Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Remove Extra Fabric at the Crotch

I remember sitting in American History in 11th grade, wearing a pair of jeans that looked awful unless I was standing.  There was a horrible pouch of fabric right above the crotch when I sat and it made me feel like the pants were made roomy in that area for the opposite gender.  This is not what an already self-conscious teen needed.  Wouldn't it have been nice if I'd known why they fit incorrectly? ...And had known how to make pants that didn't do that?

A baggy crotch from Kelly at Alterations Needed:

Photo from Alterations Needed
My first pants muslin had a baggy crotch:

 The waist and hips were too big for me, so I took them in on the side seams, and this made the crotch baggier.  You can see horizontal folds above the crotch but also folds at the hips.  This is because I did my alterations in the WRONG direction.   The correct way to alter pants is to fix the centers first, then move outward.  I revisited my pattern.  I knew that even before I took the sides in, I had a baggy crotch and needed a flat front adjustment.  

There are a couple of ways to fix this problem.  First, try scooping some fabric out of the crotch curve:

If this does not get rid of the horizontal folds, you can try the Flat Front Adjustment:

Draw a line from the sharpest part of the curve to the side seam.  Cut to but not through the hip edge.  Use the top piece as a hinge, and move it towards the crotch.  Essentially, what you are doing is taking out a triangle (or a dart) of fabric, starting at the sharpest part of the curve.  This shortens the crotch at the sharpest part of the curve, thus removing the extra fabric at the crotch.

If you are confused, try this video.  If you are just starting to get it, DON'T keep reading, because it gets more complicated below.


Going back to my pattern....

The second go-around I omitted the pockets and the fly front (just for muslining purposes):

I then discovered that I did not have enough length in the front to accommodate for my belly, so I did a Full Front Adjustment:

The second muslin is much better.  The pants fit in the waist and the tummy area.  However, there are still horizontal folds at the crotch. *%@!!!  *Sigh.*  Did I scoop too much out at the crotch?  Is the inside of my leg too baggy?  Please share you comments below if you have any advice for me.  I'm totally willing to do a couple more muslins until I get it right.


  1. I have this same issue, being petite myself. I am enjoying reading your progress on this and look forward to your next installment. I avoid making pants for this reason.

  2. Hey, I just stumbled upon your blog today. Glad to know there are other petite ladies out there that struggle with the same issues. The front crotch curve is the bane of my existence, but after many trials and error and intense discussion with pant pros, I've come to a couple of conclusions that vary from what one expects from the standard sewing pattern. If I may- #1- the front crotch should not look like a perfect "J". the curve should be very subtle. #2- typical 5/8" seam allowance contributes a lot to the problems. It fights the curves by restricting them from conforming to the body, especially if they are open pressed. And for the love of all that is holy, please do not clip the seam allowance curves in this area. It weakens the seams. 3/8" seam allowance is really ideal.
    Anyway,I hope this is helpful rather than preachy.

  3. I have had such a hard time with the extra fabric at the crotch. At 5'8" I don't consider myself petite, but this was just what I needed. I will be using the flat front adjustment from now on. Thanks a million!

  4. It looks like your crotch depth is too long as is your crotch extension for a petite lady I would say your extension shouldnt be much more that an inch and a half and taking the depth measurement on your muslin is a matter of pinning out the extra folds at the front curve tapering at the side seam, close this amount on your paper pattern this will tilt CF forward, straighten it out and check your waist measurement add to the side seam whatever you lost by adjusting CF

  5. Finally, someone explains in words I understand!
    I struggle so much to get trousers to fit!


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