Thru-Hiker: Gear and Resources for Long Distance Hikers
Fabrics And Materials Fabrics And Materials The Workshop: Make Your Own Gear Projects Articles for Lightweight and Long Distance Hikers

French Seams

Knee Articulation

Hood Pattern

Installing Wrist Elastic

Down Underquilt

Mitten Pattern

Using Continuous Zipper

Titanium Solid Fuel Tablet Stove

Lightweight Backpack

Manual Buttonhole

Basic Seams for Homemade Gear Projects

How to load thread into the bobbin

How to Check and Adjust Thread Tension

Mesh Stuff Sack

Folding Wood Burning Pack Stove

0.5 oz V8 Stove

Cat Stove

Down Quilt

Make Your Own Silnylon Stuffsacks

Henry's Tarptent & Tarptent-for-2

Knee Articulation

by Paul AYCE Nanian

Knee articulation is accomplished by sewing darts into the edges of the front panel around the knee.

If your pattern calls for you to hem the pants to length after sewing them, like Thru-Hiker's wind pants project, then all you have to do is know where the knee will be and sew the darts into the two edges of the front panel around the knee. The back leg panel will end up being shorter than the front panel by the amount of fabric taken up in the dart. Since you'll be cutting them to length and hemming this won't make any difference as long as the total length of the pants still fit your size.

If your pattern specifies length, you can add articulation by cutting the pattern and adding a block of paper where you want the articulation. With pants, the inseam and outer seam of the front and back panels must be exactly the same length. The block of paper you'll added will make the front panel's inseam and outerseam longer, but you can make sure this extra length will be taken by the 'z' of the articulation dart. The width of the block of paper is twice the width of the base of the articulation dart; for a half-inch dart, you'd lengthen the front panel pattern by adding a one inch block of paper.

You can make multiple small darts or a larger dart and get the job done. If you're not sure what you want, try a single dart around 5/8" wide at its base and 3" long. So for a pair of pants there are a total of four darts, two on each side of the front panel per leg. The bigger question to ask is "do I really need articulated knees". I haven't found them to make a significant difference in the fit or function of pants I've made and would avoid them unless I had a compelling reason to need them.