Craftsy Pants Blog # 3

Lesson 4: Tummy & Waist Alterations

Right off the bat in this lesson I realized the huge mistake I made… I traced all the pattern pieces I needed in the size I thought I needed, but it looks like that size may not be the one. The first thing to do in this lesson is something I will do from  now on any time I make a skirt or pair of pants! Make a muslin waistband in the size the pattern packet says you should use according to your measurements. SO simple, right? Definitely a “Why didn’t I think of that” kind of moment! This would have saved me from giving the last pair of trousers I made to Goodwill because they were too small and there wasn’t enough fabric in the seam allowance to alter them. (I was SO proud of them when I finished… until I tried them on.)

Trying on the waistband muslin. The purple line is where I drew in the correct side seam. You can see how big it is by the excess fabric in the back.

use 1use 2

Anyway, I had cut a pattern size C only to discover the waistband was way too big, so I cut another in a size B. It seems like it fits pretty well. Now I’ll have to rework the other pattern pieces I already traced, but I guess it’s not such a big deal, since this entire class is about pattern alterations.

I’m off to finish watching lesson 4 and hopefully finish the tummy and waist alterations. I’ll let you know how it went shortly.

I’m back after having completed lessons 4 and 5, and you know what? When it’s all said and done, there’s not really a lot to do in each lesson. I let myself get a little overwhelmed at a 40 minute lesson on each type of alteration, but it actually takes much less time to complete the alterations. A lot of the class time is seeing different alterations that you won’t actually be using. I’m glad to have this class to refer to in the future for those, though! I ended up taking the pattern pieces I had traced and tracing them in the next size down so that my pieces had both sizes drawn on them in case I need to combine the two sizes anywhere. I used a green colored pencil to mark my new size and a red one for the further alterations. I love her advice for adding color coding. I’m not confident enough to use the colored sharpies she suggests, however.

Retracing the pattern in a smaller sizeuse 4New size in Green, Alterations in Red

use 3

Lesson 5: Rear and Thigh Alterations

   I actually measured my thigh and then the thigh of the pattern and had to adjust the pattern down about 1 1/2″.  Doing that took some length out of the back crotch seam, so I got to skip that step for the butt alterations. (It’s all very experimental at this point for me, however, so I won’t be sure I got the alterations right until my test muslin.) The instructor, Sandra, is so knowledgeable about which body types need which alterations and the counter-alterations that need to be made for each change you make. (For example, if you scoop out the curve of the back crotch, you need to add some to the other side of the pattern to keep the correct circumference.) I think that’s one of the things that intimidates me about pattern alterations. I’m afraid I’ll make a change that too drastically alters the pattern or that I’ll forget one of the counter-measures I need to take after changing something. The thing is, though, you don’t know those rules necessarily by commmon sense- it takes experience. I’m glad I’m getting it! I had no idea just how intimidated I was by pattern alteration. I always avoided it and kind of hoped for the best, but I always thought that was because I was just in a hurry to be finished. I’m sure that’s part of it, but I’m realizing now how I simply skipped it because it was too hard. It’s only too hard because I’ve never done it before…not in the meticulous thought out beforehand way I’m having to do in this class. I would make a pattern in design school and make a sample and figure out how to fix any fit flaws by trial and error by draping and pinning. And I’m finding myself very anxious to get to that step in this class. I know if I went ahead and made these pants, I could find the flaws and adjust the pattern from there. That is very simple to me. But anticipating how a flat pattern will fit and what changes to make to it so it will fit my body seems a little like divination to me at this point. I’m not there yet. But I’m learning. And this class is step one.

The Moral of the Story?

What the Pro’s do  seems like magic , but it can be learned. And always allow a little ease for your [mini?] muffin top!

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