Any of you who know me in real life know that I don't wear pants all that often. 7 days of 10--probably 9 of 10 in the spring and summer--you'll find me in a dress. This is not because I don't like pants, or because of any exceptional twee-ness on my part. It's really because a) dresses are easier to fashion into a proper outfit; and b) it's much easier to find (or make) dresses that fit decently.
One of the first things you want to do when sewing garments is to anticipate possible problems. I already know ready to wear pants give me all kinds of fitting issues, due to the following facts:
1) I'm tall, and long-legged. I wear a 34-inch inseam, which is hard to come by. Most stores' "long" pants are 32" or 33", which is not-quite-sufficient for me. Or, (very occasionally) they go the other way entirely and offer 36", which is way too long.
2) My waist is both high and small. My hips are both wide and long. Sometimes a pair of pants will fit just about everywhere, and then I sit down and it's like I'm wearing legwarmers only, because they do not really cover anything anymore. If the rise is high enough that everything's covered, and the pants fit my hips well, my waist is probably swimming.
3) I have a fairly significant swayback. For those of you who don't sew clothing-- a swayback is the term people use for that hollow at the small of your back, just above your hips--when it curves inwards dramatically, you've got a swayback. Do you try on pants or skirts and they seem to fit everywhere except the back waistband is always floating in space inches away from your actual back waist? You, my friend, are a member of the Swaybacked Sisterhood.
4) I have full hips and thighs. Sometimes pants in my size are tighter than they should be up top, but a larger size is so much bigger everywhere that that doesn't help. Usually at that point I just give up and leave without any pants.
So knowing these things, there are certain lower-body fitting adjustments I am always on the lookout for, even when I am sewing dresses--lengthening the leg and hip, grading the waist in and hips out, and taking in or adjusting the back waist. In skirts and dresses, these things are relatively simple to do, but how to translate them to pants? These are the challenges I'm setting out for myself this winter.
For this week, however, I need to get into the habit of actually constructing pants. (photos after the jump!)