- Knitting and Crochet
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- Teaching Kit
Begin with the Right Pattern
- Picking a Pattern Size
Getting the Right Amount of Ease
Ease is the difference between the body measurement and the finished garment measurement. Pants should fit smoothly and comfortably with enough room to move, bend and sit easily. For easy reference, the finished garment measurement and the amount of ease is printed on the pattern tissue.
Remember, the amount of ease printed on the pattern is only recommended! Fabric drape and personal preference are two factors that allow you to decide if you prefer a looser or closer fit than the designer intended. To check how much ease you prefer, wrap a tape measure around your body at the hip. Loosen the tape measure by adding the recommended ease. Is there enough space between your body and the tape? Too much? You can select a smaller or larger pattern size, depending on your preference.
Fine Tuning You Fit
A muslin sample can be made before cutting and sewing your final pants if you are uncertain of your fit. The way your ready-to-wear pants fit provides clues to the type of adjustments you may have to make. If yours smile when you’re standing – meaning that there are wrinkles that point up from the crotch area – they’re too tight in the crotch area. If they frown, they’re too loose. Smiles or frowns can occur in the front or the back, depending on your figure. For an accurate fit, you must compare your body measurements with the actual pattern pieces.
TIP: Remember that stitching lines are not marked on multi-size patterns. In order to make accurate adjustments, you may need the stitching lines as a reference point. To create stitching lines on your pattern, measure and mark 5/8” (1.5 cm) from the appropriate cutting lines; the new lines will indicate finished seam lines.
It is important to check and adjust the crotch depth first, before checking and adjusting the crotch length. Otherwise, it’s a sure bet that your pants won’t fit properly!
To find your body’s crotch depth
Sit on a hard, flat chair. Using a straight-edge ruler, measure from the side of your waist to the chair. This will be your body’s crotch length.
To find the crotch depth of your pattern
Measure from the crotch line up to the waistline seam. Your measurement line should be close to the side seam, but parallel to the grain line. Pants crotch depth should equal your body’s crotch depth, plus 1/2” (1.3 cm) of ease for hips up to 36” (91.5 cm) wide. Larger sizes may need to include up to 1 1/4” (3.2 cm) of ease.
TIP: Many pants in today’s styles are worn up to 1 ½” below the natural waistline; if this is the case, it will be marked on your pattern. When measuring the crotch depth of your pattern piece, you will have to add this measurement to the top at the waistline. This will give an apples-to-apples comparison, with both measurements beginning at the natural waistline.
To lengthen or shorten the crotch depth, use the lengthen/shorten line printed on your pattern piece. Slash and spread the piece to lengthen, or fold to shorten – check your pattern guide sheet if you need additional information about using this line.
Once you have checked and adjusted the crotch depth, you can further fine-tune your fit by adjusting the crotch length, as needed.
To find your body’s crotch length
Using a flexible tape measure, measure from center back at your natural waistline, between your legs, to the center front at your natural waistline.
To find the crotch length on your pattern
Using a flexible tape measure, measure along the stitching/seam line of the center front and center back seams of your pants pattern. Measure from the waistline seam to the inner leg seam on both front and back. Add these two measurements together to get the pattern’s crotch length. The pattern’s crotch length should be equal to your body’s crotch length plus 1 1/2” (3.8 cm) to 2” (5 cm). This extra amount is the ease you need to be able to sit down.
Before you make any adjustments on the pattern tissue, stand sideways and take a look at your figure in the mirror. You can divide the difference in half and make an equal adjustment to the front and the back, adding or subtracting the same amount. Depending on your figure, you may want to divide it unevenly; for example, if you are round in the front, you may prefer to add most or all of the difference to the front piece. Experience, and your own good judgment, are your best guides.
Lengthen or shorten the crotch by adding or subtracting half of the adjustment amount at the inner leg seam; you may need to add a piece of tissue or tracing paper to the piece if you need to make a significant addition. After making your crotch length adjustment, blend the inner seam into the new inner seam/crotch point, to ensure a smooth seam line.
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