Pants Block Muslin and Perfectly Fitting Pants Class

I finished the Duchess of Cambridge top- for all that I used fancy fabric, I have a suspicion the name may be a little grand.  Check it out at Sew Weekly.  I’m wearing her here with my Pinkie Pants, my first foray into the world of fitting slim cut stretch pants.  I almost haven’t taken them off since I made them (ewwww) because they’re so comfy and seem to work with most of my tops.

I started working on fitting stretch-slims with some of my Pants Block clients*.  It kept coming up.  The block works well for light/medium to heavy weight wovens:  regular trouser fit through wide-leg, that is.  This month, I’m on a mission to use my own block to “crack” the Colette Clover pattern.  Once I work out the method I’ll be a better teacher/block drafter.  I chose Clover to work with because it’s ubiquitous and simple.  Once I nail the fit it will be fun to play with the Clovers- add some pocket flaps here, a cuff there, and maybe go nuts with fun seaming.  I have two other lengths of the same fabric I used for the Pinkie Pants, but in teal and in khaki.

The first step is muslining the block.  I made myself a block from scratch to document the process of working on the block.  Also, I recognize that for many it’s a little nerve-wracking to email awkward shorts muslin photos for fitting so I thought I’d embarrass myself publicly with similar shots so we’re all equal.

Not bad, not perfect.   It’s fairly typical, though as I make more blocks I refine the process to make better blocks every time I draft.

Not bad, either.  There’s a little bit of pulling at the bottom, and when I was wearing them I felt the crotch seam (hate that word!) riding up too much for comfort.

I scooped out the front crotch seam by about 1/4″, tapering to nothing in the straight part of the CF seam.  I did the back much the same way, but tapered it much sooner on the curve because I didn’t have any problems with the back.

That’s all we needed.  There’s a residual wrinkle in the fabric because it’s the world’s grossest polyester suiting.  I can’t press a crease into it, but it will hold onto my fitting wrinkles.  Growl!

That’s fine, too.  I’m less worried about the wrinkles at the top, they have more to do with the pin-job than the fit.

Sometimes the muslins need much more tweaking than this, which is fine.  I’m more than happy to work at your own pace on the fitting, and it’s not easy to stump me.  I’ve been staring at wrinkly backsides for quite some time now.

At any rate, if you’ve been curious about the process of fitting the block, that’s about it.  I send you the block, you send me photos, I suggest the alterations, and we work on it until the issues are resolved.  I had a few hiccups along the way in developing the service (tech issues, language issues- now I tend to just use diagrams, much easier), but I’m confident now with fitting pants via email.

If you’re curious about what the block looks like, you can check out the sample pdf I uploaded here.  If you choose electronic delivery, this is what you will receive (except calibrated to your measurements, of course).   I’m also increasing the prices on the Pants Block service as of the 13th- my next drafting day.  The new prices will be $40 for a block with postal delivery and $45 for electronic delivery.  They’re $30 until the 13th.

I’m really excited to tell you all I’m running this as a class next month at Piece Together in Brisbane!  It’s a one-day pants fitting workshop on Saturday, July 14.  I’ll draft your custom block before the first class and we’ll spend the first part of the workshop tweaking your muslin.  Once that’s done, we can work on the trousers/pants/jeans pattern of your choice.  I’ll show you how to use your block as a reliable alteration tool, and we’ll finish the hard parts on your project- at least the fly and the pockets, though with 6 hours on our hands I’m sure we can get some great work done!  This is an intermediate to advanced sewing class, at least basic knowledge of sewing is required.

Click here for more details and to register online.  I only have 7 spaces and expect them to fill quickly.  The ladies who run Piece Together did a fantastic job of creating a streamlined way to register and pay online- no hassles or bothers.

Whew!  That was a lot… The whole point of a properly fitted block is to use it as an alteration tool.  In the next post on Pants, I’ll show you step-by-step how to alter Clovers using this block.  I might slip in a few fun potential design features, too- oooh!  I just had a thought!  If I’m using Clovers, I can make a fun pdf of pocket flaps and cuffs to share!  Now I’m itching to get started on these!

Coming Attractions: Friday Night Extras (new series!) and The May Hack.  I’m really, really loving the hack.

*If you and I made a block together and you would like additional help with fitting slim cut pants, please feel free to email me and I’ll sort you out.  Otherwise, keep watching this series because it will be helpful to you Blockers especially.


  1. You drafted a block fo rme , but I have yet to send you any email photos. I’ll get on that. WIll you be able to help me learn to use my block as a tool to alter trousers and jeans patterns? I live near Seattle, so your class in Brisbane is a little too long distance for me!

    • Well, get on it! :) Yes- that’s the point in making a block, is learning to use it as an alteration tool. I’ll help you along, it’s all good.

      Aw, come on! Seattle isn’t *that* far! ;)

  2. This has spurred me on! I will remake my pants block tomorrow! I can’t wait for the clover info- I made a muslin and just gave up! You are a life saver steph!!

    • …..Yes? I meant to make electronic delivery slightly more expensive because it takes me more time to grid, scan and scale a block than it does to drop it in the mail. :)

      • My apologies. I honestly thought this was an error because it’s rare for electronic delivery to be more expensive than mail delivery. I learn something new every day.

        • No no, that’s fine! I’m happy to do the electronic delivery, but it just takes a little more time. (I draft by hand, not the computer…)

  3. I really like this idea. Very clever. So many people have trouble drafting a muslin. I am glad to see that you are providing this service! I wish I could make it to your workshop but Australia is a little too far of a hike for a 6 hour course :)

    • Sigh. Yes. I’m 3 hours past the edge of the world, after all.. If Stephen gets the job he’s going for, I’ll be even further away from everything! Oh well.

      You know, mostly it’s been really fun doing this. :)

  4. YAY!!!!! I’m so excited for the trousers thing. And I really love that top. Hopefully the lace surprises you and survives more washings than you think.

    I’m excited to see what you recommend for the stretch trousers, especially since having more sewing stuff to try (well, and the bodice block) is a good lure for me to do homework. You know, something like 1 hour of homework rewarded by 20 minutes of sewing. Or perhaps even no sewing until all homework is done and the apartment is no longer a sty… but that might take a couple more weeks.

    • You did some really good work with yours, really. :)

      I totally get the attraction of having a nice juicy carrot to lure you down the path to completing a garment…

  5. I want to come back up there so I can come to these things. Why didn’t you do this last year?? I might never have left …I’m so jealous.

    • Oh dear, Carol… Don’t be mad, but I’ve been doing this kind of thing here for several years. Longer than I’ve been blogging. My old boss wasn’t interested in me blogging about my classes or teaching through the blog, so I didn’t. Don’t be mad!

  6. the short pants muslin photos made me smile, they must remind me of something :) I’m looking forward to seeing your work on the Clover pants, though I won’t be making them – nearly sure the style would not fit me.
    Love the guipure lace of your top, I didn’t know it was so expensive!

  7. I love the lace on the top and the effect is just lovely.

    I too look forward to watching your progress with Collette’s Clovers, though I won’t be making them myself. Trousers are such an interesting learning curve, one I am only just starting on.

    I hope your trousers course goes well too and wait for the time you will be able to offer on-line, perhaps. Maybe I will win Lotto for the airfares!

  8. Pingback: Finished Object: Teal Clovers « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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