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MSS Shorts

Posted on: July 6, 2014

I have been sewing just not sharing.  I had some nondescript mending to do.  DH wanted me to convert his jeans-that-wrestled-with-barb wired-fences into shorts. His is an easy request.  I cut the pants to his desired length; stitch 1″ bias tape to the cut edge; fold it up and slightly roll the bias tape to the inside before straight stitching into place.  High temperatures have occurred  and so I began wearing my clothing from last summer.  Surprisingly most is still wearable. That is really surprising since most of my long pants (made before Jan 2014), have had to be replaced. The shorts made from the very same pattern are OK. Well a little sung along the crotch. Pictures show that they are not digging in or developing tight horizontal lines.   I discarded one pair of shorts because of the fabric. The fabric was very firm when constructed last year. I mean it didn’t have a bit of give then and didn’t soften throughout last summer.  I wore the pair once this year and decided I’d gotten my money’s worth.  It was too uncomfortable to go through that another year.

I sorted through my stacks of Under 2’s. I decided to rearrange into Tops, Shorts, Vests and Scraps. Then I took the Shorts stack and separated into two piles 1) the fabrics I’d like to make into jean shorts, the fabric I’d like to make into  MSS shorts.  I selected 4 fabrics but then decided that a moleskin would be better as a vest.  Moleskin is warm and not really conducive to circulating much-needed air during summer.

I checked the fit of the MSS pattern (Cutting Line Designs 11202 My Swing Set) back in May 2014 (that’s not too long ago); at which time, I added a single pair for my Summer 6PAC.  Possibly I didn’t need to add more shorts now, but I like to sew-down those stacks during the summer and those old shorts do  feel close through the crotch.  I decided to make the pattern as currently fit with the exception of folding down the casing only 2″ instead of the 2-1/4 marked.  The result is perfect.  I probably should copy that back to the pattern.

I had plenty of Louise’s elastic on hand so  I just sewed. I produced a pair a day.

The first pair is a bright blue cotton/polyester that was only 45″ wide. I carefully recorded the steps I make to construct that beautiful MSS pocket.  I don’t follow CLD instructions to the letter. Most prominently, I use self-bias instead of fusible interfacing to complete the pocket opening but my construction sequence is also slightly different.  Works for me, when I remember it. When I don’t remember, I’m ripping out seams and rustling through the pattern instructions. I wanted the pocket instructions separate from the pattern so they are easy to locate, readily at hand for implementation with other patterns and quick to review. I know I know. Seems ridiculous but otherwise I spend 15 minutes hunting through the envelope to find the right sheet. Yeah, it’s a personal problem.

My 2nd fabric was a rayon/ cotton/ lycra  blend. A delight to sew and wear.  In the picture, it is freshly washed but not dried.  I wanted pictures now and so pulled it out of the dryer.

The last pair, (on the right as we are looking into the picture),is a brushed, polyester twill. Sincerely doubt there is a whiff of cotton or other natural fiber content. I purchased two short cuts thinking I could make 1 pair of long-legged pants.  One of the cuts was a mere 30″ long.  I never figured out how to cut long pants for me from that short length.  Turns out I need to either piece the leg or start with a length of at least 42 inches. It is a soft fabric and wonderful to wear but I am concerned that it will be too hot for the up-coming dog days.  I decided to finish it a little better than the other two. It is slightly dressier and very appropriate for the overly, air-conditioned spaces I must visit. I made the legs slightly longer and blind stitched the hems. All the top stitching along the pockets and waistband are done in matching thread. It looks like a classy skirt.

The pockets on each pair of shorts, is decoratively stitched just slightly differently. The bright blue pair uses a triple stitch in navy blue thread. The middle pair uses my Ruby’s built-in cross stitch in a contrasting black. I top stitched the hems of both these two pairs using multiple rows of stitching for the bright blues. I changed up the distanced between rows of stitching on the elastic for each of the 3 pairs of shorts.  That added a little interest for me during sewing as well as during wear.  I’d venture a guess that if a person didn’t sew, they wouldn’t realize I used the same pattern, same basic design for all three. Not only is my finishing different, but each fabric hangs and fits a bit differently.  I love all 3, but I appreciate each one’s individual traits.

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Apologies for crappy photo. I know the shorts look better on my matronly body. But the temps are still cool. I simply wasn’t going to model these at 58 degrees.

The fabric is 100% cotton; a remnant from the rose Brown pants made a few weeks ago.  I used Louise cuttings MSS pants shortened to just above the knee.  Oddly, shorts never develop any of the wrinkles that long pants do on me. Well, I think it’s odd. This is the pattern that I folded out 1″ ease from the front and add 2″ ease to the back. These pants are therefore 1″ wider at the hem and over the thigh/leg than the designer intended. I like the full leg on shorts. It’s breezy. Lots of air circulation.  Air circulation is good during the summer.

Usually when I want shorts, I fold up the legs of the last pattern fitted. I made so many of these last year that I traced a separate pattern just for shorts and altered the leg to my preferred length.  This pair of shorts was incredibly easy and fast.  Those last 4 rows of stitch along the elastic get boring. But then it so satisfying to see the elastic draw up and assume the proper shape as I pass the steam iron over the finished pant. Easy. Quick. Fits. TNT’s are worth the effort.

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Just a quick post to document my shorts from  my CS instructions using the JHG .

My fabric is a seersucker remnant of indeterminate origin and age i.e I’m not sure where or when i acquired this piece and I’m not sure if it is 100% cotton, a cotton blend or a bunch of polyester.  I do like seersucker for shorts and pants. They look the same all day long.  I especially like cotton seersucker for summer. I think this type of fabric is very cool temperature wise.

No changes to pattern but I did take the time to trace the shorts length.  It’s not all that hard to fold up the leg.  It’s just nice not to have to fuss with the pattern.  I had 1.5 yards of fabric and was able to  cut with the waistband attached. I cut the pockets separately. Not to save fabric but because I like the construction process better.  For this pattern and when using pockets,  I do not serge the side seams together.  I serge finish the front side seam. Then serge the pockets to the side seams and finally cover stitch the pocket bags to the front.  I’ve got this down to a science.  The shorts took less than 2 hours from start to finish and that includes pics for both this post and the JHG post. (Link Above.)

 

“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”

“By George, I think she’s got it!”

My fabric is a medium to heavy weight linen. It was a remnant from Fabric-Store.com and has flaws. That along with only 1.5 yards of 52″ fabric meant it had to be shorts even though it’s a much better weight for autumn or winter pants. I gave the fabric the denim treatment i.e. 2 trips through the hottest laundry with the first trip including a can of coke. The result is a very soft, comfy, cushy fabric.

Everything I do just makes the front look better:

There is nothing on the front to criticize. For this version I  shortened the front crotch another 1/2″ and added the same to the back crotch length.  I also removed another 1/2″ ease (1/8×4) across the front added the same amount to the back. When walking the legs feel a tiny big long. The hem seems to pull across the knee.  With the loss of the last 1/2″ of length, the crotch no longer rubs between my front thighs but also is not crotch-hugging the way jeans would be. It’s really perfect for summer wear.

Usually I evaluate the side next, but I really want to brag about the back:

I see a diagonal bubble above the right hip.  I’ve been wondering if one of my hips is higher than the other but immediately after the pic was taken, I resettled the fabric because I felt it pull when I moved. I could still have an uneven hip issue, but this time I think the bubble is from not having settled the fabric into place.  I’m really liking the back view. The first pair:

contained diagonal lines from the hip to inner thigh, had V’s above the crotch, a slight tendency towards crotch creep  and showed VPL even though the shorts felt comfortable.  The third version (the blue shorts) have eliminated all the issues and are even more comfortable to wear.

I’m not sure about this side view.  I see a diagonal line from pocket bottom to waist which is not visible from the front. It could be that I need only to adjust the elastic around the waistline. However, I often have that wrinkle so it does concern me.  I note that on each pair of shorts the hem has angled upwards from back to front.  I don’t want the fronts any longer, besides I’m not really sure this is an issue. It could be that as I walk my knees are pushing the hems upward. Since I’m going to make the shorts at least an inch shorter, I’m not going to worry, just make note and see if it happens on future pairs of shorts

I added 1/2″ to the elastic length. The 26″ originally calculated seemed too tight during wear. However this 26.5″ seems too loose. These blue shorts seem to slide downwards a little during wear while the HoundsTooth shorts (the 2nd pair) did not. Since they are a heavier fabric than previously sewn into MSS shorts, it could be a fabric issue. The problem for me is that I’m not going to rip out  2 rows of 2.5mm stitches through elastic. I’m going to live with it. Note it and see if that’s a factor in the future. This is the reason I like belts and belt loops. I can easily adjust from fabric to fabric, style to style, and health issue to health issue with a belt.  I can’t imagine ripping and stitching the elastic every time my gut is bloated or emptied.

I’ve already worn this 3rd pair for a day at the lake. I was eager to see how my last alterations affected the fit during wear.  While not as pronounced, the crotch still tends to pull down in the back and creep forward.  I’m not sure if it’s the elastic issue (too much elastic), or that the crotch lengths still need adjusting or if it’s finally time to scoop a bit out of the back.  Scooping is the last thing I do. When everything else seems perfect about a pair of pants except the crotch is uncomfortable, I scoop. In this case, the crotch is comfortable,  but traveling while being worn.

I think with this last pair, I too have jumped on the MSS pants bandwagon. I’m officially a fan!

I took pics and then started wearing the shorts. So I’m wearing as I’m writing about them. The fabric does photo well, which is a relief.  I’m at a disadvantage by not having a fitting/sewing partner. I depend upon my camera for fitting advice. Sometimes I can’t tell until all the sewing is done that something is amiss.  But if the fabric doesn’t photo well, I can’t tell at all. I’m at the mercy of mirror observations and the feel of the garment. Neither are entirely reliable.

I photo and examine the back view first. I’m convinced that the back tells the true story.  Frankly, I’m pleased with this pic. I sometimes wonder if one of my hips is higher than the other but, if so, definitely not this obvious. During this pic I had unintentionally hiked up the side. That leaves me to wonder if I have a wrinkle on the right leg which needs to be fixed. It’s not on the left leg but there is a slight pull at the butt on the left. I prefer the uni-butt look and I don’t want my girlie parts evident either. So this back looks near perfect to me.

I’m sure there was some concern about my cutting the waistband on grain instead of cross grain. I could have arranged the pattern pieces just a little differently, cut the fronts and backs, then unfolded the fabric and cut the waistband pieces on the cross grain. I was anxious to sew and check my pattern alterations. I’d already taken time to change-up the pattern a 2nd time to: conserve fabric, lay out the tissue again and take pics (never a quick or easy task for me).  I was anxious to get going and slapped those pieces on the straight of grain.  As far as sewing, the straight of grain is just as good as the cross grain. There is a difference in appearance which I did consider. My conclusion was that there would be so much stitching and gathering along the waistband that the difference wouldn’t be noticed. What do you think? (Click on the photo for an enlarged view.)

I’m also really happy with the side view.  The side seam is hanging perpendicular and bisecting my side. In the previous pair it was obvious that the back side had insufficient ease and was borrowing it from the front. Just 1/2″ more ease and the back fits wonderfully.  The pockets are so gooooooooooood. I love the way they have folded into place and hang inside the front. Just love these. If you look closely you’ll see a little drag line on the back along the pocket opening. That’s not present on the other side. I assume that I must have mismatched or stretched the side seams. I stitched the side seams from the top to the pocket and then from the hem to the pocket. I don’t think the bubble is that noticeable, but it’s something I think I should be aware of and more careful to avoid in the future.   But the photo begins to show something that I feel when wearing the pants. The front pants waistband wants to crawl upwards. If I pull it down comfortably around my natural waist, the front crotch is too long.  It actually rubs between my front thighs.

Also from the front, I wonder if there still isn’t too much ease but only in front.  I do like the way it camo’s my tummy. I mean I look and think “too much ease” not “too much tummy”. That’s a good thing. Right?

Lastly, the all important “Bank Line View”.  Not bad. I’m probably the only person who thinks “Can I fix this? “.  I’m likely to scoop the back crotch just a little for this pair but nothing more. I fear the loose woven nature of the fabric and will not rip a single seam. I think what I will do for the next pair, is shift about 1/4″ ease from front to back. At the same time, now that I’m sure I cut the elastic correctly and it’s not causing the crotch issues, I will shorten the front crotch another 1/2” BUT I will do this Louise’s way which is to shorten the front and add to the back.  Did I mention before I’m at a disadvantage by not having a fitting partner?  I think a fitting partner would have gotten me closer during first fitting and I would have only needed the tweaks I’m planning for the 3rd pair but would have made them on the 2nd pair. Nonetheless I do get my clothing to fit better than any RTW I buy and better than most of my neighbors and friends. Sometimes I think I’m being too picky, which as dressmakers we tend to become. We know we can fix it.  I will wear both these Hounds Tooth and the Softened Linen shorts for the remainder of this summer.  Both are cool, fairly comfortable and harmonize with the tops in my closet. Being comfortably and appropriately clothed is more important to me than removing every wrinkle. Besides I know as soon as the body moves, the fabric will wrinkle.

I’ve named the MSS Shorts #2 to The Hounds Tooth Shorts.

I thought I’d take a moment to show the difference in fabric usage that my changes to the pattern were able to create. First pic is the layout as given by the pattern.  My fabric is 52″ wide.

I apologize for the angle of the pic and the fact that it’s difficult to see exactly how much fabric is left over which is at the foreshortened far end. I think you can see that I’ve placed the pattern towards the selvage so that at least the left over, because it’s on the fold, will be about 8-12″ wide.  At the far end is about 1/4 yard that is completely untouched.  Even had I been making long pants, instead of shorts, I would have had that long string  left over.  It’s part of my thrifty nature to not want to waste fabric. Especially since this was purchased from my own funds and by extension through my own labor.  Add to that, I’m even more guarded about my funds these days because my expenses have doubled in the last 5 years, however my income has hardly changed. Let’s not go there though. I can really rant and I’d rather write about sewing which I love.

The second pic shows the fabric is better utilized just by cutting the waistband separately and on grain.

 

I rearranged the pieces slightly and added the pocket as a cut-on piece. I could have cut the pocket as a separate piece to be serged onto the pant. I didn’t feel that resulted in a significant fabric savings and decided to eliminate one seam. The fabric piece I have left is 52″ by 7/8 yard plus a little, but it’s all in shape I can use for another project.  That’s a nice savings, even if I do say so myself.

I don’t think of myself as a fiber snob. I do like good quality and natural fabrics. But I’m also pleased with the qualities of most synthetics. There are some nylons and polyesters that I don’t want to wear next to my skin. I’ve found the ITY knits to be comfortable and some nylon blends to be good.  This fabric is quite nice even though I’m fairly sure it is 100% polyester. I didn’t give it the burn test. I can tell it is not cotton or linen or silk or other natural fiber. The selvedges were all dull without a little bit of luster which tells me this isn’t rayon.  Nylon always seems to be stiff which this isn’t.  It actually has a nice drape. But it does have some body. Not like a Ponte but more similar to the softened linen that I used for the first MSS shorts.

It is loosely woven, which probably contributes to the softness and drape but worries me when it comes to longevity. I’ve had loosely woven fabrics shred before they could be stitched together. I’ve had others that were fine during construction but shredded during wear. There’s nothing like going to work well dressed and returning home in shredded rags.  So I cut and stitched immediately. I cut the front, serged the waistband and crotch. Then  serge finished the top edge. As a matter of fact, I did very little at the sewing machine. This garment is almost completely serged together. But I did add the planned bias tape to the front pocket opening at the sewing machine. Next I cut the back,  serged the waistbands in place and the crotch. I serge finished the waistband and the side seams. I pressed all and then stitched the pockets into place.  To my surprise when pressing the finished pockets, the bias binding on the front pocket opening automatically folded neatly inside and was invisible!

I had intended that the bias be contrasting and decorative as well as finishing that edge. Generally I prefer not to fight with the fabric.  While I wanted the bias to be decorative, I immediately decided to let it fold into hiding.  Because  it wants to be that way, I’ll never have to worry about it peeking out. The front and pocket hang better than if I tried to force the bias into public view.

BTW, this really is a neat pocket.  My top stitching is barely visible following the angles of the pocket. I think the pocket could assume a more decorative role. Changing the shape of the pocket could create different interesting lines on the front of the garment.

I had intended to bind the hems as well and have sort of a coordinating trim at both pocket and hem. Now I’m thinking that plan has gone away and I’d rather the bias at the hem also hide away.  I serged the bias to the hem and pressed it up and to the inside of the pants. I finished the inseams. To hem I stitched along the top edge of the bias and then again 1/4″ above the folded edge.

This way I’m sure the bias at the hem will stay tucked inside. I’m also hoping I’ve put enough thread into these areas to keep my fabric from raveling.

I finished the waistline as per the instructions using 26″ of elastic and butting the edges together over a ribbon to secure the ends. I think it’s important to note that I correctly cut the elastic this time as I think that was part of the fitting issues with my previous pair.  A finally pressing and steaming of the shorts and they were ready to try on.

I’ll share the final fit tomorrow.  I want a chance to wear the pants both to check the fit and to see if the fabric is going to stand up to my lifestyle.

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Personal plans, being what they are, often get disrupted. So even though I hadn’t planned to immediately sew a second pair of MSS shorts, I found myself without a project and time to sew. I decided to make a another pair and began thinking about the pattern tweaks I wanted to make.

  • I trimmed 3/8″ from center front and 5/8″ from the sides at the waistline. The pattern waistline now looks like a roller coaster but life is what it is and so is my personal waistline. Although as the day went along the front crotch continued to seem too long, I didn’t trim more than the 3/8″ determined during fitting.  My feeling is that until the ease in the back is correct, I can’t be sure what effect my rear is having on the fabric.  It could well be that the shortening back crotch which accompanies the growing front crotch length, is due to nothing more than the need for more ease. Mind you, the circumference feels fine. The pictures tell me that I need more ease in back.
  • I adjusted the ease by folding the tissues in half along the grain line. Then taking out 1″ on the front piece but only 1/2″ on the back.  I noted that the front might still need less ease but I like the way it camo’s my tummy.  Since the back obviously needed more ease I made the back fold 1/4″ (1/4″ * 2 = 1/2″).   I debated with myself about the back ease. The back feels comfortable, yet obviously I need more ease to erase the VPL (visible panty line).  Then again maybe I should have left all the back ease.
  • But the back felt comfortable other than slipping downward as the day wore along. I realized after my last post, that I had cut the elastic 2″ longer for fitting and had not removed that 2″ during finishing. The growing and shortening of the respective crotches could really be a waist issued caused by the elastic being too long. 
  • Sewing is similar to medicine in that the same symptoms can indicate very different problems.  The only solution is to fix the worst or most obvious issue. Test the fix and then decide whether to make another alteration.  Take The Sleeveless Blouse Otto 2006-02-04. The first impression said too small everywhere, swayback correction needed, petite between bust and shoulder needed. To fix that blouse, I added 1.5″ ease at the hip and waist narrowing to +1/2″ at the underarm. All problems were solved in what was essentially, a single alteration, that of ripping the side seams and resewing with smaller seam allowances.  For that blouse I started the fitting by tackling the most obvious issue: the blouse felt too tight everywhere and looked it in the pics. See what I mean?  Just because I see other issues with this pattern (i.e. the crotch changing throughout the day) the solution may not be altering the crotch.  The obvious issue is ease across the back half of me. A slightly less obvious issue is that I cut the elastic too long. I could have unconsciously fixed that issue this time when I cut the elastic to the correct length and the sliding crotch issue just disappeared. As it is, I’m making the conscious decision to cut the elastic the correct length and observe what effect if any that will have on the crotch issue. Whew! Sometimes I talk too much.

So then it was onto selecting fabric. I’m having difficulty choosing pant fabrics for wearable pant muslins.  As long as I’m fitting basic patterns, I want to use lighter colored fabrics with no stretch.  But when I reach for light-colored fabrics, suitable for pants, they all have stretch. That’s because my wearing  preference is pants with just a touch of Lycra. (1% is fine for me. 3% means I’ll need to do more aggressive fitting.) Next time I submit a fabric order, I’m going to be looking specifically for light-colored, non-stretch, pant-weight fabrics.  The fabric I selected for MSS Shorts #2 is a black and white houndstooth, loosely- woven, poly/cotton (with emphasis on poly).  I selected it because it’s not light blue (I’ve made 3 light blue shorts so far). Also it’s beefy but drapes.  I know I bought this thinking of a light weight third-layer. It’s more blouse weight than jacket but it drapes really well.  Seeing how Shorts 1, gathered around my front waistline, I think I still want to use a fabric which drapes and will gather tightly.  Oh and I selected this fabric because I thought it might photo well. I don’t have a fitting pattern other than my camera. I need the next fabric to photo well enough to tell my whether I ‘ve fixed the ease issue.  Or not.

I cut the pockets this time. I finished the front pocket edge with bias tape. Decided that would look  cute and should finish the hems the same way.

One thing I do dislike about all of LC’s pants, is they are fabric hogs. OK, maybe not all, but all the one’s I’ve made have been fabric hogs.  For long legs I need 3 yards and then I always have this big ole’ piece left over that I hate to throw away but isn’t good for much. (Dress fabrics do not make good quilts. See I know what you thought.) I’ve found that there are several ways to reduce the fabric requirement.  The first thing is alter the tissue to the length I want to wear the pants. In this case, I folded up the leg to the shorts length desired +1.25″ for hemming.  So knowing I’m finishing the hems by binding with bias tape, I fold up the leg another 1″.  Next, the cut-on waistband is a nice smooth finish. But I laid out the tissue on the fabric and said “Yuk. I’m going to have a piece the full length but 2/3″ long. Plus a big ol’ tail 1-1/3 yard long by 18″ wide.” Double yuk. So while the cut-on waistband is nice, I’ve opted for a separate waistband.  Interestingly when you trace the tissue, LC has you trace a separate waistband and then tape it to the pattern.  Knowing that was the case, I traced my pant, then slid the waistband portion under the tracing paper and traced the waistband.  Mine is all one piece. I can’t un-tape. Besides you need to add a seam allowance for this work correctly.  I did draw the line joining the pant to the waistband. So now I  traced the waistband to make a separate tissue. The pant tissue I folded 1/4″ above the drawnline. (Above would put it into the waistband area.)  To the waistband just traced, I added 1/4″ on the bottom for a seam allowance. It’s a simple matter to serge these together at the serger or sewing machine. Just remember to fold and add a SA the amount of the SA that you use i.e. if you are a devoted 5/8″ SA user, change the 1/4″ I used to 5/8″.   What this does for me, and you, is I can now place the waistband, cross grain on the fabric and use that 9″ tail instead of putting it back in my stash. The pant front and back tissues can now be placed closer together. Jointly, they now required 8″ or 1/4 yard less fabric.  Instead of 2/3 yard and big tail, I’m putting just over a yard back into the stash. One yard of fabric, is something I can use easily.

Months ago, I tried fitting the pants from Louise Cuttings My Swing Set. It didn’t work well. In the end, I had drag lines I couldn’t diagnose and couldn’t remove and didn’t know why.  Realizing that my figure had changed significantly, I decided to fit the JSM pattern first and return to this later. Well later has arrived, except at this “later” I need summer shorts instead of pants with long legs. I consoled myself with the thought that even if I couldn’t create a TNT pants pattern, I could establish needed ease and  crotch depth/shape. It might even be an advantage to work with the short leg since I wouldn’t be dealing with issues the knee can create.

There are many reasons to love this pattern. It can be as simple as 2 pattern pieces/ 4 garment pieces to zip together.  With its elastic waist you can have pants NOW without a lot of fussy sewing. Not that fussy sewing is bad, it’s just that sometimes I need to sew a particular garment in very limited time. While I liked the One-seams, they were real fabric hogs and contained much more ease than I prefer to wear.  I like my pants to skim my lower half. You know, the skim- everything- touch- nothing kind of fit. Because of my weight, I find a slimmer-fitting  pant to be more flattering. That’s just me. You could feel differently and that’s fine. You should make pants that satisfy you.

I started completely over. I didn’t even rely upon the measurements made just this last May (6 weeks ago?). My feeling is that I did something wrong or didn’t do something that I should have in May which resulted in never being able to eliminate all the drag lines. I traced the size recommended for my hips.  I compared this with B5403 after pinning the yoke to the back. To my surprise, I had excess ease but the crotch curve was nearly the same. I did not tramper with the curve.  I did the wedgie measurement and checked the chart. To my surprise, no change would be needed. I experienced a totally stunned moment as I realized I would be sewing the first pair without making any alterations.  I attached the waistband as instructed and cut my fabric.

My fabric is a softened linen that’s never going to look any better than it does today. But it will be comfortable if slightly messy, especially for the hot summer weather which has finally arrived in South Dakota. As suggested by LC, I didn’t cut the pockets. I did take a 1/8″ tuck down the front and (during finishing) top stitched the hems 3 times so as to echo the stitching of the waist.  Unfortunately, the top stitching doesn’t show up in my pics so I’m not sharing those pics. I stitched the sides together, cut the length of elastic to hold the pant up and then begin fitting the hip as per the instructions. Eventually I removed about 1″ from each side seam.  It felt like plenty of ease. In fact, it felt a little roomy and blousy and that’s what I saw in the mirror. I didn’t take pics of fitting the side seams.

Once the side seams were satisfying, I adjusted the elastic around my waist and started drawing the line to indicate my real waistline. This is also per the instructions.  I did take a pic of the resulting line, but it doesn’t show well enough to understand what’s happening. In a nutshell, the front crotch needed to be shorter 3/8″; the back crotch stays the same. Most interesting the side seams needed to be shortened 5/8″. This was surprising until I realized that is exactly what I’ve been doing to my other pants.  I keep pulling up at the side seam in order to remove the diagonal line across the front of my pants between waistband and hip.  I trimmed the pant along the waistline  as indicated by my fitting and then serge finished the upper edge.  Next I installed the waist elastic with all it’s stitching lines and finished the hem. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve done all that waistline stitching, the pants are in-my-mind, FINISHED whether they fit or not. I’m simply not going to spend a day ripping out all those 2.5mm stitches.

With sewing finished, I took pics. Today (the day after sewing), I examined the pics for fit.

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I’m very  happy with the front fit. I intended this pair to be loose, because Linen can be unforgiving in the stretch department.  The vertical drag lines tell me that I clearly have sufficient ease, I may want to adjust it across the front a little better when I start the day.  This linen clings more than expected. Perhaps it’s the heat and humidity.  So the tummy bulge on the side is visible but it will be covered by my top. (See very last pic.)

I’m kind of surprised to see the pantie line in this side view. At fitting time I removed ease equally from front and back. I checked to see that the side seam was still vertical and bisected my side. The mirror didn’t show pantie edge. I’m not sure if the VPL seen is from insufficient ease or just the camera’s flash.  When I alter the tissue, I will take more ease from the front than the back.  Other than that, I intended these to be blousy and I’m happy with the side view.

It’s always the back view which tells the real story.  First thing is I think I removed too much ease from the back. That VPL is really visible now. Thank heaven my Tops will cover it. Still I don’t I’ll wear this too far from home.    It does confirm my earlier thought when looking at the side view i.e. less ease should be removed from the back.   The crotch compared well with B5403 and felt perfect in each trial. But the photos — taken immediately after ironing and the only body movement was to adjust the waistband and stand in front of the camera- might indicate that the back crotch is too short.

What I both hate to see and am glad to see, are the diagonal drag lines extending from hip towards inseam. I hate to see these because I think they are ugly and they were the same lines I couldn’t fix in May. I’m glad to see them because I know I’ve eliminated the knee factor.  I know that I need to work on crotch depth, shape and torso ease. That’s all, but I won’t be doing much to this pair.  With all those 2.5mm stitches in place, these are finished.

But I’m already making the first steps to working-out the back issues.  Even as I evaluate the pictures for fit and type this post, I’m wearing the shorts and working on the issues. Interestingly enough, the front crotch almost immediately began to feel too long. Within moments the crotch began rubbing along the front inseam and the back began to dip.  Possibly the elastic should have been shorter. LC does say that you have adjust the length until you find the one which is comfortable to wear while holding up your pants.  This is the same length as I found to be correct for the May version. I’m more inclined to think my rear is somehow pushing or pulling on the back inseam pushing the back downward making the back crotch too short and then the front creeps forward becoming too long.  I think that way because that’s the issue I’ve seen over and over.  On both the JSM and B5403 I scooped out the back of the crotch. So of course, that’s the first thing and may be the only alteration I try with these shorts.

This will not be the last pair of MSS shorts.  I hope that I will be able to correct the fit of the back and make long-legged pants as well. This is basic pattern I think every sewist should have. I know women tell me they don’t like the look and feel of  bulky elastic waistbands; or they prefer the way a dropped waist (think low-rise jeans) looks. But here’s the truth. With my 6+ decades and X#of overweight pounds, I don’t run around in low-rise jeans. A mid-rise is the lowest I will wear. But it doesn’t matter for me because I never tuck my tops.  It’s really unusual for anyone to see my waistband let alone know where it rests on my body.  To me this is about appropriate appearances ( good looks) AND personal comfort, mid-rise to natural waist is my preferred waistband placement. 2ndly, This pattern starts with the elastic-gathered waistband, but LC provides instructions to create a more fitted waistband either by removing ease or adding a zipper and darts. (You’ll get the closest fit, least gathering with zipper and darts).  Once the basic pant fits as I desire, I plant to adapt it to something very close to Loes Hinse European Pant.  Yes I could buy the Loes Hinse pattern but why when LC has given me the instructions for changing the already (nearly)  fitting MSS pant?

In short, I just can’t say enough good about this pattern and these pants.

“Sleeping on it” has been one of my favorite ways to solve problems. Especially complex problems.  My left brain has a way of meandering through all possibilities while mixing in other issues of the day and a few scenes from whatever TV programming I’ve absorbed. The result in the morning is a clear course of actions and why.  So this morning I realized I had 3 major problems.

First the knock knee issue:

is improved but not entirely resolved. The red lines clearly point to the knees.

2ndly, but in the same picture, the back waistline is still noticeably dipping. While the hip balance line has straightened, it too needs more correction.

3rdly, There are subtle diagonal lines almost swag lines forming on the lower legs.  These are present on the back view but most clearly seen on the front/side leg:

To correct the swag lines, I slashed and overlapped the side seams of both front and back pattern pieces just above the hip balance-line by a mere 1/8″. That reduced the side seam length 1/4″.

Correcting for knock knees and waistline droop is a little more complex. Not shown in the photos is that the front crotch has developed a slight pouch. I feel it more than see it but know from long experience that the front crotch extension is too long.  This occurred when I let out the inseam.  I need the extra length in the back, but not the front. To fix these issues, I added a strip of paper along the inseam of the back pattern piece. Then I added 3/4″ to the width of the back-inseam. It is similar to my alterations for Burda pants patterns.

Actually, I would wear the pants shown above. By the time I put my top on and added a vest, the waist and hip line dips would be invisible; non-issues. The wrinkles in the back of the leg, could be attributed to posture. So I chose to use a fashion fabric to make my first wearable pairs of 11202, My Swing Set Pants.

I chose fabric. My first choice was a cotton/rayon blend that had been woven to imitate linen.  I felt it would be perfect. Nice drape, but lots of body; the look of linen without the wrinkles.  My kind of fabric.  Unfortunately when I started pressing out the wrinkles, my Rowenta had spitting fits. The first time was an area about the size of my hand.  I was puzzled because in the last 2 months spitting has never been an issue. I thought to look at the bottom of the iron and discovered a build up of toasted starch and a piece or two of cellophane tape. Ah yes!  The muslin that I starched and pressed multiple times had apparently transferred excess well cooked starch to the sole of the iron. The tape?  I slash and tape my patterns together with cellophane tape.  When not in use I carefully fold the tissues and place them inside an envelope.  They need to be pressed with a warm iron (and no steam) before using.  My guess is some of the tape I thought was on the pattern, transferred to the sole of the iron. OK so 15 minutes of carefully cleaning the sole of starch residue and tape and I’m ready to iron the rest of the fabric.  I marked the first spit up with a big pin.  Perhaps the starch would remove easily in the first wash, but I’ve had occasions when whatever the iron coughed up was evil and remained no matter waht removal efforts were made. So I planned to cut around the stain (after all I had 4 yards of this fabric.) Not more than 5 minutes later, the Rowenta hissed, spit and coughed up again producing and even larger stain. OK time to clean internally. I allow the iron the cool; then cleaned the internal system and started again—

on another fabric.  My second choice is a 100% cotton cord. This is not corduroy more like Bedford Cord or Dimity. There are two thin green warps and then a thick white warp. The fabric launders well, and is nice to wear but has no stretch. I know I bought this particular cut thinking of summer pants.  I’m starting with 3.5 yards of 70″ wide fabric. For those of you hoping that the new pattern would be more thrifty in it’s fabric use, well you’ll be disappointed. I ended up with 1 yard 17″ and two big ol’ pieces left over.  We talking here 70″ wide fabric and it still took over 2 yards. On  a 70 inch wide fabic, my TJ906 jeans or JSM trousers would have required a single body length, about 40 inches.

Once the fabric was cut, I transferred all the balance lines using a disappearing marker. I also serge finished all the edges.  I know CLD likes to serge the edges at the end as a finishing.  I like to control raveling especially when I anticipate having to try the garment on several times.

Long story short, I think I didn’t make enough of a wedgie when measuring my crotch.  It took 3 fittings which for me means: make a change; make a photo; check the photo and repeat. I have to run upstairs to check the photo and am always distracted by the ‘net. So it takes a while. Finally in desperation, I picked out the waistband. I shortened the elastic 3″ and turned the casing down an additional 1″.  There’s a bit of bulk around the waistline that will be reduced when I complete the pants. Also the casing is not finished. It is basted 1/4″ and again 2-1/4″ from the top fold/edge.  The hems have been turned up into place and fused with Steam-A-Seam but not stitched.

This is wearable. I wanted to show it without any analysis first and now for the lines:

The vertical grain lines are now flowing from top to hem. The horizontal balance lines are fairly straight including those previously confused lower leg lines.  There is a little wrinkling right at the knee and high up on the hip are a few diagonal lines.  I do see that the waist dips a little. In another fabric, something with a little stretch, I might not have any wrinkles.

First the side without any distractions:

I moved the camera position and marked the floor with a longer strip of masking tape to get a better side view. Now with all my redrawn lines:

When I look at the grain lines and the horizontal balance lines, I can’t be sure that they are correctable. This may be an issue with fabric rather than with draft and fitting.  Even the diagonal lines marked in red are slight. I could be over-fitting should I choose to attempt removing them all.

It is the back, of course, that I’m most concerned about.

I saw the pic above and said “she’s a almost there!”.

Once again, the horizontal balance lines are really good. The vertical grain lines are almost there.  The red lines I added really point out the drag lines.  My knock knees are still having an effect on the back.  There are new diagonal lines across the high hip. In previous photos the lines were perfectly perpendicular making me think it’s the effect of how the ease is distributed along the elastic instead of a fitting issue. Because it is a pull-on pant, I am expecting some gathering along the waistband and my back is the place where I can actually see that I have a waist.

It is really important to point out that the casing is unfinished. It is simply two lines of basting.  The CLD One-Seams would not sit perfectly until the casing was complete and the elastic channels stitched. Even the elastic was critical. I’m assuming the same will be true with the MSS pant. Oh and I am using Louise’s elastic. I’ve never found another source.

I’m at the end of the day now and really contemplating my next course of action. I’m not sure that lifting the back more is going to solve the under-butt wrinkles.  Pretty sure those diagonal folds are due to the knees. Again, I know that waistband needs to be nailed down for the pant to look it’s best.  But I’m calling it a day; a Good Day. Because should I decide to walk out the door in these, I’ll look fine. Even in the bank line.

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I spent hours studying the photos posted yesterday; adding lines, comparing photos to photos of  previous successful pants and the Burda pattern I was just fitting. Oh, and to each other within the set of pictures for this muslin. I decided to make more photos.

Let me explain.

First off, this fabric lacks the necessary body to make a good looking slim trouser.  Maybe one of those wide, very wide, like 30″ wide at the hem trousers would be good with this fabric. It is opaque enough for pants. But very soft and drapes rather than having any stiffness or, ummmmmmmmmmmmmm body.

I’m also having an issue with static cling.  I have the static cling blues every winter.  I routinely stock cans of Static Guard in my closet, the laundry room and at the ironing board.  I generously sprayed the muslin first with Static Guard and then with spray starch before pressing again.

Next I kept looking at how the lower leg buckled at the ankle and decided just for the purposes of this fitting, I would raise the hem to eliminate leg length as the cause of  wrinkles.  Did I cut the leg off?  No, I folded up the about 1-1.5″ at the hem and pressed in place.

Finally, I have reason to believe that the mess of under-butt wrinkles has to do with the positioning of the widest point of my rear in relation to the pattern drafted rear. (For those of you that care, my reason is PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.)   I starched and pressed the pants yet again and then took photos of the front and back with the pants hanging in normal position.  Next, I photoed the pants pulled up and held up at the center back. Here’s the result:

This is the same muslin. The difference is that in the photos on the right is the muslin has received 2 more applications of spray starch and the back crotch has been pulled up to my natural waistline.

So what do these photos tell me?

Well first off the designer  was right about  not needing to add length to the back crotch!  The length of the back crotch is not the issue here. Something is preventing the back crotch from sliding up into the correct position. (Probably my rear, but let’s continue.)

2ndly, Did you notice that the diagonal side drag lines disappeared?  Yes there are diagonal lines, but now they start about hip level and lean forward into the waist and are more vertically orientated.  Previously the diagonals started below center front, traversed almost horizontally across the side and terminated in the center back.  Those are gone. (Perhaps revealing a new issue but that’s what happens when start fitting garments.)

3rd, I”m n0w clearly seeing the lines radiating from my knee, from my knock-knee behaving knees. These diagonal lines are more prominent between knee and hip but are present between knee to ankle (even though I have shortened the lower leg by at least another 1″ (At pattern alteration time, I shortened the lower leg 2″. Total 3″ shorter than the given pattern.))

The question is, what to do first?  Common fitting wisdom is to fit from top to bottom. But I know from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, that adding crotch length isn’t going to fix the under butt wrinkles; and scooping the crotch isn’t going to eliminate the knock knee wrinkles.

I opt to work on the knock knee wrinkles first, reverse order to common wisdom. I rip the crotch apart about 3″ on either side of the inseams.  The I let the inseams out the maximum which is 3/8″.  I press, basted the crotch seam together and press again.  Logically, I added 3/4″ ease (3/8 X 2) to the knee ease and the same to the crotch length. I’m sure the knees now have another 3/4″ ease, but to continue the crotch line in a smooth curve the crotch length gained only 1/2″ .  I then spray starched and pressed from the inside; spray starched and pressed from the outside and………………………………. took more pictures.  In the back of my mind I’m thinking I need to make another alteration so that the crotch can slip into the correct position. But I know, once again from personal experience, that every alteration I make will have an effect upon something else.  Before I make any uninformed, alteration decisions, I want to see the effect of the current alteration.

Please bear with me. I know I’m keeping you in suspense, but I need to think this through before making future alterations.

The side:

Part of the issues in this picture is that I over rotated the picture.  I”m not able to place my tripod-mounted camera exactly horizontally orientated to my posture. I appear to be leaning backwards as does the side seam and balance lines.  I urge you to pay more attention to the drag lines and wrinkles.  I know I’ve got 3 applications of spray starch but the lessening of plain old wrinkles is astonishing to me.  I am noticing those diagonal lines that used to run nearly horizontally from mid-front across the side and to mid-back are now lower on the leg. ??? Possibly the side seam may be too long. I’ll keep that in mind but not plan an alteration at this time.

The back is a joy to see

Not perfect,  but much much improved. The knee wrinkles are significantly reduced as are the under butt-wrinkles.  I’ve not re-drawn the balance lines but they have nearly straightened.  It’s also a pleasure to compare this version with the original.

Even with the error I made rotating the side-picture, the side is much improved.

..and the back is amazing!

Right now, right this moment, if I were to go down stairs and start sewing, I would add another 1/4″ to the inseam.  But that’s enough sewing for tonight. I need a break and a time to contemplate.

 

Of course the adventure continues. I don’t have  a wearable pant yet!