I love a good puzzle. It has to be complex enough to interest me but simple enough that I can solve. Simple turning and turning pieces is boring. I need to be able to use things such as color and shape to solve the puzzle. I need clues that I can contemplate and use intelligently. Fitting pants are like a puzzle for me, which I think is what keeps me obsessively buying and fitting new ones.
With the first Willow muslin, I see lots of clues. I understand why the waistband and top 4 inches of the pant fit nicely. This area was duplicated from my reliable TNT pattern. I understand that the pants don’t look bad across the back (despite feeling a little close) because I added ease to the Willow pattern right in this area. I also understand why the crotch fits, but feels tight. That happened because I copied the extension from the JSM but did not scoop out the bottom. So the crotch looks OK but feels uncomfortable. I also understood part of the ruching along the leg. It was caused by adding to the crotch extension which made the back inseam longer than the front inseam.
I didn’t understand
- The tight feeling in the thigh and calve
- The buckling at the front hip crease
- The folds and rolls of cloth both front and back from hip crease to hem
I began comparing the traced/franken-pattern with the original Willow. I think I found some answers.
- When I shortened the leg, I trued the seam to the narrower hem. This is quite normal. You don’t want a sudden jutting of the line. Problem is that I removed between 1/8″ and 1/4″ from the front leg and 3/8″ from the back leg between knee and hem. An extra 1/2″ ease would definitely have made the calve area feel more comfortable
- I found that I removed 1/4″ from the inner thigh on the back when truing the seam after adding the crotch extension. I’m not sure that 1/4″ is enough additional ease in the thigh area, but it’s better to have 1/4″ than not have it.
- I added to the top of both the front and back pieces after comparing the Willow pattern pieces with the JSM. I’m not sure this was necessary. My confusion is the waistband and where it should sit in relation to my body. I expect a straight waistband, as included in this pattern, to fit with the seam at my waist and the band extending above. If the top of the waistband sits at my natural waist, I need a contour waistband. That’s because my body is very shaped in that first 4″ below my waist. A straight waistband designed for the top to ride at my waist, is going to stick out oddly and slide down or pull the pants furtherr up my body. Point is, because I decided to change the pant so that the straight waistband will fit as I need a straight waist band to fit, well I could have caused the folds of fabric both in the front hip crease and further down the leg.
When I checked the lower leg, I was prompted to begin measuring other places. The seam allowance is clearly marked making it ease to determine the final measurements. I was surprised to find a 25″ crotch length— which should fit; 1″ ease at the knee— should fit; 14.5″ hem circumference, a thigh with 1.5″ ease… and on and on. Every place I measured on the original Willow pattern, except the waistband, had adequate fabric. This pant should fit right out of the envelope.
With that thought, I trimmed the original Willow pattern to the cutting lines, found another lackluster fabric and started a second muslin.
My 2nd fabric is a blouse weight cotton poly. I’m sure I purchased it thinking of long sleeve blouses. However, it sits in my stash unchosen year after year. Since my selection of muslin fabrics is low, I decided I wouldn’t mind using-this-up only to find I have 2 yards left after cutting the pants. I’m unconcerned about niceties such as pattern matching. As long as the grain is straight and the hem above the ankle, I’m good….