A few weeks ago, I was frantically digging through the stash for an appropriate muslin fabric. Some of my fabrics are just too expensive to cut into a muslin and throw away. With pants, it is unlikely my test garment, my ‘muslin’ can be made wearable. In fact, I sometimes require multiple pant muslins. So if I choose a fabric for a test pant, I must be prepared to toss the result into the trash. Anyway, I was digging through the stash for something cheap I could throw in the trash without a lot of guilt but it must have the right stretch factor and weight; and I prefer light-colored fabrics.
Light-colored fabrics show up the wrinkles and pulls much better than dark fabrics. I have used dark fabrics and changed picture exposure but that just isn’t as good as starting with a light-colored fabric. Boy it was tough finding qualifying fabrics.
In sheer desperation, I sat down and hunted through Fabricmartfabrics.com $1.99 and other sale fabrics. I looked for under $3/yard and light-colored. From the limited selection I found, I started eliminating sheer fabrics, heavy and stiff fabrics (Canvas? Not good for pants muslin.) I know from experience that the fabric in the muslin needs to be a whole lot like the fabric I want to wear or the muslin will be a waste of time. It’s back to that thing of every fabric having producing a different effect on the draft. In my selection, I was looking for jean denim, non-stretch pant weight wovens, woven stretch and pant Ponte’s. Not many in the final run. My order went in for 5 yards each for a non-stretch pant weight (no Ponte this time) and the excellent stretch woven I am using today. No kidding it’s a great fabric. Downside for me is that it is a wool blend. I tend to ruin my wool pants in the laundry. But for a muslin, it is terrific.
I’ll say it again, even thank my SG friend for saying it first, pants are easy to sew. It’s the fitting that takes an outrageous amount of time. I lightly pressed my fabric (getting a good whiff of the wool content in the process) and then smoothed it out and placed 3 pattern pieces on top: Front, Back Waistband. I folded up the front and back leg 2.5″. I wanted the leg to hang ‘free’; not to break across the foot or anywhere else. Could have folded the leg up a little more but, eh <shoulder shrug> it’s done.
I put the waistband together first. I’m using my TNT straight WB pattern piece. Didn’t even need to add width — it was the same as this 3218 waistband. I cut the waistband and interfaced it;. Folded, matching the long ends together, pressed and stitched 3/8″ away from the long raw edges. I cut elastic a little shorter than the waistband and threaded it through the channel just created when I stitched the long edges together. . I marked the center back; center front on both ends and made a tick for the side seam placement. I use that to line the WB up with the pant side seams. The placement can move depending upon the depth of the seam allowances (which can change depending upon fabric), whether I’m using darts and how many. I mean there are a few variables that can make small differences and I allow for them.
I used water-soluble thread (WST) in the bobbin to attach the zipper. With the WST still in place, I cut the back, basted the darts and continued to baste side seams, inseams and crotches. Lastly, I aligned the waistband and basted it into place. Look, it took longer to write this post up then it did to baste everything together. ‘Course pics for the first fitting took a few minutes more.
I knew as soon as I tried to clip the waist together that I was going to need more room. Maybe more than the preliminary +1/2″ Tummy Estimate. But, the front doesn’t look bad at all. The little blip on the front crotch is a stitching error. Somehow the SM caught a bubble right there. It flattens out when I look at it. Puff’s right back up when I look away. That’s not VPL you are seeing. That horizontal shadow about mid way between waist and crotch is my tummy. Instead of the fabric being able to skim the tummy curve, it is tightly following the curves of my body i.e. not enough tummy ease. Let’s get to the side and those wrinkles next
I was hoping for fabric with 10-15% stretch. My fabric actually has 20%. If I pull vigorously, 25%. It wasn’t terrible but the fabric did want to advance in front the rotary cutter. Working at the SM was bad. I ripped out half of one of the legs; let it relax; and then restitched. If I were to use this fabric in a real garment, I would pin every 2″. Maybe closer. Might even hand baste. So I see these wrinkles, but I’m not really upset with them; might be if I was making a garment instead of a muslin. What really concerns me- and I’m glad to see – is the tummy shadow has continued around and it is echoed by hip crest circle. I am glad to see the shadows continuing because it means I am need to add ease evenly to the garment. Which is easier to do than offsetting side seam. The back:
I knew the back couldn’t be good. I could feel my pants trying to crawl up the bifurcation and my flesh forming into a muffin top. All the lines below will have to be ignored until I solve the ease problem at the tummy and hip.
I’m surprised with this much lack of ease. True, my measurements were taken 2 months ago. I’ve lost weight since then. Wasn’t expecting things to get bigger; was actually expecting too much ease. Why would the opposite occur? Well, there is a wool content which can shrink under the steam iron, but I didn’t press for that long nor use much steam. I’m a little puzzled but I think the best thing to do, is simply concentrate on adding the ease I absolutely, no questions about it, know I need: in the tummy. Thank goodness I used WST in the bobbin. It will be nothing to rip out the seams.
For Fit02, I ripped open the side seams between waist and about 9″ down. Pinned them back together at a comfortable circumference and then looked in the mirror. I have a full length mirror in the bathroom but the view is not 100% reliable. While the front view is revealing, the sides and back cannot be trusted because I’m bending and twisting. So the muslin looked good in front; felt good all around but I hesitated. I remembered that I fit my SP blouses by selecting the largest standard woman draft (size 18, same as this pant pattern) and then adding 1″ to the side seam below the waist over the hip. The fronts are trimmed at final fitting to remove some ease, but, point is, adding 1″ at the hip was the first break through I had with fitting an SP pattern. With that in mind, instead of the 3/8″ pinned, I stitched the side seams 1/2″ closer to the raw edge; effectively adding 2″ of ease to the circumference of the hip.
An improvement but not the overwhelming success I was hoping for.
I must note that the waist is a little large. I took the front pic first. When I turned for the back pic, I hitched up my pant just a little. While it may be a little, I’m quite sure it has an effect on the looks of the pant because it definitely made the front feel better.
I am surprised that I”m still seeing that high hip shadow. I repeat: I am wearing boy shorts. That’s not VPL. My panties hug my natural waist which is beneath the waistband and then again about 2″ below the hip/torso crease. There are no lines/shadows where my panties are. I am more concerned with the look of the back crotch:
Let me refresh memories, including my own, the back crotch of the pattern measured 13.5″. That’s net, taken along the stitching line without inseam/waist seam allowances. I slashed and spread at the crotch 1.5″ making the back crotch length a total of 15″. The Oct Bowl measured 15″ along the back crotch. They are equal. The front crotch measures the same as the Oct Bowl and which looks and feels fine. (That little bubble in front is a stitching error.). The back crotch feels like it is still cutting into my bifurcation and it kind of of looks that way too.
Would you add more length? Look again, the bubble of fabric directly below the waistband still remains. That usually indicates that the back is constrained by the waist. It can go no further up the body. It shouldn’t need to, if 15″ is the correct crotch length. So the crotch can’t go further up; can’t go down and it bubbles.
This is such a puzzle to me. The 16″ crotch of the V1411 fit nicely but the 13″ front crotch did not. The 11″ front crotch of 3218 has a much nicer fit while it’s 15″ back crotch did not.
Sigh, it’s the kind of stuff that has me banging my head against the wall. Well onto…
I had to eliminate the length of the back crotch as an issue. Just had to do it. I separated the waistband from the back; basted in a strip of fabric in between and the took another pic. Hmm, should add that I also shortened the front waistband just 1/4″. Yes this is the TNT waistband but even it has to be adapted for different fabrics.
The sides are visibly trying to lean towards the back. Along with the high-hip shadow, I think they are saying, we need more room back here. I could let out the darts. I have four (4) 1/2″ darts. They do not extend far enough into the high hip zone to make a difference with ease but at the waist? Maybe.
I adjusted the waistline by changing the alignment of the CF mark/zipper stitching. What’s really good here is that the nagging thought that the waist was too large, causing the pant to droop which negatively affect fit, shshhzh that feeling is gone. The waistband sits where it should and feels comfortable. I think it was a mistake to change the seam allowances on the front. I had hoped I was adding ease where the high-hip shadowed. No. No help. While this is widely criticized, I think my best solution is my oldest solution and was given to the world by Nancy Zieman when she was still a young woman. For those of us with a tummy, she recommended added a small wedge, a sort-of-a-reverse dart at the center front. You add half of what is needed (because it will be on both sides of the front). Too late for this muslin. If I don’t trash the whole lot (as threatened in my introductory) I will add the little wedge but keep the ease of the rest of pant as is. Fit01 was a d@mn fine front.
I am happy to say that the back immediately felt better for adding the 1″ length. As soon as I zipped up the muslin; even before I clipped the waistband closed in front, a sigh of release escaped my lips. Somehow neither my Aug nor Oct bowls are in sync with what I am seeing on my muslin. The back crotch itself looks great!
However there is still a bubble beneath the waistband even if it is not directly on the crotch itself; and of course the back of leg mess is still…
Well that’s enough head scratching or banging for today. Probably enough pics and verbiage for you. Come back tomorrow. We’ll join in the fight yet again.