Talia: Real Fabric Gone Bad

I had a minor issue with the muslin yesterday. The bottom of the front legs twisted:

I suspected this might happen because my fabric marked notches didn’t line up.  Instead of rechecking the pattern, I let the fabric tell me how it wanted to lay.  The back was beautiful. The front looked to have a bit of excess ease and a twist above the front hem.  So before using ‘real fabric’ and making a ‘real’ pair of pants, I rechecked the pattern. In copying the notches were off. Also the leg lengths didn’t match and the hems weren’t level.  The grain was definitely off. I decided to start with a fresh copy rather than try to correct that many places. Besides, a fresh copy wouldn’t need all the alterations I’d made so far.

I traced the same size.  Reduced leg length above the knee 2″. Did the same with leg length above the hem. Total 4″ removed from the leg length.  I true my leg seams not by dividing the difference as Jen does, but by finding the curve of the original and rotating my ruler it so that it meets the drafted knee.  Had Style Arc (who drafted the Talia pattern) drafted for a shorter upper leg, that’s exactly what they would have done. I don’t need any more circumference around the thigh or knee.  There’s always daylight (today called thigh gap) between my thighs — even at my heaviest. I’ve long suspected the average woman carries more weight in her thighs than I do.  I’ve successfully  true  multiple   patterns between thigh and knee using this same procedure.

Next up was the back crotch curve.  I measured down from the top of the crotch 6-7/8″.  Same as Muslin 2. I got that measure by pinning the most prominent point of my seat while wearing Muslin 1.  Measured from waistband to pin and added 3/8″ for the included seam allowances.  Anybody see anything wrong with that?  (Seriously and not facetiously.  If I calculated wrong, I need to know.)  I drew a horizontal line at 6-7/8″ (“My Butt”) which bisected the new and true grain-line. I measured down 4″ along the crotch and folded that up to the “My Butt Line”. Huge dart. Huge. But it was huge on Muslin 2 as well.  Last thing I did to the crotch was add the 1″ extension at the tip and then true it back to the inseam at the inseam-notch.

I need that 4″ rise. On Muslin 2, I slashed the remaining rise above the “My Butt” line in 4 places and added 4″. It wasn’t enough. Muslin 02 while looking quite nice, was pulling down at CB even before I sat down. I needed another 1″.  For the Real Fabric, I slashed and added 5″ to the rise.

Taped everything in place like I meant it and then said “Wow that looks ugly”.  What fits me, doesn’t look a whole lot like a standard draft. I took a break to think about it. Later I pulled Muslin 02 tissue out of the trash. Smoothed it flat with an iron and compared with this new tracing.  They were remarkably similar. Grain line a little different. Notches a little different. But nothing majorly different from the Muslin 02 Tissue. I made 2 more changes.  I trimmed 1/8″ from the inseam and crotch seam allowances.  I prefer to use 1/4″ seam allowances and use the serger whenever possible. On a pant that’s always the inseam.  I like the way the serger eases the back and front inseam. Because this is a pull up pant, I prefer to serge the crotch as well.   To the side seams I added 1/4″.  I had added 7/8″ to the muslins and then of course was sewing with big seam allowances. Fabric makes a difference. I’ve experienced two fabric the same except for color. One fit. The other a bit too tight. Being able to let out the seam allowance 1/4″ would have made a wearable garment. That’s why I prefer 5/8 or 1/2″ side seam allowances — just a little fit assurance.  I kept the waistband seam allowances at 3/8″ and the hem at 1″.  So changes are:

-4″ leg length (split between above knee and above hem)

-4″ crotch depth

+5″ crotch rise.

I was anxious to make this pattern as perfect as possible. I walked all the seams. Notched both front and back at the same time.

Then selected a fabric. Had a hard time choosing.  I’ve got several fabrics I’ve been holding onto because I want some dressier pants. They’re either non- or limited stretch (10%) which is just enough to get some bending room. I opted for a light navy, twill with 10% stretch. It weighs about the same as a light denim and will be wonderful as the weather warms. Great during summer when it’s too hot to cover my legs outside but goose bump city inside with air conditioning. I cut the next 18″ off the same roll of elastic as used with Muslin 02. One other change, I trimmed the extra 1/4″ from the sides of the back and front waistband. Instead of sewing 5/8″ waist-band seam allowances I would be sewing 3/8″ — same as drafted.

I made the waistband first. I’ve got to ask, does anyone know how to sew this type waistband so that the top finishes level at the side seam?  I wasn’t that careful with the muslins because they were muslins. But on this ‘real fabric’ I ripped the sides seams out 5 times trying to get it right before deciding I need help.  I like this waistband. Like how it is finished first. But that jog is an embarrassment.

Jog where front waistband meets back waistband at side seam

I serged the inseams first; then the crotch. Basted the side seams and then the waistband to the top of the pant both at 3/8″.  I got cold feet and just couldn’t make the side seams the full 5/8″. I eagerly tried on the pants. Holy smokes the waistband was humongous. How’d that happen?  I had to rip open the waistband and take it in 3/8″. That means it was now 3/4″ deep instead of the 3/8″ drafted. Don’t forget the waistband started 1/2″ shorter each end because I trimmed off the fit assurance before starting this pair of pants.  But at least, waistband was now tight enough to hug my waist.  Note to self:  when possible, always try on waistband before attaching to pant.

Waistband-in-place reveals horrid back of thigh wrinkles. It was like I hadn’t even made the hip-line adjustment.  So I think: “It must be the last 1″ I added to the rise that wasn’t there in Muslin 02″.  Reasonable?  I offset the waistband and pant -thank God for Water Soluble Thread- and put the pant back on. Lots of wrinkles gone but CB dips down ward, have prominent knee drag lines and beginning to see a bit of camel toe.  Obviously, crotch doesn’t have enough length. Not too many ways to correct this so I scoop 1/2”.

My fabric is a light navy. Not midnight navy or pitch black but still hard to see the details unlike Muslin 02’s grey.  So these pics are lighted 97%:

These aren’t wearable!  Worse, they aren’t fixable. Once the crotch is cut, there is only so much you can do.  You can shorten the rise by lifting at the waist –Done. You can scoop the bottom — Done. You can go around in circles lifting at the waist and scooping at the bottom until you’re crazy. If it isn’t near perfect with one change or the other, it ain’t gonna work. At least, that’s my experience.

So I have to ask, What went wrong?

This was not a cheap piece of fabric. It was cotton + Lycra.  The light Lycra content should have added comfort without affecting fit. It is not a limp fabric nor is it stiff. I would say it is firmer than the rayon of Muslin 02.  About the same as Muslin 01.  Is it the change to the waistband length?  The waistband has to snug the waist or the pant droops and creates even more wrinkles. Also note that despite my careful matching of grain and notches, the front leg is still twisting. Possibly the belly flap could be fixed by lifting at the side-waist but then the front crotch will be too short and require scooping.  Not easily seen is that at this point the hem is getting too high, i.e. the leg is too short.  If this fit, I would have used bias tape to finish this pair and lengthened the leg on the tissue for the next pair.

At the moment, I’m stumped. Do I want to pull Muslin 02 Tissue out of the trash and try it with a different fabric?  Do I really need that knock knee alteration which appeared to have no effect until not included?

Oh, my why am I always in Pant H3ll?  Why does one pattern work and another does not? Why does one version of a pattern work and the next is a total fail?



PS Anyone have any favorite 1.25-1.5″ wide elastic?  I’m using Louise Cutting’s elastic which generally I love but it is soft and does tend to slid down.  At one time Louise said that was intentional. I don’t want these sliding down and I don’t want fighting with elastic length. After a muslin, I want to know, this length works. Every time.



5 thoughts on “Talia: Real Fabric Gone Bad”

  1. Sheesh! No clue what might have happened. My inclination would be (after I had a cooling off period and maybe a strong cup of coffee) to take apart the muslin you tossed, press it and compare it to the newly drawn pattern that you used with this cotton fabric–to see if could discern what (if any) differences. So strange…………. This is a real bummer for sure.

  2. Oh my. It almost looks like you cut only backs. I wish I had a solution for this. I agree with the other commenter, take muslin two and recheck the new pattern. Although I just reread your post and you said that was one of the things you checked. I cannot believe how much fabric you have for the front. I also don’t have any suggestions for the elastic. I know I’ve read some sewers really like the one from Peggy Sager.

  3. Have you or did you compare the original pattern to this one to see what is different. If you took out 4″ at the hip the added it back above that line then the only thing I think changed was the back crotch angle at the waist, the overall length would be the same. I just can’t figure out why the second pant looked so good without all the excess fabric when compare to the last pant. Unless there was an addiditional adjustment you made that I missed when reading your post.

    1. Definitely, I cut a front and a back. The crotches are significantly different as well as the leg widths. Even if I had cut the fabric wrong, I would have noticed when sewing the pieces together.

      Tissue 3 was copied from the original pattern -not from the other tissues- and then fitting changes applied. It should have and did look very similar to tissue 2 that produced the very nicely fitting Muslin 2 made using a loosley woven rayon. I asked myself if this pattern could only be used with rayon and if so why didn’t Style Arc say ‘wovens’ i.e. all inclusive, every woven?

      Still working on this. Thanks for moral support. Even if your questions dont nail the issue, they help me think. I’m in the middle of another muslin. When I’m done I think I’ll place the tissues on top of each other and color the differences for no other reason than I want to know exactly what’s different.

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