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Tips & Techniques > Removing Excess Fabric Beneath the Butt

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Posted by: Diane E
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Member since: 4/8/02
Reviews: 69 (tips: 1)
Skill level:Advanced
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Posted on: 3/4/03 5:59 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 10 people   Very Helpful by 68 people   
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If you find that there is too much fabric underneath the butt, resulting in baggy saggy horizontal folds at the top of the back thigh, you can easily remove some of this by taking a tuck in your back pant pattern piece. You can take out as much as you can then successfully ease onto the front pattern piece at the inseam. I learned this technique from Sandra Betzina, and she said not to take out more than about 3/4".

This is the altered pattern, and here are the steps to get to this result:

First, make a horizontal slash in your pants pattern from the inseam almost all the way through the outseam, below the crotch. You are creating a hinge in your pattern, which you can then overlap.

Next, redraw your pattern, making sure to keep important aspects intact. As you can see, I kept the long back crotch hook when I redrew my pattern, otherwise, I could have given myself a wedgie in the alteration process.

This is fast, simple, and easy, and really does make a difference in the way the back of your pants fit.

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CMae said... (3/1/12 3:50 PM) Reply
I've been looking for the fix for these horizontal lines for sooo long! Thanks for sharing!
JTink said... (5/17/10 2:17 PM) Reply
I just found this on my search to take the excess fabric out from under my butt in my jeans pattern. I just didn't want to go through all that fish eyed dart stuff and mess up what already works in the waist and crotch area. This is so simple, it's almost too good to be true. I'm going to give it a try. I'm curious to know if any of the posters here have tried it and if it worked for them. Thanks for this tip and the pictures.
Miss Fairchild said... (3/14/09 10:24 PM) Reply
I'm going to try this! It makes perfect sense to me! All my fit books never mentioned this; one said I had to put in a seam from my waist to my hem and adjust accordingly. So this seems like a very easy fix. Thank you.
Annie- oh said... (7/2/08 1:07 PM) Reply
Another thank you here - more than 5 years later.
Pfaff2 said... (5/19/08 4:49 PM) Reply
Thank you!
Diane E said... (5/14/08 4:33 PM) Reply
Hi Pfaff2, I've always kept the grainline perpendicular to the floor, and thus (in most cases!) perpendicular to the hem. As to the center back length - what you're doing is darting under the butt, causing the pants to cup under the butt slightly. I haven't found that this affects the fit of my pants at the back waist, which I always have to narrow by deepening my darts or CB seam.
SaundraJ said... (5/13/08 5:11 PM) Reply
Great help. Thanks
Pfaff2 said... (5/12/08 7:27 AM) Reply
Thank you, Diane. Now I have another question: What about the grainline? I created this horizontal slit/dart just below the butt (crotch line). Some threads on this site regarding fitting woes say the grainline from the knee down must be perpendicular to the floor. It looks like mine will still perpendicular to the floor in this area. If I move it slightly to match the tilt I just created, then the hem won’t be level. Do I match the tilt, or split the difference? And my second question is about the corresponding waist alteration that some say is necessary. Is it really? I have a bit of a sway back. The fact that the center back is now ¾” lower I think will actually help me. Right now I'm using McCall's 9233 view A. Thank you in advance for your help.
Diane E said... (5/11/08 11:00 AM) Reply
Hi Pfaff2, I ease the shorter back to the front for about 7 - 8 inches. I see that some recent Burda WOF patterns have this alteration built in, so be sure to check your pattern before doing the alteration.
Pfaff2 said... (5/10/08 9:45 AM) Reply
I too love the illustrations. When easing the revised (shorter) backs onto the regular fronts, how long should the span of the easing be?
Pfaff2 said... (5/8/08 7:00 PM) Reply
I too love the illustrations. When easing the revised (shorter) backs onto the regular fronts, how long should the span of the easing be?
sewrose said... (11/1/07 9:41 AM) Reply
Okay, off to try this out. I'm about at my wits' end with getting a decent pants block to work with, and shopping for RTW is not an option!
Lilianne said... (10/27/07 7:31 AM) Reply
Does this not distort the grainline?
junemontgomery said... (7/3/07 11:08 AM) Reply
Wish I had read this review before making six pair of this pant pattern. Love the pattern but did have too much fabric in back -- just like she said. Will make change in future patterns.
Deb Fox said... (1/18/07 2:16 PM) Reply
Does this technique work on the front crotch also? I get some folds in the front that also point to a too long upper inseam. I will try this tip on both front and back, a little more in the back than the front!
ZoeP said... (12/28/06 9:33 PM) Reply
thank you for this info. I will try it soon.
elder said... (10/10/06 4:52 PM) Reply
Tarawebster said... (4/20/06 4:49 PM) Reply
This tip goes to show how important this board is. I just found this tip, three years after it was written, and it will be incredibly helpful to me in fitting pants. A local teacher who is famous for fit gave me a wedgie when she adjusted my crotch curve on a pant I was making, and I almost gave up on the pattern. I'm going to try this, and I bet that this is exactly what is needed to make this and other pants patterns fit me better. Thank you sooo much!
CarlaDian said... (7/1/05 12:18 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip. I will use it on my next pair of pants, which I need in my wardrobe desperately.
NickelB said... (3/10/05 3:48 PM) Reply
I am not quite sure if this is the problem that I am having in the back of my pants. But I will give this a try. Thank You
ChrisK said... (12/30/04 5:46 AM) Reply
Thanks for responding Diane. I also posted the question on the message board, and Els kindly stepped in and put me right on the 'right track'.
Diane E said... (12/29/04 10:50 AM) Reply
Hi Sewsan and Chris, I've always just redrawn the grainline so that it remains straight on the leg (in most pants this is perpendicular to the floor). If you don't do this, you will end up with twisted legs. Thanks for the clarification!
ChrisK said... (12/28/04 2:41 AM) Reply
I am also puzzled about how to deal with the distorted grainline if I make this adjustment. Have you any advice on how to takle this please Diane?
sewsan said... (9/12/04 1:06 PM) Reply
when you overlap at the inseam doesn't this swing the leg in and at a different grainline
Diane E said... (9/12/04 12:02 PM) Reply
Flo, I just noticed your question. The pictures are embedded in the text of the tip above. Click on the highlighted words. Mary, thanks for this information. I think there are several ways to get to the desired result. Essentially you are darting out the excess fabric and trying not to create new problems, so you're right, in a case where there is already fabric to ease back leg to front, you would want to find another way to dart out additional bags and sags.
SouthernStitch said... (9/7/04 11:21 AM) Reply
Peggy Sagers has a pants fitting article in Threads this month, and it basically has the same alteration. Only difference is she did hers above the crotch seam. This means while you may have to add to the CB waist seam, you won't have to worry about the front and back inseams being terribly different. This is good for those patterns which do already have a shorter back inseam.
Flotide said... (6/17/04 10:03 AM) Reply
Where can I find the pictures you all refer to with this article on removing excess fabric beneath the butt?
Annam said... (5/2/04 0:24 AM) Reply
Thanks for this technique, you write it very clearly. I have had problems with those saggy baggy back legs for ever but now I have finally got rid of them. Now that I am making better fitting trousers people keep making remarks to me that I have lost weight. No such luck but I am happy that my new trou are so flattering. Anna
ClareinStitches said... (3/1/04 11:19 AM) Reply
Exactly what I needed to know! A billion thanks, Diane.
Sew it seams said... (11/24/03 8:30 AM) Reply
Karla, as I was reading this I was thinking of the same thing! Oh, to have to worry about too much fabric below the butt....!
Karla Kizer said... (3/6/03 9:46 PM) Reply
"Removing Excess Fabric Beneath the Butt "......Just occurred to me that I'd rather know about Removing Excess Butt Beneath the Fabric.......
Diane E said... (3/6/03 2:17 PM) Reply
Thanks everyone. Glad to help. Thinking this through step by step helps me too! Also, Karla, thanks for your stretching/steaming tip.
Ann B. said... (3/5/03 8:57 PM) Reply
Karla, thanks for that info. I'm never sure if the patern has this alteration built in. Thanks for letting us know how to check. Diane, thank YOU for the wonderfully illustrated tip.
Dale C said... (3/5/03 2:53 PM) Reply
Wonderful job with the pics Diane. This technique really works.
Maria Hatfield said... (3/5/03 11:58 AM) Reply
oh ! i hope deepika is checking this thread out. this is just what i was talking about a while back in one of the other threads. about having pictures to look at. this helps so much! and i know i really appreciate you for sharing these pics. with us. i just love the step by step pics. it makes it easier for me to understand. thanks alot.
Karla Kizer said... (3/5/03 8:18 AM) Reply
I'd like to add a "me, too" to Diane's alteration suggestion. This pattern change creates a much smoother back fit on pants, and I make this change on every pants pattern, no matter who I'm sewing for. One word of caution: some patterns have this change built in, so it's best to measure the front and back inseams before you overlap. Like Diane, I limit the difference between the front and back to 3/4". It's also helpful to take the cut out pants back pieces to the ironing board and stretch and steam the back crotch point. You'll change the shape of the back point to a > shape, and the crotch shape will change to more of a "J". After you've steamed the pants backs, the back and front inseams will be almost the same length, so sewing them together is a breeze.
Georgene said... (3/5/03 1:53 AM) Reply
Alex, the more curvey back inseam can stretch out a bit to ease in the excess of the front. You would put it in the first 5-8" of the back inseam by stretching the length of the back inseam to be the same as the front as you are sewing. You can add a notch on the inseam that has the same distance up from the cuff. Match up to that point and then stretch. This is actually a men's tailoring technique, but I can't remeber where I learned it. Thanks Diane for your great documentation and a reminder that this is not a difficult adjustment.
alex said... (3/5/03 0:30 AM) Reply
Diane, what would you do about the front inseam now? Would it not be longer than the back after these changes?
Julia Graham said... (3/4/03 10:26 PM) Reply
Wow, Diane, those step-by-step pix are better than Betzina's! Thanks.
NancyDaQ said... (3/4/03 8:52 PM) Reply
Diane, I have heard your explanation of the "clown butt" alteration before, and having photos to look at is truly helpful!
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