Eureka Pant, Yoga

Eureka Yoga Finished

Done! Yes! But not without a little effort.

During fitting, I kept noticing that the crotch depth now seemed just a short.  Imagine my surprise when I measured the Yoke piece and found it was 1/2″ shorter than planned. Yep I’d cut it at 6″ instead of 6.5″.  Also, I planned to wear these just at waist level, but dang! I kept pulling the elastic up so that the bottom edge of the elastic rested at the waistline. My solution was to cut a second yoke  8.5″  wide which included the amount needed for waist band (1″*2) plus the seam allowances I’d omitted previously.  This caused another problem.  I cut the first yoke cross grain which stretched perfectly to fit the leg portion.  The new yoke had to be cut on-grain.  This ponte fabric has less stretch lengthwise.  I really had to tug to ease yoke #2 to the leg.

I planned to fold out 1/4″ length across the crotch and again above the knee.  This would remove a total of 1/2″ length.  Instead I folded out the 1/4″ at crotch and knee on the back but only folded out 1/4″ length across the front crotch.  At the same time I mismarked the knee HBL.  How do you do that?  Well my pattern has both the Knee HBL as designated by the designer and a second Knee HBL where my actual knee occurs.  There’s about an inch difference.  When I first started detecting ruching along the front leg, I attributed it to the mismarked HBL. After all that was something I had seen when trying to match the side seams.  I had not corrected the marking on the pant. I had smoothed the bottom leg across the top as I saw Angela Wolf and Kathy Ruddy doing in their classes.  Following that procedure, the legs matched.  Looking at those early pics, though, told me that I had missed something.  I walked the side and inseams and discovered the back leg was 1/2″ shorter from knee to hem and 1/4″ longer from Hip HBL to waist. I corrected the pattern for future use and trimmed the excess from pant.

I added a pocket!

Unlike the Pullon Pant, I was able to add a pocket without adding layers and layer of fabric in the waist area.  This is a simple patch pocket. I lined it, turned inside out and top stitched to the leg. I really am happy about this.  There are so many times when I need a place to tuck a kleenex or other small item.

I tried the CLA with intended changes i.e. my center pivot point is an inch lower and my top point was at the crotch instead of the widest hip. I’m not posting a picture because it was horrible. It made the wrinkles visibly worse. I’m not sure if that’s because I need so much removed or just something inherent to the alteration.I’m not exactly giving up on the CLA, but I’m not going to attempt it again until I have new information.  I did take advantage of Crafty’s last sale and am now working my way through Sandra Betzina’s Pants Fitting course. I’ve seen Sandra before and don’t know what to make of this course.  I’m already onto Lesson 4 and have learned nothing (other than I’m glad I didn’t pay the full price.) Also, it seems rushed and jumpy to me. Maybe it’s just that she is putting out so much more information than in comparison with her TV show. Maybe she really is rushing. Maybe I’d be more thrilled if I was making lots of notes. I promise to give a full review when I’ve finished the course. At this point, I’m still hoping she can suggest another solution for the back wrinkle situation. Because this:

didn’t thrill me either.  Wrinkles at the Yoke are probably caused by the 2nd yoke not being as stretch as the first. it will be covered up, so I’m not too sad.  I also note that in my effort to be sure the crotch was long enough, the yoke now seems to be too tall.  However that could be the result of the back being slightly too tight. Thankfully, also covered up by my tops. The leg on the left is not too bad. The one on the right has me asking questions.  Is my knee brace contributing to the wrinkles? I’m I standing oddly?  Do I really have an asymmetrical hip; and despite my Herculean efforts to correct leg lengths, both legs are obviously twisting between knee and hem.  So glad these are dark, light absorbing black, because in real life they feel great and don’t look bad at all

OK, I knew this first version of a Yoga style would be a wearable muslin. I’m not unqualifiedly in love with ponte. To me, this particular version always says “cheap” pants. It does hold up well to my normal laundry procedure and does recover fairly well to bending and stretching. So I”m not too unhappy that these aren’t perfect. In fact, I’m almost glad. Because if they were, I’d be lamenting them like I did the  Pull-on pant. I hate to make a perfectly fitting anything in poor fabric..  I’ll wear them until I make something better in the same color. If the yoke had stretched appropriately, I’d give the front two-thumbs up.  The side seam was perpendicular but still shows some issues with the leg length matching. The back view is puzzling. The left side looks OK. The right side look like: What the heck is going on?

I’ve already made changes to the pattern.

Yoke size is now 7″.5  x 21″

Side seams have been walked and are same length

Knee and Hip  HBL lines are at the same level on both back and front pieces. (This is where I place my notches.)

Back vertical tuck was removed adding 1/2″ ease to the back piece.

I think I’m ready to make another pair!

Eureka Pant, Yoga

Eureka Yoga’s

The last posts have been entirely too long. But I can’t seem to say what I want in fewer words. I thought well, I could make 2 posts for the next version. One of the preparation and a 2nd  post for sewing and fitting observations.

I do like the Eureka pattern for trousers and slacks. I think jeans require a different draft and I will continue to use TJ906, Jalie 2908 and B5403 when making jeans. But for any style that can be derived from a basic pant pattern, the Eureka is going to be my starting point.  Today I’m beginning the process to create a Yoga type pant.  I bought my first Yoga’s roughly 30 years ago.  It was a time of not impoverishment, but a period of my life in which every penny counted and needed to be stretched to its max.  Accordingly a girlfriend and I would spend every Saturday following payday shopping garage sales. This particular occasion, her mother accompanied us.  Typically, I didn’t purchase clothing at garage sales for myself. Even then I was an avid dressmaker and looked for fabric rather than garments.  My friend however preferred RTW. At one house she was frantically trying on garments by walking around a dividing wall and changing clothes while others came and left the sale. Oh yes, it was a sight and subject for titillation.  I was patient, a bit bored but patient because she would do the same for me. I couldn’t quite understand why she was so desperate to find dresses that would fit. Until her mother told me these were expensive designer clothes, some still with their $100, $200 tags still dangling.  I was a bit startled when from behind someone wrapped a garment around my hips.  It was the mother who urgently whispered in my ear “You need to buy these. They’re only a dollar.”  We had a short discussion regarding sizing and I did make the purchase.  These were my first Yoga pants.  They came without a label but were of obvious quality.  The very fabric was a dense knit I sometimes found in the “Couture” section of FabricLand (Reno Nv circa 1990 now out of business). She was right about those pants. They wore like iron for years.  I donated them only because DH was concerned the seams were about to burst.

Unfortunately Yoga pants are not always popular. It’s even hard to find a pattern when they are out of style. I’m glad to see that they have returned to fashion and for some reason, they are more of a staple instead of a trend. I’m sure I’ve seen various versions of Yoga pants for at least the last 6 years. Trends come and go almost within the same season. I did make a pair of Yoga pants a few weeks back using a ponte de roma and a pattern mashup of Otto 5/2010 #20 and the MSS. I wear those pants just about weekly. They are comfortable,but I always thought the leg was a little roomy.

I know I know, I’m still fighting the excess ease in the Eureka, but I want to do this anyway.  I want to use the Eureka pant and make a Yoga version. Despite yesterday’s experience with ITY fabrics, I also want to follow Kathy Ruddy’s suggestion and make a separate pattern for knit fabrics.  I traced the front and back to new tissue, marking the darts, knee, crotch and hip HBL’s.  Because of the changes I’ve made to the basic ease of the Eureka’s, I repositioned the grain line using Kathy Ruddy’s instructions. The front, didn’t move much, but the back moved about 3/4″. Kathy advises making a knit-muslin with this new pattern. I said “what did I just do with that ponte pant?” So instead of a completely new muslin, I adjusted the pattern based on what I experienced when the pant was first finished i.e. before being worn and stretched.   I folded both pattern pieces along the grain line. On the back I stitched a scant 1/8″ from the folded edge. That removes 1/4″  ease from each back. The front I stitched a scan 1/4″ from the fold which removed 1/2″ from each front. Then I folded the pieces on the knee and hip HBL’s. At each fold on each piece, I stitched a scan 1/4″.  Based on the soft brown ponte, that won’t be enough. But most of the stretch fabrics I use for pants are not that soft. At one time I would make pants from slinky. Pretty sure slinky would require a whole size smaller. My T-shirts do. But back to pants, I’m hoping this will be a nice compromise.  Some stretch pants I will need to stitch the side seams a little deeper, but most will be OK.

Then because I want Yoga styling, I traced the pattern altered for knits between the waist and the crotch HBL. Same as I did for the Pull-on Pant except for Yoga stylistic changes. This time I developed a 3″ yoke separated from the leg of the pant on both front and back pieces.  I didn’t use the yoke, although I did make the piece. I set that piece aside. The unique design of the Yoga pant calls for a rectangle of fabric to be used for the yoke rather than a curved yoke piece.  My question was what size should the rectangle be?  Could I just use the rectangle developed for the Yogastein pant?  I wasn’t sure. The MSS was developed for non-stretch fabrics.  While I kept the pieces, I know at fitting I made lots of changes.  I made it work. The Yogastein is a great pant. I want a reliable pattern so I can repeat that success over and over.  I decided upon a 6.5″ wide piece (twice the width of the yoke plus 2 1/4″ SA) the length of my hip.

I know I’m going to need to adjust the length of the yoke band. I’m also wanting to chip away at the excess thigh ease of the Eureka. I plan to establish the CLA using new points (Hip and Knee HBL and 1″ lower pivot) but not trim the leg.  First I want to baste the legs together without the CLA and make sure the diagonal lines don’t exist. Then I’ll baste along the CLA.  This may take a few sewing, photoing, ripping sessions. My fabric is a ponte knit with about 25% stretch. I measured the stretch over 4″ and know that I need to check the stretch factor.  It’s a firm fabric not at all soft like the last pant fabric.  I don’t particularly like this type ponte.  I purchased a sample from FashionFabrics to see what it was they were selling as ponte. I bought enough to make a pair of pants.  I figured if I don’t like the fabric, I could always use it to muslin pant patterns.  The only real downside is that the fabric is darkest black.  It will be difficult to see the shadows and wrinkles.


I’ve had an interesting and good life.  I’ve had many friends of various faiths.  Please allow me to sign off this post with the sincerest wishes for a Merry Christmas. Whatever your personal beliefs, I send you good wishes and hope you enjoy the season in your own way.


Eureka Pant, Pull-On

After A Day of Wear

There were several things I wanted to know about the Eureka Pull On pants that could only be answered through wear.

One question was, how well does Kathy’s “pull until resisted” method of determining elastic length work?  There’s lots of room for error and disagreeing with my findings. First, did I quit pulling too soon or too late? Should I have sought additional or less resistance? Did I follow Kathy Ruddy’s instructions as intended?  Also, I know for a fact that different widths of elastic will make a difference. I’ve even had elastic that was trimmed to the desired width at sewing time.  Guess what?  The 1/4″ width stretched more than the 1.5″ width. Of course, YMMV. Then there’s also the common knowledge that Louise’s elastic is very soft.  She designs her pants patterns to take advantage of that softness.  Louise intends that her pants draft will settle a bit downwards below the waist–a position that is flattering for most women.  There is also the effect of the weight of the fabric upon the elastic. Typically, I wouldn’t use lingerie elastic for pull-on pants because lingerie elastic is manufactured differently and cannot support the weight of trousers/slacks/jeans.  So how did my application of CLD’s elastic in the Eureka Pull-ons behave?  Badly.  Well not so badly I’m going to throw them out or even redo the elastic application. But I did wish I had added belt loops so I could wear a belt and thereby hold my pants up to my waistline–where they belonged. I still have confidence in CLD’s elastic.  I’ve used it multiple times in the last 6 years.  What’s bad is that I knew from experience with her patterns, that my elastic length needed to be 3″ shorter.  I just should have gone with the proven measurement and that is what I will do in the future. I count this one as my bad.

The front crotch length was another issue of concern.  The pants felt fine during fitting and picture taking. But the final pictures clearly showed the waistline rising at the center front. By that time I’d put way too many stitches into the fabric. I wasn’t ripping those out unless really necessary.  After wearing for the day, I made a 1/2″ reduction in the front crotch length to the pattern.

Although each of the other versions of this pant were the perfect leg length, this version felt long…… AND grew longer as the day wore on.

The wrinkles in back?  Didn’t get any less:

Left – final fitting. Right-after wearing.

..but at least the VPL has gone away. Yep this fabric softened and grew both length and width wise during wear. These are rapidly become pajama bottoms!

Still love the color. Not just because it’s a warm brown but because it’s a good color when fitting. I wasn’t aware of the VPL while looking in the mirror. It was the pictures which picked up and amplified the slightest shadow thereby alerting me to the fact the side seams were just a tad too deep at least on the back side. This wouldn’t have been apparent in a darker color; say — black.

I also learned that the ease change to the front and back (remember I folded out 1″ ease from front then slashed and spread the back 1″) is about right.  I don’t think the 3/4″ CLA was helpful at all in reducing the ease across the back thigh.

Although these are rapidly being relegated to PJ duty,  I like how they looked when first finished. They weren’t too tight. I dislike the opposite which is very wide loose pants.  When I look at pictures of myself in those type of pants, I feel depressed. I think a wide, loose pant makes me look much wider and heavier than I am. Despite the fact that pull-on pants are stylistically “old lady”, I like them and these in particular. I always wear my tops out. I’m high-waisted. Wearing my tops over my pants allows me to create the illusion that I could be normal. The pull-on pants are easy and would be quick to sew.  Even with the limited fitting I did, I spent less time sewing than adding my pattern alterations and style overlays. Definitely this would be a goto pattern when I need pants NOW or sooner.

Eureka Pant, Pull-On

Eureka Pull-Ons

Almost since the Eureka pattern arrived in the mail, I’ve been looking forward to making style changes. With this version I tackled the basic pull-on pant. While not my favorite style, it is the beginning of the Yoga and Loes Hines Euro pant styles which I do love.

Before making the style changes, I stopped to reconsider the alterations already made.  I was continually perplexed about the front length between waist and hip. I made several adjustments without seeming to fix the issue.  In sheer desperation, I pulled out the original and compared my heavily altered copy.  Once lined up together, I could easily see that I had somehow not made the length reduction evenly across the high hip line. In fact, the waist clearly inclines upward from side seam to center front. This alteration was made by slashing and overlapping. So I released the tape and carefully aligned the edges to make an even adjustment. I’ve reduced the pattern at the top by over 2″, but it is now evenly horizontal.

2ndly, I walked the seams once again.  To my surprise the front leg between knee and hem is 1/4″ shorter on the front. But the back was 1/8″ longer between hip and waist. The back inseam is also shorter, a theory I don’t really believe. I trimmed the side seams to correct lengths and added about 3/8″ to the tip of the crotch. This is the first time I have made any changes to the crotch.  I added at the same angle as the existing crotch and inseam convergence. The end result looks like I’ve scooped the crotch or copied the TJ906 back crotch.

Next, my sewing angel and I have been discussing the excess front ease.  This will be the 3rd pant, CLD-MSS and B5403 were the previous, in which I removed 1″ from the front and add 1″ to the back.  This is a quick and easy alteration. On the front I fold along the grainline from waist to hem 1/2″. This removes 1″ from the entire front.  The back I split along the grainline and spread 1″ there by adding 1″ ease to the back.  The net gain/loss is 0. I haven’t changed the total ease just put it where needed for my body.

I then drew the CLA onto the back leg and measured it.  I think I’m about done with the CLA. Making a 1″ CLA lengthens the back leg by 1/4″. Kathy Ruddy says this isn’t important. My screen shots say otherwise.

Finally, I addressed the styling changes I wanted to make.  Kathy makes all the changes on a single tracing, although she does have separate tracings for knit and non-stretch fabrics. Myself, I find the multiple lines confusing. I traced the front and back between hip line and waist. I didn’t copy the darts, but added the uprights from widest hip to waist and then added a casing. I carefully added description of the alteration to each piece.

To use, I align the bottom line with the hip line and temporarily tape into place. When done, I can remove the tracings and file them away until the next time.

I made the styling as if I were working with non-stretch fabric but I am using a very stretchy 100% polyester.  It was sold to me as a twill ponte.  I almost sent it back. This is not ponte. It is thick, beefy but soft and very stretchy. I recognized it as stuff that pills and snags easily.  A garment made of this fabric will not last a full season. Indeed, this one snagged when pinning the legs together. So before even being finished, my pants are snagged and ugly. (Unhappy face)   However, I kept the fabric  for just this occasion: the time when I need a knit muslin.

Since this snagged, I didn’t do much fitting. I serged side and inseams, then crotch. I hemmed at the cover stitch. I mean this snagged while pinning the first side seam. It doesn’t make sense to put a lot of effort into a pant that has little hope of being worn  a half-dozen times. I did baste the elastic into place.  I’m using Louise Cuttings elastic but instead of LC’s calculation, I’m using Kathy Ruddy’s method of “pull until you feel resistance”.  I do agree that all elastics have a different stretch factor. So saying cut your elastic this long is a recipe for failure.  I’m not sure the “pull until you feel resistance” method is the right answer either.  If I had used LC’s instructions, the elastic would have been 3″ shorter. But this is a muslin and I’m willing to experiment.

I discovered that I added too much at the top for the casing. I added twice the width of the elastic plus 1/8″ for turn of cloth.  I needed to add only one width of the elastic plus the TOC.  I did take in the side seams. The finished serged side seam is 5/8″. I’m not complaining about the front view. These are typical, classical and out of trend, pull on, knit pants. The arrow points to a drag line which Angela Wolf says indicates that the front inseam is too long.  Since this is a knit fabric, I won’t change my pattern — yet.  If I start seeing this repeated in future versions, I’ll make the adjustment. But for now, it’s OK. One thing I would like is a pocket.  I couldn’t figure out how to add a pocket without adding a lot of bulk in the waistline area.  Had this been a less beefy fabric, I might have added the pocket pieces anyway.

The side view shows clearly that the front crotch is still too long, at least for this particular knit. I couldn’t see it during fitting. I’m not sure I want to alter my pattern. This is a very stretchy knit. I’m thinking, I really need to follow Kathy’s lead instead of Angela’s.  Angela recommends using the same pattern for stretch and non-stretch jeans  adjusting at fitting by taking in side seams and inseams 1/4″ at a time. Kathy creates a 2nd copy of her favorite pattern and makes the common adjustments needed for knits. Peggy Saggers says the common adjustments are both length and circumference. Yeah, I’ve been listening to lots of folks.  I also note on this picture that the bottom of my knee brace is apparent. It’s a short horizontal line below the knee.  Not annotated, but can be seen is a hint of VPL.  I didn’t see that in the mirror. I’m not sure if I serged off too much or it was there before the final side seam serging. I had serged the side seams at 1/4″. Then basted at 1/2″. There still seemed to be too much ease, so I made the final serging at 5/8″. This could be my bad. Fortunately when fully dressed, you can’t see my VPL.

It is the back view which has me thinking Kathy’s CLA is not the answer for my issue with excess ease over the thigh.  Without her CLA, the pants hang without drag lines:

That is 3 versions without CLA. There is too much ease across the back thigh, but no hideous drag lines between butt and knee.  This version includes 1 more inch of ease in the back, with CLA:

… and ugly drag lines. I’d rather my rear looked like the 3 versions without CLA.  I also lowered the CLA pivot point 1″ for this version.  I thought perhaps the pivot was too high and was trimming needed ease from the hip.  My points are the widest hip, 4″ below and the knee.  I’ll give the CLA one more try using the crotch line instead of the widest hip.  I was just sure Kathy said to use the widest hip  as the top point. She was vague as to the center pivot point; stating in the comments to use the place which has the most excess ease. I also used a 3/4″ CLA, when I need more, because a smaller CLA  reduces the increase in the back side-seam length.  I’m not happy about the side seam length changing.  That’s a great way to get those side wrinkles like I have with the last pair:

If the side lengths are different, you are gathering one to fit the other. Very small amounts can be made without being noticed. Large amounts? Ugly.

Would you believe, I wish these were of good fabric?

I love this color and can see myself wearing these “a smidge too tight” pants.

Future changes?

The Eureka’s are good for many style changes. Fit wise

I still need to shorten the front crotch length. Debating on 1/4 or 1/2″

I also think I’ll remove that bit I added to the back crotch. While I don’t really believe in the “shorten the back crotch” theory, it didn’t hurt the previous versions. I can’t be sure if it is not affecting the current pair. Unless I rip the SA’s and restitch. Not doing that.

Make a separate pattern for stretch fabrics which will contain the common length and circumference changes.

Am I done with the CLA?  No I’ll try it one more time using the crotch line instead of widest hip as my top point. But if the CLA continues to add the diagonal lines, I’m done. There just as things you should accept as needed for the greatest flattery of your figure. Like shoulder pads to fill out the shoulder slope and visually widen the shoulder line, maybe I need excess ease over the thigh to fill out the valley between my butt and knee. Maybe that excess ease is key to a great looking pair of slacks/trousers. (Jeans and leggings are a different story.)

CLA--Crescent Leg Alteration, Eureka Pant

Better and Worse

I’m still working with Kathy Ruddy’s CLA  attempting to remove the excess ease over my back thigh.

Before I get too far into discussing my photos, I need to make excuses.  Normally I try to take pictures immediately after I’ve finished the garment.  In those final pictures, I’m checking the finished fit and the fabric/garment is probably at it’s best.  I delayed pic’s because I wanted to check these pants with the garments I planned to wear.  I thought I would dress and take photos immediately in the morning. However, several hours passed. Like most of the day. Enough of the day that I think these pants are OK to wear despite the negative commentary I’m about to make.

I successfully added pockets this time. The last attempt was disastrous. I used a jean type front opening. I wanted to finish the hand opening with bias tape and use a single back pocket piece thereby reducing bulk. This polyester moleskin with its satin backing is luxurious.  I fantasized making a cape but realized I’d never wear it.  As a pant, this heavy weight, non-stretch fabric needs a roomy draft with bulk reduction whenever possible. For the life of me, I couldn’t get the bias tape to smoothly round the pocket curve and fold over to the back. The bias tape insisted upon showing. I finally cut a facing from nylon gauze (think old curtain) stitched it in place, turned pressed and trimmed to about 1″ wide. This worked nicely, but what a pain.  The process does make a nice, bulk free, smooth pocket. But I’ll have to remember, it’s a NO-GO to use bias tape on the jean pocket.

The first pictures is not exactly how I’d planned to wear these.  I meant to wear the top shared here and worn in these pictures but with a different vest. The vest worn here:

Pants are suffering from the long day, long underwear and winter static cling.

… but the muted pink of this vest just has no pizzaz.  It looked “off” even as I assembled the 3 hangers (with garments) from the closet.  I think the black vest is a much better combination.  At the beginning of winter, I had started to discard the muted pink vest.  But I was seeing suggestions of this color in the stores and decided to keep the vest and make coordinating garments.  I’m good at moving things out of my closet, mostly to move new items in and  I’ve decided the decision to keep and sew was a mistake. The vest is in the donation box.

When fitting, I lowered the front waistline 3/4″.  I’d already removed 1/2″ at the pattern. You would think with a belly like mine,  lots of front crotch length would be needed. But that is just not the case. The length as given caused pouching just above the leg.  I think the whole front needs to be shortened at the pattern stage. Pulling up in front seems to contribute to diagonal lines at the side seams;  but I also need to take into consideration the CLA that I’m making.

I’m up to a 1″ adjustment, which is the max Kathy recommends during her course, One Pattern Many Looks.  In the discussion she did mention having to make an even larger adjustment for a particular client.

This  feels good when wearing.  It’s only in the pictures that I see I could remove more excess ease from the back thigh.  Except that those dreaded diagonal lines have developed.  Oddly, the finished pant has a little VPL across the back which was not present in the previous pictures.  The pictures just prior to this were made the night before when the pockets, zipper, inseams and crotch were permanently stitched but the side seams and waistband were only basted.  I do blame winter’s static cling for part of the issues. I keep a can of spray around because static cling is an issue every year.

Of the pictures I took, I think it’s the side view that is most telling:


The back VPL is just barely visible.  I still have 1″ seam allowances added to the pattern.  Since with every pant made, I’ve used the full 1″ SA, I plan to reduce the pattern SA.    Looking back at the other 2 front pictures, it’s like the whole front leg is too large and too long.  I’m a little bit surprised by those diagonals on the side-front. Both Kathy Ruddy and Angela Wolf stress laying the pant out on a flat surface and smoothing the leg across grain to avoid twisting the leg.  I did that and I pinned. Normally I put a pin at the knee, the waist and the hem.  I pinned every 3 inches. The leg is not twisted on the inseam, only at the side seam. Before the CLA, the side seams seemed to be even. It’s only after adding  1″ CLA  the leg lengths seem uneven.

I will be very careful when making alterations. I’m planning

  1. Trim Seam allowances (This fabric has no stretch. I can’t imagine another fabric with any less).
    1. Back 3/8″
    2. Front 1/2″ (finished SA 1/2″
  2. Trim 3/4″ across the entire front not just at the crotch.
  3. Walk the side seams

Until I’m satisfied with the CLA, I will continue to make it after the fabric is cut and not add it to the pattern. However, I will walk the seams, after making the CLA on the fabric because I want to know if the CLA is altering the side seam length. Kathy says it makes no difference, but that’s not what I’m seeing. Then again, shortening the front 3/4″ might just take care of all my issues.  In the meantime, I think this pant is fine to wear. I look no worse than anyone else in the bank line. Static cling get’s us all.

AngelaWolf, Jeans

Craftsy: Sewing Designer Jeans

Temperatures have dropped to uncomfortable levels, causing me retreat  and center my activities in the easy-to-keep-warm areas of my home.  These are also core areas of the house which need to be heated.  By heating just these areas, my bill is kept from resembling the national debt. I do experience reduced functionality but it’s not all that bad. For instance, in the recent days when I couldn’t sew or embroider,  I completed a recently-purchased Craftsy Class”  Sewing Designer Jeans.  (Hope that link goes to the class and not my personal list of classes.)   I have to tell you, I’m very pleased. I’m particularly interested in how to duplicate visible jean details that might be used in high-end designer jeans.  The class instructor, Angela Wolf, demonstrates her competence in this arena through-out the 9 Lessons. If you want a go/no go recommendation, I give the course a GO.  However, I don’t like blanket 1 sentence “loved it/you” reviews. So I’m continuing with an in-depth review:

Lesson 1, Meet Angela Wolf and Get Started

I encourage you not to skip this lesson.  The other Craftsy Courses I have finished, include an introduction which could have been eliminated entirely. But Angela talks about the fabrics she has used for jeans which of course includes denim.  She talks a lot about the various denims, stretch factors and weights. She recommends a 6 or 8 oz denim and cautions that a 12oz denim is a heavy fabric indeed. While AW prefers a 6 or 8 oz denim, she uses cotton sateen, non-stretch denims and shiny printed, high stretch denims as well. She admits freely that these are her preference and that you should use what you want, once your pattern fits to your satisfaction.  In fact, I think one of the things I enjoyed most about her class is that she states her preferences but repeatedly encourages you to make choices that you like.  During the introductory, she also makes thread, needle and stitch recommendations as well as alternate reinforcement options (try stitching, bling, or small findings from the jewelry department.)

As with all the dressmaking/garment Craftsy courses, pattern recommendations are made.  Not surprising, Angela recommends her own pattern first. However, she follows that with strong recommendations for Jalie with its high and low waist options, Jennifer Stern (misses and women sizes) and an almost glowing recommendation for Kenneth King’s “Jeanius” class for copying a favorite pair.

Angela is  wild about distressing denim jeans. There is never a lesson which does not include specific hints and tips.  However, I can’t repeat them as I don’t like distressing and didn’t pay much attention.  I was a child in the 50’s when it was very common for younger children to wear their elder siblings discards.  There was no shame in it.  All my friends wore their siblings clothes. An elder child was the subject of limited admiration because they were the one, in nearly every family, to get the news clothes.  The rest of us received “distressed” clothing also called hand-me downs on a fairly regular basis.  I mean it was almost understood that these weren’t your clothe. They were lent to you until you grew out of them and then the clothes became garments in the next younger child’s wardrobe. OTOH, we would also “get after” an elder sibling for not taking care of  our future garment. We knew it was to be ours in the near future and we didn’t want to wear a rag just because our sibling was a slob.  I can remember how thrilled I was when my parents gave me my first school-clothing allowance. A humongous sum of $10.  I found 3 dresses for $7, and added socks and panties to my basket. The total was just slightly under $10. Until they added taxes.  I stood there at the counter, a very determined 11-year-old, demanding to know why they wanted more than $10 when any second grader could add up the tags and see I was owed a few pennies. The clerk was beside herself trying to explain “taxes”.  Fortunately, this was a time of small towns, rural communities and proprietor owned businesses.  The owner came over to see what was going on and paid my tax —  with one condition.  That I ask my parents what taxes were.  So no, I’m not interested in distressing my jeans (or being overcharged).

Lesson 2 Perfect Fit

AW makes several recommendations for solving jean fitting issues.  She highly recommends that you take Betzina’s pants fitting or King’s Jeanius courses and start with a fitted basic pant  or jean pattern before starting.  She doesn’t address all pant fitting issues. Only a few that seem to persist with jeans and perhaps aren’t present in regular pants. I was particularly impressed with her recommendations for choosing a jean size and measuring the inseam but totally flummoxed with her recommendation for the hyper extended calf HEC. Her solution for the HEC involves folding out length just below the bum, then slashing and spreading an equal amount below the calve; finishing by truing the curves and seam lines. It looked like an excellent means for destroying the leg styling. Besides, it doesn’t make sense to me.  If you have a large bust (can that be called a hyper extended chest?)  you don’t fold out length above the chest and add length down around the hem. You do something called a Full-Bust Adjustment FBA which adds both length and width across the front  without changing the finished side seam length.  So the HEC doesn’t make sense to me. Some of her other adjustments were also questionable, in light of my experiences. However, I know that there can be fitting issues that remain even after making all the experts recommended changes. I would say, if nothing else has worked; if no other alteration you’ve made has fixed your issue, go ahead; make a muslin and try AW’s alteration.  AW does show you specifically which wrinkles she is correcting and what you should do.  She also recommends making your alterations in small 1/4″ increments until you find the amount needed to be changed for your body.  She pointedly states that there are wrinkles you will never get rid of if you are making a close fitting jean. AW is another who respects the fact that all our bodies are different and no single guideline/rule works for everyone. As for myself, she has convinced me of a couple of things. I’m definitely picking my next jean pattern size by measuring the pattern; and I’m looking forward to correcting the gaping of back waistband which commonly happens to me with any pant whereon the waistband sits below the waist. That gaping is one of the reasons I will not wear low-rise jeans.  (BTW low-rise jeans are flattering especially for those of us who are short-waisted.)


In this lesson, she also discusses making some pocket adaptions. Don’t miss that. It’s brief but I like that she covered everything  I learned the hard way.   Another note worthy segment is  when she talks about using stretch fabrics after having fit the pattern for a non-stretch denim.  I do believe that the process could be reversed, i.e. fit for stretch and change for non-stretch.  Last interesting segment is her discussion of marking and aligning the grain and somewhere in here she talk about working with a length of denim which is uneven. You know the kind where you can see that the grain is parallel to the selvege but the cut end is at an angle.

Lesson 3 Back Pockets

Loved it. Can’t say enough good about this lesson.  Not sure I would have paid $20 for this lesson alone, but still it is the lesson I remember the best. AW covers so much information. She does stick with the basic jean pocket size and shape during her discussion, but makes numerous changes, adds buttonholes and shows an easy way to make sure your design is mirrored exactly for both back pockets. Do any of you suffer with a “flat rear end”?   No junk-in-the-trunk?  AW has a solution for you: flaps over your back pockets. Unfortunately, I’m exactly the opposite. I say unfortunately because AW shares numerous ways to decorate the flaps, add buttonholes and place in conjunction with your back pocket.  Back flaps are really a great way to add zing to your jeans and have fun too!

Lesson 4 Sewing the Back

I don’t use AW’s construction order but I think she has good reasons for the choices she makes.  One is flat-felling the center back seam. She offers lots of advice on this topic. I have one notes here that says “sew, press, distress, top stitch” .  So apparently I did retain something about distressing.  She’s specific on the order and the reasons why. Also great advice for which way to press seams, where and when to top stitch, through-out all 9 Lessons, but here in particular in regards to the yoke and CB. What I loved most and will use, are her details for pocket placement.  Most patterns add a dot and say attach pocket here.  Well if you make any changes, mine are always changed to accommodate the junk-in-the-trunk, your pocket might look better positioned slightly differently. AW gives you measurements of where to place the pockets.

Lesson 5 Front Pockets

AW loves crazy linings from improbably fabrics. She also prefers a one piece bag/facing referencing the lessening of bulk and how easy it is to place it into perfect position.  She prefers an overlay on the facing covering the area which will show when the jeans are finished (a bulk reducing method).  She also explores pocket shapes, the coin pocket and some variations.  Interesting to me,  she does not stay stitch or stabilize the front pocket, but is very careful to reinforce stressed areas.  She prefers not to use grommets (although in one of the lessons she goes into detail for how and when to install) substituting zig zag stitching or other decorative elements.

Lesson 6 Front Fly

I didn’t view this lesson at all. Judging from the other lessons, I’d say it is probably full of good information. However, I don’t care to make the faced pocket fly.  I always wear my granny panties which means that I never expose my tender flesh to the machinations of a metal zipper. I don’t use metal zippers either. Don’t like rust, stubborn zipper or broken needles.  AW probably provides workarounds for my issues, but I’ll never know.   Take the course and let me know if I missed anything important.

Lesson 7 Joining Front to Back.

I’ve got 2 pages of hand written notes. You’d think this would be an easy lesson. Saying like, stitch this seam and then that. Well those directions are included plus AW tells you which order to use if adding embroidery.  She stresses pinning to avoid twisting the legs.  She’s not only a real believer in the effects of grain, but shows you how to avoid that problem even at this stage of the game.  She mentions hammering frequently to include when, where and which side. But she adds fun to the mix.  I felt like she loved belt loops. She shows a variety of stitching and some placement changes.  She does specify exact spots that must have belt loops if you want your pants to stay up.  Really impressive to me is the top stitching along the side seam.  She details the direction to stitch, press and the length of the seam.  She explains why.  Nobody has ever told me why.  I just think it’s great when someone is not only technically proficient i.e. knows what to do, but they understand why and can tell you.

Lesson 8 The Waistband

I was surprised by information in this lesson. AW does not interface the waistband or it’s facing. I should make you pay for the class to learn this secret. Except, I think she shared it on TV.  She stitches the waistband and facing together along the upper edge. Then stitches 1/4″ twill on top of that stitching. AW promises that the waist will never stretch. If you adopt her process it cannot change size.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  I’m going to test it myself, after all, with the crazy belt loops I’m planning, the jeans will stay up even if the waist grows a little.

Like the other lessons AW is very specific about what she does.  I underlined that because AW repeatedly says “this is what is fastest for me but you should do what works for you” (or something to that effect).  I’m much more appreciative and attentive to the instructor who can allow that I might have learned something from someone else or I might have limitations that demand I do things in a certain way.  AW covers this segment in detail including tips for making sure the waistband is smoothly and evenly attached to the pant, the stitching across the front matches and how to avoid breaking needles even with a metal zipper. She shows you how to trim the zipper, remove excess teeth and finish top stitching the waistband and the zipper for a flawless finish.

Lesson 9 Finishing and Hemming

AW talks about buttons and helps identify a classic jean button that will resist detaching from its stud. She shows you what can go wrong with grommets, metal nipples and buttons and how to detect poor installations before the first wearing.  For this type button, she does recommend the keyhole buttonhole and spends a lot of time showing how to choose the size, stitch, and reinforce.  She continues to offer “fun” finishes encouraging you to choose buttons not because jeans are supposed to have a certain type, but because you enjoy the button. This is the time that she finally stitches the belt loops into position. Her timing makes sense, I just hate having the floppy button loops.  Surprising to me, she recommends washing the jeans before hemming.  That’s washing the jeans now even after having washed the denim at least twice before cutting.  Once again, she has an explanation:  All the handling given to jeans can easily stretch them out of shape.  If they are washed and dried now, the denim will recover its shape and the  hem will be at the correct length.  She also states that denim will continue to shrink. According to AW and my personal experience, shrinking is an inherent characteristic of denim. Being thankful that shrinking is really not my fault,   I’ve  made a note to myself to hem my jeans 1/2″ longer than desired.


Seriously great course.  It was well worth the full price of $40. Although I’ll admit the grinch in my heart  was happy to pay half-price.  I still have issues with the video format.  I know I’m not going to remember everything said in the video.  I’m also not going to be able to easily find the place in the video that I need to rewatch.  I’ve yet to figure out how to make “book marks” on the video but that may be because of my crutch.  See, I make notes and from this class I have 25 pages of hand written notes.  Even though I prefer a written format, I acknowledge that there are times when I need to see something being done. Words are just not enough.  I’m so glad Angela Wolf recorded this course and very glad Craftsy made it available.