Smiley Pants: A Short Muslin

Blame the holidays- the constant rain prevented hiking or kayaking, nothing to do but eat fatty foods, lie around, and drink scotch.  I don’t fit into half my clothes, and can’t make accurate fitting decisions for the pieces intended for my next wardrobe collection.


Smooth Sailing shorts from last August:

Wrinkles!  Wrinkles everywhere!  I needed a full butt alteration.  The June/July 2009 (?) Threads offered a complex solution masquerading as a simple fix.   That particular subterfuge sits badly with me.  It sets beginners up for failure and they blame themselves.  If it’s easy, great.  If it takes a little head-scratching, then don’t lie about it.

After Threads’ solution:

The CB needs scooping below the waistband.  As my hips measure 1.25″ larger than when I did the alteration in November, I’m not surprised I still have wrinkles.  The alteration had the effect of changing the crotch curve and adding 3/4″ to the back inseam and 1 7/8″ to the back side seam.  I left the front as-is.

I want to make these as cuffed pants with pretty hong kong seams and tabbed double welt pockets in unbleached organic cotton.  I dare not without establishing perfect fit.

I like using fitted clothing for gentle weight control, but at the moment it’s plain irritating.

Fitting and trouser goddesses, I beg your opinions.  If I add a bit to the front inseam, would that help my smiles in the short term without making the pants too baggy in the long term?  These particular pants fit closely through the hips then swirl to the floor.  I hope if I add to the front inseam, when I shed the holiday weight the extra space will melt into the wearing ease.

Why not wait?  I’m launching Wardrobe Club next Saturday, and I want to finish as much of my own wardrobe as possible before then.

In the interests of full disclosure, this came home with me from work the other day:

I tagged them with “DIBS!” when they arrived weeks ago, and only just added to stock.  That’s how I make resolutions work- I trespass, forgive myself, and do better next time.  I have to allow some leeway with breaking a habit, whether it’s fatty foods or fabric.


  1. I don't have any fitting suggestions for you, because I have yet to sew a pair of fitted trousers or shorts. I can empathize, though. My trainer told me yesterday that I have hyperlordosis. Also known as shelf butt. I need to learn the adjustment for that, and pronto. Those pants will be tres chic.

  2. My experience with smiley pants – this is contrarian and a bit graphic – but reach down and find that little part of the pants where all the seams meet in the middle of the crotch -move it forward. Do your smiles go away? The more fitted the pant, the more forward the center crotch seems to be. Grab a pair of jeans and take a look, much more forward than you would imagine. In the past I have lengthened my front seam and gotten a bunch of excess fabric. What I have learned to do for my body type is lengthen the back butt seam, so it isn't pulling so much on the front seam. One caveat – adding to the back seam can change the line of the leg seams. I make up a practice muslin in the cheapest material, no matter that it isn't bottomweight fabric, because I want to check for smiles, and correct any twisty legs that have developed. Legs so twisty that had I cut wearable fabric I would have had a wadder. So if you try this alteration, find a secondhand sheet. I don't know why weight gain changes this area on women so much. I have to make this somewhat tedious alteration to all of my trousers.

  3. Hmmm, thanks for the in-depth sharing of your knowledge… What you say makes a great deal of sense… I wonder if twisty legs can be fixed by simply ensuring the grainline lies perpendicular to the hem? I 7 or 8 meters of this bottom weight brushed twill poly cotton. I figured I can use it to make wearable muslins, suitable for very casual wear. It was free so I'm not too troubled putting it to that use.

  4. No advice, but I love your post… really gets at a matter we all suffer with. One thing I don't get. I can buy 5 pairs of off the shelf capri pants at a thrift store and they all fit perfectly with nice slim hips and legs. I open ANY pattern and get way too much material in the legs and too tight a waist. What is with that. I wish someone would make a pattern like RTW common.

  5. Are they quite high in the crotch because they are tight in the high hip? I'm thinking if they are a bit looser they will sit lower and the smiles will go away, as the drag line is pointing to your high hip- the clue to the cause. If so, I'd consider adding to the CB seam like they do on mens trousers – easy to take out and let in with seasonal fluctuations! I notice the upper side seam veers slightly to the back, so adding to the back seam would fix that too.They're gonna look cute!

  6. You're right, Sherry, my high hip is a problem. Also my waist is 3/4" bigger than usual, also a problem. I think I might try that, then I can take them in later. Soo.. Adding to the bottom of the crotch and a CB wedge like men's pants. Ok. Thanks for the help, ladies!

  7. Another bonus of menswear-style additions to the back seam/waistband is an easier waistband alteration. Maybe women don't want a center back waistband seam? Or maybe menswear is made better.Your pants will look great, can't wait to see them!

  8. Pingback: Finished Object: Jean Ross Pants « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  9. Pingback: How Can We Fit Some Pants? (A Call for Testers Giveaway) « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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