Sigh……

These are all images I gathered from around the web. The first two are from Oprah.com where they were actually discussing “Khaki Pants for Every Body Type.” The third is an image that popped up on my blog reader from Erica B’s DIY Style in which she so well points out the question of why we bother with pant alterations (which can be rather involved, if you know what I mean) when we have such great examples of poor fitting pants on the red carpet.


And why do we? Thoughts on this? Would you wear these pants? Do you consider these examples to be poor fitting? I must say that even if “whiskers” are the style that is the very first place my eye is drawn. And is that really a good thing since its right in the crotch area? I mean, we need to learn how to flatter the crotch with pants, but I dare say probably not draw attention to it. After going through painstaking efforts to fix your pant muslins (I’ve read some of you are on muslin #5!) how do you feel about this?

xoxo,

Sunni

  • Ashley - Yuck, I hate the dreaded crotch wrinkle! It’s completely unflattering and was a huge problem for me with the muslin for the second pattern I chose (which I’ll upload to flicker soon). It’s completely unflattering, drawing attention to the crotch and upper thighs.
    This is my main reason to wanted to learn to sew pants; I think it may be less time consuming to perfect a pants pattern than to always be on the hunt for well fitting dress pants! I would never ever wear these.
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  • Jen - OMG! I am way behind on this sew-along, but the pics you just posted remind me of what my muslin is currently doing. The “whiskers” are making me crazy! For me, I believe this whiskering is the result of my pear-shaped waist/ hip area (waist fits fine, hips are pushing it. . .) So I am torn on whether to let out the sides near my hips, or mess with the crotch seams. But to answer your question – yes, I think these look poor fitting. I see this type of fit on women every day . . . perhaps it is the result of wearing rtw pants that do not accommodate the unique body shapes that many of us have.
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  • Mia - This may sound scary, but I always thought whiskers were pretty unavoidable until I started reading your pant alteration posts! I’ve apparently never owned a pair of pants that fit properly. I can’t wait to make my own and banish whiskers from my pant wardrobe forever!
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  • oonaballoona - my husband hates. HATES. those whiskers. i have a full seat so it’s almost unavoidable in RTW. this is a great example of how we’ll accept those flaws in RTW but stuff our own mistakes deep into the recesses of our closets before wearing them!
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  • Erica B. - Five muslins? Wow… I am NOT that committed! LOL I would probably just either roll with what the second one gave me and nip/tuck as much as possible OR just wear skirts and dresses.
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  • Janice - That’s the difference between sewing your own clothes and wearing RTW. I personally think it’s worth it to fit pants — although I might go one step further and just draft a pants block to fit my measurements rather than go through many muslins…
    I also think we tend to be more critical of the things we make rather than the things we buy because we feel we have more control over every step of the process.
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  • susan - I would NEVER wear pants like that! Oh, the shame! They are better than the more-awful CT. My husband explained what that was to me and asked how women could stand it. I have no idea how anyone could stand it. (If you don’t know what it is, I’m not sure I should explain –it’s a bit rude).
    While I’m not part of the sew-along I want to say Thank You for all the work you’ve done. I’ve been reading all the fitting posts twice!
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  • Andrea - Well, it depends on your body and shape. I find it pretty much impossible to make pants fit me perfectly all over and I even tried with a professional tailor during eight weeks. And we had to admit that it wasn’t possible: it is either perfect for my flat behind or perfect for the front with a bit of tummy and strong thighs. As soon as we tried to get them both right it ended up in an extremely uncomfortable feeling …
    And those whiskers: after sitting in the office for ten hours you will get them anyway even if the pants were perfectly fitted. For me the contrary is much worse: a crotch with too much room – something like this: http://www.michou-loves-vintage.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/2fa9cf6d-1d5e-1e08-f6bb-5e27cc1f94e2.jpg
    Now no whiskers but doesn’t she look deformed? And the need to look at this part is the same.
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  • Rebecca - But surely even with well fitting pants they crease to form whiskers when you sit down, so they only look whisker free straight from the ironing basket?! Especially skinny fit. Out of paranoia I just checked my trousers and although there is no taughtness or pulling in the crotch area of my pants they have whiskers because I have been sitting at my desk in them for two days at work. Granted, those three don’t look good. I was reading Erica’s blog the other day and Halle’s pants are v-e-r-y tight.
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  • ban clothing - Whisker always make me think ‘wow, those pants are too tight’. Then I conclude that people are wearing too small pants because they don’t want to go up from a size 0. When pants whisker in the crotch I think it makes people look wider than if they wore one size up.
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  • Dei - I try to wear things that fit and whiskers are a sure sign something’s pulling somewhere. I don’t mind wrinkles from wear, but Halle’s are just poor fitting. Specifically is you have more junk in your trunk, the crotch depth get’s thrown off and voila, whiskers!
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  • Something in the Way She Sews - I don’t think the wrinkled look is at all good, but I think the problem is that people don’t realise that it’s there. I think wrinkles are far more obvious in photos (particularly with flash) so when people glance in the mirror to check the fit, they just don’t notice them.
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  • Brooke - Really?
    Seriously, the wrinkles are a problem?
    I agree with the posters who’ve said you’re going to get wrinkles if you sit down in your pants for any length of time. I also agree with the person who said we as sewists might be more critical of what we make because we have more control over the process. (To whom I say, honey, let your freak flag fly. Be imperfect. Perfection is the voice of the oppressor!)
    As to people looking “deformed” because they have too much length in the crotch or bad because there are wrinkles over their lower stomach… I can’t say I agree. They’re just wrinkles. And let’s face it, we’re not coat hangers. We’re trying to fit the human body, which is imperfect, which moves and stretches.
    And wrinkles.
    I’m not trying to be a troll here; I’m a big Cupcake Goddess fan and I don’t want to start any sh*t. I just don’t get what the big deal is all about. Yes, there are wrinkles there in the crotchal zone. If someone’s eye is drawn there, that’s that guy’s problem. He should get his mind out of the gutter. All of these women look lovely, as far as I’m concerned.
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  • welovesewing - Even if pants fit perfectly when you are standing straight, chances are that you will get whiskers/wrinkles if you are posing in any other position especially if one leg is in the air. I live in the Philippines and after I have sat down for any length of time, any pair of pants i will have wrinkles hot pressed in due to perspiration and body warmth. That said, Halle Berry’s pants do look too tight. I would personally never buy/sew a pair of pants which does not fit properly in the front. It’s much harder to say the same as before the digital camera, it was really hard to see what you really looked like from behind without using 3 full length mirrors! Now all you need to do is take a good friend and camera with you!
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  • Sharon - I think I am the 5 Mulsin person, but it isn’t as bad as you think. Each time I did 1 alteration I made this a Muslin set e.g. Muslin 2 was the tuck out of the crotch depth, Muslin 3 the reduction of the inseam etc, so I could see what was happening with each change, a bit time consuming but found it very interesting and learnt that you need to persevere. All the gory details are on my blog if you want to know more.
    I definately don’t like whiskers and will not wear trousers with them as I dislike that attention.
    The wear wrinkles are different to whiskers, and I don’t mind those as they tend to be (for me) across my tummy and not at the crotch.
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  • livebird - I didn’t see the wrinkles, I was too busy thinking, BLEUCCCH, KHAKI.
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  • G h a i n s o m - I’d totally wear any of these and I don’t perceive them as ill-fitted. You will get wrinkles in any garment as you move (the crotch on pants, the same area on skirt, sometimes also the butt on skirts or the back on tops even if you don’t have a sway back). I’m fine with it.
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  • Kristin P. - My mom didn’t let me out of the house when my pants looked like that. I can recall one specific set of trousers that I loved so very much. I came down from my room in them, and the very first thing my mother noticed was how they didn’t fit (whiskers were present), and she expressed her disgust for my attempt to get away with wearing them looking like that.
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  • Terri B - I came to this site looking for answers to this very problem. It seems that every pant I try on these days has this problem, even if they otherwise fit well. It’s extremely frustrating. I wonder if the quality of the workmanship in pants in general has gone downhill. Now I’m off to return a pair of Theory pants I thought was high on the whisker scale and which you have all confirmed. Thanks!ReplyCancel


So after all of this, you might still be having problems with your pant muslins. I know. It’s crazy! However I think that now that we know something more about pants and how they should look and what to do about it, all of these adjustments are a little bit less scary. I thought it wise to bring up some of these different pant alterations and give you an idea of what they look like and what to do about them. Let’s talk about fullness and the lack of fullness first. This is Arielle from Fashion Mate. And this is a very good photo that shows the need for a full derriere adjustment.


Arielle was completely correct in her assessment of what was going on in the back area of her pants muslin. She has a little tightness across the hipline in the back and a break just beneath her seat. She also has some drag lines pointing toward her crotch. What to do about it?  Let’s take a look at the Most Common Pant Alterations again.


Image source: Pants for Real People

posted with permission from Pati Palmer, highlight added

 

Continue reading “Fullness & Waistlines” »

  • lakaribane - I’m very proud to see my Low Butt and too tight pants online, LOL! I actually tried the alteration on the narrow pants but I can’t seem to get the time to take pix an analyze. Obviously, the narrow pants offer more of a challenge. The front is a mess. I’m afraid I had enjoyed the hollidays a little too much (was it the fruit cake?) but the back isn’t too bad…I’ll try to catch up this week-end. Thanks for featuring me!
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  • Pam - Thanks!! I’m going to look into these adjustments in my next musling – deepening the back crotch inseam is something I have done in the past!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Thank you so much for allowing me to post this photo. It is so helpful and interesting to see the different issues that people have. I too ate much too much over the holidays and am now worried that if I loose all the weight my pants won’t fit! Oh dear, oh dear!
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - So glad this is helpful!
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  • fangaroni - This has been a really excellent guide to pants alterations! Thanks for putting the time to write all these detailed posts with photos… I think I will probably go pick up a copy of Pants for Real People now…
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  • CarlaF-in Atlanta - I figure I wasn’t the only one with this “fitting” issue :) Thanks for blogging about trouser fit. It really helps.
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It’s been a rather wild weekend. Sorry to have kept away, but there was a birthday party for Mr. S that needed doing. I’m always surprised by how much time things like this take up! Needless to say, we had great fun and now its back to the Trouser Sewalong. I have a few more alterations which will take up the rest of this week. Next week we’ll start sewing up the final pair. Does that sound good?  How are you all coming about? Let’s move onto width, shall we?


Some of you may be drowning in your pants. Some of you might have pants that are just too tight, but the crotch depth and length don’t really seem to be the issue. Some of you may have only a width issue in one area of the pants, but not in others. So I guess it’s time we finally talked about width.  I mean, how fitted do you want your pants to be around your hips, your waist and your legs? That’s the real question. So let’s talk about width and some of the more complex problems that might arise with these adjustments.

Continue reading “Width Alterations for Pants” »

  • Lola - This is so incredibly helpful! Thanks so much for all those detailed instructions!
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  • pammie - How timely – I’m just about to do muslin two – I need definite width adjustments – perhaps a slight tweak of the front crotch inseam (just a tad smaller) and perhaps some narrowing of the legs (I have chicken legs). . .I am also going to do a back zipper (hand-picked) – the side zip is not a good look for me. And, finally, I’m questioning that front pleat – but I’ll let it ride until muslin 2 – usually front pleats are not a good look for me. . .
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  • Linda - Oh dear I think I did this all back to front. The first adjustment I made was to let out the seams from hip to waist, then I tackled the crotch adjustments. This was because I didn’t really trust my assessment of what the crotch was doing until things were hanging properly from further up the pants, ie. the waist. I still have some mysterious wrinkles but the muslin is sitting better overall. A bit more tweaking perhaps, sigh!
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  • Sandra - Thanks Sunni, great tutorial. The whole pants fitting thing is becoming less and less of a mystery! I suspect looking at my muslin photos I need to make an adjustment in my upper thigh. Hopefully I’ll be all set to sew up the final pair next week.
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  • Gail - I was kind of lucky. My first trouser pattern seems to fit straight out of the pack. Just a little tweak to the upper thighs. I expected to be going back through all your very helpful tutorials to get them right.
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  • Sharon - Thanks Sunni, I think I need to do that tuck in the back leg as the rest is looking pretty good. Looking forward to tomorrows examples :)
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  • G - Great post!
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Burda #127 is a Tall-sized pattern. If you are average, petite or just plain short, you know that by now. And you are probably just a little on the frustrated side with the length of the pant legs at this point. In fact I dare say that many of you just want to cut them off, if you haven’t already. And I’ve had a few comments as to why I’ve left this alteration until now. I figured that since this was most likely to be an issue with most of us and since most of us would end up having to fix the crotch depth and that plays a part in the pant leg length, I would wait to alter this thereby only having to do the alteration once rather than twice, maybe even 3 times. And also because Burda doesn’t give us the alteration lines like other commercial patterns do. Phew…..


Unfortunately, I also have to say that even though this alteration is fairly easy, it’s not quite as easy as cutting off the bottom of the pant leg. That being said, when you are dealing with a straight legged pant, no contouring in the leg of any kind, then you can go ahead and chop off the bottom without any hesitation. Ok? Ok.

Continue reading “the Knee & the Hem” »

  • Suzy - Look forward to see your post on other alterations. I’m wrecking my head over potential bagginess in back leg (due to thin tights). I’m not even sure I need it, lol. Great posts so far, thank you so much!
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  • sharon - Great information, thank you so much.
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  • sharon - I’ve just added my 5th Muslin to the flicker group, getting there but still excess fabric in the back leg.
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Can I just say, I’ll be getting so many spam comments from talking about crotch this and that. I’m really in for it. Really really in for it. Oh the things we talk about when we sew. ha ha ha….


Today we’re going to talk about Crotch Length. This is the area that goes from your front waistline down through the crotch and up to your back waistline. The crotch length and the crotch depth interact with each other very closely. In fact, so much so that they create sort of a balancing act between the two. Both the crotch depth and the crotch length juggle being able to walk, sit, dance, breathe, you know live in a pair of pants. If one is of these areas are off, you’ll feel and see it or maybe you have felt and seen it and you just didn’t know what to do about it.

Continue reading “Discussing, at length, Crotch Length” »

  • eolsen004@aol.com - Thank you for doing this sewalong.. great instructions. While looking at a finished pair of the these trousers over at Burdastyle but Delfinelise, her pants seem a lot slimmer in the leg. She said she took them in 2 cm in the hip area. Why do you think they look so much slimmer in the area from the knee up? I hope to make these at a later date and appreciate all your effort. E
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  • Alex - It really seems like the two terms – crotch length and depth – should be reversed, doesn’t it?
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Possibly. Maybe even different terms altogther. Different areas of the body come to mind whenever I think of these terms now and really you don’t actually fix the crotch seam in either. The depth, I feel is your vertical adjustment whereas the length is the horizontal. Make sense? It would totally be better if we called these the “vertical crotch” and the “horizontal crotch.” But the powers that be have named the terms. Sigh…
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  • Uta - While I’m not sewing along at the moment, I find your sewalong wonderfully informative. I’m sure to refer to it whenever I get around to sewing pants. Thank you for the work you’re putting into this!
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  • Jill - I’m not doing the sew along – I just stumbled upon you through Gertie’s blog. But the two posts you did on the crotch area make so much sense. I have a potbelly so I definatley need adjustments in this area to compensate and I understand them now so much better. Thank you!
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  • Casey - Oh wow–this is so helpful! I am definitely linking to it in this week’s links roundup; I think it’s super helpful for anyone making pants of any sort. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!
    ♥ Casey | blog
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  • Sharon - Sunni, thank you for the great posts and yes the term is confusing but it is even set out that way in the Simplicity Pattern I am using and it is the actual Crotch Curve measurement that you pick your pattern size on. I am also happy for you to use any of my flicker photos.
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  • Kim - I finally took pictures of my muslin and added them to the flickr group. When I first tried on the muslin, I thought it was just about perfect and was mad about having taken the time to make it. Now that I’ve had it for a week (and worn it around the house for way too long) I keep finding more and more small problems. I’m certainly glad to be have done the muslin now, instead of trying to hack it all together in the final fabric!
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  • Sandra - Absolutely fantastic posts on the crotch zone! This is totally the answer to all the problems with finding perfect pants. I am going away to scrutinise my muslin now.
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  • Linda - Great info thanks Sunni, think I’m slowly figuring this out. Was anyone else silly enough to try on the muslin with crotch adjustments pinned??? A once only experience.
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  • Baking Soda - Wow! This certainly looks helpful, exactly why I never attempted sewing pants anymore! Full hips and upper thighs, no tummy and gaping waistband front and back…
    Thanks for posting, will certainly pin and refer to it for my next pants try (it will happen!)ReplyCancel