Jeans: The Next Round

originally published  3/21/2010

OK I made a detour.  I intended to follow through on Jalie 968, when I resumed sewing.  Thing is, since I retired I have christened Saturday as “Sewing TV Day”.  In my area I have access to TWO (2) PBS channels which broadcast craft programs and fill the air waves with sewing topics on Saturdays.  Never in my entire life have I  had access to so many sewing videos.  I’m in 7th heaven.  So much so, that it is generally presummed that DH can do whatever he wants with whomever he wants on Saturdays.  (Same applies to all guests.) Providing, no one disrupts my TV viewing.  I and I alone am allowed to posses the TV, Satellite and player controllers.  Everyone else is welcome to entertain themselves however they desire as long as it is not between me and the big TV.

Disgusting?  Maybe, except that I not only have viewing time; but DH, friends, family or visitors have complete (excepting previously mentioned physical positioning between me and TV) freedom to pursue desired activities.  Shucks, I’d PAY if they would do something elsewhere.  Not said in any of this and probably not noticed, thought about or even sensed, is that I am wallowing in down-time.  Now down-time can be boring.  It may even be hindering if some task needs to be urgently completed.  But for me, the down-time I experiece, is time to think.  Yes THINK but with the other side of my brain.  The logical side of my brain is occupied – with TV – and the creative side of my brain has a chance to “put things together” in unexpected and wonderful ways. 

This weekend, the wonderful creative side of my brain traveled back in time to last September; September 2009.   Last September when I cut, made a muslin and fit Kwik Sew 3315:

Now I admit a fondness for Kwik Sew patterns beginning in 2000.  At that time I begin determinedly tackling my ever increasing weight.  I switched to a whole-health point of view, which I admit has been very successful.  But like most successful weight controll programs, the participant, ME,  found myself in the position of needing clothing that would fit me now and fit me 10 pounds lighter.  If you’ve not had this experience, please allow me to explain the problem.  Most clothing sizes fit within a range of about 10 pounds.  I.E. 5 pounds heavier or 5 pounds lighter and you can still wear the same pair of pants.  However, at 10 pounds lighter, pants or skirts start dropping off the waist.  At 15 pounds lighter, pants and skirts fall off; and one piece garments like a dress, look more like your bathrobe — your bathrobe when you feel sick and yucky.  I was losing at the rate of 1.5-2 pounds per week.  My doctor favored this rate of weight loss; and to tell the truth I felt good about myself and felt better physically.  But my clothing needed to be replaced frequently.  I had planned to sew basics through out the weight loss and quickly decided I didn’t want to purchase the same patterns in different sizes and go through the fitting process every month-and-a-half to two months.  The Kwik Sew patterns became a life saver.  OK they became a time saver. It’s amazing, but if I needed to reduce the back waist length 1″ on a size XXL, I needed the same adjustment on an XL and a L. Because  the pattern was already on hand; I simply traced the next smaller size; and then made the same fitting adjustments on every size.It was just fabulous.  I fell in love with KS patterns and they are my first choice even now.  It’s really not surprising that the first jean pattern I tried to fit was KS3315.

I chose KS 3315 and traced the Medium size.  My first muslin revealed that although there was enough fabric to go around my b-ah Hips, it seemed as though the front outseam had to reach back an inch or more to meet the back outseam.  I really didn’t care for that look and altered my pattern pieces so that the outseam would bisect my leg.  However then I discovered “points” at the outseam by my bum and diagonal folds beneath the bum traversing from knee to crotch.  Perhaps the picture would show this better:

BTW, the front fit fairly nicely;

And This was following a 12 hour day.  So I asked for help, here and at Stitchers Guild.  I received many suggestions and tried them all.  None corrected the wrinkles.  Most made the wrinkles even worse.  The most frequent suggestion was to try another pattern, with the suggestor’s personal favorite mentioned as perfect for everybody.  I have been trying several.  AND I’ve found a wonderful trouser pattern; and last week a FABULOUS stretch skinny-jean pattern.  But so far, I have not found the elusive jean pattern for non-stretch fabrics that fits nicely for-a-nearly-60-woman. You must understand that age is definitely a factor.  I am not competing with 20-somethings.  I want to give the appearance of being a nice-looking mature-woman. I want jeans that fit smoothly over the lumps and bumbs, do not reveal butt dimples nor are pub!c hair countable.  I neither favor or abhor the uni-bu!!  

After a 7 month experimentation with other patterns and other fabrics, my mind, my wonderful creative mind returned to KS 3315. About 3PM on Saturday it said, “hey the whole problem with KS3315 were the wrinkles and points. Could that have been caused by the alterations for crotch depth and outseam placement?” The logical side of my mind sat up (metaphorically that is) and said “We need to test that theory.”

So Saturday evening I pulled out KS 3315 and looked at the tracings and the original pattern sheets.  I found that I had not altered the crotch.  Whoa, another company, a major company at that, which recognizes that women have depth to their bodies.  Next I realized that all the pattern alterations added or subtracted width at the hips and subtracted length below the knees.  My left brain spoke up again and said “The majority always say start with the smaller size and enlarge to fit.  But that’s not working.  How about starting with the larger size and downsizing it to fit where needed?” 

So even though that’s contrary to nearly all reliable suggestions, that’s what I am doing.  I traced the large size with the narrow legs.  I compared inseam lengths and outseam lengths and correct them.  I shortened the length of the pants 1″ above the knee; and because I love the front tummy panel , I drafted my own from KS3315 pant front. I’ve cut this version from a medium blue cotton twill and started sewing.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have some pictures.  I know this is too large from the get-go.  I’m just eager to see if (1) I can make it work and (2) can I transfer my changes to the pattern and duplicate on future versions.  

Got my fingers crossed!!!