Okay! Today we talk about fitting + finishing.
First, let’s talk about how I wrote the pattern. It is written with a couple of inches of positive ease and the chinos are meant to sit below your natural waist, fit comfortably through the hips and hang loosely from there. They are mid rise, easy-fitting, and straight through the hip and leg. The front crotch is on the long side, meant to look a bit slouchy and casual (look at the photos on the inspiration board, and you’ll see what I mean). What you’re looking for in fit is for it to hug your body casually without pulling anywhere (easy-fitting).
Choosing a size
Pattern pieces are nested to facilitate grading between sizes. Look at the size chart above to figure out where your measurements place you.
If your waist measurement falls into a larger size than your hips, be sure to take advantage of the center back extension where you can. If you span several sizes, choose the smallest size that will accommodate your waist and grade down to the hip size you need. You may need a flat seat adjustment if you’re swimming in fabric at the back.
If your hip measurement falls into a larger size than your waist, you may need a full seat adjustment. I highly recommend a full seat adjustment (FSA) to a straight size over grading up at the hips. The leg falls straight from the hips, so simply grading up a hip size can cause the fabric to flare at the back leg. (NOTE: Please see below for a FSA video tutorial from Inside the Hem using this pattern!)
For these reasons, I highly recommend making a muslin for this pattern. I know making muslins can be the pits when you’re just ready to get to sewing, but it’s really important when it comes to making pants. If nothing else, make a wearable muslin–one that is made from fabric that you like and will want to wear, but that isn’t too precious if it doesn’t fit.
Pants are not one thing that will fit everyone straight out of the pattern envelope (straight out of the printer? Whatever you’d say about a PDF pattern!). I think the pattern is a GREAT starting point for the masses, and some of you will find a GREAT fit with no changes (or at least very few, like pinching an extra 3/8″ from the waist or something). But some of you will need to do some tweaking to find a truly great fit, and that’s par for the course with any sewing pattern.
Center back extension
One thing I haven’t talked a lot about, but that is really exciting, is that this pattern includes a center back extension! This is an extra wedge of fabric at the center back seam starting at the waist and tapering to nothing right above the crotch curve. It allows you to fit the pattern more easily without grading up at the waist. This is meant to be used when or if your waist and hip measurements are similar. The extension is optional and not everyone will need it. That being said, I recommend leaving the extension in place until you can assess fit in section five of the instruction manual. If you don’t need the extension, the regular center back seam line is marked on the pattern and is 1/2″ in from the extension’s seam line.
Shortening/lengthening the inseam or the rise
If you want to lengthen or shorten the short inseam, skirt length, or the rise on either, use the “lengthen/ shorten here” lines on the front and back pattern pieces. If you’re unfamiliar with how to use these lines, I’ve provided full instructions on page 11 of the instruction manual.
For the shorts, I don’t recommend lengthening the inseam past the wearer’s mid-thigh; any longer and they begin to look less flattering.
For the skirt, keep in mind that there is no kick pleat in this pattern to allow for range of movement. For this reason, I don’t recommend lengthening past a few inches above the knee (otherwise, add a kick pleat or a slit somewhere so you can walk!).
For the rise, keep in mind that you will need to lengthen or shorten the rise on the slash pocket front facing, slash pocket back facing, and the pocket bag as well.
Know your fabric
This is important. I touched on this last week, but different fabrics will hold up differently. Many will relax at least a little bit, but some will have little to no give at all. This is important to consider every time you use this pattern, especially if you are between sizes. For some fabrics, like linen, which will relax a lot with wear, it would be better to size down.
There is a fitting section (section five) in the instruction manual that I highly recommend you follow until you have a good handle on how the pattern fits you and where you might need to size up or down based on fabric.
14 Common Jeans & Pants Fitting Adjustments by Heather Lou of Closet Case Files
Full & Flat Seat Adjustments by Elisalex of By Hand London
Pants Fitting Cheat Sheet by Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns
There are various ways to finish raw edges. For this pattern, I recommend overlocking with a serger, overlock stitch with a sewing machine, zigzag stitch with a sewing machine, or using bias tape. You may also use pinking shears. For a full photo tutorial for each of these finishes, visit alinadesignco.com/project/how-to-finish-seams/
Tomorrow we start cutting into fabric and prepping all of the pieces! Get exciteddddd!
EDIT Nov. 2016: Inside the Hem has just filmed a video tutorial of a full seat adjustment (FSA) using the Chi-Town Chinos pattern. It is super helpful and informative. Thanks, Lindsey and Abbey!
Below you will find the list of links to each blog post in the sewalong. If you have any questions, absolutely feel free to e-mail me.
- Introducing the Chi-Town Chinos Sewing Pattern
- Introducing the Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Packs
- Chi-Town Chinos Tester Round-Up
- Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Pack Tester Round-Up
- Part 1 : Inspiration
- Part 2 : Supplies
- Part 3 : Customizing the Pattern
- Part 4 : Fitting + Finishing
- Part 5 : Prepwork
- Part 6 : Front Pockets
- Part 7 : Fly Front
- Part 8 : Back Assembly + Final Fitting
- Part 8.5 : Welt Pockets
- Part 9 : Waistband, Center Back Seam, Inseam, Side Seams
- Part 10 : Belt Loops, Bar Tacks, Hemming, Front Closure