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Of Knip and Curves

July 25, 2010
KnipMode 7/08 #15

Ever since I started sewing again, mumble mumble years ago, fitting pants has been an obsession. All this time, I have watched as others on the web achieved pants nirvana. I bought books and magazines. I took workshops. I devoured blogs.

My biggest fitting problem follows me everywhere, if you get my drift, and somewhere in the fitting journey I got hung up on crotch curves. After all, getting the curve right seemed to be the answer for everyone else. I tried increasingly drastic scooping and extended the back crotch hook from here to the next county, thinking that making everything bigger back there would give me beautifully fitted trousers. No, it gave me BIG trousers.

As it turns out, in my case the most needed adjustment was a different one altogether. There seemed to always be folds from the inner thigh diagonally to the hip. When I first read about a wedge adjustment to the outseam, probably on Debbie Cook’s blog, a little bell sounded in my head. But I was unsure how to try the wedge adjustment without making five or six muslins with differing wedge amounts.  Here’s a method for fitting a wedge adjustment in a single muslin.

After fitting the waist, slash the muslin on a line perpendicular to the grainline (more or less) with one end point at the place on the center back where the crotch begins to curve. Slash through the outseam, with the other end point near the center front.

Now drop the outseam, opening a wedge in the hip area. When the diagonal folds dissappear, that’s the amount you need to add at the outseam. Tape the wedge edges in place to your underwear. Now you can carefully take off the muslin and attached undies. (If you are fortunate enough to have a fitting buddy helping you, you can always wear a double layer of panties.) At this point I found it helpful to peel off the knickers and cover the sticky side of the tape with more tape. Now you can lay your muslin out flat or disassemble it to transfer the adjustments to your tissue pattern.

The wedge is filled in with blue painter's tape.

Now, as it turns out, this alteration does alter the shape of the center back/curve line, but not in the same way that my old scooping attempts did!  The diagram shows the change. Green layer shows the original pattern, Blue layer is altered.

As it happened, all this slicing and dicing took place on my first Knipmode pattern, 07/2008 #15, so now I don’t know if part of the solution was also the Knip draft. Knipmode always has a very slanted CB. I have to say that the muslin at the first stage didn’t look all that different to me than the Burdas I usually sew.

Here are pics – lightened so that maybe you can see a little bit. These are black linen, and the fabric is still crunchy. I expect them to smooth out after a few more washings.

While I’d like to know if Knip is magic or not, further experimenting can wait. I’m experiencing a blissful release from the pants obsession, and am filled with benevolence and good-will toward everyone. So much so that I’m actually sewing something for someone else – trying a sport shirt for the spouse!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 10:08 am

    Hmm. I also have a big butt and have been messing with crotch curves for years. Burdas are the nearest, but leave me with under butt wrinkles. Mind if I removed those where would the butt go when I sit?

    I shall keep this wedge thingy in mind for the future though.

  2. January 18, 2014 11:04 pm

    Your opening paragraphs were so compelling, I had to read them to my DH while he made dinner. I’m on my NINTH pants muslin, and have spent far to many hours on crotch curves and back seams.

    My butt covers a notable amount of square inches, but is quite flat. As if someone squashed a normal butt, with a downward pressure. Sorry if the imagery is alarming.

    My point is, that center back seam, and the shape of the crotch curve matters – but there was never a “one stop” fix for it. If I need to push the envelope of discretion with two layers of underwear, that’s a small price to pay.

    Your pants back view looks PERFECT.

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