In Process: Jeans Fitting

I spent a good rainy indoorsy Sunday sewing up and fitting my jeans.

Just for a good laugh, here’s version 1.0:


What is going on with that waistband? you might wonder. It’s a cautionary tale about pattern drafting. I know that I should always measure twice, double-check my calculations. In this case, I drafted the waistline in metric but accidentally added ease in imperial, about three inches too much! Oops. I like to draft in metric as it’s more precise–it’s also what my pattern book used–but I think in imperial. It’s sort of like learning a language; I’m not quite at the point where I dream in metric, so I switch back and forth with my rulers to “translate”.

I took apart my pieces and cut out a version 2.0 with a completely new pattern adjusted to zero ease with a little bit of negative ease in some parts, including the waist. On my first pattern I drafted the hip and thighs with about 2.5cm total ease, which is a really small amount for a non-stretch woven, but this denim has 35% stretch–and it fit like it had almost 10cm of ease. So rather than take in adjustments willy-nilly here and there and everywhere, I figured it was easier to recut.

On version 2.0, some things improved and others seemed to get worse…


There’s some excess here and there, especially around the seat and the front crotch length. Ahh, that dreaded crotch fit. I have fit this area before with success in pants and shorts, but working with stretch fabric is a different beast. And jeans curves are shaped very differently than other pants. If you have ever examined your RTW jeans you might have noticed that the front fork is often much shorter and the curve is flatter than you think it’s going to be. Really slim stretch jeans and pants often have the inseams and outseams closer to the front around the seat/crotch area than trousers. This could have been my first problem–I used a slim trouser draft that wasn’t specifically for jeans.

But thinking about the differences gave me an idea I want to try but it will have to wait until next weekend.

The glorious mess…


At the bottom is Leo. He snuck in this room overnight and did some kind of happy claw dance on my fabric, which left snags I had to cut around. I think he’s plotting his next move.

So jeans 3.0 will have to wait but at least I got to play with topstitching! (Thanks to readers who suggested that I use regular thread in the bobbin. That really helped.)



  1. oonaballoona says:

    i love that you see the remains of the room as a glorious mess. i would have been stomping around demanding alcohol after muslin 2.0.

    3.0 is gonna make us reeeaaallly jealous, aren’t they?

    • Amy says:

      because isn’t it awesome and glorious when you get one straight uninterrupted day of sewing? at least that’s how I felt! stupid muslins and all.

  2. Juliet says:

    Oh gosh, you are brave – jeans are scary! I’m considering trying but don’t know if I have the mental fortitude to… eep. And your top stitching is such fun! I can’t wait to see jeans 3.0!

  3. Sallie says:

    I’ve totally noted that straight, short front crotch seam on my jeans! It really is a bit of a headscratcher at first – but the fit is definitely improved! In your experience, do non-stretch jeans have a similar crotch curve? Anyway – bravo on your muslins! I’m betting we’re all going to be quite jealous when we see the final work!

    • Amy says:

      Hmm, I don’t think I own any non-stretch jeans! I used have a pair of 501s, wonder where they went… it’d be fun to investigate. I think I’ve turned inside out about 10 pairs of pants in the last week!

  4. F. K. says:

    I am fairly new to sewing (well, at least since high school, I took a long break!) but jeans and pants are easily becoming my favourite thing to sew. Waistbands always get the worst of me though, I need a lot of improvement on them!!

  5. Anica says:

    I am having exactly the same fitting problems as you and can’t figure out what to do, I’ve spent a total of about 7 hours basting, trying on, unpicking and basting again without being able to get the front crotch just right. How did you manage to fit the front crotch? Or do you have any tips you would share?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Anica!

      I know how frustrating fitting can be at first, but seven hours is not that drastic when doing it on your own, trust me! It takes some time to figure out fitting and trying things that work, trying things that don’t. It will start to click.

      How the front crotch fits or is shaped depends on the type of fit you want (very close, or slightly loose a the hips, etc), the fabric you are using, whether you are using stretch fabric/denim (assuming you are making jeans?). On the jeans I drafted for stretch denim the front crotch curve is quite flat and much shorter than many patterns I had tried. It also needs to be balanced with the back curve so I played with that, too. I wish I could help more but it is soo hard to give advice without photos. Perhaps you can post pictures in the fitting forums at Pattern Review? Colette Patterns ran a sew along for the Clover pants that might help. And Closet Case Files has an awesome jeans sew along and ebook that has a few fitting tips. Hopefully those may help!


      • Anica says:

        Hi Amy,

        thanks for your quick and in depth reply!! I’m making a pair of high-rise Ginger Jeans. I think I’m on the right track with playing around with the crotch curves, I’ll give it another go today and hope I can make it work. Thanks so much for your help – especially for the tip with Pattern Review, I haven’t used that website before.


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