Pants Fitting Techniques – Part 1

I recently enrolled in a course with Craftsy.  Pant Fitting Techniques – how to get a good fit on trousers that you make from a supplied Vogue pattern.  It was a new course so there weren’t many reviews to go on, and no finished student projects, but pattern fitting is an area where I am very interested to learn more.

A pattern comes with the course for a pair of slim fit trousers with a princess seam down the front of the leg.  The idea behind this pattern is that there are now 4 seams you can adjust instead of the regular two only at the sides, and by having so many places you can adjust you will be able to get a great fit.  I’ve never sewn real trousers before so this seemed ideal.

 

As I am overseas, the pattern took some time to arrive from Vogue so I sat and watched all of the videos first before doing anything else.  Sandra is clearly a very experienced sewer and pattern designer and has also run her own sewing school.  She is well-respected and well-known in her field and designs the Today’s Fit range of patterns for Vogue.

 

That being said, I found her a little difficult to follow as a teacher.  She clearly has so much knowledge that she wants to get across to her students that she goes from one thing to the next to the next very quickly with no break in between.   I also found that instead of starting with a new pattern piece for each adjustment, or for each section of the tutorials, all of the adjustments were carried out on the same pieces and she would cut bits off, stick extra bits of paper on, and redraw over old lines.  It was sometimes difficult to follow this and would have preferred if she had been more prepared for each section by starting with a blank pattern piece so the students could really see the alterations in isolation.

 

But my difficulties with the course are solely down to me being really new to sewing and patterns.  Anyone with a little more experience will fly through this and have awesome trousers in no time.

 

Another area of confusion for me, was that the students were asked to make all of the alterations to the pattern before cutting out any fabric and making a trial piece.  Sandra said that we should do all of the alterations first then by the time we cut and sew, the fit should already be almost perfect.  But how?  How did I know what alterations to make if I had not yet made a first attempt?

 

So once the pattern arrived, I carefully checked the pattern packet for sizing and took a look at the pattern pieces for finished measurements etc.  I decided on cutting a straight size D as my measurements exactly agreed to those on the pattern sizing so I assumed that I would already get a pretty good fit, if the pants were designed to fit someone with my measurements.

 

But how wrong could I be – and suddenly I realised why this course was necessary for pants.  You can see here my first trial piece cut from the unaltered pattern according to my sizing.
Clicking on the photos will bring up a larger version so you can see my notes.

The fit on first impression is good – the pants fit smoothly at the waist, high hip and lower hip and the side seams feel smooth and not too loose.  So yes, they fit.  But YIKES – they fit badly.

 

  • There is a lot of very loose fabric at the front hanging from the waistband down to the crotch and I can create a couple of large pleats of excess fabric running top to bottom there.  This I don’t understand, if it fits at the crotch and waist and the body of the trouser fits to the waistband, where does this extra come from and how can I get rid of it without taking it out of the waist measurement so that the body no longer fits to the waistband?
  • The backside is very loose and baggy and unflattering.
  • The legs overall are very loose and wide.  I’ll need to take them in quite a bit from the crotch down to get a more flattering line for me.  Wide leg trousers make me look short and dumpy.
  • The whole back leg area has acres and acres of loose fabric.  But it doesn’t hang across, its diagonal coming from the hips.
  • The side seams don’t hang straight down – they veer sharply towards my toes.  I assume if I remove some of the excess fabric in the back leg, then the seams will hang straighter.

Sigh – I clearly need a lot of very large alterations to get these trousers to fit me in the same way a store-bought pair would fit.  It’s a bit disappointing, I had hoped to have less to deal with for my first attempt at trousers.

At least now I have the first trial made up I know what alterations are needed.  The course does cover several alterations for the rear baggy bum, but I’m not sure I came across the problem with the baggy front too.

So from today I start watching those videos again, this time with renewed interest and I’ll try to pick up on just those alterations that apply to me and my pattern and I think it’s all going to be a lot clearer and more concise now I don’t have to learn all of the many many adjustments Sandra covers in the course.

I’m glad that I signed up, and at the end I’m going to have an awesome pair of custom fit pants.  But if you are thinking of taking the course, and you are a new sewer, I recommend making up a trial piece first before watching the video sections that deal with all of the alterations, so that you can concentrate on those areas that apply to you.   Otherwise it can be rather overwhelming.

If you are an experienced sewer and have maybe made trousers before – you will LOVE this course, I’m sure.

I’ll be posting again in future once my second trial is ready.

If you would like to sign up for this course, I have a referral link you can use which won’t cost you any more but will earn me a small commission.

Thank you very much.  All comments and fitting suggestions very welcome.

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6 Responses to Pants Fitting Techniques – Part 1

  1. Summer Frost says:

    I realize this is an old post, but I’ll go ahead and comment for anyone coming along after the fact, like myself. I realize as a new seamstress that one might not always understand the WHY of doing something, and I understand it might not have been explained clearly, so here is some WHYs you should ALWAYS tissue fit before making a trial garment. It is, in the long run, a time and money saver that will keep you from making a wadder. A woman who “perfectly” matches a size 10 measurement in a pattern may be 5′-8 , 110 lbs. and “average”. A 5’3″ 150 lb. woman who is long legged and short waisted may fit the measurements. One may have a sway back, one may have a flat backside, and one may have a narrow waist, and wide, wide hips. Learn to make the pattern fit you BEFORE sewing in fabric!! I HIGHLY recommend the Fit books by Palmer Pletsch to gain a basic understanding of WHY and HOW. Sandra is well regarded, but it never hurts to see more than one explanation.

  2. Debra says:

    I love the picture of the elephant.

  3. Lesley says:

    i agree with your comments regarding the course. It was all a bit overwhelming. some pictures of what the different faults looked like would have helped as she made each alteration.

  4. Marni Lister says:

    How do I find a Vogue, slim line pants pattern with 4 seams and a grograin ribbon band…from about 4 years ago. Thnx

    • Deby Coles says:

      You would really need to know the pattern number to try to track it down on ebay or etsy. If you did a search online perhaps you could find some old Vogue pattern catalogues, or even your local sewing shop might have kept the old pattern books for you to look through. Anyone else got any ideas?

What do you think?