What I did on my summer vacation. (Part II)

… just a hint … it involved a LOT of butt gazing!

The first (and last) time I sewed myself a pair of pants (trousers) was when I was in grade 8.  It was a tunic top and hipster/bell bottom pants, sort of like this pattern, made of PINK 100% polyester (the heavy stuff).

Those pants either “goosed” me when I walked or gave me “plumber’s crack” when I sat down.  I was at least lucky that the tunic top covered all my mistakes!

This is my first year in the “RTW fast” and I have stuck to it so far and have not purchased anything that I could sew for myself.  I am running out of pants for work though and the weather will soon turn to rain.  Of all the pants I own, I have only one pair that I actually like… they are my best fitting…

RTW – Pretty sad fit, huh?

Of course, I am very hesitant to make pants after my grade 8 attempt.  But if this is how my RTW fits, how bad can I do?  So I made sure I did my research… hence the “butt gazing”!  I have already watched the Craftsy course, “Pant Fitting Techniques” with Sandra Betzina and used her pattern, Vogue V2948, for my black capris jeans and my blue jeans.

I have already drafted two pants muslins, using this Craftsy course and Vogue pattern.

Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!
Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!
Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!
Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!!

When I first posted these muslins, Leila of Grow Your Own Clothes suggested I lower the crotch point.  I have the book “Pattern Fitting with Confidence” by Nancy Zieman, which suggested the same.  I have also looked up the excellent Colette Patterns Pants Fitting Cheatsheet.  It advised me how to lower my crotch curve and adjust for a flat butt.

image image

I have looked on-line at the most tailored RTW and on the streets at many fabric clad butts (more butt gazing) to discover what is a “good” fitting pair of pants – keeping in mind that if all the wrinkles are gone, I won’t be able to sit down!

Google images
Google images
Google images

When I got up the nerve, I grabbed an old bed sheet and after a lot of flapping and cutting on the family room floor – very entertaining for the cats… I thought Sophie was going to hunt me down and eat me at one point – I had my muslin cut out.

My DH, Mr. Green Thumb, was curious at one point and asked “What are you making?”  “Pants” I say.  “Oh!” he says with a pause “… you’re not going to wear those outside the house… are you?”  I should have told him “Yes, they’re the newest style!  🙂

Vogue V2948 is a great pattern for making alterations as it is a princess seam pant and has 4 seams per leg to give more options for adjustment.  I sewed my muslin pant legs together so quickly, I mistakenly made TWO legs exactly the same – Heck with it, I turned one leg out and sewed them together at the crotch, with the one leg showing the seam allowances!

I sewed the crotch seam last because I just knew that was the one that would need the most adjustment, unpicking and sewing.  Then after trying them on, and sewing adjustments, and trying them on, and sewing adjustments, I figured there must be an easier way to understand what was really happening to the fit when I sewed something tighter or looser, so I set up my tripod and every time I sewed a seam I took a photo of myself (and again, more butt gazing).  By the time my muslin was finished I had examined 80 photos, probably 30 of them of my butt!

Here’s my progression – the butt view was the biggest work:

After the final adjustments were made, I realized that I have never worn anything so comfortable in handmade or RTW!  An important lesson learned, if your clothes fit properly, whether you’re a size extra small or extra large, you feel marvellous!

I made sure to write my adjustments on my muslin.  I also adjusted my pattern pieces again, still leaving 1 inch seam allowances for wiggle room in future pant styles.

I have not been looking forward to this project – after all I didn’t do so well with it in grade 8!  Now I can’t believe that I am actually looking forward to doing it all over again.  I’ve already cut out more fabrics.

For me, the best part of sewing is learning something new, and talking about it with you.  What new techniques have you learned this year?

Happy Sewing!

33 thoughts on “What I did on my summer vacation. (Part II)

  1. Bravo for your persistence and organization! The photos tell a great story and I am excited to see how they change in the real fabrics. Each fabric will have its issues and probably more tweaking will be needed but fingers crossed only small adjustments!

    1. Thank you! I know I was sort of obsessive wasn’t I, but when I sewed a seam looser or tighter it was puzzling me – what’s the big difference? I figure with a stretchy fabric there would be lots of changes and the fabric could be tighter still. So now I start on my different fabrics – carefully! Absolutely no sewing two left legs! But at least I have found some lovely reference materials. I’m glad I was on vacation and had all the time in the world to play around with my muslin!

  2. Wow! Examining 80 photographs of your derriere! That’s serious. Congratulations. You did it! Now you’ll have so many pants to wear custom fit to your body. Perfect. 😀

    1. Well I tried to spread my shots around … 10 on my leg, 20 on the front side… 😄. Kind of crazy but I can’t see the back, I don’t have a proper mirror or anyone here to help, and trying to look around just gave me a new set of wrinkles! Thanks for the kind words!

  3. Well done for doing this by yourself. It is really hard to get well fitting pants with another person’s help, but to do it alone is a feat. Great idea to take photos at each step.

    1. Thank you! I am just such a disagreeable old cuss, aren’t I! Even if it takes me twice as long, if I want to do it now, then I will do it now! I just couldn’t wait for someone to help me, nor would I want to submit my family to the torture of taking photos of my butt 20 – 30 times so I could see what I was doing! 🙂 Thanks for commenting, you inspired me with your pants fitting last week. It was nice to see that I was on the right track!

  4. You posted this at 2:08 am young missy. Wow!

    1. Yes, well, don’t tell Mom, Dear Sis! Actually if you were on Instagram, you would see that I napped most the day because of my sinus cold, got up and ate dinner, added photos to my post, fell asleep again, woke up at some gawd awful hour and couldn’t sleep so I read the post again and pressed “Publish”! Doesn’t this just sound like the usual whiny argument that sisters have? “kiss” “kiss” 🙂

  5. What a very thorough way of going about this – but I do think your approach has paid off! Can’t say I’ve been that careful with my trouser making, but I know what you mean about things feeling great when they fit.

    1. Thank you! Biggest aggravation was not being able to see the changes as I went along – my head just couldn’t turn that far!

  6. Great job! I am on a quest to make pants I love, and you have inspired me.

    1. Well lots of sewists before us have proved it can be done! Never despair! 😄

  7. You’re like me, can’t stop, can’t wait, got to get it done! Trousers are tricky ones! A good shape is hard to get and you can feel the joy when you get there.
    I sewed something other than clothes yesterday and went back to tweaking at it today! Think I’ll stick to the clothing, I’ll write a post about it later. Happy sewing up those trousers!

    1. Thank you! I’ll come have a look later at what you have done!

  8. Great progress and thanks for the links to all the fitting resources, I’ll be checking those out!

    1. Thank you! I’m sure there are a lot of resources out there. These are the ones I found and used and liked!

  9. Wow! That’s very impressive Linda. I have a round (but now deflating) butt and a small waist. Consequently if my RTW trousers fit in the butt they’re too loose in the waist and vice versa. When I buy really really good pants I get them altered by a seamstress but even then they don’t feel wonderful. Guess what you and I’ll be doing the next time you visit…:)

    1. Oh boy! Have you got lattes and cheesecakes? 😃 It is always much easier to sew with dessert! I suppose too that it is easier to fit someone when you have them right there to try things on continuously.

  10. Rose MacKenzie-Kirkwood September 20, 2015 — 4:57 pm

    The hard work is well worth it because once you have created your template (the ones Mr. Green Thumb thought you were going to wear out of the house) you have done the grunt work and the rest is your beautiful creations just flowing. I have yet to meet anyone who can buy “off the rack” pants and have them fit all around.

    1. Yes, I figure off the rack RTW is made for one mannequin in a factory somewhere!

  11. This “butt” post was worth the wait! I’ll be undertaking my first pair of pants soon, and can only hope to have a measure of the success you’ve had here. (Brilliant idea – camera, tripod, every stitch, every angle) Sorry, but I did giggle at the two left legs. It was all too familiar. Looking forward to all your new trousers (we know of at least four!). Cheers!

    1. Thank you! The internet is loaded with helpful information, if needed. I always love a book in my hands or a course that can show me how too. All these things were appreciated! The two left legs just killed me! But I knew there was going to be lots of seam ripping besides that little detail. It worked out okay after all! Yes there are four coming, even though I am using the same pattern for all I’m going to try to find different details for each. Looking forward to seeing what you make!

  12. Congratulations on getting trouser to fit! It’s such a great achievement- I put it off for ages but finally got some to fit earlier this year and felt so proud of myself! Now you can make lots.of pairs!

    1. I know, it seemed so hard and confusing, but now it makes sense!

  13. Congratulations! the muslin looks already very good. Pants fitting is still ahead of me and will be my biggest RTW fast challenge.

    1. Well there is lots of information out there to help, I found. I added in some patience and stubbornness and found it was actually a fun learning experience! I am sure you will do just fine. I’m looking forward to seeing your’s!

  14. Hats off to you for hanging in there! My ventures into making pants have all been thrift shop donations. But you’ve inspired me to try again . You are so right. Pants that fit correctly are so comfortable and attractive too, great motivation, I’ll have to check out that crafty class!

    1. Thanks for the support! Good luck to you. There are plenty of resources on the Internet!

  15. Lots of work, but now you have the perfect pattern there’ll be no stopping you. At least with trousers once you have the fit style stays more constant, so you can remake many times.

  16. Well done for the perseverance, it’ll be well worth it when you’ve made some fab trousers that fit perfectly!

    1. Thanks! Coming really close now!

      1. Lovely, can’t wait to see them!

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