Done But Not Finished.

I spent a good 2 hours transferring the fitting changes made to the muslin onto my tissue pattern. I examined each seam for the changes in seam width and in some cases consolidated two or more changes into a single change to the tissue. I was conservative with the measurements of the changes. I felt the muslin could have stretched in places which I wouldn’t see and couldn’t accurately account for when altering the tissue.   I added another 1/4″ wedge to the front tissue and 1″ to the length of the waistband. I also moved the side seam mark on the waistband, towards the center front 1/2″.  I walked the seams again, this time with the back yoke attached then turned my attention to fabric.

At this point, I’d like to construct a wearable muslin. So I want a light-colored, pant weight fabric.  I searched though my stash and selected fabrics. But then I discarded them one by one.  Several wouldn’t have a drape similar to denim. Theyd’ make great trousers or slacks, but be disappointing as jeans.  A crinkled, heavy weight cotton has some mechanical stretch.  Good for wear, not good for testing the pattern fit. Insufficient yardage nixed a few.  The fabric I settled upon is a very firm bodied cotton-blend twill.  I bought the whole bolt when Walmart placed it on the dollar table.  Over the years I’ve made several trousers from this fabric. It wears like iron. I never discarded a pair for being worn.  In retrospect, it too wasn’t a good choice. Denim needs a little give to be comfortable. This fabric doesn’t have any give and the completed pants may not be worn often or kept in my wardrobe because I’ve become accustomed to more comfortable fabrics.

This is the best back from 8 different changes made to the fabric..  It is the result of scooping the crotch another 3/8″, moving the side seams 3/8″ forward on the waistband;  letting out the front side seam 3/8″ and the belt loop placement. I’m beginning to suspect I have one hip high than the other. In every picture of the back at least a hint of the right diagonal line exists. Then again, i have a tendency to stand with my weight on one leg or the other.  The back yoke under the waistband was impossible to completely smooth.  When the side seam is aligned with the mark on the waistband, short vertical lines develop in the center back.  When smoothed by moving the side seam forward on the waistband, a hint of VPL occurs.  If the back of the side seam is released even 1/4″ the side is poofy and the under-bu!t sags again.

Despite the diagonal wrinkles, the pant side seam has become amazingly straight.

The front is improved, but I could never eliminate the smile lines.  If I scoop the crotch, the back develops the under butt wrinkles. If I shorten the back crotch the front develops smile lines.  If the inseam is let out, the front develops poofiness and the back develops V-lines above the crotch.  If I lift at the top of the pant above where the diagonal lines are developing front-side-back, all the wrinkles above the crotch disappear on the front but the smile lines remain. At the same time the back develops a huge X extending from knees to hip (and center over the an@l.

I had the first 3 changes done within the first hour.  I spent another 4 hours tweaking the other areas before deciding the just finish this pant.  I had stitched the seams with a 3.5mm stitch length. It will hold for several wearings and was easy enough to remove. I had to understitch the waistband and finish the center front edges including closure. I also let the hems out  by adding a bias tape facing.  I know what has happened. I keep pulling up to take out the back wrinkles followed by scooping the crotch for comfort. This in turn is allowing the whole pant to ride higher. The leg isn’t any shorter, it slid further up on my body.

I’m not going to transfer any of the changes to the pattern. I don’t think I’ve discovered the cause of my pant fitting issues. I’m planning next to work with a basic trouser pattern. Trousers are more forgiving. They have more ease and fewer pieces. Several times I wanted to add a dart, but was unable to do so because of the back yoke. The waistline now feels too loose while the tummy still feels tight.  The textbook solution for tummy ease, adds length which I don’t think is needed. The front is already folding between zipper and crotch. More length, would only make that worse.

I just spent an hour or so reading the reviews of the Thurlow pattern (which I own.)  Had I read the review and seen the pics, I would not have purchased the pattern. .  I’m dismayed to see the level of fit which is considered “perfect”.  To be fair, there were several pics in dark colors, a few with only the front side visible and several of shorts. Cut off the leg and most pants fit acceptably. But those that I could see and could examine, were not up to my standard. My TJ906 pant above, with all its issues, fits better than what the reviewers are calling “perfect out of the envelope”.

6 thoughts on “Done But Not Finished.”

  1. Bev – Your determination just floors me! You have done more to get a jeans pattern to fit than almost anyone I have read about – how frustrating that it still does not meet your standards. I am wondering, now that you have mentioned it, whether indeed you do have one hip that is slightly higher, or just that there is a variation in how your muscles etc are distributed between the right and left side of your body. I know that for me, that is definitely the case, both above and below my waist. When I look at your pictures it looks like your left side curves out somewhat higher than the right. I remember reading in some article on fitting that “the wrinkles point to the area that needs more fabric”, and looking at the side view, it almost looks to me like when I see someone’s sewing question where they need a FBA. Of course, with this style of pants there is no way to add in a FHA (full hip adjustment) as there are no darts below the back yoke. Perhaps the style of jeans that has princess seams would give you another place to adjust the fit. (I know that I needed to do that with my own bodice sewing, even for tee shirts, since that was the only way to get any kind of smooth fit) I wish you luck in your quest! And I too am often horrified at what some stitchers consider to be a “perfect fit” sometimes even the photos on pattern envelopes are poorly fitted

    1. Alsion
      Thank you for your encouragement. I can be determined to the point of obsessiveness. Right now, it irks me to know that not more than 6 months ago I had the perfect fitting jeans. Then winter arrived, I stopped the daily walks and my figure changed. I’m waiting for the mud to solidify this week so I can start walking again. Thanks again for confirming that one hip may be higher or fuller. It’s good to have a fresh set of eyes confirming that it’s not a camera error or other optical illusion. I’m switching to the classic trouser pattern Trudy Jansen’s #902. The additional ease and slight changes in draft should be easier to fit. I like a jean fit, but sometimes a jean-styled trouser is good too!.

  2. I think you should give yourself a gold star for persistence! I agree with you and Alison about the “perfect fit” others are settling for. However, after some years of staring at complete strangers rear ends it seems that a very good fit is extremely rare. Of course men can get a good fit easily because their shape is so different around this crucial area.The cloth just drapes over the rear and falls in perfect folds to their feet. Only wide leg trousers in women can give the same effect. I’m staying with you on the fitting journey however.

    1. Susan,
      Thank you for commenting. I was really appalled when I read the reviews of the Thurlow. Had I read the reviews first, I would not have purchased the pattern. LOL I too find myself staring at other people’s rear ends. This week I was out of dinner and noted two women wearing mini-dresses over their pants – no hint of bad fitting there; and lots of baggy bu!ts. It seems as though most in my community prefer baggy to smiley. Thanks for the Gold Star. I’ve decided to move the effort onto a classic trouser, Trudy Jansen’s 902.

  3. You should be given an award for effort Bev. You have worked so hard to get a really good result,but it is most frustrating that when you have got ‘the perfect fit’ in a pattern it still needs to be tweaked when you use different fabrics.
    Do we set the bar too high – and is there a time when ‘good enough’ is actually good enough?

    1. I know you are right. I’ve become obsessive about fitting pants. I know it can be done and am annoyed this isn’t working the way I want it to. Entirely making my own he!l. Thanks for reading and commenting. It definitely encourages me.

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