Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Perfect Fit for a Perfectly Imperfect Body

How to make a pair of ankle pants:
If you have a flat butt, narrow hips, wide waist, thin legs and a tummy.
Being totally smitten with the trend toward those early 60's ankle pants, I've been craving a pair. I must confess, one of the reasons I don't like wearing pants is because I have the aforementioned body type that does not lend itself to a nicely fitted pair of ready to wear OR an easily self-made pair.  I used to make my own pants...when I was younger and had a different body than I have at this age.

Yes, this is me at age 15, with my Dad. I'm wearing a pair of high-waisted, wide-legged cuffed trousers that I made straight out of the pattern package. No alterations.

These days, I'm reading the parts of the pattern that say things like: "NOTE: If you are over thirty, your derriere is probably lower than when you were twenty, so tape below the lowest back crotch stitching line," and having to chuckle at the fact that I'm about to embark on a pant's making adventure that will produce no less than 3 muslins before I can fit my flat ( and low) derriere, thick waist and scrawny legs. normal woman's bodies by doing some adjustments .

So, what is normal? Flatt butt, full butt. wide hips, narrow hips. Athletic thighs, chicken legs. hourglass or post-baby waist and tummy.  It's all normal. And it's all good.  And we can make it work with a few adjustments and some patience.

And then, you may just be surprised at how happy you are with your wonderful, individual, 
and perfectly unique shape when you have something that is custom fit.  

Armed with two patterns ( McCalls 6440 and Vogue 1264  AND the excellent pants fitting tutorial from the Clover sew-along, I decided to just dig in and do this thing.

Muslin #1:
 So this is the real me. You can see that while I cut a straight 12 from the pattern, the waist is snug, the legs are baggy, the crotch is too deep and there is too much room across the tummy. But you can see that even though there is much room across the tummy, I will have to make adjustments for a tummy.
 My flat butt. And baggy legs.

So, I pinned where I needed to, and came up with this :

I'm beginning to see a little tush shape.
After making the correct  adjustments on the pattern, I have Muslin #2:

I am getting a better shape through the hips and tummy area, but they are still bagging in the legs and still a bit wide through the hips.

Muslin # 3:

Much Better.

So, I sort of fused the two patterns I mentioned, and ended up with a pretty decent fitting pair of pants. There are a few things I tweaked on the pattern after I had my final pair made, but I think that by making all the muslins, I have overcome my fear of pants and now have a pretty solid fitting pattern that I could adapt to any pants pattern.

So, here they are, finally made and all dolled up to wear to a costume party last night:

I think I look like my mother must have  in 1961.

I'm so happy! Now, I'd really like to get the Clover pattern....especially after seeing the many versions on the Clover Sew-along, especially Susan's many versions of her own!   I think I might like pants now!


  1. Superb job with the fit - pants are so tricky to get right. Yours look fabulous on you - very chic and sleek looking. I hope you enjoyed the party!

  2. I'm surprised to hear you describe your legs as skinny. I always think they look so muscular when you model a short dress or skirt.

  3. Wow, they look great! Thanks for sharing your muslining process. I'm a newbie and that is so helpful to me. You always look amazing. I just love your outfits.

  4. p.s it was so fun seeing your photo of you and your dad. Such a cutie and I can't believe you made pants at 15!

  5. WOW! I LOVE your new pants!!! What a great look! Making muslins is my new thing. It's so much better then wasting fabric and time.

  6. Your pants look terrific...well-fitting, flattering and so chic.

  7. You look fantistic and the pants look fabulous! You don't need to get the clover pattern - youcan easely modify this pattern to get the same look. I think you already are really close.

  8. They worked out great! I gave up on making pants ages ago. I try on fifty pairs at the store instead. I'd love a custom fit pattern though. Are you selling your services?
    And I agree with Maria. You don't need the Clover pattern.

  9. Yes you do look like me back then. Very stylish. And I remember my 50th birthday and some one planted a big red polka dot fanny in my garden. I couldn't believe it when I came home and saw that.

  10. You look amazing! And you are completely rocking the final pants!! Go you! Love the pics of what you did on the pants...not sure if you need a pattern with your talent ;)

  11. Those pants look amazing, you look fabulous! Great job.

  12. Lynne - thanks for your comment - I really recommend this dress - Looking forward to seeing your version. Love your hot pink pants too.

  13. Wow you look wonderful LYnne.......I wish I could fit in those cute pants.

  14. You achieved great fit on your pants. They look wonderful on you.


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