The Refitting Saga: TJ906

originally published 9/4/10


If you’ve not heard of Trudy Jansens 906 jeans, you really should check them out.

This really unique pattern has a permanent place in my wardrobe.  There is a center back seam which allows for great shaping.  The front is the standard one piece.  If you want the line shown in the view above, you’ll have to stitch along a fold.  But the back is 2 pieces. It also is drafted for the woman who has depth from front to back.  I won’t use the back pocket included in the pattern, though.  The back pocket is a bellows pocket.  If you have a flat rear, as most women-of-a-certain-age, the bellows will enhance your appearance as you are walking away.  For someone like me, the bellows pocket only emphasis that’s where I carry my weight.  But over all, I  have a special place in my heart for this pattern. After multiple failures with other patterns, this was the first that I actually was able to fit with only a few adjustments.  Naturally with the recent weight loss, I was eager to fit it again.


For the first pair in the new size, I used a cotton/bamboo corduroy. This fabric is yummy. It slips through the fingers like silk. It is however a heavy fabric and has no stretch only a very very very little give. (It’s not as bad as the wool/nylon JSM pants for the 6PAC).


I measured myself and traced the pattern 2 sizes smaller. I put the front pockets and zipper in permanently using a 3/8″ SA (even though the pattern specified a 5/8″ SA). I stitched the yokes to the back with a 5/8″ SA. I’m really wary about fabric ease, stretch, or performanc so I serged everthing except the waistband with a 3/8″ SA. I thought for sure that I would be stitching a permanent line at the 5/8″ SA after the first try-on. Imagine my surprise when I looked at these and they felt OK, but looked short in the crotch and definitely too long in the leg. I had already removed 2″ length from the pattern and added 1/2″ to the crotch extension because that’s what my notes told me I did with the previous size. I had however basted the crotch together with a 5/8″ SA. First thing I did was let the crotch out as far as possible gaining 3/8″ down there. Still looked too short. I had basted the waistband at 5/8″. Ripped and restitch at 3/8″. Total gain of 5/8. Still too tight. I looked at the top of the waistband but realized ripping out the top with affect the front. While I mulled that over it occured to me I still had that 5/8″ SA at the yoke. I ripped the yoke and restitched which gave me another 3/4″ at the back crotch but now also added 3/4″ to the back sides making the back outseams longer than the front outseams. I thought for now, I can ease the extra at the sides between thigh and waist. Which is what I did.


The pants felt and looked great except still way too long. I removed another 2″ in length below the knee. I removed as much of the strings from the ripped seams as possible and then threw the pants in the wash hoping that would remove most of the rest. Then I pondered about and made alterations to my pattern.




The second pair was constructed from a heavy, non-stretch, dark-blue-wash, denim.  I don’t know how long this has been in my stash or where I purchased it.  I was probably attracted to the dark-blue wash. But the stiff character of the denim would have dissuaded me from actually making it up.  I decided now was the time.  This should be the worst denim ever to work with and might be unwearable just because of it’s stiff nature.  But, I will probably only be wearing them for another 6 months.  The way I’m losing weight, I will need the next size smaller in 3-4 months and a couple of months after that, not ever a belt will keep them up on my hips.  So perfect time to get this out of my stash.  BTW sitting on the shelf I thought there must be 3 yards but after cutting less than a yard remains. 


Stitching was a nightmare.  Yes that heavy denim was as terrible as I thought it would be. I changed from a 12S, to a 14S needle.  The serger threads would break when going over more than 2 thicknesses.  I made alterations to the pattern and I know they bothered me because I walked the seams.  I don’t walk the seams unless I have questions about the pattern.  The tissue seams matched.  The fabric didn’t crawl around on the table. But when sewn the seams weren’t matching.  I was over at the iron steaming and stretching.  Then following a hint from Louise Cutting, I put the tissue pattern back on the piece and trimmed to size. I spent 10 minutes getting yokes stiches to the tops of the back, pants leg and thought “This isn’t going to work. I should toss these now.”  But then I realized that I had no idea what was wrong. Was it the fabric?  Was it the alterations? Which alteration? Did something go wrong when I was cutting and I didn’t realize it?  I didn’t know what was wrong so how could I fix the pattern?  It seemed a waste of fabric and time to cut another fabric with the same pattern with the same alterations.  I quit being very careful and just serged everthing together as fast as possible. I hemmed it and put the button on in front all without trying on even once.   I figured they were going in the thrift bag for donation as soon as possible.




Umm, they fit. They are the perfect length.  I see a slight bit of ease in the back thigh and feel just a slight amount in the waist.  They have not yet been washed, so it’s possible the ease I’m feeling and seeing will just simply go away.  I wore them for an hour last night and again today.  They feel like they fit.


So now I’m pondering what to do. Part of me says, they fit. Keep the pattern as is; call it a day; and use the pattern, with the same easing for future pairs of pants.  But another part of me says, NO you worked hard at making these fit together.  Lots of steam and trimming.  The original pattern which fit just as well, sewed together in a flash, without all the struggle and drama.  This part of me says retrace the pattern, think through the net gain/loss alterations and make another pair.  What would you do?



Net gain/loss alterations:

  • Length  Net Loss: 4 inches , 1 above knee 3 below but denim shrinks with repeated washing.  It would be better to have a net of 3 inches lost if I want to wear them for more than a few months.
  • Back crotch length Net gain 1.25″ Perfect.
  • Back crotch extension Net gain 1/2″  After the crotch was lengthened the inseams and crotch are no longer centered in my “special place” This should be removed perhaps in increments until the perfection is realized.
  • Back width Net gain 1″  that’s 1/2″ on each side added from the crotch to the waist.  It is not needed and should not be added in future versions.

It’s quite possible the only alterations needed are the leg length and the back crotch length. However if I skip the back-crotch-extension alteration I run the risk of creating the dreaded “butt vortex”.  It’s better to have just a little to much than not enough in that area.