Monday, October 27, 2014

Pants are hard!


Last year I traced a pair of ready to wear pants that fit pretty well. I made a few muslins and sewed them up. They weren't bad, but they weren't good enough. Good enough, to me, means that I'm pleased and comfortable enough that an item becomes part of the regular rotation in my closet.
So, I pulled those pants out again a few weeks ago, pinned here and there, compared them to other pants in my closet, made up a couple more muslins and sewed them up again. This is where it's at.



It's so time consuming, you know, because every change in the main pattern pieces means you have to redraft all the little bits and pieces to match.


There are still wrinkles that I would rather see gone, like the whiskers at center front. I keep altering that curve in every muslin, but it's never quite right.


I'm ok with having a little extra room under my bum, as it's useful for sitting, but maybe there's still too much there. I would love to hear your thoughts and advice, my friends. And I mean it, don't hold back! I would really appreciate some constructive criticism. I need more of these straight legged pants, and I would like them to be as good as they can be.


The fabric is a slightly stretchy deep navy cotton with a brushed surface. It's pretty stiff and maybe a softer fabric would be more forgiving.


The top is another Simplicity  1366 I made with the leftovers from my Dolores dress. This is my first time making it in a knit and I finished all the openings (neckline, waist, cuffs) with bands.


See one of my favorite pairs of pants here: Comfy Linen Pants

26 comments:

  1. You're so brave. Well, it looks like your pockets are causing a bit of a problem, pulling at the fabric in the side seams and back seam. And opening up. Happens a lot with a skinny pant. A lot of times you see a welt front pocket instead of a side seam pocket so that this doesn't occur in this type pant. And no back pocket at all. Keeping it smooth :-). In your fav comfy pants, the front pleats compensate and prevent this issue. And I think it's worth another muslin once the pockets are removed. You might find it easier to adjust for the front whiskers once done. Back looks good (without the pocket). Hope this is helpful! Coco

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    1. Hi Coco! It hadn't occurred to me that the pockets could be the source of the problem! The front pockets do gape, so I can see how that could cause pulling in the wrong places. Thanks so much for that insight :)

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  2. Honestly I find trouser fitting a nightmare! I've got a protruding tummy and thighs and large calfs, so have yet to find my dream close fitting trouser! I've got a self drafted block that is the best of the lot, but I get so fed up with the Muslims and minor tweaks. It just seems never ending on trousers and maybe because of my shape I will never truly think they're perfect anyway, unless they're magic leg lengthening trousers! Buuuut, I think you've achieved a really good fit here. I start to wonder if a bit of wrinkling is just normal! After all, sometimes you'll stand a certain way and it'll be fine and then move and it's wrinkle city! Basically, be pleased with these, they look great! Sorry for ramblings!!!

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    1. Thanks Marilla! pants fitting really is difficult. That's why I want to achieve the best fit possible in this classic style, so I can make them over and over again without having to pull my hair out every time. I do feel I'm close though :)

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  3. I think they look great. Because we aren't models standing still to be photographed, and then having those photos airbrushed to eliminate imperfections, our trousers/pants/jeans are going to have wrinkles in them. I think the questions are: Are they comfortable? Can you sit in them? Do you want to wear them in the morning? If the answers are yes, then I say the fit is awesome.

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    1. Thanks Kim, I do feel comfortable in these and I can sit in them :) I think I'll just wear them and see how they perform in real life.

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  4. Hi Sara ... My sewing experience is not exactly extensive and although I like and wear all the pants I've made - I do not feel I'm competent enough to offer advice - having said that I have a feeling Coco is right and the problem might be with the width just above crotch level but Kim is also right if you fell good in them they are ok - nevertheless finding your perfect crotch contour is a super valid quest as it might spare a lot of headaches in the future :)

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    1. Thanks Sasha. The pants you've made fit you so beautifully! You're right about the crotch curve, but there's also how it interacts with all the other parts. It's complex geometry!

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  5. They look pretty great to me - I know it's so easy for us to obsess with the perfect fit, but as others have said above, you simply can't eradicate all wrinkles as you move in them! I also find that every slightly different fabric choice has a bearing on fit, so it's impossible to have 'the one' trouser pattern that always fits perfectly. I say comfort and confidence when wearing them is the real test. I will say though, a bit of stretch or a looser weave is my best friend for pants ;)

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    1. Thanks Katie! I do think using a more forgiving fabric would help

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  6. Your pants look fabulous! I think they could hardly fit any better. I've obsessed about pants fitting for many years and came to believe that it is almost impossible to make the whiskers disappear with a two-part leg construction. These Berlin designers http://www.zehnlevonlangsdorff.com/hosen/ came up with a genius three-part-leg that seems to make fitting much easier. Maybe that's something to try? Here you can see a drawing of the pants with the side panel http://www.zehnlevonlangsdorff.com/vermessung-des-pos/. The nice thing besides from the good fit is that the pockets are moved more to the front of the body and therefore have less stress put on them. Just an idea!

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    1. Those are really cool looking pants with the extra seam. How interesting! Thank you!

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  7. Sara I agree with the others that they really do look very good. I have not cracked the pants holy grail but of the course the most important thing is the crotch curve. If you can find a pattern than has the perfect c curve it's meant to be so much easier from there! And as Katie says the fabrics are all that little bit different, and so often by the end of the day will have stretched that little bit too. I've been told the Ottobre trouser block is excellent, but have not gotten around to trying them yet. So it appears I've been completely useless at offering constructive advice! :)

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    1. Thanks for the tip about Ottobre. I have one issue and the only thing I've made from it was a top. I'll take a look at their crotch curve. And yes, I do think at least one back pocket does a lot for one's bum ;)

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  8. Ps I disagree with no back pockets - I prefer them as they can break up an expanse of backside (not that yours is an expanse of course!).

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  9. You need to take in the inside leg seam of the front leg near the crotch - possibly as much as 1cm (even more if necessary) going to nothing about 15cm down. That should help with the whiskers at the front. You could also try lowering the back crotch to get rid of the excess fabric at the top back leg and the slight pulling just below the pockets. Unfortunately, each time you use a different fabric, the fit on pants changes so you will only get the fit perfect for one fabric.

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    1. Thanks a lot, and of course you're right. Unless I made all my pants out of the same fabric, I will need to tweak every single pair.

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    2. Sadly, that is true. I make all my own trousers and jeans and each time I end up unpicking and resewing at least one part of them, Frustrating but the results are good. Some alterations are more he more lycra the fabric has, the more you need to take in the front inside leg seam at the crotch (the equivalent seam on the back can usually be left the same)

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  10. Your pants look great and that's a beautiful fabric! I understand your frustration though... You should see me trying to get the front crotch right every time I make a pair of pants... I've only used Burda patterns though and they require a lot of tweaking, so maybe it would be worth it for me to try something else?
    From you photos I can't see any major bagging in the back, but it's difficult to tell. I looked it up in a fitting book and it's caused by the shape of the bum and to get rid of it you would need to shorten the back seam by cutting into the pattern. This also affects the waistline a bit, and unfortunately it can't be done after you've cut the fabric. I can't say for sure either what's wrong with the front crotch, if it's too long or if the curve is too sharp. If it's too long you need to do what tdu000 said, and if you get whiskers then the curve is too sharp and you need to make it shallower so that you have more room there. All in all I would be very pleased with that fit! :)

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    1. Thanks Nilla. After wearing them all day yesterday, I can confirm that the front crotch is too long. Not so much that the pants are uncomfortable to wear, but still, something to take into consideration for the next pair.
      I've tried slim pants by Burda and wasn't too happy with their crotch either.

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  11. Quel style ! Même si le pantalon demande encore quelques modifications à tes yeux ; je le trouve super et couplé à ce top graphique home made et ces petits escarpins caramel, c'est le bon ensemble ; chic, féminin et intemporel
    Bravo Sara (comme d'habitude !)

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    1. Merci beaucoup Clo, ça me touche beaucoup :)

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  12. Yes, pants are hard!! But yours look already great! I feel like we are so much harder (too much maybe?) on the clothes we make compared to the ones we buy... I spent time 3 years ago working on a "perfect pants pattern" for myself and they required many adjustments depending on the fabric I was using!

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    1. Yes, you're obviously right. We're so used to looking at our sewing critically. I never used to look at what I bought in so much detail.

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  13. These look great!!! And I love the way you've styled them with heels and that beautiful top! I think the excess fabric under your bum is just right- you need that to sit! These are really a very chic cut and I think you've done an exceptional job!

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