So in the run up to the wedding I realised my jeans needed replacing. About the same time I got inspired by Alida in project Sewn. I knew a pair of dark wide legged jeans would be flattering and classy, and no shop sells this style at the moment so I could justify the extra work. I also had the simplicity perfect fit 2562 pattern (which is either OOP, or going that way at the time of writing) which has been in my pattern stash for a while, so once I was back after honeymoon and I had knocked out a few quick and satisfying projects I decided it was time.
Instead of making a muslin I used fabulous Swedish tracing paper which is a type of felt which you can write on, and is thin enough to trace through, but you can also sew it. This means you can fit using it, made a patten alteration and then fit again without having to recut. Fabulous. I cut the size 20 in a curvy fit and then made a number of adjustments:
- lengthened the crotch for a curvaceous seat
- lengthened the back piece below the waistband and at the side seams of the front tapering to nothing at the front centre (using a wedge) for a long body
- added a wedge to add extra width to the top of the back piece side seam
With that done I cut out the trousers in a dark grey denim with a slight stretch. I cut out the pockets and facings in a cotton I had in my stash to reduce bulk (a good use for scraps). The instructions were OK, although as with any trousers with a fly and pockets, probably not for beginners. They definitely had a few quirks for example the first instruction was to stay stitch one piece, and then instruction 4 is to stay stitch another 4 pieces, and another 4 steps. Why was the stay stitching not in one item, and why were the other 4 steps not separate items? Further, the pocket facing is finished using edge stitching or a serger, and the front yoke is finished using bias tape. Why is only one part of the pattern finished using bias tape? If I had a guess I would suggest the instructions were written by more than one person who didn’t fully cooperate to ensure they followed through.
In terms of construction I used a few different techniques to those in the pattern – using flat felled seams on the inside and outside leg seams like a traditional jean, adding belt loops to the waistband, top stitching all seams, and using buttons for the fly closure.
The instructions are written so you sew the fly and pockets first, attach the waistband then then baste all the long seams to check fit before sewing the last seams. When I basted the long seams together however I found the fit was not as may have been hoped. First of all they came out much much wider than had looked when I tried on my half mock-up – in total after some pinning for experimentation I took 4cm off both side seams!!! the negative consequence of taking so much off was that the pocket opening got much much smaller – thankfully I have small hands so I can still use them, but it is very narrow. I also took 1 inch off the inner leg seam all along, and a large wedge (about 2 inches at the top) of the centre back seam to get the trousers to roughly fit at the waist. Finally I reshaped the front seam below the fly to more of a J-curve shape as I had gathering around the crotch.
In the end the fit is still not perfect – the front is too high, the waist still a bit loose, and there is still excess fabric and gathering at the front and back of the crotch, but trying to fix this is likely to compromise the wearability of the trousers. I am getting more conscious of these issues as I wear them, I am not sure if this is me, or whether the fabric is stretching with wear. For these reasons these jeans are a wearable muslin. I want to make another pair of similar jeans using the same pattern with suitable modifications in the next few months.
my learning points for the next version of this pattern
- don’t use the pocket facing piece – it is unnecessary
- use bias tape for neat finishes on all pieces
- lengthen fly pieces to match length I added to the crotch
- lengthen waistband pieces to match the changes I made to the pattern
- and all the other fit adjustments I made
and for making wide legged jeans again:
- use a thicker topstitching thread, the one I used sunk into the fabric
- I want to add patch pockets to the back – I hadn’t realised how often I stand with my hands in my back pockets
- improve my flat-felled seams sewing technique!