Lesson 1 – Introduction
Sandra begins the lesson by telling the audience about her history. I liked her brief description in the story-like manner of her learning to sew in school – particularly when she showed the first dress she ever made. I wish I had saved my first sewing garment…
Sandra mentions a number of her books that she has written, several of which I have heard quite positive reviews for. She has also produced a number of patterns on Vogue, which can be found under “Today’s Fit”.
Sandra outlines what you will hopefully learn in this class.
Lesson 2 – Pant Fit and Patterns
What makes a good fit?
- Pants hang off the tummy, not cupping in underneath;
- Side seams placed correctly;
- No creasing;
- Not overfitted at the seat – i.e. things like plumber’s crack.
You can’t get rid of all the creases in the bum area, as your body actually needs this space in order to move and sit down.
When discussing the pant rise, Sandra refers to the worksheets. She is pointing out the “O’s” or circles in the diagrams. I found that I’m missing these circles in my worksheets, however I am still able to follow along.
Sandra shows one of the examples she created for Vogue – it’s pattern 7027. I don’t think this pattern is available anymore.
The second example is a skinny pant – vogue 1911. A skinny pant should glide over your leg, but doesn’t cup in and follows every single curve and bump.
The third example is Vogue 1050. Sandra suggests that it’s a great pattern for anyone with a bit extra body in the hips.
The fourth example is Vogue 1307. It has a tummy flattening effect, and the lovely decoration of pleats along the front. It’s a good pattern for those a bit hip heavy.
The fifth and sixth examples are jeans in a Vogue pattern 1034. Can I just say that I love the colours of this example garment (currently I am drawn to bright colours).
The sevenths example is Vogue 7281. This is good for those people who have flat seats but a more muscular calf.
The eighth and ninth example is coming out in the winter book of 2012 (so it’s surely released by now) – it’s the palazzo style. Depending upon the type of fabric that you use, you can create a cone shaped sillhoute or a more figure shaping effect. These seem to be popular in the spring/summer 2014 collections for many famous designers at the moment.
The tenth example are a pair of pants bought from Vietnam (they look similar to the palazzo style mentioned above).
Sandra has a theory that women can wear almost any style if the fabric is drapey and not too tight – so it just glides over your body.
Lesson 3 – Taking Measurements
Sandra shows you how to take the waist, high hip, full hip and length. It’s also good to note the many tips that Sandra recommends, such as sitting down to take certain measurements.
Wow! Sandra also includes graphics that show incorrect and correct fitting comparisons of pants. This is what I have been wanting to see for a long time now; it’s all fine to say you shouldn’t have creases here, but it’s something completely different to show pictures of how they should fit. Thanks so much Sandra for this; you’re an absolute champ!
They cover problem areas such as:
- fabric creasing at the knees;
- baggy seat causing creasing under the bum cheeks;
- material being too tight at the calves;
- crunching or wrinkling at the waistband;
- gaping at the back;
- too little material at the front thigh;
- the pants feel short at the back crotch, giving the impression of a wedgie;
- too much material at the crotch front.
The Measurement Chart
As part of the course material, Sandra shows you very quickly how to pick your pattern size.
Outlining Your Pattern
Sandra shows you how to determine your pattern size on a multi-sized pattern, including how to move between sizes for certain body measurements (such as a wider hip than your standard size calls for).
Lesson 4 – Tummy and Waist Alterations
For this part of the lesson you will be working on the side back, back, front and back contoured waistband.
Testing Crucial Fitting Sections
Sandra uses some test muslin to cut out and test fit the waistband, determining that she needs to go up a pattern size for the waistband to achieve a comfortable fit.
Making the High Hip
Sandra shows you how to mark out the location of the high hip, point out the necessity to remove the seam allowances and the width of the waistband.
Sandra suggests we add 1″ for ease at the high hip.
Adjusting For the Tummy
If you need to, fill in the space where a pocket might be to make alterations easier to start off with. If you like to have your waistband cover your tummy, you should add a 1/2″ extra to the height at the front.
Lesson 5 – Rear and Thigh Alterations
When you stand up, if you feel like you need to pull your pants down, then this alteration is for you.
By adding some extra material to the front crotch as well as the seams at the centre front you will loosen the amount of material there that is often catching.
Narrow Thigh and Fly Front
By removing some of the material at the fly and inner thigh you can reduce the bulking and creasing at this location. Since any alterations here might effect how the fly might be placed, Sandra shows you how to adjust to make sure the fly front will still function and look appropriate.
Alterations to the Rear
It’s common for pants at the back to not rise all the way up your backside – essentially the waist at the back is lower than the front. Sandra will show you how to raise the back of the pants and slope towards the front of the waist. You can keep your waistband completely straight, but she shows you a simple way to make it more contoured to better fit most body shapes.
It can also be quite common to get seat wrinkles.
Two-Piece Rear Alterations
With a protruding bum you most often need to alter width and length. Despite having more pieces, the class pattern that uses two patterns for both front and back can actually make the process easier than working with a singular pattern piece.
Flat Butt Alterations
Can you remember how Sandra was essentially tucking and grabbing fabric at the butt, stating that there was too much gathered there? Well to remove some of those creases she shows you a simple technique to essentially create a dart underneath your bum cheeks that will remove that excess fabric.
Altering the Crotch Curve
A lot of fitting tutorials will show you how to remove fabric from the crotch through the “scoop” approach, but Sandra points out that this approach can sometimes leave your actual thigh – particularly at the thigh – wanting for material. She shows you how to remove it in one area and add it in another.
Walking the Seams
It’s possible to lay out the pattern and line up each side seam, pivoting as you go to make sure that each measure equal distances. Alternatively you can measure this out with a tape measure.
Lesson 6 – Crotch and Calf Alterations
Measuring the Crotch Length
Measuring directly from the crotch seam, you will walk the tape measure along the seam all the way up to the top of the waistband.
Marking the Crotch Length
Measure the pattern pieces in the same way as before – walking the tape measure – to determine the current pattern measurements. Don’t forget to actually mark your seam allowances so you don’t include those in the measurements!
Altering the Crotch
Sandra shows you some of the techniques such as lowering or increasing the back length to counteract for the lower butt, as well as how to adjust for the seam that goes between each buttocks.
Altering for Low-Rise
Add the difference in rise length to your crotch length; so wear the pants and measure the distance from your waist then compare with the pattern’s rise.
Adding to the Back Crotch
Sandra shows you how to adjust for someone who has a protruding bottom. She adds extra length to the back crotch, and then pivots the rise. To compensating for the reduction of measurements from one side of the pattern, she adds back in to the other side of the pattern.
Widening the Calf
Determine the location of the knee. Sandra just adds an additional width at the hem, tapering it back to be in line with the knee.
Baggy Seats and Swayback
Sandra suggests you sew the pattern first – in muslin – and then pin the “drop off” point of your buttocks. Then transfer that placement onto the pattern, and then scoop some of the excess fabric just a bit out of the centre seam.
If you have sway back you can remove some of the fabric at the back rise, almost like a dart. This also has to be done to the waistband.
Adding to the Front
You can add a bit more material to the centre seams of the side front and front pattern pieces.
Lesson 7 – Testing Your Pattern
For test fabric it is most common to use muslin or old bed sheets. It’s best to try and use a similar weight fabric to the planned fashion fabric; it will give you the best idea of how it will look.
Fit Insurance and Hem Allowance
Add an extra 1″ to your pattern pieces before cutting, so any adjustments can be made during and after further alterations.
Sandra takes out the hem alliance for the test fit so you can easily determine the ideal length compared to the pattern.
Distinguishing Pattern Pieces
You can mark your fabric pieces in any way you want. Sandra uses painters tape attached to the material which she then marks with a pen. Since I use cheap muslin that will never see the light of day – outside the confines of my bedroom – I just mark the fabric with a permanent marker pen directly. Of course you can use chalk, or erasable or soluble pen.
You should also mark any notches onto the pattern to make it easier to accurately sew your pattern pieces accurately.
If your hems don’t line up exactly, don’t worry as it will be dealt with in the next lesson. Just make the garment now to see how it fits.
Note: I always sew test fits in a basting stitch – if I can make adjustments to the fit in the same pieces of fabric it is so much easier to rip the basting threads…
Also remember that pressing is just as important in the test fit stage.
Sewing the Inner Seam Leg
Join the side front to the front. You should end up with one full back leg and one full front leg. Join the wrong sides together; ultimately you want to try your pants on with the seams out.
If one seam ever seems a bit longer than the other, flip it over so that the side with excess material is down. The feed dogs can help ease out the excess.
Crotch Seam and Waistband
Join the front crotch seams together. Sew the inner leg to the outer leg.
When trying to determine the direction of the waistband, the bigger side will be the side that attaches to the pants. It’s the bit that goes over the tummy. The same in the case of yokes; the bigger length goes against the pant’s seams.
Stay tape your waist band and crotch to keep them from stretching out. For your first fitting it’s not necessary to stay tape the crotch as chances are it will be adjusted again.
If necessary, clip the straight section of the pants so that it will conform to the curve of the waistband.
Sewing the Side Seam
Since we are sewing the side seam here, you have to remember to move your needle over to 1 and 5/8″. Remember how we added that seam allowance?
Ease lines, Darts and Pleats
Sometimes the waistband just won’t fit perfectly and will end up having a bit of a ripple. It’s common when you move from a smaller waist measurement to several inches larger for your hips in a small distance between the two. This is the situation that you will use an ease line.
Sandra shows you some best practices on sewing darts and pleats to get the best visual results without losing fitting or structure.
Lesson 8 – Finalising And Balancing Your Pattern
You will want to have 1″ of ease all the way around your waist, otherwise the location where the pants joins the waists will seem to be a bit longer. You need this ease so that the pants can fit over your high hips.
Measure out the length and width of any changes you made to your alteration. Sandra shows her example where she needs to add 1/2″ to the side seams. Don’t alter the pattern on the princess seams as it will throw off the line. Also remember to add any chances to the waistband so that they fit well together.
Balancing the Pattern
There’s a thing known as the “mystery wrinkle”. It’s basically as a result that all the alterations have made the pattern has gone slightly off grain.
Walk the front and back side seams once again, and you chances are you will find that front seam will be ever so slightly longer. It’s the only area which shouldn’t be equal.
If you find that on the other seams there is a difference, then you should split the difference to add and reduce between the both. Don’t go chopping it off at the bottom.
Changing Grain Lines
I love that this is mentioned! Grain lines are so important when it comes to pants; get it wrong and they risk twisting.
Joining the Patterns
Finally Sandra shows you step by step on how to join the side front to the front so that it’s a singular pattern piece. Useful for those who don’t want the extra seam.
Lesson 9 – Preserving the Pattern
Go grab a nice amount of fusible interfacing. Ideally something that doesn’t have much stretch in any direction; although the paper will help stabilise it.
Don’t use any steam as you risk damaging the pattern paper. Start from the inner area of your pattern paper and slowly move outwards, pressing any wrinkles out of the interfacing and paper. Make sure that you press the edges down nice and firmly so that they don’t peel over time.
- Metric Conversion Chart, which comes with all Craftsy classes.
- Supply List – covers the required fabric yardage, other supplies and what tools and products Sandra uses in the class.
- Pant Fitting Worksheets – mostly measurement sheets; although does also include a helpful conversion chart that quickly converts McCall’s, Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue, Vogue’s Today’s Fit and Burda Patterns.
- Vogue 2948 Pattern – check that shipping applies to you.
One great thing about Lesson 3 is the different sizes of the models; everything from really skinny and athletic, to small, medium, heavy and quite heavy (I don’t mean to offend any of you lovely ladies that posed for this class). It’s so good to see a number of different bodies and how shapes can vary so much; after all the people watching this class don’t all have one body shape.
I love how Sandra admits that when she sews she whistles out of habit, and that she has to think about not doing so whilst filming. It’s great to have little chit-chat whilst breaks in the talking bits.
When was this class filmed? Sandra mentions that a pattern was going to be released in winter 2012 collection… we’re now up to spring/summer 2014 collection…
I would have liked to see a little bit more examples in the altering lessons – Lesson 4 and 5; to know exactly the problem she is referring to and how the alterations will change the look on those clothes.
It would be nice to know how to measure the crotch length if you don’t measure your favourite pants – as the example models showed, we think we have comfortable clothing until we try clothing that actually fits, so measuring our current clothes aren’t always the best method.
In the alteration lessons unfortunately the material feels a bit jumbled up; Sandra discusses Adding to the Front in Lesson 6, referring to adding to the front stomach area, when the overall lesson is about the Crotch and Calf Alterations…
Drawing in yellow pen in some situations was a big mistake – it’s hard to see the lines.
Pants have got to be one of the hardest garment items to fit – there is just so many areas to take into account, and adjusting any of these might also effect previous alterations. Sandra covers a good number of fitting techniques on how to fit pants. Whilst I would have liked to have seen the difference of good fitting paths on the models – a comparison of before and after, Pant Fitting Techniques will teach you all the basics of pant alterations.