The Value of a Muslin, or How to Avoid Clown Pants

I have some lovely Loro Piana wool that I am going to make into a pair of pants and into a dress. I like pants because I wear them a lot these days, and I can whip out a pair in pretty short order. I decided to give a new pattern a shot: Vogue Wardrobe 1132

It looks pretty good, eh? I like those pants on the model. They aren’t too low cut, and they seem to have good “bones”. I had read MaryBeth’s fantastic analysis of this pattern at The Sewing Divas and decided against making up the jacket or skirt. But the pants looked promising, and I was in the mood to try something new.

You all know I am a muslin hound. And not the “wearable” kind of muslin, either. I’m talking about cotton muslin (preferably unbleached) put together as a test garment with basting stitches and zippers in colors that don’t occur in nature or in my wardrobe.

I made my muslin. The pants went together very easily. They have a mock-fly front. Since it’s a muslin I skipped the pockets (side seam) and just sewed up the sides. I made my standard back crotch adjustment, which is to say I copied the sharp “L” curve from one of my TNT HotPatterns trousers, then I sewed up the pants. I omitted the waistband, since this is a fitting muslin.


I’m glad I made this muslin. It saved me cutting into my beautiful fabric with what would be disastrous results. These pants make Mom Jeans look like they are cutting edge. I’m not long-waisted, but these pants make me look like a fireplug, and that is without the waistband attached. I know higher waisted pants are coming back in, but if I add the waistband to them, these go almost up to my bra. I really don’t want to look like John C. Reilly singing “Mr. Cellophane”. The other thing that this muslin pointed out is that the darts are positioned WAY too close to the center front, adding to the overall dumpy look of the pants. I put on 4 inch heels to see if that helps. It does a little, but not enough. Thanks, I’ll pass.

So, I learned a valuable lesson from this muslin. It didn’t take all that much time, and it gave me an indication of how the finished garment would look. I think I’ll pull out my favorite HotPatterns Razor Sharp pants and make myself a pair from that.

Happy sewing!

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