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Patternmaking & Sewing Notes
by Don McCunn

How to Make Sewing Patterns
Update: Pants Fitting Issues

Getting pants to fit can be a challenge. My mantra is nature never makes the same shape twice. Working with people in my online How to Make a Pants Sloper class I have had the opportunity to hone and fine tune some of the ideas in my book How to Make Sewing Patterns. The information below is intended to supplement the material in my book.

Crotch Curve
One issue that arises is that fabric in a slacks cut pants can buckle under the buttocks as I show in my book.

Crotch Curve

This is caused either by posture or the soft tissue of the buttocks going south. What we discovered by doing some field testing in my class is that this fitting issue is actually reflected in measurements.

When I was researching pants patterns the crotch curve never dropped lower than the top of the inseam. This means that when you add the Crotch Depth and Inseam measurements they will equal the Waist to Floor measurement.

But in some bodies the buttocks can be lower than the ideal location for the top of the inseam. In this case the Inseam measurement indicates the length of the inseam and the Crotch Depth indicates how much the back crotch curve needs to be lowered for an appropriate fit. I have written and illustrated this relationship in a little more detail in a Crotch Curve PDF file you are welcome to download.

Adjusting for Tummies
Another fitting issue that we have addressed in my class is how to optimize the fit of pants for women with tummies. I am grateful for the assistance that Barbara Cleary provided in field testing a new measurement and giving me permission to use pictures of her journey addressing this issue.

Optimizing for a Tummy, Before and After

Once again in my book I indicated how to adjust for tummies on page 40. The concept is to extend the front crotch curve so the pants don't pull in tightly directly under the tummy as you can see in the "before" photo on the left. What Barbara and I worked out is how to use a Tummy Width measurement to establish how much the front crotch curve needs to be extended so the pants will not pull in here, the photo on the right. Here is a link to the Optimizing for Tummies PDF file you can download.

Caveat: beware of relying too much on the measurements. The only way to really evaluate pattern shapes is in a fitting. Use these measurement ideas only as an initial guide.

Copyright © 2015 by Donald H. McCunn