DISCLAIMER:  This is in no way intended to be a complete description of all the different issues regarding crotch fit.  It is ONLY a discussion of my own personal journey and the conclusions I have come to.  I hope it will help you if you are new at sewing.  It sure would have helped me when I was a new sewer.

First, you need to watch these two videos so you can learn HOW to make your "fish bowl" (as Phylly calls it).  You cannot make the corrections to your pants pattern if you don't have the "fish bowl".

#1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv7F111VHUQ

#2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-OKoV3PAs

The book referenced in the video is:  Fitting & Pattern Alteration by Elizabeth Liechty, Judith Rasband and Della Pottberg-Steineckert

As I understand it, this is a college course book.  I know Lorraine Henry sells it at her shows.  You can google it to find other sources.  Phylly and I both have it, and we HIGHLY recommend it.  Warning:  It is about $100.

This tutorial teaches you about the crotch curve information in this book as I have applied it to my patterns.  There is MUCH, MUCH more about every kind of alteration and correction imagineable in the book.

Now, you need to draw your bowls -- hopefully, you have a bendy curve.  By the way, you have to put the three rubberbands on the curve yourself -- they don't come with it.

Here is a picture of my bowl next to Phylly's:

Here is a picture of Phylly's bowl ON TOP of my bowl.  This should show you right away why there is a crotch curve issue in the first place.  How on earth could we use the same crotch curve that comes in the pattern?  Even if it happened to fit one of us, it would not fit the other one. 
I would like to tell you Sure-Fit Design owners that Glenda's way of measuring crotch length with the add 1, subtract 1 system, comes quite close to a very good fit.  I wouldn't even mess with this unless your bottom drops below your crotch, or your back crotch is quite long like mine is.  It is easy to get depth and length mixed together and not know which to fix.

Following is a picture of a brand new pants pattern BEFORE making any corrections to it.  (Note:  This has nothing to do with Sure-Fit Designs, but I could use an SFD blueprint and correct it the same way.)

I have my crotch point lined up with the pattern's crotch point.  The first thing I notice is how much higher the waist is than mine.  If I just made this pattern up, I wouldn't know it I needed to fix the crotch DEPTH or the LENGTH or BOTH.  I would know, however, that they did NOT fit right. 

I can either shorten the pattern now, or just draw the hipline on it to fix the crotch curve, and shorten the depth later.  I think I did both.

In this picture, notice how the hipline of the FRONT and the BACK of the paper pattern line exactly up with my BOWL hipline.  Also, the crotch line lines up all the way across.  Notice how my bottom drops LOWER than the crotch line.  I have heard Peggy Sagers say this is impossible, but there's the proof right there.  It is very common AND a very good reason crotch curves have to be adjusted!

 This pictures shows my bowl lined up with the crotch line and the low hip line of the BACK pattern piece.  I have matched the hip line of my bowl at the STITCHING line at the hip line on the pattern.

HOW did I find the hip line on the pattern????  This was a real issue for me, but so simple.  MEASURE IT there on your bowl.  Taaa Daaaa!!!!

Notice too that the crotch point on my bowl -- NOT the bottom of the bowl -- lines up with the crotch line on the paper pattern.

You can see the blue dashed line where I simply traced the bottom of my bowl from the hip line to MY crotch point (where the rubber band was).

The book shows several ways to trim the pattern and push it and pull it and slide it and ......  I just traced my shape.

Notice in this picture:

The PINK original crotch curve of the paper pattern.

The BLUE crotch curve made with my bowl.


Notice in this picture how part of my curve is HIGHER (blue)
part of my curve is LOWER (pink)
than the paper pattern's.

Notice how much LENGTH (green) I had to add to the back crotch. 

Notice how my bottom drops BELOW the crotchline.

Below is ME in between the CORRECTED paper pattern pieces.  You can see I will fit into that curve exactly right.  It turned out that there was not much of a correction at all on the front pattern piece, so I haven't shown it with changes.  Notice that I simply tapered my new extended BACK CROTCH POINT down to about the knee level, and I curved it in a bit.


Make very sure you put your inseams together as though you were going to sew your pants together.  The front is probably not going to fit the back anymore after that correction.  You will have to lower or raise the crotch point on the front so it will sew to the back.  In this case, it was only about 1/2" difference.  Begin by matching the seams at the BOTTOM HEM edge of the pant and match them going up to the crotch.  You will see right away if you need to make an adjustment.

I hope I didn't make this sound too complicated.  It was VERY complicated for me for a long time.  It helps so very much to have a sewing buddy to swap thoughts with.  You know what they say:  Two heads are better than one!

Hugs, Joy


  1. Hi Joy! I really enjoy your blog! I still don't understand how you found the hipline on the pattern. It doesn't look like the pattern is marked.



  2. Wow! That's so detailed and helpful. I've got to
    really think it through, but it's such a big eye
    opener for me to see each step. I just don't learn
    by reading .. I have to SEE it. THANK YOU, JOY!
    Have you made pants yet from your new personalized


  3. Ica:
    The way you mark the hipline on the paper pattern is to take the measurement from your CROTCH (rubber band) up to your HIPLINE on your bowl. Then measure up from the crotch line on the paper pattern and draw the hipline in. It took me forever to figure that out. It will be the same distance up on front and back.

    I noticed Lorraine Henry has a you tube video on this -- not nearly as detailed -- but she says that instead of making that loooooong crotch point, they lengthen the back waist. I think my way works better. I definitely will post my next pair of pants. My last pair is at Fabulous
    Fit to be put on my new dress form.

    Hugs, Joy

  4. I am working on this exact problem using the same book and going crazy with it. I have my curve and am having difficulty matching it to the pattern. I am going to try your method. I sort of thought of doing this and saving a lot of steps, but you have given me the way to do it. I am going to print out this whole blog, if I can. Thank you very much. I wish you could come and help me. I'm in Oakland, CA. Where are you?

  5. Hello Oakland, CA! I am in Oklahoma. Would love to work with you if you were closer. I have Skype. Do you have it? I could see you that way, and you could see me. The crotch is the very hardest, in my opinion, to get right. After I did all of the above, I ended up with too much fabric in my upper thigh area. I think you have to put part of that long back crotch up at the waist. That is what Lorraine Henry does.
    Hugs, Joy

    1. Hello Joy -- Just found this wonderful blog and watched the videos. You two are such fun! Did you try putting some of the long crotch up at the waist? I wonder if you have photos of that? Would be so helpful to see the pants with too much fabric in the upper thigh vs a second pair with some of the length added at the waist, if you have photos. If not, can you say approximately how you divided it up -- like 50%-50%? Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. BTW: You might find a whole lot of my blog just boring information about my day-to-day life. It is not all about sewing. I try to label the posts that refer to sewing.
    Hugs, Joy

    1. Hi Joy, I just came across your crotch fit blog information. It sounds like the answer to my fit problems. I have struggled for years to get the crotch to fit me whenever I make pants and can never seem to get it to work. Have you actually made some pants using this method, and if so, how did they turn out? I have been following the Palmer/Pletsch fit books and have tissue fitted myself & had a friend tissue fit me and that method seems to work up to a certain point. I have even learned how to draft my own pants patterns and again that worked up to a certain point. That point is the crotch curve & the depth needed for the pants to hang straight. I am eager to try this method, but have been a little reluctant to try yet another method. I have made my fish bowl & for an experiment I did it 3 times and all 3 came out a little different. So that variation leads me to believe this method may not work? Is there a way I can email you directly with other questions? Help!!!!!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hi Joy, I just came across your crotch fit blog information. It sounds like the answer to my fit problems. I have struggled for years to get the crotch to fit me whenever I make pants and can never seem to get it to work. Have you actually made some pants using this method, and if so, how did they turn out? I have been following the Palmer/Pletsch fit books and have tissue fitted myself & had a friend tissue fit me and that method seems to work up to a certain point. I have even learned how to draft my own pants patterns and again that worked up to a certain point. That point is the crotch curve. I am eager to try this method, but have been a little reluctant to try yet another method. Help!!!!!

  8. Hi Joy. I love your exuberance! Your mother named you well. :) Thanks for all the effort you've put into this. Getting pants to fit well really can make your head explode. I'm going to make my fish bowl and see how it shapes up. Wish you and Phyllie were close enough to be my sewing buddies.

  9. Hi Joy, I was really glad to find your video! I have the Fitting & Pattern Alteration book, but I have not been able to figure out exactly where my hipline or "hip joint level" is. Is it the place where s crease forms when I bring my knee up, or the top of my hipbone or somewhere in between?

  10. I hope you get this I really would like to visit with you about cover pro I have one also watched your videos

  11. What I like about this, and equally hate that patterns ignore, is that it takes into account the inward curvature found on the waist. As shown on your pattern pieces (and all patterns), the back crotch curve always just goes diagonally out away from the waist, which is NOT how the body works. Same for the front, which is usually straight up and down. Darts are supposed to compensate for this, but why add more seams when it can be easily handled by adjusting the top of the crotch curve?
    Keep up the good work, Joy. Loved the videos. Makes this typically difficult part in pattern adjusting very simply.

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this and the videos (you two have such fun!). I've been trying to figure out why trousers don't fit me for so long, and this has just explained it: not enough space on one side, and too much on the other! Back to my muslin I go...

  13. I was surfing the internet to see how other people had solved this problem....and thank's God I found your tutorial with this "fishbowl" which Is the solution to be able to draw your personalized crotch line!! Thank you very MUCH for making this tutorial and the videos everything was very clear :)

  14. I love your videos. I would watch them even if I wasn't a sewer. They are so entertaining and the information is invaluable.

  15. Hello from a long ago perfectsewandfit.com buddy. When you lay the template on top of the pattern to draw the new shape, do you align the pattern pieces at the crotch points only -or- match the inseams down the leg. ---Ashford

  16. Hi Joy,

    Thanks so much for this brilliant post! I'm making a pair of trousers for the first time and (as seems common with many people) am having difficulty with the fit... your advice is great and so clearly delivered - thank you!

  17. Thank-you for sharing this information! my pant fitting problems were making me crazy and now I seem to be back on the right track after reading your post!


  18. Joy, I love this blog & video as I have the same issue with the crotch length. What I did is make my pants pattern from Connie Amaden-Crawford's pant book. One actually drafts a pant pattern from scratch. It works. Small tweets to the muslin but overall works perfectly. I used her method in college (many centuries ago) when I started seeing and my teacher said if I can draft the pattern I would get an A. So I did and have used it ever since. However I am always for learning new methods. I have Rasband's book and will try this one. Thanks so much.

  19. Thank you so much for this post!

  20. Joy, I made my fish bowl and altered my pattern this morning. I have a much tilted waist/hip and using this method really showed me how that effects the pattern. Thanks so much for taking th time to show how to work thru fitting the crotch. I will still need to do swayback and tummy adjustments, but I feel like I have a fighting chance of getting a TNT pants pattern. Mary in Albuquerque

    1. This is wonderful information. I'm so glad it is helpful to you.
      Hugs, Joy

  21. Thank you Joy! I just found your blog after someone in my sewing group sent me here. I talked to Patti Palmer at our local sewing expo and she would agree with you. Patti says they've been noticing this over their 30 years of workshops and have adjusted their teaching accordingly (BTW she was really nice and really listened and was very thoughtful.) I've had this same issue all my life regardless of size or fitness level You are right that just lowering the crotch curve does not work (my ski pants ripped in the front where my stride starts at the hips) Buying a larger size does not work. Belts? You should see what my Levis did to all my leather belts (hint: the belt lost the battle every time) This has been the fix I've been looking for. Now when I stand up my pants get up with me! Now I truly love my home-sewn jeans and your trick really makes sewing my own jeans totally worth it.


  22. Joy, I just love watching your videos. You brighten my day. My husband was born in southern oklahoma And has a lot of family in the durant area. Congrats on completing the owl quilt, its gorgeous.

  23. Many, many thanks for the wonderful explanation as well as clear pix illustrating this crotch fit conundrum. You have been so helpful with all my fit issues which I greatly appreciate. I have several of Peggy's patterns and have NEVER been able to achieve a decent fit so was resigned to the possibility of being the only person in the entire world that was contrary. You've boosted my self esteem dramatically. Best wishes for your continued success. I look forward to you returning to your wonderful sewing studio more frequently.


  24. Thank you so much for this post and the very entertaining and helpful videos! I have just finished using these techniques to make a pair of shorts and they fit amazingly well! Yippee! I’m an experienced patternmaker but have never figured out how to tackle my unbalanced front/back rise lengths until now. I had some difficulty believing my fishbowl shape because it was so much wider (front to back) than the standard patterns and looked funny when my back rise was WAY longer than the front rise, but that was exactly what was needed to fit my shape. Now I’m confident that I can make pants that will fit me every time. —Jenny in Philly


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Hugs, Joy