Designers sometimes offer free, or almost-free, pdf patterns to let new customers try their product. Yesterday I spent $.99 to try a Little Finch pattern. I chose the Quicker Knickers. This is a cute basic bikini/brief, but unfortunately the grading is inconsistent: these are the side-seams, with a variety of shapes and lengths that aren’t nested (the largest size 3X side-seam is SHORTER than the smallest size 2):
More importantly the pattern is not trued. But that can be fixed. Here’s how to true the Quicker Knickers pattern in 3 easy steps. (Note: the pattern includes fabric bands at the waist and leg openings, yet the basic design of the panty itself should have a smooth fit, so I’m only showing the pattern NOT including the waist and leg bands, for visual simplicity. Also only small parts of the pattern are shown, just enough to indicate the corrections).
- Side-seam bubbling: the side-seam has a very rounded curve, creating a bubble when stitched:
The side-seam of a panty, just like pants or shorts, should be drafted with a hip-curve that is more shallow than a French curve, to eliminate that bubbling. Photo on left shows a hip curve on top, a French curve on bottom, and a combo in the middle. The combo has a French curve on the upper end and hip curve on the lower end. I grab a combo for everyday quick-and-easy corrections:
2. Waistline: The top corners of the side-seams are not trued; they have (depending on size) moderate to extremely acute angles, so that when the side-seam is stitched, the result is a deep “V” shape along the waistline edge…..sure, this “could” be a design -feature, but looking at the photos on the pattern cover, it seems like the designer was going for a straight-across waist:
It’s helpful to see the pattern pieces on the dress-form to understand the correction, because it’s a bit counter-intuitive. There’s a saying in pattern-drafting that “A straight line on the body is a curved line on the pattern, and a curved line on the body is a straight line on the pattern”. Here’s what that means: the waistline on this pattern is straight across:
It will not be straight across once on the body, it will curve downward at the side-seams:
So, to make it “look” like the waistline is going straight around the body, you have to curve the pattern. Brilliantly, this also automatically trues the corner, cancelling that “V” on the side-seam and making a smooth waistline!
(Edited to add: The back gets a shallow scoop, the front gets a deeper scoop, depending on your fitting preference):
Generally the waist of bikinis scoops lower in center-front than in center-back:
Try it: cut out a muslin swatch with the revised curved-waistline pattern: on the dressform the waist “looks” like it’s going straight across:
See what I mean by counter-intuitive?
Original with STRAIGHT waist pattern….Revised with CURVED waist pattern
The last fix is really simple:
3. Crotch Shape: the front-to-back crotch isn’t trued, there’s no smooth connection from the front to the back. Even adding the fabric leg bands, the angled cut-out creates a disconnect from front-to-back. The front crotch gets narrower and narrower as if it’s going to be a thong, and then boom! Suddenly there’s a full brief in back:
This is an easy fix: simply French-curve the front to the back:
And that’s it!
In the restaurant business, there’s a saying that “You’re only as good as the last meal you served.” . Because that’s the one your customer remembers. The same thing could be said of the pattern industry. It’s sad, but even one experience with a pattern that needs work can make you avoid that company going forward. If you’ve had better experiences with Little Finch please let me know. I’m always willing to try again.
Edited to add: this is off=topic (not about trueing) however I received a question about how to adjust this pattern for a higher back rise and shorter front rise. You can “slash-and’spread” the back (left), and take a fold in the front (right):