Vogue 8940 Pants Fitting, Round 4

“If I learned anything from my shirtmaking years, it was that fitting is a huge challenge that can easily eat up all your available sewing time and block all further progress, if you let it.”

— David Page Coffin, “Making Trousers”

I got quite a lot of quality time in this weekend with my pants muslin, and I believe I’ve made some significant progress.

Muslin D

I’m not sure I can call this pattern Vogue 8940 any more; I’ve customized it so much that at this point it has become truly my own.  And once I dial in the fit, I will have to draft new facings, front fly, and waistband pieces to match the customized pattern pieces I’ve created.

Pattern Alterations

The changes that went into muslin D were:

  • Add roughly 1/2 inch to the front and back side seams of Muslin B. For Muslin D, I walked and trued front and back seams, and added about a half inch to both for a total of two inches extra circumference at the hip.

Front pattern piece. Blue line is the old side seam line, pencil is the new seam line, red is the new cut line.

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Walking and truing the front and back side seams.

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  • Remove some of the dip in the lower crotch curve to make it come closer to my body.

Blue is the old seam line, pencil is the new seam line, red is the new cut line.

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  • Transfer the darts I pinned out in Muslin C.

Blue and red are left and right side darts (can’t remember which is which).  Pencil is the average of the two.

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First Tryout

Here is Muslin D looks like without any alterations. Truthfully, it doesn’t look like a step forward.

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Adjusting Muslin D

This time I made a lot of tweaks to Muslin D.  For some reason, I felt more comfortable about making changes to this muslin, even though I spent considerable time experimenting with it.

I pinned out several of my proposed changes, and the ones I was satisfied with I stitched into the muslin with a basting stitch on the machine. This is a little more work, but I get a better read of the changes I’m making when I baste in the changes rather than pin them.  I also get stuck by pins a whole lot less.

Side Seams

The side seams continue to vex. Widening them also added an unwanted curves at the hips.  I pinned out the curves and then restitched the side seams with a basting stitch.  The straighter hips look much nicer to me, but the extra ease I tried to add back in is now gone again.  On the next muslin (E) I’ll draw in the straighter side seams, then widen out from the new seam line.

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Darts

I’m continuing work on the darts to shape the pants from waistline to hip.  I pinned out a single dart on left and right sides of the previous muslin. This time, I did a bakeoff of a single dart on the left side versus two smaller darts on the right hand side.  I pinned them out, then machine-basted them to get a better idea what they looked like.

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Rear Crotch Seam

Most of my fitting work went into fine-tuning the rear crotch seam.

In Round 3, reader Nola suggested to me the rear crotch needed some more scooping, and judging from the vertical lines in back I think she is right.

I experimented with the scooping the back crotch in various ways.  To keep this article from exploding with photos, I’m just going to summarize the things I tried:

  1. Added a small amount to the crotch scoop in back (heavy light blue in photo).
  2. Adding some extra scoop higher up, right at the point the seat curves noticeably. (red dashes in photo)
  3. Drawing a curve similar to (2), but less exaggerated (blue pen line in photo).
  4. A curve that incorporates all of the above, but is simply a little less deep. (Rightmost basting line in photo.

I decided to go with curve (4) for now.

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The horizontal balance lines still dip a bit in back, suggesting insufficient length in the rear crotch seam. I added 1/2 inch of ease to the rear inseam to try to extend the length of the rear crotch.  I undid the inseams, drew a new stitch line into the rear seam allowance near the crotch point, and restitched both inseams.  (I kept the same seam allowance on the front pattern piece).

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Here’s what the muslin looks like after all these changes.

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Front Crotch Seam

Up to this point, I haven’t done much with the front crotch seam – there’s still quite a lot of fabric bunching up in front.

I tried scooping out the front crotch curve between the zipper endpoint and the inseam, to take in the seam and get rid of some of the excess fabric. (The rightmost basting line shows the new curve).

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This improved the situation considerably.

Here’s a repeat of the “before” front shot for comparison.

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So Where Are We At Now?

The next Muslin, Muslin E, will have a lot of changes:

  • Straighter side seams, and I’ll still try to widen them out by about 1/2 inch front and back to add a total of 2 inches ease at the hip.
  • A slightly deeper back crotch curve.
  • Let out the back crotch curve at the inseam by about 1/2 inch.
  • Scoop in the front crotch to reduce the fabric crumpling in front.
  • I like the look of the single large dart rather than two smaller darts, so I plan to stick with the single dart for the waist shaping.

Assuming that Muslin E reflects all these changes well, I’m almost ready to commit to an actual wearable garment.

But after all of this, there’s still one significant problem remaining. When I walk in the muslin, and especially if I climb stairs, I can feel some tightness running up and down through the seat area.  I’m pretty sure this is still pointing to a problem with the rear crotch seam.

I am likely to purchase an evaluation/assessment from Sarah Veblen with Muslin E to get some professional advice about what to do next.

Even so, Muslin D with tweaks fits me better than any pair of ready-to-wear pants currently in my closet.

8 thoughts on “Vogue 8940 Pants Fitting, Round 4

  1. Susan Campbell

    Your fitting garment usually fits tighter than an actual garment. You can add “design ease” to overcome the tightness. And your fit is going to vary a bit depending on how much “give” the fabric has.

    Sue C

    Reply
    1. mportuesisf Post author

      Susan,

      I wouldn’t have guessed that the muslin fits tighter than an actual garment, though I still want to add some ease at the side seams because the current muslin hugs my body pretty closely.

      I’m feeling a pull now to commit to an actual pair of pants because I do want to see what they look like in actual fashion fabric.

      Reply
  2. Nola

    You’re getting there. I think you’re on the right track. A bit more back scoop might do it but be careful to only do it on the lower part of the curve. If your scoop extends into the part of the curve that starts to become vertical (your red dotted line) you are taking away from the circumference of the garment. Another thought to ponder – An angled seamline is no different to a dart; they both add fullness to the area they point to. An angled waist to hip seam adds fullness to the hip. An angled centre back seam adds fullness to the butt. The bigger the butt the more angled the CB seam needs to be. The flatter the butt the more vertical/less angled it needs to be. Good luck with muslin E.

    Reply
    1. mportuesisf Post author

      Nola,

      The red dashes actually are a tracing I did from a flexible ruler I shaped around the crotch area. I wasn’t quite happy with how it turned out, partly for the reason you gave – it takes out more circumference, and it also introduced some wrinkles at the center back seam.

      Where I’m at right now with the back crotch curve is that at the lower part of the curve, where it turns to head towards the inseam, it doesn’t quite graze my body there. It’s maybe a half-inch too low, which I think may be contributing towards the vertical tension when I walk – I’m not sure.

      Also, as part of scooping the back curve, I’ve made the center back seam less angled and more on grain. Drawing out the scoop with the pattern design ruler led me to do that, to get a nice blend with the center back seam. That might also be contributing to the vertical tension. I think I’d like to consult with an expert. Your comments on the angled CB seam are helpful; if you have any more thoughts I’d love to hear them.

      Reply
  3. Josie

    Hi Michael,

    Like others say you are almost there. I would recommend wearing the muslin for a few hours to find out where and how much ease you may need for a more confortable fit.
    Great to “hear” from you
    Just got back in SoCal.

    Keep up the good work

    Josie

    Reply

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