I finally finished my jeans!!!!!! I’m so excited!
Since I tend to do batches of patterns, moving them as a group through the tracing, cutting, and sewing stages, I suppose most of my projects take awhile, but once I get to the sewing part of things, I want the garment to fly off my machine.
But this one got held up.
It wasn’t some dramatic life event that did it (thankfully), it was just the fact that I decided I would work out some of the fitting and design choices at the end, in the sewing phase, instead of deciding everything up front like I usually do.
Some fiddling with fitting can happen in the sewing portion of any project, but these had more the than the usual, and the longer they took, the more frustrated I became, which was increased by the fact that I wasn’t always sure which way I wanted to go.
My initial goal was to make some slightly flared jeans, similar to a pair I got from the thrift store.
To keep this post (and me) from running on forever, let’s tackle this in list form.
Patterns + How I Used Them:
- Jutland Pants from Thread Theory, View 2
- let out pants to full length (normally I shorten them by 1″) and added 2″ at the bottom for a deep hem
- tapered in from hip to knee on outseam by 1/4″ on front and back
- added 1/2″ at bottom to outseam and inseam on front and back tapering to nothing at the knee
- gave all side seams 1″ seam allowances for fitting by adding 3/8″ to existing seam allowances
- taped pocket facing behind front pant piece so that I could add patch pockets to front
- Simplicity 1020, View D, scrub pants
- I used the front pockets as my front patch pockets
- lined pockets with bits of an old sheet
- Morgan Boyfriend Jeans from Closet Case Patterns
- used the curved waistband from this pattern instead of the straight waistband from the Jutland Pants since I needed something that would hug my back rather than gaping; the Morgan Jeans are a non-stretch denim pattern so this seemed like a good choice
- I did not interface my waistband
- Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns
- I used the back pockets as a starting point for my back pockets
Fitting and Style Changes
- I let the inseams out slightly at the crotch, using a 3/8″ seam allowance and tapered back in to my 5/8″ seam allowance about 10″ down the leg; I did this because even though the pants were comfortable, there were a lot of drag lines showing that I needed more thigh room in the front and back
- I widened the flare at the outseams just a little bit more, making my seam allowance at the bottom of the outseam 5/8″ and tapering in to a 1″ seam allowance partway up the leg
- shaped the back pockets to be a little bit different; I had a lot of fun looking at Viapiana Custom Denim for inspiration–Ben’s jeans are works of art!
- I used a combination of the directions for the Jutland Pants and the Ginger Jeans. This time I used the front fly directions for the Ginger Jeans. The Jutland directions have always left me with a strange little fold of fabric at the bottom of the zipper, but using the Ginger directions eliminated that. Yay!!! That is something that has always bothered me, and now I know how to eliminate it. It’s an important lesson for me–sometimes I need to try a different method on a pattern I am used to just following the directions on.
Fitting Changes to Make Next Time
- Add to the back inseam starting at the crotch and tapering down to nothing by a bit more; this will give me more thigh room in the back which is the one place where I still have a lot of drag lines
- Do a full seat adjustment, maybe 1/2″ to 1″ to see if that will raise the top of the back of the pants a bit; I’m trying to eliminate any hint of “Plumber’s Butt” when I sit or crouch 😉
- If making the same style, consider letting out the bottom of the inseam slightly to widen the flare; I meant to do that on this pair, but forgot and finalized the seam by finishing, trimming, and topstitching them before I remembered
There were a lot of missteps along the way. I tried to use the selvedge in decorative ways that didn’t really work out, had to change out the waistband, and almost covered my pockets in bandana fabric, but decided against it in the end. My pants were a bit long as well, so instead of turning them up twice, they are turned up three times, which gives a nice weight, but is probably as thick as I could go without things looking strange. I also forgot to interface the area where my jeans tack/button and buttonhole would go, so I put a little patch of iron-on mending tape on the inside before installing the jeans tack. You can see that below.
And…I may have cut through some of my buttonhole stitching. Oops. Time will tell if that holds up.
- For help in figuring out how to get the leg shape I wanted, I used a tutorial called “Creating a Flare Pant Pattern”, specifically the section entitled, “Pant Flared from the Knee”.
- Once I hit fitting problems, I consulted Pants for Any Body by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch (revised and expanded edition, copyright 1982).
- It was Erica Bunker’s post on her Butterick 6691 jumpsuit where she mentioned the full seat adjustment that helped clue me in to that as a possible solution for the back of my pants being lower than I wanted. I’ve used this adjustment in the past, but had completely forgotten about it.
- The back pocket topstitching templates from Closet Case Patterns were also really helpful. I almost always use these to find fun topstitching designs for my back jeans pockets. Note that you need to sign up for their newsletter to get access to these.
And of course I have to mention the amazing fabric that I used for these pants. It was a birthday present from a friend, and is Japanese Selvedge Denim in a vintage wash/color from Fashion Fabrics Club. (The link goes to all their Japanese Selvedge Denim since I’m not sure which is the exact one I used. It is not an affiliate link.) It’s a nice midweight, and I LOVE it. Fashion Fabrics Club has a lot of selvedge denim at some pretty great prices (and it sometimes goes on sale) if you are looking for some.
The fun tag I used was a gift from a classmate of mine in a class at Pintuck & Purl a few years ago. If you look around on the internet, you can still find these tags from various sellers.
These pants feel great. They aren’t perfect, but after all the struggle and time, they are just what I want. I think my biggest lesson from this project is that I prefer to have my details worked out on the front end of things rather than figuring out as I go in the sewing part of the project. I’m sure there will be projects where I’ll need to make design decisions as I go, but I think I will enjoy my projects more if I can make those choices earlier in the process.
I am SO GLAD these are finished, and I can wear them. I’m finally wrapping up my spring sewing, on the first official day of summer, no less. Happy Summer Solstice!