Pants Drafting Class with Annette Hickman

Although I do not plan to become regularly be-pantsed, it really would be nice to have a pair or two for those winter days when it is too cold to wear a skirt even with wool knickers.

But pants.  They are impossible.  Impossible, I tell you!

It was time to turn to the experts.  For the first time in my life(!!!!), I signed up for a sewing class.

G Street offers drafting classes, one for a bodice and one for pants.  I keep meaning to develop a bodice sloper.  I haven't out of sheer laziness but feel that I can do just fine for that on my own as I have made many reasonably well-fitting dresses.  But pants.  I need some professional help.

It is a big time commitment for me:  the class is 4 hours for 3 Saturdays in a row at the Rockville location, and with Metro broken every weekend it takes me 1 1/2 hours each way to get there.  I left my house at 8:30 on Saturday morning.  If you knew me, you would understand the depth of my commitment to these pants.  Ain't no 8:30 on a Saturday morning in my life.


We started the class by taking detailed measurements.  We did the measurements ourselves rather than pair up (there are 7 people in the class, but one is a man sewing for his wife so pairs would have worked out).  As Cidell pointed out, the benefit of this method is that you learn how to do them on yourself for the future.


Then we used this crazy complicated mathematical diagram to draft them.  I have seen this type of drafting instruction before in the blogosphere and it makes me tired just to look at it.  It turns out if you just take it step-by-step...who am I kidding, it is still crazy complicated and way beyond my ability to follow.

Luckily, our fearless and fabulous instructor, Annette Hickman, took us through each step with a demonstration.  Her patience and humor made this much less painful than it ought to be.

Pants Draft

This photo is not so great, but if you squint you can see what looks like a real life draft!  So exciting.  I felt very professional and all ready for Project Runway.

For our class this Saturday, our task is to (1) look at other people's butts, (2) read the materials in our course packet, and (3) trace our draft into muslin and mark two inch seam allowances.  We will partially construct the muslins and Annette will help us fine-tune the fit.

However, I could not resist throwing together a quick and dirty muslin.  I traced the draft onto tissue.  While tracing it I noticed the back waistline seemed oddly, freakishly narrow.  I measured it and compared it to my exhaustive measurement chart and lo and behold it was two inches too small.  I added them to the waist and blended that line into the crotch.  So any back crotch problems may be the result of that.

Without further ado, here it is:


The waist, belly, hip, and upper butt fit are excellent.

The front crotch is pretty good.  4 out of 5 stars.  The crotch isn't totally perfect, with tiny wrinkles forming a sort of handlebar mustache right under it.  It feels like the problem is the crotch not snugging up high enough rather than a crotch shape problem, as the wrinkles are not always there (or at least visible in the mirror).  Crotch crotch crotch.  The joys of talking about pants.  My quote of the day in the first class was, "Can I ask you to come take a look at my front crotch?"

Muslin 2-Back
The back, well, not so great.  2.75 stars.  I've got the downward-pointing chevron of wrinkles below the crotch.  The good news is, the wrinkles do not seem to extend all the way down the leg  in a cascade of nested chevrons as seen in this Burda pant (this is version 2.0 of the Burda).  But that may just be a function of the sturdier fabric and relatively short length.  At any rate, it is about where I ended up with the Burda pattern after 4 painful muslins, so I am actually pretty satisfied to be starting where I gave up in frustration last time, rather than starting at the beginning.

I am super excited to have Annette fit these on Saturday!  It is almost worth getting up at 8:00 on a Saturday morning.  Almost.

All photos are here.


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