Lower Body Patterns Temporary Uneven Side Seams and how to fix Them


You adjust the front or back of your lower body garment pattern such as a skirt or pants differently than the corresponding piece resulting in uneven side seams. Joi says “Don’t Panic! This is a normal expected temporary change that is corrected after you scale your pattern to fit your body.” Let’s learn more. . .


According to Designer Joi, the goal of altering a pattern is to make it match the overall shape, scale and proportion of the wearer. To achieve the best fit you should always treat the front of any pattern separate from the back because pattern alterations are not always symmetrical from the front to back. Sometimes  vertical  adjustments result in a length discrepancy at the side seams especially in the lower body when you might have a full tummy or lower derriere, however, this is a temporary issue.  Joi always says” The bulk of fit is in the body of the pattern not the edges. The edges are just polishing” Most people try to adjust length issues on the lower body by modifying near the hemline or lower part of the pattern. While this may give you a numerical match at the sides you may have missed fitting the contours of the upper body. So take the time to scale the upper portions of patterns for the lower body near the waist, abdomen and hip line. If the lengths are affected they are easy to fix.


Keep it simple is Joi’s Motto. You are not making an art project so don’t over think the process at this point. Here are a few tricks to evening out the sides and you will do the final polishing during the fit sample. These steps assume you have adjusted the front lower body pattern for any full hip or abdomen and the full hip on the back of the pattern before you match the side seams. On the lower body, it is especially important to treat them separate because the hip lines do not always match at the side seams. Yes, they need to be parallel to the floor, but they do not need to touch at the sides for example: when the upper tummy/abdomen replaces the full hip in the front, and the full hip in the back is much lower.

These patterns illustrate different adjustments that were made from the front to the back of the pattern. The front pattern ended up needing extra length at the hem so the side seams would match from front to back, but the fitting was done in the upper portion of the pattern.
The muslin fitting is where you can blend and contour the final shape of the side seam after making your pattern adjustments.

Step 1: The easiest method is to walk the side seams starting at the waist and then simply add length to the bottom of the shorter piece. This will give you the missing space on the technical flat pattern. Leave wide seam allowance such as 2” on each side seam. Baste together.


Step 2: Sew your fit sample. Take a piece of narrow elastic or a ribbon and tie it around your natural waistline or the desired waistline of the final garment. Work from the top down when fitting. Because you adjusted the front and back patterns separate, you will need to blend the side seams since the hip line does have a contour. Make sure you wear foundation garments that give you a natural hip curve and does not cut into the hip area. Pin the side seam to match your body.


Step 3: Lastly, once the upper portion of the garment is fitted from the knees, you can then mark the final hem length and true up the bottom edges of the pattern.


Don’t be afraid to modify your sewing patterns and make them custom to your body. Blend the edges of the pattern to correct temporary changes that occur and determine the final lines in the muslin fitting sample. It’s that easy.

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