Altered State

Posted on: 4 April, 07

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my pants.  As requested, I shall try to explain the steps taken to alter the pattern.

First, it helps tremendously to start with a well drafted pattern….like Ottobre.  Because Ottobre has very consistent drafting, I feel confident in making adjustments by comparing my measurements to their measurement chart.  For example, my hips are 2 inches smaller than the chart, so I graded down the pattern 2 inches in the hip.  My outerseam is 3 inches shorter, so I know the pants will need to be shortened 3 inches.  I had to make quite a few adjustments because I am outside of the size range for Ottobre.

Since I wanted the pants to sit lower on my waist (and I am very short waisted), the crotch depth needed to be reduced the crotch depth by 1 inch. I drew a horizontal line across the pattern pieces between the hip and waist.  Then I cut along the line and overlapped the pieces so they were an inch shorter.  It was a little tricky on this pattern due to the back yoke.  I looked for a horizontal line that would not impact the yoke by using the markings on my cutting mat.  The transparent nature of Swedish Tracing Paper allowed me to line up the grain line on the vertical axis and make my markings on the horizontal axis.

To reduce the hip area by 3 inches, I decided to divide this up between the two side seams and the center back seam.  Trying to alter the fly area would have caused headaches and dividing 3 inches by 3 seams was much easier.   I drew a new stitching line 1/2 inch from the original stitching line on the side seams and the center back.  Remember 1/2 inch from the front plus 1/2 from the back equals 1 inch total.

Because I adjusted the pattern to sit lower than my natural waist, I compared that measurement to the chart to adjust the waist area of the pattern and adjusted accordingly. As for the hip area, I drew new stitching lines and tapered them to meet the meet the new hip seam line.

I have to adjust quite a bit for the length.  Simply chopping 3 inches from the bottom would shift the knee placement and change the overall shape of the leg.  I remove 1.5 inches above the knee and 1.5 inches below the knee.

It sounds like lots of altering, but it doesn’t take very long.  The key is knowing that these same changes can be used from Ottobre pattern to the next with the same result.  There are no pants patterns that fit me straight from the envelope.  Having a good, solid starting point is a huge advantage.


3 Responses to "Altered State"

The pants are a great fit. Next time you might think about how much you’ve taken off the width of the back (2 inches) and shortened the crotch depth (1 inch) & also alter the pockets. They seem a bit over proportioned to me. But then, I don’t know what you want to carry in them.

Thank you for documenting your changes so thoroughly. It’s a great help to learners.

Reply from Teri: I agree about the pockets. I do plan to make this pattern again….and again, but the pockets will be smaller in the future.

You are sharing such great detailed information in your entries! It all sounds intimidating to me – being that I have just taken on this craft, but it is so inspiring! Perhaps one day I will even say things like your entry is sharing and know what they mean – hee hee

Everyone should have bright PJs to wear. And hot pink qualifies. Those are so fun and cute. I also love the Ottobre pants you made. The fit is great. You are very talented.

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