Whenever we teach a Eureka! Pants that Fit pants class, it reminds us of the power of the scoop. As we put each student in pants fitting shells last weekend at Artistic Artifacts, one of the first things we assessed was whether a scoop was needed to reshape either the front or back crotch for a more personalized fit.
Make a mock up to begin – choose the size carefully
The grainlines and horizontal balance lines are drawn on the mock up which, once positioned on the body comfortably, will indicate the need for a scoop with a slightly curved pair of grainlines.
Get someone to help you observe the lines
It takes a photo or a friend to observe if this adjustment is needed for your pants since you cannot see the back straight on. As the back is addressed in the mock-up, look for a parallel and perpendicular grid of lines. When the HBLs dip down in the center back, the remedy is extra length in the crotch extension. (Read about this in the previous post Grainlines are So Important in Pants.)
If the grainlines curve even slightly toward the sides in the derriere, a scoop will often straighten the curve resulting in a better fit. To me it looks like a pair of parentheses softly framing the derriere. By grasping the fabric in the center back seam and pulling it away from the body, the grainlines often straighten magically. Put a couple horizontal pins in the corrected fabric pinch that will become the new seam line. The pin with the red head is the beginning of the scoop. Be sure to blend the correction into the original seam line above and below the change. Sew in the scoop, then check the back again to observe the straightened grainlines. Because pants are so counterintuitive, don’t try to overthink these changes which look like a reduction but really lengthen the crotch seam.
Change the pattern as well as the mock up
We call it a scoop because on the flat pattern you scoop into the pants to reshape the curve. When done properly, the change creates extra space for the derriere to sit inside the pants. First plot the changes on the pattern’s balance lines in relation to the pinned correction.
Next connect the dots marking the change with a continuous curved line. It becomes the new cutting line.
If you have already tried this adjustment and it worked, your pants probably look and feel better. But don’t get carried away! Sometimes, if the darts are not yet pinned in the mock-up, you can extend the scoop all the way to the waist. While it might improve the mock-up fit, check that it does not also skew the grainlines near the waist, tilting them toward the center back. If so, remove the scoop at the waist, moving down the seam until the grainlines straighten. Then position darts so the grainline can remain straight from waist to hem.
Fitting pants is a process and this is just one adjustment that, if needed, will make a big improvement. Take note, adjustments on the Eureka! Pants don’t have to be big to make the fit much improved.
Want to get started on your own pants journey? Our Spring Sew Successfully Retreat is the perfect place to get started on your personalized pattern. We would love to have you join us.
Happy Sewing, RAE
Recently we received an inquiry about the back fit of a mock-up. I suggested a scoop in the back to straighten the grain lines and then a crotch extension. I went to the direction book to find the illustrations on page 7 and to my surprise, the illustration on page 7 and a similar one on page 9 about adjusting mock-ups for crotch extensions, were both missing in the 2020 edition. We will correct that in future print editions and will post a correction on the Helpful Hints for Pants page as soon as possible. Feel free to print out the PDF illustration in Helpful Hints and insert it into your direction book for future use if you have the 2020 edition of the pattern. Follow this link to the correction page.