Most of us don’t fall into one straight size for a pattern, and thankfully the beauty of sewing our own clothes is that we have the option to grade between sizes to achieve a better fit! Today I want to show you how (and when) to grade the Arden Pants. This pattern features an angled pocket opening that is the same across all sizes, which could be confusing to know what to do with if you are trying to grade up or down. But fear not! This adjustment is easier than you think, and I am going to show you how.
Do I need to grade between sizes?
First off, how do you know when should you grade between sizes? In the case of Arden, we recommend picking a size based on your hip measurement. This is because the pants are meant to be pulled over the hips, and the finished waistband (prior to inserting elastic) is the same circumference as the hips. If your waist measurement is smaller than your hips and you select a size based on your waist measurement, the finished waistband won’t be big enough to pull the pants on! For this reason, we don’t recommend grading the Arden Pants if your waist is smaller than your hips. In this case, you can adjust the fit of the waist with the elastic or drawstring.
However, if your hip measurement falls into a smaller size than your waist measurement, you can grade between sizes to achieve the fit you want. First, determine which sizes you need to grade between by comparing your measurements to the Arden Pants measurements table. Using layers function in Adobe Acrobat, choose the sizes you need to print and turn the rest off. Print and assemble your pattern as usual.
Adjusting the Pattern
Let’s start with the back piece. Starting at the side seam at the waist, draw a line from the larger size down to the hip of the smaller size. Blend the line with the side seam of the smaller size. The line shouldn’t be straight and should have a slight curve to it. Do not cut the pattern piece out yet and set it aside.
To adjust the front, cut out the front pocket piece in its entirety, and the front pant piece along the waist and the pocket opening in the larger size. You can leave the rest of the front pattern piece uncut until the adjustments are done.
Place the front leg piece on top of the pocket piece with the side seam of the pocket piece laying underneath the pocket opening on the front pant. Line the pattern pieces up along the waist and side. The two pattern pieces will be perfectly aligned starting from the center notch on the pocket piece. Note that the front pant will cover the placement notch on the pocket and the pocket will slightly peek out on the right side of the front pant. Don’t worry, this is what it should look like. If you want, you can pin the paper pattern pieces together with pins to stop them from shifting.
Starting at the side waist of the pocket draw a slightly curved line, blending it down to the hip of the smaller size. Don’t unpin the pattern pieces just yet.
Check Point: Before cutting the front piece out, check to make sure the new side seams on both the front and back legs are the same length. Make sure the curves look the same and adjust them as needed.
Optional: The new side seam will take some length out of the pocket opening and it is okay. If you want to keep the length, draw a horizontal line perpendicular to the grainline at the bottom of the original pocket opening. Mark the spot where this line intersects with the new side seam. Redraw the pocket opening by connecting the top of the pocket opening of the larger size with the spot you just marked.
Congrats, the adjustments to the front pant are now done! You can now cut out the front and back pant leg pieces and set them aside.
Next, we need to make sure our pockets are adjusted correctly. Start by folding the pocket piece at the middle notches. You will see that the side seams of the pocket no longer line up and the side seam on the side where the pocket opening is sticks out. Trace the new side seam onto this side and cut off the excess.
If you have decided to adjust the length of the pocket opening on the pant front, you will need to adjust the pocket opening on the front pocket piece as well. Place the pocket piece behind the pant leg, pocket opening side to pocket opening side. Line up the top and the side seam. At the pocket opening, a little bit of pocket piece will stick out. Trace the new pocket opening line from the front pant onto the pocket and cut excess off.
Finally, cut out the rest of the pattern pieces as follows:
- Back waistband, cut the larger size
- Front waistband, cut the larger size
- Cuff (Views B, C), cut the smaller size
- Back pocket, up to you!
Hooray! You’ve successfully graded between sizes on the Arden Pants pattern!
Hi! what if I fall between sizes? should I go for the bigger hip size or the smaller (I’m between the size 16 and 18 the hip, and between size 14 and 16 for the waist)
I would suggest cutting in between the sizes to get the most accurate fit. You can draw a custom cut line in between the sizes to make your own! If you would prefer to use the sizes provided (totally cool too), I would suggest sizing up to the 16. Thanks!
I made a muslin of the Arden pants using straight size 10. My hips are 38” (size 10) and waist 34” (size 16). The front of the pants looked nice, but the back terrible. Lots of drag lines under the butt. Would grading between sizes help this? I tried scooping the back crotch curve with no change. Also extending the curve with maybe a little improvement.
Thanks for sewing Arden! This pattern has a relaxed fit in the bum, so some excess fabric here is normal. You may need to do a flat seat adjustment to get some of that excess out. I hope that helps!
For Hip measurement, Are your patterns using the High Hip or around the widest part? I made the Arden pants a year ago and was a bit snug both around the widest part and my calves. Thinking I will have to use the wider hip measurement.
Hi Jane, Yes we use the widest part of the hip/bum as the “hip” measurement. Thanks!