Pants Drafting:The Second Muslin – Wearing Ease and Correcting Side Seam Drift

The book I am using to draft this pants pattern says that your personal pattern will fit like a second skin.

The results lived up to the claim.

I needed to add ease.  This has always been a stumper for me.   I have seen charts that demonstrate the difference between wearing ease, (the bare mininum you need to move),  and designer ease, (how loose fitting the garment is on the wearer often determined by current fashion). 

The thing is I haven’t ever seen an illustration of how to add ease to an actual pattern piece.

Uncertain of my next step, I did what every modern woman with a burning question does – I Googled and went lurking on various message boards.  None showed exactly how to add ease and apparently I am not the only sewer troubled by the scanty information available.  Sewing manuals are filled with visuals, giving countless illustrations on how to alter patterns.  Whole books are devoted to pattern design, yet none I have seen so far clearly instruct the home sewer in where and how to specifically add various types of ease to a pattern.  It is unclear to me why the industry stops short of this one step.

Adding Wearing Ease to Trousers: How I Did It.

With no illustrations showing me how to add ease I was left to figure it out on my own.  Some of the message boards gave minimal wearing ease as one inch at the waistband and 2 inches at the hip.  

Since there are four pieces, 2 front and 2 back, I divided by four arriving at ¼ inch added to waist and ½ inch added to hips.  This small amount did make the pants wearable.  I can sit down comfortably. 

Here is the Second Muslin.

Front View

Front View Second Muslin

Side View

Second Pants Drafting Muslin:Side View

Back View

Second Pants Drafting Muslin:Back View

The two fitting problems  

Small changes at the back waist.  I pinned down the correct amount with small safety pins, one of my favorite fitting tools as they don’t stick you or fall out when you take the garment off.

The first flush of success subsided it was apparent even to my rather forgiving eyes that I had some serious side seam drift.  I have had this happen in commercial patterns also.  Changes made to the crotch must alter the line of the side seams.   

I could have ripped out the entire leg seams and re-pinned but this process would be hampered by the fact that as I bent down I would alter the fall of the trouser leg.   I saw that the side seam was correct over the hip and only began its wayward journey at the point where my leg joined my hip.  I thought if I could correct the top portion of the pants leg I could carry that correction all the way down the leg in later muslins.

So I cut the leg off. 

Second Pants Drafting Muslin:Leg Cut off and seam ripped out so I could fix the side seam drift. As the initial photo was too dark to easily view I lightened up a bit in Photoshop.

Ripped out the outer leg seam and redrew a tentative seamline.  I did the same to the inside leg but I will spare you the photos!  Essentially it looked like I needed to add material to the outer back leg and add again at the inner front leg.   

That I still do not have the perfect pair of pants has not diminished my optimism.    I rarely got this far on commercial patterns.  Since the first muslin was superior in overall fit I decided to carry on because, unlike commercial patterns with so many issues I don’t know which end is up, this pattern was custom to my measurements and provided my best hope so far of achieving well-fitting slacks.   

But I am getting bored with shearing old sheets.  Next I made a quickie muslin of sheeting just to check my changes and then cut into some very cheap – shall I say free – fashion fabric in order to hopefully arrive at a wearable muslin.

Next Post: Thursday, June 10, 2010: Pants Drafting – The Wearable Muslin

P.S.  I am using a pattern drafting book which I will review – I promise!  I want to complete at least one entire section of the book so that I can give a fair take on the instructions.

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