Saturday, March 3, 2012

Simplicity 1879: Muslin for Cuffed Shorts with Side Zip

As I was making up my daughter's latest Music Class Skirt I realized that I have a TON of the navy cord in my stash (at least 3 yards remaining).  I started trying to think of ways to use some of it up.  I thought about maybe a skirt for me and then I remembered that I just stashed this pattern, Simplicity 1879:

This is one of the womens' wear patterns that Liesel Gibson has designed for Simplicity.  I was drawn to the shorts pattern immediately because I can never find comfortable, flattering shorts for myself in stores.  So, even though I am usually not inspired to sew pants and shorts for myself I decided to give these a try.  Because I'm not that practiced at fitting pants and shorts for myself I decided to do a muslin using the size 14 pattern pieces.  My muslin fit great in back:

But look at the front!  Unfortunate.

Wierd crotch wrinkles is not a good look for anyone.  I had to do some research to figure out what to do about those "smile" wrinkles that were radiating from the crotch.  I found a great resource for pants fitting on Coletterie.  If you are looking to fit pants start with the Coletterie Pant Fitting Cheatsheet.  I was able to diagnose the problem and then see diagrams about how to alter to fix it!  The diagrams were developed with the Collette Clover pants pattern in mind but I think they would be very helpful to anyone sewing pants or shorts - they certainly helped me!  

First I let out the side seams 3/8" on each side from the waist and tapering to nothing at the hip.  That alteration really helped but didn't entirely eliminate the problem.  Instead of "smile" lines that pulled upward I had a fold of fabric that fell straight across the shorts at the crotch.  I was able to pinch it out using pins. I folded about 1.5" at the crotch and then tapered the fold to nothing at the side seam.  Here the result (note, I'm wearing them inside out here so the pleats look a little strange):

Much better - I think that will do it.  I pulled the muslin apart and used it to make a new front pattern piece.  Here is a photo showing the original pattern (top) and my altered pattern (bottom).  The difference looks huge to me! 

The curve in the side seam and the waist is much more exagerated and the length between the crotch and waist is much shorter.   I must be a true, blue sewing geek because I find that picture fascinating!

Now what I should do next is make another muslin with my new pattern but guess what?  I'm not going to - I'm just going to throw caution to the wind and slice into my fashion fabric using the new pattern.  I'm feeling really brave since my fashion fabric was purchased on sale over a year ago and I have tons and tons of it.  Stay tuned for my finished shorts and wish me luck!


  1. I can't wait to see how these turn out! I have been wondering what those would look like made up. :]

  2. I have to make the very same adjustment in the front of my clovers. I think you are at a point to were your final version will come out fine. I love that shorts pattern and can't wait for them to be in stock locally. I was going to by them thru sewingpatterns dot com Web site when they had a 2.99 sale but I was not about to pay 15 to ship 5 patterns!

  3. I will be watching with interest.
    I love these shorts

  4. I finished my shorts last night - tacked the cuffs and put the hook and eye on right before bed. Hopefully I'll be able to photograph them today and post tonight or tomorrow. Can't wait to show them to you ladies!
    - Liz