My Grandmama taught me to sew quilts when I was about 6 years old and I worked as a seamstress in my in-laws’ upholstery shop when I was in college but it wasn’t until I was in my mid 20’s that I started sewing clothing. And I started with jeans of all things because I couldn’t buy jeans that fit me properly. My super-short inseam meant that I even had to shorten the hem on petite cut jeans but then the fitted area of the knee was too low on my calf. Plus if they fit my butt, they gaped open at the waist. I decided disassemble an old worn out pair of jeans and trace off a pattern from the pieces, making adjustments where I thought necessary.
I took notes as I carefully ripped apart each seam. I had no idea how to accomplish some of the construction techniques or even what to call them. I have to laugh at myself a little now when reading my original notes and “pattern directions.” I called the way the seams were constructed a “Z seam” because the seam allowances looked like the letter Z in profile. I haphazardly concocted a way to sew such a seam and after making about 7 pairs of jeans in this awkward way, I finally learned that this was a “flat-felled seam” and the proper way to sew such a seam! Thankfully despite such naiveté I managed to sew up some serviceable jeans and continued to make jeans from the traced off pattern for years. I’m really hard on my jeans so that amounted to about 20 pairs, perhaps, each slightly improved over the last.
I decided it was time to try a real pattern to hopefully achieve a better fit. After all, that original pair of jeans I traced was stretched, worn, and warped and then I hacked and adjusted without really knowing what I was doing. I’m not keen on skinny jeans and I wanted to avoid frumpy old lady jeans which were all I saw coming from big pattern companies so it took me a while to find something I liked enough to try.
Finally, with Indie Pattern Month and a little inspiration from The Monthly Stitch blog contests, I found the Birkin Flares from Baste + Gather. Woohoo!
I’ve stitched up a few pairs of these now and you can read all about my experiences with this pattern over on The Monthly Stitch. Be sure to stop by next week to vote for the first of the Indie Pattern Month Challenges.