have a very pronounced apple shape, skinny legs, high hip and am 5 foot tall. I used this method and ended up with the best fitting pants I have ever had in my life. I would say to others don't worry if your alterations are more extreme than in the (very clear) diagram. TRUST THE METHOD. This also works for all styles of pant. I made wide legged pants. I am going to make a sloper to use with other pants. Can I just say again how pleased I am to have a pair of pants that actually fit!!!😍😍😍

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  19. Great post. I have made many pants over the years for other people and they fit great. However, when I make pants for myself they never turn out "quite" right. Now I understand why. You have done the leg work for me. Thanks. I will be starting on a pair of pants soon. The ideas that you talk about can be used for any paints that need adjustment. Wish I had found your post sooner. I do make my husbands jeans, he likes them better than store bought jeans. Says they fit better. Thanks again!!!!!

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  20. Yay! So glad people are still getting use from this post! Happy New Year everyone!

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  21. Just stumbled on your blog and love the info you've shared. Just from eyeballing your very good sketch, I tried to figure out the reason for the "ouch" in the crotch. For full thighs and hips, it might work to widen the inner leg at the crotch instead of only at the side seam. Lay the back and front pattern pieces on top of each other - the crotch point on the back piece should extend at least two inches (or more) beyond the crotch point on the front piece. If those two points are very similar, there's likely to be quite a bit of "ouch" in the crotch.

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  22. Really thats good alterations for who are facing this problems.. I reallt impressed.

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