Friday, July 3, 2009

Lessons from the Crotch

Yes, I've been learning to make pants, and I think the main issues are to be found in the crotch (although the front opening makes a close second!). I was working from the Aldritch book. Her blocks show the hip line well above the crotch line, but the measurements of the women I've been making pants for are characterized by a crotch depth that is only slightly deeper than the waist to hip length. Now, it is possible that part of the problem is that the latter measurement is over-estimated - locating the hip line is not actually all that easy, since it is one of the gentler curves on the body of many people. Nonetheless, faced with this apparently unusual small difference between the hipline and the crotch line (although perhaps not so unusual, if two out of two women I'm making pants for have this!), I was for some reason tempted to lower the crotch line rather than raise the hip line! Quelle gaffe!

This makes for a Very Baggy crotch area, not at all very feminine in style, nor very flattering to the female figure. Women react very strongly to this - it would have been safer to have erred towards a tighter crotch than towards a looser one! Admittedly this depends to some extent on the type of pants one is making - my first pair were the harem pants described in the previous blog, and a lower crotch area in these looks like a design choice! For the exercise pants, however, the result was disastrous! Now I have to correct by lowering the waist to compensate, but of course this screws up the shaping I did for the waist. Arghhh!

I think the problem may have been that we men often go for a looser than a tighter crotch area, and that led me astray. Even for men, however, a low crotch line, although sometimes a design choice, looks sloppy.

The front fly also causes me problems. I got to thinking, we men generally prefer an opening with fastenings there, but women don't need this in the same way men do. On the other hand, there is usually more shaping between the hips and the waist for women than for men. Having an opening at the front therefore serves to allow more elegant shaping of the pants. Openings at the side often add bulk to the pants in a location which is not appreciated by women. So a front opening is still the ideal location, even though the purpose of this is slightly different.

Finally, I have learned to avoid installing four pockets - I spend more than half the sewing time on the pockets. One at the front (either side) is plenty.