2nd Pair of Jeans for Fall/Winter 2012

I applied the tweaks I thought I needed to TJ906, i.e. shorten the leg 2″ and narrow the waistband at the waist by 1/2″.  Then I wanted to know if  my tweaks, were correct. So I made a second pair:

Model pose

Yes I know you can’t really see too much.  I believe I purchased this denim from Gorgeous Fabrics.  If not it came from Fabric.com or Fabricmartfabrics.com.  It is a stretch denim with a flocked rose design.  The fabric has already had  2 hot washes, one with a full liter of diet coke.  I’m hoping that removes the worst of the stretch. I bought this and one other denim thinking I would make a jean jacket. Over 3 years ago, I purchased I think 3 different jean jacket patterns.  So far no jean jackets have appeared in my closet.  I’ve been steadily sewing fabrics from the “blue” section of the stash hoping to reduce them so that all can fit on the designated shelf.  I looked at these denims and thought, I don’t wear jean jackets. I’m  not a jean jacket type person.  Just not.  I’ve never owned a jean jacket.  Seldom tried one on.  Why did I suddenly decide to purchase denim especially for jackets?  I’m pretty sure I coveted the fabric but didn’t want to make pants out of it.  I prefer dark, neutral, nondescript covering for my hind and leg area. I prefer a look which balances my shoulders with my hips.  Dark, neutral bottoms help make this illusion successful.  I looked at these denims and decided that I could still create that illusion, even though the fabric were not plain.  Judging by my pics above, I was right.

Color has been severely lightened.

This stretch denim might have been a better candidate for Jalie 2908.  TJ906 is not a figure hugging garment. I may slim the legs a bit more,,,, for future versions.  This length is just about perfect.  If the denim continues to shrink, which most do, the hem will eventually be well-off the floor. In the meantime, I do need to wear a shoe or boot with a little heel.  A 1-inch heel is good.  I think I may have slimmed the waist too much. I taped the waist edge as soon as it was cut and the interfaced both the waistband and its facing.  For the first time ever, without a belt these jeans sit in the proper position.  I will probably move the button over to give me more ease at the waist.  Funny turn of events eh?  I like where the waistband sits, but the crotch is then too short.  I’ve already scooped the crotch 3/8″. Actually, I don’t think the waistband was intended to sit this high. I’m going to wear these jeans like this a time or two before deciding to make any changes to them. (I’ve already taken out the dart in the waistband tissue.) Denim by its nature will spread a little.  Lycra will mold itself to the body.  What is too close during a try-on can become very comfortable as the day goes along.

This is still my favorite pattern. I prefer to avoid the confusion of multiple sizes so I’ve discarded all previous tissue versions. Once again, I have a TNT Jean pattern ready for action.





I’ve grown out of my jeans.  To tell the truth, I make jeans on a fairly regular basis.  I do not wear my jeans until the holes have holes.  I also do not distress my jeans to make them look old.  I like “new” jeans.  This probably because I grew up watching Roy Rodgers and John Wayne wearing their crisp new jeans that were carefully rolled up at the ankle a visible 2-3 inches AND knowing that in my family we didn’t even ask for such beauties because they were too expensive. I can happily say that I have achieved one of my childhood dreams, that of owning and wearing new jeans, and I’m not giving it up for the dubious pleasure of impressing you by wearing worn out clothing.  In general, as soon as my jeans are well faded, but before looking worn, I replace them.  Jeans do last 2-3 years. Usually I have 1 new pair and 2 that are 1 or 2 years older.  Because of the weight gain, I need new jeans today.  How did it happen that I can’t wear my jeans?  Well I don’t wear long-legged jeans when the temperatures hit 100+.  At that point I switch to tank tops, shorts and mint juleps -all inside the house.  So my weight has continued to creep upward and the jeans which I was able to wear at the end of May, are pretty close-fitting. Except for one pair.  The pair I had to lay on the bed to zip and that’s the pair which convinced me it’s time for new jeans.

I’m using my favorite pattern, Trudy Jansen #906

I love the center back seam.  Trudy has carved out the excess ease that we women always complain about by adding that center back seam.  These jeans fit me perfectly every time with little fuss.  I do seem to always need that little scoop taken out of the back crotch. But that is an easy fix and as long as it’s the only fix, Life is Good. I knew that I had trimmed the seam allowances to get the jeans fit I preferred. But I also knew I had shortened the legs and scooped the crotch.  I considered just splitting the pattern pieces vertically down the center but then decided maybe I had accumulated too many changes.  It’s rather like making a photocopy.  If you make a photocopy at 100% and then make a photocopy of the photocopy, there will be some visible distortion from the original.  Make another photocopy of the last photocopy and the distortion becomes even worse.  I see similar things happen when I have to make many alterations to the original design.  I end up with something that barely resembles the original and in this case doesn’t fit nearly as well. So I decided to take the time and trace the original at a size 14.

I’m really surprised at how long the pants legs are. I shortened the legs by 2 inches on the tissue and these are hemmed 1″.  That’s a total of 3″ removed from the length. Yet clearly, these legs are too long.

I’m going to share 2 very lightened pics (as you can’t see anything with the jeans this dark), because it shows the difference between having the correct hem length and the pant sitting in it’s proper place which I’ve accomplished with a belt. Here’s the first:

Now look again when the jean has been lifted to the correct waist level and the leg is at a better length

Most of the bagginess at the back thigh just disappears and even the butt looks better.  I’m not sure why the leg would seem to sweep forward at the ankle, but I’m pleased with how most of the wrinkles and folds have disappeared in both the front and side views.  At the time I made these I had only 1″ seam allowance for the zipper application.  I “stole” another 1/2″ by folding the flap at 1.25″.  I think that was a bad idea.  My jeans feel and look too tight right across the abdomen.  I’m pretty sure this is the right size for me,,,, currently.  What I will do is increase the seam allowance at the zipper flap to 1.5″ and shorten the leg another 2″.  I make my jeans a bit long to start with.  So far I’ve not found the process which effectively removes all shrinkage for all time from denim.  As usual I love these jeans and can’t wait to wear them.


ETA I did scoop the crotch and hem these an additional 2.5″.  The waist is a bit loose. I’ll always wear a belt with jeans, but I plan to alter the waistband to make it just a bit smaller at the waist.  This is easily done.  On the pattern about 2″ from the center back, I will make a tiny 1/4″ wedge with the big end at the waist narrowing to nothing towards the yoke. It does change the angle of the bias slightly but Trudy says that’s not important.  I also see that bit of excess ease behind the thigh. I’ve done nothing about it because when I sit, I spread and all that ease is put to use. These were made from a non-stretch light-weight denim.  I’m slowly using up all the non-stretch bottom weight fabrics and buying only those with at least 2% Lycra.  I too prefer the look of the closer fit, but I demand the more comfortable fit.  Just 2% Lycra is perfection for me.



Uh-Oh we’re back to the thing which drives us nuts  when sewing garments. Let me recap. I was intrigued by the yoke construction of the pant in Burda September 2012 Style 145, but did not think it would fit because it had 5″ less ease than the last finished pant, Burda February 2011 #136.  Being that doubtful, I traced 2011-02-136 and added the style details i.e. no pockets, no zip, and 9″ yoke.  At the first fitting I removed1.5″ ease.  Didn’t even take pictures. What’s interesting was that for the previous version I added only 3/4″ overall ease. I removed more ease than I added.  This is what drives us nuts.  You can make a muslin. You can make several versions of the same pattern. But with each fabric change you will need to tweak the fit.

Now to be fair, my previous fabrics were all woven non-stretch.  I’m using a cotton twill with Lycra.  I forget how much Lycra, but I can give my fabric a firm pull and add nearly double  the width.  I found the fabric at a Hancock’s in the denim section.  I presume that someone had selected this fabric and then wandered into the denims. Whereupon they found a denim much more to their liking and on sale. They ditched this fabric and hauled the substantially reduced denim(s) to the cutting counter.  I don’t know if Hancock’s advertises their denim sales.  I always look for them and I always bring home at least a 2.5 yard cut just because when the sale is good, it is really good. So I headed straight for the denims as soon as I see the  sale sign.  Once there I pick up the twill.  I recognize this twill.  It was in a favorite pair of dress trousers purchased from a shop in MN mucho years ago.  They wore like iron; lasting through several weight changes. They were reluctantly discarded about 3 years ago only because having lost 50 pounds (at the time) they wouldn’t stay up on my body.  Naturally I purchased 2.5 yards of this at full price.  My only regret is that I didn’t buy the bolt. Yes that is my only regret.  Having to tweak the fit is nothing new whereas finding a fantastic fabric is.

For the final fit, I stitched the inseams and crotch in another 1/4″.  Overall I removed 2.5″ ease across the hips and 1.25″ ease from each leg.  I’m sure a lot of that is due to the stretchy nature of the present fabric, but it could also be the accumulative effect of having to add 3/4″ for the last pair in the non-woven and no-give fabric. Fabric makes a difference.  Now I’m sure there are some that would recommend removing more ease.  But I’m comfortable with myself and my life and prefer a semi-fitted look in all things. That is, I like the fabric to skim the body making me look womanly but not revealing the full extent of the lard on my …..

I’m showing you three pictures of the final fit.  The first is before I have applied lightening effects to the picture:

No lighting effects applied to this view.

I really can’t tell too much from the picture. I did attempt just a bit of styling.  I was much interested in knowing if the fabric buckling I’m seeing in the lower part of the (with this pattern in this and previous pants) is the way I’m standing or the shoes I’m wearing.  I’m most apt to wear this particular pair of pants with low heeled boots. So why am I wearing 1.5″ heels?  The boots are put away.  The shoes I keep thinking about replacing, after 2 years they are still uncomfortable to wear, and therefore still at hand.  I grabbed a belt. I wish it were the blue belt that I will be wearing with this pair of pants.  Unfortunately DH and I share similar esthetics in dress belts.  He is forever arguing that my belts are really his.  I didn’t want to take the time to raid his closet so I grabbed a belt. It works for this picture.  I’m also not wearing a blouse typical of what will be paired with these pants.  The pant fabric is definitely cool-weather friendly.  My blouse OTOH is appropriate for the 99 degree weather I’m currently enjoying. But you do have an idea of how the pants look when paired with similar accessories.

My next view reveals the *almost final fit quite well

Full fill-light effect applied to image.

It is this pic that I was thinking of when I wrote that others would recommend removing a bit more ease.  From this pattern, this pair of pants and no others, there is a bit too much fabric under the bum. It is the fitting issue which has plagued me the very most.  I do not have a flat behind. Look at my side pics, because it doesn’t look my my behind droops either.  I think my ol’ behind sticks right out there high and too proud. But I have excess ease under the bum in the pics of this pair of pants.  This pattern has a crotch-scoop of 3/4″. That’s why it works in the other fabrics. IOW there’s plenty of room for whatever I do have in that area for those non-stretch fabrics. I’m reluctant to remove more ease back there, because I’m gaining weight. This is the first week that I can report that the scales have not inched upward. I’m hoping with my last diet changes, I’m starting to get this back under control. But it’s been an 8 month fight.  I’m inclined to be cautious and to that end have not trimmed away the extra fabric created by the ease which I removed. I did my final stitching at a  3.0mm stitch length. I can easily make changes if needed.

Do note that with the addition of the 1.5″ heel, the leg is now too short but hangs very nicely.  No fabric stacking upon the floor and causing fabric folds all up the lower leg.

I also want to bring to your attention the effect of the yoke. I attempted to move the eye away from the yoke by stitching in the front crease,  making faux pockets and faux zipper plackette.  I find all those lines in the front slimming.  They move your eye up and away from my tummy.  I was anticipating a similar effect except moving away from the yoke. With a blouse hemmed at my normal preference, the horizontal line created by the yoke (and all that faux seaming) is invisible.

Opps! Please ignore the Velcro Bu!!

I’ll not repeat the other pictures just to save your bandwidth so please scroll up after reading my comments.  Initially, when looking at the untouched photo, I thought I was seeing a fit issue, a drag line across the hips.  When I applied the lightening effect, I could see that “drag line” was the yoke.  I’m pretty pleased about this.  With any very dark fabric, which most of my pants are, I feel that I can freely add and manipulate yokes.  I like that idea because it’s a real fabric saver!  I purchase 2.5 yards of fabric for pants. There is a difference of about 1/4″ in use between a contour waistband and a straight waistband. This type, with the cut-on waistband, usually takes the full 2.5 yards. Because of the yoke, I used 1-3/4 yards of 54″ fabric.  I could have increased the 3/4″ yard savings by using hem facings and  making a separate waistband.  As it is, I have enough fabric left to make a pair of dressy shorts next summer.  Another plus is the design elements this opens up for me.  I’ve often admired the yoke details on skirts but never thought they could be applied to pants.  Not any more.  I can borrow those details anytime I want, just for fun.

The last comment I want to make about this pattern is how quickly it sewed. If I start the ticker from tracing 2010-02-136, even with 3 fittings this pair of pants were done in 3 hours.  This takes me back to the years when double-knit pull-on pants swept through the US female population.  Most women could buy 2 yards of fabric and have a pair of nice looking pants in 2 hours.  We loooooved it. Polyester double-knit and an elastic waistband seemed like a godsend. These days, I don’t have wardrobe shortages (not really). I don’t need to be able to put clothes on my back in a couple of hours.  I’m more interested in design details, fabric manipulations, good fabrics etc etc all the things that make garment sewing rewarding.  Still it is nice to think if I had to, I could have a new pair of pants like that!


* After writing this post, I think I want to let out the inseams just 1/8″.  I think when I took them in to reduce ease in the leg, the crotch was shortened too much for my figure.