Of course, I will break down the fit and alterations of a basic sweatpants pattern. This is what I do! I had some extra fabric and needed summer shorts, so I took the Cloud Sweatpants pattern and made them into shorts. I selected this pattern both because of the size range available but also because the pattern comes as either wide-legged or tapered. I used the wide-legged version (Version B) to make into cute summer shorts!
I had 1 yard of leftover Bamboo Stretch fleece and wanted to make summer sweat shorts. I’m hoping that the fabric is still comfortable in the summer heat. The material is definitely soft enough to be comfortable year-round.
The Cloud Sweatpants size range is extensive, and thankfully, Make by TFS will grade a size for you if you fall outside of this size range. I decided to make a size 16 since my hip measurement is 42.5 inches. When I’m sitting, my hip measurement is 47 inches. Check the finished garment measurement at the hip to ensure you have enough ease to sit.
I might be able to make a size 14, but that would only leave me 1.4 inches of ease at the hips when sitting, whereas a size 16 gives me 3.4 inches of ease. For a relaxed fit, you want 2-3 inches at least.
I decided to make View B and cut along the “shorten/lengthen” line to create shorts. I gave myself a 1.5-inch hem for the bottom.
I know I usually start with the front, but I’m going to start with the back pattern piece this time. First, I checked that the knee level was perfectly bisected by the center grainline, and it was. Yay! I also checked to ensure the grainline was the correct distance from the center back at the hip level. It also was placed correctly.
I knew the grainline was the correct distance from the center back at the hip level on my muslin because my center grainline hung straight and didn’t swing right or left. Since the back pant leg is draping correctly for my body, I can address some of the minor fit issues. In the above photo, you’ll notice excess fabric at the bottom of the crotch curve trying to bunch up.
To fix this issue, I scooped out 1 inch at the hip level and graded back to the original crotch curve and back to the top of the waistband.
The next issue was that the back rise was too long. It’s a little hard to see, but you can see it forming small waves if you look along the center back seam. The center back should sit flush with the body. The other way you can tell the back rise is too long is because you’ll have fabric pooling under the butt. The pants won’t be balanced front to back, and everything will want to swing towards the front.
The other issue is that the bottom crotch point is way too low. I’m turning these into shorts, and a lower crotch didn’t feel comfortable. To raise the crotch up, I just lowered the waistline by 2 inches.
In addition to lowering the waistline by 2 inches, I dropped the center back an additional 0.625 inches. Remember that the center back was too long and needed to be shortened.
I cut along the “shorten/lengthen” line to make these into shorts and added a 1.5-inch cuff. My final pattern is in black outline with the original pattern piece in light grey. I double-checked the waistline was the same length as the original. I didn’t want to have to alter the waistband piece.
I realize I didn’t talk about crotch length or anything for the back pattern piece. My back crotch length usually is much shorter, but something I find interesting is how variable crotch length can be from pattern to pattern. Depending on how wide or narrow the pant legs are will also determine the length of your crotch curve. On my muslin, I did check to make sure I had enough room overall and that the bottom crotch point was centered on my body. Even though these have an incredibly long crotch curve to balance the wide legs, the fit was okay for me.
The front knee level was also perfectly bisected by the center grainline. I find it interesting that the front knee level is narrower then the ankle. The front leg will have a little bit of a flare, whereas the back leg was straight from the knee to ankle. Unfortunately, the front pattern leg did not drape correctly for my body, so I had to make some extra adjustements.
The front leg is swinging towards my inseam badly. Based on my previous blog post, I know this means there’s too much space between the center front and the grainline at the hip level. The other thing you’ll notice with this fit is the the center front seam collapses downward forming a dart along the center front that points towards the grainline line (like this <).
I needed to remove 1.125 inches between the grainline and the center front. I cut along the crotch level and shifted the top part of the pants over 1.125 inches. I redrew the side seam from the crotch level down to the knee and extended the crotch curve to the original location.
I still needed to tinker with the crotch curve and length. I added 0.375 inches to the crotch hook length. I also needed to add 0.375 inches back to the curve at the hip level. The way the crotch curve was originally drafted dug into my body and made the pants uncomfortable.
Like the back, I lowered the waistline 2 inches, so the bottom of the crotch point wasn’t so low.
Again, I cut along the “shorten/lengthen” line and added a 1.5-inch cuff. My final pattern is in black outline with the original pattern piece in light grey. I double-checked the waistline was the same length as the original.
The buttery soft bamboo fabric makes me hope I can wear these in the summer. I turn into an ugly troll during the summer and hide in cool dark spaces because I don’t like warm sunny weather. Comfortable clothes are an absolute must when I’m suffering in the heat. Fingers crossed, we won’t have 100F+ temperatures in June this year, and these shorts will be a winner!
I’m trying an email as I don’t think my comment posted, but apologies if it has multiple times!
The posts you’ve been writing about fitting pants have been incredibly useful and provided answers to many of my problems. Currently I’m persevering with fitting a shirt, but nearly ready to give up and use your comprehensive information to try sewing trousers once again.
After reading your blog, I have a much better idea of where the issues lie, so I’m keen to get started before it is too hot in the sewing room. I feel your pain about summer. (I’m a New Zealander, living near Paris and air conditioning is rare here and fans blow the patterns around!)
Thank you so much for the time you must put in to presenting your findings so clearly to your readers. It is much appreciated!
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Hopefully, your comments now show on the post. I have the settings that I have to moderate all comments before they post, so they don’t appear until I approve them. I don’t want bots taking over my comment section.
Summer heat doesn’t mix well with trying to sew and I just give up until it cools down again. I tried using a lot of fans, but you’re right everything blows away. Not fun.
Best of luck on your pant fitting journey🤞