We are going to spend today doing all of the prep work so that we can start on our final Lander pants and shorts tomorrow. Before continuing though, I want to make a plea. If you are using precious fabric, or if you are making a lot of fit adjustments, PLEASE make a muslin first. Pants (especially crotches) are one of those things that are a bit trickier to fit. And a muslin just allows you to take more risks and get the fit right. OK, I warned you. Now we can continue.
First we are going to talk about the most common fit adjustments you might want to make. It will not cover everything so if you want to go deeper I recommend the book Pants for Real People from Palmer and Pletsch. It’s a great one for your sewing library and it covers a lot fitting issues and how to solve them. Or, if you happen to be in the NYC area, I know that Workroom Social offers pants fitting classes using the methods from this book.
Choosing Your Size
There are three measurements that you need to know when choosing which size to cut. You want your waist at the thinnest part which is usually the belly button. Because this is where the waistband of the pant/short actually hits (it’s a true high waisted fit) this is a very important measurement. The waistband is cut as one folded piece that is then stabilized so it’s very difficult to change this later. If you are unsure about the waistband and think you might want to adjust it, I recommend not cutting out your waistband until after you fit the remainder of your pants in step 20 of your instructions.
You want to measure your hip at the fullest part which is generally about 8 inches down from your bellybutton. One of my favorite parts of this pattern is that it leaves a very wide (1″) seam allowances on the sideseams. This adds up to 2 inches of wiggle room in the side seams. I still recommend grading between sizes in the waist and hip (which we will go over below) but just know that you will have a chance to baste and then adjust the sideseams to get a perfect fit at the hip in step 20 of the instructions.
My patterns are drafted for someone who is 5’5″. If you are shorter or taller than this, you will likely want to make some adjustments. Which adjustments to make is highly dependent on experience and knowing your own body. For instance, you may be 2 inches shorter than the model, but have longer legs, and a shorter torso so you don’t need to make any adjustments. Or you may have a really long crotch rise so you want to add some length there, but not to the rest of the pattern. These are decisions you have to make and the more do you them and try them, the more you will learn about your body and the adjustments that are most common to you.
A common mistake I see is that someone adjusts the length too much. So for instance, if you are 5’8″, you are 3 inches taller than my pattern is drafted for. You instincts may be to add 3 inches in length to the pattern. But really only 1.5-2″ of that extra length is located in the bottom half of your body so you would only need to add that much.
Lengthen / Shorten
Before deciding to add or subtract length from your pant / short, keep in mind that the pants each have a 3″ hem. This gives you a lot of wiggle room with length. If you have the fabric though, I always recommend erring on the side of extra length, you can always cut off some later.
There are two lengthen / shorten lines located on the pant pattern and one on the shorts. This first is a lengthen / shorten line at the hip location to adjust the rise. If you have a long or short rise you can easily adjust this. First decide how much you want to lengthen or shorten the rise. Cut the pattern along the lengthen / shorten line. If you want to increase the rise, add a piece of paper behind the pattern piece and tape so that the gap in the middle is the amount you want to increase. Smooth out any cutting lines that may have become a bit jagged in the process. Make sure you do the same adjustments for the front, back, left and right fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.
To shorten the rise it would be the same process but in reverse. Instead of putting paper behind it, you will simply overlap the two pattern pieces by half of the amount you want to decrease the rise by. So for instance, if you want to decrease the rise by 1/2″, overlap the pattern top and bottom by 1/4″ (the two sides adding up to 1/2″). Repeat the process for the front, back, right and left fly pieces, and stitching guide. You will also want to adjust the button and buttonhole placements so that they are equidistant apart.
Lengthening and Shortening your pattern in just the leg is pretty simply. The lengthen shorten line is located at the knee, but honestly, since the pant is completely straight from the knee down, you can just adjust that at the bottom. I would always err on the side of too much length, knowing you can adjust that as your last step when hemming.
Grading Between Sizes
Since these pants / shorts are pretty fitted on the hips and waist, I highly recommend grading between sizes. This is a pretty simple process since all of the pattern pieces are nested. Simply take a pen or marker, draw in the seam allowance, and then gradually connect the two sizes. Here I am showing how you would grade between a size 10 waist and a size 14 hip. This is just the front, but you would need to do the same thing to the back and front pockets. Changes are marked in yellow.
Like I mentioned above, you do have a really large (1″) seam allowance on the side seams which gives you some wiggle room so don’t fret too much. Simply grading and adjusting the side seams should be enough for most people to get a great fit. If, after doing a muslin, you still have issues, you may want to play with increasing your back dart and angling your center back seam to help balance where the adjustments are being made.
Lengthen / Shorten Crotch Curve
Adjusting your crotch curve is a very common fitting adjustment on pants. If your crotch curve is too short you will get a little bit of pulling creating smile lines at the front and back like this (not to mention a bit of discomfort):
You would adjust the front like this. The yellow line being the new line. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch line.
If your crotch curve is too long your will get the opposite which will appear somewhat like frown lines or excess fabric at the bottom of the crotch. This one is a little easier to diagnose because you can pinch out some of the length and see if it fixes the problem:
You would adjust the front like this. Depending on where you see the wrinkles or feel the discomfort you can do it to just just the front, just the back, or both. The yellow line is the new crotch curve. Since the front crotch is already pretty shallow, I’d be extra careful notch to shave too much off of it. If you need to get rid of more than 1/8″ I’d take more from the back.
In making adjustments, know that a little goes a long way, so probably start by adding or subtracting 1/8″ – 1/4″ only. For most people, this will solve your problem. If it doesn’t you can still play around with the actual shape of your crotch curve (some ladies are flatter while others more round) until you get something that you are happy with. If you have a fit issue that I did not cover, feel free to comment below. If I get enough interest in a certain adjustment I can cover it a future date.
Now that we have made all of the adjustments necessary, go ahead and layout your fabric according to the fabric layout recommendations in your instructions. These are just recommendations. You may find that you can conserve fabric by being a bit creative with your placement. Make sure that you transfer all markings from your pattern pieces to your fabric as well. Once you have finished this you will be ready for sewing your Landers tomorrow!