FittingWithJen, Happy Pant

Muslin 6

I thought I had enough of this bright, linen  fabric

to make a muslin but I was a little short. The legs aren’t exactly the same length and I had to patch the top of one of the fronts. You’ll also note the pics, show a rather soft yellow

that’s because I’m using  the wrong side of the fabric as the public side.  I just knew looking at all those bright colors would make it impossible for me to see any fitting issues!

With two previous linen muslins, I was surprised that this muslin needed the fitting it did. I was expecting quick and easy but I suppose that the tissue changes suggested and implemented were really significant.  Above is the first fitting.  I used  the previous linen WB thinking that would reduce fitting time. Well I made the mistake of serging the raw edges enclosed with the elastic already inserted. The serging of course, caught the elastic and prevented it from snapping back after the pant is pulled up.  Consequently, I tugged the pant up just a little during pics trying to keep it at the waist.  Bad idea.

Fit 02 involved nothing more than doing the waistband like it should have been done the first time. However I did see some progress.  The slash and spread alteration (discussed in the previous post) added length to the side seam as well as doing all the good things it did.  I was able to tell from this fitting the precise narrow triangle of fabric to remove from the top of the back. I penciled that in on the tissue but I don’t want to make tissue changes yet. I took note that as a whole that tilting  of the back hip improved the look of the pant. I wore the new waistband  for a few minutes before deciding the elastic was too loose.  Took out 5″ of elastic before I was satisfied with the snugness.  I also found the front crotch seems a little long.  I didn’t change it immediately.  Thing is, it had been fine in every previous fitting, now in this muslin it wants to continue up over my tummy nearly to the bra band.  I put the WB where it should stay and then, ignoring issues beyond the waist, I took new pics.

The front waist looks like it is dipping but I also think that I hiked up the sides because you can see those pull lines on the back under the waist and hip that were corrected when Jen said “pull down the sides.”  Even  from the side views you can see the front dipping.  Partly, that is me, not bad photography (although the photography could definitely be improved.)  I’ve known since I was 15 that my front crotch was shorter than the back and that my waist/hip appear tilted/tipped downward in the front. (Incidentally, that’s part of the reason I have a prominent seat i.e. tilting lifts the butt.)  This is my posture. At my age, I feel it is best to adapt my garment to my posture.  So I posted these pics on FB and waited for Jen’s suggestions.

For Fit 03, following Jens suggestions,  I pared away the jodphurs. I’m sure you noticed them sticking out like Mickey Mouse ears.   I know what created them. My sides are pretty flat. My tush is pretty curved.  When I scooped the back crotch to make room for my seat, I lost valuable ease.  I compensated for it by adding what I scooped from the crotch to the sides. When the  side seams are redrawn, an arc develops. Interestingly with the torso tilted back in place, all the ease on the side is not needed.  .  I really have some flexibility issues. So “pin it out” (referring to the jodphur) was not easy for me. I used a combination of pins, where I could reach to pin, and washable marker marks where I couldn’t.  3 tries later, I was close…

I have it too tight which is causing the pant to hang-up above my hip and create the pooch beneath the waistband.  Also it’s possible I have the sides pulled up creating the diagonals beneath the seat (why do I do that? Anybody?)   Above is not my typical standing position.  Advice for taking fitting photos included “stand with feet about shoulder width apart”.  I wonder if we’re really seeing the effect of knock-knees or is it just awkward posture???

There will be one more post about this muslin.  Currently the hem circumference is 26″ which to me means classic trouser. Classic trouser, especially in non-stretch fabric needs generous ease. I plan to let the sides out about 1/2″; photo; and copy the 3 changes to pattern (shorten side back,  shorten front crotch length, jodphur-ectomy).  I will share the final pics and preserve the resulting pattern.  On occasion, I like a full legged pant. My occasion happens to be summer and fabric of choice a rayon or rayon crinkle. Having a well-fitted pattern for this purpose is valuable to me.  Mu plan is to copy the full-legged pattern and develop and more narrow leg. But, you know how plans go…….



FittingWithJen, Happy Pant

The Next Step

Jen had time to look at both my muslin and pattern piece and drop me a reply.  (It’s amazing what she’s sees!)  To help me understand, she drew a picture:

If you join the Happy Pants Sew Along on FB, you can read and follow along IRT.

She felt my crotch should not be scooped below the normal crotch line because my fluff was not down there. OK that low scoop has been working for me for a number of years through a number of patterns.  Although I admit not all pant patterns were fixed thus; and I have a continuing issue of NOT being unable to fit or develop a slim leg pant.  So even though I’m thinking “I need that scoop”, I decide to follow Jen’s instructions—at least for now.

The 2nd thing which caught her eye is sort of a combination. The back torso seems to be tilted towards the side and down; the center back-waist lower than it should be along with the rise(upright) further towards the side than it should be; also the grainline terminates/initiates in the crotch instead of at the waist.

I start by making a copy of my last “back” and then do the easy change, the crotch scoop.  I tape a piece of tissue under the crotch; sketch in my crotch horizontal and then draw in a curve.   I was pleased at how easily I replaced the 5/8″ previously scooped from this area.  (Look at the purple crescent. That’s what is added.)

Then I slipped a strip of tissue horizontally under the pattern just under the crotch.  As instructed I slashed horizontally across  from the side seam to the inseam (ummm I penciled in a line first); and spread the side seam. How much? Well I guestimated by spreading the slash a little then placing my previous tissue on top  then I’d eyeball  Jen’s drawing and compare it to what I was seeing in front of me. Rinse. Repeat yada yada.  Shortly I thought I was approximating the the back shape Jen had drawn which  resulted in a spread of about 3/4″ .

One of the results of this slash and spread was a jog along the side seam at the spread.  I grabbed my hip curve and smoothed out the jog. Imagine my delight when smoothing the jog trimmed just a little crescent of ease away from an area that typically has too much ease, my back thigh.

I couldn’t trim that 1/4″ away fast enough.

Then I stopped to compare the pattern I started with (previous muslin) and the tissue just created.  Notice how differently the torso looks now between what I had (black dash lines) and the changes I’ve made (green dashed lines).The hip/upper torose is more upright instead of laying over. Also the grain line goes all the way to the waist.

The internal volume is not greatly changed. It is the lines which determine the boundaries that have moved, markedly.  Doesn’t it look more ‘normal” instead of “weird but works for Bev”? BTW nothing from the knee and below have changed. That’s why I took them out of this pic.

I’m eager to try  this new back, except I think I need another test fabric (muslin). I”m just not ready to bet a good fabric on my cut-and-paste and scribbles.  I won’t know If I really understood Jen until she has a chance to review and I have a chance to test in fabric.  I’ve done’ so much fitting that my stash is devoid of good muslin choices. I hunt for a while.  Think I’ve found another linen.  It was hiding away on me.  But no. It is 2 pieces that would have to be used cross grain.  I don’t want to deal with cross grain issues. Being linen the odds are in my favor but I just tossed the poplin muslin with 1 tweak.  I want to get a little more use than that out of the  hours it will take  to make a new muslin. So I hunt some more.  Part of me wants to “order” muslin fabric (there are no fabric stores within reasonable commute). But I grit my teeth and dig a little deeper.  I find some twills that might make good muslins. I just hate to change fabric types right now and I’m sure I’ve got another linen or two in there some place …

At last! I find a linen!.  It’s a little heavier than the previous linens.  Still about the same weight. Just not exactly. About the same drape. I know why I forgot this.  I put it in the yellow stash immediately.  Immediately after wondering why I bought it, that is.  It is such a bright fabric that I can’t imagine my wearing it in large garments.  As trim, yes.  As color blocked pieces, yes. But not as an entire jacket, blouse or pants (especially). How on earth could I have looked at the on-line page and said “Just what I need?”

I give my now-chosen fabric a quick steam and spread it on the table, WST.  WST?  I like to have the public sides facing each other; private sides up on the table where I can get at them easily for marking. This fabric is so bright, I doubt I will be able to see the fit issues.  Hence, the duller wrong sides together which when basted will be my public side and may not blind me to the fit issues.

Sigh, then it is time to quit.  Even with the steroids they insist I take, chemo really takes it out of me. I’ve been working on this for  little over an hour.  Time to take a break.



Happy Pant

Curios Tale of Two Muslins

I was kinda of happy with my last muslin after Jen (J Sterns Designs) suggested pulling down the sides.

Other than being ready for my Sonny and Cher impression, I thought these were great.  Had they not been linen, and a stripe which should have been been matched, I would have finished this pair and worn them!

Miraculously, many of the drag lines just disappeared with the simple effort of pulling the sides down.   Even the seat didn’t look bad. ( Previously I was thinking the crotch needed a little scoop). Trouble is, in a word, me.  I’m always pulling my pant sides up  where they feel comfortably.  Now if you really paid attention to my posts, you’d know that I always shorten the sides between 1/2-1″. You might suggest “just don’t do that”.  Without that alteration the torso lapses into diagonal folds/drapes in the well of my front hip (there is a well under my belly) and over the high hip in the back. Everytime. Every pair.  Regardless of ease.

To my surprise, Jen read my explanation and suggested not adding length at the top but rotating the leg just below the crotch.

This is a change which needs to be made at the tissue stage. As shown above, I added 3/8″.   I made the side seam 3/8″ longer.  I think it curiously similar to Peggy Sagers’ darts which she does at the top of the inseam. The effect of Peggy’s dart is making the inseam shorter whereas the leg rotation makes the side seam longer. It feels like a yin/yang situation to me. My issue with the inseam dart is that on me it only works for the pant/muslin at hand/on the body.  IOW when I transfer the change to the tissue, it has no effect on subsequent pants. I hasten to add that many, many people have had success with the inseam dart.  I am the weirdo. It doesn’t work for me but the leg rotation did

This muslin feels comfortable. I’ve pulled it up at center back because I can’t tighten the elastic enough to snug the waistband (need a different elastic). Point is I don’t feel like pulling the pant up at the sides.

While I”m pleased with the leg rotation, I”m not happy with this muslin.  It is a poplin fabric, I thought cotton. But an unusual hand.  I thought maybe rain proof but it irons easily and does not repel the steam. Handles high heat without melting. Yet there is a firmness to it that I don’t expect from a 30 year old fabric. Yes, it is at least that old. If it made noise like plastic or nylon, I’d expect its drape qualities.  Which are none.  Where the linen muslin hugged my curves this poplin sticks out in jodphur like silhouette.  Conversely, the room I need across the seat (and which was present in the linen) is totally missing. It’s on the side and can’t be smoothed over to the center back.   To be a nice garment of any kind, the fabric needed more seams. Many more seams. Or, to be a tent.

So I note that the 3/8″ leg rotation was  a success, I still have flared, bell bottomy hems (Look out Cher!)  and maybe still a bit of excess ease over the hip but I’m not going to fix it today.  I’m going to need another fabric.  Dare I use the good stuff???????

Happy Pant

This would be Muslin 4

So let’s review.  There was shorts length Muslin1 in a non-stretch linen fabric.

A valuable exercise which discovered ease needed at hip and tummy as well as crotch shape.  Most notably, I took a big 1″ back scoop.  I still needed a little more ease in the pic above.


Then came Muslin 2 in a wool suiting.

I believe this fabric sat in my stash for a while because I am unwilling to launder as wool required. Primarily, this muslin finalized the waistband and discovered the leg length needed. Also started revealing the X wrinkles in back and revealed the excess ease over the legs both back and sides.  But they looked nicer than some pants in my closet and I decided to stop here before I ruined them. BTW these pics have all been lightened at least 60%.  IRL each of the muslin fabrics look nicer.

Onto Muslin 3 for which these are the first pics shared.

I thought all I needed to do was slim the leg and over-confidently selected a lovely poly/cotton twill with an eye towards being able to wear them.  To my dismay and 6 fittings later, the back leg still looked bad; even worse than before.

I’m only showing 4 of the 6 fittings and I only worked on fitting the right leg.  I thought it might take a few tries to get it right. So instead of fitting both legs at once, I did the right and fully intended to transfer the changes to the left. No go. No Dice.  Bad deal. Never got any better,

Which brings to the current and 4th muslin, also of linen

I stopped working with Muslin 3 to follow Jen’s suggestions on the FB Happy Pant Sew Along.  I don’t know if that link will work. Also you need to request J Sterns add you to the Group before anything will be visible to you.

I am astonished with this muslin.  First off the fabric has been sitting in my stash for several years (under 10).  I bought it and several others at a time when I discovered an on-line site for buying linen mill-ends and remnants. 100% linen handles and stitches wonderfully. Looks good for about 15 minutes on me.  After that, you’d think I was abused or homeless, even.  I don’t like looking that rumbled and so my few cuts have traversed to the bottom of the stash shelves and languished there.  I chose to use these pieces now just to get them out of the stash.  This fabric has another strike against it as I don’t like to wear horizontal strips across my widest parts i.e. tummy, hip and thigh. Anyway it was good for use now. Normally, I wouldn’t make an elastic, pull-on waistband with linen either. Knowing I wouldn’t wear these, I hurried.  Didn’t finish any raw edges either.  As usual I trimmed  the crotch seams to 3/8″ so that they don’t need to be clipped. I’m really pleased with this muslin.  Had it been a more wearable fabric, at this point I would have serged everything and hung it in my closet.  There are two big changes, both done at the tissue level.  First, I learned how to add hip ease without adding from waist to hem. Between scooping the crotch and having a prominent seat, I have a big amount of ease to add.  I could never figure out how to add ease and still have a smooth, side-seam shape.  Jen Sterns showed me how. 2nd alteration is called a “Full Thigh Alteration”. Both did wonders for the fit of my muslin.  I was tremendously pleased.  Using my previous method, I started with a hem circumference of 28″ and could barely slim it down to 26.  Using Jen’s method, I am starting with a 24″ hem circumference.  Give my current bulk, 24″ at the hem doesn’t look out of proportion i.e. doesn’t look like a big, flowy or bell lower-leg.  Jen’s method gives me hope that I can continue to reduce the hem circumference at lease closer to my preferred.  One additional comment on the hem circumference, a really small circle at the knees can make the hip look really big. I know this and want to be cautions about reducing the hem circumference too much.

There are still issues for me to work on. Thankfully, Jen is offering us all individual help on the Happy Pant Sew Along FB page. I will share those as I progress.



****So progress/alterations

Muslin 1 Size 16, High Hip

  • Side Seams +1.5″ (total 6″ but scooped back 1″ so net is +4″)
  • Front crotch length -1/2″
  • Side length -1″
  • Back crotch scoop 1″ ( and lowered 5/8″)

Muslin 2

  • Full Length Legs
  • Finalize Waistband
  • Back Crop scoop another 3/8″

Muslin 3

Finalize darts

Muslin 4

  • Recurve sides so ease added at hip is not added to thigh.
  • Back Inner thigh +1″ (ends at knee.