I have one more handmade Christmas gift to share with you today. This should have been a birthday gift long before it was a Christmas gift but, like so much of the sewing I aspire to, it got waylaid by life. This project is the Jutland Pants from Thread Theory, a menswear pattern for casual or cargo pants.
I have used it many times before. These pants are for my husband.
I used 100% ringspun cotton duck canvas from Big Duck Canvas in olive. The fabric is heavyweight, at 12 oz./square yard, and is a single fill weave (I’m still not fully clear on what that means, since I’m not a weaver, but they explain it on the site). This yardage is factory seconds, but I didn’t find any flaws in the fabric. It’s a nice, wide fabric at 67″.
My husband is definitely worth sewing for. While he is particular about what he likes, he is a very grateful and appreciative recipient, even if I don’t quite hit the mark. And these are definitely a little off, although they are close.
Like any good sewist, I took measurements beforehand. He told me that the pants I had made previously for him still fit, but as someone who has sewn for a long time now, I know that one of the most important commands of garment sewing is: DO NOT SKIP MEASURING. So I had to do it. The tape measure showed that he was a slightly different size than before, so that’s what I traced, with plans to transfer all our former tweaks to this version. I have made this pattern so many times that we have a dizzying number of notes on what to tweak where–it got a little confusing. However, I made myself a master list, and went to town.
Alterations and Tweaks
This time around, we planned to shorten the pants by an inch, as before, even though he is just over six feet tall. We wanted to add pocket reinforcements (see below) like I had seen on some Carhartt overalls I have, but once Christmas started approaching, that mod got tossed out. We would have had to change the pocket shape and redraft the interior of the pocket, which doesn’t look too hard, but would have taken more time.
We wanted to raise the side cargo pockets by 5.5 inches if shortening the pants in the middle (something I should have done but forgot) or 6.5 inches if shortening from the bottom (which I ended up doing). He wanted the belt loops to be longer than on the original pattern to fit his favorite belt better, so we used the belt to measure the exact length + ease that we wanted. He also wanted one double belt loop on the front like a pair of pants he has from Duluth Trading Co.
Also, we decided to use self fabric for the pockets. One of my biggest mistakes on an earlier pair was using lawn for the pocket bags. Those pockets wore out long before the pants did and had to be continually fixed.
I worked steadily on these pants throughout December, and I was nearly finished on Christmas Eve, but with only two hours before church, and in desperate need of a shower, I had to put them on hold. Rushing tends to lead to mistakes, and I didn’t want to have to redo anything, so the finishing touches had to come a few days after Christmas.
As for the pattern itself, it is good overall, but pattern piece 17 (the hem reinforcement) is 1/8″ too wide, and the waistband is about 1 3/8″ too long in the size 39. I’m not sure if this has been fixed on the PDF or in reprints of the pattern. I think I have one of the earlier paper copies.
This size is also longer in the leg than the previous size I made for my husband, so in addition to the inch I usually take off, which I completely forgot to take off at the lengthen/shorten line, I had to take another inch and a half off the bottom.
And that meant that my carefully planned cargo pocket placement wasn’t quite where I wanted it.
Luckily I sewed my Velcro in much better than I have in the past!
The knee reinforcements were also slightly off, but not too bad.
I still can’t believe that after all my planning, I forgot to shorten the pattern! Ugh.
I also meant to try to fit these as I went, but that’s not very easy to do with the order of construction, and I just plain forgot! Once I get into a pattern, I like to just follow the directions, which means I can forget extra things I plan to do if I don’t write myself notes. And in the end? The pants were slightly loose on him. Dang it! It turns out I should have listened to him in the first place and gone with his original size, even though his measurements put him in a slightly larger size. On the up side, he always wears a belt, and he is a very grateful gift recipient because he knows how much time and work go into anything I make for him.
Despite all these minor missteps, the pants actually fit pretty well, and he has worn them a ton. They are definitely sturdy. I was afraid they might be too stiff, but he really likes them and thinks the fabric is great, with the exception that some white marks have mysteriously appeared with wearing and washing. I think it adds to the weathered look, myself.
Personally, I find sewing for other people a bit nerve-wracking. When I make something for myself, I decide which mistakes I can live with and which I want to fix. When I sew for others, it feels like I need to take things up a notch, fix more of the mistakes, and aim a little closer to perfect. The truth is, I have the skills to make a garment look good even when it’s not perfect, but you know how it is–you want that gift to be extra special–your best work. While I still prefer to mostly sew (and knit) for myself, I am beginning to see the joy in making something that’s “just right” for someone you really care about. So, while these pants didn’t turn out as close to perfect as I would have liked, they are still really great pants, and my husband has already worn them a lot. All in all–worth it. 🙂