Author Topic: Inseam Lengths  (Read 3430 times)

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Offline sdBev

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Inseam Lengths
« on: March 06, 2012, 03:34:58 PM »
I know I've seen the answer some place but I don't remember what it is.  I googled and got several hit, none of which answered my question:

Why is the back inseam longer than the front? Or is it vice versa?  Still why aren't they they same length? Why am I pulling the inseams to make them match?

Offline marciae

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 03:46:01 PM »
You lost me - I've never had to pull to adjust the length.  SOME patterns would have you 'stretch' the back leg about 10in from the crotch curve - Claire Shaeffer says it takes out some of the excess fabric?  Sometimes I stretch - sometimes I don't.  But, I start at the bottom of the leg matching the inseams and work up.
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Offline Nedra

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 04:13:46 PM »
Hi Bev,

The back inseam is usually shorter than the front.  This is supposed to help smooth the fabric under the seat, helping to eliminate the horizontal wrinkles there.   Like Marcie, I start at the bottom hem edge, matching the fabric evenly until I reach the notch (or dot) on the upper part of the inseam.  From there, I pull the back inseam to match the front one.  Oh, and I always sew with the front down against the feed dogs .  Of course, this is just my way of doing it....your mileage may vary.  :D

HTH,
Nedra

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 11:50:28 PM »
Thanks. I do much the same matching from hem to knee. Many of my pants patterns have had a notch above the knee. In which case I will match those notches as well and the stretch the remaining to match.

So the back inseam should be shorter than the front? If I have a pattern where the back inseam is longer. There is an error?

ETA at my PC to correct spelling.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 03:50:07 AM by sdBev »

Offline Susan in Saint John

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 12:39:08 AM »
Possibly there is an error.  When I took Judy Barlup's pattern proofing class, she measured the inseams from the hem up and then corrected any length discrepancy at the crotch.  That way you keep the leg on grain.  I think some patterns are marked "stretch" on the back inseam above the knee.

I remember on Louise Cutting's One Seam pattern she specifically tells you that the front inseam is longer than the back.  The back is on a more bias grain and when you cut it, it grows so that on the cut out pants the lengths actually match.

This might be something that a pattern drafting or draping book explains.

Offline theresa in tucson

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 12:45:12 AM »
Susan, I have several drafting books and absolutely none of them address this.  Most drafting books don't cover fit.  Doubt if a draping book would have it either as pants are draped.  The only references that I recall are in my Nancy Zieman books and my Sandra Betzina books.

Offline CyndyKitt

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 12:56:38 AM »
On all my tailoring pattens the ease is always in the back inseam of trousers (that is the pattern is longer at the back) by 6 to 10 mm, but dropped below the crotch line.

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 01:53:53 AM »
In the back of my mind, it makes sense that the back inseam might be different to cause the back to tuck under the tush FOR JEANS. But it seems to me that the inseam should be the same for trouser and slack drafts.  I am not sure about this.  What are your thoughts?

ETA: checking spelling
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 03:51:03 AM by sdBev »

Offline Elona

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 02:30:55 AM »
I used to see this business of stretching the back inseam a lot more  often than I do now.  It used to be explained as an effort to help the pants hug the butt curve.

I really am not sure how common this technique is now.  None of my favorite patterns incorporate it anymore.  Perhaps other types of alterations such as under-butt fisheye darts and altering the slant of the center back seam are now being used to fit that area in a more personalized way.

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 03:52:10 AM »
I used to see this business of stretching the back inseam a lot more  often than I do now.  It used to be explained as an effort to help the pants hug the butt curve.
..
Which most of us would need for JEANS, but not for trousers ever and maybe not often on slacks?

Offline teddylyn

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 04:05:00 AM »
Just my 2 cents--I seem to remember that it also has to do with the fact that the inseam (back) between knee and crotch becomes a bias cut on mant pant designs.  Slightly stretching this part of the leg seam during construction prevents stretch and bagging when worn.  I think it depends on the pattern makers block as to the angle of the seam, etc.

Ignore if this makes no sense!

Lynda

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 04:12:40 AM »
..Ignore if this makes no sense!

Lynda
Sorry, I am not ignoring any information, especially since you, Lynda, do make sense.  Pants are not a straight forward proposition like a pencil skirt.  There are many variables.  I'm interested in all the nuances anyone cares to share.

Offline bessiecrocker

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 06:03:11 PM »
I know about the different length back/front inseam...but never knew why it was there. I've got a Claire Schaeffer pant pattern that has you stretch the bias part of the back crotch til the back inseam matches the length of the front inseam.  I pretty much assumed this was a classic tailoring technique calling for a hot steam iron and a natural fiber (wool, for example). In short, it's a way to get flat fabric molded to a round human body.

I found an on line PatternMaker software explanation of how to draft a man's pant pattern. Here's the relevant info about the inseam lengths:

"Back crotch curve will be 1.5 cm below the front crotch curve and thus the back piece inseam length measured  from the crotch to the knee will be 1.5 cm shorter than that of the front inseam . The reason for this is that it reduces the amount of fabric under the buttocks in order to achieve a better fit of the back pant. You must stretch the back inseam from the crotch to the knee when attaching it to the front inseam."  From here

Offline marciae

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2012, 06:56:51 PM »
If the pattern doesn't have a "stretch" factor - as a lot of patterns are no longer showing - you can steaa/press the crotch area and work out some fabric - then I recut the back crotch and inseam.  Sometimes as much as a couple of inches will be pressed out - that's if you're doing couture.  However, I tend to do it on a lot of pants.
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...  'Oh darn ........ she's awake!!'
Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2012, 07:02:55 PM »
If the pattern doesn't have a "stretch" factor - as a lot of patterns are no longer showing - you can steaa/press the crotch area and work out some fabric - then I recut the back crotch and inseam.  Sometimes as much as a couple of inches will be pressed out - that's if you're doing couture.  However, I tend to do it on a lot of pants.
Really?  I don't think you've mentioned that before.  I did see Louise Cuttings recommendation for doing this to linen, but I never ever tried it.  I don't always have excess under the butt either, depends on the pattern. 

Offline sdBev

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2012, 07:04:38 PM »
I think I need to go back to the pattern and do some more meauring.  I did not measure the inseams to start with, so I don't know if the pattern is drawn with a longer back seam or if my alterations made it longer.

Offline 2busy2sew

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2012, 04:32:58 PM »
Bev, I looked for info on this in Making Trousers for Men & Women by David Page Coffin.  Under the heading "Shaping the Legs" on pp 117-118, he talks about being told by a tailoring expert to "ease the fronts to the backs above the knee and the backs to the fronts below the knee."  However, he says he tried it and saw no difference in either wearing comfort or drape of the finished pants.  He feels that any shaping that's done in constructing pants is negated when the pants are worn.  Coffin's research on methods tends to be pretty extensive -- he examines RTW and hand-tailored garments, then tries techniques several times before writing about them, so when he says he's tried this and it makes no difference, I'd suspect that it's been tried with several different fabrics and in several different styles (trousers, slacks, etc.), and I'd be pretty confident that it really doesn't make a difference.  He acknowledges that Sandra Betzina is the only contemporary sewing writer who discusses shaping pants during the construction process, and that her book Power Sewing Step-by-Step "has some interesting suggestions," so you might want to check that out also.

Offline Susan in Saint John

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2012, 05:17:51 PM »
I've just been reviewing Claire Schaffer's "couture" pant patterns for Vogue.  She shapes the front crease line, stretches the back crotch seam, and stretches the upper portion of the back inseam.  Of course, this shaping process will only work on certain fabrics -- wools for sure.

I wonder if some of this depends on the shape of the person.  E.g, someone with a flat seat would need less shaping than someone with a fuller seat.

As a practical matter, if you compare the inseam lengths of a pattern, you can see if the designer intended the back inseam to be stretched.  However, since the back inseam is usually more bias than the front inseam above the knee, when the pieces are cut, the back inseam may relax more making stretching unnecessary.

David Coffin is probably right that it doesn't matter.

Offline marciae

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2012, 08:19:38 PM »
FWIW - as I stated above - sometimes I stretch - but usually I don't.  Especially now that I just don't make woolen couture pants.  When I did do the stretch, steaming, recutting - I just was never quite sure it did all it was supposed to do.  At that time I figured it was operator error - but now I'm now so sure.  Oh, and I 'always' boiled my zipper to make sure it didn't change sizes after installed!! ;D
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...  'Oh darn ........ she's awake!!'
Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul

Offline 123 patterns

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2012, 09:29:37 PM »
I think 2busy2sew & David Page Coffin got it right. It really does not make a difference for RTW sewing. It has been used in tailoring when the fabric is pressed into a specific shape prior to sewing. If I remember correctly you are supposed to stretch the inseam during the pressing process to match the front inseam. It should not be eased in to the front when sewing. If you are going to do it, it shouldn't be more than 3/16" shorter than the front.
However, for the home sewing purpose, this is just the kind of stuff that "experts" like to sell sewers on, making it seem that these mysterious little tricks are a special industry secret. I would say that 98% of the time this technique is useless.

Offline ejvc

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2012, 10:22:48 PM »
I have a faint recollection about this -- Ann Rowley commented on the CS stretch pattern where you stretch that she would re-cut after stretching?  Perhaps you could post the question under the Ann's pearls of wisdom board and see if I remember correctly.
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Offline Susan in Saint John

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 04:19:34 PM »
"Classic Tailoring Techniques, A Construction Guide for Women's Wear" by Roberto Cabrera and Patricia Flaherty Meyers was recommended in David Coffin's book.  In the chapters on making jackets, there are a number of places where the fabric is eased/shrunk with steam to create shape.  However, in the chapter on constructing pants/trousers, the only reference to the inseams is simply to sew them and press them open -- no easing or stretching mentioned.

Offline theresa in tucson

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Re: Inseam Lengths
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2012, 01:19:20 AM »
Roberta Carr used to be a contributor to "Sew News" back when it looked like a newspaper.  I have an old article of hers where she details the stretching, steaming and trimming of a pair of pants, wool of course, that sounds just like what you are discussing.  The tailor's site, Cutter and Tailor, has lots on the same topic but again, they are dealing with wool.  I'm of the mind that unless I have an expert to give me hands on tutoring in iron work I'm not going to mess with it as it would probably make things worse.

A vintage men's tailoring book (circa 1949) has the trouser leg steamed and shrunk in one area and stretched in another on the same side.  One pass through a modern dry cleaners is bound to ruin whatever shape the original tailor put in.  So why bother?

 

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