Plus Size Pants Pattern: Balance A Key Step to Making Pants That Fit

Plus Size Pants PatternWe all know the 1st step to a plus size pants pattern that fits your curves is taking accurate body measurements. There are tutorials, videos, books and blogs that stress this everyday.

And it should be emphasized because even if you have the best sewing skills, if your measurements are wrong your pattern still won’t fit.

There are other important steps you should take to make sure your pattern fits. One key step to any well fitting sewing pattern is balance.

Why do I stress balancing your patterns so much? Because…

I almost lost my patternmaking job over unbalanced sewing patterns!

When I worked for Simplicity Patterns, they gave me 3 months to improve my patternmaking skills or I would be out of a job. I wasn’t meeting deadlines because I made so many adjustments without knowing what the real problem was. All those patternmaking classes I had in school never taught anything about balancing patterns, so my patternmaking skills did not meet Simplicity’s standards-in the beginning. 

Well, I didn’t lose my job because I had a skilled coworker who was patient enough to teach me what I needed to know about balancing patterns and now I want to share that with you.

What does balancing your plus size pants pattern mean?

  1. The front and back pieces when matched (from the hem, up) at the side seams and inseams are the same shape and length 
  2. The knee levels and crotch levels are in the same position on both pieces
  3. Numbers 1 & 2 are accomplished when the grainlines on the front piece and back piece are parallel to each other

Commercial patterns should already be balanced, but after any alterations it’s always good to double check them.

Watch the short video below where I give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to balance your plus size pants pattern.

If you haven’t read my blog post on how to balance your plus size (bodice) sewing pattern, you should check it out and watch that video also.

Do you have any tips, questions or comments? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.                         

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  1. Rosa Maria Orozco says:

    I loved your tutorial. I live in Queretaro Mex. And want to lear more

  2. bernie says:

    You have just given me the confidence to try making a pants pattern again. I believe that not balancing my pattern was the cause of my problems. Thank you.

    • Katrina says:

      You’re welcome, Bernie. I’m glad to here that. Balancing your pattern makes a big difference.

    • Denice Rust says:

      Hi Katrina, just stumbled onto your blog, and just love all your valuable hints and tips on the alterations and balancing of the commercial patterns. Thanks a ton, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for further info. Thank you, Denice

  3. Glynne says:

    Very helpful video thanks. Your graphics were really instructive, thanks.

  4. This is SO HELPFUL. Not a huge problem when using industrial patterns, but I’m now using a German system, Lutterloh, and this is CRUCIAL!

    Thank you, thank you. I’m dealing with pants right now, but will watch your other tutorials.

    Do you send out email updates, tutorial links? I’d love to be connected.

    • Katrina says:

      You’re welcome, Primrose. I’m glad this was helpful to you.

      I will add you to my email list right now. You will receive an email from me, Katrina Kay, asking you to confirm that you want to receive emails from me. Just click the link provided and you will be all set. If you don’t get this email from me within the next half hour, make sure you check your spam folder.

      Good luck with your pants pattern!

  5. Hilary says:

    THANKS SO MUCH for your video
    Do you balance all patterns? Dresses, blouses, jackets, or just pants?

    • Katrina says:

      Yes, Hilary, all patterns should be balanced. When you buy commercial patterns, they should already be balanced. The balance would only have to be checked after you make an alteration.

  6. Terry says:

    I love your information but I do not have sewing skills. I was wondering if you can recommend someone who will/can sew some pants for me. I find that all the current styles are so hugging. I want something a bit more drape’ie through the mid-section since I carry my weight there and fuller clean legs style.

    • Katrina says:

      Hi Terry, I recommend you find a seamstress in your local area so they can take your measurements and do all the fittings in person. You can do an Internet search or search in your local phone directory. Hope this helps.

  7. Dee Harris says:

    Stumbling onto your website might just help me to love sewing again, Katrina. I have a hard-to-fit figure from waist to knees, and gave up pant-making eons ago. Thank you so much for your instructions on balancing pant pattern pieces.

    • Katrina says:

      You’re so welcome, Dee. Glad I could help. If you have any questions about pants pattern balancing or anything, let me know because I want you to love sewing again!

  8. Karen says:

    Thanks for the informative pants altering tutorial. I did try to click on the bright yellow “Subscribe” label, so that I would know when you have made more tutorials, but nothing happened. Thanks, again, for sharing your knowledge!

    • Katrina says:

      You’re welcome, Karen. I don’t know why the subscribe button didn’t work but here is a direct link for you. You should see a red subscribe button on the top right. Sorry about that!

  9. Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much Katrina. Your video is just what I’ve needed since gaining weight and trying {unsuccessfully} to alter pants patterns. I am looking forward to altering the correct way.

  10. […] An unbalanced pants pattern can wreak havoc on the fit.  Katrina from Katrina Kay Creations shows how to balance a plus size pants pattern.  An unbalanced pattern will make pants that hand crooked or twist around your legs or have diagonal folds across them.  A purchased pattern will already be balanced, but if you make any alterations to it, you’ll need to check to make sure it is balanced.  Her video tutorial shows first what a balanced pattern looks like, then what an unbalanced pattern might look like.  She also shows how to adjust the lines to bring it back into balance.  Go to her blog to watch her video. […]

  11. Great info! What software are you using?

  12. To say that I loved your video is not enough. Now I understand what balancing means and how important it is. Merci beaucoup.

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