Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What the @%*&#???

How brilliant!

As part of cleaning out my stash, I happened upon this item...

A fitting "tool", which is actually just an excuse to give a pattern fitting lesson for exactly ONE aspect of any pants pattern. Now, really, what a clever marketing scheme...

Apparently, in 1976, this Pants Former was promoted as an easy-to-use tool, meant to save you from the frustrating challenge of getting that darn crotch curve right. All you need are two strings, a mirror, a stepstool, a paperclip, your reading glasses, and an extra set of arms or two!

This product really bothers me. To fit a pair of pants properly, there is so much more to think about than just whether or not there is enough of a crotch curve to fit your derriere.

When I make pants for myself, I have to consider and adjust the following:

My waist to hip measurement is short, like a petite figure, although I am average height.

My belly is flat, but my waist is not so narrow. My pants have to be fairly tight stretch, drawstring, darted or elasticized at the waist to stay up comfortably.

I have to consider my hips (or lack thereof). I have to reshape the side seams accordingly.

I usually need to lengthen the legs below the crotch line to get back the length I have taken out at the hip level. For personal preference, I usually change the leg shape (mostly taper).

I need back darts to hug the hollow below my waist, and to make a nicer profile.

My commercial pants patterns look like a million puzzle pieces when I'm done adjusting!

Can any of you think of any way this product would get you significantly closer to a better fitting pant? Unless you're making pajama pants, where crotch depth and shape is all that really matters, I can't see how this contraption would really solve your fitting issues.


  1. Agreed. A lot of work. But, I've seen those flexible rulers and wondered if I couldn't use it against the crotch curve of pants I do like and use that curve to check a patterns' curve. Yes? No?

  2. Well, yes and no. I would use the crotch curve of the pants I actually DO like as a guide, by tracing it off on paper and then adding the seam allowance. I would compare THAT curve to the pattern I'd like to check. Faster AND easier, in my opinion.

    Now, while that would work, do remember, it is only one (albeit important) piece of information affecting the fit of your pants.

  3. Yes! I prefer the clone method as well to the gizmo method. Years ago I bought a pants fitting "system" from Vogue patterns. I confess it is still in it's original plastic case, untouched.

  4. That's a great tip. Thanks!