TJ902 Muslin 4

originally published3/5/12


On a hunch I pulled out the tissue of the JSM pants which never fail me and compared it with TJ902.  I’m using JSM for comparison because it is a trouser pattern, like TJ902.  I’m also using the original version with the 20″ hems.  This version has been tweaked to fit me and never has issues.  I have attempted to narrow the legs.  Oddly, the narrow legged version (which I call my Ciggies) is not always reliable.  Some fabrics develop the X wrinkles.  Even more oddly I can use fabric of the same weave and fiber with excellent results for one pair of pants and wadders for the next.  So lets just say, the Ciggies could have some issues that I don’t want copied and I prefer to use the original draft tweaked to fit me.


The fronts of JSM and TJ902 were nearly exactly alike.  The front of TJ902 dips at the center front in a nice slow curve from the side seam and the legs are slimmer than the JSM.  The pulling at the center front waistband on TJ902 is then entirely understandable.  The difference is less than 1/4″ but more than 1/8. Maybe 3/16′?  So I decided to copy the the top of the JSM pattern to TJ902.



JSM is the white tissue on the bottom. TJ902 is the yellow tissue on top.

Then I looked at the back. Well, actually I studied and studied both backs for at least an hour.  I could not really line them up.  With the fronts, I aligned the grain and rise lines and everything else either matched or nicely corresponded.  The backs had me puzzled.  I aligned the grain lines and studied some more.  Not only are the legs of TJ902 more slender (as were the front legs), but the slope of the waist, crotch and legs are very different.  I thought it odd that when measuring with a tape measure the dimensions were equal (except for the slender legs) but that the shape of the pant was so very different.  I finally realized that the measurements “worked” because TJ902 was one inch longer in length causing a colossal waistline slope; but on JSM an additional 1 inch had been added to the back extension.  The measures were the same, but the shape not equal.  The JSM crotch was also much more upright than TJ902.


I wasn’t sure what to do with the back.  At the same time I was unwilling to proceed without some kind of significant change.  “If you always do what you always did; you’ll always get what you always got”  rang in my mind and I do think applies.  I finally decided since the #1 issue with the back crotch previously was a short extension, I would add a full inch to the back crotch extension of TJ902.


I also decided to select a fabric with some different qualities.  For Muslin 4, I’m using a rayon polyester blend that is as smooth as silk. It is a twill weave; definitely has nap and was very popular in it’s day.  I still love it. It’s comfortable and has just a slight amount of give but no stretch. It’s more of a cool weather fabric i.e. it can be hot in the summer.  It has a heft and a drape.  I mean it’s not like the cotton twill that seem to have no weight of its own but it’s not like the beefy poly/maybe-wool used in Muslin 1(the size 12).


I thought Muslin 3 was bad. Muslin 4 results are rather disgusting:

The front is wearable, but really it should not have those drag lines down the side of the pant.  Oddly it appears too tight across the high hip and then too loose just above the front crotch while at the same time seeming to be about to develop a camel toe. But a shirt worn to the outside would cover or at least distract from all that.



On the side, I really start seeing those drag lines and my pantie lines.

The back is unquestionably a hot mess.  I’ve never had visible hip fluff –not even in Muslin 3. Over an inch has been added to the back crotch.  Counting the front crotch we now have 6 inches going between my legs and can still see the outline of my cheeks!  The masses of folds on the back thigh are incredible (and  extend to the sides and front).  Also the diagonal lines are beginning to form around my knees.  There are 5 full inches of ease around the knees. Ease does not count the inches that are needed to actually circle my knees.


OK so I kind of know that Muslin 1 was my fault.  I traced a size 12 when it should have been a size 14.


Muslin 2, I’m still not how the error occurred.  On any of Trudy Jansen’s patterns, there is little description to tell you what style of pant your are using.  This one is described as a “Classic Pants pattern… simple, but  elegant pant pattern for a basic classic fit. Side seam pockets are flattering and easy to sew!”   I assumed that a straight waistband (there wasn’t even a pattern piece, just a instruction to cut a rectangle) would sit at the waist.  There is no indication that this pattern was drafted for a particular fabric i.e. nothing says this is drafted for knits, wovens or any stretch is required. So I assumed that I was using a trouser draft, for woven fabrics.  I did not expect the rise to be 1″ shorter, which was pretty obvious in Muslin 2.  I”m not sure who takes the blame for this error, because I was supposed to be measuring at least critical areas.  As soon as I measured the rise, I knew it was too short. But I didn’t do that until after I stitched, tried on and photoed Muslin 2. 


Muslin 3 was a compilation of again, not measuring (this time the waist)  and some small measuring errors.  Trouble with small measuring errors is that 1/8″ can’t usually be eyeballed and seems insignificant. But when it is 1/8″ across 4 darts, you’re dealing with a 1/2″ error which does create problems.  After I fitted the waist (and corrected my measuring error there), I was confronted with the fabric’s odd behavior and a back crotch that just was not right.


By Muslin 4, I’ve measured, measured and measured again.  I’ve got worksheets up the ying-yang to make sure my calculations are correct.   I sacrificed an expensive and wonderful fabric to produce a pant which looks terrible front and back.  It’s only redeeming feature is the waistband which is not finished.


OK, so it’s past midnight when I’m looking at the fitting pics and trying to determine what to do.  My gut feeling at this moment is that TJ902 is a wasted effort.  If to get a nice pant from TJ902, I have to copy the JSM pattern from waist to knee, I may as well just use the JSM pattern.   I’m really thinking that TJ902 is going the way of the Vogue and Kwik Sew patterns i.e. I’m not going to use it anymore.  I’m still puzzled because the Designer Jean (TJ906) works so well for me with only minor tweaking.


But not all is lost or wasted.  My primary purpose in working with this pattern was to discover why a particular pant draft works for me and if I can find a few (or at least the fewest) critical elements to alter to quickly adapt a commercial pattern.


For a pant pattern to fit me, I need to be looking for or creating

  • A deep crotch not a shallow curve even if it does have the correct numbers.
  • Critical length and waist measurements as recorded in my worksheets
  • Appropriate fabric for the design.

PS removing 2″ of length above the knee, made no improvement to this draft.