Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pants Project: Pattern Tracing Adventure

You guys have heard me whine on and on about my fear of pants.  WELL NO MORE!  I am doing this.

I was planning on making Simplicity 2562 Amazing Fit because I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s been on my radar since Patti made a pair ages ago.  But once I started to trace it out, I realized that really wide-legged trousers are just not something I’d get any use out of in my wardrobe.  So I dug around a bit in my pattern stash, and came across Simplicity 2367.   I originally made these in a size 16 back in 2010 for the PR WardrobeContest.  They were my very first completed pair of pants.  And they were a disaster.  Still, I think most of it had to do with the thin stretchy cotton poplin I’d used, along with a desperate need for crotch length lengthening.
Despite how bad the first pair turned out, I really did like the details and style of the pants, and even knew back then that my failure wasn’t the fault of the pattern.  So I pulled it out and started to play with it.

The first problem I encountered was that pattern tracing is something I’ve only recently embraced, and back then I cut a size 16.  Based on my measurements, I’d need a size 20. *facepalm*  Luckily (or so I thought at first), the pattern also includes separate pieces for the shorts included in the set.  I thought ‘hey that’s great!  I’ll just trace the shorts pattern, then use the original pants to extend the legs’; simple!  Too simple.

Pants pattern over shorts, inside seam lined up. Just a little bit different.
Turns out that the shorts pattern is designed to be much looser in order to attach bands at the bottom and create a bloomer effect.  Adorable in shorts, but too much fabric for the look I want in pants.  Back to the drawing board.  Or in this case, back to the original size 16 pattern.
All of you out there who have ever graded up a pattern are probably laughing at me, since it’s actually pretty easy to do.  I knew I needed to go up 2 sizes, and luckily the pattern itself goes up to size 22.  This made it really simple, since I just slid the pattern around on my tracing plastic the amounts needed based on the drawing lines on the shorts pattern (they were useful after all!) and traced.  Easy peasy. 

Also easy was retracing the contoured waistband.  I was concerned at first since these curve differently depending on the size.  Again though, I was lucky because the pattern includes another waistband piece for the skirt also included in the set that has different markings, but the same contour.  :D  Seriously, I couldn’t have found a more convenient pattern to grade up. Thanks for that, Simplicity!

Simplicity 2367 (my chosen pattern) over the Amazing Fit pattern, back centre seams aligned. Hmm.
And here's my favourite pair of non-stretch jeans (also my only pair, because most women clothing stores suck) lined up over the Amazing Fit crotch line - perfect!
Now, back in 2010, I identified one of the problems with my pants was the crotch curve.  Actually, all of the lovely people at Pattern Review identified the problem was with the crotch curve (thanks ladies!).  I wasn’t sure how to handle this, until I spied the Amazing Fit pattern pieces, still draped on my ironing board.  I put them under my tracing plastic, wiggled it around a bit until it lined up relatively well, and then retraced the crotch curve.  There wasn’t much difference in the back, although the curve was a bit higher (we’ll see how that goes – at least it can be removed if needed), but boy was the back curve different!  It makes sense.  If you (dare to) look at the back of my first pair, the fabric pulls tight under the butt and causes major wrinkles; the area obviously needs more length along the crotch curve.  After tracing the new crotch curves, I just graded them over to meet up with the original pants leg line approximately 6 inches or so below the crotch. 

I haven’t tried cutting these out yet, never mind sewing them, but I thought I’d share my progress here so far.  Last week, I promised you more posts, so here’s one of them!  :D
Anywho, wish me luck on these.  I’m tentatively hopeful (so much so that I’m going directly to my planned fabric), but more luck is always good!

Happy Sewing!


  1. have a great pants fitting course if you need help achieving a custom fit. I've used the simplicity pattern before and the legs aren't that wide.

    1. I'm not sure if I have the patience for a Craftsy course. I keep eyeing them up, and then I think about sitting there watching a video (and then watching it over and over again when needed) and I just can't imagine being able to do it. I tends to just jump into things and learn as I go. But thanks! I know a lot of people have gotten a lot out of those classes. :)

  2. Awesome! It really sounds like you've had amazing luck with the grading! Good luck with the pants, once you've got it nailed you'll be rolling.
    Ditto what Gail said. I've signed up for both pants classes on Craftsy and am about to start the pants very soon too. After watching the whole thing it looks pretty amazing.

    1. I just hope it works!

      Like I said above, I just don't think the videos are for me. A great idea, but not something I think I'd enjoy or get as much out of. I'd rather just spend my sewing time sewing. But I'm glad that it's working out for you! :)

  3. All looks really good and should be a nice pair of pants! I agree with you that all the original pair needed was for the crotch to be dropped and they should fit fine. So good luck and can't wait to see the finished pair!

    1. Crotch to be 'dropped'? What do you mean by this? Like, how the back crotch curve is lower than the original? I thought it was more of a lengthening thing, but I wasn't sure about how low it was. So you think it needed to be lowered as well as lengthened (which, of course, the Amazing Fit pattern has done, but I'm trying to work this out in my head)?


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