Culottes, Jinni, Shorts

Jinni Shorts

After finishing the Jinni muslin, I copied the pattern and transferred all my fitting changes.  I made a copy of the tissue with fitting changes, measured up from the hem along the grainline to create a 10″ inseam aka shorts.  I prefer shorts that don’t cling to my legs, so I added 1″ to the side seam at hem level an drew a line from there straight up to the hip. Then added a turn back allowance for the hems. Ta da! Shorts pattern ready for use.

Time to choose fabric.  I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that not all the shorts I deemed “wearable” at the beginning of summer are comfortable in the crotch. I think I am comparing those shorts to the new-npt-perfected shorts I’ve been making in recent weeks. I’d really like to replace the now uncomfortable shorts. I made a quick eval and decided  the worst of shorts I want to replace are black.  So,I hunt in the stash for 2- yard lengths of fabric in black. I have none in non-stretch fabrics.  The fabric I settle on has a gorgeous texture weave that reminds me of snake skin.  Because it is black, the texture is very subtle until you are close. All the pics have been lightened about 70% so we can see the drag lines. Unfortunately, it has 10% stretch which causes me to reconsider. Overall, my experience with 10% stretch is it handles the same as non-stretch but during wear has just that extra amount of give to  make movement comfortable and it tends to snap back i.e. doesn’t seat-out or form bulges. I decide this fabric with 10%  stretch is OK to use.

I press the fabric then layout the pattern before cutting.  I know that I need to be a little open-minded about the fit. First I’m not entirely sure I transferred the fitting changes exactly.  Was pretty close to ‘exactly’ but there is room for error. Also I’m dealing with a different type fabric from my muslin.  I have to make allowances for the fabric because, to quote Peggy sagers “the fabric always wins.”   With that in mind, I serge finish edges and  put a zipper in with permanent stitches before swapping for a bobbin with water-soluble thread and basing all the other seams.

Fingers crossed, I give my shorts a first try-on.  I concentrated on setting the crotch where it was comfortable and making sure the waistband fit. I was fitting in the afternoon fit,  concerned me because I clearly saw what a huge difference between morning and afternoon fittings with the Jinni muslin.  However I have to start fitting at some time and most of my sewing is done in the afternoon.  To my surprise, the waistband felt perfect. As did the front and back crotch an well everything.  Let me repeat, everything felt good. I was ready to finish and wear these.    Pictures tell a different fitting story:

Huh?  What happened to the  near-perfect fit of the Jinni Muslin? When I was finished with the muslin, the front and sides were perfect; the back needed a little scooping but otherwise looked terrific. Now working with a stretch fabric, a more forgiving fabric,  the sides are too long, the darts too long,and there are issues with both front and back crotch.

OK maybe I didn’t get the crotch scoops transferred correctly and maybe the WB is a little off on the side seams.  I begin fitting making 1/4″ changes each fitting. After 2 days, 10 fittings and picture session, I paused.  I realized the last scoop and lowerings had no effect.  None. Zip Zilch.  Instead of looking and thinking “a little change here” I did a more thorough evaluation.  To my knowledge pants fit when (1) I have enough ease, (2)the crotch height (front and back) is the right length and the (3) crotch extensions are the right length.  Should add a (4) because the waistband can make everything look wrong.

The waistband was fine. Not riding up. Not too tight. WB was fine i.e. #4 fit.

I pinched the side seams and realized there was plenty of ease across my widests points i.e. #1 problem fits.

The front crotch was now hanging and rubbing too far down and the back crotch was forming bubbles under the waist band  So crotch heights were now too long but had been correct previously i.e. #2 fit before alterations.

The only thing left that could be wrong was the length of the crotch extension/fork i.e. #3 was wrong.  Just to confirm, I added 2″ gussets. Well yes indeed that helped, but  not enough.   I was very surprised because the muslin had been scooped at least 1″ and this pant had been scooped the same amount. Scooping increases the length of the back crotch extension.  I had now added 2″ length to the 3″ Back fork as drafted.  Total 5″.  How much fork length would be enough? I cut 6″ gussets. Umm, the gussets I used were 6″ wide and 10″long rectangles evenly adding width the entire length of my shorts inseam .  When I tried the shorts on I said, ” I’ve got culottes! ” But  those crotches looked great!


Thing is that would be like a total of 9″.  According to my bowl, center of my body to butt apex is 6.5″. To me it seems a bit off that the shorts would require a 9″ back fork.

I could have sewn some more that day. Done some more experimenting but I stopped to think.  I’m not a culottes wearer but I don’t like to ruin a good pair of pants even when they resemble a skirt.  Overnight I decided, a pair of culottes in my closet would be fine.  I finished them. Replaced all the basting with permanent stitching and hemmed the legs.  I mean, a wearable is always a win, isn’t it?

As for crotch length, I think I need a new game plan.