Initially I was a bit skeptical about this class, and I have since been pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Trying to fit a pair of pants, in any style, can be incredibly hard; especially if you don’t know the techniques to fix these problem areas. Kathy Rudd attempts to demystify the fitting process; showing you solutions for common fit problems and ultimately how to be completely comfortable in your trousers.
This class is aimed to teach you how to work with any kind of fabric to create any style of pants or pockets, refining the fit to be perfect. Pants are so effected by the fabric as they go not just around you but through you.
Lesson 1 – Meet Kathy Ruddy and Get Started
Kathy keeps her history brief and relevant; and I just love it. Whilst it is nice to get to know your tutor, most of the time you just want to learn the techniques and skills.
The lesson covers how to create a pattern block from a pre made pattern – sorry but you won’t learn how to make a sloper from scratch. If you’re interested in replicating your current favourite pants you should check out Jean-ius: Reverse Engineer Your Favourite Fit by Kenneth King (read my review).
Once you have your sloper, you can manipulate it to any style that you want. Vogue 1003 is a good sloper or pattern block to start with. In lesson 2 Kathy covers a variety of different patterns that you can use, many of which she states is great for this class due to their sloper type style.
Further suggestions are to use vanishing thread which is a water-soluble thread, and once ironed it will effectively just disappear. Also of note is that Kathy makes mark points (such as seam allowances) with soap as it is very much water-soluble.
The Pattern Block
Kathy shows you an example of the pattern that she has, which consists of quite a number of different marks on them; each of which are reference points for different styles such as yoga pants, jeans, pants that includes yoke…
A 5/8″ seam allowance is the largest seam allowance that you can be fitted to a curve. For pant side seams you should consider starting at 1 and 5/8″ to give you plenty of room to adjust as necessary. You will eventually cut this seam allowance down once you have perfected the fit, but its a great way to ensure you don’t cut your fabric too small in the first place.
When you are fitting your pants you should only ever make the alterations at the side seams or at the back, never the front.
Lesson 2 – Creating the Pattern Block
Every fabric will fit you completely differently, so if you find fabric that you love, you should buy a lot to create a sloper specifically for that particular fabric to create several different styles.
Kathy shows a number of patterns that she recommends for this class. There is no pattern that is included with the class, so it’s nice to see that she has several to recommend. Alternatively if you don’t want to, or can’t, buy a sloper you can always consider replicating a pair of pants using Kenneth King’s method in Jean-ius Reverse Engineer Your Favourite Fit (read my review).
On the Vogue sloper (not included with the class) you should trim the inside leg seams to 5/8″.
Adjusting for Design Elements
If necessary trace your multi-sized pattern onto another piece of paper so it’s easier to work with. Kathy shows you how to convert multiple pattern pieces into a single unified pattern piece for our sloper, including how to adjust fullness at the hips and waist.
Measuring the Lower Body
I love Kathy for mentioning this: so many pattern designers state that your fullest hips are 7″ below your natural waist, when in reality it can be anywhere from 2″ to 14″ from your natural waist. This is so true. It’s very common for me to find clothes that have been created for a hip either way to small (ok, I have big hips) or even too high for me to wear. It’s important to acknowledge that our bodies vary SO much, and that the measurements that the fashion industry use are just a guideline.
Measurement’s that you will need to take are:
- Waist to Floor,
- Waist to Fullest Hip,
- Fullest hip circumference,
- Waist circumference.
Transferring Measurements to the Pattern Block
Measure your fullest hip height out onto the pattern block. Anything below this line is design (such as how much design ease is added to your pants), whilst anything above this line will be relative to fit. The same can be said from 4-6″ below the crotch mark, dependant upon how long your legs are.
It can be helpful to mark all major areas of your body – such as thigh, knees, calves and so forth – to make sure that it will fit properly.
Rules for Darts
Any darts on the front of the pattern are shorter. Typically they shouldn’t be any wider than 1/2″. A longer back dart can be 1 1/2″. It’s all personal, depending upon the curve and shapes of your body. If your dart is full, consider adding more than one dart, or using a concave dart that will shape slightly nicer.
Preventing Twisted Legs
To prevent twisting in the legs you should avoid diagonal stretches and wrinkles.
Most commonly top-stitching is done on the inseam, whilst the out seams will be pressed open and flattened; it creates a more flattering look to our curvaceous bodies. According to Kathy, you will want to always start sewing on the seam that will have any decorations such as top-stitching.
To check your pattern, pin the seam that will have the decorative stitch. Prevent twisting in both the pattern drafting and sewing stages by creating a temporary vertical tuck. Line up the edges of the patterns. If diagonal pulls occur, you will need to adjust the pattern. It’s more important that the pant leg doesn’t twist than matching the hem edge (often the hem is hidden after all).
Lesson 3 – Refining the Fit
If you need to adjust for a belly – we all have one – straighten the crotch seam a bit to add a bit of extra material there.
Seat and Crotch Fullness Adjustment
If you have a smaller derrière then you will find the material bunching uncomfortably. If you have a larger one, the back waist will probably pull downwards. Using a slash and pivot method, Kathy shows you how to adjust the fullness of the seat of the pants to fit you.
Essentially the flatter your seat, the more of a right angle your back crotch seam will be.
Real Life Examples
Knee to hem changes will reflect fashion, whilst knee to waist changes will reflect fit.
It’s so helpful to see some real world examples; it’s great to see how different the patterns can vary depending upon body shape. It’s difficult trying to make and adjust your own patterns – and when trying to get it to look like a singular pattern is not only difficult but wrong. Having seen how the patterns can vary; you don’t need to worry about making your pattern look like one example but accept that your pattern is unique for you.
If your thigh sticks out at the front a bit – like mine – then you are going to need more material here. Alternatively a thigh can stick out at the sites near the bum cheeks, and much more. This part of the lesson you will learn all the techniques for adjusting problem thigh issues.
Crescent Leg Adjustment
Some ready to wear designer labels actually reduce the amount of fabric from the back leg to create a nice shaping around the bum. This part of the lesson explains how ready to wear labels often differ from home sewing patterns.
Lesson 4 – Leg Design Changes
Widening Hems More than 2″
When making a change more than 2″ you should 1/3 – 2/3 rule. Half the total change will be applied to the front, and half to the back. The 2/3 change will be at the inseam, whilst the 1/3 change will be at the out seam.
In Kathy’s example she needs to add a total of 6″ to the circumference of the pant hem. So that will be a total of 3″ extra on the front and back of the leg patterns. 2″ will be extended at the inseam, whilst only 1″ will be added to the out seam of the leg.
Once you’ve seen it, it’s really quite easy.
Widening Hems Less Than 2″
If the change is to be 2″ or less, you will do the changes equally to inseam and out seam.
Boot Legs and Bell Bottoms
Measure every 4″ from a ready-made pair of pants, then transfer that information onto your pattern.
Lesson 5 – Faced Waists & Hidden Zippers
If your pants have a dart, ideally your facing shouldn’t have a dart in it so that it lies flatter against the body; Kathy shows you how to very quickly remove this from a pattern.
Kathy uses a polyester fusible interfacing called Textured Weft; it is quite stretchy in one direction whilst the other has no stretch at all. It was designed for couture fashion; apparently no matter what material texture you apply it to, it will never be seen through onto the right side of the fabric.
Using interfacing inside the waistband will help make sure that the fabric doesn’t stretch over time.
Again Kathy interfaces the zipper location, using Textured Weft.
Invisible zippers must be installed before sewing the seams that will contain them.
Sewing the Crotch Seam
Construction order for pants:
- Sew darts and press;
- Sew right and left inseams and press; and finally,
- Sew crotch in one pass from centre from waist to centre back waist.
Kathy uses a little trick of using a standard glue stick to stable the stabiliser – yes I said that – so that it’s a lot easier to sew using the sewing machine. Don’t worry, apparently the glue is only lasts temporarily on fabric.
Adding the Facing
Sew the facing down the side of the pants, right along the stitching line that we made for the zipper, with the material right sides together. Press the seams open.
Under stitch the facing to itself, close to the stitching line. Grade both the facing and the fashion material’s seams. Turn.
Lesson 6 – Elastic-Waist Pants
Kathy gives you clear examples of how different fabric can effect the look; predominately if the fabric will be stretchy enough to fit over your hips or not.
When planning an elastic waist they must be installed on a straight line, not a curve, at the waistband.
As many of you know, there are numerous widths of elastic. Kathy goes into depth about determining the length of your elastic, including how different widths can effect the length.
Drafting the Waistline
Add 1/8″ for the turn of cloth, which is the bit of fabric that will fold over the elastic on the waistband.
Kathy illustrates the difference of drafting when it comes to stretchy and non-stretchy fabric; a necessary bit of information to ensure that non-stretch fabric can still fit over your hips.
Add a Pocket To Your Pattern
As part of the course materials a pocket template has been included, which Kathy now shows you how to add to your pants. The pocket is relatively easy enough to make; essentially adding an extra layer of material as a “pouch” underneath the main layer of fabric – in fact the pocket is actually stitched onto the pant leg itself.
A Trick for Joining Elastic
A mending, or triple, zigzag stitch is great to use on elastic. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a straight stitch that is stitched in a zigzag shape – instead of one stitch for each point of the zigzag there are many between each point.
But the elastic ends together and attach both to a separate piece of fabric. Zigzag the two together.
Sewing the Waistband
You need to find and mark the side seams, centre front and centre back for both the pants and the elastic in the waistband. Align these marks up appropriately and straight stitch them down.
Kathy then goes on to illustrate the easiest way to attach the waistband to the pants, including a basic hiding technique so that the elastic isn’t immediately viewable from outside or inside the garment.
Lesson 7 – Adding a Fly Zipper
Cutting and Interfacing Your Fabric
Kathy doesn’t like sewing a fly front with two separate pieces of fabric. Rather, she prefers to have it all cut on one fabric which she then folds and manipulates to act as a fly front. Not only does she show you how to add this extra section onto the pattern before cutting the material, she continues to interface and press the material.
Choosing and Sewing the Zipper
It’s very important to use a zipper that’s appropriate for jeans; you don’t want a zipper that will unzip too easily. You can buy locking zippers which are designed to be used with jeans.
Position the zipper and underlap right sides together with the cut edge and taped edge aligned. Stitch no closer than 1/8″ from the zipper teeth, otherwise you will have difficulty operating the zipper.
Preparing the Backstop
You’ll want a backstop between the zipper and your body, or your underwear. Kathy uses a unique way to sew the zipper and pant legs together together, finally attaching the back stop to keep your valuable parts safe and sound. Complete with top stitching.
If you struggle with traditional methods of sewing zippers onto pants, then this very well may be the solution for you.
To finish this lesson Kathy shows you the steps to making belt loops, however does not show you how to sew them on.
Lesson 8 – Slash Pockets
Kathy shows you three different types of pants with different pockets; including faux stretch jeans, tummy tuck pocket jeans and more elastic waist causal pants with a side slash pocket.
A side slash pocket will need to have some form of a curve in it, especially if you are a woman with more hips; otherwise they will be unwieldy and stick out.
Drafting a Pocket from Ready-To-Wear
Using wax paper – similar how I use cheap tracing paper – you can draft out the side seam, centre front and pocket design. This is a technique very similar to Kenneth King’s Jean-ius Reverse Engineer Your Favourite Fit (read my review)class.
A pocket is essentially another cut of the pant leg, just less of it. Of course it is common to use a thinner fabric to reduce bulk.
Kathy uses a template stabiliser – it’s a bit like paper – to help stabilise the pocket opening from distortion. The finished product is a bit like using a bias strip of muslin as a stabiliser.
Sewing the Pocket
Cut your pockets right side together. Using your template as a guide sew the pocket opening. Trim your seam allowance.
Clipping and Pressing the Curve
If you are familiar with the traditional practice of alternating your clipping, and pressing your seams open, then you can probably skill this part of the lesson.
Topstitching and Finishing
With a little tip on how to keep your top stitch straight, she shows you how to finish the pocket edge.
Lesson 9 – Back Yoke and Patch Pockets
Using the same technique of tracing in the previous lesson, Kathy traces information such the yoke and pocket shape onto waxed paper.
She illustrates how quickly it is to transfer this information onto the pattern. One of the main reasons for including a yoke in jeans is to eliminate a bulky dart in the pants back.
Kathy very quickly uses the wax paper template to create a more permanent cardboard template to quickly copy and press the pocket so that its ready to sew.
Placing the Pocket
Using the transparent wax paper it is easy to determine the pocket placement on your pants.
If using stretch fabric, you should stabilise the opening so that it doesn’t distort over time.
Sewing the Pocket
Go up a needle size if required. If you aren’t using a top stitching thread, you can use two spools to get the right thickness.
Lesson 10 – Welt Pockets
Copying Placement from Ready-to-Wear
Again Kathy uses the wax paper technique to determine the placement of welt pockets. however she also shows a second technique, which involves fitting the pants to then move test strips of paper around on the pants to determine ideal placement.
Welt Pocket Construction
Kathy uses a non woven, cut away stabiliser that has no stretch to draft out her pocket: a typical welt pocket is 1/2″ to 4 and 1/2″ in dimensions. Men’s welt pockets are usually located 1/2″ from the side seam and 2 and 1/4″ from the waist.
Place your pocket in the ideal location. Using the stabiliser as a guide, stitch the edges in a short stitch. Press. Cut the centre of your welt pocket. Fold your welt to the other side and press.
Finishing the Pocket Openings
Determine where the lip of the welt pocket will sit on the underside. Fold back the garment and stitch over the pocket lip and sew over the pocket lip and the back of the welt.
Adding the Pocket Facing
Press under your seam allowance. Line up your facing with the lip and stitch along the previous stitching line. Grade your seams so that the one closest to the outside of the garment is the widest.
Attach the pocket back to the upper bit of the welt, sewing just like you did the lower lip and facing.
Finally sew the pocket bag and facing together, forming the actual bag.
“Every rule can be broken when it comes to the human form”.
When sewing pants, two of the most painful sections are finishing to find a twisted pant leg and sewing the zipper and crotch:
- In Lesson 2 Kathy shows you an excellent tip to prevent the twisting – a vital tip that everyone sewing pants should know.
- If you struggle with sewing zippers onto pants, then Kathy has a unique method in Lesson 7 that seems to make the process somewhat easier – especially if you are a beginner.
There is so much information that you may definitely need to watch each lesson more than once to absorb it all – or is that a pro?
I didn’t like the use of acronyms in the pop-up captions; it took me a few moments to figure out what RST and RTW are – not something I want to be thinking about whilst Kathy is still teaching and I need to be focusing…
You won’t learn how to sew the pants in this class; whilst Kathy shows you a few steps in sewing it is assumed that you have at the very least basic sewing skills.
You will need a pants pattern, and unfortunately none are provided with the class. Suggested patterns are: Vogue 1003, Vogue 2948, McCalls 6361 and McCalls 6610.
If you want to replicate a pair of pants that you already have, consider Kenneth King’s class Jean-ius Reverse Engineer Your Favourite Fit (read my review). I recently replicated my favourite jeans, and have now gone on to make changes in style; loving it!
Metric Conversion Chart, which comes with all Craftsy sewing classes.
A Supplies and Resources PDF which covers required and recommended supplies, the order of any alterations, and how to fit problem areas. Also includes a few basic templates such as pockets.
Honestly the number of fitting tips and tricks alone that Kathy provided makes this class worth buying – ignoring the other half of the course. Pants are difficult to fit properly, and she gives some great examples and clear steps.
This class is great for showing you how to adjust so many different fitting issues that you can very easily learn to fit other people’s clothing – excellent for those with their own fashion lines or in the alteration business.
I wouldn’t recommend One Pattern Many Looks: Pants for a beginner; mostly since you aren’t taught how to sew the pants step-by-step. It is assumed you have knowledge of sewing patterns and can sew sections such as pockets without much direction.
Topics will be beneficial for intermediate sewers. Advanced sewers may know some of the techniques and topics discussed, but I’m sure there would be a few things that you could still learn.
Please let me know how you found the class. I hope my review was helpful.