Monday, November 27, 2017

Fitting a Potential TNT: Style Arc Elle Pant

After writing up my epic TNT sewing pattern round-up for the Sewcialists blog earlier in the month, I was inspired to try a pattern that many others consider a TNT: the Style Arc Elle Pant.


This slim pull-on pant, designed to be made in a stretch woven, is a favorite wardrobe staple of many bloggers. Not quite leggings, but serving a similar purpose, these sleek pants pair well with a variety of tops.


The fabric I used is some black "refined ponte" from Joann Fabric. After using this material for my Halloween costume, I knew it would work pretty well for pants, as it's both thick and stretchy, with great recovery. It's almost scuba-like.

I made a size 18. I love the fit at the top of the pant: snug, high enough to suck in my love handles and not slip down. 


However, there are a couple of fit issues that I need help to diagnose and fix. I think with a pant as simple as this, it's worth trying to fix the issues for the next time I make them and elevate this pattern to a TNT for me. I've been perusing pants fitting resources to try to diagnose the issues, but would love your opinion.

I'm sharing some overexposed close-ups of my butt (oh, the things I do for fit). Please excuse the dust print on my butt; I think I briefly leaned against the wall and got some dirt on there.

1. The under butt/inner thigh area. Can you see the wrinkles? Low seat? Full thigh? Something else I'm not even thinking of?


 2. The knee area wrinkles. Full calf? Knock knee?


 Help me, sewing friends!

28 comments:

  1. I think full inner thigh? I fight those wrinkles in every pants pattern and it's usually a combination of that and a full bum.

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    1. I was thinking that might be the case, too. My bum is wide, but not particularly full, but my thighs are thunderous!

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  2. You do not have knocked knees ... the opposite, bowed knees (or whatever it's called in fitting). But I would first deal with the upper wrinkles so the lower folds can fall into a different place. For the upper, I think you need more outer hip length between waist and crotch. You'd have to add this to both front and back at the outseam, so if the front then becomes too long, remove excess at the CF, tapering to 0 at the sideseam.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I am going to give this a think and maybe do some fiddling around.

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  3. I fight those under butt wrinkles on all pants. Try adding to the front & back inner thigh (starting just below the crotch point so you don't add to the crotch length), and then scooping out the back crotch. I've had good success with those changes. I learned the hard way to try one change at a time. :) I agree with Debbie that you should fix the hip/thigh/butt first.

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    1. Me, too. So many underbutt wrinkles. I'll give these suggestions a try. Thanks!!

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  4. I almost wonder if the thigh wrinkles would magically disappear if the Elle was sewn in bengaline, rather than ponte. It just has so much damn stretch that I've never really had luck replacing it with another fabric in a pattern designed for it.

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    1. That could definitely be part of the issue! Bengaline is hard to find in the U.S. The stuff I have found is terrible- shiney and awful.

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  5. I'm tempted to suggest scoping out the back crotch curve a bit to see if that helps! That's always, always a change I have to make on pants. It might help with the wrinkles if there is more room for the tush? I get those same knee wrinkles, and I always thought the answer was a knockknee adjustment, so I'll be watching to see what you decide!

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    1. I do think a bit of lowering in the crotch curve could help. I am also thinking it's a full inner thigh thing? My thighs are definitely full!

      The knee wrinkles are interesting... I'm thinking what Addie says below may be the issue, but now I have to figure out how to fix it!!

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  6. From an anatomical perspective your knees are hyperextended: This is neither knock-knees, nor bow-legged, because those have to do with the distance or lack thereof between your knees when your feet are together, and also torsion in your tibia bones, and inward rotation of your femurs (I am trained in postural analysis.). From these photos you have none of those issues, just hyperextended knees. I have this too. The thing that concerns/confuses me about trying to "fix" the wrinkles at the front of the knees is that you have to be able to walk, bend your knees comfortably, and sit down without overly distorting the pant legs. For this reason, I don't know how desirable it would be to adjust away the wrinkles completely, if that's even possible. Also, you might not always stand with your knees "locked" (hyperextended), especially if you are not wearing heels. I don't know if that is helpful but I hope it is. P.S. I think I have some of the same fabric to make something similar.

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    1. Interesting! This seems right. It's almost like the hyperextended knee is causing it to look like a full calf issue since my calfs jut out at the back, maybe?

      I'll poke around and see if I can find any fitting resources for this issue.

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    2. Yes, the calves are further to the back because of the knees. Actually the horizontal wrinkles at the top of the leg could be related to the posterior slant of the femurs as well. I am not am expert on trousers fitting adjustments although I have made wide-legged pants okay. I am curious to know if you find anything to address these issues. I am looking forward to reading your jeans post too. Thanks!

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    3. I googled around and haven't found a sewing solution yet, but did see a diagram of posture for someone with hyper extended knees and it looks like the hips/pelvis often juts forward, too? that could cause the upper thight/underbutt wrinkles, I suppose. That might have been exactly what you're saying re: femurs, I just needed a visual- ha!

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    4. That's certainly possible with the pelvis when knees are hyperextended: it's called an anterior tilt. I don't quite get how it would cause wrinkles under the butt but I get that the back (and front) length could be affected. I am guessing after all the discussion about possible remedies, that full inner thighs adjustment may be the place to start for the upper leg and one of the knee adjustments, probably bow, as that's closer to the issue, but I have not done those before. Your jeans do appear to fit better but I would guess part is the fabric. Could you look at that pattern and compare the leg shapes? Or maybe a jeans fitting guide would give more details about adjustment? I have Ginger jeans on my to-make list too so I can go look at those materials for clues...

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  7. Not meaning to sound like an ad, but I found Sandra Betzina's pants fitting course on craftsy very helpful. She has several models with fitting issues in her video series, and she addresses drag lines, and 'smiles', and so forth. Pretty thorough.
    Mary in Thailand

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    1. I'll check it out! Thanks for the tip, Mary! Hope all is well with you!

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  8. Have you considered looking at Closet Case Files pants fitting book? It covers all the problems and how to deal with them. It is extremely clear with diagrams for each issue. Good luck.

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    1. I did look at it a bit, which is how I came up with my initial diagnoses... for me it was helpful, but not conclusive.

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  9. I have this pattern and some ponte just waiting to be made. I’m glad you got there first because I’m going to run into all the same issues! The conversation about knock knees in the comments is very interesting. I get similar wrinkles at my knees and a knock knee adjustment usually helps. I think I read somewhere that the adjustment for full inner thighs and knock knees are the same. I definitely have full inner thighs (and outer thighs— all the thighs) and I always struggle with drag lines and wrinkles at the knees and on the back of my pants. I will be very interested to see if you make these again with any changes!

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    1. I feel you on "all the thighs"! I'm curious to see if/how much a full thigh adjustment changes things.

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  10. I don't use her patterns, but Peggy Sagers at Silhouette always nails pants fit. Her trick is to take a tuck below the hip in the back. Start at the CB seam and taper to nothing towards the side seams. Most times it will make those wrinkles under the butt disappear. Don't know why it works and it certainly seems wrong. But try it first. She has videos on her website and YouTube that show it in detail. I did it on stretchy yoga pants and the wrinkles were gone. If it doesn't work, then go back to the things that make sense.

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  11. I’ve made the Elle’s up a heap and those under bum wrinkles are much more pronounced on me in fabric that has more stretch. The diagonal knee drag lines are likely due to full inner thighs as you suspect. I personally have had better fitting Elle’s out of ponte over bengaline!

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    1. Hmmm- strange! in a vacuum, I would have guessed the opposite- more stretch equals fewer wrinkles. WHY IS PANTS FITTING SO HARD?

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  12. This is exactly what all my pants always look like. I have tried both alterations you mentioned with some luck but have never been able to fully fix the situation. HOWEVER the Pear version of the Ames Jeans I just made is almost completely without any of those drag lines, its a fitting miracle! I would suggest printing out the pear version and checking out the geometry of those pants vs. these. The flat pattern looks MUCH different from any other pants version I've tried and it works for me. Give it a look and see what you think!

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  13. Just saw closet case files put up a bunch of pants fitting stuff, looks like you might need a low butt adjustment?

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  14. You might try a full thigh adjustment for those knee wrinkles. I would lower the crotch curve for a butter fit under the buttocks. Mary_in_AZ

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