A major focus of my sewing projects over the past couple of years has been trying to sort out WHAT THE HELL is going on my pants/trousers and why they don’t fit my body. It’s been met with mixed results. I’ve been working on my jeans patterns for quite some time (and owe you all another post on that). The Peppermint Magazine Wide Leg Pants fit shockingly well out of the “envelope” and the Decades of Style Opehlia Overalls were easily fixed with one major adjustment.
I was beginning to think I was getting this pants fitting thing down, but as they say, pride comes before the fall. And the fall was the Flint Pants from Megan Nielsen. For some reason I really struggled with these. I am happy with the outcome, though the stiff chambray I used still highlights all sorts of issues, especially in the front. I’ve seen these look beautiful in more drape fabrics, so I am cursing myself for my fabric choice. I do hope it softens up with multiple washings and I may try some of the tricks suggest to me like washing them him vinegar or coke.
I am going to walk you through all of my fit alterations, mostly so that I have this to refer back to in the future. I found this to be a helpful exercise in understanding how my alterations based on pinning and fitting affected the flat pattern. Most of the modifications were made to the back pattern piece, so I am only showing that here. In addition to the fit alterations, I changed the back waistband to have internal elastic and as part of the alteration, removed the back darts. I took pictures of that process so I will try to share that at some point as well. On to the fitting!
I started with the size 26 and based on past pants fitting nightmares, I added 1″ to the crotch curve on the back thigh. In hindsight, I should have done the same to the front, as this pattern is very straight through the inner thigh. I also removed the dart extension since I was inserting elastic in the back waistband and not using the dart. The black is the original pattern and the red is my initial alteration.
As a result of the initial fitting, I first scooped out the back crotch (shown in orange). I never know what to think about this adjustment, as it is often suggested to me but never totally fixes my problems. I think one thing it does achieve is to remove some of the width from the back low hip, as the fullest part of my bum is about 3″ below my hips, and not 8″ as I have been told most patterns are drafted for. There is some puckering under the bum, but I had not yet removed the excess fabric in the curve, so it was pulling. You can see the pants are hanging better overall, but things are still not great.
I removed 1.25 inches from the back waist at the center back (shown in yellow), tapering to nothing at the side seams, and then added the waistband. The internal elastic is just pinned here, so its not laying flat. I also removed the excess fabric that was causing the puckering in the previous photos, though it still looks like it is pulling. The strange thing is that it isn’t even touching my body at this point, even though it looks like it is? IDK! PANTS! I’m not sure this step helped much, but I wanted to give it a try since it had worked so well with my Ophelia Overalls. I do think the pants are hanging a bit straighter after this step, but since I forgot to take a side photo, we will never know.
For the final fitting step, I finished the waistband and elastic off, then started experimenting with taking in the side seams. Above, I have basted in the outer side seams on just one side, my outstretched arm indicated the side that was altered. You can see that this started to make a big difference in both the balance of the pants, and in preventing them from looking like total clown pants because of the width. In the back shot, I think you can nearly envision where my lack of fullness in the low hip is causing the pants to collapse inwards, whereas when I’ve removed that width at the side seam, they are hanging a bit better. Below (in green) is the final width alteration I settled on after a lot of basting and ripping of seams.
I slimmed down the legs a total of 5″ each, 1.5″ at each side seam starting just below the high hip, and 1″ on the inner thigh starting 8″ below the crotch point (essentially just below where my thighs stop touching). I also used a trouser hook instead of a second button on the waistband to add a bit more support to the waistband. The result is the photos shown at the beginning of this post and below.
So what have I learned? To be honest, not much during this fitting process, but a lot about the open source program Inkscape, which I used to make these illustrations. On the fitting front, it really felt like two steps back. I think the final pants are OK, but the stiff chambray isn’t doing me any favors. I think the addition of length to the inner thigh as well as the swayback adjustment, in essence, resulted in a tilted pelvis adjustment, which is something I have been wanting to experiment with. The balance/drape of most wide leg pants patterns does not work with my body, and I’m still trying to sort out why and how to fix it. I would really like to set aside some time to workout these issues, and hopefully this is a start, but next time I need to try a pattern with less design details. I have a couple in mind, so stay tuned. And if you have an insights, please let me know below!
Just the Facts:
Pattern: Megan Nielsen Patterns Flint Curve
Current Measurements: Bust: 45″, Waist 42″, Hip 53″
Size: 26 with all the alterations listed above
Fabric/Notions: Chambray from Imagine Gnats, no longer available
Disclaimer: This pattern was provided in exchange for a review on the Curvy Sewing Collective blog. Be sure to check it out if you would like to see this pattern on three other ladies!