Time for a long-overdue update on my work with pants fitting. The project has gone slower than I would have liked, between a combination of work-related issues, and life events (fun ones!) that have kept me from the sewing room.
But it’s now time to post an update on where I stand with the pants, and also about my experiences working with Sarah Veblen as a “fitting coach”. I’ll cover my experience working with Sarah over two blog posts; this is the first.
More work on Muslin E
I was surprised to learn the muslin featured in my last article (Muslin E) wasn’t as far off track as I thought. Sarah suggested that I retain Muslin E rather than backtrack to Muslin D, because the new crotch curve I drew was straighter and likely to result in a better fit.
She did ask me to abandon the 1-inch tuck I took at the hip level to raise the crotch point (the 4-way intersection of the crotch curve and inseam) closer to my body. Instead of taking the tuck, she suggested I raise the muslin on my body until the crotch seam felt comfortable to me. This not only raises the crotch point, but also lowers the position of the waistline on the garment. (I use a piece of elastic to hold the muslin at my preferred waistline).
I will need to refit the darts and draft a new waistline and fly front, as well as new pockets when this is all over. Though this pattern started as Vogue 8940, at this point there’s nothing left of the original, except for the style lines below the knee. This becomes an original pattern for me.
Sarah asked for photos of Muslin E with the tuck taken out, as well as photos of the with the revisions I had made to the muslin so she could judge the crotch curve. I picked out the tuck with the seam ripper, marked the muslin with the alterations, disassembled it, pressed it, and sent her photos of the muslin.
These are the first modifications I made to Muslin E, based on her feedback:
- The horizontal lines dip as they come towards the center back seam. I added length to the back piece at the inseam to get the HBLs to balance. The extra length at the back inseam is intended to level them out.
- Smoothed out the back crotch seam so it extends across the seam allowance as it meets the front, rather than dip down the way I had originally drawn it.
- With a scissors, I clipped the curves on the crotch seam to within 1/4″ of the seam line. This allows the crotch curve to open up and makes it easier to read on the body.
Here’s the fitting photos from that round of changes.
From that, Sarah suggested I do the following things, again to Muslin E:
First, I let out the back inseam even more, again to get the horizontal lines in back to balance properly. You can see in the back photo above that the balance lines still dip in center. After some trial and error, I ended up adding another inch to the back inseam, for 1 1/2 inches total.
Second, I scooped out the back crotch by snipping/spreading the seam, to get the vertical lines in back to hang straight again. In the area of the three lower balance lines in back, I opened the seam. On the left hand backpiece, I undid the stitches, snipped into the crotch seam allowance, and spread it out so that the garment could relax in that section and the vertical balance lines could come back into alignment.
After several rounds of snipping (about 1/8 inch at a time), putting the muslin on, and checking the results, I ended up scooping the lower portion of the crotch curve out by about 3/4 inch. I found I could fine-tune the vertical balance lines at a particular area, by snipping the curve a little bit more right at that point. This gave me quite a bit of control over adjusting the crotch curve. Previously, I would just draw and stitch successively deeper curves on the muslin and try them out. This new method is way more precise.
Finally, I still had too much fabric puddling in front. Sarah suggested I scoop the front crotch by about 3/8 inch, to take out the excess fabric in the front and get the vertical balance lines to fall straight. She explained that getting those lines vertical will cause the garment itself to hang correctly and clean up a lot of issues. At the same time, she suggested taking in the front inseam at the crotch about 3/8″ to compensate for the scooping, and help retain room for my anatomy.
After all this work, here’s what the alterations looked like on the Muslin E pattern. The new proposed crotch curves are in light blue. (Click on the photos to enlarge). My approximate waistline, marked by the elastic band, appears in orange. You can see on the back piece (at left) I had to attach new fabric at the inseam with a zigzag stitch, so I could extend the back crotch at the inseam.
And here’s what the back of the garment looks like with these changes. You can see the crotch seam has been snipped open near the “break point” where the center back starts to curve towards the inseam. I gradually deepened the snips, bit by bit, trying the garment on each time and evaluating the vertical and horizontal lines. I used safety pins to baste the center seam together during this process.
The horizontal and vertical lines are now more or less straight, and the back looks a lot cleaner. There is still some crumpling under the buttocks, but I’m okay with it. It could perhaps be even better, but I have hacked up Muslin E so much I wanted to move on to a clean muslin before I make any more adjustments.
On to Muslin F
After Sarah reviewed my changes, I transferred the alterations from the muslin back to the paper pattern.
Because I lengthened the back crotch seam a lot, the back inseam became longer. Now it is no longer true with the front inseam. In the photo below, the new seamlines are in bright blue. In the photo below, the topmost pin sits at the intersection of back and front inseam – but the back inseam ends about 1/2 inch higher.
Consulting with Sarah, she advised lowering the back inseam to match the front. The pink line on the backpiece was my proposed alteration to get both the front and back to the same length. She approved.
We’ll sew this up into Muslin F and see what it looks like.