Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jean Jeanie

It was bound to happen.  I just can't make something once . . . . and my jeans pattern is now a firm TNT!

But let me take you back a few steps.  I made a pair of Ginger Jeans a week or so ago, and although I loved all the top-stitching and the actual 'putting together' of the jeans, there were a few fit problems.  Well, one major one really - the 'ole saggy butt'.  I do not have a pert tush to fill out jeans, and toddled off to my fabulous sewing teacher Janice for some advice.  There was the option of taking a huge horizontal pleat just under my butt, then dealing with all the other required alterations, or using my trousers TNT and moving on from there, so McCalls 5239, come on down!  I have used this pattern many times to make pull on, lined work trousers.  It fits well (thanks to Janice's fabulous pattern alterations) so what a great place to start.  It should be added that I tissue fitted the Ginger Jeans, and I could immediately see the problem - the pattern is clearly designed for a more hippy sistah with a well defined hip and waist.  Unlike myself with a more 'cylinder with dents' figure.

I used the Ginger pattern for the pockets, fly, yoke and general style, and my TNT for the rise and crotch.  My wearable muslin worked well - sorry, no pics as the fabric creases terribly and I have already worn them to work, so today I made up a pair (#3) in a dark navy denim.  This fabric is heavier than my first pair - and my machine can tell the difference - but they sewed up well.  I made a few changes (well, who wouldn't) and I am thrilled with his version.

Pockets - my wearable muslin had packet stays, and they were OK, but for pair #3 I used the Ginger pockets - I love how they are just one piece and fold over.  I did make three inches longer though - the original pattern piece is very small.

For topstiching I used regular thread in gold.  I think that it looks more subtle than the proper thread.  In fact I made a quick sample to test the differences:

I also changed the back pockets.  They were designed to have a straight side and a curved side, I redrew mine to be symmetrical and have two straight sides.

Waistband - I attached this in a totally different way.  I like to think that it is one that I have developed myself, but I suspect that it is a common way of doing it - just new to me!  My problem with waistbands is that I struggle to get a nice looking seam on the inside where the waistband and the trousers meet.  Like this:

So what I did with these was attach the outer denim waistband as usual, I then attached the waistband lining along the same seam.  Next was to sew the two short ends (right sides together).  I now have a raw edge for both the outer and the inner waistband along the top waist seam.  I pressed each piece down 1/2", and when I top and edge stitch, this raw edge was sewn closed.  I really like this finish and think it looks a lot smarter.

I do still have a problem with excess fabric in the upper thighs, and I will work on that.  I think it is getting better though.  This pic shows RTW cords, jeans #1, jeans #3:

It looks as though I will need to re-hem #3 as they were bunching up rather unattractively at the bottom, hence the 'turn ups' here!  I think I can do with taking out 1/2" horizontally from the yoke and it also looks as though I have one hip lower than the other.  But I think that has more to do with how I was standing.  I was kind of 'over' the photo session!

I also wanted to show you the guide that I use when sewing the fly.  When I took a class with Ron Collins last autumn, he recommended these guides, and I managed to pick them up on eBay really cheaply.  You can use them on the fabric and sew up against them, but I prefer to use them to chalk the sewing lines.  They come in different widths to accommodate various fly sizes.

And that has been it really.  I cut out another pair last night in a slightly lighter blue denim, and I now feel happy enough with the pattern to be able to sew these straight off the pattern (I do need to work on the pocket topstitching - have a signature design!), and I will be making some tops and cardis next weekend.  I feel that I am slowly getting a handle on my 'casual' wardrobe, and it feels good!

PS.  Still no outside photos - the weather had picked up nicely, then Friday night we had about 10" snow.  It looks lovely, but a pain to take photos in!


  1. There is a definite fit improvement in the upper legs. Good for you for persevering. Your inner waistband is very neat. I think I grasped how you did it (I often need a picture to help me a long!), and the fly things are genius. Never seen anything like that before!

    1. I'll take some pics of the waistband as I make the next pair . . . . if I remember! The light won't be so good as it still gets dark early - but you are right, pictures will certainly make the process clearer!

  2. Great jeans! Your fit is looking great.
    I have the Husqvarna jeans fly template and want to use it when I make jeans.
    We had 3/4" of snow this morning. Down at our level, it is almost all gone as it is just above freezing. But it looked pretty out there this morning.

    1. Thanks! It is fun to make some casual clothing!

      And yep, the snow looks lovely . . . . from inside the house! I left Mr. SDSC to get the snowblower out! And don't feel sorry for him, I cut the grass all through the summer!

  3. Fabulous jeans and fabulous fit. Great job.

  4. You are indeed the Jean Jeanie! The fit is so much better on the third pair. I love your idea for the waistband and will try to remember to give it a go on my next pair of jeans.

  5. Your fit is really good, you can clearly see how much better both of your jeans look compared to the RTW. I don't think you will want to buy RTW ever again.

  6. You have really mastered the fit..Looks great..
    Try to stay warm , in all that snow..


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