Trouser adjustments: Big butts don’t lie

We’re all friends here, right? Well, I hope so because I’m about to get personal. I’m talking belly and butt shots, so I apologize in advance :).

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on fitting my Clovers. I’ve come a long way in how I approach fitting issues. I used to get frustrated, cursing and sighing to no end. But now I see fitting issues as my opportunity to take up the challenge and problem solve. With that new approach I’ve been genuinely enjoying trying to perfect this trouser fit. Fitting them is the first step I am taking in a route that will end with me-made stretch jeans. I’d like to have a few pairs of trousers under my belt (ha!) before I give jeans a go.

I started with size 18, making no adjustments. From the photos of muslin 1, I assessed that I needed a full butt adjustment. I also didn’t like where the waist sat so I decided I wanted to raise it higher. And because the pants looked a wee bit baggy around the hips and knees I decided to go down a size, which actually happens to correspond with my hip measurement.

To determine how much I needed to increase the back crotch circumference by, I measured my crotch circumference and compared it to the pattern’s. I’m not sure if that’s what I’m suppose to do but I figured some trial and error never hurt anyone. I came up with a 1.5 inch difference and added it to the back pattern piece using Colette’s recommended full butt adjustment method:

Here are the changes made to the size 16 pattern pieces: 1.5 inches added to back pattern, 2 inches added to waist, and waist raised up 2 inches. The fit was definitely improving. I just had a baggy issue to contend with now…

In order to remove the excess fabric I decided to increase the crotch depth by 2.25 inches and take in the inseams a further 1/2 inch. It seemed to do the job but I think for the final pair I will go with a 1.25 inch increase instead. I felt like the crotch was a tiny bit low.

I’m happy to say that my trouser fitting progress is going pretty well. The side seams bow towards the front but I think I am okay with that…for now. But am still questioning if I analyzed one of the fit issues correctly. I definitely think I needed a full butt adjustment. Big butts don’t lie. But was there another way to get rid of the bagginess other than increasing the crotch depth and inseam? Just curious.

Happy Sunday!


36 thoughts on “Trouser adjustments: Big butts don’t lie

  1. Wow, those last pants look really good! And I made some pants recently which have a “Princess seam” on the back pattern piece. I wonder if you couldn’t cheat and just cut a straght line from the back dart straight through to the hem, do a princess FButtA and then call that seam a design element? Maybe replicate it on the fron pattern and voilà!


  2. From a fellow big butt…
    Our attitude in approaching sewing, or anything, really determines how much we enjoy it, right? It’s good that you see fit issues as a way to problem solve instead of a hassle.
    Not that I haven’t shed tears but I can’t have my hobby be another stress in my life. I need to de-stress. That’s why I have a hobby!
    Great fit so far. Looking forward to the finale!


  3. Wow! Thanks for posting pictures of all your successive changes. It’s really fascinating to watch the pants take shape with each adjustment you make! It looks like you’re really close to the perfect fit.


  4. You’re doing an amazing job! Trousers can be so tricky, but you are conquering them for sure. And the patience required for the multiple muslin process – go you! And thanks for posting the pics, even though my fit issues are the opposite, it’s great to see what changing the pattern does in real life. The last pair are looking really great!


    • Thank you. Persistence is definitely paying off. I actually tempted to do another muslin, with some more added changes, before cutting into my fashion fabric.


  5. Wow, it really is amazing to see your pants getting closer and closer to the perfect fit! I’m pretty clueless about diagnosing fit problems with pants, but I really wish I was better! I think you’re right– your approach to fit issues totally shapes your experience! I try to walk away when I’m getting too frustrated. 🙂


    • Walking away when frustrated is always good. Taking a few days to work on the Clovers also helped. I always end up in trouble when I try to bang out a garment in a weekend or something.


  6. I have absolutely no fitting advice to offer as I’ve not been bold enough to try trousers yet! But I just wanted to say that you are definitely getting there – the second muslin’s looking great! Well done for taking such a calculated approach to your fitting issues, I’m so impressed and inspired Mela!


    • Thanks! I am so close to getting the fit right, I can feel it. Patience had a lot to do with it. I decided I would work on it over the course of a few days and I never lost my cool. That helps! 🙂


  7. Mela, thanks so much for being brave enough to share! I’m going to have ALL the same fitting issues when it comes to making trousers (which I’m hoping to to this summer), so it’s a big help to see how someone else went about fixing things! The trousers are going to look great!


    • I hope you find the info helpful. I’m sure I will have more to share once I sort out the remaining fit issues.

      I thought about posting these photos for 5 days but I figured, what the heck, I’m not running for office or any beauty titles any time soon 🙂


  8. How inspiring. Your fit is looking great! Trousers are still a mystery to me so good luck! With your persistence I’m sure you’ll get there 🙂


  9. Mela, I totally appreciate you sharing this- my pants attempts have been depressing wadders with a sorrowful bath in chocolate to follow- I’m going to take some of your work and run with it- thanks!


    • Thank you! I am like a dog and with its bone when it comes to solving fit issues. I can’t.let.go. I made 5 muslins of a dress once and it still wasn’t perfect. I will be working on it again some day, I’m sure.


  10. Thank you so much for posting photos of your belly and butt in pants and the alterations needed. I often feel so alone when I read up on pattern adjustments as nobody (but you) seems capable of brutally honest photos. From a lady who also has to make adjustments for a “large front veranda”, thank you, thank you, thank you. Now to find the next installment of your pants journey.


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