Happy Pant

J Sterns Happy Pant Muslin

Time to make my first musin. I’ve chosen a linen fabric. It has a firm hand. No stretch. Like most linens it is no trouble to cut and stitch. However, also like most linens, it freys and wrinkles like-the-devil.  The latter being the reason I have little linen in my stash and the reason I moved this cut of fabric from the “Make Pants Stash” to the “Make Muslin Stash”. I basted in a zipper because  I think pants fitting is easier with a zipper in place.  I slipped on the muslin, adjusted the elastic at my waist before deciding I was wrong about the ease. This pant is too tight across my seat, I feel sausaged.

It also has the deep diagonals on the back of the leg, although it should be noted they stop at mid-thigh instead of extending all the way to the knee. There are not as many drag lines as usual but that could be due to the firm hand of the fabric i.e. the firmer the fabric the less likely it is to drape into folds of any kind. I also see the expected “too much”  fabric over the back thigh AND while the crotch should be extending 2.5″ above my waist there is only about an inch up there.  I’ve often corrected the same issues by simply scooping the crotch. Scooping the crotch cannot be undone so I do the less permanent alteration that sometimes helps , I let out the side seams. I should now have 4″ excess ease. So why does the butt still look and feel a ….ummmm…. little tight; squished?

The good news is that at the waist there is more like 2.5″ excess instead of being too small. Maybe I measured the waist incorrectly? Oh and the thigh wrinkles are not as deep.

I stopped at this, the second fitting,  to take pics and contemplate the next step. I consulted with my Sewing Angel, I do this frequently. She is a wealth of good fitting information and moral support.

Does anybody besides me dream about their sewing?  Well in my dreams I debated on adding my ease at the side seams, scooping a 1/4″ at a time or trashing the whole thing–including the 45 pages I have printed, trimmed and taped. Trash the whole thing?  Doesn’t sound like me, does it? I’m usually the one adjusting things 1/8-1/4″ at a time; using a dozen fittings; 3 or more muslins. What I realized is I already have a pattern draft, the Jinni, which is very similar.  I was asking myself, why did I want to continue reinventing the wheel? I guess I was just a little disappointed that the muslin, despite having reasonable measurements, did not fit better.  I was hoping for a first fitting and then some tweaking.   I can see already the Happy Pant is going to need to the same amount of work as always, not just a little tweaking. My final decision to go forward was because  Jen includes in the workbook  how to remove ease from the leg-something that has always given me fits. I decided to proceed and  immediately scooped and lowered the Happy Pant, back crotch 1/2″.

Stitched and trimmed.  I’m using a wider elastic (suggestion from my Sewing Angel) to hold up the pants:

One of things I did for pics this time, was ensure that the side seam was placed on my side and not angling towards the back. I may still have a little issue with the side-rise length but I thought this possible when my personal measurements revealed a 1/4″ difference  with the pattern.


The front is not looking very elegant.  I don’t know how much to blame the firm-handed fabric because I know there is also insufficient ease across my tummy. Often when I scoop the crotch, the pant move up on my torso and ease is suddenly just fine everywhere.


Horizontal line above my seat is my shape wear. It rolled up to that level. Time for the next size in shape wear!

The back was markedly better. Diagonals are less deep and not as far down the leg.

I talk it over with the sewing angel before trimming the excess 2.5″ I added for the fold over waistband and then adding a 2″ strip into the side seam.

Well I meant to add a 2″ strip, use 1/2″ seam allowances for a net addition of 1″ ease each side (2″total).  The strip obviously finished  wider than 1″.

Which gives me way too much ease at the waist and in front. But it still has diagonals from the crotch.

Also its looking a bit like a toddler’s full diaper on the back. Slightly better in terms of squishing the rear still  plagued by the diagonals coming from the crotch.

After contemplating, again overnight (the older brain needs more time to work through all the options we know about), I decide to reduce the ease a little. I increase to the strip seam allowances to 5/8″ each. With 4 seams, each containing 2 sides that 1/8″ increase turns into 1″ less total ease. I’m contemplating another scooping and may need that ease later on.

I also decide  to dispense with the fitting-elastic and make a waistband. Well not a complete waistband but a 3″ strip folded over and basted to the pant waist.  I copy the markings from the Jinny WB knowing that it may not be accurate because the scales have again increased…  (I keep telling the nurses not to show my pounds.  I like the Kilo numbers better.) .. and along with the additional kilos my waist is likely to have increased in inches.  I added darts. Not completely randomly. I know approximately where I always need the darts. So I eyeballed them into place. I had marked the bottom of the fitting elastic in the previous fitting but looking at the pics; realized I didn’t have the sides evenly under the fitting elastic. I offset the waistband from the pant waist but not as much as I marked.

Not surprisingly, getting the waistband right kicked off the need for some small adjustments. Initially waist was too small. In fact the entire torso was a little closer than I wanted. So increase waistband length, then change 2 of the 5/8″ strip SAs to 1/2″ . Finally satisfied that the waist and upper torso weren’t going to improve any further, I again scooped  and lowered the back crotch by 3/8″.

At this point, I decided “Good Enough”… for this muslin that is.   There are still some wrinkles around the stomach and the seat needs a smidge more room. Not sure, but it might be OK to lower the crotch one more time. Another alternative is offsetting the back waistband 1/2 instead of the 1″. The front is offset 1/4″, sides 1/2”. The waistband is slightly loose. I’m not going to shorten it anymore.  Since my waist has a tendency to fluctuate for wear, I’d stitch elastic inside.  Really nice thing, I fit these over 2 days. It’s been taking me at least a week to achieve the same with the other patterns I’ve worked with.


I had problems choosing between size 16 and 18. I should have gone with my original hunch, Size 18, because I eventually added 4″ of ease.  It was a error to cut the attached, fold-over WB. Especially in this firm-handed fabric because the excess was hard to work with and my waistline dips and rises as it travels around my waist. I wish I had started as usual with a straight waistband. Would still have needed some finessing but easier for me to see what needed to be done. Total 6 fittings but I admit some were self-inflicted errors in judgement.


  • Create tissue  WB for Happy Pant mark with CB, CF and Side Seams.
  • Mark Darts
  • Trim 1/4” from top at waist.
  • Add to seam allowances so total added is  +2″ to both front and back.
  • Scoop and lower Crotch 1”


Add full length legs.

  • WB position may need adjusting
  • Crotch scoop /lower may need adjusting.