January 3, 2011

Snipping up your Trouser Muslin

Oh it's the day we've all been waiting for! Today, I'll be showing you a few basic steps and info for cutting and marking your trouser muslin. Now, I will warn you that you might need to cut more than one muslin to get the right fit, I have. Being an animal in and of themselves, you might find that pants have odd fittings and two, possibly three muslins may be required before you get the perfect fit. However, I will say that when you find a good pant/trouser/jean pattern and such that you want to make again and again, you'll be thankful that you fitted them correctly and perfected your flat pattern so that you can go and whip them up in no time flat. Let's start snipping!

I'm using a basic cotton muslin. This you won't need to prewash, but you will need to press. Please, pretty please, press your muslin before you cut. Sometimes there are folds and creases in the fabric that will affect the fit. Now onto cutting.  Layout your pattern pieces on your fabric.  Whether you choose to pin you pattern pattern to your fabric or trace or what have you, is ultimately up to you. Now go ahead and cut. With muslins, you are looking for the basic idea of the pattern. You don't need to bother with lining or facing the waistband. Here's a run down of how many of each piece to cut.

  • Piece 1 & 3 (trouser leg front and back) cut 2

  • Piece 2 & 2a (pocket & pocket lining) cut 2

  • Piece 4 cut 1

  • Piece 5 cut 2, unless you are sewing this piece without a seam in the back in which case you'll cut 1

Once you've got everything cut, it's a good idea to label everything with a magic marker or pencil or pen. I write directly on the fabric and mark all the darts and such with it too.

Next, thread mark your seam allowances. Why do this? It's very helpful when you need to adjust a seam, you'll know exactly how much to adjust because your seam allowance has already been marked. To threadmark, use a basting stitch with a contrasting thread and sew all around your pattern pieces, marking the seam allowance. Now, be careful that you mark the right seam allowances in the right places. Remember, 1" along the outseam and the inseam, the waistband and the pockets. The crotch, the back of the waistband (if you've opted for a seamed back waistband) and that pocket extension flap will be 5/8". Please refer to this post if you need a visual.

OK, that's a wrap for today. Tomorrow, muslin construction.


  1. Oopps! I've hit a snag... size wise it turns out I'm bigger than the largest size on pattern #127 (Burda Tall 88 = Regular 44), however I have a plan :) !

  2. Oh Claire, I'm so sorry! I was shocked myself that I was only 2nd to the last in this size range. Ha. However, I will say that after my first muslin I had to cut down a size because they were quite large all around. Hopefully this is some consolation. You could always grade.....

  3. Thread marking the seam allowances. What a brilliant idea! But would you use this method for the actual fabric as well? I could imagine that the seams will get a little bulky then, with three rounds of thread coming together?

  4. Hi Lola,
    The thread marking is just for the muslin. We won't be thread marking the finished pant. It's surprisingly really cool how much the thread marking helps. You get to see exactly where you are off from your paper pattern.

  5. i am SO behind... my job is ending this week and i need to get on this!!! i'm going to play catch up in the next few days. i've been reading your posts to let the instructions seep into my brain :)

  6. Oh the pants so up so easy. You really will have no problem catching up. It's just that I have this tendency to ramble and try to fit in as much information as possible into one sentence that things can tend to get really long. Really long. Just the muslin this week. Next week, fittings. And I'm ecstatic about my posts. I do hope they are helpful.

  7. Ok, I'm joining in from here! By freaky coincidence I had started my muslin for these very pants months ago and thought I'd have a finished pair by now. I must be a very lazy muslin maker, I only made them up to shorts length and didn't include pockets! I'm glad to hear that you cut yours one size smaller for the next muslin because I cut mine one size smaller (due to bad previous experience with Burda sizing) and was a little stuck on whether I should make up a muslin in my actual size or go with the smaller size which seems to fit. Maybe I'll wait to see your posts on fitting before progressing!!

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