Class · Review

Sundays with Sandra: Crotch and Calf Alterations

This winter I’m sewing along with Sandra Betzina. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I have joined up to learn pant fitting techniques using Sanda Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. Here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.


Okay, so it’s now been quite a while since my last post about Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques class on Craftsy. In the mean time I haven’t been keeping up with the class videos. So, I watched this week’s lesson with very fresh eyes. Possibly too fresh of eyes because seeing Sandra’s heavily edited technicolor pattern was a little crazy. I started to second guess the minimal alterations I’ve made so far. But, as I continued through the video, I remembered that Sandra likes to cover many different hypothetical fitting problems. She walks through the necessary alterations for each of the problems she mentions – all on the same pattern, and all with different colors! She doesn’t make one pattern for someone with a full tummy or one pattern for someone who wants a low-rise pant. She uses one pattern for everything! Since I don’t have every fitting problem she’s covered, my pattern shouldn’t look like hers. That said, I think I would have preferred if she’d started with the original pattern for each of the different fitting problems.

Today’s class began with Sandra explaining how to measure the crotch length and depth from a favorite pair of pants (her favorites are from Anthropologie) and compare those measurements to the class pattern Vogue V2948. In her case, there’s only an eighth to a quarter of an inch difference between the front and back crotch length of the pants and the pattern, which means there are minimal alterations needed to match the pattern to her favorite pants. After showing us how to make those alterations, she explains that taking the time to go through this process should ensure that the pants we make from this class will fit like our favorite pair. Since I’m not sure I have a favorite pair of pants, I’m going to try the pattern as is when I make my muslin. I’m curious whether I’ll like the same fit as Sandra.

After a bit more fitting around the bum, Sandra moves on to calf alterations. I’m curious what she has to say about fitting calves since I’ve always had issues with large calves from years of running too much on my toes. There’s a brief glimpse of someone who apparently needs more fabric around their calves, but it’s honestly hard to tell what’s going on. And, now it’s been so long since that early episode covering typical fitting problems that I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to be looking for. In fact, you really get the most benefit from this class if you already know your tricky areas and want targeted advice for how to make the alterations you know you need. If you haven’t already figured out you have large calves, then I’m not sure how well this class will help you identify that issue. That said, I do think Sandra does a good job covering a multitude of fitting issues with a lot of extra information about why she’s doing what she’s doing.

Next up: baggy seat. Sandra actually prefers making any baggy seat alterations after fitting the muslin. So, while she shows us what she does to get rid of a baggy seat, we’re not supposed to make any baggy seat changes to the pattern just yet. By the way, just to prove my point about the technicolor pattern, she used hot pink to mark both the crotch and calf alterations, and she used yellow just now for the baggy seat. Next up is sway back – I wonder what color it will be… Well, she didn’t actually make any markings; she just described what she would do for a sway back while fitting the muslin. I hope the brief touch on sway back is enough of a description for the large number of you always talking about needing that type of alteration.

The class ends with a bit more yellow as she covers fitting a large tummy and with the promise that we’ll be cutting during the next lesson. Finally!

As a reminder, I received this class for free from Craftsy in return for an honest review.  If you’re interested in taking this class yourself, follow this link for 40% off Sandra Betzina’s Pant Fitting Techniques.

12 thoughts on “Sundays with Sandra: Crotch and Calf Alterations

  1. I started the class recently too, but I haven’t watched it in a week because of work. I know I’ll need to back track a bit when I come back to it.I figured out early that I need to take the lessons as I work, stopping and rewinding frequently. And, I need to do it when the house is empty and quiet so I can concentrate. I thought I was finding it hard to follow because I’m a rather inexperienced sewer, but perhaps its not just me! I’m still confident that if I can get through it, I’ll be on my way to developing some TNT pant patterns!

  2. Great to see what you think about the class. I took it some months ago and share some of your views. Sway back was not covered enough in my opinion. Sandra is a great teacher with a wealth of knowledge but I would have preferred if taking in pants had also been covered.

  3. Thanks Amy for your in depth review and thoughts of the class. I haven’t taken mine yet, as I know I will need quiet time, and it is something I don’t have at the moment. I, too, don’t have a pair of favourite pants, so like you, I hope I’m able to make a pair from scratch. Thanks again for posting.

  4. Thanks so much for telling us about this class. It sounds helpful, but I’ll be curious to read your report once you finish the course. I desperately need to make some pants that fit well. I know my problem areas, so that’s a start. I’ll be looking forward to reading more!

  5. Very interesting reading you take on the class. I’m signed up but haven’t started it yet, so I can’t really add much. But, I have read several reviews from people not happy with this class. They say she tends to jump around and is hard to follow, but there is good information in there also.

  6. Thanks for the tips! I have only watched the first couple of lessons so far (I had been waiting on the pattern to arrive and it took foreverrrrr), but hope to delve into the class soon!

  7. This is such a coincidence. I basically gave up on this class at the same point you stopped. Pick out a favorite pair of pants? I don’t have any. I hate all of them except for some stretchy jean things. This is why I am taking the class! If I had some in which I liked the fit I would probably buy more. Glad someone else finds her technicolor markings a little crazy. I think I will power-watch the video, make the notes that apply to me and me only, watch ONLY the parts that apply to me again, and then see if it makes sense. I followed Susan Khalje without a hitch. One more attempt then I am done.

  8. I just wrote up a mini-review of this class drawing similar conclusions that you did. I feel like Craftsy is ramping up production and ramping down production values, if that makes sense.

  9. This is really interesting. I saw both of her classes that are offered (I assume they go hand in hand) and *almost* bought them, but I am glad I waited. I can’t wait to read more as you go through the class and see if they are worth the time and money. Thanks!

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