Trueing the Crotch/Rise Intersection (Eliminating “Stabby Crotch”)

Sewing patterns must be “trued” to ensure a smooth edge wherever a seam ends, so that the joined pieces are  ready for the next step in construction.  The top and bottom corners of each pattern edge should be as close as possible to 90-degrees (a right angle) so that after stitching the seams together, the resulting edge will be a smooth straight line (180-degrees).

Capturee

(http://suestinycostumes.com/)

If the corners are LESS than 90-degrees, the seam-stitching will result in a little triangle poking out, which will make it difficult to go onto the next step, whether it’s hemming, or folding the fabric edge over to stitch an elastic waist casing, or simply matching up the following seam intersection. Previously I showed how this could be a problem on a dress bodice at a neckline casing, and this time I’ll show how it could be problematic in pants  at a waistline casing and more importantly at the crotch seam intersection.

Lately I’ve seen a bunch of patterns with crotch intersections that haven’t been trued, which makes them difficult to stitch.  An illustration of this problem is shown here:

Capture

(http://www.threadsmagazine.com/assets/uploads/posts/4309/67-tapering-pants-02.jpg)

It doesn’t matter which sequence-of-stitching you choose (rises then inseams as in activewear, or inseams then rises as in dress pants), there will be an extra little triangle of fabric that makes a “bump” preventing a smooth edge.  It needs to be trimmed off.  In factory production, the stitchers would get tired of serging it off (it is also a waste of fabric that  makes the pattern marker less efficient), and the pattern would be sent back for trueing: squaring off the corners at the bottom of the rises.


I’ll compare 2 patterns to show the difference trueing makes at the crotch/rise intersection. Both are for kids’ stretch knit shorts, with a very similar design and a single pattern piece (front and back with no outseam).  On the left is vintage Kwik Sew #3024 ; on the right is the brand new Simple Life “Elle”:

IMG_8830

First up is Kwik Sew 3024: all seam corners are trued to 90-degrees. Here are the squared TOP corners of the rises (WAIST) : when the Center-Front rise and Center-Back rise are stitched, both will yield a smooth 180-degrees along the top edge, ready for folding over to create the waist casing:

IMG_8790   IMG_8791

Here are the squared BOTTOM corners of the rises (CROTCH): when the Center-Front rise and Center-Back rise are stitched, both will yield a smooth 180-degrees, ready for joining Front to Back easily when stitching the inseam:

IMG_8789..

Now look at the  “Elle” shorts.  The Center-Front TOP corners (WAIST) ( are obtuse (over 90-degrees) and when the rise is stitched, the CF will have a valley:

.IMG_8793.IMG_8797.IMG_8798

The Center-Back TOP corners are  acute (under 90-degrees) and when the rise is stitched, the CB will have a peak:

IMG_8794.IMG_8796.IMG_8800

That’s going to make it difficult to fold over the top edge to create the waist casing: the Center Back will have a peak that needs to be squished in, and the Center-Front will have a valley that needs to be stretched:

IMG_8808..IMG_8809

The fix is easy: Left photo, use a straight-edge to square off the pattern at Center-Back to create a 90-degree angle.  Right photo: use a hip-curve to slightly scoop the top waist at Center-Front so that the center-front is 90-degrees (right):

IMG_8801..IMG_8803

Now the top edge has the same shape as the Kwik-Sew waist, with squared-off 90-degree corners, so no peaks and valleys when folding over the edge to create the elastic casing waist:

ks

Here’s a close-up of the Center-Front Rise corner:

IMG_8907

I was told the concept wasn’t clear, I hope this helps (black line is where pattern was trued….the squared corner need only go a couple of inches, then the line fades into the original waist edge):

IMG_8908

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But the bigger problem is the “Stabby Crotch”: at the CROTCH intersection,  the BOTTOM corners of the rises are not trued; they have severely acute angles:

IMG_8806

I imagine the reason for this was to create a slim leg by putting all of the tapering at the inseam (since there is no outseam). However there is only so much leg width  that you can remove from the inseam without causing a problem:  when the inseams are stitched, the result will be a peak similar to the illustration example at the beginning of this post:

IMG_8807Capture

(Note, if the sequence-of-stitching is reversed, rises first then inseams, the same peak occurs).

I sent a message to the designer last week asking how to deal with this, but haven’t heard back.

Let’s say that you stitch according to the shape of the pattern using the standard seam allowance, and use the sequence-of-stitching in the instructions (rises then inseams). Here are your cut pattern pieces (2 back, 2 front) and what they look like after stitching the rises (To protect the designer’s work, I’m only showing small parts of the pattern pieces to illustrate a process):

IMG_8810IMG_8811

Putting right sides together and stitching the inseam,  the result looks like this:

..IMG_8812xIMG_8813

Unfold the stitched inseam and you have a 3-dimensional peak, either sticking out from the crotch area, or inwards (either way, awkwardly uncomfortable):

IMG_8814     .IMG_8815          .     IMG_8816     IMG_8819

See?  “Stabby Crotch”. So you’d probably intuitively re-stitch to get rid of the peak, or serge off the triangle:

IMG_8820      IMG_8822

And now you actually have trued your muslin, you’ve created all four 90-degree corners.

Let’s go back to the pattern to see what has happened. You stitched across and got rid of the peak:

IMG_8909……IMG_8910

Now if you virtually “unstitch”, you can see what has happened to the pattern.  The crotch rise intersection has been automatically trued:

IMG_8911

However now there’s a new issue: the crotch width has been shortened.  This may cause “crotch bite” in front and “wedgies” in back:

IMG_8912

If you want to keep the original Crotch Width for a comfortable fit , you need to go back and true the original pattern. First thing is to square off the BOTTOM corner of the rises (= TOP corners of the inseams):

IMG_8823  …IMG_8825

Next use a French curve to shape the inseam and square off the BOTTOM inseam corners where the inseam meets the hem.  That’s going to add a lot to the leg opening, so I’m going to compromise** and slice off just the tips that would get cut off in production:

IMG_8827….IMG_8828

Now all of the corners are trued (sometimes I use Post-Its to note that I’ve squared off the corners) , and the new inseam angle is almost identical to that of the Kwik Sew pattern above :

IMG_8829

 

Final step: pin inseams together and check for smooth crotch curve (only the largest size is corrected; each size needs to be trued separately for accuracy):

IMG_8906


 

**You’ll notice that reducing the angle of the inseam (while trueing the crotch intersection) causes  the leg openings to have a wider sweep at the hem than originally.  However, having too sharp of an inseam angle, while ensuring a tapered fit pant, can also create problems: stress pull-lines where fabric wants to shift towards the inner thigh, creating “smile lines” at the front crotch and prevent the shorts from hanging smoothly, as you can see by the grainlines in these stripes (different pattern, same inseam-angle issue):

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Pants fitting is always a balancing act between many coordinating (and sometimes competing) forces, which is why muslin-fitting is especially important with bottoms. Personally I feel that, especially for kids, comfort beats “style”.

That said, especially if your child has thin thighs, that you can remove some fullness from the out-seam area (there is no actual stitched outseam; you would pinch out a vertical pleat). You can also add an outseam by cutting the pattern vertically where an outseam would be, then starting at the hipline you can taper the leg as much as you want to, then be sure to add seam allowances.

 


I promise to move on from crotches….somehow a whole lot of crotch  pattern “issues” have been on my radar lately….I have a backlog of dresses to investigate!

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9 Responses to Trueing the Crotch/Rise Intersection (Eliminating “Stabby Crotch”)

  1. Bunny says:

    Awesome tutorial. Now I know what to do with those points I seem to get when dealing with my fit issues. Thanks again, Janet, for so generously sharing your knowledge.

  2. Sarah S says:

    I have noticed this before with various patterns but it is definitely extreme with SLPCo bottoms! Now I’ll know how to approach fixing them. Your posts are really helping me cut down on the endless quest for “perfect” patterns, since I can start making my current stash work better. :)

  3. 7pinedesign@comcast.net says:

    Hi Sarah! This is my first SLPCo pant….is it a common issue with their bottoms? It’s not a difficult fix, and with cute patterns it’s definitely worth the effort to “tweak” them, right? (I’ve got a stash to work through, too, although I keep getting tempted with new ones!)

  4. Sarah S says:

    I have the SLPCo Emilya’s and the Breanna’s. It’s extreme on the Emilya’s, presumably because they were going for a very slim leg. Breanna’s is not as bad but still pointier than it should be. My girls really like the trial pair of each of those that I sewed up, so I am sure I will make many more once I get the shapes adjusted to my liking.

  5. 7pinedesign@comcast.net says:

    Skinny-legs are very tricky to draft, especially in wovens! Best of luck….how sweet that you sew for your girls!

  6. Diane says:

    your fabric test of the SL pants is a true picture that paints a thousand words

  7. 7pinedesign@comcast.net says:

    I know, right? I asked the designer what to do with the “peak” but I never heard back. Surprised this stuff gets through testing…

  8. Cecelia says:

    This is so incredibly helpful. I have a different pattern that little peaks were driving me nuts (not a crotch area). When I made the pattern this last time it finally dawned on me that this was a trueing issue. Thanks to your blog post.

    Now that i realized whats going on, I plan on fixing the trueing on the pattern before making the next one.

  9. 7pinedesign@comcast.net says:

    Those little peaks! I’ve heard online (Facebook group) that pattern testers ask the patternmaker about them, and sometimes they are told to “just cut them off”. Why wasn’t this fixed before the pattern was published?!

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