Learn How to Make The Basic Pants Block, Part 3 (Bottoms & Thighs)

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Video Transcript

00:00:00:23 – 00:00:33:00

HI, this is Maria from dresspatternmaking.com It’s been a long while, but I finally found the time to come back to do the next video in drafting the Pants Block series. Now, there was originally only supposed to be three parts to this series, but I’m going to do a Douglas Adams and do a trilogy in five parts.

00:00:33:09 – 00:00:57:03

In part three, this video, I want to cover some details, some information I missed when drafting my block and in that process, talk about bottoms and thighs as they relate to the pants block. This also relates to Jane as both Jane and I do have something in common regarding bottoms and thighs. So if you’re interested in Jane’s block, besides looking at the next one when it comes out, number four, I suggest you watch this one to get that information.

00:00:57:12 – 00:01:19:20

I’ll mention it again in Jane’s, but I won’t go into the same detail as I will here. Since the issue relates to both Jane and I, it makes sense to cover in detail once. So in Part 4our, I’ll be going straight into drafting the block for Jane, in Part 5 I’ll draft the pants block for Anne. So first I’ll explain what I missed when drafting my block.

00:01:19:20 – 00:01:54:10

When I drafted the pets front, I used the Standard Figure measurements up to this point that you see on screen here. I said that these instructions up to this point were the same for all body types, and therefore I wasn’t going to repeat this again for me or for Jane or for. And when I finished the front for the Standard Figure, I started mine from this point. I didn’t go back to the beginning and start drawing a line from the waist to the ankle, from A to B, etc. I started from here, but there is something I neglected to mention or to point out when I started from here, and it relates to something I

00:01:54:10 – 00:02:19:01

covered when plotting the points from C to I, which are shown with a yellow highlight to draw your attention to them. In video 2, at about 4.5 minutes, when I was plotting point C to I, I said use your low hip measurement unless your widest measurement was at your crotch level and in that case use your widest measurement e.g. the measurement at your crotch depth.

00:02:19:22 – 00:02:45:13

So when I started here I had already plotted point C to I, and I should have mentioned that I was using the measurement around the crotch level, not my low hip measurement, but my crotch measurement. I should have reminded people that if they have my kind of figure – wheret widest at the crotch – that they should have done that too. Now what is more crucial is that I completely neglected to tell everyone that this applied also to the back as well.

00:02:45:22 – 00:03:05:17

So at 19 and 1/2 minutes into the video when I said, use your low hip measurement plus 1-inch divided by 4 when drafting the back. I should have also said the same thing as I said in the front. I should have said that if your largest measurement is at the crotch level, use your widest crotch level measurement instead of the low hip.

00:03:06:06 – 00:03:29:06

Now, given that that was for the Standard Figure, it might not have been so important, except when I drafted mine. I forgot to point out that I was using my crotch level circumference, upper thigh crotch level rather than the low hip. Now, since I didn’t give you all the details, others with my figure might not get the right result if they don’t use the correct larger measurements.

00:03:29:16 – 00:03:55:16

Now, the same issue – of being the largest around the crotch – also applies to Jane. And so I want to cover that before drafting Jane’s block in the next video. Therefore, I think it’s important to understand how this widest at the crotch level relates to drafting the block. And to do so, we need to talk about bottoms and thighs. So I want to do that before coming back and talking about the steps that I missed with my block.

00:03:56:16 – 00:04:16:20

As far as drafting pants go, it really helps to understand how the bottom and thighs relate to the crotch length if you want to get a good result. First, I want to revise and clarify my descriptions of the four figures that I decided to use as examples for drafting. Now I chose these out of the testing I did, particularly because they seem to cover most of the issues.

00:04:17:11 – 00:04:39:18

One of the most obvious ways the figures are different to the standard figure is the waist-hip proportion. My figure has a bigger difference between the waist and hips. Jane has a smaller difference and Anne has an even smaller difference. But she also has a much larger upper hip, which is actually her stomach. And now actually sorry, I’m going to go off onto a little bit of a tangent here for just a few minutes.

00:04:40:00 – 00:04:54:18

I had someone say to me, not that long ago that they thought my body shape was a pear and I had described my body here as a triangle. I thought someone watching this might go, hang on your a pear, not a triangle. So I did some research into that because I was actually surprised when I was described as a pear.

00:04:54:24 – 00:05:13:02

I had always thought that a pear shape had a small bust, therefore I just didn’t consider myself a pear. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a pear, but I just didn’t consider myself that. I went and did a Google search and I found a site called the Concept Wardrobe, and that site says that a pear has a proportionally smaller waist and large hips.

00:05:13:11 – 00:05:35:21

But it also says that the pair has a small bust. But the defining thing of the pair is having hips larger than your bust. So going by that definition, then my figure is a pear. But as the site did say, that not all bodies fit neatly into those categories. So I did some research and I came across this kind of description of bottoms where my figure is described as a triangle.

00:05:36:18 – 00:06:01:08

In my view, if you have a large difference between your waist and your hips, but your upper hip is proportionately smaller, your shape is more of a triangle. If the upper hip is also large, then that’s more of a pear shape. But look, it really doesn’t matter. It’s the measurements that matter. I just thought I’d explain that for those who might think my body shape is a pear, that you explain why I thought a triangle was a better way to describe it.

00:06:01:22 – 00:06:23:01

Now, the key thing I really wanted to cover here was these other differences between the standard figure and me, Jane and Anne. Now, the problem is, I realized when I came back to the slide months later, I realized it’s a bit confusing and a bit incorrect. For example, I had Small Waist down for Jane, and I said that because when I think of Jane who is slim, she looks like she has a small waist.

00:06:23:07 – 00:06:47:02

However, the issue is the proportion between the waist and the hips. And when talking about the proportion in comparison to the standard figure, then her waist isn’t small. It could be considered proportionately large for her hips. The other issue, which is highlighted in yellow here, is that I described all of our thighs as proportionally smaller. Now, this can be kind of confusing.

00:06:47:10 – 00:07:09:12

Well, it’s right. If you define the hips as the widest part of your body below the waist, in that case, in Anne has proportionally smaller thighs. But then that’s not really right because then the comparison is on her stomach rather than her hip. If you compare Anne’s thigh to her low hip, which for her makes sense, then she doesn’t have proportionally smaller thighs.

00:07:09:18 – 00:07:30:20

She’s about spot on. So I’ve crossed that out. Now, for those who are interested, the proportional relationship between the hip and the thigh on the Standard Figure – that is the Standard Figure that most block making instructions draft for where they determine the thigh as a percentage of the hip – that proportion is the thigh is 60% of the low hip measurement.

00:07:31:08 – 00:07:53:02

But then it becomes confusing if you’re using another part of your body as your low hip measurement, as in your stomach is the largest part of your body – below your waist that is – or around your crotch level is the largest part of your body. But for the Standard Figure, the low hip is two inches above the crotch and the thigh is 60% of that measurement.

00:07:53:04 – 00:08:12:22

And I’m talking about body measurements here. I’m not taking into account any ease. Now, I do plan on making a video eventually on the Standard Figure. I think it’s interesting and helpful to know how you differ to the Standard Figure, even if only to understand the fitting issues that you have in ready-to-wear clothing or sewing patterns.

00:08:13:19 – 00:08:42:06

Now, to be clear, not every garment manufacturer uses the same measurements. Not every designer drafts for the same figure. But the concept of starting with a figure, a set of measurements, and then grading those measurements to create different sizes, and therefore all sizes are proportional to the original – that’s a really important concept in pattern making. Now, before I go through the things I missed explaining when I was drafting my block, I want to talk about bottoms and thighs.

00:08:42:17 – 00:09:06:03

I wonder if anyone noticed a seeming contradiction when I described my figure and Jane’s figure, I said that the largest circumference was around my crotch level, which is the upper thigh level, but I have a proportionately smaller thigh. And this applies to Jane as well. So it might seem logical that those with really large thighs would end up with the largest circumference around the crotch and thighs.

00:09:06:03 – 00:09:27:03

And it might also seem unlikely that you’ve got small thighs, but your largest around your crotch and thigh area. So I want to cover that. If you look at the description of Jane and I, you’ll see that we share something in common. We both have a bottom. Some people might call it a saggy drop bottom, droopy bottom, overhanging bottom.

00:09:27:09 – 00:09:51:02

It’s where the bottom overhangs the thigh. Other ways to describe it is “A lack of fullness and projection in the top part of the buttock, creating an accentuated lower buttock fold” or “A portion of some of the majority of”, depending on your body ..“the buttock tissue is at the bottom half of the buttock.” My summary description: A bottom that overhangs the thigh with a lower buttock fold.

00:09:51:21 – 00:10:19:11

And you can actually have both projection and a drop as well. But maybe you can see from this image how it’s possible to have a relatively smaller upper thighs, but be the widest around your crotch level. It’s because in taking that circumference measurement around your crotch level, you capture some of that overhanging buttock. But when you take the thigh measurement, it’s underneath the buttock and the thigh is smaller.

00:10:19:20 – 00:10:49:18

Now you can also have – which kind of accentuate or even make that , um, circumference measure larger – you can have that larger upper thigh that up the top above where your thigh measurement is. It’s kind of like a muscular forward thrusting, very high upper thigh. That’s indicated by that dashed pink line at the front. Now, in my life, I have come across people who think that having a drop bottom, a droopy bottom, is a moral failing, as in you’re lazy…

00:10:49:18 – 00:11:08:22

..you don’t exercise…. you eat too much. You are fat. I don’t know how many times I was told in my twenties when I used to go to aerobics five times a week, walking an hour every day and swim and ride a bike and go to the gym. That I really should do some exercises to lift that bottom. As I said, I was very active.

00:11:08:22 – 00:11:29:16

I was going to aerobics, I was going to the gym. I was walking a lot. The fact that my bottom was still like that showed me that it was my bottom. And because someone decided that my body shape was somehow wrong and I needed to do specific exercises to fix it. Well, the thing is, too, that it does get worse with age and gravity, but.

00:11:29:16 – 00:11:47:19

Well, it is what it is. And when I was young, the Betty Grable bottom was the only one that was acceptable. Kim Kardashian would have hell in my town growing up. Fashion changes, the ideal body changes. It’s different from country to country, culture to culture. Who knows? In 50 years time, the drop bottom might be considered the only one to have … whatever!!

00:11:48:13 – 00:12:05:13

And I want to share a story to show you that I’ve had this figure always, and that even when I’m really skinny, I have the drop-bottom. So on the left hand side, the black and white photo is me at 11 years old. I have very few photos of myself at that age. Most of my childhood photos were lost in the fire.

00:12:05:19 – 00:12:23:11

But these photos show that I was not fat. Absolutely not fat. Somewhere between the photo on the left, the black and white one, and the photo on the right. Someone said something to me, and I know it happened between those times because I know by the time I was wearing that bikini on the right, I was very self-conscious about my bottom.

00:12:24:12 – 00:12:42:22

So one hot summer’s day in the middle of the Australian summer, in the middle of the Australian desert. Well, semi-arid desert of Central Australia. I was at home either on the weekend or the summer holidays and I was wearing a bikini around the house. We didn’t have air conditioning in those days. The only people in the house were me.

00:12:43:05 – 00:13:15:24

My sister, who was four years older than me and her friend, who I think was a couple of years older than her. So Ruth, my sister’s friend, looked at me as I was walking away from her down the hall, and she said to me, quote, and she said it laughing, “Maria, your backside looks like it’s dribbling down the backs of your legs”. Which is to say, even at that weight, I still had a drop bottom. In order to fill the criteria of being a dropped bottom, it needs to be low in the middle so that it makes your back crotch level lower than your front crotch level.

00:13:16:23 – 00:13:32:18

Looking at the woman on the left from behind, and if you look at photos of women in bikinis on the Internet, you often do see this kind of figure where you can see right through the woman’s bottom to her front pubis, whereas the woman on the right has the opposite. No way can you see her front from behind.

00:13:32:24 – 00:13:56:05

On the contrary, if you looked at her from the front, you would see her bottom. So as it relates to pants, the drop bottom affects the crotch length and the angle of the crotch from front to back. For some people, the back and front crotch level are at the same level. For some people, the back needs to be lower or much lower, and for some people the back crotch level needs to be higher than the front.

00:13:57:01 – 00:14:20:09

This is my block and in the flat 2D form, it looks like the back is only slightly lower than the front at the crotch level. Basically, they really do look like they’re on the same level. But in reality, when I wear this, the waist will drop down to the waist level, which is the blue line, and the back crotch will drop down and will fall below the level of my front crotch.

00:14:20:10 – 00:14:47:12

It would go under my bottom and back up to meet the front. Of course, that’s not an exact representation of what would happen in 3D. Of course the back would curve back around, but it’s very hard to give an exact representation in two dimensions. I’m just trying to give you a rough idea of how that crotch length is used by a drop bottom. With a bottom that just protrudes rather than drops, it would curve out rather than down and end up on the same level as the front.

00:14:47:24 – 00:15:05:15

There is an adjustment that some people use for the drop bottom. You can draw the crotch line so that it mimics what’s actually happening with the shape at the bottom, as in you’re going underneath and back up. So you dip down and take some of the fabric out from under the bottom. The length you gain by dipping down with that crotch length line, you take off the top.

00:15:05:23 – 00:15:26:01

This way you’ll get the crotch length and take out some of the fabric underneath the bottom. This adjustment is done to reduce the bagginess that is common with the drop bottom. The bagginess is due to the weight of the bottom pulling the fabric down. The problem with that is the length you need when you’re standing up is less than the length you need.

00:15:26:01 – 00:15:50:04

When you’re sitting down. If you make that adjustment and depending on how much you do, how much your bottom drops, how much bagginess you’re trying to get rid of, when you sit down, you’ll lose a lot of leg length. For me, it could end up halfway up my shin. Now this is a photo just to show you the difference between my front crotch level, which is the top line and my back crotch level, which is the bottom line.

00:15:50:23 – 00:16:12:21

Some of that is due to drop and some of that is due to protrusion. On the left in green is Jane’s final block. On the right in brown is the block draft to Jane’s measurements. But using standard block making instructions based on her hip measurements. So basically what the standard figure would look like with Jane’s hip, although Jane doesn’t have a big bottom, it doesn’t protrude.

00:16:13:03 – 00:16:32:03

She does have a drop bottom, which explains why her cropped length is longer than the standard figure. Now I want to talk about the opposite issue. This woman has the opposite of the drop bottom. From behind, you can see her front crotch level. For her, when you look at the flat two D block again, it may look like the crotch from front to back is on the same level.

00:16:32:03 – 00:16:55:16

But look at the center back waist level. It is lower than the front. When she puts pants on the center back waist would be pulled up and the crotch curve would look like the opposite of the drop bottom. He’s the bottom and he’s the drop front, Oh, hang on.. the drop front isn’t a real term – I just coined it to use as the opposite of a drop bottom.

00:16:55:16 – 00:17:12:14

And now I just want to clarify because when I say level, some people might look at this and say, well, they joined at one point. So they are on the same level. I’m talking about the lowest level of the bottom as measured up from the floor compared to the level of the front pubic bone measured up from the floor.

00:17:12:24 – 00:17:35:15

Before I move on to covering the things that I missed explaining when drafting my block, I’ve just got three images that I find really interesting and maybe others will find interesting too. The three images are pants from over 120 years ago. The first one is for men, but number two and three are ladies riding trousers. And it’s really interesting to look at the crotch, the back crotch on these images.

00:17:35:22 – 00:18:00:16

So this first one, look at how tilted back that back crotch is and how long it is compared to the front. And look at these ladies riding trousers from the Keystone system for ladies garments in 1891. Look at that back crotch. Look at the length and the tilt. I’m given that this book comes with instructions for drafting that I think I’ll have to try and draft that some time.

00:18:01:02 – 00:18:35:24

And finally look at the difference at the front crotch length and the back crotch length for these ladies riding trousers in 1892. I think Riding Trousers really need to be comfortable. So a nice long back crotch length will help with that. So one of the things that I neglected to mention when I was drafting my block in Video 2… So as I mentioned at the very beginning of this video, in (Pants) Video 2 at 4 minutes, 30 seconds of Video 2, I covered plotting the point seat I and I said use your low measurement plus 1-inch divided by 4.

00:18:36:21 – 00:19:03:16

But the exception was and there was only one exception. If your largest circumference is actually around your crotch/thigh area. So if you do actually have really big thighs and or you have a drop bottom or for whatever reason, your largest measurement is around your crotch and thigh, then use that larger measurement. So I neglected to tell you that I had done that when I started drafting my front.

00:19:03:16 – 00:19:36:02

And just a note here, C to I is the width of the foundation. Now, just in case someone remembers me saying something along the lines of it not being a good idea to use the widest part of your body for the width of your foundation. When I said that, it was a completely different context – That was referring to block making instructions that basically use the hip to determine what the thigh is, In that context, if I use my largest circumference to draft the block I’d end up with an additional 2-inches of ease in the thigh.

00:19:36:06 – 00:19:54:03

So yes, that’s a completely different thing. So we’ll go back to what I was saying for my block in my system. Pants are usually drafted to fit the hip, which is two inches above the crotch. So in ready-to-wear clothing, if it fits my hip and I’m larger down in the crotch, then obviously it pulls around the crotch.

00:19:54:15 – 00:20:18:24

Now point I is where the pant starts to bifurcate – as in it reaches the middle of my body, starts to turn in around my leg and goes between my legs. So obviously then if I use the smaller measurement, my low hip measurement from C to I, then it will start to turn in too soon and I will get that strain and pulling across my thigh.

00:20:19:13 – 00:20:39:24

So therefore I need to plot C to I to reflect what my actual body width is there at that point, before the fabric turns and goes between my legs. So the orange outline is what I want, what will suit my body. The green shading is what I get if I use my lower hip up above for the width of my foundation.

00:20:40:04 – 00:20:59:19

Which leads me on to the second thing I neglected to cover when I was drafting my block. Because I am smaller at the lower hip, I need to take that into account when I do my waist shaping. Now, when I show you my waist shaping, I didn’t actually show you me taking into account my low hip, the fact that I needed to take some ease out at that level.

00:21:00:18 – 00:21:29:21

I did take away a bit here, but then I added a bit on the outside. So when I compare the measurement J to M, which is my crotch level width to the pink arrow, which is the width of my block at the low hip, then the difference is 3/8 of an inch. So I actually have removed 3/8 of an inch from my lower hip, given that my lower hip is 1 and 1/2 inches smaller than my crotch level width, 1 and 1/2 inches divided by four is 3/8 of an inch.

00:21:29:21 – 00:21:49:06

So I need to remove 3/8 of an inch from the front and 3/8 of an inch from the back. Now however, if you find it hard to get the right shape or curve when you’re trying to remove ease here in the low hip, you don’t have to distribute it evenly between the front and the back. You could take off more at the front, less at the back or more in the back and less in the front.

00:21:49:18 – 00:22:09:13

That’s one thing. Then when I got to the back, I again neglected to tell you that D to I, for me was my crotch level circumference plus 1-inch divided by 4, not my low hip measurement, plus 1-inch divided by four. And so then like the front and I neglected to show you the ease being taken out of the low hip.

00:22:10:03 – 00:22:41:19

Having said that, this brings me to an extremely important point for those with really curvy figures. The pink line you see is my low hip line, and it should be, according to what I just told you in the previous slide, 3/8 of an inch smaller than D to I. In fact it’s exactly the same. Therefore I’ve apparently only taken out three quarters of an inch from my low hip at the front instead of one and a half inches that I’m supposed to need to take out, because my low hip is one of the half inches smaller than my crotch level circumference.

00:22:42:20 – 00:23:02:21

Now I have a story to tell. When I first drafted the block and I drafted a one and a half inches less than the crotch depth circumference, it would consistently seem to be too tight in the low hip. And I would measure myself in the low hip again and again and again. I kept on coming up with it was one and a half inches less than my crotch depth circumference.

00:23:02:21 – 00:23:34:07

But then when I’d make the block, it always seemed too tight when I use that measurement and I will show you now why that is. I think maybe you can see what the problem is. The pink line is the correct measurement, but when I apply that measurement to the green line will in, it’s incorrect. Now let me just say that generally what you see on the flat 2D block isn’t always the same as the 3D representation.

00:23:34:07 – 00:23:58:02

So probably if I’d have turned my block over and traced it out and I saw that, I would have thought, I know when it’s on the body that will be a curve. But for me it just didn’t seem to do that. As you can see by my toile and the lines on my toile. Now in this image, I’ve actually put the type measure right around that that original green line.

00:23:58:24 – 00:24:19:14

And you can see there that the tape measure kind of sits away from the body and what I want to say is, when you’ve got a really curvy body, sometimes part of the problem is the the tape measure wants to sit flat. So sometimes the tape measure will ride up at the back more than the front. So sometimes you’re taking an incorrect measurement.

00:24:20:01 – 00:24:48:24

But sometimes the problem is, too, that what you’ll think you’re measuring when you put it on the block, that’s not what where it ends up. So here are the takeaways from that last point. (1) you must draw all the lines from the block onto your toile and (2) measure yourself not only before making the toile, but with the toile on and see whether the tape measure is following those lines on the wall, especially if you are curvy.

00:24:49:14 – 00:25:14:24

So just a final summary. Bottoms and thighs. One crutch length is determined by your thigh thighs, buttock protrusion and buttock drop. And if you measure the largest around your crotch area, this can be due to larger than normal upper thighs, buttocks that overhang the thigh, protruding front thigh muscle or fat at the crotch level above upper thigh as it pertains to drafting pants, or ….. more than one of the above.

00:25:15:21 – 00:25:51:21

The next video will be drafting the block for Jane. Hopefully that video will be up very soon. So that’s the end of this video. This is Maria from Dresspatternmaking. Chao.

Beautiful Dreamer, wake unto me
Starlight and dew drops are waiting for thee.
Sounds of the rude world, heard in


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