Saturday, June 10, 2017

It's All About The Pants

Unless you are one of a very small minority who can pull anything on and like magic, it looks great, you understand the challenge it is to get the perfect fit on just about anything. Skirts, dresses, jackets can all be a struggle, but we usually end up some some amount of luck in fitting and feel fairly happy with the outcome...except when it comes to pants!!! 

At least here in the U.S., it was World War II that ushered in pants for women. Women went to work in factories, building everything from airplanes to tanks. A dress just wasn't going to do, so they pulled on their pants and off to work they went. When the war was over, it was thought that women would return to their traditional roles in the home, some did, but many didn't. They loved their new found freedom, and they especially loved wearing pants. And so began the dilemma of finding a great fitting pair of pants. 

You may remember that I showcased Joyce Murphy of the School of Custom Clothing and Design back in February. Quite simply, Joyce has a passion for pants, and pants that fit well. Since last February, she has been working on a new website devoted to her method of fitting and it's just about ready to go. In the meantime, check out her website HERE

I interviewed Karen Bengston who has studied under Joyce and mastered pant fitting. Karen just held a pant fitting retreat in Colorado and I had the opportunity to attend. Lucky me! Since pants are a passion for so many of us, I thought I would walk you through my experience at the retreat. 

Joyce's pant pattern comes in sizes A-L with hip measurements that range from 35", to 63". Prior to the retreat, each participant was to take their waist and hip measurement and send them to Karen. Based on those measurements, she then chose the appropriate pattern size. 

When we arrived, Karen had muslins for us to try on, below is my muslin, made right off of the pattern. Not bad.
Here you can see the fit from the front,

My right side,

The back,

And finally, my left side.

Here's Karen fitting me. What a joy it was to be the one being fitted :) In this picture, an adjustment had been made to the waist and side seam.

Joyce's master pattern comes with adjustment lines that are to be stitched into the muslin. One of the lines is between the hip and waistline. Here you can see that Karen has pinched up the pants at this line.  

The fitting is complete. 

Right side,

You can see that she did not continue with the same amount pinched in all the way to center back. Remember, this is just the muslin fitting, so the adjustments need to be made to the pattern and then the fabric will hang nicely. 

Left side.

In my next post, I'll show you my finished pants. I actually made 2 pair of pants and a pair of shorts. I had a GREAT time!!! One pair was made from a wool crepe, the other from a wool herring bone. The shorts were made from a denim with 3% lycra. Each fabric reacted just a little differently to the pattern. More on that as well in the next post.     

Karen is thinking about holding another retreat in September or November of this year, 2017. If you think that you might like to attend, email her at karenssewunique@gmail.com. Nothing better than going to a retreat with a goal in mind and walking away with it accomplished :) 

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  1. Like you said...pretty good fit right from the get-go...but with the tweaks tailored to you, you've got a perfectly fitted pair of pants! So awesome!

  2. I was one of the lucky ones that had the opportunity to attend this retreat - it was awesome. Not only did I arrive home with a pair of pants that are the best fitting pair in my closet, but Karen shared some pretty wonderful "tricks of the trade" with the group. I highly recommend the retreat if you are looking for a good fit. We had a great group of ladies in attendance and in case you are wondering, Rhonda is a awesome lady herself.

  3. I am so glad you had the opportunity to be fit by Karen. She is so talented at what she does. Your pants muslin looks great! I look forward to seeing your future posts about pants.

  4. Great fit ! Would love to take one of Karen's workshops . Can't wait to see what you've made !

  5. Kudos all around! I'm feeling like the proud "mother" at the moment reveling in Karen's success. Thank you Rhonda for the great tutorial. Can't wait to see those new pants! What an accomplishment to make 3 pair! The School of Custom Clothing and Alteration is up and running at SCCandA.com with the Pants4U.com link coming soon as well as an online companion course to compliment Karen's offering.

  6. Sounds like a great retreat ! Would love to hear more about the next time ! Your muslin looks great & cant wait to see your finished pants

  7. I can't wait to see your finished pants! I, too, have benefitted from Joyce's work - I took a workshop with her a few years ago in Penna. Barbara at Cat Fur Studio (Alaska)

  8. Lucky you! Pants have always been a challenge for me to make and fit. I recently made a pair of bias cut pants, OOP Vogue 8887 in wool fabric. I'm close with this pattern, just a few changes to the pattern and then I'm going to try again in a linen. So, I'm looking forward to what you'll have to share about how different fabrics reacted to the pattern.

  9. The muslin looked great, but after the tweaks, what a superb fit! I would love to take one of Karen's workshops.

  10. The muslin looks great! I stay away from pant patterns as I am always disappointed with the fit; I would love to take this fitting class. It would be great to have a perfect pant pattern.

  11. Looks like it was a wonderful workshop Rhonda, I'm looking forward to seeing your pants and pair of shorts! There aren't anywhere near enough pants that fit us women properly.

  12. Wow very impressive pants and they looked amazing from the start and now I can't wait to see your final versions. Oh to be in America to attend this course, however I am heading over to The School of Custom Clothing right now.

  13. This is awesome and something I need to do. Thanks for sharing this with us!