In Part One of our fitting series, I covered probably more than you wanted to know about pant length. Length is the easiest alteration to contend with. What about the real fit of the pant ~ the waist, seat, and crotch? Have you ever had a problem with the length of the crotch?
Again, I’ll discuss general rules because there are as many exceptions and personal preferences as there are rules when it comes to fit. The crotch or the rise is probably the most difficult part of the pant to fit. If the length of the rise is too long, you get that extra “pooch” in the front. If the length is too short, you get…well, you know, what they call the toe of a certain desert animal…ahem. Needless to say, it’s not pretty.
If the crotch is too long, it can be corrected by an experienced tailor. If it’s too short, it’s not as easy so I don’t recommend buying the pant. There are corrections that can be made if it’s a favorite article of clothing that you just can’t give up even though you’ve put on a few pounds.
Otherwise, most other fit issues can be corrected easily: waist can be taken in and can be let out, as much as 2 inches sometimes. The hips can be shaped but can only be let out about 1 ½ inches at the most. Just remember that if you are buying the pant, alteration costs have to be added to the price of the pant. If you find a great bargain in a pant that is two sizes too big, the cost of the alterations makes your bargain not as great, but it’s always better than paying full price and then paying for alterations.
One of the main exceptions to these rules is jeans. As all of us women know, jeans are the single-most difficult garment to fit correctly except for maybe a bra. For one, it’s a very close fitting garment, which means there are always little “tweaks” that need to be made. Also, we have high expectations for jeans. We, especially women, want to look awesome in our jeans so we are probably a little more particular about the fit.
When trying on jeans in the dressing room, first check the crotch length (see above). If that is fitting well, you are on the right track. If not, take them back to the rack. There are ways of correcting the fit of the crotch but it’s so expensive, it’s not, in my humble opinion, worth it. And it will just make your tailor grumpy.
If you have the “gappy-thing-in-the-back-of-the-waistband”, that can be fixed. It’s not cheap because jeans are made from heavy denim which requires a sewing machine with a heavy duty motor plus there is top-stitching that has to be removed, matched and properly replaced . That is an alteration best left to the professionals but do keep the cost in mind when buying the jeans.
Last but not least, you must check the butt. That is why we wear jeans: because they should make our derriere’s look fabulous! The denim is a strong fabric that sucks us in like a girdle, smoothing out all the lumps and bumps, and if properly fitting, should give our butts some lift and shape. Jeans can be taken in, although it is expensive, but they can not be let out. I have never seen a jean with seam allowances that can be let out. Plus the seams leave a mark especially in the distressed denim. So if the pant is so tight you can’t breathe or sit down, again, take them back to the rack.
Remember if you are not sure about how to alter a pant, please get professional advice. Most tailors will be glad to check the fit with you and advise you about what alterations can be done and which pants you should just return.
Barbara Stone is the owner of Barbara Stone Designs, a full-service tailoring and dressmaking business at 5200 Churn Creek Road, Suite P, Redding, CA, 96002. She can be reached at (530) 222-1340 or [email protected]
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