02 December 2012

Sewing Confrontations: Pants, Part 2--Muslin Time!

Whenever I try a new pattern, I usually do a mockup (or muslin) of it in some cheap fabric.  It helps me see if the pattern and whatever adjustments I’ve made actually work before I commit to cutting the fabric I’ve actually purchased for wearing.  Last week I wandered into WalMart and found: some pretty hideous and cheap giant pink gingham at $1 a yard.  SCORE!  

Full disclosure:  I actually like gingham, but not so much the 2" gingham for pants.
So with fabric in hand, I commence to dealing with the pattern.  As I mentioned in the first post, I’m using a pattern from a BurdaStyle magazine.  Here it is:

Let's get cutting!
Simple, right?

(lotsa photos after the jump!)

Ok, maybe not.  Burda prints all of its patterns on four sheets inserted into the middle of the magazine.  Each pattern piece is color coded and numbered, so you then have to find it on the sheet. 
The red "22" and "23" at the top of the page tell me that two of the pieces I need--my pattern is the red-lined one on this page- are somewhere under the numbers. 

Can you see pattern piece 22 here?  It's the hip yoke and side pocket.
The seamlines are different for each size.
Finally, before tracing, I need to make sure I see important markings on the piece.  This is the hardest part!  Here you can see parts of a dart, a zipper stitching line, and the grainline arrow.
Once I find my piece and make note of markings on it, I trace it off.  I use Pellon Easy Pattern paper, which I get from JoAnn every time they have an interfacing sale.  It’s a thick, tough white paper much like their interfacing but without the glue dots.  It’s easy to write on with a pencil or pen.   I like to use colored pencils to trace and a pen to label.

back waistband
I like to know what piece it is, where it comes from, what pattern it belong to, and what size I traced. Sometimes I include other information.  Here, I suspect based on the measurements for the pattern that I’m going to need to grade the waistband, so I also marked the stitching line for the next smaller size just in case I need to go back and adjust.  Burda magazine patterns don’t have seam or hem allowances, so once I trace I use the ruler on my French curve to mark and trace 5/8” seam allowances around the piece (and whatever hem allowance the pattern suggests) before I cut.   

Once I’ve got it all traced and allowanced, I give it a closer look to see if there are any things I can already tell will need adjusting.  For tops and dresses, I usually do a “tissue fit”—which means I pin the traced pattern together and pin up darts and try it on.   I don’t find tissue-fitting to be foolproof, but it helps me see really obvious problems like darts that are too high or sleeves that are too tight or necklines that are too big.  It’s harder to get useful info from tissue-fitting pants, so instead I measure (sorry, I didn’t get any photos of this!)  Two problem areas for me are the inseam (pants not long enough) and crotch (sometimes too short or too long).  The inseam on these seems to match me ok, and the crotch length isn’t terribly far off, but I do notice that the crotch depth is off by a few inches.  Hmm.  

Since there is only that I decide I’ll try it with no adjustments and see.  I cut fabric—everything that I think I need to see how they fit.  In this case, I want the front leg, the back leg, the hip yoke and the waistband, and I leave out the pocket linings, inner waistband facing and fly facing.  Let’s see how it goes!

First I try them on without the waistband.

No glaring issues here.  I look for wrinkles to signal problems, but there don't seem to be any.
Inseams and side seams hang pretty straight.  I can see the side seam puling very slightly to the back across the hip.  Maybe I could use a little more hip room, but nothing alarming just yet.
that back is maybe a little low--but the waistband is pretty wide,so...
They also appear to be a good length for hemming--maybe not quite as much as the pattern requests, but an inch or so?

So far, so good!  Next I add the waistband and pin up the fly.  (I wanted to try them without first, because I figured if anything really stands out it will be around the waistband, and wanted to make sure I noticed anything else first.)

The front looks pretty good--though the waistband is a little higher than I expected. 

The side and back view shows me the first major problem, though.    

what's all that fluttering?

There is a gap between the back waistband and my back waist that is big enough to fit my fist into! 

No bueno.  Unsurprising, but not okay.  Sir Swayback strikes again.

Also, I noticed something I didn’t before:  the back waist is pulling downwards, much lower than my actual waist.  (I couldn’t get a good photo of it!)  This tells me that the crotch is, indeed, not quite deep enough:  a common problem if you have a bigger butt.   

The side seams pulling back at the hip probably also a sign...
My clothes never seem to fit quite the same when I am sitting, so I tried sitting.  The thighs aren’t strained, but the front waist was.  I have a tummy (as you can see), so it could be that the front isn’t quite large enough and I need to make the darts smaller or eliminate them.  However, since the front fits pretty well when I am standing, I suspect the strain may be because the crotch isn’t deep enough so the pants are sliding down in back.  I’m pleased to see, however, that the inseam length is not a problem.  YAY no high-watering!

So making the muslin has been helpful—I now know that I need to start with making the following two adjustments to the pattern:  

1         *Increase the crotch depth on the back legs to move the waist where it should be.
2    * Decrease the back waistband around my actual waist.

I’m not back to the drawing board totally, but I got a little more work to do.  ONWARD. 

In the meanwhile, why don't you mosey over to Quilty Habit and visit the other participants in Jessica's Sewing Confrontations series?  I'll be back on Wednesday with a report.

Next post:  Altering the pattern and second muslin


Maura said...

this is so inspiring! you are TALENTED.

Jessica said...

Looks great so far! That was a pretty good fabric deal, lol. Great idea with the mock up - I'm coming to you if/when I ever sew my own clothes, that's for sure!


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