Sewing jeans: Muslin 3

Before I show you what muslin 3 looks like I first want to show how I adapted muslin 2 into muslin 2.1 to determine how to change the pattern.

I started with a very simple alteration. Muslin 2 showed a lot of fabric being pulled into the crotch indicating the crotch length was not long enough. The trousers were also very tight across my thighs indicating I needed some more room there. I solved both issues by doing what “The Perfect Fit” one of the fitting books I own, calls a full thigh adjustment. The pattern is extended both at the side- and inseam which lengthens the crotch seam and increases thigh circumference. The red lines in the schematic below indicate how I re-sewed the seams in muslin 2 and changed the pattern for muslin 3. I also removed the gaping I had at the yoke.

full thigh adjustment

These 2 changes already made a huge difference to the fit as you can see below.

Muslin 2.1 front

Notice how the straight of grain lines have become much straighter and more horizontal.


Muslin 2.1 back

Wrinkles at the knee have disappeared. Straight of grain lines are straighter and more horizontal. Yoke lies nicely against my back. It no longer looks like I am about to burst out of these.

Muslin 2.1 Side

Wrinkles at the knee have mostly disappeared. Side seam has become straighter. There appears to be less strain on the fabic on my butt.

After I changed this I noticed I could remove some of the wrinkles I still had at the front by pinning out 2 darts. I made this alteration in the pattern by slicing the pattern open and overlapping the edges to simulate the dart I had pinned out. This does not change the side seam.

pinned darts front

At the back I thought I probably still needed to add some more length to the crotch seam so I sliced the muslin open horizontally and inserted some fabric. This did seem to improve the fit at the back and the muslin became more comfortable to wear so I made this alteration in the pattern as well. This is done by slicing the pattern open and creating a hinge point at the side seam. You can then add a wedge to the pattern by sliding the center back upwards. The side seam does not change.

adjustment to back

After I had made all these changes I decided it was time to make muslin 3 to check whether the changes I made on the pattern were correct. Unfortunately I ran out of muslin fabric (why did I ever think 3 meters would be enough???) and had to use something a bit lighter weight than ideal but I didn’t want to wait until I had the opportunity to get some new fabric. The fit is still not perfect but I think you’ll agree this is definitely an improvement over where I started with muslin 2!

Muslin 3 front

Still not 100% happy with the crotch, but overall I don’t think this looks too bad. Side seam at the thigh is perhaps still a bit too much to the front.


I still need to add more lenght to the back crotch lenght because fabric is still being pulled in. My alterations at center back caused the center back seam to be a bit strangely shaped so I'll need to reshape it.

I still need to add more lenght to the back crotch seam because fabric is still being pulled in. My alterations at center back caused the center back seam to be a bit strangely shaped and it sticks out so I’ll need to reshape it.

Muslin 3 side

Side seam still not completely straight. Center back seam sticks out.

How many muslins do you think I’ll end up making before I dare cut into my denim?

19 comments on “Sewing jeans: Muslin 3

  1. R says:

    My muslin 1 was put to one side some time ago when I got to the insert zip bit and ran out of steam so I’m really impressed by your efforts and the fit is clearly improving so it must be worth it.

    A friend has since suggested I just pin the zip in (or maybe I’ll tack/baste it roughly in to avoid any accidents) but I’ve still yet to pick it up. It’s my first ever muslin and I’m daunted by the process plus it goes against my natural instinct to get quick results.

    • Emmely says:

      You shouldn’t get discouraged by the zipper! I put mine in in probably less than 5 minutes. We’re not making couture garments here. I first machine baste the seam where the zipper will end up with the longest stitch possible, do not backtack. Press it open. Place the zipper behind the closed seam so that the zipperteeth are right behind the seam. Pin in place. Quickly sew the zipper tapes in place and unpick the basting stitches. Done, if your stitches are crooked it doesn’t matter, it’s a muslin.

      Pinning is also possible but to be honest I find that a real pain and in the long run it takes longer because for a close fitting garment it is difficult to pin the seam exactly in place. You’ll also have to redo it each time you take the garment off to make some changes and then put it back on again.

      I hope you’ll give your muslin another try! Really, once you achieve a great fit that will be even more satisfying than quick results.

  2. katechiconi says:

    You could perhaps try flattening the curve on the front crotch seam so that it lies flatter against the body – there’s spare fabric there, which is helping to cause those wrinkles. I think the next muslin may be the last!

    • Emmely says:

      Yes, perhaps I added too much to the front crotch lenght. I’ll just have to play a bit and try some things out to see how it looks then.

  3. Deborah says:

    I think one, but two more at most. :-) I am so fascinated by this process. You are my role model! :-)

  4. I’m impressed by the amount of trouble you’re going to, I should think one more muslin and you’ll be sorted, well done on what you’ve achieved so far..

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you. I think I prefer to remember this project as “the jeans that took 10 muslins to get the fit right” instead of “another pair of failed trousers that will never get worn”. If I get it right I’ll probably end up making a couple of pairs.

  5. Selma says:

    Dear o dear, impressed by the patience to go through all this work. I’m especially intrigued by the alteration process. I’m following this with great interest.

    • Emmely says:

      Ah well, I guess I’m currently in the right mood to want to get this right. I’m really still learning how to fit patterns and practice a lot of trial and error but so far I seem to be going in the right direction.

  6. melissa e says:

    Wow your doing great! Im learning alot from your process. Ive never made pants myself but am planning my first foray with a pair of shorts. Since we have similar shaping I’m paying close attention.

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you. I hope you won’t have as much issues as I do with this pair and if you do have issues that they’ll be similar. Good luck!

  7. Jilly says:

    Im addicted to sewing pants. Not that I sew any that I like but its such a crazy process. I like how you have grid your muslin. But don’t you find working with muslin kind of misleading when you finally begin on the fashion fabric?

    • Emmely says:

      The changes that I have made so far are so major that I don’t think it matters that I’m not using my fashion fabric. Anyway if I had to do this whole process with my fashion fabric it would get insanely expensive. Angela Wolff, the instructor of one of the Craftsy classes I am taking recommends to use muslin for the fitting part and if you make your jeans in a denim with lycra you just have to change the seam allowance for a couple of seams and then the fit should be similar to what you had in your muslin. I do intend to fit as I work when I sew the final pair so I can then still make some small changes to get it just right.

  8. Lyric says:

    Lawd, lady bless your heart with all this muslin and fitting stuff. I know, I know, it’s necessary. And, certainly it is something I am going to have to get into if I am to take my sewing skills to the next level. Phew, though, seems so haaard (that’s me whining).

    Thankfully, my goal is to stop wearing pants in favor of dresses and skirts. Still, the 40’s and 50’s dresses/blouses that I like have fitted bodices and I knew/know getting fitting skills down pat is a must.

    I’m a followin’ you now, lady. Thanks for the share.



    • Emmely says:

      I find the difficult part determining what is causing the fit issue. I can usually find how to fix it in a book or on a blog. I think fitting bodices is easier than trousers, but my upper body is probably a bit more “standard” than my lower body so that helps.

  9. Emma says:

    I really appreciate you taking the time to detail your muslin-making process Emmely. I realise I don’t know how to go about muslin making at all. It is a detail most bloggers skip over, but learning how to do the right alterations is critical to getting the perfect fit. I’m working on the Vogue shell pattern with the Craftsy class “fast fitting” and there is a lot to learn! It is time-consuming, but I know it’ll be worth it in the long run :-) I’m really excited to see how your jeans turn out. Keep at it, you are doing amazingly well!! I’m also a new follower having recently found your blog, and I love it!

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! I am still relatively new at fitting but I did think it would interesting to show all the steps I go through.

      • MLB says:

        it’s great to see someone with a very similar shape and all those discouraging differences from the ideal as mine, protuding buttocks, rather generous protruding muscular thighs, small waist compared to hip size, and flatter belly, causing all those familiar to me fitting problems that you are struggling with . You’ll give me the courage to stop making ok pants and go for a sloper that (eventually) will (hopefully) allow me to make several pairs with excellent fit! There is hope and I am not alone with (what seems in the pattern world) an unusual curvy and generous fit

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