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Tips & Techniques > One-step pants back alteration

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Posted by: Karla Kizer
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About Karla Kizer starstarstar
Member since: 4/8/02
Reviews: 69 (tips: 18)
Skill level:Advanced
Favored by: 87 people
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Posted on: 3/28/03 2:45 AM
Last Updated: 10/22/05 6:43 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 25 people   
Featured in the PR book!
10/22/05 I've been informed that the link to my sketch doesn't workanymore. I'll try to find it on my home computer when I get home in a couple of days, and or re-do it. Sorry about that...

For those of us who consistently need to add length in the center back seam of pants and at the same time shorten the inseam (the ever-popular clown-butt-adjustment), here's a technique that accomplishes both alterations at the same time:

Slash the pattern horizontally at about the middle of the CB seam and 3 to 4 inches below the crotch level. The slashes need extend only a few inches into the pattern. Now connect these slashes by cutting parallel to the grain line. You are removing - isolating- only the lower crotch/upper thigh portion of the pattern. Now slide the isolated area down the back leg. I overlap the lower edge about 3/4". You will leave a gap in the pattern above the crotch level. That gap is effectively lengthening the CB seam; fill in the gap with scrap tissue paper. The overlap below crotch level works like the "clown-butt-adjustment", shortening the back inseam. Making this change leaves the sideseam contour and the grainline unaffected. The photo URL, with any luck, will give you a feeble sketch of the alteration. If nothing else has worked for you, give this one a try; it has really helped me make better-fitting pants for myself and my DD.

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Hibby56 said... (11/18/11 2:22 AM) Reply
Thank you sooooooo much!! I was ready to throw my machine out the window i was so frustrated with trying to get the right fit for Pants. This technique really worked like a charm, now im ready to go buy more material.........
annick said... (2/18/11 10:54 AM) Reply
thanks for the tip but it will be better with a picture
LinnieT said... (8/15/09 11:07 AM) Reply
Hi Karla, Can you repost your photo? I need a visual for this technique.
Heidi Ho said... (1/3/09 6:40 PM) Reply
I would love a copy oh you sketch too if you could send one to me or post it with this tip. I don't quite understand exactly what you are doing but I think it is something I need to do myself.
Judy Wentz said... (1/3/09 9:21 AM) Reply
I really need this sketch if you still have it. It sounds wonderful. If you can email me I would love it. JW
Pfaff2 said... (5/13/08 12:26 PM) Reply
Hi Karla, Could you please re-post the picture/sketch? Or would you email it to me? I just can't picture it. Thank you, Pfaff2
Diana M said... (9/16/07 11:47 PM) Reply
Well. This is an amazing tip, and I just found it by clicking on the links to older reviews, and then the links inside them -- it's an amazing journey, and leads to gems like this. Thanks, Karla!
sasysu said... (6/2/06 7:42 PM) Reply
i am not sure i understand the terms you use.. maybe my question would be how do i take up the crotch in pants?? fron the back to front seam ? or the inbetween the thigh seem?? obviously new at this!!
helena said... (6/10/05 4:10 PM) Reply
This is like the dart-box technique for moving darts- makes total sense!
AnneM said... (5/5/05 6:48 AM) Reply
Very interesting; I'm glad I asked. Another experiment to try during my pants-kick.
Karla Kizer said... (5/5/05 6:01 AM) Reply
Anne, when the back inseam is shorter (and that's recommended by a lot of sewing authorities), you take your pants backs to the ironing board, lay them down and deliberately stretch and steam the top 6-8" of the back inseam. Because it's on the bias, you'll be able to lengthen that inseam quite a bit and get it to match the front. The shape of the back crotch will change from a flat "L" to more of a hook-shaped "J".
AnneM said... (5/4/05 4:26 PM) Reply
Hi Karla. With this adjustment, your back inseam is now shorter than your front inseam. How do you handle that? I'm presuming that you don't want to lengthen the front rise, so I'm not following how you make a corresponding adjustment to the front unless you slope the waistline on one of the pattern pieces. (From the center back to the side, & then shorten the front leg pattern below the crotch?)
Karla Kizer said... (2/18/05 6:12 AM) Reply
Loopner, I have had good results using this adjustment on both KwikSew and Burda, but I must admit I haven't tried it on a Big 4 pattern. I'm wondering what I'll do when my full hip line and knee level are one and the same.....and that time is not looking too far off!
loopner said... (2/17/05 9:48 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip. I already did a 1/2" wedge adjustment in the back inseam and that just was not enough to get rid of the under-butt-baggies. I am afraid to take more out because it will be too mcuh to ease into the front inseam. I will try your extra 1/4". Until then, I continue to scoop the back crotch curve to try to get rid of it. I think I have scooped 3/4 to 1" already and I still have not got a smooth fall from the butt down the back leg. Very frustrating.
Nancy K said... (12/31/04 9:23 AM) Reply
This sounds brilliant! Can't wait to try it. I have been having such an impossible time getting the back of pants to fit well.
Karla Kizer said... (2/23/04 6:35 AM) Reply
Kathi, Ofoto and I don't get along at all. Try this and see if it works:
kathi s said... (2/22/04 10:23 AM) Reply
Karla, I am "forbidden" to view your URL- is there some other way to access it?
Peggy L said... (4/1/03 7:42 PM) Reply
Karla - a picture is worth a thousand words! I've printed this out and am going to try it. It really looks like an easy adjustment to make. Thanks for posting. Peggy
Karla Kizer said... (3/30/03 11:46 PM) Reply
Peggy, I scanned a sketch and put in on my Ofoto page, but I can't seem to access it, and I have no idea how to fix the problem.....
Peggy L said... (3/30/03 7:51 PM) Reply
Karla - I really need to see a picture! The line doesn't work for me - anyone else having problems?
SouthernStitch said... (3/30/03 1:14 AM) Reply
Thanks Karla, this sounds like an easy alteration, and one I will use. Formerly I've been adding to the top of the CB and just cutting a size smaller back inseam, but I still have the wedgie thing going on . This sounds like a winner.
Karla Kizer said... (3/29/03 9:23 PM) Reply
Joann, thanks for the reassurance that my description was understandable. It's so frustrating not to able to sketch while I talk! And Cheryl, I agree that "clown butt" is not too elegant, but the name has been used so often on PR and SW, that I thought I would just speak the local language. Maybe the "derrierus descendus" alteration for the wedgie-averse...
comocosews said... (3/29/03 12:38 PM) Reply
Thanks for the tip. Somehow there just has to be a different way to describe this than the clown-butt-adjustment. Something more dignified and special, but I can't think of what it would be.
Joann Eidhoff said... (3/28/03 1:58 PM) Reply
Your idea sounds wonderful. I followed your directions on a oiece of paper (a little sketch) and then looked at the photo URL. Your description was so good, that my sketch are yours were the same. Not only can you alter well you can also do good job describing how to do it.
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