Jeans #2

Back #1

Back #2

OK. Not impossible. I took a deep breath and unstitched the waistband (which I’d put on upside down). Turned it around, stitched it back on. Added the waistband facing and stitched it down.

I did it, not to salvage the pants – there are problems with how the back of the legs is hanging (because of the fact that the side seams are out by 2″, right?). It’s the bum I was interested in and I can see it’s not bad (click on the images to see the fit more clearly). Had I done the construction correctly, the back would be fine – except for the pockets which are too low – for me, the pockets have to be almost on the yoke seam and not 2″ below which they are (which means I have to attach the yoke before putting the pockets on the back). If raised, the point of the pocket would be in a better location.

There’s also a problem in the front –

Pants Front

the front waistline has to be dropped half an inch – with it that bit too long, the front crotch has “smiles” – which is something I definitely don’t want. (Part of the “smiles” is because I’ve been sitting in them while writing this – but I will shorten the front rise that 1/2″ in the next pair).

Also I’m rethinking adding 1/4″ to each side seam – having had the pants on for 15 minutes I think the legs may actually be fine as they are (given the 20% stretch in the fabric).

Other than that, the pants aren’t too bad. They have served well for a muslin. Nevertheless, they’re still going into the “send to Value Village” pile – but the NEXT pair will be PERFECT! Really.

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Weekend Failures

Two Failed Sewing Projects

I’ve been working at trying to get pants to fit me for a long time. I made my last pair last winter (I’m actually wearing them at the moment). Since then my waist has expanded a bit, my bum is still many sizes smaller, my inseam hasn’t changed… So instead of adapting my old pattern I decided to try a new Jeans pattern. I chose the Jalie 2908 – Women’s Stretch Jeans (I’d read good reviews).

I laid out the pattern pieces, saw I needed a size Z at the waist, a size U at the hips and a size R for the inseam. So I traced the pattern, making the adjustments between sizes using my trusty French curve, cut out the pattern pieces, cut out the light blue fabric (which I’d bought on sale and was treating as muslin) and put the pants together.

For me, the trouble with pants is I can’t baste them together and have any idea whether they fit – I have to put in the fly zipper, the pockets, add the waistband, even hem them (because the legs don’t hang correctly even pinned at the correct length) – in other words make the pants – before I know whether the pattern works or not.

I was using a stretch denim twill (20% stretch called for in the pattern) and the resulting pants were just ill-fitting! I didn’t bother with buttonholes in the waistband (all that was left to do) – I put the pants in the “off to Value Village” pile. (I will try the pattern again but probably not before the summer.)

That was Saturday.

Sunday, I went back to my Sandra Betzina Jeans pattern (V7608), redrafted the back panel yet again – last version had a long dart down the centre back of the leg from just under the bum to the top of the knee. I wanted to remove that excess fabric, instead, from the side seam and the inseam. Once I had the pattern retraced (with adjustments) I cut out my darker blue stretch denim/twill and constructed the pants.

I was doing a great job – put the decorative stitching on the pockets, attached them to the back panels, added the back yoke/waist. Attached front pockets and fly – both without a hitch. Time to join front and back – and here’s where I went disastrously wrong. I forgot to attach the front waistband before doing anything else!

I had stitched the front crotch so putting in the zipper was easier; I now stitched the back crotch (you get a slightly better fit if you sew the inseams first, then the crotch seam but in my head I was working on a second muslin and decided ease of inserting zipper trumped finessing the fit). I sewed the inseams, and the side seams – without the front waistband in place. Even though the front side seam was 2″ shorter than the back side seam (I trimmed away the excess on the back) then I stupidly serged both side seams – without questioning why the length difference. It was only when I reached to attach the waistband that I saw my mistake.

I stopped sewing. I made a quick trip to the fabric store to pick up more of both blue stretch denim/twills since I still had valid sale coupons and the fabrics were themselves still on sale. Planning on starting over – paying careful attention to what I am doing!

Today, I tried removing the “waistband” portion of the back yoke on the darker blue pants, tried adding a full waistband – only to see that I’d attached the waistband upside down! Not meant to be.

The pants would have fit quite well had I assembled them correctly. What I did learn is that although the legs fit not badly, I probably should add 1/4″ to side seam from the hip to the knee – in other words, take a bit less off the sides (I can always take them in – can’t let them out). These legs fit rather snugly.

So taking a deep breath, I’ve washed and pressed the new fabric and am ready to start over. Planning to assemble the parts in the right order this time.

Jeans Makeover

Too bad I didn’t remember to take a before picture – you’d have seen jeans that were very baggy in the bum with upper legs that were WAAAAY too wide!

So here’s how this goes: I go to a local thrift store and buy a pair of jeans that fit nicely in the waist and high hip. That’s my starting point. The jeans cost me $5! There’s no point in buying new expensive jeans retail because they fit no better than those from the thrift store.

Get the jeans home and wash them a couple of times to get rid of the smell (and to shrink them if they haven’t been worn a lot).

I open the inner leg seam from knee, through crotch, to knee. I pin, then straight stitch, front to back through the crotch making sure I am cutting out about 2 1/2″ at the back crotch seam area tapering the alignment along the inner leg till the front and back match at the knee – I don’t cut anything at this point because I want to check fit before cutting. The fabric eventually removed from the back crotch and back inner legs looks like this – sort of triangular.

Once I’m sure of the fit (I may want to remove a bit more from the back crotch and back inner leg – a smigeon from the front as well) I stitch, cut, and serge the inner legs through the crotch, then edge stitch the seam flat.

IMG_7251

The back fits reasonably snugly with enough give for sitting. I shorten the legs – cut the length of the leg at the inner seam 28″ (enough to serge the edge and turn up a 5/8″ hem – my inseam is 27 1/4″).

The front fits smoothly, not baggy.IMG_7252

I make two other alterations – I carefully cut out the front grommet – they cut holes in my sweaters – patch, and reinforce the hole, sew on a button; the second alteration is to extend the depth of the right front pocket to hold my iPhone securely.

This is an earlier pair adjusted to fit the same way. I’ve worn this pair a lot – they’re very comfortable.IMG_7255