Thursday 17 January 2013

Why am I drafting trousers? And a weird fitting solution

Seriously, this past weeks I've been asking myself a number of times why I'm drafting block patterns for a pair of trousers. Why is this a mystery? You see, all I really wanted was a new pair of sweatpants... (Are you as confused as me right now?)

My favorite home-wear is a comfy pair of sweatpants. Please don't kill me now I've admitted that! Of course there are lot's of days when I'll wear a cute jerseydress/skirt instead, but somedays just calls for sweatpants, couch and TV. After many years of appreciated service, my only remaining pair of sweatpants is barley in one piece (workout-wear is not included here, I don't wear those around the house. Except after working out =) ). I need a new pair so I can answer the door without changing clothes!

I've thought about just buying a new pair. Then I found a lovely, cheap, heavy sweatshirtjersey a few years back and I thought "Hey, I'll just sew a pair!". But I haven't, and it's finally dawned on me why. I have patterns aplenty, somewhere in there I must have a basic sweatpants pattern. Or mom def has! However, with all other patterns I've tried, I've had the exact same fitting issues as I have with RTW. Wouldn't it be prudent to assume the same would be true for sweatpants? Meaning the groin would be a bit too tight, the entire pants would either want to climb up to my natural waist or they would be huge, the waist would be very uneven and the front higher than the back, making the pants unbalanced.

What has been the best answer to my previous fitting issues? Block patterns! Solve the fitting once and for all, and then the hard part is done. For good. The rest is just style alterations =) This is where it's still - despite the story of how I got to this point - a bit bewildering: so in order to sew sweatpants I'm drafting a pair of fitted trousers. Que?! Still not sure what I was thinking about...

It's exiting though, as it's my first attempt at making women's trousers! I've been reading up, and isn't it amazing how complicated trouser-fitting is? Legs - they go straight up and down, don't they? Apparently not... =)

I traced the block pattern by hip measurment and altered the waist to fit.

First toile, worn over dark thights for decency's sake, short as I knew there would be huge fitting issues. Problems: waist to low, groin seam too short, pants pushing against the front thighs.

An image of the pattern alterations made after the first toile, they're hard to see on the actual pattern. I've raised the waist, added to the fronts groinseam to accomodate my thighs, added to the back groinseam to accomodate my hips and added a wedge in the center backseam at lower hip level. I've also made the outside seam on both front and back a bit wider over the thighs.

I knew I would need to compensate for my inwards-slanted knees so I shifted the lower part of the pantlegs 1,25 cm in.

Second toile, after changes. I'm getting somewhere, but maybe with the addition to the groinseam I hadn't needed to raise the waist.

The black area was removed, the blue added.

New patternalterations: The waistline back to where it started. The backcenter seam was now a bit tight, so I scooped it out at the curve and added a wedge to the back groin seam where I deemed it most needed =)
The front is starting to look pretty good, at least to my inexperienced eyes (tips and suggested corrections are most welcome!). Or as good as pants in a boring colour and an unflattering style can look =)

My main issue now was these huge diagonal pull lines from the outside of the thigh to the inside of the knee, combined with the center front being off-center with 1,5-2 cm. I tried all sorts of tricks, until I finally was so frustrated that I grabbed hold of the fabric and started lifting/pushing/pulling the fabric around until the fabriclegs hung straight. The solution is one I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, but it looked like this:

The black shaded area is what was removed.

I took out a wedge, 1,8 cm at the inside seam tapering to zero at the outside seam. Tha wedge is at a straight angle to the straight of grain. Done on both front and back, and it worked!

Sorry no pictures of this, but I've altered the pattern to sweatpants, the fabric is cut and I'm finally set to go!

The last pictures shows the difference between the original and the final block pattern.
Hopefully back soon with pics of comfy homewear =)

Love, Erika

P.S. I've made some changes to the blog layout... Using a new, wider template, added pages for finished projects and a longer "About me"-text. Please let me know if something's not working correctly or if takes forever to load!


M'lady said...

Trousers are such a pain to fit. (I don't actually understand the fitting process for trousers so I kinda just used trial and error) I can't find any shopbought ones that fit too. My hips are 40-41" and my waist 28" and I'm short in the lower leg...apparently in RTW this shape doesn't exist. I've got my swing/hop pants to sew (pants *giggle* sorry still think of pants as underwear). I've done my wearable muslin which can be used as shorts. Just got to stop getting distracted by sew a longs and get on with making them.

Samia said...

That's a load of hard work, but it's paying of. Your pants will be perfect fit.
It's encouraging me to carry on making block patterns for myself as well. I've only done the skirt so far cause that was easy. ;-)
Your blog is clearer like that and down loads quickly.

Anthea said...

I have that occasionally too. I start thinking of a small/easy project. But somehow I make it a lot more complex (by drafting the patterns myself or changing a existing pattern thoroughly). But you learn so much from it!

Good luck with your pants fitting journey!

Tasha said...

Wow, I admire your fortitude! Very impressive. So many changes that it makes my head spin just thinking about it. Just think how perfect they will be in the end!

Sarah said...

That sure is dedication to get the right fit. I'm glad you kept trying, trousers are so tricky to get right and often its just small adjustments but lots of them that makes them a pain.
Don't worry about admitting to wearing sweat pants round the house, I live in mine when I'm at home too :)

Foster said...

I really love the new look of your blog. You really worked hard to get that pattern right. Have a relaxing time in your new sweat pants.

Erika said...

Thank you so much everyone for the encouragement and cheering on! The sweatpants are almost done, I'm hoping to sew the last bit today :) Alos, thank you for the feedback on the new bloglayout! Good to hear it loads nice and is easy to read.

Have a great weekend!

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I look forward to following all of your future posts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erica
I love all your sewing projects.
You are truly talented.
When it comes to the sweat pants, for something to wear just for in the house, why go through all the trouble of sewing them?
Just wondering,
Happy sewing

Erika said...

Red Point Tailor: Thank you so very much! I'm flattered you'd think of me and my little blog for an award!

Irene; Thank you so much for kind words! I have also been wondering if I'm insane to go through so much trouble for homewear, but since I spend so many hours in them, for me there is a point in making wellfitting homewear that are comfortable doesn't pull or shift around. The sweats are ready now, I'm very happy I devoted time to this pattern, they are sooooo comfy! =)