Revisiting True Bias Women’s Hudson Pants…

I keep coming back to this pattern because I spend most of my time in the winter wearing joggers. They’re warm and the bottoms don’t get wet in the snow. Given my recent blog about how to measure for pants, I thought I would do a comparison with some patterns now. I hope this will be informative!

For all measurements, refer to my blog post here.

Did I pick the right size?

For the pattern, I selected a size 14 based upon my measurements. My natural waist is 33 inches, and if I measure my hips at their widest point (not at the top of the crotch curves), I am 42 ½ inches. Size 14 is on the size chart is 34 ½ inches waist and 42 ½ inches for hips. Having more room in the waistband isn’t an issue, given this has an elastic waistband. Let’s break down the measurements to see if I’ve selected the right size.

Waist width

My front waist is 9 ½ to 10 inches. The pattern measures 10 ½ inches. That gives me at least a ½ inch of ease. These joggers are made out of knit fabric that is stretchy, so ease is not necessary, but for a more relaxed fit, this is perfect. Who wants tight sweatpants anyways?

My back waist measurement is also 9 ½ to 10 inches so this waistband measurement is perfect all around. Pun intended.

Hip width

My front and back hip measurements are both 10 ½ inches. The pattern is 11 inches. This also gives me ½ inch of ease, which is good. Still on the right track. Track pants, maybe? I’ve gotta stop with the puns.

Crotch Width

Let’s see if I can make this math clear. My crotch measurement is 13 ½ inches. I would need to add ½ inch of ease to the side seam and probably about ¼ inch of ease to the inseam. Add all that up, and I should have a crotch measurement of 14 ¼ inches. The pattern is only 12 ½ inches. Spoiler alert, I need to add 2 ¼ inches to the crotch hook length, so that would add to 14 ¾ inches, and that would give me slightly more width than I would need. I could then shave off a ½ inch from the side seam.

I need the same amount of room for my back crotch length, 14 ¼ inches. The pattern crotch measurement is 14 ¾ inches. I’ll discuss this in a moment, but I need to remove ½ inch from the back crotch curve length, so now my crotch width measurement is perfect, 14 ¼ inches.

Knee Width

My front knee is 8 inches. If I add a ½ inch of ease to the inseam and a ½ inch of ease to the side seam (remember you want the grainline to be balanced), then my front pattern piece needs to be at least 9 inches. The front knee only measures 8 ¾ inches, ¼ inches too narrow.

My back knee is also 8 inches, and with ease, the pattern needs to be 9 inches. The back pattern measures 9 ¾ inches at the knee, ¾ inches too much.

These joggers have been too tight across the front of my knee and too baggy in the back. In the photo below, you can see the horizontal lines across the knee of fabric straining to fit!

Does your pant leg twist?

I have been studying the concept of balance on patterns. For pants, that means if I draw a line from the center of the ankle up to the knee, I should bisect the pant leg. If the pant isn’t bisected, then that portion of the leg is unbalanced, and the leg will end up twisting. Every version of the Hudson pants I’ve ever made, my pant leg twisted. In the photo above, you can see the twist beginning just below my knee. It’s subtle. I just never took a photo with my pant leg twisted. If you want to privately talk about this, I can share examples. Everyone has a twisted pant leg below their knee. Everyone!

The front pattern piece bisects perfectly. The ankle and knee are balanced right and left with the grainline. If it helps, you can think about the grainline as the crease line if you were pressing a crease down the center of these pants. No leg twisting on the front pattern.

Here’s where the issue shows up. When I draw a line from the center of the ankle up, the line does not bisect at the knee. I’ve placed a tick mark where the center is actually located. There’s too much fabric on the left side, the inseam, and not enough on the right, the side seam. That leg is going to twist, and I’m going to shout when it does. “Well, shake it up, baby, now, twist and shout! Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now, come on and work it on out.”

Where does the grainline hit at the hip line?

Once you get above the horizontal knee line, the grainline does not bisect the crotch, hip, and waist lines. My grainline is 3 ½ inches lateral from the center front at the hip line and 4 ½ inches lateral from center back. Remember that these measurements need to be made without seam allowance. I’ve redrawn the pattern without seam allowance (dashed line).

The front grainline on the pattern is 6 inches. I only need 3 ½ inches. What does that mean for fit? Like a seesaw, the center of gravity between my leg and the drape of the pant is off, so the leg from the hip down is either going to swing outwards or inwards.

For me, it’s always inwards and I get fabric pooling on the outside of my knee as you see in the photo of Ryan above. If you see bunching of fabric around your knee, this may be why! I also see wrinkles around the bum but those are harder to decode.

The back grainline on the pattern is 7 inches. I only need 4 ½ inches. That means the pivot point is 3 ½ inches too far lateral towards my side seam and it’s going to tumble!

I’ll refrain from getting too much into force and vectors, but essentially for both the front and back pieces, my pivot point and the pattern pivot point don’t match.

The extra weight along the side seam, much like a seesaw, will be forced downwards and that downward force has to go somewhere, so it swings towards my inseam.

If my pants had wide legs, that force would go all the way to my ankle and the whole pant leg would swing inward. If the pattern has narrower legs like the Hudson pants, the fabric pools at the knees as it is swinging the leg inwards. Either way, it is not a good look.

Crotch hook length

I just laugh with this next measurement. My front crotch length is 4 inches. The Hudson pant has a 1 ¾ inch front crotch hook. Going up a size doesn’t help, as I have already shown you that I’ve selected the right pattern size. I just have to add 2 ¼ inches length to the front crotch hook.

My back crotch hook length is 3 ½ inches. I find for most patterns that’s my issue; I have a flat derrière. If you have muscular “thicc” upper thighs and no butt, welcome to the club where pants never fit!

Measurements I didn’t cover

Obviously, there’s still a bit more to adjust that I have not addressed, but I think I covered the major issues. Here are some other things to consider:

  1. Crotch height, length from the crotch line up to the waistband. I was more comfortable with a higher waistband.
  2. The length between all the circumference measurements: waist, hip, crotch, knee, and ankle. Luckily most of my measurements were spot on. I just needed to lengthen the legs and lower the knee level.
  3. The overall length of the legs. Bingo. I’m tall. The pattern is drafted for someone much shorter.
  4. Crotch curve shape. Looks like I needed to flatten out the back curve for my flat tush.

Conclusions

These initial measurements show that there’s a lot of work that’s going to have to be done with this pattern even though I did pick the correct pattern size. Here’s a summary of issues:

  1. Grainline isn’t balanced on the back leg, below the knee wants to twist. This will be an issue for everyone and this pattern.
  2. For me, both pattern pieces have to be entirely redrawn to move grainline medially towards the center front and back. From the hip to the knee, the leg wants to swing towards the midline.
  3. The front crotch curve is way too short, nobody likes camel toe.
  4. The front leg at the knee is too narrow, horizontal strain lines in addition to the twisting and sagging and flipping and it’s just a mess.
  5. The back leg at the knee is too wide, bagging at the knee, but more so on the side seam because of the grainline being set wrong for me.

In the end, I just drafted my own pattern pieces for the front and back based on my pattern block/measurements. That’s another story altogether and I’m still a novice when it comes to pattern drafting. However, I’m always shocked at how well I do even though I’m making it up most of the time.