Flo: Muslin

FABRIC #1:  (yes I’ve used more than 1) I had a cut of Bengaline  in my stash. Actually in the muslin pile because it shrank 1/4 yard in the  pre-wash.   I pressed carefully and spread the Bengaline on my cutting table. Having worked with a couple of pieces of Bengaline now, I’m not sure why the Aussies are so enthused. I don’t particularly care for how it looks on me or how it feels, but it’s OK.  I’d think of it more as a cheap fabric not even that good for muslins because of its stretch. Ah well, lets just say, I have other favorite fabrics. Because you fold it cut edge to cut edge to take advantage of maximum stretch, you get a lot more usable inches.  I was able to lay out my pattern pieces on the 1.75 yards I had. After folding selvedges together, I cut my pattern pieces.  Yes you read that. Knowing that cut edges needed to meet, by habit I put the selvedges together which meant I cut my fabric incorrectly. Once cut, there was not enough to recut.

FABRIC #2: So I had to move onto another fabric. I was able to test the stretch of Bengaline:  40%. Unless I stretched really hard and then I could get 50%.  But I looked at the fabric and said I didn’t want anything stretched that far wrapped around me. The guidance was ‘stretch wovens’.  I have nothing else in the muslin pile that qualifies. Had to look in the stash. The stash has a number of stretch wovens.  But not a lot of stretch wovens I’d use for pants and none had a stretch factor of 40%.  I’ve been testing stretch for a long time. I don’t get stretch wovens with 40% stretch. 20-25% is usual with an occasional 30%.  I thought of switching to a knit. Many of my knits have 30-40% and more. But my pants knits are all dark colors. Can’t see the drag lines on black. So I selected a stretch woven suiting  in gun metalgrey. Great color but the 20% stretch had me really concerned. Nonetheless, I laid out my pattern pieces and cut fabric.

I learned something really great. I basted the yoke to the back; then basted the leg pieces together. Then I basted my waistband pieces together. Suddenly I had a flash. ‘Hey if I can’t get the waistband up over my hips there is no way the pattern is going to fit.  So I tried and it was really tough.  So I let out the seams to the max. Yeah! I could pull the waistband up.  Little tight going over the hips, but at least doable.  I thought what a wonderful way to test the stretch in action.  Wish I’d done this before I cut the other pattern pieces.  Since it was tight, I let the seams out to the max. This time the waistband pulled up pretty easily. Still close around the hips but not struggling to bring the waistband all the way up.

I decided immediately this particular fabric was going to need more ease. I let out the side seams; basted some elastic into the waistband and then basted the waistband onto the pants before trying them on.  I wasn’t impressed.  I could feel the waistband dipping in back.  Fell the crotch pulling and thought from the mirror side view that it looked a little tight.  My biggest disappointment: I was so sure that the Flo would have compensated for all the excess ease over my back thigh. I could see just masses of wrinkles back there.

Since the crotch felt tight, I let out the inseam and then tried on the pants again. I am NOT pleased!

I don’t think I can blame SA..  Well I can criticize them for not saying the pattern required 40% stretch. Jalie did. On the Eleanor, Jalie said “don’t call asking if you can use something else. If your fabric doesn’t have 25% stretch, your Eleanors won’t fit.”  I did realize that there is a lot of difference between 20 and 40% stretch. I was hoping that the added 3″ of ease would compensate for the stretch. I mean SA said the size 14 would fit me  and the 16 be too big.  I measured the pattern in several places. I thought it had zero ease and that with my 3/4″ added to the seam allowance there would be more than enough ease. I was wrong.  It’s not a matter of scooping either. That’s not going to add more ease across the hips.  I really should have told myself, the first fabric had to have closer to 40% stretch. Hopefully, I’ll remember this in the future.

So onto FABRIC 3:  Well lets look at the third fabric tomorrow.



2 thoughts on “Flo: Muslin”

  1. Really interesting post. I have the same problem with excess fabric in the back of the thigh. I’m working on the Silhouette yoga pants (#3400) and took a huge “fish” eye dart down the lower part of the buttock and leg. It has distorted the pattern a bit so I may need to tweak some more. I’m desperate for a TNT pants pattern that I can make up relatively quickly.

    1. Good luck Beth. I know how important a TNT, especially a PANT TNT, can be. Many others have been successful with #3400. Trust the distortion; at least for 1 muslin. Patterns are developed for ‘standard bodies’. When we adapt to our peculiarities the pattern looks odd,,, at first. Later on, you will know to look for that peculiar shape.


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