THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

August 6, 2006

If the Curve Fits…

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Pattern Reviews — Gorgeous Things @ 11:00 am

I just finished a pair of pants from a Simplicity pattern, 4366. It’s a basic pant wardrobe, flat front with length and leg width variations. It’s a good pattern. I figured I’d give it a go and try to use up some of the 20,000 yards of fabric in my stash. If you recall a post I wrote two months ago, “The joy of 90 degrees”, I waxed rhapsodic about the way the back of the HotPatterns pants generally fit me much better than other pattern companies. I haven’t made any other pants until this week, but I decided to take my own advice and check the back crotch curve and see how it stacks up to the HP curve, which works well for me.

Me vs. Simplicity

This photo shows an imprint of my back crotch curve that Cynthia Guffey did in a fitting class, vs. the unaltered back pattern piece of the Simplicity pants. As you can see, I am much more, um, perpendicular than the pattern is. If I make the pattern up as is, and I would have done that for demonstration purposes but it was too freaking hot, I would get a pair of pants with a saggy baggy butt. This happens to me all the time with most pant patterns. The original pattern simply has too much fabric to fit me well. So what I have to do is scoop out the crotch curve to look more like me. I used a similar approach to what HotPatterns does in their pants. Sorry, I don’t have an HP pattern to illustrate. I loaned mine to Diva Phyllis. I’ll post a picture later.

The Adjusted Pattern
Here, however, is a photo of the altered back pattern piece next to the original unaltered pattern. Note the difference. It’s astounding how much I needed to take out. But the results are worth it. Instead of looking like I’m wearing old bloomers, the pants fit very comfortably in the back:

You can map your own curve using a flexible ruler that you can buy in any art-supply or sewing store. It’s worth its weight in gold for the resultant fit. You can also use tin foil, but I find that foil tends to be too flexible and loses its shape. The flexible ruler will stay true. So, if the curve fits, use it!

You can see the complete review on Patternreview
Happy sewing.


  1. Brava, Ann! I love the way these pants fit you and your shoes are gorgeous!

    Comment by Gigi — August 6, 2006 @ 12:08 pm

  2. Ann these are a gorgeously sexy fit on you. I have read about scooping the curve but couldn’t exactly picture what that meant. I’ll give this a try. Love this blog–thanks for sharing.


    Comment by carla — August 6, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

  3. I love these “Ah Hah”! moments!

    Comment by Phyllis — August 6, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  4. Thanks for the review Ann. I have the same problem with the back of my pants. I’m exited to try this on a pants pattern. I think the Bianca pants has a similiar crotch “curve”, so I will give it a try.

    BTW, I LOVE your shoes, too!!!

    Comment by jemgirlca — August 6, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

  5. Nice job on the pants, they look great

    The shoes are fab too!!

    Comment by nanflan — August 6, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

  6. Great fit! No saggy baggies, just a beautiful drape.

    BTW, your shoes are a “gorgeous thing”!

    Comment by SBanks — August 7, 2006 @ 4:55 am

  7. Ann, you have convinced me that the 90 degree back curve is the way to go. Can’t wait to try this out.

    Comment by MarilynB — August 7, 2006 @ 6:08 am

  8. Love your pants. With Pattern Master Boutique, you choose whether you are a J or L crotch in drafting pants. You are definitely a L. One needs to do what one has to, to get the right fitting pant. Fortunately you know what you need to do to get the right fit. They look great on you. I, too, love your shoes.

    Comment by Linda — August 7, 2006 @ 7:29 am

  9. Flexible curves can also be purchased at office supply stores, frequently for much less than what they cost at sewing stores. They used to be used a lot in architectural drafting; less so with the advent of CAD systems.

    Comment by Thunderpaws — August 7, 2006 @ 11:48 am

  10. Those are beautiful…I finished mine today and they are a disaster. I showed dh the picture of how they were supposed to fit..mine dont even come close.

    But those look so nice I might try again….the ones I made have a serious problem with too much fabric on the back legs and too short of a back crotch.

    thanks for the info!

    Comment by Ressy — August 10, 2006 @ 7:14 pm

  11. I wonder if the need for this more angular shaped crotch curve has to do with the tendency for the but to flatten with age ? I suspect it does. Thankyou so much for this article i will definitely try it on my next pants project.

    Comment by marianne isaacs — August 20, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  12. Well, this has been pretty much my curve since I was a teenager. I never had a JLo or bubble butt – mine was always pretty flat. So no, I don’t think I can blame that on age.

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — August 21, 2006 @ 7:22 am

  13. Ann, I have been lowering my curve so long that it no longer resembles a curve at all!

    My mother in law was “junking” out her basement a few years ago. She gave me the templates to a pattern drafting system by Dusan Mrak of the American Fashion Institute. His back crotch curve template is almost exactly a 90 degree angle. I used that template when making my HP jeans and they have a nice shape to them.

    I wonder if this is just a more universally flattering shape for women?

    Comment by Lorna Newman — September 6, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  14. This L works for me too. I have a flat butt and this L shaped back crotch from Hot Patterns was an eye opener. Though, I have to say your butt is in better shape than mine! Your rear is fabulously flattered.

    Comment by Anonymous — September 10, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

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