Fitting Pants When You Have a Flat Bottom

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I’ve had a couple of reader requests recently about help for fitting pants over their flat bottoms.  I too have this as an issue, and find that the extra fabric that my butt doesn’t fill out just pools unattractively underneath my bottom.

One thing I’ve taken to doing more so that this is not an issue is wearing skirts and dresses most of the time.  I’ve found with jeans that there needs to be good stretch in the denim so that they fit snugly and don’t sag and bag (for me Jag and Country Road jeans fit well).

Having done some research on the ‘net, I’ve found that it is a problem that is difficult to alter completely out of an existing pant, but can be something that a pattern is altered for when making a pair of trousers.

There needs to be less room in the seat, and so as the pattern is cut, alterations are made to the pattern to remove some of the excess fabric at the cutting stage.

If you are a sewer, then I’m sure that you’ll find lots of help and discussions here http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/sewingclasses/board.pl?t=29657  http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php/topic,2106.35.html.  and I also found this http://youlookfab.com/welookfab/topic/old-flat-fannie-here


I also found this for altering an existing pair of pants http://artisanssquare.com/sg/index.php?topic=4380.msg69664

The reality is that women’s bodies are complicated and so there is no one size fits all approach, and this is why as many women are different shapes and sizes through the waist, hips, buttocks, thighs area that pants can be so difficult to buy off the rack.

If any of you lovely sewers would like to put in you 2c worth I’d love for you to comment.

Comments

  1. Really interesting subject, I. In truth, I don't have a flat bum and I mainly sew dresses, tops and skirts (only made yoga pants in the trouser category). I'm not really qualified to weigh in on this but I do agree – with my rudimentary understanding of sewing – that the best way to deal with the issue would be at the fabric cutting stage. It's because you have to build the curve into the pattern, you can't just take in seams after the fact. It's kind of like having a full bust and altering for that (more lumps!). It's a complicated pattern adjustment that impacts the fabric before you sew. Afterwards, there's not much you can do to fix the issue.

  2. ChristineB says:

    I recently ran into this problem sewing a pair of jeans, and posted about it on my blog:

    http://knitsewwhat.blogspot.com/2010/08/jeans-part-i.html

    It was really disappointing to realize there was nothing that could be done to fix it after I had cut them out, but at least now I know what I need to do to avoid the problem in the future.

    In addition to a somewhat flat butt, I have to alter for high hip (H-shape). I've had two custom pants patterns made, which have been a huge help. I use the hip and crotch curves on them to alter commercial pants patterns – I just trace those areas from my TNT pants onto the new pattern.

  3. Oh man, this is SO the story of my derriere! I had one tailor work wonders on a pair of trousers. I took them in just to be hemmed but he also did a little nipping at the waist and in the seat. I have no idea what he did, but suddenly, they weren't sagging in the butt! He said he basically "took it in a little at the crotch seam and back thigh." I wasn't sewing at the time, so didn't get specifics from him. He did the same to another pair of pants and then I moved away. I have long blamed my flat butt on being overweight, but as I am now (finally!) dropping that weight and a perky round butt is in fact NOT revealing itself, I guess it really wasn't just "hidden."

  4. As a different way of addressing the flat butt issue, I have found that yoga has mysteriously shifted my padding and I fit my jeans and pants better than I used to (always had the sagging thing before). I can't sew to save my life, but if I find a pair of pants that fit well, I have them copied …

  5. I don't know the brand you like but J Jill's authentic jeans work well for my pancake rear. I do sew and there are two issues with a flat rear end, one of which is that our pelvis tilts forward, the second one is that we are just flat back there! The first is actually a harder one to fit but it can also affect skirts as well.

  6. Pants are easier than jeans to alter after the fact for this. The waist band is removed from side seam to side seam and the cb is pulled up and tapered into the side seam. This works for tilted pelvis. The flat rear end can be taken in at the side seams and cb depending on how much. Then the waistband is sewn back on. All this is much easier to accomplish if you have a two piece waistband like a man's.

  7. lyrebirdgully says:

    Imogen and all you commentators who sew, thanks for the great tips and explanations on this topic. I don't sew, but I definitely have a better understanding now of how to approach the fitting issues associated with my flat bum.

  8. Not a sewer but one whose H shape/long rise/baby got very-little-back rear has me moving in the direction of custom pants.

    [Shall we not talk about the pants alteration I got which made my rear view look great for 5 seconds, then gave me a wedgie to end all wedgies when the waist crept up to my equally-sized ribcage?]

    ANYWAY: I have this link bookmarked. Diagrams look useful for those that can interpret such things!

    Making Perfect Pants, New Mexico State U:
    http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/C-227.html

  9. Vix

    Ah yes the wedgie. I do NOT have a flat bum, but I am an H with a big bum. Anyone know how to escape the wedgies? I can bigger pants but even taking in the waist leaves me drowning in my pants and STILL getting a wedgie.

    Robin

    • Hello! Ahh the pain of finding or making jeans/pants that fit! You can get rid of the wedgie by adjusting the back crotch curve!

      I do this by turning the pants inside out, putting one leg inside the other to make available the crotch curve, and marking the back curve to be less of a round curve and more of a right angle with just a small curve to come off the perpendicular center back line onto the horizontal line even with the top of the back leg where it joins to the top of the front leg, right under the “water release valve” area! This will remove excess fabric that has no where else to go except into the wedgie area!

      To adjust for high hips as well, if the pants have elastic waist, undo the stitching that holds the waist fold-over down except for about 7″ in the front. Let it flip up and put on the pants. Check the fit with the additional fabric released now speading up over the high hips- turn around and look at the rear view using a smaller hand-held mirror. True, you will not be able to wear tops tucked into the waist after you do the fabric release procedure, but the fit should be good enough to just go with it and wear tops that cover the waist area. Hope this helps you out!
      Patty recently posted..Take the FABruary Style ChallengeMy Profile

  10. Robin –

    With the disclaimer that this is a workaround and NOT ideal….

    For me to escape the wedgie (too short rise) issue the pants have to sit lower on my hips than intended.

    Except when I accidentally fail to communicate with a tailor (sigh), I *never* fit to my (ridiculously high) waist in pants, only in (select) skirts. Alas, weight fluctuations are hell on this faux-solution as the pants don't "drop" as they should…yeeeow.

    As you can imagine, high-waisted pants were the bane of my young self — I assume the same is/was true for you?

    Maybe others will have better/more elegant solutions for us…though I'm betting "go custom" will be the top answer.

  11. Vix

    I have tried to wear them lower but they ride up my H body. And give me a wedgie. If I knew what to tell the tailor maybe I could find a solution (my favorite guy speaks very little English but we somehow communicate nonetheless). I saw someplace else a perfect explanation (but the cure is making your own pants): I have a C cup butt in a B cup trouser.

    Robin

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