Monday, October 19, 2015

Pitiful Pants ~ the epic journey

Let's talk pants.  They are not hard to sew, but time consuming.  They look great when executed right; but they are just so darn hard to fit correctly!!  I have been struggling with finding a good pants pattern for awhile now.  I thought I would share my recent failures learning experiences. 
My main problem is the crotch curve and thighs.  I know, I know, that is like the major part of fitting pants. I have a small waist, very large hips/rear, and saddlebags large thighs. To make things worse, I am very particular in how my pants fit.  I can't even buy RTW jeans because finding a pair to fit these areas is exhausting.  

So here is my recent work on 3 different pants patterns.  I'll give my thoughts on each one.

Kwik Sew 3193: Size L waist, to XL elsewhere.  These are more “trousers” than pants so the fit will be a bit different.  They are higher rise than I like. My fabric has some stretch.
Jalie 3461 Eleanor: I really, really wanted these to work.  This is the look I was going for.  Per my measurements I should go with a  “V” at the waist to an “AA” elsewhere which I did. My fabric was the right stretch, too.  I could barely put these suckers on. Super tight. *Shakes fist at those who had this pattern work “right out of the envelope”*
Ottobre 02/2013 #5/6: My butt looks the saggiest in these.  After seeing these pictures I threw away this muslin and the traced pattern. I will not proceed with these!  Size Waist 44 to 48 elsewhere.  This fabric has some stretch.
Here are the back views: backside collage

Kwik sew: Yikes, my rear crotch curve needs to be let out some and I should scoop a bit more for the rear as it looks like I’m trying to bust out!

Jalie: wrinkles, wrinkles, wrinkles.  Way too tight.  Do my knees knock together or am I just standing weird?

Ottobre: Saggy butt. Knee, thigh, and under rear issues.

And the front views:
front collage

Kwik Sew: front looks ok, though the tights need some work.

Jalie: Still tight. Front crotch hanging too low causing frown lines.  Pulling across hips. Knee issues.

Ottobre: Not good, but not terrible.  Knee issues, hip/thigh issues.  Weird crotch issue trying to form a camel toe.

And the side views:Side Collage

Kwik Sew: From the side these look ok.  The outer seam is mostly straight, though tilted back on top and forward in front slightly. 

Jalie: Wowza.  My waist to thigh bump looks horrible.  The outer seam is pulling to the back on top.  Wrinkles on the thigh to knee. 

Ottobre: *shakes head*  Just wrong.  outer seam pulls to rear on top. waist, rear, thigh, knee wrinkles. 
So there you have it.  Pictures speak volumes when fitting.  I will probably continue to tweak the Kwik Sew pattern to get a good trouser pant out of it.  The front side seems very loose on me, but overall the issues are manageable.  I would love to get the Jalie pattern to work but I’m pushing at the very top size on the pattern – which is disheartening!  I wear a size 14 in RTW pants right now and the Jalie pattern goes up to a 22 in women, you would not think I’d be at the edge of the size chart. I may or may not try it in the largest size at a later time.
How do you fit your pants?  Do you tissue fit? Muslin? or sew straight out of the envelope?  If you are pear shaped like me, have you had success with a certain pattern?
~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~


  1. I think we all feel your pain with pants fitting. I've had RTW pants fit like ALL of those pictures you've shown. Fit is so important - which is why we sew I guess! I shied away from pants making for a very long time, precisely because of my fear that achieving a good fit would be impossible. When I did take the leap, I was lucky enough to find a pattern fairly quickly that suited my crotch curve very well. I used this as a guide for a long time in making pants for myself, basically modifying that same pattern to different styles of pants and later using the crotch curve as a guide with other patterns. It might just be me, but I feel like that is the area I am most fussy with fit - if you get it wrong, the pants will cut you in half, or look like a saggy nappy bum. The rest - the back darts/yoke/side seams - less intimidating, probably because skirt and dress fitting rules can apply to those areas.

  2. I think you have the makings of a good pants pattern with the Kwik Sew. For sure, toss the other two. When you have it down, you can use it for other styles.

  3. Hi Kristin, I am not pear shaped so pants fitting is slightly easier even in rtw but like you I find waists not small enough and so do my daughters. So I can't recommend patterns, but I can say the Kwik Sew trousers look very well already and I don't think they will take as much work as the others to get a great pair. The Jalie I think have promise for a closer less formal fit, a size up would probably solve a lot but I totally understand that feeling of being at the top of the size range and not being sure about proceeding. I am petite in height and I would say an average build, I wear a UK12 not sure what that is in American sizes, but it is not particularly large and the number of times patterns have put me at the top end of the range. It is something that frustrates me because there is no common sizing either in relation to rtw or between brands. Sometimes I have to go up 2 sizes sometimes the 'correct' size is huge!! Anyway you don't have finished pants yet but you've made a lot of progress and it is interesting to see xx

  4. I'm actually super impressed with the back fit of the KS pants!!!! They lie so smoothly above and below the butt. Looks like you only need to do some scooping in back!

    The front looks too big. Aside from your forward thighs, there seems to be too much fabric??

  5. Ah the bravery! I am terrified of pant fitting, and to go all out on three pairs is mindblowing :) The Kwik Sew pair looks very promising, I am sure you'll nail the fit eventually!

  6. This shows hours and hours of loving labor :) Sewing is such a love/hate relationship. Today is full of hate for me lol. I too get exhausted looking for RTW pants. I have to shop when I am eager to do it, but it is short lived after about the 3rd try on attempt. Then, I just don't care anymore! lol You should try the Angela Wolf jeans pattern. I love it! I am going to work on it again soon with some black stretch. I have made a few pairs of jeans and these by far are the best I've ever made. I don't know if others have had the same luck with it. There is actually a craftsy class on it and this pair, I will make along with the video because I want to do the distressing. The first pair I didn't have the class yet, but then it went on sale and I wanted it to make sure I got it perfectly the next go round. It's a pricey pattern though.

  7. We are sooo similar in size and shape on the bottom half.... I KNOW these trials and tribulations you are having!!! I think they all can potentially be a good fit, but with some major tweaking. The Kwik sews in back are pretty good already, though! I'd say either add a tad to the butt crotch curve, and scoop it out some.... I ALWAYS am scooping out my back side on pants because of a lower hanging bum. The front... look big. It's interesting to see the Jalies on someone with a figure similar to mine... I have not purchased that pattern because I feared it would be better for a bottom half that is smaller then my own. I am not expert on pants fitting. Have you done the Closet Case Jeans yet? I have it waiting for me to print and work on.

  8. Like you, I am pear shaped and often struggle with RTW pants - let's not talk about jeans either. I have found that I have to do minimal tweaking with Vogue 9032 and I have made them 3 times. The back pants leg seam and the contoured waistband helped so much.

  9. I'm pear shaped too somewhat bigger than you, and I admire your work to produce these 3 toiles. I have produced so many but still don't have a wearable pair to show for it. It looks as if the Kwik Sew is a better starting point for you. I'm returning to my block/sloper to further modify that. Fingers crossed for us both!

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  11. I feel your pain; I've made more pants muslins than I can count. I've seen some pear shaped women have good luck with Simplicity 1283 (it's for knit pants).

  12. Ugh - pants fitting! I've vowed I will do it this fall because I have only a couple pair of dressier pants, but I'm dragging my heels. My figure is very much like yours. I wish I had some advice for you but my method is super un-scientific: I make a muslin in the size to fit my hips, and then pin fit the rest to my body! But more advanced fitting fixes have so far eluded me. I would love to find one to take care of that hollow between my tummy and upper thigh where the fabric always bags out.

  13. I feel your pain, really I do!! I posted a similar post today on dealing with ample hips and thighs and getting trousers to fit. I'm so impressed with all your toiles, you've been ver patient. I think either the kwik sew with some pin fitting or the Jalie sized up depending on what kind of look you want. It'll all be worth it when you have a "go to" pattern!

  14. I too am a pear so very interested in which pants people have had luck with. Pants are coming up soon in the to sew list! Also, this post is a great illustration of the importance of good fit. Your body looks so different in each of those pants!

  15. Kristen, Perfect pants were on my goal list last year but didn't happen so I'm considering tackling it again this year, ugh! You really crack me up with "shakes fist at those who had it fit right out of the envelope" because I feel the exact same way! I have pics like these and find that the back crotch curve and scooping are part of my issue as well and a full front thigh- squats= good for toning, bad for pants fitting. I think the first two look workable and the jalie looks not far from working at all, like you I read all the positive reviews of the Jalie and it sounds hopeful but I know I will have the same issues as with other pant patterns. I wish you good luck in your continued search!!!


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