I really appreciate all the constructive critical feedback I received in my previous article on pants fitting. I value the critical feedback every bit as much as I do the “Great work!” style comments, because they truly help me learn and get better as a sewist. So thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment.
More Jed Fitting
Last time, I had promised to show you the photos of the latest rounds of fitting on the Jedediah Pants pattern. Picking up where we left off, this photo shows the fitting session after I added the wedge of fabric back into the crotch seam, at the top of the pants back and just below the yoke piece.
I took the liberty of adding a waistband to get a better feel for how the waist hangs in back. I also added a zipper in front to make the fitting easier.
As you can see, the waist in back now hangs the way it’s supposed to, and with a waistband in place it doesn’t leave underwear showing.
But there’s still several things going on wrong with this pattern. Here’s my current list.
The crotch shape is misadjusted
Reader John Yingling had this to say about the way the crotch curve is drafted in the Jedediah Pants:
One of the biggest problems with the Jedediah Pants pattern from what I have seen from your’s and other blogs is the lower portion of the back rise. I would describe that shape as almost a right angle, creating an unflattering a seam that goes right into the butt crack. If you inspect other patterns, you will see that curve shape is shallower and the crotch point is set further out and somewhat lower. Those changes alone to your back rise will go a long way to improving the fit.
While perusing old issues of Threads magazine to learn more about pants fitting, I came across an article by Joyce Murphy in issue 122 (December 2005/January 2006, pg. 36). In it, Murphy presents the concept of “body space”, or the shape of the volume occupied by the body, as a model to diagnose and solve pants fitting problems. The following diagram is taken from that article.
In these diagrams, Murphy visually illustrates the meaning of crotch length, width, and depth. The negative space, in yellow, is defined by the front and back pattern pieces joined at the crotch point and is the “body space” inhabited by the person wearing the pants. (As an aside, the article presents pattern manipulations to adjust one aspect of the crotch curve – length, width or depth – without altering the others).
In the article, Murphy suggests using a flexible ruler to find the shape of your own body space. I did that, and compared my ideal crotch curve with the one drafted into the Jedediah Pants pattern. Take a look.
As you can see, there’s little correspondence between them. The crotch curve is likely to need major adjustment before it’s a suitable fit for me.
Twist Lines at the legs
The twist lines remain at the legs. Reader GF offered this helpful advice:
Where the twist begins, either slash or unpin the entire seam up to that point, letting the fabric fall where it wants to and then repin as it falls smoothly to get an idea of how it changes. I have a feeling that you may need to add back the length you took from the outer side seam above the crotch, back to the leg below the crotch.
And John Yingling again offers a suggestion for the likely cause:
Carefully inspect your photos and you will see that all drag lines on your I’ll fitting muslins radiate from your crotch point out to the side seams. The problem is that that pesky crotch point to too high, pointing upward as it enters the crotch, consequently pulling your fabric into the crotch, and causing all those unsightly drag lines. My opinion is that no amount of taking in darts at those lines will cure the fitting problems. Instead you need to add to the crotch curve, how much depends on how large the drag line is at the crotch.
I feel there’s truth to both these assessments. If I grab the side seam just at the crotch line, and lift the side seam about another inch or so off the floor, the twists go away. So it seems that shortening the crotch likely did raise the crotch point, making it higher in relation to the side seam. Along with John’s suggestion of lowering the crotch point, it might also be possible to fix the problem by shortening the side seam somehow.
Too much fabric on the sides, too tight at the hip
The pattern as it is now has way too much circumference around the side seam, at the level of the crotch point. So there’s a lot of excess ease just below the hip, which I’m grabbing in the photo below.
At the same time, the pants are now also too tight at the hip.
Both of these problems originated as another side-effect of taking out the wedge of fabric in the crotch seam. Look again at what happened when I folded the dart out of the pattern.
Look at the bulge in the side seam right at the apex of the dart. That’s happened as a result of the top of the side seam pivoting along with the fold. The pivot exaggerated the curve of the side seam, and also narrowed the area around the hip.
It’s worth noting that the extra width in the pant leg at the level of the crotch point appears to be an intentional design decision; the pants, even the model photos on Thread Theory’s website have a bit of a jodhpur pants look to them.
“Sometimes, it’s not you, it’s the pattern”
I also got some very direct feedback about the Jedediah pattern itself from my readers. Much of it wasn’t positive. From reader Corey:
I agree, maybe its the pattern, this pattern requires too much alternation for you. I think the pattern needs to be redrafted for you. It is not working big time. Its what I call: a hot mess.
I have to agree, Thread Theory has inferior patterns that are ill fitting and poorly designed.
Some other people in the sewing blogosphere have gotten decent results; MainelyDad at the Japanese Pattern Challenge blog has had great results with this pattern and appears to like it.
However, I sometimes get the feeling that Morgan Meredith at Thread Theory drafted this pattern around her husband Matt, a tallish skinny guy who doesn’t really match my body type.
The Jedediah pants were intended to be casual, a mashup of chinos and jeans. But I think I would be happier if they were a little dressier.
Style changes I might consider to “dress up” the Jeds pattern are the following,:
- Convert the back yoke to waist darts
- Replace the patch pockets with welt pockets
Which of course is more work on top of the fitting.
I think there’s a lot of work to do to turn this pattern into something I’m happy with.
At the start of my project this summer, I chose between the Jedediah Pants pattern and another pattern in my stash: Vogue 8940, also a contemporary-styled pants pattern. Here’s Vogue’s model pics of their pattern:
Vogue 8940 also uses a yoke for a more casual, jeans-like appearance but includes more elegant pockets – I’m guessing that’s a welt pocket under the flaps.
Truth be told, I like the styling of Vogue 8940 better, at least based on the photos.
As I see it, here are my options:
- Press forward with the fitting and alterations on the Jeds. This is a great option if the primary goal is to teach myself fitting by trial and error, and I have both the time and patience to stick with it. There’s still a high likelihood it’ll end up nowhere.
- Choose Vogue 8940 instead. This might be the most straightforward solution, but there’s always the chance that pattern won’t fit well either.
- Ruboff (clone) a pair of Levi Dockers. Several readers, led by David Coffin, suggested this option as the quickest route to get out of fitting land and on to sewing. Other readers cautioned that making an accurate ruboff is harder than it sounds.
- Draft my own pattern. I have both Don McCunn’s book How to Make Sewing Patterns, as well as Kenneth D. King’s Trouser Draft ebook to use as starting points for the venture.
- Abandon and start a new project. This only delays the issue, because I do want to sew myself pants at some point.
Which one will I choose? I’ll let you know next time. If you have anything to add on the Jedediah Pants pattern I’d love to hear it.