Even though sizing up the pattern was progressing nicely, I wanted the correct size for my body. It arrived just as I was wearing the last “not bad” version. I compared the altered pattern on which I was working with the new pattern. There were visible but small differences. I know from experience that 1/8″ can be significant when it comes to pants, so I traced the new pattern. The new size seemed to have more ease (and it should have since it was the next larger size), than my altered tissue. Other than shortening the legs 2-3/4″, I didn’t measure or alter the pattern. I was so confident that this new size would fit well that I choose a couture gabardine ordered from Fabricmart sometime last year. I stitched together with a 3.5mm length straight stitch. That’s a bit longer than usual but I felt that tweaking the fit would be necessary and wanted to easily pick out stitches when needed. I serged the edges and pressed all seams open. I fused the hems in place and basted the waist band with belt loops before the first try-on.
I was stunned. The pant was obviously too tight. I let out all the seams. I know that added at least 1-3/4″ ease. I also stitched the waistband at 1/4″ instead of 1/2 to add length to the crotch. Nothing doing. The first version was a total flop. I was so perplexed, I measured the pant. As near as I can tell the fabric shrank when ironed. I didn’t expect that to happen. The tag says cotton with 1% lycra. It did say to dry clean. I had already run this fabric through the laundry. Stunned is all I can say.
My next fabric was 100% polyester. This is an old fabric but has about the same amount of stretch as the previous gabardine. Definitely checks the mark for using up the ancient stash. In its time, this high quality fabric was something looked for when buying RTW. However my tastes and comfort levels have changed. As I pressed the fabric, I wondered why it wasn’t already in the muslin box. I was leery about the pattern ease and I thought about it for a while. I really couldn’t believe the cotton had shrunk so much under the iron especially after having been preshrunk. What’s the point of “couture gabardine” if it can’t be crisply pressed? Just to be safe I added 1″ ease to the front and back pieces. I also added a 1/2″ wedge to the back crotch and used the “plus waist” which JSM provides. The plus waist is about 1/8″ wider at the sides, 1/4″ angled in at the center front and maybe 1/8″ taller. I didn’t bother with pockets or seam finishes. I stitched the pieces together with a 4mm stitch length and 1/2″ seam allowance. To my horror, it fell off my hips during the first try-on. I took the sides seams in at 1/4″; then another 1/4″ and finally 1/8″ distances from the original 1/2″. The wad between my legs was uncomfortable but the pants finally sat at my waist and had some semblance of shape. So yes, cotton had shrunk considerably.
I didn’t want to wear pant #2 because of the fabric. I chose a 3rd fabric a cotton/poly blend. It has a little more stretch than the previous fabrics but has a good hand for pants. On pant #2 I added 1″ ease. I now removed half of that before cutting fabric #3. I skipped pockets once again. I serged the side, inseams together; basted the crotch and waistband with 3/8″ SA, fused the hems into place for the first trial. Pant #3 is still too large, but I’m not sure if the pattern is too large or if the fabric has too much stretch. I finished the pant by stitched all seams at 3/8″ and using a blind stitch for the hems. The result:
I took pictures after wearing these for about an hour. I think this is how the basic JSM should fit. The hem circumferences are 20″. That’s the widest that I think looks good on me. I think the fabric has softened and stretched by being worn. There are not ugly drag lines emanating from either crotch. I see a slight indication of knock knees on the back. if this was a nice soft wool crepe or drapey rayon or linen, the pattern is fine as is. I do plan to wear these, in fact the plan is to keep this version intact because I have a few fabric that would be perfect. What’s really nice is that I arrived at this point so quickly. Yes the garbardine was a spoiler. If I had started with a more stable fabric, I would not have wasted my time adding the inch of ease. However, the 1/2″ wedge added to the back crotch was critical to getting these pants to look good and feel comfortable.
For future style changes, I’ll copy the tissue before applying my ideas. I’d like to shorten the front crotch. Wear has confirm my initial impression that the front crotch is a bit too long. I’ll also remove another 1/4″ ease from both front and back. I’m toying with the idea of making the knock knee adjustment. With this much ease there is just a hint, and that’s after wear, that knock knees could be a problem.
Overall, I think I finally have a good trouser pattern.
PS I’m not sure what to do with the couture gabardine. I still have almost 3 yards of this stuff. I don’t think I can even use it for muslins.