Posted in Sewing

An Eighth of an Inch

January 20, 2015 - 1:52 pm

I have pants! To be specific, a pair of natural linen pants, a pair of taupe silk pants, fleece pajama bottoms, and a pair of ruffly bloomers for under skirts. But to get the pants to work I had to refine the block I posted about. 

The silk pair are the last effort, and I believe a fully refined pattern. I’m thrilled with how they fit, and they have enough style and fun to amuse me while still being refined enough for more staid company. There will be pictures of all tomorrow, weather and time permitting, and a couple more pairs will get made up shortly. 

Today I want to talk about test fitting a block. Here are the first pictures taken after I had basted the seams on my first test cut:




Basically pretty good! Already far better than anything I would be likely to buy at the store. Notice that I’m trying it on inside out, so I can easily pin and adjust the seams.

But there are still a couple problems. The obvious one is the crotch- easy fix. There is also an extra inch that snuck in on the back leg below the hip. There’s an awkward bulkiness there that I corrected out; not sure how that curve got thrown off in the pattern, but a small correction fixed it. I just left it alone in the muslin, which was actually a linen, and got made into pants. The pattern comparison pic further down will show corrections.

The more interesting thing is small but important. Notice the waistline isn’t quite level. It’s lower on the right. I didn’t take a pic that showed a corrected crotch before I also corrected the dip, but it was more obvious at that stage.

The problem? My dart mark on the fabric was an eighth of an inch off, meaning the back right piece was 1/4” too wide at the waist. 1/4” was sufficient to noticeably throw off the fit of the pants. Trust me when I say that’s a very small percentage of my total waistline, but it points out how important it is to mark and measure carefully. Here’s the corrected back view:


The crotch still needed one more little tweak after this, but it was pretty close to the final. I should take a pic of how I keep track of muslin changes. Essentially I cut off excess and staple it to the pattern where it came from. That lets me easily track what bit came off where and recreate the final line in the pattern. Below is an overlapped layout of the original block from my measurements (green), the refined block in purple (though it doesn’t show the corrected back piece with the excess removed below the hip) and a complete pattern in red. It does show the hip correction, which has been copied back to the block now!

pants comparisons

Doesn’t that knee look funky? Wait til you see the silk pants I made from the pattern. 🙂 I’m thrilled with the fit. I also have patterns for pjs and bloomers, which I can share later when I have photos of all the finished pants.

Pants! a surfeit of pants! I haven’t had pants that fit this well, ever. 

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January 20, 2015 1:52 pm

I am just this side of n00b at making patterns, so I’m duly impressed with your pants. One of the things I want to do is improve my sewing and other craft skills this year, but I’m not sure where patternmaking is on that list.

Jennifer Leigh

January 20, 2015 1:52 pm

I will have a pants block and simple pattern tutorial out later this year. Lemme know if you want to test it!


January 20, 2015 1:52 pm

ooh! I may very well. I’ve been sewing for thirty years, but there is so much I have yet to learn. I have yet to master pants.

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