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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting ready to Pivot and Slide

My Sew/Fit Pivot and Slide manual is pretty old. Copyright 1978, fourth printing 1985. It has taken me this long to read it. 

I've been pretty busy.

But as I said when I started this adventure. It's time.

I know there are new versions of this available from Hipline and that Nancy Zeiman who was the gorgeous (and tiny) model in my edition has reprised this in her Fitting with Confidence book but I figure that if any book has been waiting beside my bed for 23 years for me to read it, it's going to be the one I am going to work from.

This is a very clear step-by-step method and has the elegance of having all the calculations and measurements written directly on the paper pattern pieces and all your altering is done while you cut right on the fabric, no fussy paper pieces to add or redraw, which sounds pretty good. 

If the duct tape method had a sort of backyard mechanic feel to it, then this method has a sort of clever do-it-yourselfness from a time when sewers figured out their own way of doing things that is very different from a lot of the more academic approaches of most of my other sewing references.

As today was a big cooking day for me for some reason, a massive borscht, hummus and baked fruit to have in the fridge over the next few days as husband and son come and go and do school work (DH is going his course work for a home inspection certification - sort of a pre-retirement idea he had) I am late in getting to this.

So what I have done tonight is take the six measurements required and prep the pattern for tomorrow's pivoting and sliding.

It's all been pretty interesting.

1. The basic premise of this technique for pants fitting is that commercial patterns are drafted too loose in the legs and thighs. The P&S method asks that you work from a pattern two sizes smaller than the pattern size that matches your measurements, according to the pattern envelope. With 39.5” hips I am closest to a size 16, drafted for a 40” hip. For the purposes of this test I am using and cutting out, unaltered, a size 12 pants pattern. Fine with me.

2. To be marked on the pattern:

a. The crotch line on the front pattern piece. My pattern, Simplicity 3539, has this. If yours doesn’t draw a line from the crotch point to the side seam, parallel to the hem.

b. The kneeline, fold the hem to the crotch point and crease the paper pattern. Unfold and draw a line at the crease, parallel to the hem.

c. Hip line. Parallel to the crotch line, 2.5” above it.

The six measurements to be taken for the P&S pant fitting method:

1. Waist. Bend side to side to identify waist and measure to the closest ½”. Write this number directly on the front and back paper pattern piece at the waistline seam allowance.
My waistline is 32.5”.

2. Hip. Fullest part. Write this number on front and back pattern pieces at marked hipline.  
Mine is 39.5"

3. Thigh. Fullest part. Write this number on front and back pattern pieces at crotch line.
Mine is 23"

4. Seat depth. Now this one is really crazy and is very different from the traditional sit on a chair and measure from your waist to the chair. In P&S this measurement is taken from the base of the waistline, at the side seam, over the hip bone and forward 2” (so it catches the widest part of the thigh) and then to the table you are sitting on. Yes, that’s right, you are supposed to sit on a stool or table so your feet don’t touch the ground to spread the weight of your thigh. This is a measurement that puts the tape forward on a angle not straight down your side. Using this method my seat depth is 11”, if I had done the old straight down my side while sitting on a chair method this measurement would have been a 12.5” Write this measurement on the back pattern piece at the top of the side seam near the waist.

5. Waist to waist – straddle the tape front to back, write this on the front and back pattern pieces at front and back crotch seams. Mine is 26”.

6. Waist to hem.
42”. Write this above the hem allowance on the front and back pattern pieces.

The next step is obviously to measure the flat pattern and, adding ease, compare this to personal measurements.

Length can then be added by sliding the pattern pieces up or down. Width can be added to key areas by pivoting the pattern out, and width can be reduced by pivoting the pattern in.

These maneuvers can be done on paper (quaintly my early edition suggests using waxed paper) or directly on the fabric as you cut (of course what I am going to do because it sounds easier as well as more daring).


robyn said...

This sounds so intriguing, especially the bit about proceeding directly to cutting your fabric without drafting up a tissue pattern. You are one intrepid sewer!

The very premise sounds like the method would not be good for me - thighs are an area that are often too small. That's one reason I'm so glad to see wide-leg pants back in fashion...covers all sins.

katherine h said...

This is all new to me, so I am looking forward to your results...the only problem with doing it directly on the fabric is that if you make the perfect pair of pants, you still won't have a pattern for the next pair.

katherine h said...

Hello Barbara,

I have just been comparing lots of my pants patterns. I have a Vogue pattern designed for stretch wovens V8456. I compared it to another Vogue pattern with the same leg width and the main difference was the front crotch curve. On the stretch woven pattern, the curve was really deep, almost an "L" shape. So perhaps we different crotch curves for stretch wovens! Just another piece in the fitting puzzle....

Barbara said...

Very helpful comments. Robyn there is an alternate method in which the alterations are done on paper and all the changes are written directly on the pattern, to be illustrated and Katherine there is a way of double checking the thigh measurement too.

I was also very interested in your comment about a different crotch shape for stretch wovens, because my experience is that those fabrics do "bag" under your seat in a way that wovens don't .

Of course the proof or limits of this method will be in the first test pair.

Thank you both for sharing this crazy journey with good solid advice.