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Message Board > Fitting Woes > I don't understand ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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I don't understand
Why do RTW pants fit so much better than any pants pattern I've tried?
chicaem29
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chicaem29  Friend of PR
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NY USA
Member since 3/4/09
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Date: 12/30/10 7:35 PM

I have been working really hard on pants fitting this year and I've gotten nowhere. I do have one pair of pants that I've made that I like and wear, but they are very loose linen pants for summer. I cannot seem to get anything that is even remotely fitted to fit properly. And I'm really not aiming for perfection here - just something acceptable that wouldn't be embarrassing to wear. Honestly. So the fact that I can't even achieve 'not embarrassing' is, obviously, extremely frustrating - especially since even though I *hate* RTW pants because they ALL fit me poorly, they still fit better than any of the pants patterns I've tried and altered endlessly.

Every single pair I've tried has the same problem in the front crotch that no alteration seems to fix. I've *never* encountered this problem on a single pair of RTW pants I have ever tried on. There's all this excess fabric along the seam in the curve in the front. It creates envelope folds along the seam, a weird baggy tent-like effect when I'm standing and giant mounds of fabric when I sit. No fitting book I've consulted addresses this. It's happened with commercial patterns and a pattern I drafted from a pair of pants that fit me perfectly but were a little too small. I've made what feels like a million muslins. I've tried walking away and working on new projects and coming back with a new attitude and energy. I've tried shallowing and deepening the front curve. I've tried shortening the crotch extension/point. I've tried taking in the center front seam and letting out the center front seam. I've tried lowering and raising the crotch point. I've tried adjusting for knock knees (which I don't even have) and for every kind of full thigh (front, side, and inner). I took a jeans class here on PR and the instructor couldn't figure out the problem. Nothing fixes it! And I look at the crotch curves on my RTW pants closely, and compare them to my pattern, and I can't figure out what the difference is. I'm chubby but I'm not bizarrely shaped so what is the deal??

I am in desperate need of pants and have accepted that I will have to go buy some. I managed to find RTW jeans that fit me well, but I am doubtful that I will have the same luck with dress pants for work. I am worried that I will go shopping tomorrow and not find anything and be even more frustrated. I feel like RTW women's pants are constructed in a way that makes them extremely difficult to alter so I can't even buy some that fit okay and try to fix them to fit better. (The waistband is always too small on me and manufacturers don't leave any seam allowances so I can't let out the waist.)

How can it be that every pants pattern I've tried looks like sh*t on me? Why can't I fix them? How can it be that RTW fits better when it doesn't even fit that well?? I have all this fabric I bought to make pants staring at me, and I'm in desperate need of pants, but I can't make any pants that look even remotely normal. I'm sick of spending money on fabric for muslins and never getting any closer to having a usable pattern. I'm sick of endlessly altering my muslins and hoping that this fix will be the one that makes the difference. I'm sick of spending money on RTW pants that make me look dumpy and fat because they don't fit right. I know this is like the third time I've started a thread like this, but I can't help it. I just need to get this off my chest. No one I know sews, and they all seem to be able to find pants that fit, so they can't understand why I get so upset about it.

Athene
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Athene  Friend of PR
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In reply to chicaem29


Date: 12/30/10 7:52 PM

Hi chicaem29

I find pants to be very frustrating to fit.

I probably can't give you a solution to the problem, but I looked at your past reviews and notice you have sewed Kwik Sew 3115 the yoga pants with pretty good results in the past.

I have made those yoga pants in a knit also with very good results.

I have also made those yoga pants in the next size up in a woven fabric with a bit of lyrca and they turned out quite good.

So although it might not solve all your problems, give the Kwik Sew pattern a chance in a woven with a bit of lycra and see what you think - you might be pleasantly surprised. I really liked my results in the woven with lycra - they looked good, but they did not have pockets - I was willing to live with that, because there were no bags of fabric in the front or in the back.

Sorry I have no photo to post for you on PR, that's something I still have to make time for in the future to learn and do.

Anyhow my advice is just a short in between thing you may want to try. I am sure you will get lots of more helpful advice here on PR.
-- Edited on 12/30/10 7:54 PM --

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Fictionfan
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Fictionfan  Friend of PR
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Subject: I dont understand Date: 12/30/10 8:08 PM

A photo would really help. If I understand what you are describing, it sounds like only the center front is baggy? The side seams at the front seem okay? No pulling or pinching in the back? No other drape or pull lines? So the length is the problem only in front?

One guess is that you just need to fold out that wedge of extra fabric. Leave the parts that seem okay alone--such as the side seam length and back, and just fold out the part that is extra. If you have a muslin that did not work out, try doing this on the muslin fabric (no zipper, of course). Pinch out the part that balloons out, pin it and try on the muslin, then sew it as a dart and see how the muslin problem looks when it is gone. If it works, fold that part of the pattern (but don't plan to sew it as a dart). You will have to true the front seamline so it stays on the grainline if that is what the pattern calls for.

Some patterns have the center front angled so that the center front seam acts as a dart, creating extra room toward the lower part of the front seamline, which can mean a baggy front crotch if you don't need the dart effect of the angled front seam. You can get rid of it, but it's a little harder to explain without pictures.

One alteration I almost always need to do is to lower the front waist without changing the side seam length. This means I am folding the pattern like a horizontal dart with the wide part of the dart at the center and the point of the dart at the side seam. It is not a dart that I sew in the fabric. My extra fabric is usually above the front crotch curve, and if I don't fold it out on the pattern, I get a poufy center front which can be like a layer of folded fabric in my lap when I sit. My waistline, like many people, is angled lower in front than back, but most patterns assume a horizontal, parallel to the floor waistline, so the front is always too long for me, or the back is too short if the front fits.

HTH

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Fictionfan

newmama
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newmama
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SC USA
Member since 6/28/09
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Date: 12/30/10 8:11 PM

I am so sorry for all the trouble you have been going through. I don't have much experience with pants, so I have no technical advice to offer.

I do have a random, probably impractical suggestion. I looked through some of your reviews and saw a pretty fuschia pencil skirt you made from a BurdaStyle pattern. It seemed to fit nice and had a waistband and pockets. I wonder if there's any way to make that pattern into a pair of pants? I thought maybe you could combine the crotch curve and inseam measurements from the RTW pair that you tried to copy with the outer lines of the skirt and the waistband measurements.

Another thought: you mentioned pantyhose/tights smoothing you out and making the skirt look nicer. Would some sort of shaping undergarment help make the pants you have and have made look nicer? (no experience with this, just an off-the-cuff idea)

I just wanted to let you know that I sympathize with you and hope you have a breakthrough that helps you get the fit you want. I'm sure someone will have some sound, technical advice for you!

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angie
http://danikate-designs.blogspot.com/

Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to chicaem29


Date: 12/30/10 8:29 PM

Quote:
There's all this excess fabric along the seam in the curve in the front. It creates envelope folds along the seam, a weird baggy tent-like effect when I'm standing and giant mounds of fabric when I sit.

I'm wondering if you're describing the same thing I've had happen sometimes on pants I've made -- a horizontal pooch of extra fabric right below the zipper area? If so, I've started folding out 1/2" or so from the front crotch seam on pants patterns (i.e. on on the front leg pieces, just above the crotch). ...I'm short, so this is probably a petite adjustment that I don't, um, need in the back... (I sort of need the opposite adjustment in the back ).

That said, I've actually never found a pair of RTW pants (other than jeans) that fit as well as most of the Burda pants I've made.


-- Edited on 12/30/10 8:31 PM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

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Vireya
Vireya
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AUSTRALIA
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Subject: I dont understand Date: 12/30/10 8:41 PM

I'll be watching the responses to this thread, because I have exactly the same problem! I actually don't sew pants just because I could never work out how to get rid of that fold of fabric. I even did a course on "sewing pants that fit", and although the pants I made fitted very well everywhere else, they had that extra fold, and the instructor didn't seem to know how to get rid of it.

Pants I buy also don't have the extra lump of fabric, so I hope the answer to your question is in one of the responses here.
-- Edited on 12/30/10 8:46 PM --

Sew4Fun
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In reply to chicaem29


Date: 12/30/10 8:49 PM

Quote:
Why do RTW pants fit so much better than any pants pattern I've tried?

I totally understand why you are upset and frustrated. I am too, but I'm mostly fed up with patterns, not RTW.

My opinion is RTW pants are drafted differently than commercial patterns. It's my opinion that commercial patterns are stuck in the 80's and haven't kept up with current drafting trends nor current body shapes. They keep recycling the same patterns over and over. There are a few exceptions but very, very few.

Luckily I have four or five pairs of RTW pants that fit me exceptionally well, but it's so frustrating to be able to buy off the rack and have something fit so well, then spend literally weeks altering pant patterns and get nowhere. It shouldn't be this hard! But it is.

Therefore last week I decided to use Press 'n' Seal to duplicate a pattern from my RTW pants. I now have my pattern which I have compared to at least a dozen different pant patterns, all from different companies. Not one pattern is the same as my RTW pattern. There are very obvious differences and rather big differnces too.

So I'm going down the RTW road, and for the moment at least forgetting commmercial patterns. I'll be sourcing all my patterns from RTW. (I'm currently in the middle of sewing pants from my RTW pattern). If pattern companies can't keep up with the times I'll look to RTW.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

Sew4Fun
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In reply to chicaem29


Date: 12/30/10 9:46 PM

Quote:
Every single pair I've tried has the same problem in the front crotch that no alteration seems to fix. I've *never* encountered this problem on a single pair of RTW pants I have ever tried on.

Yes same here. This is one of the many differences I noticed between my RTW pattern and home sewing patterns. The front crotch hook on RTW is very short and very straight. The front crotch seam itself above the hook is also very straight and not angled. In fact the whole front pattern piece is much smaller.

The trouble is I believe you can't just alter this one area (front crotch) on a home sewing pattern. Even if you change the front crotch to the same as RTW (which I've tried many times) it doesn't work. The reason it works on RTW is the whole pattern is different, not just the front. The back is different, the waist is different, etc. It's the combination that makes it work in RTW. This is why I've decided enough is enough and I'm using RTW as my pattern.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

Nancy K
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 12/30/10 10:33 PM

The closer the fit the bigger the problem. If it is close fitting obviously the fit has to be better. Kathleen Fasanella talked about how different rtw patterns are from home patterns. Someone mentioned converting a well fitting skirt pattern to a pant pattern and there was an article many years ago in Threads on just how to do this.
Kenneth King teaches a pants drafting class in NYC that you might want to take. He gives them at night I believe. I am taking his moulage class in Queens and while I have a pant pattern I finally like the fit on, I'd still love to take the pants drafting class with hm. It's not that expensive and certainly worth the money to reduce your stress and aggravation level not to mention you'd get a pattern that fits you. I really would love to hear his take on the front crotch issue because i've had it too. Like Belinda said I needed to straighten the cf and shorten the front crotch hook. I also ended up straightening it out to fit into the back crotch, which I had to drop at the back crotch so the whole angle of the crotch had to change. One thing that I have learned over the years is that patterns just don't match the female body. Even if you don't have a low rear end we do tilt from front to back and if your pattern doesn't you will have issues. Try drafting your own pattern from scratch; you may have better results.

------
www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

guillorypr
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Subject: I dont understand Date: 12/30/10 11:15 PM

I would do as Nancy K suggests and take a class in person! I have a feeling that once someone who knows what is what (that's not me!) shows you what to do, it will all be clear. It's what I would do. I have to admit, stories like this keep me from even trying pants!

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