I want to start with a discussion about the pattern draft. The front piece is unremarkable. Other than being longer at both top and bottom, I really don’t see other differences from my favorite patterns. However the back is astonishing. Look at the back crotch:
Maybe it would help if I compared the back with the MSS back, a pattern with fit I do like.
The Eureka crotch (Back #3) is at least 1″ longer than the MSS. I’ve never seen a crotch this long. My first reaction was astonishment at that extension. Then I noted that it was not a hooked crotch. It’s pretty much a capital L with the angle slightly smoothed. I thought I would need to scoop the crotch eventually. Also note, if you can, that the crotch upright is not a straight line. In fact both front and back crotch uprights have double curves. The double curves are slight. You have to look closely. I left the back crotch as is but I wanted a front zipper and so the front crotch extension was straightened. Also look at the curve of the side seam. If you are hippy or blessed with saddle bags, this pattern is going to help you. Please note, I didn’t even look at Back 1 or 2. They could be entirely different. I read the description of Back #3 and said “That’s me!” and that’s the one I’m using. So other than what you can see here, the big back crotch, wobbly line upright and curved side seam, the Eureka looks pretty standard. Much like a basic block.
For the first fitting, I basted in the zipper, 4 back darts, 2 front darts, crotch and side seams. The directions have you add 2″ to the top at cutting time which I did but didn’t need. I folded and pinned 6″ of leg into hem and then took pictures. I was shocked! The pant felt tight in the waist but fine everywhere else. The pictures looked excellent both back, side and front except that the side seam leaned towards the back from the first (highest on the body) HBL to the waist, indicating that the back darts were too deep.
From there it went down hill. I released 1 of the back darts. The side seam was now vertical, but the waist obviously tight across the tummy. Odd to me that releasing a back dart suddenly adds volume under the tummy and makes the tummy look very prominent. But then I’ve known for a long time that you do one alteration at a time because one alteration will affect the next. Next fitting I released the front darts. 3rd fitting I offset the side seams. This looked much better across the tummy and front, except that the waist itself was too loose and side seam again leaning towards the back. Next fitting, add small dart to front.
Ah, waist looks good, tummy looks good but now the back which previously sat nicely at the natural waist, is now trying to crawl upwards, the front has developed a drape across the lower leg and the HBL’s are no longer horizontal. They are dipping at the side seam and center back. Next fitting, pull up across the back and onto the front to the first dart 1/2″. (I should have expected this. Looking at the patterns above, the MSS back is 1″ shorter than the Eureka without the 2″ extension) Also I decided it was time to examine leg length. The knee line, or what the HBL I thought was the knee line, was 3.5″ below the middle of my knee. With so much to adjust, I chose to make 3 horizontal tucks, 5/8″ each on only one front and back leg. The HBL’s look great but I’ve developed my old nemises the diagonal lines from the knee to butt. I decide that now is not the time to work on the leg although I note that the grainline is now perfectly vertical from waist the hem. The leg does need to be shortened, just not there and probably not that much. I also make a mental not that perhaps it is not entirely the crotch’s fault when those diagonals develop.
My final alteration was to pin out the excess hip curve. I pinned out 1.25″ tapering at the 3rd HBL and the knee. I made the adjustment evenly on front and back, but it really needs to be more taken out of the front than the back.
Ok lots of words to describe 4 alterations
- Waist circumference
- Crotch Height
- Leg ease
- Leg Length.
Note that the crotch curve never needed to change. This is the first pattern I’ve worked with that didn’t need the crotch scooped as the final alteration.
However, this muslin is a mess. The 3 leg-length tucks would not lie flat. I trimmed them. Well I whacked them down to 1/2″ using the scalloped blade in the rotary cutter. They stick out like ruffles but inside the pant leg. So much length removed in that short distance really distorted the leg shape. The unaltered leg looks really nice from waist to hip except being too long it piles up in horizontal folds along the lower leg . The horizontal tuck I made across the back, side and into the front, also will not lay flat, adding girth where I least need it. To add fuel to the fire, the fabric is not as I originally evaluated i.e polyester with no stretch. I’m not sure it is polyester. I’m not making a burn test, because this is going into the trash as soon as I’m sure I’ve transferred all the changes to the tissue. The biggest problem with this fabric is that as the body warms it, it stretches. I didn’t believe my eyes and tested the stretch in several cross grain areas. I hunted up a large leftover and tested it. The leftover did not stretch. That means this would have been a horrible garment. You would have started the day with either a too tight fit or a perfect fit and ended the day with a size much larger, drooped and probably a wrinkled mess. I realized how the fabric had changed just before the last alteration (tuning the side seams to fit my curve). At that point I put everything down, turned off the sewing machine and “had a think”. Could I trust this muslin? Should the alterations be transferred to the tissue or should I start with a new muslin? I have another issue. The pant fabrics I buy intending to wear, I want a little Lycra. Lycra adds a bit of comfort and allows for a closer fit. With a bit of stretch in the fabric, It’s not necessary to surround my body with yards of fabric (which make me look even larger). Over the last few years I’ve sewn most of the non-stretch pant fabrics in my stash. What’s left and keeps sitting there while I make muslins, are beautiful stretch fabrics. I really want to use the stretch fabrics I’ve purchased, but I like to start fitting the pattern by using a non-stretch woven. The amount of stretch varies from fabric to fabric. If I make a pattern for one stretch fabric, I can’t be sure the pattern will work in the next stretch fabric. But if I make the pattern in a non-stretch woven, I know I’ll need to reduce varying amounts of ease, but will always be able to fit me. The exception would be slinky. Slinky stretchs so much you almost have to start with a smaller pattern. I don’t make pants of slinky. Just don’t. I finally decide to finish fitting this muslin (I was so close), copy the changes to the tissue and mark the tissue “20% stretch”. I’m gambling that the final pattern will work. I will construct a real pant and reveal ,,,,, soon.