Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure - The Class (post seven)

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
The Class

Well, I guess my now you've all figured out that I'm a bit a perfectionist as well as an over achiever. I was one of those kids you got annoyed with when grades were done on a curve since I was always going for that A+.

I really thought I needed a decent fitting muslin before this class began and that tan muslin was not a good fitting muslin. It turns out I was fine. There were some woman that I thought their muslins fit very well but Cynthia ended up doing a lot of pinning and slicing to their muslins. I did not think my muslin fit that well, but Cynthia didn't make too many adjustments.

This morning, before I set off for the class, I had everything set up on my dining room table all nice and organized into plastic bags - seam ripper, hem gauge, tape, extra fabric, each altered pattern (each in a separate envelope), as well as the other required items on the supply list.

I tucked everything into two big tote bags and off I went. Imagine my dismay when I arrived at the classroom and reached into my bag to pull out my muslin only to find that I had everything I needed EXCEPT the blue muslin!!!

Can you believe it? All that last minute sewing on the muslin and it didn't get packed into my tote bag!

Since it was no longer rush hour it would only take me an hour (round trip) to get the muslin. Cynthia said it was my decision - so off I went.

Once home I hunted all over for my blue muslin. I remembered folding it up and placing it on the table with all of my other supplies. My mind was racing as to what could have happened to them.

Guess where I found them? Lying in the middle of the living room floor where my dear big 5-month old puppy had played with them. She must have pulled them off of the table and played with them until something new captured her attention and she forgot all about them.

I grabbed the blue muslin, raced back to class and watched as Cynthia performed her magic as I patiently awaited my turn.

When it was my turn she immediately noticed the dreaded pantie line.That's when she asked the class if we had all heard of Spanx. (Uh, oh. I knew I should have worn some gut sucking, cheek lifting something or other to class, LOL!)

She sliced my pant completely around the circumference of my body as I needed to add 1/2" depth. She then pinned out 1/2" at the inner leg at the upper thigh.I was instructed to add fabric into the area that was sliced and to sew the pinned area and then the pants would be tweaked again.

Pants being sliced and tweaked

After sewing a 1/2" band of fabric into the area that had been sliced, I awaited my turn for the second tweaking. This time she pinned 1/2" tuck underneath the seat beginning at the inner thigh tapering to zero at the side seam. She released the side seam at my high hip and added 1/4" fabric - beginning at zero at the waist, increasing to 1/4" at 2" down, tapering to zero at 4" down. The side seam was also adjusted -the amount stayed the same but the stitch line on the front was moved 1/2" forward and the stitch line on the back was moved 1/2".

Pant with side seam opened and taped in place. Back tuck under seat.

Adjusted muslin back . One side only is completed. I had a side zipper in that was cut in half when the pants were sliced.

She thought these fit well and they felt good when I was wearing them, but looking at the photo I'm not sure that I like the look of them. I saw such dramatic changes in the other woman who were fitted. Most of them appeared to loose weight once their pants were properly fitted. Almost all of the other pants had the fullness eliminated at their back. I still see some fullness at the back of my pants (the right leg).

I was actually surprised that she did not slice and add at my high hip at the side seam. This was an adjustment that she made on half of the participants (along with the tuck underneath the seat). Those of us with high hips get a "c" shape that radiates out from the inner leg just above the knee to the seat area. It's caused by the high hip curve - so more fabric needs to be added in that area because of the curve of the body.

Many of the woman also had long vertical pleats pinned along the entire back leg which made the leg slimmer. I've always tried to make that adjustment by taking in more at the side seam, but you do need to take it out of the back leg - parallel to the grain line - to make the leg hang better.

She told all of us that she is willing to see us during the expo for a final critique of our muslins, but I was unable to get an appointment to see her as I was the last one to sign up. I'm still going to sew another pair of pants with the adjustments from this class and wear them when I go back on Friday in the hopes that I can catch her during a slow time at her booth.

The back muslins compared - before and after.


The perfect pant fitting adventure post one here; post two here; post three here; post four here, post five here; post six here.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure - Muslin Number Four (post six)

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
Muslin Number Four

Tomorrow is the all day pant fitting class. This is what I'm bringing with me (along with my first muslin and altered pattern in the hopes of finding out what I did incorrectly.) This muslin is sewn from the recommended fabric - 100% cotton twill - with the zipper and interfaced waistband added.

The front view of the blue muslin with side zipper and waistband added. I think the waistband is too tight.

The back view of the blue muslin with side zipper and waistband added. To my untrained eye, it appears to strain at the high hip and is quite baggy under the seat and at the lower hipline.

The side view of the blue muslin with. The back of the waist rides higher than the front - seems to be above my waistline. The front seam pulls to the front at the upper hip.
Well, there isn't much else I can do at this point. I received a lot of encouragement on the PR boards from members who had recently taken this same class in KC. They couldn't say enough positive things about the class and Cynthia Guffey.

Speaking of Cynthia Guffey - what a classy lady. I had sent an email message after my sewing my first muslin on the off chance that she would actually see it before the class. Her assistant responded to let me know she would try and reach Cynthia for me. Cynthia called three times today trying to reach me - unfortunately I wasn't able to respond to the calls - but she certainly did not have to keep trying to reach me when I hadn't returned her first call. I'm already impressed with her and I haven't' even taken the class yet.

Come back again for a report on the muslin critique and the pant fitting workshop.

The perfect pant fitting adventure post one here; post two here; post three here; post four here, post five here. Pin It

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure - Muslin Number Two (post five)

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
Muslin Number Two

Not knowing what to do with the pant muslin I posted a cry for help on the Patternreview boards (you'll need to sign in to view the message boards). As usual, my cry for help was heard and answered.

Two members suggested I try a muslin using the pattern without alterations first - just add extra width to the seams.

It sounded like good advice to me so I quickly pulled another piece of fabric out of the stash to be sacrificed for the sake of a great fitting pair of pants.

I cut out the pattern - no alterations this time - with an extra 1" around the entire pattern piece.


I quickly sewed the darts, stay stitched the waist, and sewed all of the seams together using a 1" seam allowance. Essentially I ended up increasing my original pattern by 5/8" all around since the pattern had a 5/8" seam allowance built in. This worked out well as this Burda pattern is designed to be close-fitting and I don't want my final pant to fit that closely.


The front view of the striped muslin with no alterations - this appears to be a much better initial fit than the first muslin.


The back view of the striped muslin with no alterations. Obviously work will need to be done but the initial fit is much better than the first muslin.

The side view of the striped muslin with no alterations and before adding the elastic at the waist. I think this is probably too much ease to try and fit into a waistband so some adjustments will need to be made.


The side view of the striped muslin with no alterations and the waist elastic added. Again a better initial fit even though work will need to be done.

My next step is to make a few adjustments to this pattern and make the final pant muslin for class.
  • Transfer my back crotch curve onto the back pattern piece
  • Shorten the knee location to match my original pattern alteration
  • Lengthen the pant leg to match my original pattern alteration
  • Cut out my "real" muslin and sew it - complete with waistband and zipper before class Wednesday.
I sure am grateful for the generosity of Patternreview members!


Come back again for a report on muslin number two using the second altered pattern.

The perfect pant fitting adventure post one here; post two here; post three here; post four here.
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The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure - Muslin Number One continued (post four)

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
Muslin Number One continued

As noted in my previous post I was going to try and fix the fit of the crotch curve by increasing the back crotch curve and decreasing the front back curve.

I have dentist and eye appointments lined up for this morning, so in between appoints I made some quick crotch curve adjustments.

Rather than cut out an entire new muslin, I did the additions and subtractions on muslin number one. That's one reason a 1" seam allowance is important to work with...I could easily let out the back crotch curve. I cut off the excess on the front crotch curve. I don't have the measurements of each handy at the moment, but it doesn't really matter because it did not work.

These are the type of photos I'd rather not post for the world to see. However, I need to document the process for myself and I have always found it helpful when others share their fitting experiences with me.


Adjusted muslin number one - back view. Notice the bagginess and folds of fabric? I'm not enough of a fit expert to accurately diagnose the problems but I'll be researching this more this evening.


Adjusted muslin number one - front view. This has so much bagginess at the center front crotch that at first glance you might think this is the back view. The sides have too much fabric at the hip level and there is too much fabric in the thigh area. The front darts appear to release fullness in an area where I don't need it so I may have to shorten those darts.


Side view of muslin number one - as you can see I'm dealing with a full tummy and an average back side with the fullness pretty low. This picture makes it appear that my front waist slopes down. I don't think that is accurate as hubby and I don't see that when looking at the pants. It may be the way I was trying to take photos by myself.


Adjusted muslin number one - back view with a pinned adjustment. I pinned a large triangle shape at the center back - with about two inches pinned in at the waistline. This throws the back darts off completely and I assume the back grain is now off also. The back crotch still doesn't look right.

Adjusted muslin number one - front view with a pinned adjustment. I pinned a large horizontal section across the entire center front and pinned out some excess on one side seam. The waist isn't actually off like this photo shows - I think I pulled some of it out of place trying to do a self photo.

I'm beginning to not trust my measurements, but I have taken them multiple times - both by myself and with my husband. It's possible that I'm not understanding how to transfer to measurements to the pattern to make alterations.

So what should I do? I have no idea what to do next. Obviously I'll need to try and come up with some solution this evening so I can complete a decent muslin to bring with me to class on Wednesday.

Come back again for a report on muslin number two using the second altered pattern.

The perfect pant fitting adventure post one here; post two here; post three here.
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The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure - Muslin Number One

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
Muslin Number One

(No photos today as I've already ripped part of the first muslin apart.)

After dutifully taking all of the required measurements, transferring them to the pattern and making all of the required alterations I cut the muslin.

Knowing this was my test muslin (meaning not the pair that would attend class with me, but the pair that I would use to pre-test my altered pattern) I sewed the seams quickly - in the proper order - with a long stitch seam. I stay stitched the waist line but did not sew on a waistband, nor did I add the zipper.

  • There's a number of problems with this first test muslin, but the crotch depth and crotch length appear to be the right lengths.
  • The knee and leg length adjustment were also good.
  • The pants overall are too wide at the hip, but I think that can be addressed in the class.
  • To my surprise the side seam is in it's proper place. Which tells me I need more width in the back of the pattern and less in the front.
  • Just as I feared, even though the overall crotch length appears to be correct, the adjustment between the front and back is not working. That 2-1/2" extension to the front crotch curve resulted in an incredibly baggy front crotch.
That obviously was not the right adjustment to make to the pattern so I'm going to try and fix it by increasing the back crotch curve and decreasing the front crotch curve.

Come back again for a report on muslin number two using the second altered pattern.

The perfect pant fitting adventure post one here; post two here.




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Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventures - measurements and pattern alteration

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure
Measurements and Pattern Alteration

My earlier post talked about my desire to finally obtain a pant pattern that is altered so that it will provide me with a pair of pants with the perfect fit.

Following the instructions in the pants fitting workbook, I enlisted the aid of my hubby to assist with obtaining accurate measurements. That involved wearing a piece of elastic around my waist as well as vertical strips of masking tape marking my center front, center back, and each side. Real romantic huh?

He helped me to get my front, back, right, and left waist to floor measurements as well as my waist to knee measurement. (All of which are really difficult to measure accurately by yourself.) We measured my front and back hip in 2" increments beginning 2" below my waistline. I also needed to measure my thigh circumference, crotch length and crotch depth. To get the correct crotch curve I used a flexible curve and transferred the shape onto a piece of paper.

Taking measurements only took about 20 minutes. Then came the time-consuming part - altering the pants pattern.
  • I traced the pattern in my size and marked the 5/8" seam allowance and transferred all of the other pattern markings.
  • Following the book, I began with the back pattern piece.
  • This particular pattern had a center line drawn on it so I didn't have to add that.
  • The waistline slope needed no adjustment.
  • I shortened the crotch depth by 3/8"
  • I placed my crotch curve over the pattern crotch curve and redrew it.
Pattern crotch curve compared to the new crotch curve created using the flexible curve.
Pattern crotch curve is underneath the new crotch curve created using the flexible curve.

  • Added 5/8" to the back crotch length by extending the crotch curve (per workbook instructions).
  • Made two darts instead of one, following workbook instructions.
  • In 2" increments, measured the hip width across the back and added to the side seam as needed.
  • Found the knee location of the pattern.
  • Shortened the knee location by 2-1/2"
  • Added 3" by adding tissue to the pant pattern halfway between the knee and the hem.
Knee location shortened by 2-1/2"

Added 3" to achieve correct pant length

The back pant pattern is now completely altered. At this point I looked at the back pattern and the alterations and I'm ready to toss the whole thing. The pattern piece just looks odd, especially the hip area that juts out quite a bit.

Completed altered back pant pattern on top of the original pant pattern tissue
Onto the front pant pattern alterations.
  • The front pattern piece also had a center line drawn on it so I didn't have to add that.
  • The front waistline slope needed no adjustment.
  • I shortened the crotch depth by 3/8" to match the back pattern piece.
  • Added 2-1/2" to the front crotch length by extending the crotch curve. This was per workbook instructions. At this point I'm looking at that curve and thinking that this will never work. I think it's too much to add at one point and I don't think it will work. However, there are no other instructions provided in the workbook for where to add to the front crotch length so I kept it as drawn.
  • In 2" increments, measured the hip width across the back and added to the side seam as needed. This time instead of adding to the hip area, I decreased from the hip area.
Hip area decreased but front crotch curve increased.

  • Shortened the knee location by 2-1/2" to match the back pattern piece.
  • Added 3" by adding tissue to the pant pattern halfway between the knee and the hem to match the back pattern piece.

Completed altered front pant pattern on top of the original pant pattern tissue
I still don't think these are going to work as altered, even though I followed the instructions to a T. I'm going to go cut these out and sew up very quickly for a test muslin before I begin sewing the real muslin needed for class.

Come back again for a report on the muslin using this altered pattern. Pin It

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure

The Perfect Pant Fitting Adventure

I know I'm not alone in this quest for the perfect fit as there are numerous books and DVDs and classes available to help sewers learn how to fit and sew the perfect pant.

I have read many of those books. I have viewed many of those DVDs. I have attended a lecture or two on fitting pants. Alas, I'm still in search of the my perfect fitting pant.

I will master the art of getting a pair of pants sewn that actually fit me.

That is why I set aside some money to attend an all day Pant Fitting class taught by Cynthia Guffey at this year's sewing expo.

This class required pre-work, which is expected. What I didn't expect was that the pre-work consisted of completing a pair of pants to bring with me to the class. Drat! I really just wanted someone to take my measurements and tell me what changes needed to be made to the pattern. You know, the easy method of pant fitting.

Since the class is next Wednesday I realized that I've procrastinated long enough and it's time to get down to business.

Rather than use an actual fashion pant pattern, I'm using Burda 3752 from my pattern stash. I think it has sat unused long enough - if you look closely you'll see I purchased it on 4/18/98. It's a basic pant shell, close-fitting, front and back darts, a waistband, and a side zipper.

As instructed, I'll be altering the pattern following the instructions in Cynthia's Pants Fitting Workbook, which arrived last month along with my expo class confirmation.

Step one is to find a helper to assist with taking many measurements, followed by the actual alteration of the pattern.

Come back later for progress on my latest sewing adventure.




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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Only 52 days left to make or buy handmade gifts...

You know what I'm talking about.

Only 52 days until Christmas!

Which means all of the stores are now playing Christmas music and the aisles are filled with Santas, and snowmen and sparkling decorations. All in an attempt to tempt us to buy early and buy a lot.

I don't know about you but I find it all quite annoying considering it is only November 3. Does anyone else remember when the stores saved their holiday display until the day after Thanksgiving? It was magical!

Holiday Sewing Podcast
I just finished listening to the Sew Forth Now podcast, Let's Get Started Sewing for the Holidays, where she reminds us that the holidays will be here before we know it! If you haven't had a chance to listen to it yet take a few minutes to do so.

Give HandMade Gifts
Maybe this is the year to the take the HandMade Pledge. Every year our favorite gift is the handmade jams, seasoning packages, and caramels that my talented youngest sister gives to us. I haven't taken the pledge - yet - but I'm liking the idea more and more for my Christmas gifts this year.

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

Handmade Gift Ideas
If you, like me, might be looking for new ideas for handmade gifts, be sure to check out Sew Mama Sew blog during the month of November. The 30 Days of Gifts to Sew is underway - a different inspiration every day this month.



HandMade Gift Shopping
If I find I don't have time to actually make all of my gifts myself I could always attend the third annual No Coast Craft-o-Rama being held in Minneapolis the end of this month. The place will be filled with handmade items from many talented indie designers, including Rebecca Yaker, the designer of the sock monkey dress that I photographed at the state fair. (Click here.)

Handmade Nation Trailer
Speaking of indie designers - once again I'm late to the party. I just recently came across this youtube trailer for the documentary that will be released in March 2008 - "Handmade Nation". Pin It

Been having trouble viewing my blog lately? I think I've fixed the problem.

Woof Nanny was kind enough to send me a note letting me know that when she tried to view my blog it but it crashed her computer. Yikes!

She suggested that it might be because I had Java script on the blog, adding that blogger isn't working with it anymore. Well, that's the first I had heard of that but being a novice at all of the 'behind the scenes" codes I took her word for it.

I removed an item from my sidebar that ran on Java script. I'm hopeful that takes care of problems you may have encountered trying to view my blog.

Thank you Woof Nanny! Pin It

Friday, November 02, 2007

Flashback Friday - 1976

November 2, 1976. Thirty one years ago.

I don't remember what I was wearing, whether or not snow had begun to blanket the yards, or even where I kept my sewing machine. I was too busy being a very young mom of two children under the age of one.

That day my son was 15 days old and would not be released from children's hospital for another week. He had been born two months prematurely and the doctors weren't sure he was ready to come home.

My daughter was 10 months old and progressing well in her development. She too had been a preemie. If you haven't read her story, I shared part of it here.

This photo of her was taken at her Grandmother's home while I was at the hospital visiting her brother. The blur is because she's busy bouncing her hand up and down very quickly. When you have a child you marvel at everything they learn to do. When you have a child that you aren't sure will develop "normally" you celebrate everything they learn to do.
That's one reason I love this photo so much. It captures her being a baby. Doing a normal baby thing.

The photo also captures the fact that she is wearing little flannel pj's that I had sewn for her. I remember setting the snaps into the legs of these pj's. It was early on a Sunday morning and I was busy pounding the snaps into the fabric with my hammer. Having never lived in an apartment before I didn't realize how much I was disturbing my downstairs neighbors until they began pounding on the ceiling. Oops! When I realized what I was doing I was a bit embarrassed and made sure I was much more considerate of my noisy sewing projects in the future.

There's another sewn item in that photo. The Kitty Kat! Sewn from the remnants of a dress, with felt eyes and nose, hand embroidered mouth and whiskers, satin ribbon adorning it's neck, and filled with polyester fiberfill and lots of love.

I stumbled across the pattern, Butterick 4573, a few months ago, and I just had to purchase it for a scrapbook page.

Who knows? Maybe daughter will want to sew one someday when she has children. (Hey kiddo, if you're reading this no pressure on the grandkids thing okay? LOL!) Pin It

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New online sewing resource - Sewn Magazine

Sewn Magazine is a new online magazine for those of us that enjoy sewing garments.


From the website "SEWN started as bright idea. Why should patchworkers and knitters have all the fun, we garment sewists wanted a magazine of our own! "

Have you signed up for your free subscription yet?

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