Sasha Trousers, and Musings about Plus-Size Fit

Sasha Trousers

The Closet Case Patterns blogfest continues! (Yes, this is my third CCP post in a row, after three Jalie patterns in a row… next up will be a wildcard though!)

I made these Sasha trousers in April, and they have been in steady rotation since. Because my closet is so full, that really only means they’ve been worn once a month, but I enjoy them every time! They are both made with a lightweight stretch denim.

Sasha Trousers

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you won’t be surprised that I made them into pull-on elastic waist trousers! I first wrote about pull-on trousers in 2012, and started sewing them in 2013. One of my most popular posts is about how to insert a stretch waistband onto any stretch pant or skirt, and that’s still the method I use today. I get indigestion any time I wear pants with a non-stretch waistband, so I’m all stretch, all the time.

Sasha Trousers

Here’s what is going on up top: I sew the pants as normal, including the darts and pockets if I want them. (I wanted these pairs to be sleek to wearing with longer tops, so I skipped pockets all together.) You could do a faux fly, but I never do. Instead, I use part of the fly extension fabric to give myself a little full tummy curve in the front seam.

Next, as you can read in my tutorial, I cut a rectangle of matching fabric with the same circumference as the top of the pants, sew the short ends,and zig zag in a shorter length of elastic. I pull tighter at the back and stretch it less at the front, so the waistband will hug my figure in the right places! I serge the whole thing in, and voila, pull on pants!

Sasha Trousers

Now, it isn’t an exact science, and after wearing these a bit, I decided the elastic needed to be tighter to keep them high on my waist. I did my favourite lazy fix, and stitched a tuck in the waistband elastic and waistband. You can see it on the green pair above, but it’s also on the blue pair as well. Honestly, I’ve done this on a fair number of knit dresses over the years, and it’s not as noticeable as you’d think – especially because no one but my blog readers is ever going to see the top of these trousers!

Sasha Trousers

Here’s the thing: I think these are really well fitting pants. I’m always happy with CCP pants, because I think the crotch curve and side shaping really works for a figure like mine. I made a few minor adjustments, like scooping the crotch curves slightly and a knock-knee adjustment, but these blue ones are my first ever muslin, and they are a-ok in my books!

BUT – (Butt?) – what drew me to the Sashas first is that I see so many versions with a perfect slim fit and minimal leg wrinkles. Check out the hashtag on IG to see what I mean, or the model pictures on the CCP website.

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Hey y’all! Meet our latest pattern, the Sasha Trousers. File this one under “wardrobe workhorse”. Our take on the classic flat front pant, Sasha is designed for stretch wovens meaning she’s comfortable as all get out, and perfect for the office OR any day you want to look a little more polished. . With a mid-rise, optional slash and welt pockets and two choices of leg lengths (full or cropped), Sasha uses the same block as our bestselling Ginger Jeans; this is fit you can trust. We’ll be covering fitting extensively in an upcoming post, so if this is something you get nervous about we will (literally) have you covered. More details on the blog, and a link to the pattern is in our bio. #sashatrousers

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My question is: Can pants ever fit that like on a plus-size figure? I have a pronounced low hip curve but also a high hip curve, with a dip in between where my hip joint is. I have 11″ different between my waist and hips. The bigger ones leg is, the more curvy the line is between thigh and knee and calf and ankle. Plus on me, all of this is happening on a leg with a 29″ inseam, so there isn’t much room to fit in all those curves!

Sasha Trousers

I worried more about fit when I first started sewing pants than I do now. When I look at these pictures, yes, I see pull-lines and wrinkles and poses where my crotch curve doesn’t look perfect, but I also see something as good or better than what RTW has ever looked like on me. As Heather says in her fitting post/pep talk about Sashas, “Saying “Good  enough” (and then maybe trying to improve a little the next time around) will mean enjoying your clothes and this hobby a lot more.”  

I worry, though, that pants fitting is where expert resources have left the plus-size community high and dry, which means that sewists my size and larger don’t see examples of what “perfect fit” looks like. What would good fit look like on me, and how close am I? The Curvy Sewing Collective has lots of resources and reviews on pants, some of which I’ve written, but have we ever seen a pattern designer or expert really talk about how to fit modern slim stretch pants to a curvy figure? Let me know below if there is a book or class I’m missing, because I’m all ears!

Sasha Trousers

In the mean time, I like this pattern a lot, and I feel great in my trousers! I wore the blue ones yesterday with this kimono I blogged on Cali Fabrics , and I’m modelling the teal ones as promised with a RTW blazer I thrifted at the time I was sewing them pants. I had a blue one as well, but I gave it to my sister. Sorry you don’t get to see two matching “suits”!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on plus-size pants fitting – what are the best resources? Is it possible to get a wrinkle-free fit on a curvy figure? Who could we ask to make more resources from an expert point of view about fitting slim stretch pants to a larger figure? 


51 thoughts on “Sasha Trousers, and Musings about Plus-Size Fit

  1. I’m no expert on plus size fitting, but I think it probably is a little harder to have flat fabric curve smoothly around larger figures just because the amount of shaping required is greater. And pants are basically flat, at least through the legs. But there are a lot of other factors as well—fabric weight, tightness (i mostly fit my stretch pants by making things tighter until the stretch takes care of everything, which is probably cheating)—anyway. Basically, no help here, but that’s a really interesting question.

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    1. It’s been neat to read different people’s suggestions! Lots of great book recommendations and such, but I’m still waiting for someone to *SHOW* me someone my shape with smoothly fitting slim pants! I need to see it to believe it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Can pants ever fit that like on a plus-size figure?”

    In a word, yes.

    But it takes a lot more fitting/patience, with incremental adjustments.

    As far as resources, pretty much all the same ones you already know about. Fit wrinkles are fit wrinkles.Off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are more:

    Pants For Real People
    Fitting and Pattern Alterations: A Multi-Method Approach
    Pants and Skirts Fit for Your Shape
    The Perfect Fit
    Fast Fit

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    1. Thanks Debbie! Do you ever think about getting back into sewing pants? I was just having a poke through your blog, and you have over 100 posts about pants on your blog… but most are from waaaaay back! You have some really nicely fitting pairs back then though – time do dust off your skills, perhaps? ❤

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      1. Yes, I think about it all the time. I NEED pants. 🙂 I’ll do it soon. Perhaps we can have a sew/fit-along.

        I just re-read your post and this jumped out at me:

        “Now, it isn’t an exact science, and after wearing these a bit, I decided the elastic needed to be tighter to keep them high on my waist”

        Do you pre-stretch your elastic?

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        1. Ooh, interesting! Do I? I guess not! I check it around my waist (even though I know the general measurement), but I don’t give it a proper stretch. I’ll try that!

          In other words…. yes please we need a sewalong!!!!!!!!

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  3. I agree with Debbie. The resource is kind of dated, but Pants for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto will help you get a great fit now matter your size or body shape. They also have a relatively inexpensive DVD available too. https://www.palmerpletsch.com/product/pant-fitting-dvd-2/
    Just be aware that each fabric is going to act slightly different, so even after you get one pair fitting perfectly, there will be slight amounts of tweaking with a different fabric.
    Good luck! Having perfectly fitting pants is the BEST!

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    1. Thanks Lynda! I’ve preordered the new Palmer Pletsch guide to fitting, and I’m hoping it will have some updated info on fitting slim stretch pants, since those pants weren’t popular when most of the classic fitting books were written! I’ll check out their video classes too!

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      1. (I promise I’m not stalking you.) Judging by previous P/P books and knowing PPRP (Pants for Real People), I’m pretty sure their new book won’t have in-depth info for fitting pants. The fit problems/methods won’t have changed, and their pants book is a whole book and still viable, so all the info is just not going to be included in a chapter of a general fitting book.

        I know the photos/styles are dated but the information is not. Plus, there are tons of illustrations that are timeless. Think of it as looking at the line drawings of a pattern. Now that said, PPRP is great but it’s not the end-all/be-all. The books I mentioned above are my favs and each has a little nugget of different info not found in the others so all have been valuable and not completely redundant. And yes, it’s a big investment, so it takes time. Perhaps your library has some/all?

        Finally, slim pants aren’t new, and making them in a stretch fabric just means you’ll likely prefer less ease. The combo will still have the same fitting problems and solutions as “regular” pants.

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  4. ooooooooooooo! I LOVE these!! I have to wear elastic waist pants/skirts because I have abdominal issues. (for starters 1/2 my colon removed-sorry TMI) Anyhow I self drafted some wide leg, paper bag waist pants that are very forgiving in sizing.
    Now I would love to make something more figure fitting. But I didn’t like any patterns until I saw these! :o) Where is your elastic waist post!!!! Can you give me the link?

    I love the darts in the back. I’m wondering would darts in the front look weird on the front over a tummy?
    RTW pants with elastic are killers on sensitive tummies. :o(
    This is so awesome! Thank You!! :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also I used Barbara Deckert (book/youtube) and Barbara Emodi’s book on fitting my pants. And again your pants look as good as ready wear- no one will tell the difference and be impressed!

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    2. For you, m’lady! https://craftingarainbow.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/how-to-insert-a-stretch-waistband/ I actually write a better version for the CSC way back, and I think I’m going to repost it here soon. 😉

      I didn’t realise that Barbara Deckert has a Youtube channel! I really liked her plus size fitting class on Craftsy – it was the first time I’d heard someone say that yes, fat spreads more when you sit down, which really helped me understand why skirts would become too short when I sit and pants would become too tight! Have you checked out Style Arc Patterns? They have a huge range of pull on pants in a range of styles and sizes!

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  5. My issue with pants is that I have a lot of spread when I sit down, which makes pants that fit while standing painful when I sit. I make the waistbands a little looser on my dresses for this same reason, but they have the added benefit of the waistband being able to kind of slide up over my widest part when I’m sitting so they don’t constrict me like pants do. The elastic waistband you use is tempting to me, but I also know that my hips get wider when I sit, too, which stretches out the butt area and makes it baggy upon standing back up. I hate how pants look on me after I’ve been sitting a while. I think Debbie is right that it’s possible to manipulate fabric to fit whatever dimensions you have, but for me, the spread issue means that the nice fit won’t last through a day and may make me uncomfortable, so pants are basically useless to me. As a result, I wear dresses 100% of the time.

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    1. Have you tired really high-waisted stretch pants? Mine come up above my bellybutton, so my part that spreads most is all in the stretch fabric. I just measured, and my hips are 49″ when standing and 54″ when sitting. That means I need to have a fabric that is at least 10% stretch, which is pretty easy to find with 2-3% lycra! (These two pair would fall into that category.) My favourite pants have 20% stretch though, which sounds like you might prefer, because it will definitely bounce back when you stand up. For what it’s worth, both pairs have been worn a day before these pics, so these are as bagged out as they are going to get!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These are fantastic! Sure, a few wrinkles, but not enough that I would worry about it. I love the color and the silhouette is lovely! I’m going to look up your waistband post too. I used to be a no-elastic sort of person, but it was like I turned 30 and suddenly couldn’t deal with any unnecessary minor discomfort at all anymore. So long to heels and tights too!

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    1. YES! I used to be a little ashamed that I like stretch pants so much, but now I”m totally fine with it – because otherwise I just don’t pick those pants to wear!

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  7. I wonder if Brooks Ann Camper would have advice — I took a pants drafting class from her and each person drafted two pants blocks that were individually sized. Everyone had variations from the drafting phase through the fitting phase. When you start from a ready-made pattern and adjust it, it might be different than starting from your own measurements…

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      1. The classes have been great! You draft blocks from scratch, then learn how to add detail/change shape to make them into clothes. I still buy patterns, but if I can I compare them to my blocks to see in advance how things might fit me. Still working on it!!

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  8. First, your pants look GREAT!!! Also, I agree that as long as my pants fit better than RTW, then I’m happy. 🙂 I don’t need to do all the tweeking to get a perfect fit because then I’m not enjoying my sewing. I’m like you where I need elastic in my waistband to prevent abdominal issues, usually heartburn but having a elastic waistband over my stomach isn’t flattering nor comfortable for my shape. One thing that I really liked about RTW pants was the elastic in the back waistband with a non-elastic waistband in the front. I finally found a pattern that used this type of waistband, Kwik Sew 3202, and I love how they fit! I also have “Pants for Real People” and found it very informative for “perfecting” a pair of pants but I’m not at a stage in my sewing to spend that kind of time on pants. Another feature that I liked about the book is all of the information for adding features, such as different types of pockets, darts, zippers, belt loops, contoured waistbands, cuffs, linings, and underlinings. It’s nice to know that I have this resource for when I want to make changes to my TNT pants/trousers pattern. I also will make adjustments to get better fit without worrying about if it’s done “correctly.” If no one else will see the adjustment but me, then no worries! I’d rather spend my time on a new pattern than picking out stitches so that I can make adjustments “correctly.” 🙂 And I’ve too got too many patterns and fabric calling my name to worry about adjustments that only I can see. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Preach, sister! I agree with everyone you said – too much fun sewing in the world to stress too much about the tiny things. I have one pair of RTW pants like you are describing, but I still find the front cuts into me when I sit. I should try making my own version, because maybe I can do better than RTW!

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      1. It definitely is all about body shape and where you carry your “junk.” I’m a junk in the trunk gal and need the elastic in the back to pull my pants in at the waist. I find that if I have elastic in the front waistband, when I sit it cuts into the valley that I have in my front stomach. I don’t have the smooth stomach that you have so I need a thin waistband in the front that folds comfortably into the valley. It’s a process to find what type of waistband works best for your body. It’s great to see posts like yours so that we have a resource for the different types and decide what would work best for us. 🙂

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  9. I have never tried trousers -yet! My problem is thick thighs. Can you tell me what the thigh circumference is for these? I have 108cm hip and 79cm waist but each thigh is thick as a tree trunk. Perhaps I should give these a go…any positive nudge appreciated.

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    1. Go on and sew some pants!!!!! They really aren’t that scary, especially when you follow a really simple pattern. I started with the Style Arc pull on pants, and they are so simple!

      I’m 5’2″, and my measurements are 112/97/125cm. I just checked, and my thighs are 68cm. I sewed the size 20, so you will have no trouble at all fitting into this pattern! 🙂

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      1. 5’2′? What??? For some reason, I thought you were much taller. Your makes are so proportionate on you – I need to take notes. As a fellow shortie with large thighs (leading to me almost always wearing skirts/dresses), I’m anxiously reading all the comments to see the fit suggestions. Maybe I’ll give pants a try…

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  10. You look fabulous. I love your color palette here. I think for as much as you sit/stand as a teacher, and cotton twill with elastane…you’re going to have some bagging out and pull lines from general wear, but yes, there’s got to be some help out there.

    For my buck, Sandra Betzina’s pants fitting classes on Craftsy are AMAZING and real-body talk. She really got me thinking about when pull lines mean they’re actually pulling from the OTHER side (hello people above talking about the sitting spread- I’ve blown out my fair share of pants…Sandra’s got you. Also: I now reenforce all seams at my hip-pivot-point. )

    Also, having just met Pati & Marta in person, they are WONDERFUL and just re-tooled Fitting For Real People and it is out. Palmer/Pletsch also has certified fit teachers in all major cities doing classes. You can see a map of them on the Palmer/Pletsch site.

    Let me know if you need more Pati info..she lives here and I can hunt down some info if you need….😘

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    1. Pati was at your Frocktails, right? ACCESS TO THE OG GURU!!!! So amazing. I’ve got their new book on preorder, and I’m excited to read it! I’ll check out those craftsy fitting classes too – I need them to come up with another free weekend all-you-can-watch event soon! 😉

      I looked up Palmer Pletsch teacher, and would you believe there isn’t one within 4 hours of me? i thought for sure Toronto would have one, but nope! Thank goodness for the internet instead!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pati and Marta were both there and just the sweetest, most amiable people you’ve ever met. I’m surprised there’s not a P/P teacher in T-dot. that’s weird!!!

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  11. I agree with Debbie. There is plenty of useful info about pant fitting for curves in those books. It’s hard to read the wrinkles because of your posing with feet turned inwards and often one foot raised but it looks like there is too much length in the back leg above the knee. You could also check if the leg seams are perpendicular to the floor when you stand straight. If not, shifting fabric from the back to the front leg may help you get rid of a lot of wrinkles. Both issues are rather common and have little to do with being curvy 😉

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    1. I really thought I was getting some pictures where I was standing balance and still, but you are right, once I looked at the pics I was off balance in almost every one! 😉 Guess it’s hard to fight years of blog posing. 😉 I’ll have a good look in the mirror and check your suggestions!

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  12. You and your pants look great! If you want to start from your measurements to draft your own pants pattern, then I recommend Connie Crawford’s pattern drafting books. I took one of her classes and was amazed. Her work makes sense to me, even though it’s not always easy. The results are what count. I haven’t made her patterns, but I think they would be good. She has a good understanding of curvy/plus issues. I just ordered Kenneth King’s new fitting book but haven’t read it yet. I think I have every fit book ever published–even some that are very vintage. Fitting is just not easy, especially for this woman of a certain age….and substance!

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  13. Add into the mix along with the larger curves that plus size needs to cover, there are still drastically different shapes. The apple vs. pear thing, and we really need to throw in a kind of bulgy rectangle, which is where I am. Bulging rectangle spreading into an apple, Anyway, different adjustments for different plus sizes. I’ve never heard of anyone complaining about fitting the closet case jeans, is that possible?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve sewn a bunch of Closet Case Gingers, and they are my TNT jeans pattern… but that said, I do get at least as many wrinkles on them as I do on these! I think they are great if you are a pear or hourglass – my friends that are more apple shaped have loved the Cashmerette Ames jeans!

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    2. Hey Barbara… Amanda of Bimble & Pimble struggled with the Ginger Jeans pattern … I want to say she preferred the Deer & Doe Jeans but also struggled there? Anywho, point being if you struggle with a popular pattern you’re not alone. My Gingers are graded from a 00 out to a 14 to fit my waist-to-hip ratio.

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  14. I don’t know, but I’d love to find out if there is a resource like this! I have a muffin top/spare tyre formation that also gives me that top hip curve, then a dip, then my regular hip curve and it’s sooo hard to fit trousers. The best strategies for me so far have been to use fabrics from the heavier weights recommended for patterns. And, if I’m honest, to circumvent the problem by making wide-leg trousers!

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    1. Honestly, heavier fabrics and a looser fit seems to be the answer! Too bad I like wearing slim jeans, so I guess I’m bound to have wrinkles! I am going to try making these Sashas looser in the back thigh though, so see if they’ll sit smoothly.

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  15. I agree that Pants for Real people is a good resource. The problem that I run into (and I’ll confess that I don’t have the revamped version of Fit for Real People yet) is that the styles in most fitting books tend to be so outdated (and often frumpy) that it’s distracting. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen an example in any of the fitting books I own that show the possible wrinkles/issues with fitting slim-fit pants on a curvy body.

    That said, my favorite curvy pants fitting resource of recent years has been Kathleen Cheetham’s Plus Size Pant fitting class on Craftsy. I first watched it a few years ago, and I still go back and reference it from time to time.

    As someone who follows these things, there haven’t been any new Plus-focused sewing books in years. And Kathleen’s Plus book from a few years ago is out of print now. I think that’s a market niche that’s waiting to be filled. I’d like to see someone come out with something that talks more about dealing with a high hip shelf, needing full tummy adjustments, and the other adjustments that many curvy women need.

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    1. “And I don’t think I’ve ever seen an example in any of the fitting books I own that show the possible wrinkles/issues with fitting slim-fit pants on a curvy body.” That’s exactly why I haven’t bought myself a pile of fitting books – I know I could make wrinkle-free slacks, but that’s not what I want to wear! I did email Heather from CCP patterns and ask if she could do a fitting post some time on someone at the upper end of her size range, and she says she’ll put the idea on her list, so my fingers are crossed for that!

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      1. Right! That’s the problem with the somewhat dated photos in a lot of fitting books. They tend to show more of a “trouser” fit on everyone…and that’s definitely what they show on their curvier models. As someone who made “trousers” before the world settled on slim fit/negative ease a while back, I can vouch that it’s a lot easier to fit pants to look like the photos in those fitting books when, say, your knock-knee issues are skimmed over by fabric.

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  16. I also own “Create the Perfect Fit” by Joi Mahon. I’ve only had a chance to glance through it but her system requires a lot more measurements and she divides the torso and lower body into horizontal and vertical with ways to make pattern adjustments. Maybe this would be more useful for adjustments on slim fitting pants.

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  17. I love your pants, and I think they look great! I do have the recently updated fitting book by Pati Palmer and it is far superior to anything they have done, and their books are all wonderful. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Other resources for good plus size fitting that I have used successfully are Fit For Art patterns, which include patterns for three very different body shapes, any of the patterns by Kathleen Cheetham at Petite Plus patterns (she also has Craftsy classes) and Fabulous Fit by Judith Rasband. I have gone the drafting my own route, and the closest I have gotten is by using the Sure Fit Designs pants drafting kit.

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  18. I have spent countless hours working on pants fitting. I should be a pants fitting expert by now: the operative words being should be. Though I have had some degree of success, the ever present wrinkle continues to present a challenge. I am told that some wrinkles are necessary to allow room for comfortable movement and sitting. Heather is correct, my quest for THE perfect fit has put a damper on my enjoying the process in addition to stalling my progress. Your pants look wonderful and you should be very proud of the fit!

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  19. I don’t really see that many pants patterns out there slim cut- that fit well without wrinkles. If they are “clean” down the back, they are often too tight, drawn up into the crotch in the rear. That’s uncomfortable.
    Palmer/Pletsch also has a pants fitting video on Craftsy, done with Melissa Watson. The new book is fantastic- but it doesn’t mention pants at all. Neither does the new Kenneth King fitting book, which talks about reading the wrinkles to get good fit.
    Reading the wrinkles is the key. The one place I know to find a wrinkle chart for pants is in the skirt and pants fit book from the Minnott Method. It’s available from sewinganddesignschool.com at : https://www.sewinganddesignschool.com/shop-online.htm

    Another good pants pattern to try is the Eureka pants from Fit for Art patterns. They have you make a muslin and draw horizontal balance lines on it with Sharpie marker. You can really lean a lot by looking at those lines on your body. They are not slim fitting, but you learn a lot.

    The sewists I know who have a pants pattern they love have gone to the pattern designer and had them fit the pattern. If you have that opportunity, grab it.

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  20. Sorry I’m also of no help. Pants fitting scares me! Pants I’ve seen include leggings, sweat pants and culottes. Nothing that requires much fitting. I just wanted to say I really love both of these jewel-toned trousers on you! Color suits you so well!

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  21. Pants fitting in general seems to be an underserved area in fitting books, and when I do find some information, it seems to be more about minimizing curves on my figure than emphasizing them! I’ll be paying attention to these comments for resources for sure…

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  22. Genius idea about switching the fly for an elastic waistband! I made a muslin of this pattern which fit really well EXCEPT the fabric wasn’t stretch enough and I just wasn’t keen on the tight-ish waistband. If I can find suitable stretch fabric I’m definitely going to try your waistband trick

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  23. Very nice pants, and they fit you well. I should sew my own pants, but I’m not that great at fitting – why I decided to sew bags. I love that tuck you did at the waist band – smart.

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