Pants in Marvelous Designer

Some time ago I had a request from a viewer to do some pants. I got a little caught up in my QCAD programming, but now I'm ready to tackle them.

I will warn you that pants are not simple things to do, when you do them properly. Or I should say when you do them the way that I do, which is incredibly realistic.

We're going to cover three pairs of pants from simple to more complex. If you're new to my videos you need to understand that I don't just show you a garment and say look what I did, isn't it cool? These are detailed teaching videos. I want you to do the cool thing that I did on your own.

Download the jeans Marvelous Designer project file.

Download the board shorts Marvelous Designer project file.

Download the military pants Marvelous Designer project file.

Pants in Marvelous Designer Script (Video Time)

All of the patterns I'll be using have been drafted out in QCAD. By now you're probably getting used to that and it's the easiest way for me to work and explain these concepts to you. It took me a day and a half to make all three pairs of pants. I don't even want to think about how long this would have taken without QCAD.


Board Shorts (02:20)

Our first set of pants is actually a pair of shorts. I think you would call these board shorts. They have a drawstring waist. There are no pockets on these.

I started out with the basic block pants for the male MD avatar. The first thing I did was cut the pants off at the knee. I used the knee line included in the Notes layer for reference.

These basic block pants are quite high on the waist, so I removed 4cm from the top of the front and back. I also drew out the waistband, which is going to be 6cm tall. The total waist measurement is 74.37 long. I want the waistband oversized, because I like that look.

The basic block pants have long crotch extension on them. I moved in the front crotch point by 1cm and the back by 2cm. Then I dropped the crotch by 2cm. Board shorts are a little baggy in the crotch and I don't want these to ride up on the avatar.

I copied all my adjusted patterns over and added my 5cm x 5cm box. All of this is on the Final MD layer. I then hid all the other layers and did a Bitmap Export.

Over in MD, I just traced out my patterns. I don't trace out rectangles. Since I have the measurements, I just use the rectangle tool and type in the size. That's what I did for the waistband.

I used copy, symmetric paste for the front and back. I use this feature a lot.

I generally leave my traced patterns on top of my bitmap image and put the copies up on the avatar in the 2d window. In this first example, I've arranged the patterns a specific way to demonstrate.

This is the way you should lay out pants patterns when you are just learning. It makes it much less confusing when you go to sew the seams.

Put the two fronts over the grey avatar silhouette. Then place the backs out to the sides. Make sure you place the back with the side seam on the left next to the front with the side seam on the right. This aligns them for sewing.

Sewing Pants in Order (05:20)

Here's the order of sewing:

  1. Sew the side seams together front to back. This is easy now that they are right next to each other. If there are points within the side seams, you'll need to use the free sewing tool to connect them. That is the case here, where you can see these added points.
  2. Sew the front crotch curves to each other. You can use the segment sewing tool, since there are no mid points on the curves.
  3. Sew the back crotch curves to each other, again with the segment sewing tool.
  4. Sew the inseam of the front to the inseam of the back. Sew the same fronts and backs as you did for the side seam.

In the 3D Window, right click flip horizontally both back patterns. Then use the avatar arrangement points to align the patterns to the avatar. If possible, try not to overlap the patterns. Also, look at the seam line pairs in the window. Align the patterns so the seam line pairs are on either side of the avatar's legs. If the seam line pairs go through the avatar, it can make the simulation more time consuming and you might have issues on more complicated garments.

If you're using a pattern rectangle, now is a good time to hide it in the 3D window before you do any simulations.

Waistband Choices (08:08)

Next you need to make some decisions regarding the waistband. Where do you want the vertical seam to be? If you want the seam in the back, use the front arrangement point at the avatars belly button and wrap it. If you want the seam in the front, right click the waistband and flip horizontally. Then use the arrangement point at the avatars center back waist.

These shorts will have the seam in the front, so I had to flip horizontally and use the point at center back. If the waistband is long, change the Offset in the Property Editor, to prevent it from wrapping around itself.

To attach the waistband, use the blue dot pick point to get your orientation for sewing. You'll want to use the free sewing tool and the one to many function. In this case, I used the tool from the right point in the 2D window to the left point on the waistband. Then I selected the right point of the front on the left in the 2D window, held down the shift key, selected the left point of the same, then the right point of the back at the far left in the 2D window, then the left point of the same, then the right point of the back at the far right, then the left point of the same, and finally the right point of the front on the right and the left point of the same. Make sure you don't let up the shift key, or you have to delete anything that sticks and start all over.

Finally, just sew the waistband to itself at the center. Now you can simulate and the shorts will come together.

I added a couple of ties to the front, some piping down the sides and put some bright summer colors on the shorts.

Jeans (11:23)

Our next pair of pants are jeans. It is very difficult to discern the details in these when they are a solid color. They really need texture applied that includes stitching. You don't realize how much character is added to jeans simply with fading and stitching. They are very important.

Here's the pants basic block starting point. I subtracted 2 cm from the front crotch extension and 3 cm from the back crotch extension. I want these jeans to be fitted.

The create the waistband, I removed 4 cm from the top of the front and back. Then I created a waistband that is 4 cm high and the length of the avatar's waist measurement.

To create the separate yoke piece for the back, I drew a line across following specific points that I marked on the pattern. Then I shortened the dart to the new line.

I removed the yoke from the back pattern. We don't want a dart in the yoke, so I rotated the pattern to close the dart.

The front side pocket is created by cutting away part of the front. Then a new piece is created that goes behind the front that includes the missing piece and the actual pocket. You can draw the new pocket on the front and use it for reference. After the new pocket is drawn, I separated it from the front. You can see the new pocket curve here on the front.

I also drew in the fly for the jeans. It is 4cm from the edge with a nice curve down to the crotch seam.

Next we need to work on the back pocket. The back pocket is tipped, but not in line with the yoke. The right side is actually a little bit lower than the left. The pocket is also not square, it tapers in at the bottom and then pointed. Now is a good time to add any stitching lines, if you want.

There is no need to remove the pocket draft from the back. We can trace it out in place in MD.

The pattern is all laid out in MD. Here you can see the layout I typically use. The traced pattern is left down on my pattern layer and the other side copies are up on the avatar silhouette.

I traced the front, the back and the yoke. Then I created the waistband using the rectangle tool. Make sure when you are tracing the front that you follow the cut out curve, not the pocket piece. Everything except the waist band was copied and symmetric pasted above.

Next, I created the front pockets right on top of the front. You'll notice that I added some additional points to the pocket pattern. The two points are at the ends of the pocket curves on the front. These are helpful after the piece is pulled away in the 2D window.

When I pull away the pocket pattern, you can see that I've added two additional points to the front, too. These points show where the pocket piece edges are and will be used when sewing.

I should point out that I chose to do this pocket real-world. You could just create a separate piece that is only made of the front cutout. I did it this way for a couple reasons. First, I like the pocket to gape a little bit. I think it looks more realistic. Second, you can see the pocket bulge on the outside of the pants. Here it's a little extreme, but the thickness could be turned down a bit in a final render, so it's not quite this noticeable and texturing would hide it even more. However, I think it's important to have it here. It just feels more real to me.

You may notice that I didn't put a coin pocket on these jeans. Most jeans have them, so this may be something you want to do with your texturing.

The fly was done next. Although the QCAD right front pattern has the fly design, the fly should be on the left front. I traced out the fly, creating a separate pattern piece. Then I right clicked, flipped horizontally in the 2D window. That made the fly face the other direction.

The fly piece is used as a fly extension on the avatar's right front. That's why it is sitting here next to the pattern. This piece is sewn on to extend the fly. The extension sits behind the actual fly on the left front. If you look at a pair of pants, you'll see this is how it works in the real-world. Also, the pant fly should not be sewn closed. They gape naturally, so you need this fabric behind or you'd see the avatar's body through the gap.

To create the actual fly, I put in an internal line following the guideline.

The back pocket was very easy. I just used the polygon tool to trace out the pocket. I moved the pocket to the side and right clicked, Copy as Internal Shape. I placed the internal shape directly on the back pants piece.

At this point I used the avatar arrangement points to put align all the pieces in the 3D window for the first simulation. Then I started to sew. Let's take a look at some of the seam line pairs to see how this was done.

Do the waistband and front pocket. Sewed vertical seam of waistband in front. The fly extension is not sewn. Problem sewing side seam, front and pocket to back and yoke. Seams, can't do many to many, so create a point the distance of the yoke back at the side seam on the pocket front. Then sew the rest of the back to the remaining pocket front and front.

After everything was sewn and simulated, I made changes to the waistband by adding the button and belt loops.

Extending a Sewn Pattern Piece (22:50)

As I said before, the waistband was simply sewn up in the front to start. I wanted it to overlap with avatar left side over the right to follow the fly. I used a little trick to pull this off.

If you add points and length to an existing pattern piece that has already been sewn, MD won't sew it automatically. Watch as I demonstrate. If I add two points to the end of the waistband and then move them to extend it, the seam doesn't extend.

This is what I did to create the extension that I needed to sew to the fly extension in the back. I deleted the existing vertical seam sewing the waistband in a circle. Then I extended the end and sewed it to the fly extension. This gave me a lot of freedom and the ability to make that overlap as big as I wanted.

Then I created the button to hold the two ends together. I didn't want to just make the waistband longer to start, because I wanted the initial simulation to be very clean. I like to add details at the end and this allowed me to adjust the fly extension, if I needed to.

Belt Loops (25:37)

The belt loops were next. I drew one out and copied it four times. I created internal lines at the top of waistband and sewed the top of the loops in place. Once all the loops were hanging down off the waistband, I moved them around. When you are putting internal lines on the waistband, you really don't have any reference points. Sewing them just at the top allows you to see where they end up in relation to the rest of the pants. To move them, just select the internal line and nudge it around using your right and left arrow keys.

The default nudge value in MD is 10, which is too much in my opinion. To change it, on the main menu select Preferences > 2D Pattern Window Properties. The setting is Arrow Key Movement and I always set mine to 1. This allows very fine adjustments.

I used the blue dot to mark where the bottom of the belt loop was in the 3D window. Then I simply pasted an internal line there in the 2D window. You'll notice that the back belt loop spans the left and right yoke pieces, so you have to create a line on each that is half the required length.

I sewed all the belt loops to the new lines and then nudged them until they looked good in the simulation.

The last thing I did was right click, Layer Clone on the two back pockets. You probably noticed that I have four of them. This causes the pockets to push out for more realism.

That was it for the jeans. Are you guys still with me? Things are about to get pretty complicated. The jeans were easy compared to the BDU pants we're about to tackle.

Military BDU (28:53)

I have a pair of these pants myself. I love them and they are very old and worn. They are super comfortable. The MD pants are based on mine with nearly all the details. There is only one thing that I left out, and that is the side waist adjustment straps.

You can see them in this picture. This allows the pants to be synched up or loosened. This would be necessary in a military pant that has to fit lots of different body types. MD doesn't have any garment hardware, so this would be hard to pull off.

We'll start with the standard pants basic block. Just like the jeans, we'll subtract 1 cm from the front crotch extension and 2 cm from the back.

I've removed 4cm from the top of the pants and created a waistband that is 4.5 cm tall.

These pants don't have a back dart, so I've rotated the pattern to close the dart and adjusted the outline.

Pockets (30:19)

Just line the jeans, we need a front side pocket. The front is cut in nearly a straight line. It doesn't have the strong curve, like jeans. The pocket itself is very deep. You can see that I've created the fly, too. This fly is much wider than the jeans.

Next is the back pocket. This is an interesting pocket in real life. All you can see from the outside is the flap, but look how big the actual pocket is hiding underneath. It extends from the waistband down quite a ways. Although I did draw out the inner pocket here, I didn't put it in MD. I was concerned about bulk. The only thing I used in MD was the flap.

There are two cargo pockets on the pants. The pockets are located on the side seams with half to the front and half to the back. The pocket has three pleats in it. You can see that flattened out it is very wide. The total width is 40.4 cm, but it's only 22 cm wide when folded. I've draw in the guidelines for pocket placement on front and back with 11 cm width on each piece.

There are two reinforcement panels on the pants. These are separate pieces of fabric that are sewn on top of the regular pants. There is a crotch reinforcement that provides durability in the seat area and a knee reinforcement. The guides are drawn on the pants. These can be used to create the separate pieces and create the internal lines for sewing.

In MD, I started out with the basic pants, waistband and front pockets. I had those all arranged and simulated before I started adding everything else. That process was virtually the same as the jeans.

To make the knee and crotch reinforcement, the process is just like the back pockets on the jeans. Use the Polygon tool to trace out the pieces. Then copy as internal shape and place it on the pattern that the piece is sewn to. The flap for the back was draw using the Rectangle tool and then sewn to an internal line.

Pleating the Cargo Pockets (32:59)

The pleated cargo pockets took some work. The inside fold lines are set to a strength of 25 and fold angle of 5. The outside fold lines are set to a strength of 25 and fold angle of 350. None of that is too complicated, but the seams definitely are.

Each of the pleats are sewn to each other, but you must make sure you reverse sew them. When fabric is folded on top of itself, one side is face up and the other is face down.

The tricky part was sewing the pocket to the pants. For one thing, the internal line you are sewing to is on two different pattern pieces. There is no tool to sew many-to-many, so you have to break it up.

The other problem is that you can't sew the pleat edges to the pant internal lines. If you just sewed it all the way across, the pocket would gather.

Use the Free Sewing tool and select the entire internal line on the back ending at the side seam. Then sew to the pocket holding shift so you can skip the pleats. MD will show you a blue dot when the end of the back internal line length has occurred. Stop the seam at this point. Now repeat the process starting with the front internal line at the side seam towards the center front. Start at the end of the seam you just sewed on the pocket and skip the pleats. It should show the blue dot at the very corner of the pocket, if you've done it correctly.

Once you have the pocket done. Copy and flip it for the other side. The pleats should open to the back of the pants. Don't forget to flip the second pocket, or it will be backwards.

Don't copy the pocket before you have one done. If you copy it later, all your internal lines will copy over and you don't have to do them again. Also, you've already simulated the first pocket, this will save simulation time and possible problems on the second one.

When the cargo pockets are all in place, go ahead and sew the flap to the top. You can see that my flaps are sticking out kinda weird. That's because I have the fabric set to denim and that's very stiff for such a small flap. I have also sewn the top of the pocket to the flap, so it doesn't hang open. That causes the seam to be very stiff. The real pants have buttons to close these flaps and the buttons are hidden inside. You can't see them looking at the pants.

You could use pins to pull the flaps closed, if you wanted to. I don't mind them sticking out because I think it gives the pants more dimension.

I did the extension trick on the waistband, just like the jeans and created the button. The belt loops came next. You'll notice that they are spaced unevenly in the very front. This is how they look on my real pants.

Finally, I applied Layer Clone to the back pocket flaps and the crotch seat reinforcement.

I learned something about adding this much detail in MD. All of this fabric weighs a lot. Remember that MD simulates gravity and mass. I was constantly pulling his pants up and had to pin the pants to the avatar to do the catwalk animation.
The other thing is all the bulk. This pants pattern was perfect for the shorts, but it's too small with all these pockets. You can see it pulling across the front. I should have drafted the pants wider in the hips and thighs to accommodate all the excess bulk of pockets. I'll remember that in the future.

That's the end of our first pants adventure. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Please let me know, if there's anything in particular you'd like to see.


marvelous designer md project files