I need to complete my planned black jeans for my Summer 6PAC’s but I’m excited about working with Connie Crawford’s patterns and not at all wanting to work on pants. Nonetheless it’s time to get it done. I’d already picked out the fabric, a light weight black denim with white stripes. It has a Lycra content which provides about 15% stretch. I had in mind making a Faux Jean complete with front and back pockets, faux yoke and faux contour waistband using PP113. I do love this pattern and have been pleased with my ability to add styling–so far.
I refit this pattern April 2015 and for the first time used the narrow back. Since then every version I’ve made has been with non-stretch fabrics and retained the 18-20″ leg-hem circumference. I’m going for jean styling which to me also includes a bit of jean fit. I don’t want to use my TNT and then take huge seam allowances to compensate for the stretch alter my TNT so it isn’t usable as a trouser/slack. Also my TNT has been through lots of changes. It looks more like a well-used road-map then a recent garment pattern. I opted to cut a new copy. Just placed my TNT underneath blank tracing paper and rotary cut a new copy. Adding notches, grain lines and other needed pattern marks after the tissue was cut. I wanted to preempt the stretch factor. I folded the new tissue along the grain line from waist to hem. Took it to the sewing machine and basted in a 1/8″ tuck on both front and back.
I wanted the look of the contoured waistband without all the work and without further altering my basic pattern. I know a way to do this. I made a 2.75″ wide facing for the waist. I used Swedish tracing paper to trace the front and back as is including the darts. I trimmed the excess paper and stitched darts and side seams; pressed them open and added belt loop positions.
Onto the pockets. I stole the back pocket from another pattern I’m not using. Done! Front pocket however had to be copied and drafted with the idea that it must extend all the way to the usual waist. That’s right, I’m not trimming the pant waist down. It stays as is including darts. I started with the pocket bag that I’ve been using and copied it. Since this is a front jean-pocket, I made it not as deep, trimming about 2″. Then I cut a copy of my new pocket bag and added the curved hand opening. Trick is that curve must be deeper. The usual jean-pocket as a narrow scoop. Mine is 2.5″ deep
Since this is a summer pant, in a summer weight fabric I prefer the legs to be ankle length. No problemo. I measured up 1.25″ from the hem and drew a line on front and back leg pieces. I folded the pattern up on this line.
I cut my fabric. Stitched a faux yoke on the back. That’s really easy. I measured the yoke and contour waistband of my exiting jeans and drew a line on the back pieces with chalk; loaded up the Cover Stitcher with black thread and stitch along the chalked line.
It’s one of those things that people need to get up close to see something is different. Even then most won’t realize that I should have had a separate piece. I know. I’ve done this before.
I stitched darts; prepared my pockets and fused them to the pant back before stitching the pockets permanently in place. I deliberately chose to cut the back pockets with horizontal stripes. A decision I regretted at the first fitting. Considering that the pockets are fused and double stitched. They are not being changed.
I stitched the front darts and then added the pocket facing. I trimmed out the curve of the facing and wondered why I had bother to stitch darts. Then I added the pocket back and realized I was going to have fitting issues. Without the front darts, the pant front is sure to have too much ease. But I was moving right along and rapidly completed the zipper, inseams, and crotch before basting the side seams.
Then I started on the waistband. In theory, and this has worked for me in the past, the facing is sewn right side to the wrong side of the pant. It is then flipped up and over; the free edge is turned under and top stitched. That looks and fits just like a contour waistband but is only a facing turned to the public side. I did say this worked for me in the past? I couldn’t get it to flip up and over. It would roll wonky with some of the wrong side showing in some places and the right side rolling to the back in others. For this to appear to be a contour waistband, the facing must turn crisply at the waist and turn under evenly at the bottom free edge. I made two facings. Choosing different interfacing. I forgot to mention that I also added belt loops because to me that’s an important part of the jeans look. The only good thing about this experience was that it was easy to rip out and toss because I had water-soluble thread in the bobbin. I struggled with the facing for more than an hour before deciding to use my straight waistband.
The straight waistband turned out to be a real gift. I was able to immediately see and fix the fit errors caused by sewing the front pocket.
So despite my frustration, pants look good
I had forgotten how I hate that curved pocket. The deeper the curve the harder it is to keep the facing neatly inside. I don’t want to stitch it down because I like working pockets.
Undoubtedly you’ll note that they aren’t even close to jean fit
Even taking out as little as 1/2″ ease, with a fabric that as 15% stretch caused the legs to pull at my knee. For the final fit (above) I stitched the side seams at 3/8″ instead of 1/2″. I can still see a slight pull at the knee. This is what happens to me every time I try to get a closer fit. Thankfully I have a link to Jill Sterns instructions regarding knock-knee fitting. I have tried this same alteration previously but I only offset the legs 1/2″. In Jill’s instructions she says to offset as much as 1-1/2″. I’ll try on the next pair. This one is done.