Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Pants Block Part 2 The Crotch and First Muslin

Readers, In this part I go up to making the first muslin.

Previously I had gone as far as measuring up and making my frames, crease lines and side seam marks.
It was time to have my first go at the crotch curve. I had measured my total front to back crotch distance. I already knew it was deeper than average, by 5cm as described in Part 1 when sitting down with a ruler and measuring from waist to chair. I know I have a sway back and a forward tilt to my pelvis when standing at my normal stance and also as you will see, a slight sideways tilt.

My highest thigh circumference is actually 3cm less than the 'average' in the book so my crotch curve did not need a longer extension between the legs - the pointy bits at the ends of the curve could be regular length. I have a roundish butt and would somehow need to take that into consideration. All this was going through my mind to try to visualize what my real crotch curve should look like. It made me wish I could get a life size MRI scan. The next best high tech instrument I had on hand was aluminum foil.

My text is Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo

I had read about making a foil rope and moulding it to the complete crotch curve, but it is very hard to prize off my body in the true shape so I did it in two parts, front then back and I folded the foil flat rather than make a twist.

I tried to translate these to paper..
The front.

This is the 'corrected' crotch curve because when I pulled it off my body it sloped outwards..

  I thought ''That can't be right can it?" Well it was, but not to that extent. More about that later.

I thought the back looked about right.
Hmm..I have a wider torso front to back than the text book. Now I had a working draft of the crotch.

The brown dash line is where the back crotch line would be according to the book. I kept the original angle but in effect did a deeper scoop.

The legs are drawn in, the purple line. I had two goes at the back darts, because I drew them in before I did the waist edge. Duh. I eliminated the front darts as per my measurements.

Time to cut out the calico. I added 2.5 cm to all seams except the leg hems. In other words one inch all around to add ease and to give me some room for error.

I sewed 1.5cm (5/8") seams in my largest straight machine stitch.

I sewed them up and tried them on, holding them up with a piece of elastic tied around the waist to determine the true waistline, something I read in the 'Fit' books mentioned in Part 1.

People I warned you there would be unflattering photos in the name of sewing research..

In all seriousness the result while it did not feel too bad on, it needs tweaking. The front is almost there but the back needs work. See the side hip cat's whiskers? I need more ease high up at the sides. Then there are the baggy drag lines from side hip to knee. What to do there? I know that pull lines and drag lines are pointers to problem areas. Tight ripples mean material needs to be added, usually to where they are pointing. If they hang and bag material needs to be taken away. I've got a classic case of both!

BTW I learnt this in a jacket fitting article in Threads. When I find which one I will reference it. As mentioned before I will do a full reference list at the end of the series.

Back to the drawing board. More to come in Part 3.

Val xx


  1. I am really enjoying reading this series as I too am trying to learn better fitting techniques. Great write-up!

  2. Thank you for sharing this challenge. I have some similar fitting issues and haven't been able to entirely figure them out. I will try the aluminum foil!

  3. I'm learning something here--your post is making it simpler for me. Can't wait to read part three.

  4. Thank you so much for writing this series - it is inspiring. I am a long way off trying to make my own blocks, but seeing you go through the process makes it at least look achievable. Great job!

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  6. Starting over! Wow...can't wait to see what comes next!

  7. Fantastic visual lesson!!!! Those pesky hip bundles always do that but at least we can trace the source and add more fabric where we need it. In the end (no pun intended)you will have a super pair of great fitting pants...BRAVA!

  8. Thank you ladies. I am very glad that you are finding it helpful.
    Mrs Mole Yes Hip bundles, pack saddles, junk in the trunk..someone should right a book called "Pants For Your Ass".

  9. Valerie, thank you for documenting this process. It helps us all. And one thing I have learned, sad but true -- the camera doesn't lie. :) It reveals all, well, almost all. Best of luck in continuing your pants-fitting journey.

  10. Valerie, I think this is fantastic! Your first muslin looks pretty good and will probably be perfect after your tweeks!

  11. Great details. Looking fab - especially the front. Looking forward to seeing your adjustments to the back.

  12. This is very interesting and thank you for sharing as it is reinforcing some of the issues I need work with. Looking forward to following your journey.

  13. Val, you've conquered the crotch shape. Tick.
    Keep going!!!

  14. Hi Val, I did a crotch curve experiment earlier this year but used a bendy ruler instead - and added a bit for the seam allowance! I then drew a template - but I am still fiddling, because each cut is different - tighter cuts mean different crotch heights etc, baggy different crotch depths. I have to take in a lot at the sides to get rid of back bagginess, but I am also wondering if your posture has something to do with it - you mentioned sway back - so you need to alter and then alter the crotch - that might help, but it might not. It does on some of my baggy pants, but not others!

  15. Aluminum foil!! What a great idea. Pants are my next challenge so I will eagerly watch your progress and learn from you!

  16. Muslin pictures are never flattering, are they? But we all appreciate them, because they're such an instrumental tool! Looking forward to reading about how you overcome your fitting issues.

  17. I am reading about this process with great interest. I love that aluminium foil is the next best thing to an MRI!!