Months ago, I tried fitting the pants from Louise Cuttings My Swing Set. It didn’t work well. In the end, I had drag lines I couldn’t diagnose and couldn’t remove and didn’t know why. Realizing that my figure had changed significantly, I decided to fit the JSM pattern first and return to this later. Well later has arrived, except at this “later” I need summer shorts instead of pants with long legs. I consoled myself with the thought that even if I couldn’t create a TNT pants pattern, I could establish needed ease and crotch depth/shape. It might even be an advantage to work with the short leg since I wouldn’t be dealing with issues the knee can create.
There are many reasons to love this pattern. It can be as simple as 2 pattern pieces/ 4 garment pieces to zip together. With its elastic waist you can have pants NOW without a lot of fussy sewing. Not that fussy sewing is bad, it’s just that sometimes I need to sew a particular garment in very limited time. While I liked the One-seams, they were real fabric hogs and contained much more ease than I prefer to wear. I like my pants to skim my lower half. You know, the skim- everything- touch- nothing kind of fit. Because of my weight, I find a slimmer-fitting pant to be more flattering. That’s just me. You could feel differently and that’s fine. You should make pants that satisfy you.
I started completely over. I didn’t even rely upon the measurements made just this last May (6 weeks ago?). My feeling is that I did something wrong or didn’t do something that I should have in May which resulted in never being able to eliminate all the drag lines. I traced the size recommended for my hips. I compared this with B5403 after pinning the yoke to the back. To my surprise, I had excess ease but the crotch curve was nearly the same. I did not tramper with the curve. I did the wedgie measurement and checked the chart. To my surprise, no change would be needed. I experienced a totally stunned moment as I realized I would be sewing the first pair without making any alterations. I attached the waistband as instructed and cut my fabric.
My fabric is a softened linen that’s never going to look any better than it does today. But it will be comfortable if slightly messy, especially for the hot summer weather which has finally arrived in South Dakota. As suggested by LC, I didn’t cut the pockets. I did take a 1/8″ tuck down the front and (during finishing) top stitched the hems 3 times so as to echo the stitching of the waist. Unfortunately, the top stitching doesn’t show up in my pics so I’m not sharing those pics. I stitched the sides together, cut the length of elastic to hold the pant up and then begin fitting the hip as per the instructions. Eventually I removed about 1″ from each side seam. It felt like plenty of ease. In fact, it felt a little roomy and blousy and that’s what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t take pics of fitting the side seams.
Once the side seams were satisfying, I adjusted the elastic around my waist and started drawing the line to indicate my real waistline. This is also per the instructions. I did take a pic of the resulting line, but it doesn’t show well enough to understand what’s happening. In a nutshell, the front crotch needed to be shorter 3/8″; the back crotch stays the same. Most interesting the side seams needed to be shortened 5/8″. This was surprising until I realized that is exactly what I’ve been doing to my other pants. I keep pulling up at the side seam in order to remove the diagonal line across the front of my pants between waistband and hip. I trimmed the pant along the waistline as indicated by my fitting and then serge finished the upper edge. Next I installed the waist elastic with all it’s stitching lines and finished the hem. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done all that waistline stitching, the pants are in-my-mind, FINISHED whether they fit or not. I’m simply not going to spend a day ripping out all those 2.5mm stitches.
With sewing finished, I took pics. Today (the day after sewing), I examined the pics for fit.
I’m very happy with the front fit. I intended this pair to be loose, because Linen can be unforgiving in the stretch department. The vertical drag lines tell me that I clearly have sufficient ease, I may want to adjust it across the front a little better when I start the day. This linen clings more than expected. Perhaps it’s the heat and humidity. So the tummy bulge on the side is visible but it will be covered by my top. (See very last pic.)
I’m kind of surprised to see the pantie line in this side view. At fitting time I removed ease equally from front and back. I checked to see that the side seam was still vertical and bisected my side. The mirror didn’t show pantie edge. I’m not sure if the VPL seen is from insufficient ease or just the camera’s flash. When I alter the tissue, I will take more ease from the front than the back. Other than that, I intended these to be blousy and I’m happy with the side view.
It’s always the back view which tells the real story. First thing is I think I removed too much ease from the back. That VPL is really visible now. Thank heaven my Tops will cover it. Still I don’t I’ll wear this too far from home. It does confirm my earlier thought when looking at the side view i.e. less ease should be removed from the back. The crotch compared well with B5403 and felt perfect in each trial. But the photos — taken immediately after ironing and the only body movement was to adjust the waistband and stand in front of the camera- might indicate that the back crotch is too short.
What I both hate to see and am glad to see, are the diagonal drag lines extending from hip towards inseam. I hate to see these because I think they are ugly and they were the same lines I couldn’t fix in May. I’m glad to see them because I know I’ve eliminated the knee factor. I know that I need to work on crotch depth, shape and torso ease. That’s all, but I won’t be doing much to this pair. With all those 2.5mm stitches in place, these are finished.
But I’m already making the first steps to working-out the back issues. Even as I evaluate the pictures for fit and type this post, I’m wearing the shorts and working on the issues. Interestingly enough, the front crotch almost immediately began to feel too long. Within moments the crotch began rubbing along the front inseam and the back began to dip. Possibly the elastic should have been shorter. LC does say that you have adjust the length until you find the one which is comfortable to wear while holding up your pants. This is the same length as I found to be correct for the May version. I’m more inclined to think my rear is somehow pushing or pulling on the back inseam pushing the back downward making the back crotch too short and then the front creeps forward becoming too long. I think that way because that’s the issue I’ve seen over and over. On both the JSM and B5403 I scooped out the back of the crotch. So of course, that’s the first thing and may be the only alteration I try with these shorts.
This will not be the last pair of MSS shorts. I hope that I will be able to correct the fit of the back and make long-legged pants as well. This is basic pattern I think every sewist should have. I know women tell me they don’t like the look and feel of bulky elastic waistbands; or they prefer the way a dropped waist (think low-rise jeans) looks. But here’s the truth. With my 6+ decades and X#of overweight pounds, I don’t run around in low-rise jeans. A mid-rise is the lowest I will wear. But it doesn’t matter for me because I never tuck my tops. It’s really unusual for anyone to see my waistband let alone know where it rests on my body. To me this is about appropriate appearances ( good looks) AND personal comfort, mid-rise to natural waist is my preferred waistband placement. 2ndly, This pattern starts with the elastic-gathered waistband, but LC provides instructions to create a more fitted waistband either by removing ease or adding a zipper and darts. (You’ll get the closest fit, least gathering with zipper and darts). Once the basic pant fits as I desire, I plant to adapt it to something very close to Loes Hinse European Pant. Yes I could buy the Loes Hinse pattern but why when LC has given me the instructions for changing the already (nearly) fitting MSS pant?
In short, I just can’t say enough good about this pattern and these pants.