Hello, Curvy Sewing Collective! My name is Izzy and I have just started blogging at Bella-Janes. Today, I’m reviewing the Craftsy class, Pant Fitting Techniques taught by Sandra Betzina, as well as its companion pattern Vogue 2948. Not only have I never managed to successfully make trousers of any style, but I find it almost impossible to buy them. I’m a classic apple, bigger in my waist than my hips, and fairly long in the body. What’s more, I now live in Saudi Arabia where there are no changing rooms in shops, so I decided to give this class and pattern combo a go.
This review is broken into two parts, pattern and class, and I will start with the pattern. Vogue 2948 is a pattern for non-stretch woven pants, with front and back princess seams, contoured waistband and side zip. It was designed by Sandra Betzina herself, as part of the Today’s Fit pattern line.
All sizes are in one envelope, with a size range from 26.5″ to 50.5″ for the waist and 34.5″ to 57.5″ for the hips. Ms. Betzina uses her own sizing system with letter names, I guess to try and encourage people to be more realistic with measurements and forget pre formed ideas about sizing. Unfortunately, I found the pattern ran quite big. I started with an G/H, then re-cut F/G, but it is still a little too big! There is quite a large distance between the sizes, which can be tricky if you are between sizes. Based on my own body type, I cut a size smaller in the back, to compensate for the sizing. This pattern is definitely drafted for an apple shaped figure, as there is quite a lot of ease at the high hip. If you’re interested in sewing a pair up, that is something to keep in mind!
This pattern features an additional ‘princess seam’ down the centre front and back of each leg. Betzina says this seam is good for fitting adjustments, although in practise this was only really useful for a flat seat adjustment. However, this could be a nice design feature with top stitching or piping to lengthen the legs. I will say that the princess seams definitely helped the trousers hang better, as they conform to the leg nicely. It is also suggested that you finish each seam allowance separately, for each seam, pressing open and top stitching on either side. I didn’t do this as I felt it was a lot of extra work that wouldn’t do anything to strengthen the garment. Instead, I finished all the edges of my seams on my sewing machine overlock stitch together, pressed and top stitched down. In my own construction, I didn’t use a very prominent top stitch thread, unfortunately, but it looks nice up close. The fabric I used was supposed to be a linen/cotton blend but, disappointingly, it had quite a high synthetic content. I was still pleased with how they turned out, though.
The instructions are really clear, with lots of helpful fitting information and clear, easy-to-understand diagrams. The curved yoke and side zip are both really flattering to an apple shaped figure, like my own. In the end, I think this is a really good pattern for apple shaped figures, specifically, but perhaps not worth the effort if you are any other shape. There would be quite a lot of fitting involved, tailoring it to another shape.
For my own fit adjustments, I followed the guidelines in Ms. Betzina’s class. I did a flat seat adjustment, which was so easy with help from the class, and just scooped a little out of either side of the back princess seams. Additionally, I added length to the crotch, front inside leg and front waist, all of which was covered in-depth during the course itself. The only adjustment I made outside of the class instructions was to lengthen the legs themselves, by adding an inch at the designated lines on the pattern.
Now, let’s talk about the class! Once again, this is Pant Fitting Techniques from Craftsy, as taught by Sandra Betzina.
This class contains loads of great information. It comes with the pattern, V2948, but could easily be used for any pant pattern. Ms. Betzina begins by describing different styles of pants and their fit, then measuring techniques, then works through some common fitting problems. An important point here, however, is that not every fitting problem is covered, nor is there a very systematic way of diagnosing them. In fact, when measuring is talked about, only the most basic measurements are covered here and nothing is mentioned about crotch length or depth. Although there is a lot of useful information, it just isn’t organized as well as it could be. To follow up the section on fit, Betzina takes us through two sections on pattern alterations, again not entirely methodically, but the alterations are nicely explained and applied to many styles of trousers.
In lesson 6, we finally address crotch measurements and adjustments, which is where my only problem with the class lies. First off, surely this should have been done in the initial measurement stage? The crotch alterations are essential to a well-fitting pair of pants, after all. Second, the method we use to find our ideal crotch measurement is flawed. Betzina has the students measure an existing pair of well fitting pants to get these measurements, but…what if you don’t have one? If I already had well fitting pants, I wouldn’t be taking this class! I literally had nothing comparable in style to copy, so was really stuck here. I made do with some jeans, but I’m sure the fit on them is completely different, as their style is worlds away from V2948. Furthermore, Betzina only demonstrates minimal crotch alterations after the measurement stage, which was not helpful for someone like me who is long in the body. I was really hoping for more in-depth, detailed information on an array of adjustments. I made a muslin, but don’t yet have the skill to assess my muslins very well, so that was a challenge without more diagnostic guidance. My final trousers were, indeed, too short in the crotch and I had to make further adjustments.
Now, this is where the benefits of a Craftsy class come into play, over many alternatives. Throughout the class, you can ask questions of the instructor and receive really quick, helpful feedback. I asked Sandra for help twice and she helped me very promptly, guiding me toward lengthening the crotch on my final trousers, so they are now a much better fit. Unfortunately, those adjustments did cause them to become too big in the waist. I feel like this would have been obvious, before I inserted the zipper and finished the pants, if I had a reliable method for measuring the crotch at the beginning, rather than fiddling with fit at the end. I think it is such a shame Sandra does not offer an alternative method for measuring the crotch, outside of comparing your pattern with ready-to-wear pants. That extra detail and a bit more information on altering the crotch would have elevated this class to a true winner. As it is, crotch fit is such a crucial part of trouser fitting that it lets down what is otherwise a really useful class and very good pattern. I can only give a qualified endorsement of this class, as a result. I hope my review has helped give you insight into this class, if you were also intrigued by the course!