I hadn’t been wearing these trousers lately, as I found them uncomfortable. But I recently started thinking that they might be salvageable.
After I wore them a few times, I knew they were uncomfortably snug through the thigh. I was recently reminded that you should measure the thigh while sitting, which I hadn’t done. I researched wearing ease, and then compared the recommendations for waist, hip, thigh (1″, 2-3″, 2-3″) to the ease present in these trousers (1″, 2″, ½”). Aha!
Reviewing my original post about these pants, I note that I recorded the thigh ease as 1½” at that time. While that’s still low, it’s more than what I have now. Why the difference? The only thing I can think of is that I walk more and climb more stairs than I did when I made them. I guess I wore them so rarely that I didn’t notice the change in my shape (none of my other pants fit this closely, so they weren’t giving me the message) and put it all down to having done a poor fitting job in the first place.
The attempted fix
I let the thighs out at the side seams to provide the recommended ease and they felt way better. However, they looked worse and the alteration seemed to create more wrinkling at the back crotch. OK, so something is going on there.
I let out the inseams at the crotch. I had to patch in a small piece on back right and left to make a longer back crotch extension (added about 1½” in length). This now gave me loads of room, so I brought the side seams back in.
The change to the back crotch negatively affected the front crotch (as predicted) by causing a ‘bubble’ below the zipper. I tried to fix this by straightening the seam below the zipper (as per Pants for Real People), which brought the front curve down a little. It still looks odd and I don’t think I can fix it given that the zipper is in already; perhaps if I make these corrections at the outset rather than as a later alteration, I’ll have more success. I hope.
How did I get here?
In the first iteration of these pants, I raised the CB for my full bottom. (I think I also added to the hip at the side seam, or took away from the waist at the side seam for much the same result.) I don’t recall adding much, if any, at the back inseam. But these wrinkles at back crotch look like what Pants for Real People calls “smiles”; they recommend letting out the inseam (making a longer crotch extension).
Having researched the “protruding buttocks adjustment” (how clinical that sounds) during this process, I discovered that it requires:
- more height at CB
- more width at side seam at hip level, and
- longer back crotch extension
Why didn’t I just do the complete PBA in the first place? I thought my pattern was pretty close, since I had had help with it. I guess it wasn’t as close as I thought, and it needed more significant surgery than a tweak here and a tweak there. In future, I would probably benefit from doing another muslin or two (ugh), taking my existing pattern and applying the PBA. I’ve found a couple of methods, so in the spirit of scientific inquiry, I should reduce the variables (same pattern as a starting point, same fabric), and try every method to see which works best for me.
I think the patch job helped the wrinkles at the back, which encourages me to try a proper PBA. However, the patch was at the top of the inseam only (not right down to the knee), so they get weirdly snug at mid-thigh. Sigh. Not comfy to sit in, and not flattering. The best I can hope for is that this was a learning experience.
What I learned from this revision
- the pattern that I had help with is still far from perfect
- the PBA has 3 elements (CB, side hip, back crotch extension) and you have to do them all
- what “smile” wrinkles look like in fabric (as opposed to in a drawing), what a too short back crotch looks like
- when adding to the crotch extension, you need to let out the inseam to the knee (at least)
- fit problems in homemade garments look different from fit problems in RTW – not because RTW is better, but because they make different ‘mistakes’ than I do
- pants are difficult to fit, and even people who do lots of sewing are sometimes intimidated by sewing pants
Intellectually, I’m certain that I’ve made some progress with fitting. However, I’m still far from being confident in my ability not to mangle good fabric irretrievably. I’m going to need a project where the fitting is less miserable so I can have a tangible accomplishment and not be tempted to give up on sewing completely.