MSS Shorts #2 Begins

Personal plans, being what they are, often get disrupted. So even though I hadn’t planned to immediately sew a second pair of MSS shorts, I found myself without a project and time to sew. I decided to make a another pair and began thinking about the pattern tweaks I wanted to make.

  • I trimmed 3/8″ from center front and 5/8″ from the sides at the waistline. The pattern waistline now looks like a roller coaster but life is what it is and so is my personal waistline. Although as the day went along the front crotch continued to seem too long, I didn’t trim more than the 3/8″ determined during fitting.  My feeling is that until the ease in the back is correct, I can’t be sure what effect my rear is having on the fabric.  It could well be that the shortening back crotch which accompanies the growing front crotch length, is due to nothing more than the need for more ease. Mind you, the circumference feels fine. The pictures tell me that I need more ease in back.
  • I adjusted the ease by folding the tissues in half along the grain line. Then taking out 1″ on the front piece but only 1/2″ on the back.  I noted that the front might still need less ease but I like the way it camo’s my tummy.  Since the back obviously needed more ease I made the back fold 1/4″ (1/4″ * 2 = 1/2″).   I debated with myself about the back ease. The back feels comfortable, yet obviously I need more ease to erase the VPL (visible panty line).  Then again maybe I should have left all the back ease.
  • But the back felt comfortable other than slipping downward as the day wore along. I realized after my last post, that I had cut the elastic 2″ longer for fitting and had not removed that 2″ during finishing. The growing and shortening of the respective crotches could really be a waist issued caused by the elastic being too long. 
  • Sewing is similar to medicine in that the same symptoms can indicate very different problems.  The only solution is to fix the worst or most obvious issue. Test the fix and then decide whether to make another alteration.  Take The Sleeveless Blouse Otto 2006-02-04. The first impression said too small everywhere, swayback correction needed, petite between bust and shoulder needed. To fix that blouse, I added 1.5″ ease at the hip and waist narrowing to +1/2″ at the underarm. All problems were solved in what was essentially, a single alteration, that of ripping the side seams and resewing with smaller seam allowances.  For that blouse I started the fitting by tackling the most obvious issue: the blouse felt too tight everywhere and looked it in the pics. See what I mean?  Just because I see other issues with this pattern (i.e. the crotch changing throughout the day) the solution may not be altering the crotch.  The obvious issue is ease across the back half of me. A slightly less obvious issue is that I cut the elastic too long. I could have unconsciously fixed that issue this time when I cut the elastic to the correct length and the sliding crotch issue just disappeared. As it is, I’m making the conscious decision to cut the elastic the correct length and observe what effect if any that will have on the crotch issue. Whew! Sometimes I talk too much.

So then it was onto selecting fabric. I’m having difficulty choosing pant fabrics for wearable pant muslins.  As long as I’m fitting basic patterns, I want to use lighter colored fabrics with no stretch.  But when I reach for light-colored fabrics, suitable for pants, they all have stretch. That’s because my wearing  preference is pants with just a touch of Lycra. (1% is fine for me. 3% means I’ll need to do more aggressive fitting.) Next time I submit a fabric order, I’m going to be looking specifically for light-colored, non-stretch, pant-weight fabrics.  The fabric I selected for MSS Shorts #2 is a black and white houndstooth, loosely- woven, poly/cotton (with emphasis on poly).  I selected it because it’s not light blue (I’ve made 3 light blue shorts so far). Also it’s beefy but drapes.  I know I bought this thinking of a light weight third-layer. It’s more blouse weight than jacket but it drapes really well.  Seeing how Shorts 1, gathered around my front waistline, I think I still want to use a fabric which drapes and will gather tightly.  Oh and I selected this fabric because I thought it might photo well. I don’t have a fitting pattern other than my camera. I need the next fabric to photo well enough to tell my whether I ‘ve fixed the ease issue.  Or not.

I cut the pockets this time. I finished the front pocket edge with bias tape. Decided that would look  cute and should finish the hems the same way.

One thing I do dislike about all of LC’s pants, is they are fabric hogs. OK, maybe not all, but all the one’s I’ve made have been fabric hogs.  For long legs I need 3 yards and then I always have this big ole’ piece left over that I hate to throw away but isn’t good for much. (Dress fabrics do not make good quilts. See I know what you thought.) I’ve found that there are several ways to reduce the fabric requirement.  The first thing is alter the tissue to the length I want to wear the pants. In this case, I folded up the leg to the shorts length desired +1.25″ for hemming.  So knowing I’m finishing the hems by binding with bias tape, I fold up the leg another 1″.  Next, the cut-on waistband is a nice smooth finish. But I laid out the tissue on the fabric and said “Yuk. I’m going to have a piece the full length but 2/3″ long. Plus a big ol’ tail 1-1/3 yard long by 18″ wide.” Double yuk. So while the cut-on waistband is nice, I’ve opted for a separate waistband.  Interestingly when you trace the tissue, LC has you trace a separate waistband and then tape it to the pattern.  Knowing that was the case, I traced my pant, then slid the waistband portion under the tracing paper and traced the waistband.  Mine is all one piece. I can’t un-tape. Besides you need to add a seam allowance for this work correctly.  I did draw the line joining the pant to the waistband. So now I  traced the waistband to make a separate tissue. The pant tissue I folded 1/4″ above the drawnline. (Above would put it into the waistband area.)  To the waistband just traced, I added 1/4″ on the bottom for a seam allowance. It’s a simple matter to serge these together at the serger or sewing machine. Just remember to fold and add a SA the amount of the SA that you use i.e. if you are a devoted 5/8″ SA user, change the 1/4″ I used to 5/8″.   What this does for me, and you, is I can now place the waistband, cross grain on the fabric and use that 9″ tail instead of putting it back in my stash. The pant front and back tissues can now be placed closer together. Jointly, they now required 8″ or 1/4 yard less fabric.  Instead of 2/3 yard and big tail, I’m putting just over a yard back into the stash. One yard of fabric, is something I can use easily.