Halston M2 (Muslin 2)

By not repeating the laundry list of alterations at the end of the first post, I hope to put all the Muslin 2  fitting in one post. I copied the original Purchased Halston tissue one more time. Made changes as detailed in the previous post.

The back was both more and less complicated.  Instead of slash and spread for the waistline dart, I made a tick mark 1″ out from the waist and then drew a mostly-straight  line from hip to waist. Back waist dart, DONE.

To add length to the back crotch extension, the experts advise slicing vertically into the crotch and spreading the slice the amount needed.  That might be fine for 1/4″ or so, but my 1″ spread really distorted the pattern.

Slice and Spread


Notice that in order to spread the slice, I had to make it about 6″ long. Otherwise the entire area buckled and was not a flat pattern.  Even at 6″ the sliced away part is still buckling a little.

Below, look at how a 1″ slice and spread forms a gigantic peak

You’re not going to wear that.  I’ve tried. It is an uncomfortable bump. It has to be fixed; trimmed. OK but how?

If I trim by extending the existing crotch straight out, I make minimal change to the existing crotch shape. But I will add inseam length (pink line) when I  join the inseam to the new crotch extension. I definitely do not want to add more inseam length. I know what happens when seams are not the same length.  They gather or ruche.  Alternative is to add more to the front crotch extension. Nope. Seen that too.  The crotch sticks out in front.  Men don’t want that. Why would I ?

A second option for “truing” the crotch  is…

.. drawing the crotch line from the inner curve to the old crotch point and trimming above your line. This does indeed maintain the original inseam, but that’s about 1/2″ being trimmed away.  I’ve done this one too and it feels like I trim away about half of what I add. The fix for that,  increasing the spread to 2″ , is ugly and feels weird. Yes, I’ve done that too.

So typically I make  the crotch extension itself longer:

Which also means I need to draw a new inseam and will add a little more thigh ease along the previous inseam. However, the ease doesn’t seem to be that much more. I think I could remove an equal amount on the side seam.  So far, I’ve just grudgingly accepted the additional ease. Grudgingly because I usually already have too much ease under my seat.

I had planned to smooth out the hip curve but I was uncomfortable with my changes.  The previous dart method had added over an inch ease to the back all the way down to the knee.   I did considering reducing the hip curve by comparing with my skirt sloper. But when I examine it closely, the curve is not really that curvy and my skirt sloper would only trim like 1/8″ I always thought my rear stuck out and my sides were flat.  Could it be my sides  are indented?

Anyway I finished alterations by changing side seam SA to 1/2″, crotch to 3/8″. You know, all my favorites.  When I cut fabric I got cold feet and  cut the back side seam at 3/4″ i.e. adding 1/4″ ease.  Speaking of which, my fabric looked pretty good on the Fabricmartfabrics site.  In hand it’s a different story.  Boasting a fiber content of cotton//poly/lycra,  with 20% stretch and a novelty weave, well it sounded good.  I usually like a cotton/poly blend. However,  I was truly disgusted after spending 10 minutes carefully pressing the yardage and  it wrinkled horribly just being moved from ironing board to cutting board. I decided immediately this was not a wearable muslin, I don’t care how well the fitting turns out. I’m not fighting with a fabric that wrinkles that quickly that badly.

Just to prove my theory that pants are quick and easy to sew, I timed it.  I did not finish seams. I am not adding pockets or belt loops.  I’m not even finishing the waistband  or stitching hems.  So lots of things I would do, if these were ‘real’ pants. I cut and basted the whole thing, including zipper, in 45 minutes. See quick and easy. Another 15 and I could have had a wearable pair of pants.


was a relief.  I was concerned I had removed too much ease. Instead the M2 had too much circumference


… and it’s still about the crotch length.  Even that is good news!  The back crotch looks and feels the right length. The front feels too long. While the length looks good in the pic, you can see the waistline tilts up at CF by looking at the side seam. A minor issue, is the distribution of the elastic.  The waistband is 4.5″, folded in half (2.25″) less a 3/8″ seam allowance for a net of 1-7/8″ wide.   I chose 1.25″ wide elastic. Should be enough to fill out the waistband/casing but still slide through easily.  I stitched the waistband to the top of the pant at a 1:1 ratio before inserting elastic.  During the first fitting I pulled the elastic through until the waist was comfortably close.  Although I tried, I know the elastic is not evenly distributed within the waistband.  I feel it and I see it in the pics. Parts of the waistline  almost looked gathered.

Fit 02

I increased the side seams from 1/2″ to 1″ from the waistline down to the knee. I looked at the back and decided I wasn’t sure about losing ease by the knee when I was already getting drag lines there. I had removed the waistband from CF to about 4″ past the side seam so I could make the side seam increase evenly all the way up.  Now, I reset the waistband 1/4″ lower in front graduating to default at the side seam. I also snapped the elastic a few times and tried pushing the WB along the elastic to redistribute. Not so sure I made any progress with that.


The waistband needs to be dropped another 1/4″ at CF. I’m getting 4-6″ diagonal/horizontal collapses of the side seam and under the front waistband that  I think indicates the side seam is too long. I question this because just previously I had discovered the side seam needed to be longer to avoid those back diagonals. So I’m looking at conflicting signals. One says increase the side lines, the other signal says shorten the side seams. Which is right? I”ll have to test.  Not showing are a set of pictures in which I pinched the side seams to determine how much ease I can remove and then took pics to make sure where it should be removed.  In the pics it is obvious that while another 3/8″ ease needs to be removed it all needs to be removed on the front. Yes, already with Fit02 the seat is looking a little close. We aren’t seeing VPL because my panties don’t hold onto my legs where that lump is. Nonetheless the back and side views of Fit02, are saying ‘don’t remove any more here”.


Changes were (1) dropping the waistband in front a full 3/4″ , 1/4″ at the side seams, zeroing at 6″ from side seam; and (2) increasing the side seam on front only.  I feel like I’m within striking distance!

I increased the side seams another 1″ from waistband tapering to nothing just above the knee. Along with the offset waistband  the front pant is falling nicely.  There is an additional crumple on the right side and a hint of key hole. Well maybe not crotch key hole since it extends -however faintly- to the waistband. I had scooped the crotch when I cut the tissue.  It was needed to true the back with front after the I added 1″ to the back extension. I mean, I couldn’t not scoop.  Keyhole was more prominent in Fit02, less in Fit 01.  Was 2 little parens on the Purchased Halstons and the first Muslin. I have to work on this some how.

Quick look at the side seams which reflect the same drag lines as the front. Also note, that the waistband is level. It is not tilted skyward in front. Startling, the left side has a bit of ruching/gathing of front to back.  If I look carefully I see it on the right side too. Must mean that front is longer than back? No, I solved this in M1 by adding more length to the back –not by shortening the front. But I’m close.  I’ve worn pants like this and thought nothing wrong.

Even the back is encouraging

Believe that was a relief.  I did not remove any more ease from across the back. I offset the waistband at the side seam but nothing else.  Take a look at those back wrinkles in

Fit 01 and 02, 03

I’ve made a remarkable change in those. Just remarkable. Sadly, I don’t know what I did that made them better.

Question for me, is am I ready to make a ‘real’ pair of pants from this pattern? There are still some issues, but no pant is ever perfect.  As soon as you move it will have wrinkles –or— you won’t be able to move. One easily, I hope correctable issue is the distribution of the elastic along the waistband. I tried to adjust the elastic distribution with every set of photos, including the set you didn’t see.  It improved but is not good enough, yet.  Knowing exactly how much elastic I need for this pant, I can now cut the elastic to measure; mark and secure at CB, side seams and front.   The seam allowances are another correctible issue.  I knew I had far too much at the waist and inseam, I didn’t expect to struggle quite this much with the side seams.  Trimming the SA’s down and ensuring they are the same between sides and between front and back will make the pant hang better as well as clear up a couple of issues like the extra crumple on the right side under the waist that isn’t on the left. Been a good 2 days.  Think I’m ready to move forward.


Halston Muslin

*** All pics in order left to right Fit 01 through Fit 06 ******


So this was a series of tweak, tweak, tweak. In the end is not wearable but is very informative.

I made only  6 fittings which really didn’t seem like  many or that much effort because each fitting was quick and I made small changes. Nothing big. Nothing very involved.

To my surprise at Fit01 the front crotch was not too short!

I added 1.25″ to the tissue’s front crotch length. I reduced that length during the the first 3 fittings until only 1/4″ remained.  1/4″ more than Halston drafted.  The front crotch looked and felt comfortable throughout the remaining fittings with no further adjustments.


At the same time I was reducing the front crotch length, I was adding to the back crotch 1/2″; then 1″ to the upright and again 1/2″ and 1″ to the extension. I added strips of fabric at the waist both the top of CB and at the inseam along  on each back thigh.  I started with enough fabric for the CB additions and was able to tweak the CB length easily through the following fittings. The crotch extension was a different story.  I made the 1/2″ addition. Not easily but at least it looked good and did not noticeably change the crotch shape. The second addition went wrong.  I did not get 1″ evenly added to both inseam which is obvious in the pics and BTW felt wrong during the last fitting.  Even so,  I think an additional 1″ at CB top and 1″ in the extension is the right decision.  While the crotch didn’t feel perfect, it felt better with every change AND, very importantly to me, the waistline appears pretty level front, back and sides.

When viewing the pics above, do allow for the fact nearly all cameras introduce a slight fish-bowl effect. In these pics that could mean the sides could appear to be a little higher than CF or CB.  As far as I know, it takes a very expensive camera to completely overcome that tendency.  So when I get close, I call it good.

The next issue I dealt with was the uneven side seam lengths.



For the first fitting I eased one side and offset the other i.e. on one side I stretched the side seams to match on the other I placed the back side seam 1/2″ lower than the front side seam. I couldn’t tell any difference.  So Fit 02, I eased-made both sides, all pieces to the same length. Oh my! It was obvious that wasn’t right. The front side seam ruched or gathered to the back side seam.  At the same time I added the strip so I could add length to the CB crotch, I made it long/wide enough so I could add 1/2″ on both back side seams. Surprisingly, the back still ruched.  I don’t know why but it did.  Next fitting (Fit 04) I made the back side seams 1″ longer than originally cut. Smack my head, now the back ruched.  Final fit, I made the back side seams 7/8″ longer than the original. Which mostly worked?? The left side seam looks really good. But the right is still ruching a little. I am assuming that, as with the crotch extension, I did not get lengths the same on both sides.

I struggled with the leg length.  I do love having a 16″ hem circumference; but, throughout the first 5 fittings the legs would buckle and stack. On fit 4, I opened a 4″ vent which helped, but not until I basted the hem twice as deep as the original, did the legs hang smoothly. If I were younger, this would not be an issue. They don’t mind a little slop in the lower leg.  I feel differently which means I have some decisions to make.  I can eliminate the slop by increasing the hem circumference to at least 18″.  I could do a combination of increasing the hem circumference to 17″ and making a deeper hem (making the leg shorter). I could keep the 16″ hem circumference and find a corresponding leg length (I think 2″ shorter). It’s something to consider.  I could always decide to embrace the slop.

Finally, as seen in the crotch pics above, and to my utter shock, this torso had too much ease.  Deep vertical folds developed on both front and back between the waistband and the knee.  The waistband of the pant is adjusted through the WB elastic. So no matter how much fabric is wrapped around the waist, the waistband fits.  Between knee and hem are drafted for a slender leg and just what I was looking for.  The torso is a different story.  It had the ease of a pleated trouser, which is was not. It was a a slack.  I could settle for a pleated trouser. In fact, I won’t trash this tissue just in case I want that option in the future.   ATM, I’m really wanting a slim fitting slack. Not close fitting. Not trouser fit. But slim; sliding past all the curves but not flaring on the way to the hem.  I have the ease worked out -almost-  through a combination of offsetting the back side seam a 1/2″ away from the front side seam; and increasing the side seam depth until it was 1-1/4″  at the deepest on the back pieces. (that would be 1-3/4″ on front).  The seam allowance is variable i.e.not an even  depth from waist to hem.  At the waist it is only 1/2″ on front, 1″ on the back.  At the knee it returns to 1/2″ both front and back. In between it increases and decreases in depth to remove ease as I desired.

This changes wil be interesting to transfer to the tissue. For transfer  I must. I was far too optimistic when tracing and making this first muslin. The narrower seam allowances are already fraying and as I said, I did not sew the last crotch extensions evenly.  I think I’m at the point of needing a new muslin.  May as well make a new tissue too with known changes. While I’m at it, I did not like the method I used for adding the back dart.  I think I added unneeded ease across the back torso and thigh. Now seems like a good time to try another solution.

The final fit:

Not perfect but on the way to being much better.  I’m not upset or even dismayed.  I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Feel no need to curse or howl at the moon.  I had hoped I would be further along but it was obvious to me during fitting I had some work to do. Muslin 1, last fitting is much nicer than the first fitting and a lot nicer than some of my other recent muslins.

As always, it is too d@mn bad  fitting pants is so hard, because sewing them is a snap.






H: The First Tissue

I’ve been puny about a week.  Not exactly sick but not a lot of energy either. So I didn’t get as much done today but at least I did make progress.

I worried about the side lengths overnight. This morning I gave the pant pieces a  quick press then smoothed and pinned them out once again upon the tissue. I was sad to see they fit within the traced lines.  I unpinned and left them alone thinking perhaps I had stretched them into place and if I allowed them to relax, they might change. 20 minutes later, nope. I measured the sides for an umpteenth time. It was sheer desperation.  Despite the fact I had measured over and over last evening, I hoped it was in error.  Well son-of-a-gun. Now the back measured 38.5″ and the front 38.75″. Huh? Measured again. 38.5/38.75 ??? After the third measure with the same results, I figured I was just brain-dead last night.  I’d rather the difference be 1/8″.  I would just brush that off.  Accept as my error.  1/4″ does concern me but I think I can work with it.

So time for a muslin? No. I have some issues still.

Consider the crotch.  Definitely felt too tight in front while the back waist, hip, crotch all look really good with maybe a little dipping at CB

I didn’t feel the dipping so it could be my bad photography skills.

The front is a little different and puzzling me.  It felt tight and there is poofiness but below my tummy. The only issues I can see are the very, very small parens by the bottom of the crotch:

Otherwise, the front looks like a pleated trouser; and those parens  are so small, I would be tempted to just reshape the front crotch a little and call it done.  I think alteration #1 will be adding 1″ length to the front crotch.

While I won’t change the dimensions or shape of the back, I do want to incorporate the dart in my pattern which is in the pant. I also don’t want to change the first tracing at all.  If whatever I do makes a mess, I want to be able to return to this basis. So I began today by drawing a dark line around the Halston Tracing. I used a black Sharpie to darken the line (useful when tracing) and pressed a ruler into service straightening/smoothing all the lines. Then I trimmed the tissue but kept a generous perimeter i.e. I didn’t cut on the black lines.  Next, I traced a new copy and this is where the changes started:

  • Side Seam Allowances +1/4″
    • for a total of 1/2″ my preference
  • Crotch+1/8
    • for a total of 3/8″ my preference
    • When I added the 1/8″ to the front crotch, I also smoothed out that bump
  • Hem -1/4″
    • for a final 1-1/4″ hem  my preference.
  • Front crotch add 1-1/4″ length
    • That is a big wedge.  Just to make it easier when restoring the cutting line, I made two 5/8″ wedges.  There’s no difference in making one big or two small other than it is easier to see where to draw the new line and a little less scary since you’re add/removing small bits twice instead of a big one. Oh, it is a little more work.
  • Front Crotch added cut on fly.
    • Fly will be 1-1/4″ with the 3/8″ seam allowance
  • Back 1″ dart added
    • This was an “Oh My” experience. The dart is clearly 1″ stitched to a net of 1/2″. Well making a 3″ slice and spreading it 1″ doesn’t work so well. It creates quite a bubble.  Flatten it and I’m clearly losing length and shape and “Oh My”.  First I increased the slice to about 12″.  That made for a smaller bubble but lower down in the ever-troublesome back-thigh.  I increased the slice all the way to the inseam- I copied the position, direction and length from the fabric. The slice made along that line headed in the direction of the inseam.  It did lie flatly even if it did add a bit of easy all along the way. I may need to tweak the shape of the side seam later.
  • Waistband 4″ x 23″
    • That’s only half. It needs to be cut on the fold
    • Probably too long but can be adjusted. Besides, elastic works wonders.
  • Walk the seams
    • Always have to walk the seams. I learned the hard way any time you plink with the tissue, walk the seams. Make sure they are still the same length.  Uneven seam lengths can cause numerous errors and a great deal of misery.  All of which could have been avoided by spending 10 minutes walking the same.

All done. Time to find fabric. I was dismayed at first when I couldn’t find fabric with 25% stretch. I pulled out the pant again and remeasured. Sigh of relief, 4″ stretched to 4 3/4″ not 5″. A full 25% stretch is not needed. Now I have plenty of fabrics to choose from including a nice, light-colored fabric that is very similar in hand, weight and stretch to the purchased Halstons.



Halston Starting a Pattern

Time to get with the actual copying.   Long ago I tried Nancy Zieman’s method of smoothing the garment, pinning and transferring the seam lines to a piece of tissue.  As always, she made it look easy; or at least doable. When I tried, I nearly lost my mind. No, I got really frustrated.  Garments don’t want to lie nicely and stay there for any length of time. Too bad I don’t have the patience and skill for the method because it is possible to produce a good pattern without damaging the garment. Sigh, for me it mean ripping seams. I tried first to rip the side seam and the waistline; spreading open one-half the pant.  I pinned and started tracing the back because I thought it would be easier and give me time to think of how I was going to handle the front and the fly. 

Frankly it was hard to accurately trace the crotch with the other half of the pant still attached; clumping; pulling etc. Equally difficult was trying to trace the inseam by pinning it to the tissue, flipping the front leg over -which never really got out-of-the-way because the other half of the pant was still attached. Didn’t take long before I decided I needed to rip it all apart. Well at least one back and one front. Inseam and back crotch separated easily, that front zipper was a doooozzy.  Why is everyone so enamoured with multiple pieces for fly zippers? Don’t y’all wear underwear?  The purpose of the shield which takes at least 2 additional pieces and lots of sewing, is to protect your tender skin and hair.  Panties solve that issue and a few others. Well I digress. I unpinned from the tissue. Took the garment to a chair and finished ripping out the front and back while watching HSN hawk computers. Truly wish I had done that before. Didn’t take long at all to have a front and back separated, pressed and pinned to my tissue.

Showing front pinned to tissue.

Tracing then was very quick. It was even possible for a ruler to assist me. Oh and I used a wash-away felt-tip pen from Crayola–the marks definitely disappear in the wash.

It was a good thing that I didn’t rip all the seams!  I didn’t measure seam, hem or waistband allowance before starting. Now I measured the still sewn-together half and recorded that on my tissue. Then I started measuring; and measuring and measuring.  Noted a couple of things, not all good. My front side seam is 1″ longer than the back. I don’t think that’s right, but I measured it repeatedly.  My back inseam is 1/8″ longer than the front.  (Sounds like a user {me} error. ) Seam allowances were variable, as is typical in RTW but I warn you, if your Halston’s are a little tight, buy a bigger pair. The seam allowances are a scant 3/8″ or generous 1/4″. You can’t let that out. Hem was an  unusually generous 1- 5/8″ .  I noticed that the jean’s hems (that I’m sending back) were closer to 5/8″. The waistband is 45″ long including 4″ of overlap.  Like my DG2’s, there is elastic inside-no interfacing or other stabilization. The elastic is how the waist fits all day long. DG still uses some other stabilizers. Usually light-weight and just in certain spots subject to strain.  I’m hoping the Halston’s are as durable without the extra stabilization. The zipper was nailed in there. I absolutely prayed while taking out one side and half the bottom.  I could not see well due to the dark thread, dark fabric, dark zipper. Knowing it was a critical area, I persisted. The front doesn’t have any darts.  The side seam must be cut in a curve.  The back however has a 1″ waist dart which makes the side seam curve.  I’m puzzling because I think the side seam curve is only 1/2″. So what is the effect of the other half of the dart?  Is it changing the back crotch?  No, I’m not going to rip it out.  There are working, welt-pockets on both back pieces.  I am not ripping all those pieces apart.  I’d never get them back together and I still have intentions of wearing this pant rather than just paying $50 for a pattern. I was happy with the crotch lengths. The back crotch will finish the same length as my Aug Bowl and the nicely fitting M3; the front however is short 1″; which confirms how I felt when the pants were on me.  BTW, I think that’s due to my tummy.  I added 1.5″ to M3 to achieve that nice fitting crotch. When I think about it, Halston probably did most women a solid with their front crotch length.  It would be good for so many. Me, I need more length.

The last thing I want to share, is the grainline I placed on my pattern pieces

I placed the grainline by measuring width at the hem line i.e. 1-5/8″ above the bottom edge. I divided that in half and carefully aligned my ruler with the hem’s orientation then drew a line extending upwards all the way.  The back is very, very similar to Wm Lehman’s illustration

My grainline terminates about 1/2″ away from the CB edge; 1/4″ away from both the crotch and inseam SA’s. Also note that beautiful L shaped crotch. No shallow scoops for Halston pants. At this point I haven’t incorporated the back dart.  I’ve just noted it’s position, width and length along with all the other measurements I’d taken.  I’m a believer if you have the measure it once, you’ll probably need to measure it again.  May as well write it down where you can find it.

Note the front grainline too

It too bisects the leg at the hem but as it extends upward, that changes. The front torso must also be tilted; probably not as much as the back ?  My front crotch is not a nice swooping curve. It undulates a little.  I traced it faithfully. The bottom of the pant crotch was trimmed maybe 1/8″.  The part which was included in the fly, was not trimmed. I didn’t know that at first. Had to go back and look carefully at both the separated front and the front still attached. I think smoothing  the bottom of the curve removing that undulation is in order. The Halston front had a pocket. I didn’t make any notations because, I prefer to make my own pocket pieces.

Sooooo, end of another day of intensive examination.  I did take a few minutes to compare the tissue with V1411. There are similarities of course, but I am experienced enough to know the two will produce different fit. The Halston is definitely tilted at the torso and the leg much slimmer (yeah!). I’d like to tweak the fit closer to my ideal which I think is increasing front crotch length, removing some excess fabric from the backside and removing some length from the side. It may be that making the front crotch length closer to my own will fix both front and back issues. I am hoping tweaking is all I have to do since I’m starting so close. I really am hoping the Halston draft is repeatable.  I have doubts because the same size jean didn’t look nearly as nice as the slack I’m copying.

Time to take a break and just think.





A Halston to Copy

I purchased/charged the Halston pants with the intent of making a pattern if they fit nicely. I’ve decided to have a go at making a pattern from the medium blue slacks, return the light blues that were too big along with the jeans which did nothing for my tush:

Probably someone out there is asking “Are you sure you want to copy those med-blue pants? They’ve got issues in the back.”  Yes but the picture was enhanced by changing the exposure greatly so we could see the drag lines.  IRL that blue is considerably darker…

..and the drag lines hardly noticeable. I have worn worse-looking pants and I think this may be corrected by scooping the crotch. Most importantly, this pant is better than any I’ve been sewing lately. Not to mention, I haven’t been able to keep RTW pants in a long time. I try them on in stores. When I can pants looking good on  model with a similar body, I order pants through on-line shopping shows. Other than the DG2’s, they all go back.

But before I started copying, I was eager to check the grainline.  The friend who recommended Halston, also stated the pants have a very unusual grain line (which she believes is the reason for her excellent fit.) I plan to send the light blue pants back because they would need complete recutting to be worn but I used them because the grain should be most easily detected.

Oh, my word!  The twill weave is so tight I could not see the grain.  I tried rubbing a little with a lead pencil. No help.  Tried several different colors of chalk.  Still no help.  Holding up to the light, nope. A little water, no. No! No! No!  I used the chalk and lead because those are usually easily removed. I plan to send these back.   I’m desperately  hunting for something that would make the grain more visible but not make the pants unreturnable. I ran upstairs and found a strong magnifying lens. Sure that helped (read with sarcasm). I could see the cross grain just fine. But not the grain.  I could not find the grainline using non-damaging methods. Arghhhh!!!!

Well I learned long ago to trust that nothing is ever truly a waste of your time.  This is one of many incidents that confirms my trust. Remember the drafting I did back in August. I stumbled and essentially failed but I did learn that the grain line is positioned mid-way at the hem and will be perpendicular to the cross grain.  So if that’s true I should be able to align the short end of my ruler with the cross-grain I can see at the hem. The long-edge of the ruler will then  extend upwards along the grain. Worth a try, right?

It took me two pics to capture the result:

The grain line starts in the middle of the hem just like every pant pattern I’ve ever worked with.  It extends up but then angles across almost to the center back. I really want you to see that. I drew a circle on it

I’ve never seen a pattern with a grain line like this.  Even my jeans pattern have not been so angled.  Usually the grain goes straight up dividing the garment equally.   That’s definitely the method my drafting class presented.

I have seen something similar in an older book I am reading now:

Practical Instruction by Wm Lehman. I stumbled across this book while searching for alterations which might apply to my fitting issues.  Not sure where I got the original reference, but this is free and the Library of Congress has a number of free books along those lines. Click HERE to see a list.  Hope the link works.  There are several more I’d like to read.

I consider this book hard reading.  I can’t just read it and “get it”. The book was written/published in 1919.  Even though it is written in English, I can’t easily understand.  They spoke differently a century ago.  For example, Mr Lehman kept referring to “outlets”.  I have not seen that term used in sewing.  I know about electrical outlets. Water outlets. Sewage… but not garment outlets. Was it the neck? Holes for the legs? I think, still not 100% sure, but I think it is the seam allowances. Once I puzzle the terminology and phrasing through, I find he does a good job at explaining and illustrating things. But here again, the illustrations require my thought and sometimes further research on the Internet.  Finally realized when he refers to “full’ look at the solid, unbroken lines. But often I can’t find the  -.-.- lines or the +.+.+ or… well whatever symbol he uses in the text is not always the symbol in the illustration. I’ve opened and closed the book several times because hard reading is also slow reading.  Sometimes I have to read, think, research and then read again. When I finally understand, I find there is good, really good information contained in these pages. Information such as this page on how the grain should run in pants:

The description occurs on the page before and the page after which I think makes for a difficult read. You need to be looking at the illustration while reading the text. That illustration shows  the ‘wrong’ draft in full unbroken lines.  I’m most interested in the correct draft.  For easy viewing, I copied, traced, and I’m sharing just the correctly drafted back leg:

(No seam allowances are included in illustration.) ,

Look at the grain line.  It starts in the middle of the hem and extends upward but by the time it reaches the thigh, it is no longer evenly dividing the back leg. The torso portion has been tilted so the grainline terminates at the center back.  WOW so much like the my pic of the Halston grainline:

BTW, my friend confirmed she too had seen this grainline when she did her own copying.

Well there’s more, but this is enough sharing for one day.



DraftingFitting, RTW

An RTW Review: DG2, H by Halston

DG2 aka Diane Gillman 2 has been my jeans source for about 4 years.  I loved the way they fit with the very first pair. I chose that size as recommended, size 14. Beautiful in pictures but as the day wore on, I couldn’t breathe.  Couldn’t eat unless I unzipped and unbuttoned. Pull on jeans were the exception to eating problem but still restrictive to my breathing.  I bought the next pair in a size 16, i.e. one size up. Much better, at least in the morning. By dinner I still needed to unbutton. Carefully studying the charts convinced me that a 16PW would be the answer as the only measurement difference was in the waist. Well truly, that was a gift.  Same great fit everywhere, this time including the waist and tummy. I have continued to buy DG2 jeans. DG doesn’t seem to make slacks or trousers. Her other option seems to be skinny-skinnies. At least at this time on Evine.com. I’ve been happy with my 16PW jeans but noticed within a few wearing that the waist had gotten too large. I added elastic to the waistband. Which helped how they felt and kept them up instead of drooping. Recently, I’ve started seeing poorer fit in the pics of the newer jeans and the well-worn are feeling droopy. I’ve started taking pics of the older pairs and have been dismayed that nearly every older pair looks like this:

I might ignore the back and sides for a while longer but the front is just, IMO, ugly.  I can pinch 3″ ease on each side, that’s about 6″ total and not what anyone wants in their jeans. I’ve started putting my old DG jeans in the Goodwill box and am contemplating what to do next. The 16PW are not looking as good when I get them as they did a couple of years ago. I may have lost some weight -I don’t torture keep track myself. The real problem with the 16P (the size smaller than PW) had been a too tight waist.   I’ve created a Pinterest board Save-Waist to capture ideas for after-the-fact enlarging of the waist. ATM I’m planning to buy a 16P hopefully dirt-cheap so I can cut into the waist and make my chosen fix without regret. But I recognize I may need to go down another size and I could need to give up DG2 entirely. My body seems to change every few years. Maybe I’ve changed beyond the parameters of her block. In which case, I see no point in paying $60-90 for jeans I’m ashamed to wear.

Moving on to H by Halston

A SG friend recommended Halston to me saying she had many of the same fitting issues and a similar figure. Halston has been her salvation. When examining the pants in detail she discovered Halston made a radical change in the grainline. She believes this is what creates her beautiful fit.  She discovered this gem of information during taking a pair apart to make a pattern.  Sometimes I think if I could buy pants that fit, I’d never sew another.  Eh, I have a huge collection of very nice, some very expensive pants fabrics. I’d want to make pants just to wear these wonderful fabrics. So I’m game. Except I don’t want to spend $90+ for a pattern. I’d definitely have to sew the pants back together and wear it! So my friend pointed me in the direction of the sales, closeouts and discounts. I couldn’t find Halston’s On-Line return policy and I’m far far away from a real store. I mean if these things don’t look pretty good on me, do I want a pattern of them or do I just want to return them? So I dug into my favorite on-line shopping sites and may have hit the jackpot at QVC.  QVC has started carrying a H by Halston clothing line.  Supposedly same great fit and quality of Halston but exclusive for QVC. AND QVC has a sales, closeout and discounts section. I got busy and ordered 3 pair a 16, 16W and 18. So I thought, when they arrived I have two 16’s and an 18W. Oh well, I can work with what I have.


I knew these where too big when I zipped them up.  That was confirmed by having to hold them up at the waist during my “photo shoot”. The pics bear this out as well showing the same issues I usually see when I start with a tissue pattern that is too large.  One nice thing, this is a very light color. I will probably be able to trace the grain line before carefully packing away and returning to QVC

The next two I thought would photo well but their colors are just a little too dark.  I had to lighten the pics by 50% resulting in  the color being off in the photos. They do look much better IRL

16 Jean

These felt wonderful when I tried them on. OMG snugged to my waist.  No fifths in the back of these, I can tell you! Just heavenly. I can pinch about 1″ease on each side at hip level which is a little more than I like in jeans. However the pics say this is not the beautiful fit my friend is getting.  Talk about the sides first (above).  Collapsing about high hip level and then undulating wrinkles below i.e. the typical wrinkles of a too long side. That might be correctable (reset the waistband a little lower, along with the excess ease, but is it worth my while? How they feel and how the side look makes me reluctant to send them back but…..

how the front feels and how back and front look makes me reluctant to keep them. While I may have been able to pinch excess ease at the side seams, my tush is saying “give me room”. Possibly, that is a crotch length issue because despite feeling comfortable the waistband visually dips at center back.  I also have the hated diagonal lines between butt and knee. Arghhhhh!  The front feels good at the waistband, but too big below.  That’s quite typical with all my pants patterns as well but on them I can make a vertical fold 1/4-1/2″ deep and eliminate the problem forever.  What can I do to fix these and then do I want to do that everytime I buy a pair of pants? Hold on, the front other issues. It is poofy, even where it crests but the crotch seems too short. What a combination! I might be able to correct the fit by scooping the crotch giving length to both back and front. Will that fix the poofiness? Do I want to, especially every pair I buy????

16 Slacks

All the Halston pants were lightly steamed to discourage  deep wrinkles but have not been carefully pressed nor even given a whiff of starch.  This slack style is what I have been trying to create myself. OK I’ve been trying to find out why pants fit and why the don’t but that’s because I had 2 jeans pattern and a trouser that fit fairly easily while all the other patterns were a fight from start to trash. I can never get a semi-fit pant to look good. Since I don’t make a lot to pants, I would be satisfied with a jean, a slack and a trouser pattern. The slack has eluded me.  But this one make me drool.  I am seeing slight indication that the side seam is too long, again correctable. Especially this small amount. Otherwise, the pant hangs fairly straight, breaking over the foot as expected.

Not the worst pant, I’ve ever worn.  I wonder how much better they would look had I added a little starch and a careful press.  The front does have some extra ease like I find in most patterns but not as much, not as much extra as in the Hjean and almost the right amount for a slack. I believe the CF waistband is actually dipping as I felt the crotch pulling upward too. Between the two, I’d say, front crotch too short. The back waist is also dipping. Amazingly, the butt looks like it has enough ease.  There is only 1 diagonal (on each leg) which might disappear with a good pressing. Given the issue with the front crotch, I’m tempted to keep this one and scoop the crotch.  Of course it was the most expensive ($50 even with half off) which makes me wonder if I really want to start operating on it. Still I can imagine buying pant after pant, scooping the crotch a little and spending all my time creating great-looking, unique, imaginative tops.  Hmmmmmm off into dreamland


Overall, I would give Halston a thumbs up. Each H pant had 20% or a little more stretch. I think that is standard in good quality pants. I was annoyed that I had to open the buttonhole on each pant. Every. Last. One. It was quick and only about 1/16″ but H is not dirt-cheap even in the clearance bin. I expect more out of expensive pants. I expect little details to be right. I also was dismayed that each and every pair were too short in the crotch even the size 18.  The buttonhole is really a annoyance, but the crotch length can be a killer.

So what am I going to do?  Send back the 18? Yes but what about the two 16s? Well I already have a nice fitting jean (DG2) and jean pattern (TJ906). I’m just not certain I could fix it with a scoop and then what happens in the first laundry cycle? At $28 (again half off) not breaking the bank but not dir-cheap.  I lean towards sending it back, then reconsider. Not sure, I’m just not sure.  I don’t have a nice slim pant, a slack. This is not fit nice enough to just wear.  Shall I operate? Shall I  trace without ripping seams? Or plan to keep;, rip seams and trace; then operate? It will take 3-4 alterations.  Again, what happens in the first wash?  Ah, life is full of interesting questions and options.


Behind the Scene: Adding a Side Strip

Admittedly, the virtual addition unlimited ease to the legs didn’t reduce the wrinkles (and I was hoping for eliminating), but perhaps correcting the lack of ease in the tummy and hip could.

To my surprise I was able to cut a 2″ strip,  35″ long from the remnant. Two of them in fact, and on grain. Which means I have strips as long as the entire side seam and they have the same stretch as the Grey pant. Inserting the strips was easy. Rip open the entire side seam and baste into place.   I did both side seams because  that’s the only way to see how the new ease will affect the fit. And what did that get me?:

The front now definitely looks too large. Sigh 1″ extra was not enough 2″ extra ease is too much. Looking at the seat, it really doesn’t look much better, like even adding 2″ was not enough.  But it calls to mind  a post shared by Lynn  but originally posted on the StitchsandSeams blog. The author mused about the fact she seemed to  add ease and add ease (repeat a few more times) without making the seat look better.  Does that not seem to be my issue? I added 1 then 2 inches still the seat looks not one white better. At this point I wonder if ease may not be the issue.

I was thinking about the back crotch i.e. do I scoop, make longer, yada yada when I realized I would not wear this pant had it looked perfect at the first try on because I felt this strong restriction of my front thighs even though I could pinch 2″ of ease.  The restriction seemed to cross my thigh diagonally, like the arrows in the pic below:

As I paid real attention to the feel of the restriction, the pulling of the fabric I realized it was pulling pretty much where and how I had made the Top Of Inseam (TOI) Dart in the tissue. I had to find out, did the TOI cause this problem for me? After cutting a 3″ strip of fabric from the remnant, I opened the inseam, sketched in the dart and then slashed open.  I did not open the side seam so it was a little fussy to add the strip, separate the slash 1.5″ before stitching the strip to the pant.  (The dart made in the tissue was  3/4″ deep. That means it removed 1.5″ of fabric. To remove the TOI, I need to add the same amount as previously removed.)   Finally baste the inseam together and try it on before taking pics.

Note I ‘removed’ the TOI only from the left leg. The right leg is untouched. The front feels so much more comfortable on the left leg. Also note how the hem hangs evenly– that’s due to the reverse dart. I know because I stopped, straightened up the pant and took a second set of pics. I don’t note any real difference on the side. The back leg looks better below the knee. It’s hanging more evenly; more vertically and not canted to the inside like the right leg.  However, I wouldn’t say that the wrinkles between waist and knee are improved.

Just for ?fun?  let’s compare Fit 02 (below on the left) and the last fit and the TOI undone (below on the right)


Well,maybe I’m wrong.  Going back that far, the back does look a little better.  Even though not something to brag about.

Sadly I’m not anywhere near the final alterations made to M3:

But I am also not feeling as frustrated. Mostly because I’m not doing a lot all at once. The changes above were done over a period of 3 days and they were done  after I had already successfully sewn other garments. So I’m not spending a bunch of time all at once . I’m not spending a lot a time on any single alteration. AND I’m experiencing success every day in different projects.  Hence, I’m not as frustrated as I have been with pants.

Well there will be a few more “Behind the Scene” posts. I still have an idea or two that can be executed on this Grey Test.




V1411: Behind The Scene: Releasing the Leg Seams

I think I may be making a few posts along this line as I am figure out what went wrong  with V1411 i.e. how could it look so good in Muslin 3 with the Top Of Inseam Dart but so bad when the same was incorporated into the pattern:

So I let Grey sit in the closet for a few days whilst thinking about the obviously lack of total ease. Yeah, even though I’m showing the backs for comparison, the Grey’s front was too tight.  Letting out the side seams had made both front and back look and feel a little better but there wasn’t enough improvement.  I was contemplating opening up the side seam and adding a strip of fabric; perhaps doing something decorative with the strip when I started wondering, did I have a side seam issue or an inseam?   I mean all the pulls came from the inseam. Mostly the appear horizontal (not enough ease) with few pointing towards the knees; none exactly to the crotch; and -what caught my eye- none reach the side seam. I’m of the opinion that changes need to be made close to where they occur.  I acknowledge that may not be true 100% of the time, but I prefer to start by adjusting the garment where the wrinkles appear. So should I be adding a strip to the inseam instead of the side seam?

I decided to release the side seam of the left leg and the inseam of the right leg, in turn at the calf, knee and thigh. I thought I would be checking to see if the issue was at the any or all of these places and if it was an inseam or side seam issue.  First I ripped out next to the calves:

Seeing little or no improvement, I left about an inch of seam intact and ripped out about the knee:

Maybe the tiniest improvement, maybe not so let out the thigh area:

Huh. And a 2nd Huh. Removing the stitching allowed the seam to pull apart as much as needed.  It’s like adding unlimited ease. IMO, unlimited leg ease, didn’t lessen let alone eliminate the back wrinkles. The front has in fact gained a few. Not what I had in mind. <shakes head> Nope, not what I had in mind, at all.




ETA: Spelling corrections. 

I made the changes listed at the end of yesterday’s post then trued the seams with careful walking.  I was delighted to find one more correction, my front piece was longer than the back.  No wonder the sides appeared rouched. The Front was 1/4″ longer on the inseam and 1/2″ longer on the side seam.  I trimmed at the top of the inseam (hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me) and took a small dart near the top of the side seam.

I have high hopes this version of V1411 may be wearable. But there is a little warning voice saying “Reel it in, Bev. Reel it in.” Meaning don’t get too excited for I will be in tears if it fails. So I’m hunting for a fabric which will be a good test for knit pants but I won’t care if it goes in the trash when I find a grey, stretch suiting. It’s a herringbone weave that’s hardly noticeable because of the light color.  I actually wondered why I even had it.  I  rarely purchased  fabric especially for muslins.  Usually, enough of it comes in the door because I misunderstood the description. I was puzzling about the fabric source when I tested the stretch factor. 20% stretch in a light color with a good hand for pants? Oh yeah, this will be perfect no matter where, when or why it got here.  I press it lightly using a little seam; lay it out on my cutting table and arrange my pattern pieces on top and get set for cutting.

And just like that, I have once again proved that sewing a pant is easier than sin.  No fooling, I’ve spent more time planning and testing and altering the tissue for this exercise then I spent cutting and stitching together FIT 01:



I’m glad I’d reeled in my expectations because this fit was both surprising and disappointing. The pattern specifies a moderate knit. That’s not a real  clear definition. Leaves a lot of room for error. I have a chart that lists Moderate as being between 1 and 2.5″.  This fabric has 2″.  Having chosen  size according to my hip and selected a fabric right  smack dab in the middle of “Moderate Stretch Rating” , my pant should have enough ease. Besides the lack of of visible ease, I  feel restricted in the front thigh. That never happens to me.  Obviously, there’s TMI in those photos above but there is good news. The front crotch is sitting comfortably and the sides seams are nearly vertical.  The all important back caused my jaw to drop.

Yes it is too tight, but more importantly to me right now is that the Top of the Inseam Dart everyone practically screams at me to make, has been made. It was made to the tune of 1.5″. Compare this grey pant with TOID to M3 without the dart

Sigh. But I know sometimes you have to solve the obvious problems which in this case is not enough ease. So I let out the side seams as far as possible which adds 1″ circumference.

The front looks really good but suffers from a too long side seam. On me, when horizontal lines cross the side seams,  that always because the the side is too long in relation to the center front.  Confirming the side seam being too long, is that the center front is sitting where it should be. It, the CF, is not too short and pulling downward on the sides.   I probably would not mind another 1/4″1/2″ ease in front. But I’ve let out the side seams as far as possible and I don’t have enough fabric to cut another front.

Also important to me is that the side seam is still nearly vertical:

It starts at the front, bends a little towards the thigh (which is not feeling tight like in Fit01) and then bends back towards the ankle.  Ah, if only I could add a little more ease, front and sides would earn a big thumbs up.

By the way, I think I’ve worn jeans with this backside.  The waist looks fine to me.  It doesn’t look or feel like it is pulling down at either the center-back or seat. Lines below the WB are a direct result of the WB choice i.e. gathered by elastic. I think the back seat needs a more than just a little additional ease even though the crotch is looking good even if a little revealing where it crosses the seat. My concern on the back, is  mostly the horizontal lines between seat and knee. I think they say not enough ease for the front thigh and maybe the calve.  From the back, I can easily see the effect on the inseam length of the 1.5″ inseam dart. To me it is clear the hem tilts upward from back of leg towards the inseam.

As far as further changes go, I’m at an impasse. Side and in-seams have been let out as far as possible; I don’t have enough fabric to cut another front or back. A possible save would be a side-seam insertion of some kind. Maybe with decorative element because it would have to be constructed from multiple pieces.  If I make the effort to finish this pant, there is still another issue: its light grey color.  I won’t wear a long-legged pant in that color very often–maybe once or twice per year.  It becomes an albatross and is eliminated the first time my closet becomes overstuffed.

So what will I do with this grey test/muslin?  I’m setting it in the back of the closet for the next few days.  I’m undecided as to whether to finish  now and donate or make the effort to make a save knowing I will seldom wear the finished pant (that’s presuming additional ease is the only issue.)

One thing I am particularly happy with, I haven’t spent an unreasonable amount of time on this test. Ignoring the first 2 muslins for V1440 because I goofed at the get-go in choosing size. Considering just from Muslin 3 and now the Grey almost-wearable pair, I’ve invested maybe 5 days, only 2 on the latter.  That’s not a horrible amount of time and I don’t feel, yet, like I’m going around in circles. Even though this is not a full success and I’m stumped as what to do, I’m feeling up not depressed.  That’s a good thing.




Back into the Dark: V1411

Despite the long line of abject failures, I just can’t resist working on pants fitting. My daily attire is a top of some kind (knit, blouse) and pants. I rarely wear skirts or dresses and have a very small collection of either. I mean, pants are of major importance to me.  Until recently, I couldn’t find RTW pants that were even  close to fitting. Those pants are jeans. I don’t want to wear jeans all the time. Nothing wrong with it if you do, it’s just not me.  I’m pretty sure I’m not getting 3218 to fit unless I get way smarter so I need set it aside and to turn my attention elsewhere.

I realized, in my eagerness to use the new-to-me crotch knowledge and then my subsequent disappointment that this knowledge didn’t lead me to the Grail of Pants Fitting, I think I  overlooked a near success.  Fact is  V1411 was almost fit but I dropped it because I didn’t want to make pants with so many pieces and seams and the hem circumference was going to be about 18″ when I wanted a narrower hem. Oh and that fabric was nasty.

Looking back at the last fitting of Muslin 3:

I’d have to be honest and say If the worst thing about Muslin 3 (above) was the right back leg, I’d wear these pants with glee!  Not saying there isn’t more to do  just that I seemed to luck into a pattern that might not need a lot of changes.  I selected a size G and used the  size-I crotch. Trimmed the waistband and crotch seam allowance to 3/8″ and then hit near success on the right leg with a  3/4″ deep, fish-eye dart.

OK, I had a few missteps along the way. At first, I selected the wrong size. Tried to correct the back leg fitting by tweaking the left back leg  at that seam line.  I found the knee seam was too low to be effective with the under seat fitting I needed. Tried putting a similar seam higher up. Still across the left, back leg but about half way between knee and butt.  It did help but was not nearly as helpful as the same depth fish-eye dart placed immediately below the seat on the right leg.

I’ve never succeeded in transferring the under-seat fish-eye dart to the tissue. Oh I can measure and draw it on the tissue even alter the tissue. But a dart incorporated into the pattern doesn’t have the effectiveness as when it was stitched into fabric. Doesn’t help for me to deepen or move it around. I did have success with Jen Stearns Diagonal Dart.  Jen’s dart is pretty daunting. But it was successful. Wonder why I haven’t tried it in a long time?  Maybe because I was introduced to Peggy Sagers Top of Inseam dart. If Peggy’s Dart works on my muslin, it works for me when transferred to the tissue. Oh and it’s a lot easier for me to  transfer the Top of Inseam Dart. YMMV of course.

The  inseam dart could be placed similarly as the fish-eye dart and have about the same depth.  I decided to take a few minutes to rip out the other darts and stitch the inseam dart stitch  on my left leg (front has a safety-pin) both front and back.  The inseam dart doesn’t cross the side seam.

I realize that not all drag lines were eliminated. Partially that’s because it’s hard to accurately apply even that dart on-the-fly as it were. It easily gets off grain, off direction and can be variable in depth where it shouldn’t be.  Even so  it was a definite improvement.  I think I have a new tool kit:

  • Bringing forward from the nearly successful  Muslin 3
    • Traced  G side, waist and hem stitching lines, I crotch.
    • Increase front Crotch length 3/4″
    • Decrease Back Crotch length -1.5″
    • Note Possible to choose different size at least for crotch  but for now repeating successes
    • Add 1/4″ to hem length
    • SA
      • Waistband 3/8″
        • waist was later stitched at 3/4″
      • Crotch 3/8″
      • Hem 1.25″
      • All others 5/8″
  • New Alterations
    • Pinned back Diagonal seam together
      • eliminates the seam
      • unsuccessful fitting aid
    • 1/4″ tuck down center front
      • front has 1/2″ too much circumferences
    • Top of Inseam Dart
      • 3/4″
      • all around Zeroing at the side seams.