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Working on my shorts muslin

I'm working on my shorts muslin for the Wardrobe contest. The pattern I have selected is something that has been in my stash for a while. I never even took it out of the envelope because I was afraid of what I call 'smile wrinkles'. 

They are the wrinkles that form in the front and back crotch areas indicating there is a problem somewhere. So far, I thought my full tummy was a problem and it was not suited for a cute pattern like this, meaning I shouldn't wear cute shorts. WRONG! I have always noticed my RTW shorts ride up in the back, the side seams swing backwards giving a 'duck butt' kind of appearance. It happens to skirts as well but not to that degree. Also, my shorts inseams tend to 'walk upwards' when I move around. 

I have been working on resolving the wrinkling problem since the beginning of January. Remember, this is the Year of the Pant for me? I want well fitting pants so I've been at it pretty much any chance I get. Here I'm showing very unflattering shorts muslin photos in hopes it helps someone (or me, at a future date when I look back). 

In the following photos, left is AS IS, right out of the pattern envelope - size 16. That is the size I measured into and I just made it as is without even doing a petite adjustment. Right side photos are after doing a crotch curve extension. 

See how the horizontal lines are dipping into a V on the left. Right is much straighter. It dipped a wee bit during photos and I didn't know. It should be pretty straight. 

Much straighter side seam. 

The technique I used is described in the book 'The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting' by Sarah Veblen. I got it from the library and I also bought her pant fitting course on It comes with a number of resources to help you identify and fix pant fitting issues. The book goes into detail on fitting pants, bodice with dart and princess seam, sleeves. It is an excellent resource! I will be buying it for sure.

First thing I did was to draw all the lines from the pattern. The black outline on the pattern is the stitching line, meaning 5/8"SA has been removed. I leave a 1" Seam allowance so I can fit the muslin as needed. I marked the horizontal hip line on the pattern (it did not come marked on the pattern), and also drew 2 extra lines 1.5" above and below the hip. Then I transferred all the pattern markings and the hip + grain lines onto the muslin on the OUTSIDE. Now, why do I do that? That is done in order to see if the lines are sitting pretty straight or is there any curving or bowing out which would indicate problems. Horizontal lines (hip line, knee line for pants, crotch line, etc.) should be straight horizontally and grainline should be nice and vertical without any curving. 

On my left side photos, I noticed the following issues right away -
Back - 

  1. the hip line was dipping into a V in the center
  2. smile wrinkles under the bottom
  3. waist line dipping by about 1"
  1. Smile wrinkles were present under crotch.
  2. Grainline is bowing outwards 

  1. Side seams swing to the back
  2. Back is rising up and front is dipping lower.
This is where the book comes in very handy! From the book, I know this has to do with the crotch length being too short. Even if I had no idea, I do see the lines are not straight and they need to be so I applied the fix given in the book.

To fix the issue, I opened up the leg inseams and the crotch seam by about 3" at the intersection, i.e. the place where you would put in a gusset if these were leggings. Then, I pulled the front and back up giving it all the crotch length it needed. Due to having extra seam allowance, I was able to move the muslin as much as needed. Making sure the lines were horizontal and wrinkles in the back & front were diminished, I marked that position with a couple pins. Now, on the front I still had a cupping happening, telling me the crotch curve was just wrong for my shape. I adjusted that as well. I scooped the front crotch curve from just under the hip line in front all the way to the crotch line. By scooping it while wearing it, I was able to see the cupping diminish. I carried the scooping to the back crotch curve. Once I was happy, I pinned the leg inseams where they were comfortable and took off the muslin, marked the new positions with a pencil. Then I connected the marks into a new crotch curve line and sewed on that. The new line stitching line is in orange marker, the original is black. 

Final pattern adjustments are below - Back* 

Front * 

You will notice the front curve is a lot more scooped than the original. That is where I removed the cupping to my tummy. What happens is that the tighter or more fitted the front is, the more exaggerated it will look especially if you already have a bulge. If the fabric is released a bit right under the tummy (by scooping), it will give the illusion of being flatter. 

* - I made changes to the crotch curves and normally when you scoop the crotch curve, you have removed fabric from the overall width and would need to add it back at the side seams. This is a more loosely fitted garment and I did not add to the side seams and it is fine. Just remember to do so on a more fitted pattern. 

I have transferred the changes to the pattern pieces. Now I am very excited to sew up the final version! Hope this helps someone. Leave me a comment if you want more info or need help troubleshooting. I think this method is brilliant as there is no guesswork on what do these wrinkles mean! You just straighten up the lines and let the crotch curve fall where it may. 


dedou said…
This is so helpful!!! I had given up on shorts and you've inspired me to try again this Spring. Thanks so much...
Deb said…
Thus is so instructive that I bought the book. Will make shorts for next summer, I promise!
GariChild said…
Awesomeeeee!!! I still need to perfect the fit on pants for myself and this was very helpful!

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