24 July 2010

Jalie 2561: Part 1 (fitting the front)

I am still on the hunt for good fitting pants. As with woven blouses, I've tried a number of patterns. Up to now, my favourite pants pattern was Vogue 8157. Having made several versions, I could not shake the thought that something was not quite right about the fit. The last pair I made fit terribly and have since been donated to charity.

I came upon Jalie 2561 after meeting a lady named Marie at PR Weekend in Montreal.

We were both amazed at the similarities in our hips, thighs, and legs. She told me that this pattern fit well with minimal alterations. So, naturally, I had to try it.

I am the self-proclaimed muslin queen. I will make a muslin...no...several muslins before I cut into my fashion fabric. Instead of using regular cotton muslin, I dug through my need-to-get-rid-of fabric and found a medium-weight polyester fabric with 1" pinstripes. Why I had four yards of this stuff is a mystery. But, it proved to be quite useful in making the muslin.

I traced and cut a straight size W according to the measurement at the fullest part of my hips. Before sewing the muslin, I removed 3 inches of length for my height. The pinstriped fabric helped to reveal several problems:
  • the pinstripes were not vertical along the front of my thighs; instead, they curved toward the inseam
  • the side seam was not perpendicular to the floor
  • the back showed diagonal wrinkles pointing toward the inseam
  • the pants were tight across the fullest part of my thighs
  • the area near the waist seam appeared to be too long
I roller skate, run, bike, and lift weights a lot and, as a result, have very full front thighs. This causes a problem because pants and skirts often get hung up on my thighs. The pattern as drafted did not have enough room to accommodate this fullness.

To determine just how much room I needed, I cut the muslin (on both legs) vertically along one of the pinstripes. The vertical cut begins about an inch or so below the waistband seam and stops just above the knee.

When I did this, everything literally fell into place. The side seam was now perpendicular to the floor and most (not all) of the back wrinkles went away. I am no expert pants fitting, but I think the back wrinkles were caused by the front borrowing fabric from the back to accommodate the front thigh fullness. Maybe this is why all the pull happened at the inseam.

I measured the spread created by the cut to be about 1 3/8 of an inch. I transferred this adjustment to the pattern by using a method similar to the full bicep alteration. The idea is to create vertical and horizontal space in the shape of a diamond. Here's what I did:

1. Draw a line parallel to the grainline from the waistband seam all the way down to the hem. (If your grainline is the line you want to use, draw a second line parallel to this and use this new line as your grain.)

2. Since the alteration affects only the thigh area, I divided the front into two pieces: an upper and lower half. Draw a line perpendicular to the grainline about an inch or so above the knee. On the upper half, draw another line perpendicular to the grainline about an inch or so below the crotch point. Mark the seam allowance at the end of each line drawn.

upper half with lines drawn

lower half

3. Starting at the point of intersection, snip into the pattern along both the vertical and horizontal line. Add the desired amount of width along the vertical line. To help keep the pattern flat, overlap the pattern along the horizontal line.

(Subsequent muslins of the front showed that this alteration creates curvature in the hip area long the side seam. This can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how your outer hips are shaped. I straightened out the curve a bit in my latest pattern alteration. In the fashion fabric, I may tweak it a bit to add some of the curve back in. )

Now notice that the waist seam and the crotch point are not flat.

To make each area lie flat, I snipped into the pattern and adjusted as needed. The waist seam was harder to reconcile. I ended up cutting through the seam allowance and adding about 0.375 inches of width.

4. Add paper and true all seamlines. I managed to keep the width the same at the place where I rejoin the upper and lower fronts.

5. Finally, rejoin the upper and lower fronts.

I cut out one or two more muslins of the front to check the fit. After playing around with different sewing seam allowances, I became satisfied with the fit. The back, however, was a different story. I'll have to include those details in the next post. Unfortunately, I can't find the pictures of the back, so Part 2 may not be as photo heavy.



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post! This is just the type of info I needed.


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