Vogue 8940 Pants Fitting, Round 3

I’ll announce the winner of the Japanese Pattern Book Giveaway tomorrow.  In the meantime, let’s get back to fitting pants.

Previously, on Vogue 8940 Pants Fitting

I had three goals for the next muslin, which we’ll call Muslin C:

  1. 1/2″ tuck in front and back, to raise the crotch point closer to my body.
  2. More scoop to the back crotch in the back, to create more front-back space for my seat.
  3. Add width along the back side seam to compensate for the circumference taken out by the crotch scoop.

Here’s the pattern alterations I did.

Half-inch tuck

The half-inch tuck was a pretty simple alteration to front and back.  Consulting with Sarah Veblen in the class forum, I decided to avoid the lengthen-shorten line provided by Vogue, because theirs goes right through the crotch curve.  However, taking the tuck higher up means I’ll need to draft new front pocket facings for sure.

Front Tuck


Back Tuck


Back Crotch Adjustment

In the photo below, the pencil line is the crotch seam line I used in Muslin B.  The red line is the new crotch seam line I drew in to try out for Muslin C, which has an even deeper scoop than Muslin B.  It roughly follows some dashed marks, that I traced off the pinning work I did to the muslin.


Note that the red line dips at the lowest point, as it approaches the inseam. The pencil seam line from Muslin B didn’t do that.  We’ll discuss that shortly.

Adding Width at the Side Seam

The crotch scoop removes width from the pants back, and gives it over to the front-back space occupied by the torso and seat.  To keep the desired circumference at the hips, the back pattern piece must be widened by a corresponding amount at the outseam.

The necessary amount of widening in my case is rather large – about 3/4 inch – and it’s hard to widen at the hips and still gracefully blend the new hipline back to the waist, and down towards the knee.

I chose to take the original pattern, with its original outseam line, and do a pivot/slide approach to trace a new outseam line starting at the knee and going up to the waist. But as you can see in the photo below comparing the old and new cutlines, the new back outseam line gets a rather pronounced curve right at the widest part of the hip.


Widening the hip in this manner introduced its own set of issues, which we’ll get to shortly.

Muslin C

With these pattern alterations, I cut fabric and stitched Muslin C.

First Try-out

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Here are my notes on this muslin:

The crotch curve is getting into shape, The vertical plumb lines in back are much more straight, and there’s less crumpling of fabric underneath the seat.  That means the crotch has been scooped enough to accommodate the right amount of space front-to-back for the torso.

There’s still two more issues with the back crotch curve.

  1. The horizontal balance lines still dip a bit at the center back seam, rather than keeping level. This is an indication that the crotch length in back is still a little too short.  One way that this can be addressed is to open the inseam, and let out the crotch a bit at the back.
  2. I feel some tension across my front thighs when I walk. This may mean I have to widen the thigh in front, but it’s more likely be due to the curve of the back crotch as it approaches the inseam, because it now feels a bit low as compared to my body.  Ideally, the crotch should graze the body.  On this muslin, I drafted a new crotch curve that dipped a bit before it met the inseam. It was just the way I drew things with the pattern drafting ruler, but I’m thinking that may not have been necessary.

I plan to remove this dip from the rear crotch curve in the next muslin.  I won’t play with the crotch length, because I only want to change one thing at a time.  Instead I will try the next muslin on and see how much I need to to adjust crotch length once I get the curve better matched to my body.

Turning to the side seams, you can see they now have some funny “bubbling” in them that results from the alteration I made to the back side seam.  Often, when you alter a pattern piece, you need to “walk” the pattern with its matching pieces and “true” them to ensure they match up properly and the seams remain the same length. I made a mistake by not changing the front piece, so now they don’t match up properly.

On the PatternReview class forum, I asked Sarah Veblen the following question:

I haven’t altered the curve of the front side seam, so it seems like I may need to walk/true the front and back pattern pieces. Do you walk and true the pattern between every muslin, or do you use some judgement as to when you need to walk the pattern again and get the pieces trued up?

I won’t quote her response here, since I didn’t get permission.  But to paraphrase, she always walks and trues adjoining seams if she makes changes to a pattern.  She says that doing so helps you get a better sense of the pattern, and can also let you know if you are creating problems with a pattern change.

With Darts and Side Seams

With the funky side seams I drafted, I don’t want to use them as a guide for the next round of pattern changes, because they aren’t trued.

For the next muslin, I plan to widen both the front and back piece, rather than add all the width to the back.  This should help somewhat with the exaggerated curves I’m getting.  And I won’t use the pivot/slide technique, but instead draft my own lines with the pattern ruler.

With my current muslin, I simply got some pins out and did a quick and dirty job of pinning out excess fabric along  the side seam.  Also for the first time, I pinned out some darts at the waist to start shaping the area from the waist down to the hip.

Let’s see how that looks.

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This definitely looks better – I like the straighter sides – but now there’s some new issues. The side pinning and darts have taken up all the circumference in the hip area. The pants are now too tight and you can see the horizontal strain lines, especially in front.  I’ll address this with the next muslin.

Unresolved Issues

There are some problems with my fitting muslins that have been there all along, but I haven’t addressed up to this point.  I’ve been trying to work through the other fitting issues first before dealing with them.

  • There is a hollow in my buttocks right between the waist and hip.  You can see the fabric settle in that area in most of the muslin photos.  That’s because my not-so-perfect body has some nice fleshy mounds right at the waist level. Adding a dart on each side of center seam starts addressing that issue by causing the pants to curve over the buttock.  On the next muslin, I’ll try adding a second dart between the first and the side seam, to see if I can better shape the fabric over that hollow area.
  • The front photos show some excess fabric collecting at the front crotch. And if you look further at the front photos, the vertical plumb lines bow outward right at the crotch. I think the front crotch curve may need to be taken in slightly near the inseam to rein in that excess fabric.

Next Muslin

My next muslin, Muslin D, will incorporate the following changes:

  • Add more width on front and rear side seam, to add circumference taken away by the scooped crotch as well as the darts in the waist.
  • Remove the drop in the back crotch curve.
  • Trace the darts from the muslin back to the pattern.  I’ll transfer the dart to the muslin on the left side, and use the right side of the muslin to experiment with two darts to get a better fit over the hollow in the buttocks.

And I’ll model it once again and see how it looks.  I’m pretty certain there will be a Muslin E, because I’m not done with tuning the crotch curve and Muslin D won’t address everything.  Same story with the side seam.  But I may try purchasing an evaluation session with Sarah Veblen after producing Muslin D.

5 thoughts on “Vogue 8940 Pants Fitting, Round 3

  1. Lillian

    This has been helpful to me. I’m using Sandra Betzina’s pattern course and Suzy Furrer’s drafting course. And I’m still making muslins! I’m learning a lot from your pictures – it’s pretty hard to fit myself by myself even with a 3 way mirror.

    1. mportuesisf Post author

      I’m working in a tiny basement office with no way to set up a 3-way mirror. Instead I use cameras and photograph myself from all angles. If I have to fit myself (say adjusting the crotch seam or setting a dart) I just do it blind, or take the garment off, pin out a change, then put it back on and take a photo.

  2. Nola

    I have enjoyed following your muslin alterations. I have almost exactly the same lower body shape as yourself, except that I am a woman, and I have also worked through all these same fit issues. I finally feel that I have a real understanding of resolving the fit issues for my body. I hope you won’t mind if I offer some thoughts on what you have been trying. If you can pull up on the centre back from the waist and those below-the-butt wrinkles disappear then you still need to deepen that back curve more, but only the lower part of the curve, not where it starts to become vertical. I would also be adding to the vertical part of the centre front seam and blending it in the existing front crotch curve. This would have the effect of making the front curve shallower and removing some of that ‘poochyness’ at the front crotch. The drawn vertical lines would then straighten up at the top. I look forward to seeing Muslin ‘D’.

    1. mportuesisf Post author


      I don’t mind getting suggestions at all. At this point the back crotch curve could need more deepening, OR lengthening the curve at the inseam. My thought was to try lengthening the curve, but you might be right.

      I don’t quite understand your suggestions for the front crotch curve. I feel like I’m moving into uncertain territory there as us guys are different from women in that area; still I get the idea of making the curve shallower to remove some of that excess fabric.

  3. John Yingling

    Those pesky side seams! Remember when fitting, try not to over fit. Leave yourself some “ease” at each seam. Too much ease in the hip? Pin/pinch out the excess to where it’s really snug, then release enough so there is movement or wearing ease. Not enough ease in a woven fabric garment and you can’t breath or move well; too much ease and it’s sloppy, or oversized, or it just doesn’t fit right.

    That extra fabric at the front crotch? I pin out the excess, usually resulting in a crescent shape, or double ended dart. This excess is then transferred to the front crotch seam, and even to the front inseam if it goes low enough.

    So far so good, but kinda frustrating, right? But that pants fitting, too many damn curves to juggle! Good luck!

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