Pants Drafting: My Not-So-Wearable Muslin

Guess what.  Real bottomweight fabric doesn’t behave like worn out sheet material.


A no-brainer you might think but this has been a stumbling block for me before and I was almost glad it came up during this pants drafting process because a lot of the causes behind past mistakes are becoming clearer to me.

I first made a quick shorts muslin to check my changes.  The second muslin had atrocious side seam drift and I made what I hoped were the correct alterations.  When I tried on the third muslin the side seams appeared corrected it was okay for take off, or so I thought.  You may notice some looseness at the back waist.  I thought that a stiffer fabric would require more wiggle room so I ignored this which later bit me in the butt, figuratively speaking.

Pants Drafting Third Muslin:They are a bit loose in the back but I don't notice.

My Not-So-Wearable Muslin

The photo is abominable.  It is the only one I have and I lightened it up in Photoshop so you could see it.  You can’t make out much.  But you can see the huge gap at my back. 

My Not-So-Wearable Muslin. The waistband does not fit and gaps at the back.

I made these shorts from some very lightweight denim given to me by my cousin, a quilter.  I choose it because it had more heft than the cotton sheeting yet wasn’t as stiff as a true bottomweight fabric.

Not entirely to my surprise actual bottomweight fabric does not respond like muslin.  The muslin had a soft cling to my figure while the denim had enough heft to stand away from my body, which it did.  The waistband floated around my waist, especially at the back.  Going through this drafting process has reminded me of all of my earlier sewing woes fitting pants.  I have had this problem before where a muslin fit well at the waist and then the fashion fabric stood too far away from my body. 

I had hoped the wearable muslin would be at least good enough for gardening but as the waistband is too large and they are prone to falling down I don’t believe they will withstand the stress of heavy labor.

I assumed that stiffer fabric would require greater wearing ease.  I was wrong. 

What the denim needed was for me to cinch it in even greater.  The previous muslins did not really show my sway back.  I was puzzled by this and I wondered if a custom fit somehow negated my usual alteration.  NOT!  

  1. I took a chunk out of the back seam. 
  2. Removed the one-inch wearing ease at the waist.  
  3. I kept the two-inch wearing ease at the hips. 

And with my once again retooled personal pants pattern – I started again.

This being my fourth rendition I was surprised by how even keel I felt about the whole thing.  In the past I would have given up, but then I was fighting a losing battle with commercial patterns that were not a good fit for my body type.  Additionally, I lacked the knowledge of how to alter those patterns to suit me.  It was a case of damned if I do (sew my own), and damned if I don’t (wanting to cry in store fitting rooms).

Though it is more involved, pattern drafting is calmer for me emotionally.  Getting a better fit than most RTW right at the beginning inspired a lot of hope in me.  Therefore I am continuing to finetune these pants muslins because they appear to have the most potential of any I have tried so far.

Next Post:  Saturday, June 12, 2010: An Actual Wearable Muslin – I Hope!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Memawsews
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 11:34:16

    When I look at your side shot, I see myself exactly. We stand the same way. What will be interesting is to see the changes you make. I do a dart type wedge to bring in the back. Then angle down to the side seam area and back up a bit toward the center front.


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