Figure A. My figure.
Take note of the pencil markings at the high natural waist (35″) and the low waist (40″). These are sketches are obviously not accurate. It’s just to help you get the idea because I can’t take pictures of myself with my cellphone until I get better at yoga.
Figure B. Pants Fitting
This is how most of my pants currently fit me. Due to ready to wear jeans being low waisted typically, and the amount of time I have spent chasing and picking up a toddler over the past two years, most of Seattle has seen my lower (low!) back (underpants!) According to my measurements and fitting books, I have a sway back. My chiropractor would agree. I have a curvy tail bone. So my pants barely cover my bum and tend to curve under my belly, riding along a c-section scar and reminding me I made a baby.
Figure C. How patterns fit
So this is the “natural ride” of many sewing shorts patterns (or pants or skirts.) Something ready to wear calls mid-waist and other various terms that just mean’s it’s not high waisted and it’s not low waisted. It’s useless. When I sew a pattern, based on my measurements (37″ at belly and 49″ at low hip) I get gigantic amounts of fabric pooling around my front crotch. Seriously. Handfuls of fabric. This always happen in ready to wear clothes too.
Figure D. Gravity Works
So I sew up the pattern and all seems well until about an hour into wearing them at which point gravity has fought the good fight (is gravity even on the good side? Is it more like Darth Vader Good-Bad-Good?) and the shorts slip down past my belly and lay at this low curve below my stomach but up high on my back. This is unattractive. Very unappealing. I can’t describe it very well, but it looks like I am hiding a gremlin in my shorts, or Yoda, if we are keeping with my Star Wars references. (Ha! Better than a Wookie!) (Ha! Laugh it up fuzzball!)
Figure E1. The Maybe Fix
So I could fight gravity and create (or ideally find!) a pattern to sew shorts that hits my real waist, which is 15″ smaller than my widest hip point. 15″ of booty. (Luke: Boy, it’s lucky you have these compartments. Han Solo: I use them for smuggling.) But then I am obligated to insert a zipper or closure to ensure the shorts will actually function and pass over my booty and also fit around my waist. I have lots of booty. Expect I am trying to make pull on elastic shorts/pants/skirts. Do you have a pattern that you like that is like this? Kinda vintage high waisted slim fitting shorts?
Figure E2. The Failed Fix
I could make a pattern that hits me at my mysterious “mid waist” above my belly button over my belly at a decent no-peek-a-boo height and learn to adjust/slim down the crotch curves. Except I have tried this a few times and can’t make it work. It creates unpleasant drag lines everywhere. I want to feel like Leia, not like Jabba.
Figure F. The future?
So this is my last idea, because I don’t have any technical sewing instruction. I could make a slim fitting short that has a super short front crotch length, with a decent high back crotch length to keep things PG. Then I would just ignore my belly hanging out (which it has done in ready to wear my entire life) or wear really long shirts (which is my fashion fix for everything. Long tank tops.) However, I fear it won’t sit right. I have tried something like this on my toddler and for myself when I was pregnant, and the fabric wouldn’t stay high enough in back, dragging down in front instead around my lower belly. This shifted the entire short backwards, hence creating draglines.
It’s so frustrating because I know how to sew but not what to sew. I want to make clothes that make me feel attractive and comfortable (do those exist in woven fabrics? All I wear are knits!) and that I can construct without having to use the Force. I think my very curvy body won’t change out of this shape, even as I work out and loose size. I have had a low belly and low wide hips as long as I can recall. My jeans always come apart at the base of the zipper first. It’s just how I am made. So I am asking for your help to fix this issue. I just don’t know any fitting techniques or patterns that could help me make shorts that are flattering and smooth out my lumps and keep all my good bits covered and don’t fall down. If YOU have any ideas, please share it with me! It’s almost 2am and I have read my three fitting books into blurry images trying to figure this out.
I need a sewing mentor.