TJ902: Homespun

From the first moment I buckled my belt, I loved the feel of these trousers. I had rolled up the hems so the leg would hang free and not affect they way the pant hung. Peeking in the mirror didn’t tell me much, so I took photos and prayed that the pattern alterations had indeed solved my fitting issues.

I’ve worn pants that looked like these on the front and sides.  The front crotch felt just a little too long, but it was the backside which convinced me I needed to proceed with fitting.

For having a pant that looked pretty good to start with, I made a lot of fitting changes.  I was evaluating what needed to change and  making small changes, one at a time.  Previous experience has shown me that several changes at once,  disguises the true issue and I spend more time undoing the changes than I would have, had I made one change at a time. Still it gets frustrating to make one small change, take pics, evaluate and make the next small change. But that is what I did.

When I drafted the waistband, I moved the side seam towards the back 1″.  On the first fitting, I moved the side seam towards the center front 3/8″.  I also shortened the waistband by 1/2″.  I left it there until finished. I’ve noticed that changes made further down can affect whether the side seam looks like it is in the right place (on the waistband).  So once the waistband felt comfortable, I left it alone.

The front crotch really did feel too long, even for trousers. I mean, I really am expecting this pattern to feel and look differently than  TJ906 just completed. I’m expecting a looser, more flowing look from top to bottom.  I need the waist to fit closely so the pants will stay up. I like the upper hip to fit close, but not tight. Just close enough to minimize bulk beneath my tops. From there down, loose is good, except I do not like the crotch rubbing against my inner thigh. I like the crotch to be a little bit close. So after fitting the waistband, I pulled the pant up 1/2″. That was too much (nope not sharing those pics).  1/4″ seemed good. The crotch felt good, even the back leg looked better. Let me restate that:  the back leg looked better without scooping, just by pulling up at the waist  thereby shortening the back crotch length.

It was a light bulb moment.  I remember measuring the pattern back and comparing with my measurements.  There was 3.25″ too much between waist and knee.  I removed 2″ above the knee, but waffled at removing any more.

1) I’d never taken 2″ above the knee ever before

2) 3.25″ was a cumulative of 3 areas the waist to hip, hip to seat, and seat to knee.

3) I wasn’t really sure of the change I’d made to the crotch length. I had added to the extension the entire 1-7/8″ my measurements were indicating.

I wasn’t sure. I just wasn’t sure where that 3.25″ needed to come from; the seat to knee-length or distributed some how in all 3 areas. Now I know. At this juncture I knew that 1/4″ needs to be removed above the hip balance-line across both front and back. Which means I need to remove 1/4″ from the back crotch extension and a total of  2.75″ from seat to knee-length.

The crotch is such an critical component of the pants, I considered trashing the muslin right there. Part of me thought there was still more to be learned from this muslin. That part won. Initially I had created tucks at the waistline to ease the pant to the waistband. From the tucks, darts automatically formed. I stitched front and back  darts. Usually for trousers, I leave the front darts as tucks. (It works for my figure.)  I could see there was too much ease across the back and front. I took the sides in and also the back crotch.  The darts will be transferred to the pattern. Attempts at removing ease from the torso area will not. For one thing, these are trousers and I prefer the looser fit, except for the center back. I’m rather appalled that the center back continues to snuggle into my cr@ck at the same time there is obviously too much ease across the back of the pant.

I finally got rid of  those front thigh wrinkles by adding 3/8″ to the front inseam starting 2″ down from the crotch and continuing to the hem.

But then I returned to the same see-saw, dance-around-the-issue routine. If I tried to fix the back, the side and the front developed issues. If I fixed the side, the front crotch was obviously too short.

And, something else happened. This fabric, which was questionable to start with, became very worn looking and stretch-out.  Like I’d lived in it for days rather than starching and pressing it every 30-45 minutes after a 10 second photo shoot.  I was always a bit concerned that the balance lines didn’t match across the side.  The side seams and inseams were the correct lengths. The balance lines were calculated, not marked by the pattern. So I could have made an error in my calculations. My alterations affected the balance lines and again could have affected the location and angle.  I could have incorrectly transferred the notches.  I’ve not been working with these lines long enough to just “know” if they are right are wrong. While fitting I evaluated the balance lines mostly by how vertical the grain lines were and how the horizontal lines balanced across the two same pieces (i.e front to front and back to back. Yet it always nagged at the back of my mind: the balance lines don’t meet on the sides.  So at this point I decided to stop working with the homespun.  I’m going to wash it and see if it can be reclaimed. It’s a nice neutral color and would be fine for very casual activities (fishing anyone?). I also like the way it feels when being worn. But I think it’s time to evaluate what I’ve learned and start fresh.

The final pic is fitting # 5

if the back were better, this is something I would wear. While I don’t know exactly what to do, I’m  excited to have learned this much.