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Toiles or muslins, do you make them?

I’m usually sewing at night while my kids are sleeping so I don’t always want to spend the time making a toile. Sometimes I adjust the fit as the garment starts to take shape. This can definitely work if you’re trying it on as you go or basting the pieces together prior to sewing to check them.

But many a time I’ve wasted that precious sewing time trying to retro-fit a garment to my shape when I could have avoided the trouble with a quick toile. Using a similar weight fabric to sew the basic shape without any extra details to check the fit and adjust the pattern before I jump in.

Finally, my sewing journey has led me to embrace the wearable toile! See my red shorts below.

I shop my stash for a fabric that I’m not worried about scrapping or giving away if the fit doesn’t work out for me. I try to anticipate any adjustments I need to make to the pattern (often grading between sizes at the waist and hip). I make up the pattern, assess, make any adjustments needed and then cut into my precious final fabric!

The result? My pants are so comfy that I’m dancing in the park!

If you have the time and energy I would really encourage you to toile too!

I find the more I do this the more familiar I become with the adjustments I need to make. It is also well worth noting them down. If you want to remake the garment in a different view or fabric you can skip the whole toile process. Designers will often use the same sloper to draft their patterns so you can usually transfer these adjustments to other patterns of theirs too!

If you aren’t part of the sew along fun but want to be, pop to the bottom of the page for details on where to get the Flint pattern and the giveaway I’m hosting!

Method to the madness

You can try your pants on after you have sewn or basted your side seams and inseam to get a feel for the fit. However to get a true representation of how the pants will sit on your body you should baste or sew the waistband and facing to the waistline of the pants.

Once you have, stand naturally, straight with your feet hip width apart and in good lighting to assess the fit. Does it feel tight or baggy anywhere? Can you move and sit comfortably? Do you see any drag lines at the tummy, crotch, thighs or knees? Which direction are they running? Is the rise high enough for you?

Sometimes it easiest to see these things (especially on the back) by taking some photos – find a willing helper or set a timer!

This will inform the adjustments you need to make.

Below I’ve listed common pants fitting issues you might encounter. I’ve gathered these over time but the majority started with Heather Lou’s (from Closet Case Patterns) tutorials! She has a much more extensive list of fit issues and their solutions here and here.

Common pants fitting issues


Since the cut is so generous through the leg, as well as the crotch your first focus will be to check the fit of the waistband. Read the finished garment measurements and you’ll see that there is no ease at the waist. So be sure to sew a size true to your waist measurement.

My waist measured 1cm above the size 14 so for my toile I graded from in between sizes 16 and 14 at the waist down to a 14 at the hip. As it turns out, this was unnecessary and the size 14 fit beautifully. So I wouldn’t worry about a centimetre or two but any more than that and I would definitely grade between sizes.


To grade between two sizes, for example from 16 at the waist and 14 at the hip. First, draw a line from the waistline side seam of the size 16, gradually following the pattern line shape untill it meets the size 14 around the hip notch. For the front pocket and pocket lining, trace the size 14 opening and then extend it if necessary so that it touches your hip line.

Leg length

If you want to maintain the intended leg shape, it’s important to lengthen or shorten the legs at the shorts cut line. Cut your pattern on the indicated line and spread or overlap the pieces by the desired amount. Tape in a piece of paper to fill the gap if you’ve spread the pieces and true (blend) your lines after you’ve taped the pieces together.

If you want the ankle to be wider or have less flare, you can lengthen or shorten at the bottom of the leg.

Crotch adjustments

To wear your Flint pants comfortably all day and do everything you need to, you want to ensure the rise is generous and the crotch not too restricting. The crotch seam should sit a little below your pelvis.

Making changes to the crotch curve is a common pants adjustment. However small changes can make a big difference so only make your adjustments just 5mm (1/4”) at a time.

The two key things to understand is crotch depth compared to length. Crotch depth is the height or rise, the distance from the lowest part of your crotch to the top of the pants. Crotch length is how long the total crotch is if you were to measure from the top of the center front down to the lowest part and back up to the top of the center back. Adding to one will affect the other. So finding the right balance of these two measurements affect the fit of the crotch and the comfort of your pants!

High/Low Waisted

If the rise is too long you may notice excess fabric in the front of your pants. Pinch out the fabric until it sits the way you’d like and measure how much you need to deduct. You can easily do this by making a slash in the front pattern piece from the center front to the hip. Then you can overlap the pieces and true (blend) the edges.

The opposite works if you feel the rise is too short. Spread the two pieces by the amount you need and tape in some paper to fill the gap.

Long/Short Crotch

If the overall rise fits well but you have drag lines pointing down from your crotch to the leg the front crotch may be too long. To shorten the front rise only, remove some length from the top waistband seam, or at the inseam. If you do it at the inseam, blend your new inseam line down to mid-thigh with a French curve or ruler.

If the drag lines point up and out, the front crotch may be too short. Add length to the inseam.

Hip and pubic bone adjustments

Horizontal lines from hip to hip may mean that pants are too tight at the hip, try letting them out a little at the hip and blending the seam at both ends into the waist and leg.

If the horizontal drag lines are just at the front crotch, your pubic bone may be flatter than the pattern allows for. To fix this, draw in a shallower front crotch curve. Remember to keep adjustments to 5mm/1/4” at a time.

If you’re getting the dreaded camel toe or vertical drag lines at the front crotch seam. You need to create some room by scooping out the front crotch curve.

Full Tummy

Diagonal drag lines pointing to your stomach or the side seams being pulled forward along with some tightness in the crotch may mean you need a full tummy adjustment. Slash from the center front to the hip and rotate the center seam so that you’re adding length and width to the tummy. If you need to adjust further, you may want to add a little length to the crotch curve by adding to the inseam.

Seat Adjustments

Drag lines pointing to the center back seam and the center back waistband pulling down may require a full seat adjustment. Cut from the center back seam to the hip and rotate so your adding length and width to the seat.

Bagginess under your seat with diagonal drag lines pointing up to the hip indicate can mean you need a flat seat adjustment or there is too much room at the upper thigh. Remove some length from the inseam of the back seat curve. Or shorten the rise by slashing from center back to hip and rotate to overlap the back crotch curve, removing length and width through the seat.

Horizontal drag lines and excess fabric under your seat may mean you need a low seat adjustment. Scoop out the seat curve into more of an “L” shape.

Waistband Fit

If you find your waistband gapes at the back, pinch out excess into a dart. Note the width of the dart along the top edge of the waistband. Cut and hinge your pattern to remove this amount.

Horizontal lines and excess fabric just under your waistband means a shorter depth between hip and waist needs to be accommodated. You can deepen you darts or remove height along top of pant, grading to nothing at hip.

Thigh adjustment

Diagonal drag lines pointing towards your crotch inseam mean more room is needed in the thigh. To fix this, add length to your back crotch at the inseam and grade to nothing at mid-thigh.

Finally – don’t worry about getting it perfect! Aim to get your garment to where you are comfortable and happy. No one but you will notice the drag lines that you might be hung up on as you move and live in your beautifully me-made garment. Remember, it is already likely fitting better than any ready to wear garment would!


Have you made fit adjustments to your Flint’s? I’d love to know.

If you still need the Flint sewing pattern, you can get it here! But first head over to my Sew Along Announcement post to get your discount code for 20% off!! (valid until 19 May 2019)


Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram for your chance to win a Megan Nielsen PDF pattern of your choice!

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram for your chance to win a Megan Nielsen PDF pattern of your choice!

To enter all you have to do is:
1. Follow me @indybindyco 
2. Follow Megan @megannielsenpatterns 
3. Comment on any of my Instagram posts this week letting us know you’re taking part in the sew along.
4. Tag both of us in the caption of a post of your Flint pants (completed or in process!) The more posts you tag us in the more entries you get!
5. Be sure to include the hashtags #sewitwithindybindy and #mnflint so we can keep track of the entries and see your gorgeous makes!!

Happy sewing!!


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