Friday, January 22, 2010

Pants Fitting Class with Marla Kazell

Wednesday evening I went to my pant fitting class (otherwise known as "bottom half Reality Check) at Josephine's Dry Goods. (photo from website)

Marla's website:

The only request Marla made was that we bring a Burda pattern. It was OK to trace one out of our magazine, so that is what I did, with my sewing assistant's help. (see below)

First, she took our measurements. Then, we compared those measurements to our pattern. I used a size 40 pattern and because I have never used a Burda pattern and have not sewn for myself for many years, I had no idea really if I had chosen the right size. It turns out I did. All my life I have had a short rise so I was very surprised when we had to lengthen the crotch on this pattern by 1&5/8", or about 7/8" on front and back pieces. I think it is because of my shape which now has an out of proportion tummy.

Then we strengthened the crotch curve on our patterns with tape along the stitching lines. We pinned in the darts to the outside and pinned the leg seams together and tried on our patterns.

Marla fit each of us in turn. As you can see by these photos, we made several adjustments to my pattern in addition to lengthening the crotch. The first thing we did was raise the knee point. I don't remember seeing a pattern that marks where the knee should be. Wow! What a great reference point.

Then, Marla pointed out to us the shape of the center back seam on our pattern piece. Mine was very slanted but my body is she straightened out that back seam from the point where the crotch curve ends to the waist. The dart in the back waist was OK so she left that. But, she added to the waist by straightening out the center back seam and also at the side seams. The red dotted lines are the stitching lines. Then, in the back, she folded out about an inch at the center back crotch, gradually diminishing to nothing at the side seam. So, this removed the amount I had lengthened the crotch on the back piece. I still have a flat bottom even though my crotch had to be lengthened overall due to my tummy.

On both the front and back pieces, we had to straighten out the hip curve and take the pants in there by quite a bit but then kept the line straight, which increased the waistline by almost the same amount. Whatever curves I used to have on the sides are gone. Oh well. As long as I am comfortable and my pants are attractive and fit well...that's ok. (sniffle sniffle)

My pants have pockets, so when we lengthened the crotch on the front piece, we had to do it in 2 separate places so the pocket wouldn't be effected. You can see the zig zaggy cuts in the pattern. Then, she figured out total length. My inseam has always been 30". Oops....On these pants it is 29" and I am thinking I have shrunk. Eeeeeekk!!

Marla is a wonderful teacher and I am looking forward to trying out this pattern. The other 2 women in the class were nice and it was an altogether enjoyable experience. I have some nice white rayon/poly gabardine to use for a wearable (I hope) muslin. If you are in the Portland area, I heartily recommend this teacher. I have taken 2 classes from her so far and have been very satisfied and had fun too. Do go to her website. Woo Hoo!!!!!


  1. Wow! You made a lot of adjustments, Stash. The good thing is that you are using a Burda pattern, and I think you'll find that you can make the same adjustments on all of your pants patterns. I love Marla, and am going to take the welt pocket and bound buttonhole class (I think it's in April). By the way, my sewing assistant looks remarkably similar to yours!

  2. I'll be eager to hear how that pattern works for you. It sounds like the class was great, with lots of personal attention. Won't it be wonderful to have a TNT pants pattern at your beck and call?

  3. I am impressed with how many little changes were made. I have never made pants that really truly fit me, therefore, I just don't make pants. I think it would be so useful to have this sort of class. Thanks for sharing all the details.