Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn

Pants Sloper Home Page   ►  Week Two

Sewing, Fitting, and Creating the Final Pattern


Sewing the Fitting Shell

Some of you may already know how to sew pants. There are different ways to do this and different sequences to follow. The first video shows how I sew pants. For these videos I have left a center back opening with no zipper. You may prefer to use a center front opening. Adding a zipper is optional whether the opening is at center front or center back. If you are doing-it-yourself, take a look at the second video for adding the bias tapes for the fitting process.

Sewing the Pants

DIY - Adding Bias Tape at the Waist

Initial Fitting

When you fit you should work from center front to the side and center back to the side. It may take a couple of fittings to get these shapes correct. The purpose of the initial fitting includes:

  1. Evaluate the shape of the crotch curve.
  2. Determine the position and size of the darts.
  3. Determine the position of the side seam.

If you have prepared your pattern using the fit of a Skirt Sloper, you only need to evaluate the shape of the crotch curve.

I suggest you look in How to Make Sewing Patterns on pages 50 through 52, 2nd ed. (pages 39 through 42, 1st ed.) before proceeding. During the fitting, find the vertical and horizontal position of the point of the dart and the width of the dart at the waist. You will be fine tuning the lines of the darts when you transfer them back to paper. So don't over work the darts during this initial fitting.

Fit only one side of the body. If your body is asymmetrical, fit the larger or higher side first. Adjust for your asymmetrical shape during the final stages so that you do not over accent the difference in the two sides of your body.

I have separated the videos for this initial fitting depending on whether you are fitting yourself or working with a fitting buddy. However, you might want to watch both videos for a better overall perspective of the fitting process.

There is an alternate technique to pinning darts and seams in the DIY video. This video shows how you can fit these sloper patterns by slashing the fabric, overlapping the dart, then tapping them in place. If you have a fitting buddy who is not used to working with fabric, this technique does not require the same manual dexterity.

For 2 - Fitting the Pants

DIY - Fitting the Darts

DIY - Fitting the Side Seam

Adjusting the Pattern

After the darts and side seams have been shaped during the initial fitting, transfer the marks back to the paper pattern. During this stage you will draw the centerline of the darts so they are parallel to either the center front or center back lines. The width of the dart at the waist is then centered on the dart centerline. This process is explained in How to Make Sewing Patterns on pages 37 and 38, 2nd ed. (page 32, 1st ed.)

The Side Seam is the last thing to check on the pattern. During the fitting process it is easy to remove the initial ease added to the pattern. It is very important to make sure that you adjust the pattern based on your waist (#9) and Hip (#13) measurements. Instructions for doing this are shown in the "Verify the Ease" video, illustrated in the Adjust for Ease pdf file, and included on pages 39 & 40 of How to Make Sewing Patterns, Second Edition.

After you have corrected the pattern, transfer the darts and side seams to the other side of the fitting shell and do another fitting to verify that the grain of the fitting shell is correct. During this fitting you can determine whether you want more or less ease. Adjust the side seams to achieve the exact amount of ease you want. Be sure to check this final shape by sitting as well as standing.

Adjust the Pattern

DIY - Adjust the Pattern

Verify the Ease

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