Pants crotch experiment - conclusion.

I'm pleased with my pants progress - I have wanted to establish a baseline shape so that I can use this for adjusting patterns at the paper stage before progressing to a muslin, or even if I get really competent at "seeing" the right shape, a garment.  I know that muslins are essential, but like many people I am time stressed, so I need to find a way to make garments as efficiently as possible.  Multiple failed muslins, and unhappy garments are not a satisfying way to sew.  And it costs too much in time and resources.

So my experiment has been in order to try and get some sort of time efficiency in place in due course!.

Now I shall show you what I have discovered about "my shape" .  I have used my sloper pieces and placed them on top of a Butterick pants pattern.  This shows the differences and the alterations I will need to make in any other pants pattern.  Of course it will get a little more complicated if there are pleats and yokes to worry about, but the basic principles will be the same (okay, forgive the pedantic tone here, but my father was an engineer!).

I'll just show you! :) 

 The first picture is of the back of the pants:
Pants Back - my sloper superimposed on a Butterick pants pattern.
My sloper is drafted to my measurements and finishes at my waistline.  I used a size 8 Butterick pattern.  As you can see, size 8 is about right - both pants have about the same circumference.  But as you have already seen, the Butterick pants don't look good on me.  You can see that the shape is quite different expecially around the crotch and centre back seam.  My side seams are also straighter which reflects my straighter body shape.

Now the front:

Pants Front - my sloper superimposed on a Butterick pants pattern
Again, you can see that size 8 is about right, but my side seam is a little straighter, with a slight curve at the high hip area.  The crotch shape on my sloper is quite different from the Butterick shape - and if you recall the pictures of my muslins, the Butterick muslin showed all sorts of unflattering wrinkles at the front.

Now the waist area:

Waistband - my sloper superimposed on the Butterick pattern.
My waistline shaping is again different from the Butterick pattern.  I am shortwaisted and therefor have quite a long rise.  Although the Butterick pattern advises that the pants sit at the natural waistline, this was not the case for me.  In any case, I always prefer to cut more on, because you can always cut it off later before applying the waistband and facing.  If you cut it off first and want more, you are in trouble!

As far as my method is concerned, it works for me, but I am the sort of person who prefers to play with shapes and work it out for myself.  I do understand the principles, but then I like to play around with them and make them work for me.  I have found that following the pattern too rigourously has not met with great success as far as pants have been concerned!

If you are new to pants fitting, please do get yourself a good fitting guide.  I find that "The Classic Guide to Altering Patterns: The Perfect Fit", published by Creative Publishing International (ISBN 1-58923-227-5) is useful, because it give clear concise pattern alterations along with clear photo's of fitting problems.   I would just have a good look at various books, because your learning style and mine might be different and different methods may be better for you.

Sarah Liz


  1. I've been following your progress with amagement, been reading up on fitting pants & now I'm kinda scared to make pants other than elastic lol!

    1. Hi Helen, please don't be scared off pants - its a journey we all have to make at some time, lol's. Really nothing to be scared off, just think of it as fabric and fun (not sure that I take my own advice here!).

  2. I just picked up the book "Sewing Pants That Fit" by Singer for only $3 at my local used books store. So i'll have a good look at that before i take a stab at pants =)


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