originally published 9/22/10
In case your are new or just don’t remember all my whining, let me preface today’s post with a summary. I’m involved in an obsessive quests to fit pants to my middle-aged figure. I admit that I do not now, nor have I ever had the perfect figure. I’ve always had minor issues with pants. For years I increased the back crotch length 1 inch and decreased the front length by the same 1 inch and believed that my pants fit perfectly. Even DH said my pants looked great or at least fine- you how husbands are when they when to get you out the door. But the camera doesn’t lie (or does it?) Because when I started taking pictures to share with my internet friends, I found two issues a butt vortex (that’s where all the fabric seems to be sucked into the butt-you-know-what) and diagonal lines from my knees to just under my tushie. The butt vortex was solveable but I continued to struggle with the diagonal lines until a sewing angel recommended patterns, one of which is the Trudy Jansen 906 or as I call it TJ906.
I had TJ906 fitting wonderfully and then I did that which nearly every woman aspires to: I lost 15 pounds. I dropped a size which results in needing to refit my pattern. I know someone who just resized the existing pattern. But I had accumulated a few tweaks over the 3 pairs made in the larger size. I decided it would be easier to trace the new size and the apply changes with a net gain/loss attitude. My first pair from the new tracing fit pretty well. But the true test of the garment, for me at least, is wearing it all day. At the end of the day I discovered I wanted to make a few more tweaks, which I did to the new tracing. Sewing and fitting that 2nd pair was a nightmare. Somehow, the pattern was now terribly off. I spent as much time at the iron as I did at the sewing machine because I was steaming the pieces to fit. I finally laid out the sewn together fronts, backs and waistband and using the tissue pattern recut the fabric pieces. To my astonishment, the pants fit wonderfully. I wore them a day and then mentally debated whether to keep the pattern as adjusted and fight thought the construction everytime or start back at square 1.
The Square 1 Theory won. See when a pattern is well drafted and cut carefully, the pants seem to sew themselves together. So I traced Copy 2 of size 12 which from hence forth shall be known as TJ906_S12C2 and did the net gain/loss again accumulating all the changes from the 3 size 14 variations and the 2 size 12 variations to make this pair.
Construction wise, this was the right answer. The jeans practically sewed themselves together. I did match at designated match points and sew with what appeared to be the slightly larger piece next to the feed dogs. But really this went together so smoothly it could have been a textbook demonstration. For topstitching I used YLI’s jeans thread, which I won’t do again, at least at the sewing machine. Even using a size 14 jeans needle, I had to lengthen the stitch to 5 (basting) and pull the threads to back side before tying a knot. I did once again, as in times of old, add 1″ to the back crotch length but only 1/4″ to the crotch extension; I removed 1″ in leg length above the knee and 1″ below the knee. I hemmed the jeans at 1.25″ so I could have skipped the shortening below the knee but I like saving a little fabric. (BTW this pattern with it’s 3 leg pieces actually requires more fabric length than the standard 2 piece leg). I also, one of the very few times in my life, top stitched the side seams — the outseams not the inseams. And voila, these are GOOD!
I mean really really good. Look at the highly lightened back:
I’m seeing a little bit too much ease under the tushie. I’m also feeling too much ease in the waist and I’m thinking the entire pant could be just a little tighter. So the plan is – I mean when you’re this obsessive/compulsive you have to have a plan — plan is to wash these in very hot water and see if they shrink. Denim is notorious for shrinkage, that’s why I left these a little longer than I usually do. I also know that handling can cause the denim to stretch as certainly does wearing denim on a warm body for several hours. I also realize I have an error. I assumed that the waistband for the jeans would meet evenly at the center front. However the center front marks are clearly 2.5″ from the front edge. This waistband is intended to have an over- and under- lap. Certainly this would account for the excessive ease at the waist. (These days, I’m rather thick waisted so instead of a lot of ease I only noticed a little.) Depending upon how much the hot wash changes the fit of the jean, for my next pair I will be increasing the side seams between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. Next time???? Not for a few months. I have 3 pairs of NEW, WEARABLE jeans. I do forsee some more corduroy pants for winter wear and I may use TJ906 when constructing those pants. We’ll see. As long as I’m alive, we’ll be seeing other versions of pants.