Pants muslins… Very un-fun business my friends – but a necessary evil in the pursuit of bottoms that fit, well, our bottoms! I decided I would take my Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans pattern off the back burner and work on them FINALLY! Anyone else guilty of purchasing a pattern and feeling like that was just as good as sewing it up? I was far too content with just OWNING the Ginger Jeans pattern for far too long – it was time to get to business and this ‘Make a Muslin Challenge‘ was JUST the right kick in the tail to getting one step closer to a legit pair of skinny jeans. So let’s get down to business, shall we?
Selecting Fabric for a Muslin
The fabric I intend to use for my final version is a lovely dandelion yellow stretch twill that I picked up in California at Fabric Outlet (CaliFabrics.com for all you online shoppers). It has a nice amount of stretch and will make for a comfortable pair of pants (I hope). Knowing that I would likely need to make some tweaks to the pattern for my final version, I decided to NOT make a wearable muslin and instead selected a fabric that I like, but don’t LOVE to use as a muslin. I found the fabric while shopping in NYC in the Garment District and got it for a VERY GOOD price (maybe 5ish dollars/yd??). Its a dark olive green with small black flowers on it. I had it pegged to become a dress, but I want the jeans more – so muslin it is! The stretch is about 20-25% versus the 30% for my yellow stretch twill, so I figure I can make any additional tweaks when I make my baste muslin (see Katie’s post for more details on how to make one if you haven’t done one before). If you are trying to figure out what fabric will be best for your pants, check out our fabric posts here and here!
Selecting a Size
I selected my size based on my hip measurement. I fall pretty squarely into the size 4 based on my hip measurement (35″ – same as the size 4). However my waist technically falls into a size 10 – THREE WHOLE SIZES LARGER than my hips!!! When I tell you, it is no exaggeration that I stressed about this for so long that I almost didn’t start. I am a rectangle by definition, so it’s not a surprise that my waist and hips are in different sizes – but the idea of having such a large difference was concerning. I just wasn’t sure if it made sense to do pre-muslin adjustments or just sew the pattern in a size 4 and then recut the waistband if it didn’t fit. Katie assured me that I should just start with the size 4 and then go from there, and thank GOODNESS she did. The size 4 is perfectly fine – and since I don’t intend to interface the waistband, it will stretch and give so that I don’t feel like a stuffed sausage when I am sitting. Mac 1 – RTW – 0. Eat that Ready-to-Wear pants!
One of the first things you will probably notice (aside from the wrinkles – which we will tackle in a bit) is that the pants are too long for me. This doesn’t come as a surprise – I am only 5’2.5″, and despite the fact that I carry my length in my legs, this pattern is made to fit the average woman, and likely includes the extra length so it fits the grand majority of women. It would be VERY difficult to add length back to a pattern after you’ve removed it. The pattern also has almost a 1 inch hem (once you turn it 3/8″ and then another 1/2″ to hem). Taking that into account, these are about 2″ long for me. However, I like to have room to roll my pants so I will likely leave the length in.
I’m not gonna lie – these pants are TIGHT! Not like uncomfortable tight (though in a softer fabric they would be more comfortable, for sure), but like show every wrinkle and dimple kind of tight. There are three kinds of wrinkles I see in this muslin – two of which I won’t worry about and the third that I will attempt to address:
- Horizontal Pull Lines (Negative Ease) — like I said – these pants are tight. My muslin fabric has slightly less stretch than my yellow fabric, so I will assume some of this will resolve itself once I use the final fabric. Those lines that are left, I will resolve potentially by letting the fabric out if necessary. Since these jeans have a pocket stay, and my muslin does not – I would like to see how that additional structure will affect the fit before making a hasty change.
- Wearing Ease Pull Lines — since we will walk and sit and all the things in these jeans – it is important to not take out the wearing ease (aka – ‘overfit’ our jeans). I did the squat test, and found that the back of these jeans were smooth as a baby’s bottom when I did so (sorry folks – not adding those shots on the internet – you will just have to take my word for it). There is no vertical stretch in this jean fabric, so when I sit the pants both pull up from the hem and down from the waistband. I am happy I am doing the high-waisted jeans because if I wasn’t, I would have “peekabooty” – Heather Lou’s term, not mine — but I love it all the same!
- Extra Length Lines (Accommodating Curves) — these are the lines I am most concerned about. I have a wrinkle up under my butt that I know I can get rid of with a dart (taking out ~1/2″ from the inseam and blending to nothing on the outseam). But when I go back to point 2 around wearing/sitting ease – I am worried I may over fit them. For now, I am going to leave them in. I feel validated in this assessment given that Heather Lou (the powerhouse behind Closet Case Files) agreed that I didn’t need to take them out based on my poll on my instagram story
Adjustments for the Final Version
So, I just spent a bunch of time telling you what I would not change – so I figure I should share what I will actually adjust (some of these slight changes have already been incorporated in the muslin you see above. The images below are all from the Closet Case Files website, which includes lots of fitting tips!
- Shaving off a little from the front and back inseam/crotch length (already done in the pictures – not perfectly though). Like I said – I have the paper version (from 2016) and this was before Heather posted about this slight tweak that she found would help the majority of women out there — this has been incoporated into the new print version and the online download. (see more info here)
- Flat Pubis Adjustment (already incorporated into muslin): I had some lines here – trust me, they were worse than what you see in the pics and this has helped. It’s imperfect because my front thighs stick out a little bit (or protrude? – what an awful descriptor). I am imagining that with the pocket stay, and this adjustment that the pants should fit fine in the front.
- Rectangle with a Booty Adjustment (already incorporated into muslin picture). Yes – I am coining this phrase and creating a hastag on instagram #rectanglewithabooty. Essentially, since I carry my fullness at hip length in the back and not at the sides, I intend to take a smaller seam allowance (adding back fabric) along the fullness of my curves (between the notch on the pattern and the tip where the back meets the front), and removing that rough amount from my “hips.” I have already done a bit of this in these pictures, and I think it helps to keep my backside from flattening and becoming fake hips (gotta love what you already have!). Also – my photoshop skills leave much to be desired – but you get my point in the graphic below.
- Yoke Adjustments – based on personal preference, I prefer a shorter yoke. I have taken 3/4″ off of the length of the yoke, and added that length to the rise on the back pattern piece. I have also added a dart to the yoke, so it is now more curved and should help my pants stay up when I sit. I will make these changes to the final version.
Hope you will sew pants with us,