Some like 'em tight...Some like 'em loose. Wearing ease in your pants always comes down to personal preference. And of course, it depends on the purpose and function of the pants...jeans vs. dress pants are intended to fit differently and have different amounts of ease.
Let's take a look at how to determine how much wearing ease you’d like or need to have when wearing pants.
Ladies – as you know when fitting and sewing pants, you always need to account for some room to move within the garment. This is called Wearing Ease. When you add interesting design features, like pleats, you are then adding additional ease, which is called Design Ease.
The amount of ease that any one individual requires is totally dependent on a number of factors. Your body frame, muscular structure, body fat, garment function and personal preference all play significant roles in determining how much ease you have for any given garment.
Here is an interesting way to help determine how much ease you’d like to begin with for a pants fitting muslin. Measure your low/full hips twice – once while standing – and once while sitting. The easiest way to do this is to take the hip circumference measurement first while standing. Then while you are still holding on to the tape measure, sit on an upright chair, and let the tape measure expand through your fingers as you lower yourself to the chair. The difference between your standing measurement and your sitting measurement is the approximate amount of ease you’ll need in your hip area.
This technique is going to apply primarily to working with woven fabrics. If you are sewing with stretch knit fabrics, depending on how stretchy the knit is, this ease amount will be reduced. If the knit is extremely stretchy, you may want next to no ease at all in your pants. Once again, this will be totally personal preference. However, when working with knit fabric, it’s always easier to give some ease to the pattern because that side seam can always be flattened if there’s too much, but if you cut the pattern without any ease at all, and then don’t like how close the fit is, you won’t be able to add it back in without ending up with skinny seam allowances.
How does this all apply when sewing pants with the Sure-Fit Designs™ Pants Kit master patterns? The SFD pants pattern allows approximately 2” (5cm) of low/full hip ease. (As your hip circumference gets larger, the ease increases slightly). Let’s take an example of 40” (102 cm) hips (when standing), and when sitting you expand to 43” (109 cm). This means you may want to add a little extra when marking your low/full hip dot on the master pattern. Using the 40” (102 cm) dot on the master pattern will result in a 42” (107 cm) wide hip circumference. Knowing you are going to use a woven fabric and knowing you need a little more sitting circumference ease, you would simply use the 41” (104 cm) dot in the low/full hip area only. This will automatically give you the 1” (2.5 cm) additional ease that you might like to have for comfort when sitting.
There will always be a fine line between getting a comfortable amount of ease for sitting, versus how the pant looks on your body when you are standing. Some times you’ll simply have to compromise.