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Willow 5

Posted on: May 24, 2012

I hoped to have better news with this post.

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Grocery-Line View

The pants are now cut in a fabric very nearly like the sample provided by Style Arc. The pattern was altered to add 1″ to the back and front rise; 3″ ease was added width wise and the crotch has been scooped 1″. I also shortened the leg 4″ then walked all the seams and corrected overall length.

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Front with Belt

I don’t think the pant should be pulled this high. The crotch looks and feels terribly short, however without pulling the pant up, the fabric buckles and folds between my high hip bone and the hip-joint.  I’ve added 1/2″ more ease to the back than the front.  Still the back looks too tight and the front too loose. The hem circumference is now 18.5 inches very close to the 19″ of my trousers and 20″ of my flare jeans.  Not the look I was wanting.

I think I”m done. Well I”m not even going to finish this one because I can’t ignore the grocery-line view shown above.  I won’t be posting at SG or reporting back to the pattern company.  I made so many changes that I can’t blame their drafting.  I even measured the pattern with the same tape measure I used on myself. This is just not working and I’ve run out of things to try.

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Willow 04

Posted on: May 24, 2012

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Please don’t judge the pattern by these pics:
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I started by looking in my stash for a “good” pants fabric.  I wanted a lightweight fabric because it’s summer.  I wanted a fabric with a little body because Muslin3 told me this pattern didn’t look so good clinging to my body.   I skipped stripes. I don’t know why.  I just didn’t want to sew a stripe right now.  Finally my hands alighted on the single piece of suit weight Bengaline that I have.  I thought it would be perfect, lightweight, camel colored and hey a little stretch.
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The little stretch, was a gross mistake.  While fitting Muslins1-3 I had added 3 inches of ease.  In order to get the Bengaline to stay on my body, I needed to remove 4.  If this fabric is typical of what the Aussies sew with, I can understand why they are always complaining that the Big4 pattern companies use a hideous amount of ease.
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So fabric is first is the reasons for not judging this pattern by these pics. Style Arc recommends  woven, lightweight but crisp bodied fabric.  They know quite well what Bengaline is and they do NOT recommend Bengaline for this pattern.  They are right.
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Also, I’m really leery of all the chopping I did on this pattern.  I added and added ease.  I scooped the crotch. Twice. I chopped 4″ of length off the legs and redrew the hem markings. Last thing I did was to walk the seams.  The original pattern seams and tick marks all match.  On the copy,  I had to lengthen the front leg and the only tick marks that match, are the inseam notches.  I did so much to this pattern, I don’t trust it anymore.

It looks like the pant has too much ease but removing even another 1/16″ make the pant too tight.  The front is dropping, like the waistband is still too lose, yet I’ve removed 2″ in length from my trusted waistband. The waistband that works with woven and knit fabrics. The waistband that never needs more than 1/8″ adjustment.   I remeasured the waistband and it is the same length as when cut.  The difference in length is entirely the action of the fabric.  It also looks like the pant back and leg is drooping again. Like 1/2″ scooping is not enough.  I honestly think the Bengaline is continuing to stretch.  Interesting note, hem circumference is estimated at 12 inches.  This pair finished at 16″.

I’m treating this like I would a Lycra fabric.  I’m assuming that the handling it has received is part of the problem.   I’ll launder and try again. But really I don’t think I look worse than anyone else in the grocery line and besides these are comfortable.

However, I was so intrigued with the differences created by the Bengaline, that I immediately started on Willow 05….. coming up.

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I scooped the back as planned and then chopped 2″ off the bottom of the pants legs.   I didn’t press the muslin again.  It’s been worn less than 5 minutes.  I just set up the camera and took pics.


I’m pleased to see the waistband has reacted as expected to trimming out the bottom of the crotch 1/4″.  That is the center back has moved upward and the waistline is now level instead of slanted upwards towards the front.

I also note that less of my belly bulge can be seen but there is still the appearance of ruching along the side front seam.

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The front does look improved.  I’m not seeing the back of my pants leg anymore, but the front crotch still looks a bit odd and of course the belly bulge is horribly visible.

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I added two poses for the back, checking again on Sew4Fun’s leg shift theory. I think the amount of diagonal wrinkles is the same, they are more prominent with the normal stance i.e. legs together.

Scooping the crotch 1/4″ made the pant even more comfortable and look a bit better.  I’m not sure, but I think in a good pant fabric, something with a little body, the crotch shape could be fine as is. If this were a full legged pant, I would want the crotch rise lengthened another 1/2″

While scooping was good for the crotch, it did little or nothing to relieve the excess in the back of the thigh.

And of course, scooping did not add any ease across the back.

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But you’ve seen the end not only of Muslin 3, but of all musling to this pant.  I’m breaking out the good fabric.  Yes!  I really feel that the fabric is the biggest issue in how this muslin appears.  I do think I will use a woven with just a bit of stretch. I’m also going to add another 1/4″ to the side seam of only the back.  I’m still not sure that the diagonal lines are from the relationship of the leg to the torso. I’ve not needed to make this adjustment to my JSM’s, but the JSM is a trouser pattern. The lines point upward and while you can’t see it,  the inseam hem actually pulls up just about 1/4″.   I’m still thinking this a back crotch issue.  Instead of 1/4″ I’m going to start by scooping the wearable pair 3/8″.  As Sew4Fun says, there are no wrinkless garments, especially pants, especially the slacks draft.  I doubt that these wrinkles would even be noticed by anyone besides myself and fellow dressmakers.

  • In: Willow
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I’d like for you to understand me.  I entered the workforce when women were heavily discriminated against.  The terms “glass ceiling”  “women’s ghetto” were buzz words that we used to tell other women what they would encounter if they elected to work for a particular company.  Yes, I’m showing my generation gap.   Boldly, because it remains with me still, after 40+ years.  I still want to dress attractively enough to “show I’m a woman but conservatively enough to show I’m a lady.”.  You may laugh.  But I know of several women who were humiliated and careers side tracked never-to-recover because they succumbed to an office romance.  You, meaning every woman who went to work, had to decide the first day, the first interview: am I here for a career and to advanced up the corporate ladder or am I here looking for a good time and husband.”  Whatever you decided, it was hard to change directions later on.  Men could somehow communicate to new bosses, new workplaces the spot (tramp, worker, geek, etc)  you occupied in their hierachy for years to come.  I tell you this, not in bitterness or any other negative, but simply because I want you to understand my personal dress standard.  To this day and having been married for 36 years, retired 5+ years after working for 40 years, I still want to project the womanly but LADY image.

It is important when you read my evaluation of patterns, especially pants patterns that you understand what I want you to see me and what I expect out of a pattern.  All of which was  formed of the experience I recounted above and is clothing that skims my figure tightly enough to show I am a woman but loosely enough to show I’m a lady.  Pants especially bring this out.  I prefer the uni-butt look while I’ve heard others rail against it. I do not want to show two high round cheeks. I do not want lines pointing to my crotch. I want a fairly smooth line appearance.  My best pant so far is the JSM which I shared In April 2012 and is similar to what I’m working towards with the Willow except I want a narrower leg.

For the 3rd muslin, I selected a different fabric so that I could easily distinguish between versions of this pattern.  My new fabric is again a blouse weight fabric which has  disadvantages when used for pants.  It is too soft and too drapey.  But this fabric, fiber unknown, has been sitting in my stash for eons.  It is an odd color which works with nothing else. Seriously, I repeatedly have looked at and rejected this fabric because the blue color did not work with whatever other color it was I was trying to create an outfit.   Before cutting today, I took the time to compare with all my fabrics and all my clothes.  I decided this was “muslin” fabric, I just hadn’t recognized that before now.  So I pressed the fabric carefully.

I traced the original Willow pattern.  I separated the tracing, both front and back, horizontally just below the dart and added 1″.  I was wishy-washy for a bit and then decided to add 1/2″only to the side seams.  I mean I had excellent instructions for grading the pattern up a size or even more should I desire.  But I’m a quick and easy kind of dressmaker, and upon reflection decided if many of us garment sewists routinely increased the side seam allowances to 1″ just for insurance, that 1/2″ was right in line with standard practices.  1/2 inch added 2″ of ease.  I added only 3″ to the leg length. Keep that in mind as you look at my pics because the legs which were mid-calf are, in some pics, beneath my heels.  It has to be the fabric.

I’m not completely unhappy, but I was hoping for better.  I really did think that adding 2″ over all would do the trick as far as necessary ease.  That’s what I added to Ver1.  Yet I can clearly see my body in these pics which does make me disappointed. Let’s start with the front view:

Ummm confession.  I saw no point in cutting a 3rd waistband when the first 2 were perfect. The waistband now fits comfortably, at the level I would like it to be.

But I can see my bodily rolls just below the waistband. I think a firmer fabric would help. I’m sure one of my slimmers would take care of all that.

I don’t have a camel toe but the front crotch looks, odd??  It’s kind of puffy right at the crotch and lower down looks like the back is collapsing into the front. This has me asking, is there something wrong in the crotch or is this fabric really wrong.

I am happy to note that the buckling and folds in Ver 1 and 2 are gone.

So are the vast majority of the drag lines.

Nothing is really clinging and outlining my knees.

The twisting that had me considering shifting the leg is practically gone.  I do see a few diagonal drag lines but ways down where the hem is; and the hem is so low i.e. the pants are so long that the length is making problems instead of showing problems.

This pant front, while not something I want to wear, is lots and lots better than the previous versions.  Based on the front alone, I’d be willing to break out a good pants fabric.

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Actually I’m pleased with this side view.

I realize that the front seems to be higher than the back.

But I’m really looking at how vertically orientated the side seam is.  There is no pulling to either front or back.

Yes I do see my belly being outlined, but I think that is a result of a poor fabric choice. Adding a slimmer or selecting a nice pant fabric and  my little issue would disappear.

I am surprised at what seems to be some gathering or ruching along the front side seam.  I walked the side seams. They match. I pressed the seams. They lay flat.   Again, I think the fabric is the problem.

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I took several pics of my backside, with my legs separated various amounts. I wanted to know what was causing the twisting on the legs in the previous versions.

Even granting that this is not an ideal pant fabric, I think I should add more ease.

I also think I need to scoop the crotch but I’m debating on whether I need to add more to the rise. Oddly, the pants feel fine, just more closely fitting than the JSM trousers.

When  standing normally (legs together) there are more drag lines than when standing with legs apart But there are drag lines in all views.  I’m still seriously considering Sew4Fun’s leg shift.

I was delighted that both previous versions lacked all the excess ease on the back thigh. Dang! It’s back.   Only 2 things have changed from version 2: 2″ was added to the rise both front and back  and 1/2″ was added to the side seams both front and back.

Let me say again that the pants feel comfortable.  I wanted to say that again because I’m truly surprised.  I thought this close-fitting pant could not be comfortable if made in a woven fabric.  I’m almost tempted to pull out one of my stretch fabrics and give it a go.

 

But what I’m going to do first, is scoop out the crotch. I’m thinking that may take care of several issues. When I scoop, the pant is going to rise in the back. My seat is going to settle into the pant seat and the excess down there behind the thigh is going to be pulled into the seat and back area. It’s entirely possible that the back will rise enough that from the side view the waist will be level instead of tilted upward in front.   It’s also possible that when all that takes place, the back leg that I’m seeing from the front will disappear and the pouf at the front crotch will settle.   So scoop first and then more pics.

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Sewing Muslin #2 took no time.  The WSS I used with Muslin 1 made it easy to re-use the zipper. As for the fabric, well it served it’s purpose. Muslin 2, as expected from comparing the first tracing with my JSM pattern, is far too tight. But I took  pictures anyway and I’m sharing them, because I wanted to get a baseline for this pattern (and the pattern company) rather than add alteration on top of alteration.  Also, I re-read Sew4Fun’s Blog . I admire her greatly and learned several helpful facts from reading her pants adventures.  One thing I wanted to know, was did the twisting in the legs occur because of my alterations or because of the basic draft. Sew4Fun discusses this concept in detail but from the viewpoint of each drafts fit a body differently according to not only measurements but posture or how your body parts hang together.  One of Sew4Fun’s personal standard alterations is shifting the leg towards the center of the body because that’s how she stands.  (Keep this in mind when reading my comments below.)

Again no question about it, the pants are too tight, the crotch is too short and the legs are too short.
First thing to note about the BACK is that the legs, now cut as StyleArc drafted, don’t feel all that tight.

The legs  are not hugging my knees but there are drag lines eminating from the knee area.

The crotch is entirely too short both in the rise and in the extension.  See how it burrows between my cheeks?  Not the look I’m going for.

The body of the pant is very tight.  I could zip it up but not sit down. Yet there are diagonal folds of fabric beneath my hinaie. Diagonal folds often indicate a mismatch between body shaping and fabric ease. The ease is there all right, just in the wrong place.

Most of the leg folds and buckling seen in Muslin 1 have simply disappeared.  I’m not standing normally.  That’s me with legs spread wide apart.  I’m beginning to suspect that I need to do Sew4Fun’s 3/8″  Leg shift.

Back needs:

+1 ” crotch height

+1″ width ease.

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The FRONT has lost it’s buckling above the hip, that’s my belly you are seeing.

I don’t have Camel Toe, but I can tell that the crotch is too short.  I need to add height a the center front

There are sparse drag lines pointing from hem to crotch.  I’m not sure if that is telling me the front  crotch is being pulled to the back (which happens when the back crotch extension is too short) or if it’s more indication that the legs are set too far apart.

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I’m showing th side because I want to note two things

The side seam is pretty straight until about 6 inches below the waist. Then it swings wildly forward. This could indicate there is too much fabric in the back, but given my body and belly, it’s more likely that I need more ease added to the front than added to the back.

I also want to look closely at the hem.  The inseam is swinging upward, further proof that my crotch is too short.

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And so what am I going to do? Well the nice people at StyleArc said if all I need is 1 inch, 2cm, they really recommend that I grade the pattern up and they sent me the instructions to do it. How about that? Have you ever had another company that would help you in such detail. Nevahhhhhh!
My plan is slow and sure.
Trace the original pattern without alterations
Add 1″ length to the rise both front and back.
Using StyleArc’s instruction, grade adding net 2″ ease divided between front and back

Terminator time….  OH PS sorry about all those strange commas (,).  I’m new to WordPress and that was the quick, dirty and wrong way to position my text where I wanted to position my text.  I promise I will learn more and do better in the future.

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I love a good puzzle.  It has to be complex enough to interest me but simple enough that I can solve. Simple turning and turning pieces is boring.  I need to be able to use things such as color and shape to solve the puzzle. I need clues that I can contemplate and use intelligently.  Fitting pants are like a puzzle for me, which I think is what keeps me obsessively buying and fitting new ones.

With the first Willow muslin, I see lots of clues.  I understand why the waistband and top 4 inches of the pant fit nicely.  This area was duplicated from my reliable TNT pattern.  I understand that the pants don’t look bad across the back (despite feeling a little close) because I added ease to the Willow pattern right in this area.  I also understand why the crotch fits, but feels tight.  That happened because I copied the extension from the JSM but did not scoop out the bottom. So the crotch looks OK but feels uncomfortable.  I also understood part of the ruching along the leg.  It was caused by adding to the crotch extension which made the back inseam longer than the front inseam.

I didn’t understand

  1. The tight feeling in the thigh and calve
  2. The buckling at the front hip crease
  3. The folds and rolls of cloth both front and back from hip crease to hem

I began comparing the traced/franken-pattern with the original Willow.  I think I found some answers.

  • When I shortened the leg, I trued the seam to the narrower hem.  This is quite normal.  You don’t want a sudden jutting of the line.  Problem is that I removed between 1/8″ and 1/4″ from the front leg and 3/8″ from the back leg between knee and hem.  An extra 1/2″ ease would definitely have made the calve area feel more comfortable
  •  I found that I removed 1/4″ from the inner thigh on the back when truing the seam after adding the crotch extension.  I’m not sure that 1/4″ is enough additional ease in the thigh area, but it’s better to have 1/4″ than not have it.
  • I added to the top of both the front and back pieces after comparing the Willow pattern pieces with the JSM.   I’m not sure this was necessary.  My confusion is the waistband and where it should sit in relation to my body.  I expect a straight waistband, as included in this pattern,  to fit with the seam at my waist and the band extending above.  If the top of the waistband sits at my natural waist, I need a contour waistband. That’s because my body is very shaped in that  first 4″ below my waist.  A straight waistband designed for the top to ride at my waist, is going to stick out oddly and slide down  or pull the pants furtherr up my body.  Point is, because I decided to change the pant so that the straight waistband will fit as I need a straight waist band to fit, well  I could have caused the folds of fabric both in the front hip crease and further down the leg.

When I checked the lower leg, I was prompted to begin measuring other places.  The seam allowance is clearly marked  making it ease to determine the final measurements. I was surprised to find a 25″ crotch length— which should fit;   1″ ease at the knee— should fit;  14.5″ hem circumference, a thigh with 1.5″ ease… and on and on.  Every place I measured on the original Willow pattern, except the waistband, had adequate fabric. This pant should fit right out of the envelope.

With that thought, I trimmed the original Willow pattern to the cutting lines, found another lackluster fabric and  started  a second muslin.

My 2nd fabric is a blouse weight cotton poly.  I’m sure I purchased it thinking of long sleeve blouses.  However, it sits in my stash unchosen year after year.  Since my selection of muslin fabrics is low, I decided I wouldn’t mind using-this-up only to find I have  2 yards left after cutting the pants.  I’m unconcerned about niceties such as pattern matching.  As long as the grain is straight and the hem above the ankle, I’m good….

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I knew something was terribly wrong as soon as I tried stitching the inseams together.  The back inseam, as a result of adding the crotch length I need, was far longer than the front.  The result is ruching along my inner thigh fanning out as would gathers across the back leg.

Willow

The back crotch is almost OK.   It feels tight even though it doesn’t look bad. I think if I scooped it just 1/4″ to create the J shape I need, it will be OK.  Also, the center back is pulling away from my own back.

I removed all the excess leg length just above the hem.  I don’t know if I removed enough or removed it in the right place.  The fabric is also buckling around my knees as well as twisting.  I knew when looking at the traced pattern, adding the crotch length I needed had also spread the legs further apart, which I don’t need.  The result is the twisting around the knees

Then there are other issues.  Most notably the pant legs feel too, too tight. I can barely move within them.  The legs might be OK if this was a knit fabric but I don’t like the way my knock-knees are being outlined. Perhaps I should never make or wear a hem circumference less than my knee circumference? But it seems a shame not to show off one of the few assets I can boast, that of a nice trim ankle.

And if possible the front is even worse.
Willow

While the waistband and immediate area look good, the pant is buckling just above the hip crease and all the way down.  Despite having been shortened 3″, the leg is definitely too long.  I’ve seldom had a pant front look so bad.

Remember the front pattern was largely unaltered.  I added crotch height,  the zipper underlap and shortened the leg.  The back was a mismash between JSM and Willow and perhaps shouldn’t even been credited to the Willow pattern.

I think the real issue here is that I purchased a size (or more) too small. Which is really interesting.  From my measurements the folks at Style Arc suggested a 12.  I purchased a size 14.

I should also note that my fabric is not really pant fabric.  I felt terribly uneasy about the direction my changes were taking and chose to use a left over cotton/poly curtain material and stitch with water soluble thread.

At the moment I’m debating on what to do next.  I have asked the Style Arc folks for a size recommendation based upon needing an extra inch of ease on the back side. It  could be that buying the correct size would make all the real problems disappear.   In a way, I’d like to keep working on the size I have.  I really think that leg should be shortened more, even as I’m adding a little more ease.  I really wished my understanding of drafting was much better.

 

ETA :  I got carried away on critiquing and forgot to mention the things I like.  I do like the slimness of these pants. I also really liked that the pattern seam allowances are 3/8″.  That doesn’t give any extra for alterations, but it is so easy to sew.  I usually sew a pattern, and I think I will use it again, I trim the SA’s to 3/8″.  If I trace Burda patterns, I add only 3/8″.  A 3/8 SA doesn’t need to be clipped around curves and can be fed through my serger right at the edge.  Which means much less serger mess to clean up.   And I think, which I do like, that these pants aren’t that far from fitting. It’s probably going to be 1 major change that fixes everything.

Style Arc

Posted on: May 21, 2012

  • In: Willow
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I’ve succumbed to the temptation of the new pattern company in Australia, Style Arc.  It was inevitable because I’m such a sucker for pants patterns.  I’m always hoping that the next pattern will be the “Holy Grail.”  You’d think that having 3 would be enough, but no, I need to try these as well.  I purchased 4 patterns from Style Arc.  Two are pants patterns. The Audrey

and the Willow

Both are for woven fabrics.  The Audrey reminds me of the pants I was wearing for work at least the last 15 years I was working.  That front pleat can be manipulated to fit very nicely . The Willow reminds me of my TNT JSM pattern except the leg is slimmer.

I decided to work with the Willow first because it does look so much like my JSM.   I love the JSM but I always wish I could remove just a bit more ease from the back of the thigh.  I also desire a slimmer leg – just as an alternate look.  I know I will keep making and wearing the JSM as is, but sometimes I’d like a pant with slimmer leg.

So I’m started.  I rough trimmed the Willow’s pattern pieces and pressed them carefully. Then I started comparing with my JSM.

The Willow’s front side is much more curved and adds another 3/8 between the hip bone and seat.  I’m pleased to see this.  I’ve shortened the darts and added a small wedge starting at the top and extending to about the same depth on my JSM’s.  I have a belly.  It’s not as large as some people’s but it’s definitely there and needs a bit of room.  Think of it this way, instead of a hump-back, I’ve got a hump-belly.  It’s unusual and pleasantly surprising to see a pattern drafted to accommodate my little extra.

I’m not quite sure about a pattern detail and have written the designers. One of the advantages of buying “Indy” patterns, is that the designers will usually correspond with you about your issues no matter how trivial.  My initial concern with the Willow is the straight waistband and the crotch length.  I expect a straight waistband to sit with the seam at my waistline, the band extending above and the top of the waistband to be above my waist, in this case 1 inch above my waist.  That’s nice width for a straight waistband on my body.  But if this is what should happen, the crotch height is 1.5″ too short both front and back.  If however the top of the waistband should sit at my waistline, I need a contour waistband.  My body is shaped in that area and the waistband needs to be shaped or the pant will always be falling off  my body.

So for the front, I need to shorten the legs 3″, and adapt the waist by either adding 1.5″ to the crotch height, or using my contour waistband.

The back is a different story. While the fronts were very similar in shape, the backs are difficult to align and compare.  I’m pleased to see the shape of the back crotch.  The extension is generous but still shorter than my JSM.  It’s also an L type shape just barely rounded  while I need more of the J or fishhook. The back waistline slopes upward from side to crotch indicating that the drafter has already added additional depth.  I think I may have purchased a size too small.  The back is at least 1″ too small across the rear.  While I had hoped to have less ease across the thigh, I know I need more ease across the butt.

So to the back I need to shorten those legs 3″, I also need to resolve the waistband issue.  Additionally I need to add 1″ to the crotch extension and 1″ to the width.

The waistband is 1″ too short. Now, this is usual for me.  I think nothing of pulling out my personal waistbands and using those instead.

 

What I actually did?

I use my waistband but copied the pointy end of the Willow and will trim my waistband to the same shape.

The front, I shortened legs 3″, added the underlap for a front zipper and extended the top by copying my JSM.

The back, shortened legs 3″, copy the JSM from crotch to waist; copy leg from crotch to hem.

 

Am I making a muslin?  You bet.  I’m not sure that a frankenpattern pant half one pattern half another is going to work at all.

 

Terminator time aka  I’ll be back