corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Plain and Simpler: Avoid Baggy-Thighed-Pants

35 Comments

This is my method to avoid baggy-thighed-pants (acknowledgement goes to Miranda for that title)

I’ve had loads of requests to explain what I do to avoid wrinkles at the back thigh on trousers. Firstly, a big thank you to you all who contacted me via e-mail, Pattern Review, personal messaging, blog comments etc etc etc. and your inherent trust in my abilities. I started replying to each one and then I got overwhelmed so Instead of replying to each and every one, here’s a post about what I do. Absolute disclaimer: this is what I do for me – I have no idea if it’s right, acceptable, taught, recognised or standard fitting procedure – but it works for me so why not try it – it could work for you too.

I’m now acknowledging those brave sewers who have publicity shown the world what what baggy-thigh-pants look like:

Tasha, Stephanie, Jennifer – thank you from the bottom of my ****

Trousers are notoriously difficult to fit because there are so many points of contact with the body – waist, hip, thigh, knee, calf, length and worst of all crotch! My advice – make a skirt -LOL! Just kidding, but really take your time, trace your pattern alterations (I know it’s a pain but think of the long-term gains), do not intend to make a pair of trousers, take a weekend and work on the fitting. Please believe me, it is time well invested and you will have a perfectly fitting crotch pattern for only YOU and it didn’t cost you a Craftsy class.

I’m starting from a toile that has good fitting crotch curve. Sorry I’m leaving this bit to you but here are some resources that you might find useful – my crotch experiments, Colette’s pant fitting cheat sheet, crotch measuring.

You are now going to be subjected to many images of my backside: if you want to see the original post then click on my bum!

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Back thigh adjustment on jean-style cords

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Early days of development – Here I moved the crotch curve. See how it rides up and there are still wrinkles on the back thigh

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Similar to pic 1. Reduced the depth of the back thigh only and pattern based on RTW Armani .

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No adjustments made at all and wrinkles galore!

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New trouser pattern with now almost automatic back thigh adjustment. Vogue 1204

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Wide leg trousers show much less wrinkling, so this could be an alternative option for fitting.

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Tapered trouser legs still need an shortening on the back thigh for me but not as much as fitted trousers maybe just an 1″ (2.5cm).

Here’s my method of removing those wrinkles that are so evident in RTW and many of my early hand made trousers. It happens at the cutting stage so I’m afraid if you have already cut and sewn – it’s too late! Do it next time.

First off, be brutally honest. Stand sideways in front of a mirror and measure or mark your front bit (know what I mean?) then mark or measure your back cheek crease.

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In my case the difference between the front and back is roundabout 4″ (10cms). Gosh – see that sway back? That’s another post just on its own!

Right, back to the topic for today. Now, following conventional fitting methods  you will be instructed to do all sorts of things with the crotch curve – see my pin stripe jeans above – lengthening, shortening and changing the angle of curve but my method is simpler and easier. I half the measurement taken from real life and fold this out of the way on the back pattern piece, close to but not at the crotch line.


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Take the back pattern piece and fold up half the difference of your measurements. In my case it’s 2″ (5cms). Make this fold below the crotch line that’s marked on the pattern piece. We are not altering the crotch curve but working below it.

At the side of the pattern there will be uneven edges – when cutting the fabric, gently curve this to join with your already perfected crotch. Please check your crotch point before doing this alteration see my crotch experiments above for how to do this.

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Edited for clarification: All the notches and marks on the back pattern piece will not line up with the front now. Either reposition the back notches or as I do, ignore them. Lengthen the back piece at the hem by the same amount you folded out.

I’m just at the beginning of making New Look K6231 trousers in a woven cotton with no stretch. In my previous post I recommended using a fabric with a bit of Lyrca so stay tuned for an update on how I totally ignore my own advice and how it all turns out in the end.

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OK, maybe I don’t heed my own advice all of the time – or is it just the nature of the fabric?

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35 thoughts on “Plain and Simpler: Avoid Baggy-Thighed-Pants

  1. Sometimes it really is the nature of the fabric used. I think that when we all get to heaven we will finally have perfect pant patterns 😉

  2. I shouldn’t have even read this post as I swore to not ever wear trousers after a disastrous experiment with Clover two years ago but I admire your perseverance and you, on the other hand, really look great in trousers. The butt wrinkles don’t matter; I find with RTW jeans that the best fit soon starts to stretch and deform as the fabric alters from a lifetime of sitting down.

    • I recently bought a pair of skinny legged trousers and one wear and they’re as baggy as an old sack. Try again Marianna, you’d look great in trousers.

  3. Do you add the amount of length you removed at the hem of the pant?

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this info.

  5. This is a very interesting post. Your trousers really suit you!

  6. Your pants look great. One thing i did not catch : So the front and back seam has now a 2″ difference. Do you ease in the difference or add 2″ to front?

  7. Not sure I get this. How does the shorter back marry with the longer front?

  8. Sorry I’ve read this several times and can’t understand what measurements you have taken. Is the 4″ the difference between the front and back crotch depth? If so why do you take only 2″ out of the pattern. Also don’t you have to make reference to whatever is included in the pattern to remove wrinkles by either making a toile checking the pattern measurements?

    • Hi Jane. Yes, 4″ is the difference between front and back. I have no idea why I take 2″ apart from the fact that after a number of trials, it works. I assume there must be some sort of ease in the pattern that allows for a bit of bum so I don’t have to take the full 4″ out. Toiles are always a very good idea when making trousers especially a new pattern. I’ve experimented many times with fit and now have a crotch angle and depth block. I lay this over the new pattern and make the necessary adjustments (if any). I was very lucky with this New Look pattern for fit. I still always take out 2″ from the back though.
      Any clearer? The best thing is to test and test and test.

      • Thanks Ruth, yes I think I need to try it out.

      • I don’t get the 4″. Is this the length of that arrow in your image? Or are you measuring your hip and low hip for example 36 and low hip is 32 so the difference in circles is 4″? Where is the tape measure starting and stopping?

  9. Thank you so much! Of course the pants I’ve already cut are a lost cause but am definitely going to try this this weekend. Your notes on needing to do an adjusted version of this fix even with wider trousers that are tapered is also very helpful.

  10. Thanks for sharing this “bit”.
    I’ve stayed with skirts the last while, because I’ve been intimidated by the fit of pants. You are removing the fear and issues!

  11. And your pants looks great on you!

  12. AZ is getting warmer and I have just a little while longer to wear fitted pants…BUT I will definitely try this. It will work with all styles-jeans, slacks and fitted slim pants?

  13. Very helpful, as well as very entertaining:) I can tell you are a good teacher!

  14. One day, far in the future, when I’m brave enough to tackle trousers, I’m going to be so grateful for your posts.

    • No trousers? But you sew with sequins and designer fabric and make things with wool and sew coats and all sorts of things. One of your Herculean tasks?

  15. Interesting…I’m working on a pair of trousers at the moment that are fashioned after a man’s trouser. The back leg, from the knee to the crotch, is about 5/8″ shorter than the front piece. It is eased into the front piece. I think this does what your adjustment is doing. I hadn’t thought about it really, but men’s trousers don’t have these wrinkles in the back!

  16. So helpful! Not long ago I was reading a conversation about the wrinkles on the back of pants, especially close fitting pants. . I think your solution makes so much sense. To me the wrinkles said, “to much fabric” but for some reason I was thinking width, not length. But length is much more logical. And your fix is easy one to boot! Thank you! I’m definitely going to try this out.

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