Blue Jeans Baby

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Hello, hello! Hello, November and goodbye to my favorite month of the year. Am I in the minority in that I love autumn? I can finally spend blissful hours in my garden without sweating or getting attacked by mosquitoes. But it’s more than the weather; I love the transitions, slowness and more contemplative emotions of fall. It’s also the time of my birthday, so I was born for it.

So this is what became of my jeans project. Since my last post about these, I took a long & scenic route to fitting. I’d take them apart, re-cut and stitch them back together, preen in front of the mirror, pin out here and there, take them apart again, then take a few days off and distract myself with a fun dyeing project so I didn’t get overwhelmed. Wash, rinse, repeat.

self-drafted-jeans

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what’s going on with this outfit. I have had one of those months where I feel like throwing my clothes out and starting all over. It doesn’t help that most of my winter clothes are in our attic, stored from our move this spring. What I really wanted to do was roll up the jeans and wear a long tunic–a favorite style of mine–but then you wouldn’t get the all-important booty shot!

self-drafted-jeans-back

This month I’ve been working on a lot of pattern drafting projects. These kinds of projects are slow and full of learning, and really excite me, because they involve learning the fundamentals of fit and not just fixing symptoms. So while fitting these jeans, I went down some very fascinating rabbit holes reading about pant design. I read online and off, including stuff from arcane men’s drafting journals.

One of my very scenic side roads involved watching the videos in my long-ago purchased Craftsy Jeanius course, and then spending an evening making a pattern from one of my favorite pairs of wide-legged jeans. They are a totally different style than what I’m working on but the resulting pattern was very educational! (The front leg of this pattern was so much narrower than the back, for instance, while almost every draft I’ve seen makes front and back nearly equal.) I still plan to make up the pattern I got from my jeans, but that will have to wait for another rainy day. If you have been frustrated with jeans patterns, but already have a pair that you love, I’d recommend trying this class as one way to start.

So I left this project with a head full of fitting ideas, but for now this is how far I got. I love some things and am bothered by others, which I will fix the next go-around. Because of all my unpicking, recutting and re-stitching until I had just a shred of a seam allowance left in some parts. The waistband and fly are attached by something like 1/8″, and I couldn’t fit a fly that covers the zipper. Don’t tell the jeans that, because they seem to be holding up just fine! Unfortunately, I also had no length left for hemming so had to settle on an odd ankle length.

The scenic route was totally worth it! Drafting my own was worth it. I’m not sure I had a clear idea of the style I was after, hence the scenic route, but the process got me a lot closer to learning about my fit, and I ended up with a couple of potential patterns which won’t require starting a major fit process all over again. Win win!

Alrighty, who hasn’t tried jeans yet?

Details:
Pattern: self-drafted (starting with Bunka Pants & Skirts, with details like the yoke and pockets copied from other jeans)
Stretch denim: Gorgeous Fabrics, but at least five years old!
Pocketing: B. Black & Sons
Rivets & Button: Cast Bullet

31 comments

  1. Tia Dia says:

    Lovely jeans! Your patience paid off. They are beautiful. And you’re not alone in your love of autumn. I love the change to cooler weather, warm wools and glorious colour everywhere.

  2. Ginger says:

    Ooh, these look great! The fit is really lovely! I’m one of the chickens who still hasn’t tried jeans. I just don’t have the confidence in my abilities!

    • Amy says:

      Oh girl, you underestimate yourself. You definitely have the abilities! The fitting is the hard part, but I think you would get there pretty fast.

  3. Sewsirius says:

    Your jeans are great! I love the fit…your “scenic” fitting route was well worth it. I also love the colour, would work well with any season even winter colours will be lifted with this lighter blue…gorgeous!

    The Jeanius Craftsy class was one of my first Craftsy classes I took…but sadly I haven’t made a single pair! I don’t really like jeans (terrible I know!) but my daughter does and I took the class with her in mind.

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! I’ve taken three Craftsy classes now but haven’t done any of the projects in them. A perfectly legit thing to do! I mostly just like to see the methods the teachers use and then I import what I like into some other project. I’m not much of a jeans person, either, which is partly why I had trouble figuring out what style I like.

  4. I have definitely taken some scenic routes in fitting pants, and I agree it’s been worth it! I have made myself some corduroys which are without question the best fitting pants I’ve ever owned. Not that they don’t have little issues which I’d like to correct in the next pair, of course they do, but I’ve decided fitting pants is a journey, not a destination. And I love them!
    I gave up on jeans long before I could make pants, because it was just impossible to buy any that fit me. Now that I could make them, I’m still kind of enjoying being the one American I know who doesn’t wear them. Yours look great though, and that’s the one thing that tempts me, good-looking jeans made by other sewists!

    • Amy says:

      My sentiments, exactly! I really like the journey and learning to fit. And I’m not a typical jeans person, either–when I do wear pants they’re really weird styles (I have a thing for carrot pants). But it was all the dang sewing blogs that got me interested! We rub off on each other!

  5. They are a fabulous fit! You could always wear them rolled up at the bottom for a cute look in Autumn. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to start a jeans adventure by drafting my own from scratch, but I have had a jeans pattern in my drawer for months that I have put off trying for fear of fitting issues. Not really the season for jeans here at the moment, but I will move it into clear sight and favourite this post to remind me to get started on my own jeans at the end of summer!

    • Amy says:

      Hi Debbie, that’s exactly what I’m going to do… roll! Drafting my own was just an excuse to draft, haha. But there are many ways to get there. I went into this knowing that there would be fit issues and learning to fit is so valuable. You must live in climate like mine. I hate wearing jeans in summer, so sticky and hot.

  6. crab&bee says:

    Wow, the fit turned out really nicely! I’m excited to see how you use what you learned on your pants drafting odyssey. I did the same thing on a much smaller scale (only a little drafting, lots of research and muslins) and almost feel ready to start back up again. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! I’ve done some pants and shorts projects with lots of muslins, only to have serious bombs. I hope your next project gets you closer!

  7. These have certainly come a long way! Jeans are uber tough to fit… I love what you’ve ended up with. And I have sewn my first (and as yet only) pair of jeans with this exact fabric!! Love that turquoise colour 🙂 I would never have thought to pair it with gold-y coloured thread – but I really like the effect.

    • Amy says:

      Oh cool! If it’s the same fabric, then you’ve probably wrestled with how much stretch it has? I had a fun time picking out topstitching thread colors since the local store had different shades of gold and copper. The copper seemed to look best.

  8. Sylvie says:

    I have to say, you really nailed that “all-important booty shot”. Good work! About the front leg being narrower than the back, if you haven’t already done so, check out some of the videos on Amani Adria YouTube channel, specifically, “classic cut jeans” and “leg shapes”. Basic but essential drafting stuff. It was posted last year, so you’ll have to dig for it.
    I tried the perfect jeans pattern from McCall’s last year (M5894). It comes with 1-inch seam allowances in some areas (for easy fitting) and tons of information on fitting jeans. However, it has you start fitting with the fly zip completed. Big mistake. But in all fairness, if I would have tissue-tested the size I chose, as I was told in the instructions, I would have realised that I was starting out with a pattern 3 times too big for me… I will definitely try this pattern again, in a smaller size (no kidding!), and first work out the kinks (if any) in a pair of jeans Bermuda. In any event, it was not wasted, my jeans are still slightly big but super comfortable – despite the fact I could not take in at the front.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Silvie, sounds like you have a good start! Pants fitting is such an expedition, isn’t it? I will hunt for those videos–they sound interesting! And that’s strange that the McCall’s pattern has you add the fly before fitting. I definitely find it easier to fit pants/shorts/jeans without the fly and any front pockets, and add them in once I have the fit. (I always end up making changes to the center front and side seams.) I hope your next experience goes well!

      • Sylvie says:

        I doubled checked. The instructions are 6-page long. At least 1 page and a half is dedicated to explaining how to use the pattern tissue as a muslin. Which is the part that I skipped, and shouldn’t have. But then, the pattern has multiple sizes, and there is no grading line where the zipper goes, in other words, no matter your size that part is the same for all. I guess they must have taken that into account when drafting the pattern.
        By the way, I’m truly impressed by the topstitching on your back pockets, and I would love to know how you managed such an abrupt turn using a twin needle. And thanks for your tutorials! I’m dying to read your future one on foam cups.

      • Amy says:

        Hi Silvie, that makes sense about the fly and front being the same on all sizes. This seems fairly typical for patterns.

        For any kind of topstitching, I use my straight stitch foot (or patchwork foot), which helps line up the stitch from the edge of the seam or fold quite accurately. I don’t use a twin needle, so I actually do two lines of stitching, using the foot to line up the second line right with the first. Before I get to the corner, I put a chalk dot right at the spot I want to end and turn. Then a couple of stitches before the turn, I switch to a smaller stitch length so I know I will hit the dot, and then turn and go back to my topstitch length. I do this on collars, waistbands, anything that has a topstitched corner!

  9. Sallie says:

    The fit on these turned out great!! I am very envious of your patience and perseverance with these! I feel like I would have run out of gas half way through the ‘scenic route’! Haha! But this is definitely inspiration to slow down and take it in little bites. I actually find making jeans to be quite rewarding. They are a bit of an undertaking, with all the topstitching and what not, but in the end I’m always happy I went there.

  10. maddie says:

    From where I’m sitting, the scenic looks pretty, well, pretty. Good job at one of your first tries. My first bra didn’t look that good!

  11. Carolyn says:

    Wow! your jeans look absolutely brilliant; the fit looks spot on! Congrats on drafting your own pattern too, that’s not easy and you did a terrific job 🙂

  12. dixie says:

    whoa! they look great! they look totally ready to wear (rivets!). i remember you working on these at the sewing party. really makes me want to buy that Jeanius class.

  13. Angela says:

    I have yet to attempt jeans, it is on my list! Sounds like self drafted is the way to go. Thanks for all of the helpful hints. It looks like it is worth the process!

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