I feel as if I’ve been away in a foreign country, in one of those places where there’s no internet or cell service and nothing is familiar. Like a crazy dream where you awake unsure of exactly what’s real and what isn’t.
Yes, I’ve been making pants muslins. This one is number 5 of 6 at this point.
I must be out of my mind.
Of course I blame it on the expo. I signed up for Cynthia Guffey’s class on pants fitting, and all was lost.
Cynthia said that pants patterns were drafted for pear shaped women with b*tts and thighs. Ohhhh! That’s why my apple shape and stick legs are so difficult to fit. There’s way too much fabric down where there’s not much of me.
Once home from expo, I started working through Cynthia’s Pants Fitting Workbook. She has you measure everything up, down, and around. I even made a flexible curve model of my lower body to apply to the pattern. (In the end I didn’t use that, but I have it if I want it.)
After you get a good set of measurements, she shows you how to apply them to your pattern. Slavishly following instructions, I had pretty good success with my first muslin. Correcting the lengths and tilt of the waistline helped immensely.
Of course not every step worked perfectly for me. The book had me add to the crotch length at the inseam end of the crotch curve, leaving me with a lot of fabric down there. The last thing I needed was *more* crumpled fabric in that area. Ugh.
The crotch model didn’t help me either, because I couldn’t get a good sense (from any of my sources) of how to use it. There’s no good reference point to place on a pattern and trace ’round. Anywhere I put it had me removing large, irregularly shaped chunks of the pattern tissue with no clue about the excess.
So I ditched the instructions for adding crotch length and using the flexible curve, and went off on my own.
Searching for another way to add crotch length led me to Professor Pincushion’s Pants Crotch Length Pattern Alteration video.
That worked with the pants original curve.
Worked Very Well.
It did seem counterintuitive. It would seem that simply increasing the crotch depth would arrive at the same end point, but I found this method to be much better for me. It kept all the carefully charted circumferences from the CG workbook where they belonged.
While I was working through that, I discovered that the shape of my legs affects the hang of the pants. I’m, um, a trifle bow-legged it seems. Fabric can’t hang down smoothly from the hips when it’s catching on the backs or sides of your legs. In the photo, see how I’ve got one side pinned up to make the grain line straight? That’s a problem.
I found help with that in an Oregon State extension service publication. Page 9. I’m doing the opposite–pinning up the too-long side–because that’s easier than slashing your muslin. I also tried #2 on this page, which seems to simply widen the leg to accommodate curvature. (Now it makes sense that trouser and culotte styles hang properly for me.)
One other thing made a huge–make that HUGE–difference: I straightened the center back seam. Peering into a mirror over my shoulder, I was amazed when I noticed the pants hanging straight when the back zipper was opened. How to accomplish that on the flat pattern? Measure how far it’s open and straighten the center back seam half that much!
Considering that the center back seam is simply a big dart that deposits fabric at the end where there isn’t much of me, it makes perfect sense.
I’m plugging on. I actually made a test pair of pants today from the only piece of sacrificial fabric in my stash. They are wearable, but I still have a couple of tweaks to try.
I don’t believe I’ll ever get perfectly happy, and I don’t think I really care!