The first pair of trousers I made from my duct-tape sloper was a pair of stretch skinny jean shorts. I had previously made skinny jeans so I was able to compare my self-drafted version with an altered pattern. This time around, I am trying a new pattern, Alina Sewing + Design Co. Chi-Town chinos Expansion Pack No. 2. I have been futzing with this pattern for months now and could never get the fit right. I now understand why.
If you need a refresher on how to create a duct tape sloper, here’s a link to that post: https://handmadephd.com/2018/07/11/quick-sloper-using-duct-tape/.
I dropped the waistline down a ½ inch. This change is arbitrary and has more to do with where I wanted my trousers to sit. I added ¾ inch to the side seam, inseam, and along center front. I stopped when I got to the crotch curve and just blended the existing curve down to the inseam. Using the Chi-Town chinos pattern, I added the front fly extension and cut out the shape of the front pocket. I had to also redraft the front pocket pieces, but that was straightforward once I got my front pant piece figured out.
Let’s discuss how I drafted the leg from the knee down. The patterns I have used up to this point are Simplicity 8056 and Simplicity 1696. My old pattern fit pretty well. I was never quite happy with the upper part of the pant, but the leg fit was always perfect. I used my old pattern to finish the leg here.
I dropped the waistline down a ½ inch. I added ¾ inch to the side seam and along center back. For the inseam, I added 1-½ inch at the crotch curve and quickly graded it back down to ¾ inch along the rest of the inseam. Like the front, I blended the back crotch curve into the inseam. I used the original Chi-Town chinos pattern to drafted the dart (not shown) and I used my old pattern (based on Simplicity 8056 and 1696) to finish the leg from the knee down.
Why choose ¾ inch to add around everywhere? It was an educated guess. The Chi-Town chinos call for a ½ inch seam allowance. If your pattern uses a ⅝ inch seam allowance, then you’ll need to add ⅛ to ¾, in other words, you’ll need to add ⅞ inch everywhere and 1-¾ inch to the back crotch curve.
SELF-DRAFTED VS CHI-TOWN CHINOS
I’m less confused about how I would go from my self-drafted pattern to the actual Chi-Town chinos pattern. That’s progress, but I still don’t understand how or why my “optimal” pattern is nowhere near the Chi-Town chinos pattern.
Here’s what I would do if I were to alter the original Chi-Town chinos:
- Drop center front waist by ~1 inch
- Extend crotch length by ~½ inch
- Add ~¾ inch to inner thigh and ~½ inch to outer thigh, blending into the knee width
- Do ~1 inch knock knee adjustment (see below)
- Lengthen pant by ~2-¾ inch
Here’s what I would do if I were to alter the back:
- Drop the side waist by ~1 inch
- Remove ~2 inch wedge from center back
- Shorten crotch length by ~1 inch
- Do ~1 inch knock knee adjustment (see above)
- Widen bottom leg by ~2 inches
- Lengthen pant by ~2-¾ inch
Here are my thoughts about the knock-knee alteration. I don’t have knock knees. I have an excellent straight posture from my feet to my hips. However, my outer hips are more full than average, which in comparison to my knees would be “knock-kneed” for a normal person. Sometimes the description of pant alterations biases people’s thinking about whether or not they need to use the alteration. This is what happened to me. I would read about the knock-knee alteration, but think that wasn’t needed for me because I don’t have the “classic” knock knee issue. Don’t let the alteration name bias your thinking! You might have toothpick legs but still need to make a large thigh alteration or have larger legs but need to do a thin thigh alteration to get the pattern to fit right.
For my pants, I used an 8-8.5 oz. chino twill from SellFabric.com. The fabric is medium- to heavyweight, think old-school Docker khakis like I used to wear for my Catholic school uniform. I’m the one in the middle if you can’t tell. I don’t know that I like the stiff structure pant, but that’s another issue altogether.