The Road to Pants, Part 5

This will be the final post in the series on using Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster software to edit my pants pattern.  I’m currently making a wearable muslin based on the pattern, but I’ll save that for my next article.  (You can see sneak peeks of my progress on my Instagram feed).

Altering the Side Seams

As I noted last time, the pants are still too snug at the widest part of the hip.  It is easy to draw a new curve to widen the side seams in Pattern Editor. This was a bit of guesswork, not having the hip curve from a physical ruler to trace against.  I just tried to draft a nice curve that would add to the seam.  I also took the opportunity to smooth out a kink in the old side seam, right where you see the notch in the screen shots below.

The green curves show the new side seam line.


I transferred the same curve from the front to the back piece so the seams would align nicely.


Drafting the Front Slash Pockets

I drafted the front pocket facing by tracing a pocket pattern from David Page Coffin’s Craftsy class, Pant Construction Techniques. (He also includes the patterns on the DVD with his book, Making Trousers).

Ironically, even though DPC’s pattern is already in a digital form (PDF), I still had to trace it due to file format incompatibilities.  Wild Ginger doesn’t support import of PDF or Adobe Illustrator files, just image formats such as JPG and PNG.  What I did was open DPC’s pattern in Adobe Reader, take a screenshot, import the screenshot into Wild Ginger’s Pattern Editor, then trace over the screenshot with Pattern Editor’s drawing tools as I’ve discussed in previous articles.

In this screenshot, the pocket opening on the front pant piece is blue, the facing is purple, and the curve for the pocket bag is in green.  These are the patterns as traced from DPC’s templates; the next task is to adapt them to the side seams and waist seams of my pattern pieces.


The blue piece (pocket opening) is aligned to the front pattern piece.


The extra lines are removed, and the pocket opening becomes the new seamline on the front piece.


The facing (in purple) is aligned with the front pocket opening.


The waistband and side seam curves from the pants front are drafted onto the facing.  This completes the facing.


Next, the pocket bag (in green) is dropped into place, and waistband, side seam curves, and fold lines for the pocket bag are established.


Here are the final pocket pieces.  I reflected the pocket bag on itself, and cut the pocket opening where it attaches to the pants front.


Final draft and printout

For the final printout, I added seam allowances.  This is super-easy to do with Pattern Editor’s Offset and Intersect tools.

I used 3/8″ seam allowances in most areas, except the crotch seam and the front pocket openings. The front pockets use a 1/4″ seam allowance along the opening for the slash pocket. The crotch seam uses 1/4″ along the crotch curve, but opens up to 1 inch of seam allowance as it goes up to the waistband.  This is customary in men’s tailored trousers as it allows the pants to be altered at the back seam as the wearer gains or loses weight.

Wild Ginger’s Pattern Editor allows you to lay out the patterns, as they will get tiled across sheets of paper.  So I experimented with the layout that would require the least amount of trimming and taping.  Where a pattern piece doesn’t cross a paper edge, there’s no trimming or taping needed.  I am willing to use more sheets of paper to avoid trimming and taping.  That’s a luxury you get with PatternMaster that you don’t get with downloadable PDF patterns.

This print layout uses 12 sheets of 11×17 paper, with a total of 7 vertical and 8 horizontal seams to tape, for a total of 15 seams.


The following print layout also uses 12 sheets of paper, but has only 7 vertical and 6 horizontal seams, for a total of 13 seams to tape.  This is the one I went with.


Wearable Muslin “I”

For the wearable muslin, I’m using some gray twill fabric I purchased a while back from Fabric Outlet in San Francisco.  I used it to make a previous muslin of Thread Theory’s Jedediah Pants pattern, which didn’t work out. I have enough left to make another full pair of pants.


I’m using two pocketing fabrics.  One is some white cotton broadcloth, and the other is a light gray plaid print, both from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, CA.


Next Time

I get to work on the pants muslin.

The Road to Pants, Part 4

A lot has happened with my pants project since my last update – more than I can cover in a single blog article.

Today, I want to cover some of the more advanced things I’ve been doing on the computer with Wild Ginger’s PatternMaster.  But I also want to get back to working with fabric.

Walking seams

Walking and truing seams is an important part of patternmaking; you want to make sure that matching seams are the same length unless you’re intentionally doing so, in order to shape the garment in some way.

Wild Ginger’s Pattern Editor makes it easy to compare two seams; if you select the lines and curves that make up a seam, it will tell you how long the seam is, and it even has a tool that will compare two seam lines and tell you the difference between the two.

You can also use Pattern Editor to simulate the way you would walk seams on paper. (You can click/tap to see closeup versions of all the screenshots).

I started by flipping the back pants piece (in red outline) left-to-right using the Mirror command, then used the Align command to align it with the front piece at the bottom inseam.


Using the Rotate command, I successively “walked” the back piece up the front.  I rotated the back a bit until it aligned with the front seam, then picked a new rotation pivot point at the new place where they started to diverge.


Repeating this process, I eventually reached the end of the seam – where the front and back crotch curves intersect.


I zoomed in, and used Pattern Editor’s Measure tool to find out the back piece is ever-so-slightly shorter than the front – in this case somewhere between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch.


I walked the side seams and found nearly the same discrepancy.  So I added that amount to the bottom hem on the back piece and got a very good agreement between front and back seams.


Transferring darts

In my last article, I drafted a contoured waistband from the front and back pieces using Pattern Editor’s Offset tool.  But I forgot to tell you how I dealt with the dart in the back piece.

Let’s start with the back piece, containing that pesky dart.


I used Pattern Editor’s Dart Transfer command to transfer the dart to the side seam of the pant, just to get it out of the way of the waistband.  Dart Transfer automatically rotated the top and side seams to close the dart at top, and opened a gap for the new dart on the side seam.


Pattern Editor requires you to work a little to clean up the old dart and draw legs for the new.  Here’s the waistline with the dart removed.  You can see a slight mismatch now where the dart was; that’s easy to true off to make a clean waistline using the Move Point command.  Once cleaned, the curve can be cloned and used as the bottom seam line of a waistband piece.


After completing the back contour band piece, I aligned it back to the original back piece, so that I could add pattern notches (in red) to both.


Final Test Muslin H

I decided to make one last trial garment with actual muslin fabric.  I wanted to test my new waist band, as well as try out welt pockets in the back.  Finally, I wanted to create a fly zipper opening following David Coffin’s instructions, so I could make mistakes in muslin rather than actual fabric.

I chose not to include front slash pockets.   The facings for a front slash pocket incorporate the side seam curve, and I still don’t have the side seam dialed in correctly for fit.  So I didn’t want to have to redraft my facings.  Otherwise, this muslin was very much like a real pair of pants.

Welt pockets

Welt pockets are little bit of a thing in the men’s sewing blog community lately.  While working on this project, Wil at Thin Man Sewing stitched together his own welt pockets for a pants project he’s working on. He followed a very well done YouTube video on the subject; I’m following David Coffin’s method, as shown in his book Making Trousers and in his Craftsy Class, Pant Construction Techniques.

Here’s the wrong side, interfacing waiting to be fused over the welt slash:


Here are the welts are applied to the right side, before slashing and turning.  One difference between Coffin’s method and the one Wil used is that I folded and shaped the welts after stitching and turning, rather than before.  But the two methods are very similar.


Putting together welts with stuff muslin fabric was a bit of a challenge.  The right welt turned out better than the left.  I’m not happy with the finished results, especially on the sides which aren’t perfectly square and show raw edges.  And the welts are kind of droopy.  Ah, well – practice makes perfect.





Fly zipper

I built a fly zipper, again following instructions in Making Trousers.  DPC also covers the technique in his Craftsy class.  I choose to use his Option A, a method of constructing the fly that involves stitching in a separate fabric fly shield.

Here’s the stitched fly with the fly shield folded out of the way:


And moved into place:


I made two big mistakes.  I followed Coffin’s photos in the book literally, and wound up with a fly that overlaps right on left – great for a woman’s garment, but not suitable for menswear.


Finally, I carelessly yanked the zipper pull off the end of the zipper before I attached the waistband.


Fearing the project ruined, I searched YouTube in desperation and found this video which shows you how to reattach the zipper pull to a closed zipper.  Project saved.

Testing the Muslin

I’m going to spare you yet more photos of me posing in muslin pants.  I’m sick of them too.  I do have photos, but they turned out blurry and I won’t reshoot them to include here.

But as I expected, the side seams still are a bit of a problem.  They continue to open up a bit below the widest part of my hip, and aren’t giving enough ease around the area where my hip is widest.

Next Time

I’ll update and print the “final” pattern for a wearable muslin, including adding front slash pockets.

And I’ll cut into actual fashion fabric.  Honest, I will:


Tailor’s Tacks, #2

Just in time for the weekend, it’s a new episode of Tailor’s Tacks – Issue #2.

Sarah Veblen in Threads Magazine

IMG_0200_blur IMG_0204

If you’ve been enjoying my fitting articles and would like to know more about Sarah Veblen’s fitting techniques, you can find an article from her on skirt fitting in a recent issue of Threads Magazine (June-July 2015).


Just about everything you learn about skirt fitting directly applies to pants fitting.  The article had some great information about darts I used during my pants fitting.

Nancy Zieman’s The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew


I just placed an order with Nancy’s Notions for some sewing supplies, and I picked up a copy of her latest book, The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew, including the companion DVD.

I will probably write a longer review at some point.  This book is for beginners, and the amount of content in this book that’s new to me is somewhat limited, but some of her techniques and shortcuts are useful to anyone regardless of skill level. Having never sewed darts before this pants project, I appreciated Nancy’s method for sewing easy, fail-proof darts which appears in this book.  You can see it at 5:27 in her online video.


This book would be a great introduction for a brand-new sewist.  It covers the basics of sewing machines, sergers, patterns and notions, as well as basic techniques such has how to sew a straight seam and press properly.

David Coffin’s The Shirtmaking Workbook online content now available


I’ve been holding off on a detailed review of David Coffin’s latest book, The Shirtmaking Workbook.  When I wrote him with an apparent glitch in the online material – several of the links weren’t active – I was surprised to get a reply from David telling me that the links were missing because the full online material wasn’t yet ready!


Now that the online content is available, I’ll be offering a full review soon.  The online component of the book is so significant, I don’t think it’s possible to review the book properly without having seen the online content.

But y’are, Blanche….Y’Are!

George W. Trippon was a clothing designer for Hollywood stars, and had his own sewing show, Sew What’s New, in the ’70s and ’80s. I discovered this show from a link in a PatternReview forum discussion.

On topic to this blog, here’s a show where George shows us how to sew a pair of pants. Unfortunately, this video was a promotional tape sent to television stations to sell the show; an announcer cuts in at different points and does an annoying voiceover.  Not even this interruption can mar Trippon’s performance.  “Fabulous” only scratches the surface.

There are a few more episodes of the show up on YouTube, along with a documentary on George W. Trippon.

Oh, how I wish the entire run of the series was available.