Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vogue 9032 has improved my attitude about pants

As evidenced by the many many muslins I have sewn over the past couple of years, fitting pants is one category where I had almost admitted defeat. And I'm not quite sure why.  We all have figure quirks, mine being no more or less exceptional than anyone else's. But for some reason I just have trouble with pants.

I think the fact that I can usually go into most any store and with a bit of effort find a pair of pants that fits quite well is also a factor. Why deal with fitting etc when I can find pretty much whatever I need via retail. But it did nag at me, and of course if you want something specific it is never to be found when shopping for just that item. So pants fitting, I have persevered and thanks to Vogue 9032 I think my luck has improved.

By the way - I did have reasonable success with the Sewaholic pants pattern but I do like the idea of the back princess seam on pants which allows for that extra bit of fitting if needed.
OK - enough talking, you want to see some results, right?

Vogue 9032 Pants front view 1

These are wearable but not particularly noteworthy. I just wanted to see if I could get this pattern to work, as it was designed so a basic trouser. I used the version C which is a flat front, slant pocket and more fitted leg. Although I shortened the pants by 3 inches, and did that at the knee so that took away a bit of the slight bootcut look. I think when I make them next (oh yeah, there will be another version) I will adjust the length both above and below the knee so that the leg shaping will remain. I might make them a bit more fitted in the leg as well but I think that is something you can do once the pants are machine basted together but that fit depends so much on the fabric choice.

Vogue 9032 pants pattern

Basting - my secret weapon. Perhaps a bit overdramatic but I mostly machine baste everything I sew. It takes just a few minutes, stitch, hop up, quick try on, a few pins on seams here and there, re-stitch, try on again, until satisfied. Then I go back to my pattern pieces, mark up my corrected seam lines, and happily put those pattern pieces away for next time (which may or may not ever arrive). Then I "for real" stitch up any seams that were basted, trim excessive seam allowances and press press press. Sometimes after pressing the fit might need one more little tweak. Because when trying on something, and pin-fitting a garment cut with intentionally large seam allowances all that bulk can get in the way of pin fitting, and once trimmed away there still might be a tiny adjustment. Probably on a dress bodice I would be super fussy but pants need room to be active so not as critical.

Adjustments made on this pattern:

  • Raised the center back. Despite being on the short side (5'3") I have a super long waist-to-hip length measurement (10.5")  More proof of my claim that body length in the various segments is just as important as body circumference. I guess this is commonly called long waisted - but really it is long-hipped?  Or I would like to invent a new acronym, as we use FBA for full-bust-adjustment. I need the LBA (I hesitate to write it, but here goes...the long butt adjustment). If you try on pants or jeans in the store and you see that tiny 2 or 3 inch zipper and know in your heart that those pants  - even if they fit and zip are basically like wearing a bikini in terms of where they hit on your torso - then you too might need the LBA. Just to show that there in infinite variation in the species, my sister can try on the same pair of pants and the waist could be over her belly-button and verging on old man pants pulled up to the ribcage. Interesting huh? and this is why we sew!!!    Anyway - I raised the back about 2 inches in the center and tapered to actually lowering 1/2 in in the center front. It was OK but is still a work in progress. They feel too high in the front and could possibly be about 1/2' lower in the back and still be comfortable.
  • Took in the back waist at the center about 1" total
  • Added small darts on each back side piece. I could have taken the center back in more or even the princess seams but it would have made those seams too close together and look weird. It might look weird anyway but I will not be likely to tuck in a shirt. I mostly wear sweaters or knot tops. But I am wearing a silk blouse so you can see the whole pants front. 
  • made the waistband about 3/8" wider. It just looked kind of skimpy.
  • Added a seam in the center back of the waistband. For adjustment. Seems like a no-brainer but a lot of women's pants and pants patterns don't have this. I suppose for esthetic reasons but for sewing reasons totally necessary. This pattern does have seams in the waistband at the side seams, and I did take it in a bit there. Basically I fit my hip measurement and then adjust the waist. 
  • All kinds of scooping and changing of the seat, which is also something that will need further experimentation.
  • Fish-eye dart in upper thigh back. Since this pant has a seam running down the center of each leg there is the opportunity to remove some of that bagging under the seat which seems inevitable. I took out about an inch at the center tapering to zero at the side seam and inseam. I'm pretty happy with that and figure if I took out any more there would be no walking or sitting room in the back of the pants.
  • More adjustments with that back seam. I took it in under the bum about an inch. See this photo below. The pants are done but I just drew that blue line to indicate where I took the seam in.


I really like this fabric and have no idea where I got it but a vague idea that I ordered it from Emma One Sock a long time ago. Its a really high quality stretch woven, probably has some cotton, maybe rayon, lycra, who knows. But it is a nice useful grey shade.

Here's the back view. Which I am kind of self-conscious and really don't like seeing however in the interest of pants fitting science...  Yes that backside needs some pockets or something to break up the expanse. Next version. Plus I like having back welt pockets.

Vogue 9032 pants back

If you look at pants long enough you start to see all kinds of wrinkles etc so its best to get them to fit and then move on - literally. No matter how you fit, once you move the fabric will do what it wants and create folds, wrinkles etc. Some are just the nature of the garment and I need to give it a rest. Seeing this photo they might be a bit short but I always have to decide with my pants - flats or heels so I think this pair is more for flats.  Also looking at this the front waist could be slightly lower, but I was trying to make kind of a basic trouser and then figured I could play with that later.

Vogue 9032 pants

The garden is looking terrible, this is the low ebb, nothing  blooming, water rationing in full force, however if I took this today you would see a pile of supplies and tools on the lawn. The patio cover is being redone and the whole wood frame painted to match the house in a pale sage green. Why was it red? I think some previous owner had a can of that paint. Having an older house means finding out all kinds of oddball stuff that previous owners did when they remodeled or repaired. Don't get me started on the irrigation system - it is still working on a wing and a prayer.

So onward to more pants! I have some dark purple stretch woven that I think is bengaline? which I bought a while ago at Joann's of all places (a nice fabric hiding in plain sight among all the crap).

Yesterday someone gave me a giant piece of gorgeous wool coating which I am going to use to make a pattern I have been thinking about for two years. I am so excited! Stay tuned for more tailoring in the near future.
Right now I am finishing up two dresses for my friend Heather from her haul of Mood fabrics. I just cut out a fuchsia wool knit that is the dreamiest fabric. Details to follow.

It was actually chilly today - real coat weather - sort of. I did see some people in shorts and flip flops. Actually we see that 12 months of the year here. I get cold just looking at them!

Happy Fall Sewing, Beth


  1. LOL - I'm right there with you needing a LBA! I'm impressed though - you are only 5' 3"? I'm 5' 9", so it is rather expected for me.

    You are not the first person to recommend this pattern - it is now on my list. And, I've bookmarked this post to reread your great notes about adjustments.

  2. I think long-waisted or short-waisted refers to the back waist length, and that you are perhaps long in the rise. (Although long-butt is certainly more entertaining.)

  3. These trousers look so very smart and elegant! I like trousers but rarely wear them I don't know why since they do look so lovely in winter. People here wear shorts and thongs all year round as well, particular young adults who don't seem to notice the cold at all, or people coming from northern climes who insist that it is not cold. But it does get cold here!

  4. I always have to do the other FBA - flat butt adjustment :-) I suppose that one could be used to mean the opposite as well couldn't it, full butts exist too...

    These turned out great, and that's an excellent lot of fitting notes. I have yet to conquer trousers properly too but reading this is most encouraging!

  5. At the first sight, trousers seem to be one of the easiest garments to sew and fit, but it's the opposite. You did a great job with this pair: you achieved a perfect fit, especially on the back! In fact, trousers are going to be my winter sewing challenge, so your insights are super useful!

  6. I really appreciate the sharing of information. Fitting can go on and on - so I do like what you said "give it a rest".

  7. I too have struggled with pants fitting --even after 48 years of sewing for myself. And retail fits well! That is, until I took Suzy Farar's pants class on Craftsy. With her techniques you will design a pattern from a rectangle using your measurements and some simple equations. The remarkable thing is that I had a perfect fit the very first time!!!! I was astounded. Can't recommend the class highly enough. At last, I can so a NO FAIL pant for myself.

  8. Ciao Beth, nice to see that you tried my fave V9032 and got favorable results. I play around with the leg shapes and sometimes leave the front pockets off. Perhaps I will try to add back welt pockets next time. Now that I have the correct rise, it is easier to transfer that shape to other pants.

  9. Congratulations Beth! You successfully completed a great looking pair of pants! I agree with all of the things you mentioned you might do for the next pair and feel this is an awesome base for a TNT! Oooo purple pants… Can't wait to see!

  10. I'm also an LBA person. Where to add the length is the never ending problem.

  11. Amazing post! You have a wonderful blog:)
    What about following each other on Instagram, Bloglovin, Twitter?..


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