How to Sew Pants That Fit So Well You'll Want to Live in 'Em

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For most of us, sewing pants that fit is like trying to solve a tricky geometry problem. Getting the fit just right is super challenging even if you aced high-school math.

But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can get a perfect fit every time. Here's how to be a real fancy pants.

1. Take Accurate Body Measurements

This process is more involved than you might think! When you take your measurements , be sure you have on the same kind of underwear you plan on wearing with the pants. Shapewear and control-top hosiery, for example, can make the difference between "These pants look amazing!" and "Help, I can't breathe!" Be sure to wrap the tape measure at your true waist and the fullest part of your hips and to pull it snug around you, but not too tight.

2. Select the Best Pattern Size

If you're between sizes, it's usually better to pick the smaller pattern size, unless the pant style is very fitted. Of course, some of this depends on the pattern manufacturer. Some companies run large, while others are more true-to-size or even on the snug side. The most important number in determining pant size is your hip measurement.

3. Pick the Style You Crush On Most

If skinny jeans are your go-to look, avoid palazzo pants. Choose styles that you like on your body and the fabric that works best with each. You can measure the leg circumference of your favorite pair of pants, then compare it to patterns you're considering, picking the one that's most similar.

4. Make a Muslin

Make a muslin . Make a muslin. MAKE A MUSLIN! Be sure the fabric for this test garment is like the one you'll be using for your pants; for instance, if you plan on making knit pants, you'll need to use a muslin fabric with similar stretch. It helps to cut out your pant muslin with 1-inch seam allowances on all the leg seams, and to use a basting stitch.

Some experts tell you not to sew in darts or apply the waistband at the muslin stage, advising you to pinch out the darts during the fitting process. If you tie a piece of elastic around your waist, you can move it around to establish the best waist point for your body shape.

5. Know Common Adjustments

You may find yourself:

  • Adding or subtracting width at the upper inner leg for full or thin thighs
  • Lengthening or shortening crotch depth
  • Lowering the center back waistline for a swayback or flat butt
  • Adding or subtracting hem length

6. Plan on Making Several Iterations of Your Muslin

The more adjustments you make, the more test garments you'll need to be sure you're still on track. Don't lose your muslin mojo.

7. Ask a Friend for Help

It is much faster and easier if someone else can pin and adjust the back of your pants. Otherwise, you will have to take them off, pin out your changes and then try them on again to check the fit.

8. Test and Try

Sew up your pants, factoring in the findings from your muslin-fitting process. Try the pants on often during the construction phase because each fabric has its own quirks. Always test and try, test and try, until your pants fit like a glove. Congrats, you've done it!

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