Completed: Blue Jeans

In spring 2012, I was frustrated trying to find a pair of RTW jeans that fit my shorty legs. I have a 27″ inseam and that just doesn’t exist in combination with a 40″ hip size! The clothing industry thinks that someone with a 27″ inseam must have a 27″ hip. I went home and ripped apart an old pair of jeans that fit me fairly well despite being too long in the legs. I carefully noted the construction steps as I pulled out stitches.  I drafted a pattern from the pieces of the old pair and tweaked the fit to my liking.  At the time I didn’t know what a “flat felled” seam was so I noted it down as a “z-shaped seam” and even pressed the two pieces to hook into each other and stitched them both from the top! Ahh, how far one comes in sewing in such a short time!

Anyway… I made 4 pairs at the time and wore them to death, replacing snaps, zippers, and belt loops from time to time.

Fast forward a year and a half and wind the bathroom scale back 20 pounds and the old jeans just don’t do the trick any more. I’ve been in desperate need of some new jeans since I live in them nearly every day during the cold months. It took me a while to find the right kind of denim that I like. I want something with substantial weight so they will hold up to the abuse I give them and I wanted something dark but not midnight blue. Jo-Ann’s finally got the right kind of denim in stock so I snatched up enough to make 3 pairs. I may be going back for more.

Here is the first of what I hope will be many more pairs:

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I pulled out that old pattern I made up on freezer paper and folded out about an inch on each of the front and back legs, then scaled down the back yoke and waistband to fit.

Somewhere in the process I screwed up the waistband adjustment and it ended up gaping at my back by several inches. If you stood above me you’d be able to see clear down to my rump! There was no salvation for that straight cut fold-over waistband. I think it was because while my hips shrunk 2″ my waist shrunk nearly 4″ and now I have a major proportion difference that can’t be answered with a straight waistband no matter how great the back yoke is angled.

I ripped out and tossed the straight waistband. I pulled out the center back flat-felled seam on the back yoke and re-stitched it angled in more toward center. Then I pulled out my trusty Sewaholic Thurlow Trouser pattern to borrow the waistband. It took a bit of adjusting to eliminate the button tab that the Thurlow has, as well as changing it from a center back seam with the adjustable extension to a cut-on-the-fold piece. I did cut it with a quilting cotton lining for the waistband this time which made for much easier stitching without having to go through 12 layers of denim.

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However, my poor little machine still gave me a hard time. Like this:

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That waistband must have been re-stitched a half-dozen times before it was presentable.

And thanks to my little after-the-fact back yoke adjustment I ended up with a pointy tail:

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Oops! I guess I’ll just have to wear this pair with a long top every time.

Overall, the fit is much improved over my old jeans but it could use some adjustment. I like my jeans close-fitting though the seat and thighs, tight actually, but loose from the knees down. I think I went a little overboard on snugging up this pair across the hips. They pull at the side seams near the front pockets because there’s too much junk in the trunk for this size. I need to let those out a little on the next pair.

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I also set the back pockets too far from the center. I need to make them a bit deeper to accomodate my phone, too.

I’m very pleased with the adjustment I made using the curve of the Thurlow as starting point for the new waistband. That change will stay for the next pair.

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3 thoughts on “Completed: Blue Jeans

  1. I so admire anybody who tackles jeans making – and you’ve done it with a self drafted pattern and a bit of on the fly adjustment! I think the fit is looking good – better than you could get in RTW – I can’t wait to see how you go with your next pair.
    Maybe I need to make 2014 the year I have a go at jeans…

  2. I am always impressed when I see someone make jeans… It is on my list and next year I hope to gather up enough courage to give it a try. (I will have to at some point as I am starting a 2nd year of no RTW clothes buying and my jeans are getting OLD!)

  3. Pingback: Completed: Raglan Sweater & Jeans | Vint Hill Vintage

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