{Summer Shorts Feature} Megan Nielsen's Flint Muslin

It's Friday, friends! And the first installment in the Summer Short Series. This week I muslined the Flint shorts from Megan Nielsen.

First impressions

  • It's a REALLY clever design. I love how the waistband closure is done - it's concealed in the waistband itself versus adding bulk to the side, front, or back seams. (I'll have photos of that when I do the finished version.) 
  • The pocket size is fantastic! Plenty of room (and ease) available to make them functional (as opposed to the too small or too tight pockets that plague most women's garments).
  • I LOVE me a generous hem. This one is a whopping 2 inches, and it really stabilizes the hem shape. (Shallow hems tend to curl/flip with washing and/or wear.)
  • The inseam length is modest and practical without being overwhelming - even given the difference between my 5'2.5 stature and the 5'9 drafting height. 

The only two bummers here are: there are no back pockets, and there's a print guide - but it doesn't specify which pages to print if you're sewing the shorts version. I meant to do a true page count , but gave up when I realized I'd printed the whole pant legs, and that my printer got all fritzy on me and printed some duplicate pages and omitted others. Counting the pages that make up my "V3" pattern pieces though, there are about 20. 

Now onto the fun stuff...

The Muslin

I picked my size based on measures - a 27.5" waist and a 39" hip fit me right in the size "Small" (28/38). Thank you - MN size chart - for the boost to my ego! No size blending necessary, which is nice (and unusual for my "pear"-ness!

With my widths accommodated, I start my alterations by correcting lengths.

My standard petite rise adjustment was made slightly more drastic because I'm working from a "Tall" pattern. I took off 1.25 inches halfway up the front/back rise. (In a later graphic it says 1.5 - but the actual change is 1.25. I had to swim out of the black hole that is making changes to a gif file at some point, so the image is what it is.) I overlap the pocket/front piece and fold them all at once so I know they'll match up perfectly when I go to sew them later. Then I stick them in the sewing machine and run a basting stitch along each piece individually to keep my changes consistent (and flexible, if I decide I need to take out more or less length later).  You'll see there are sharp corners now where we adjusted height. We'll take a straight edge and "true" up those patterns pieces later so our final seams are nice and smooth.

"Ok but how did you know HOW much fabric you needed to take out And WHERE you needed to take it from, for that matter?" 

So glad you asked! When I put my pre-rise-adjustment muslin on, I had considerable "puddling." The excess fabric has no height to cover, so it collapses onto itself and becomes a puddle of fabric. 

These photos illustrate the before/after well - with some exaggeration because I'm leaning forward being a weirdo. Pay no mind to the puckering pockets. I hadn't adjusted the rise on those, yet, since this was a sort of an "after-thought" rise adjustment, so they were sort of spilling out of this version. It made the pleats bulky, too, so this is no indication of how the front piece will lay on my final version.. just how long the rise should be. 


My second length adjustment is the good ol' saggy booty "scoop."  (If my family genes are any indication - my small chest will defy gravity forever, but my booty never stood a chance. 😜) 

There was a LOT of confusion in the Capsule group when I started using the phrase "Scoop Out." And truthfully, it was my own doing. What I was doing made perfect sense in my head, but without all the fitting language I needed to share it with others, I'm sure my explanations just incoherently dribbled from my mouth.  

So what is it? It's technically known as a "low butt" adjustment.  And it's the change I make to the curve of the back seat shape to prevent an unsightly wedgie. This adjustment creates more VERTICAL SPACE right where low-bums need it. That's it. 

Now, I've done an entire blog post on this adjustment, instructing people to use their flexible ruler to copy their bum's shape exactly and take the guesswork out of what their adjustment should look like and where it should be. I stand by it, but you should know that it illustrates TWO adjustments. Low Butt + Full Butt. Wedgie removal "scoops down" the seat seam, while the larger inseam creates more depth for larger bums. 

Ultimately though, we're not talking about a huge change. If you do this, and come up with more than 1/4, 3/8 MAX, worth of alteration, you've overdone it and probably needed a bigger size to start with.  Remember! You can size up (or down, for small/flat butts) just where you need it by only changing the back pattern piece.

You can see the amount I "scooped" in the instagram photo below - but put your blinders on to the rest of the red markings for now, please!  

With my length adjustments done, I shifted focus to the width. 

Starting at the top, and working our way down (as we do when fixing fit!) the front waist *was* a bit too snug (not uncommon for swayback, to have a belly that spills forward and takes up more than it's fair share of the total waist measurement.) Initially I said "I'll just let out the pleats a little bit to make more space!" This is the red markings you see narrowing the pleat at the front pattern piece. ...But then I wrote my lecture on fixing fit vs changing design  and realized that this breaks my own rule. Sure, it solves the fit issue, but design-wise, Megan Nielsen planned to have more ease than that in the front of these shorts, and I'd be cheating you all of an accurate portrayal of her design. So in the name of authenticity, I took that 1/4 in I'd have "stolen" from the pleats, and added it to the front/center seam instead. 

There is more than one way to skin a cat, so they say, and for every way you show me to do an alteration, I could probably show you another. The trick is knowing which is easiest, and what possible side effects each method could have on the rest of the garment. We're talking 1/4 inch here though - so I'm not too worried about that here. 

As for the rest of the garment?? The widths really fit alright, actually, except for my usual problem area. My hips aren't wide, but my bum (seat) is DEEP. So I increased the inseam on the back pattern piece to make more room at the crotch point. (This was also illustrated in the seat adjustment tutorial) Worked like a charm. 

BUT(T)! My legs are proportionally smaller than my bum. If I let the back piece drape off my cheeks as-drafted, there's going to be quite the gap where my legs get much slimmer. And where there is gap, there is visible under-cheek. NO thank you. 

So I taper the inseam FROM the next size up (M) at the crotch point, TO the next size DOWN at the shorts hem. Easy enough, right!?

All in, the changes look like:


They're all pretty minor adjustments - as you can see from the before/after - and the overall shape doesn't change very much.  Hopefully, the more you see these changes, the less intimidating they'll become. Now if you pardon me, I have a final version to make, and the Hepburn shorts to stitch up next! Hit me with your questions/comments in the comments below!