5682 - Jeans

5682: And It’s Finished!

…. But I have mixed emotions.

I really did want to make the front just a little smaller. So I removed the side seam basting; offset the front to back 1/4″ and then stitched the side seams in the same place  as the last basting on the back. This removes about 1/2″ (1/4″*2 sides) from the front but should not affect the back.  The other seams, I stitched with thread and then spritzed to remove all the water-soluble thread basting lines. I trimmed as needed before hemming and finishing the waistband.  I found a nickel button in my button box. No it was a real nickel

I told DH that someone managed to sell a 5-cent nickel for a $1.50. Yeah, they took a nickel, stamped and formed it into a button sold it to a dressmaker. He said that was illegal. So maybe I”m wrong but I still paid a $1.50 for this button and it gets recycled from jean to jean on a pretty regular basis.

I had also triple top-stitched the front making a faux front pocket:

Layers of denim can make for a stiff and uncooperative waistband, so as typical for me I hunted in the scraps for a non-denim facing fabric.  Not too far down, I found this print

which looks really kewl as a facing with the green denim. It is a stretch fabric. I interfaced it and then put the pattern on a second  time to trim it to size. It had stretched quite a bit.

Then I took semi-final pics.

Sides and front, pretty good. Still room for a little improvement but not enough to worry about. Back made me sigh. It actually looked worse with the WST removed:

I decide that yes, I should at least scoop once to see if that is the answer. I think the crotch needs to be reshaped anyway.  It’s kind of a C slope

where I’m better fit with an L

and best with a scoop that goes below the crotch line and back up like a J or fish-hook

I found the J first on my Trudy Jansen 906 jeans pattern. Then read about it in the Palmer Pletch Pants fitting book in which they give it one whole paragraph and no pics. Almost like they don’t want to mention it at all. And truly it’s not the final word. As in today where I scooped my pant crotch generously.  I measured down 1/2″; took my curve and penciled in a nice deep crotch curve. Then I stitch it and pinked it down to 1/4″. I don’t like clipping, I think that weakens the seam. Besides this big of a seam allowance can be uncomfortable down there.  But it didn’t help:

Final w Scoop —-     Right Without Scoop

Oh and the bank line views are not encouraging either:

Crap! Most of the time, I can get myself gussied-up and camo the bad stuff.

I’m not ready to quit on this pattern. I think the issue is a matter of ease across my butt and crotch shape. I admit I haven’t tried either of Peggy Sagers favorite fixes (Hip Line and Inseam darts).  My undiagnosed adult  ADHD has kicked in and I’d really like to-do something else.  So I’ll come back to this. Just not tomorrow.

5682 - Jeans

5682: Follow the Fitting

Day 06 Unfortunately, housework, dinner and such cut into my sewing time. I shouldn’t complain too loudly though as I know for a fact I am able to sew much more than many, many people. I took note of the changes I knew needed to be made; rejoiced that there wasn’t enough laundry to worry about and started sewing in the early afternoon. Changes? Deepened yoke/back leg seam 1/8″ (removes 1/4 length) offset wb between side front to CF 1/4″; and correct the angle of the CB crotch seam.  The crotch seam correction removed a surprising amount in a critical area, my big butt. I took the time to add a 4th correction and let out the side seam oh from about the level of the middle of the pocket to the waist.

The results were encouraging.

There are still downward diagonals on the side front but only 1 visible on the side-back (not looking at the lower leg) Both sides look a little loose though. Still I would wear these.

The front looks pretty good. I’d wear it too although the waist still feels a tad loose. See me holding there at CF? The back bubble has been taken care of. In fact the pant is gorgeous from waist to but.  I need only deal with the diagonal lines on the back thigh. Sigh,  there appear to be 4 on each leg instead of 3. Truly I was hoping for fewer rather than more.

Technically, I think of this set of pics as  the culmination of Fit 3, 4 and 05. But they were quick changes and by taking pics with the cell I was able to look at the specific issues I wanted to fix without running up to the big PC.  I ended up taking in the side seams between knee and waistband 1/4″. Then lifting the front 5/8″. The lift is in kind of a curve 1/4″ at the side, down to 5/8 mid way and back up to 1/4″ at the CF.  I also marked the waistband so I would stitch at the 1/2″ SA.  It’s a little hard for me to judge exactly what distance I’m stitching when I can’t use the sewing machine marks. Marking the stitching line helped me make it  even.

Again, the sides look nice

Oddly the front looks too large but other wise, I like it too.  I’m not sure there is more I can do to the back at this point. There are still 4 diagonals back there between butt and knee. Possibly scooping the crotch will help. Which seems odd because that adds length and I just finished removing at least 1/2″ up by the waistband. Still it has helped in the past. Thing is, scooping is the very last thing I ever do because there is no undo.  Need to think about this.


5682 - Jeans

5682: First Fabric

ummm Day 5 :   With a little reticence, I laid out that green denim. Kept thinking about it’s origins.  I’m pretty sure I bought that in Rapid City Joann’s when I first arrived in SD so it’s more like 14 years old. It’s a nice fabric. Feels soft but hefty.  Has a 20% stretch. Nice fabric. Once I again I have proved that sewing pants is really quick and easy.  I did not use the front pocket pieces, opting to merely stitch a pocket shape on the front pieces.  Also did not do any top stitching and the pockets, normally my place to go wild with embroidery, are plain Janes. I serged the yoke to the back leg and permanently put the zipper in the front. Back pockets are also nailed down. Everything else, including hems were basted with water-soluble thread for the first fitting and pics.  Camera still on the way so I pressed my IPAD into service.  The first 2 pics, back and left right side, were OK. Nothing prize worthy, but I can see a number of details. Front and Side right are somehow heavily shadowed and unusable.  But there were enough details I knew what my first tweaks would be.  Yeah, tweaks and I’m pretty happy at that.

I even saw the center back bubble circled in orange I pinned the pieces together.  It surprised me then because the change had been to evenly remove 1/4″ from the crotch seam leaving me with a 3/8″ SA.  I think the standard 5/8″ SA is too wide for normal use.  I get into that clipping which weakens the seam but allows it to lay flat.  I prefer a 1/4″ SA because it easily matches under the sewing machine foot and curves beautifully without clipping. But back to seeing the bubble, I didn’t correct it when sewing the pieces together, but I will now and I will correct the pattern as well.  Not addressing fitting the lines on the back of the leg other than to say, I’m glad they are so few. I often get a horrid mess back there. A few lines is nothing. Wearable and I haven’t made any corrective efforts.  But after I fix the back bubble, I’ll also take in the extra 1/4″ length I thought I was seeing  in the muslin and remove it from the tissue. The green circles on the bottom of the leg, I think I’ll just watch the area to see if this dimpling goes away. I think that means the leg is slightly too long. I’m reluctant to do anything about that because usually I get rid of my me-made jeans when the legs shrink too much.

The lines on the back leg are seen here in the side view too but I won’t do more than already stated.  However it is now clear to me that this pant has too much circumference. I thought that might be the case with the muslin. It’s just a little. I will take it in on the jeans but because I’m anxious to be able to use the pattern for non-stretch fabric, I won’t change the tissue. The front downward pointing lines usually result from excess upper length.  I didn’t really see them during musling so don’t know why I’m seeing them now. Maybe having the complete waistband instead of just the front half makes a differences.  I’ll offset the waistband and leg to pull that up everywhere except the exact center front and of course the back will remain as is until I check to see how much change was made by the yoke/back leg tweak.

That’s not really a lot of changes for Fit02, but enough that I want pics and I think I’ll change back to the cell phone at least until the new camera is delivered because the cell made better pics.

5682 - Jeans

Mom Jeans Day 4

Day 4, I rolled out the plastisized aisle runner and cut another copy of my new pattern.  Last time I cut all parts of the muslin from the plastic stuff.  This time I had half in the good aisle runner and cut the other half in the plastisized stuff. I realized that Peggy and a few others have a point. By using the aisle runner as a muslin, I could make all my changes to it and still have the light weight pattern I desire (after fitting and tossing the plastisized stuff).

I dont’ remember who at SG suggested this, but they are right. Pants are an easy garment to sew. It’s the fitting stuff that makes pants miserable. I put water-soluble thread in the bobbin and had my first fitting pics in under 15 minutes.

The good news, everything is too big!!

I decided to take my pants in 1/4″ at a time because I suspected that I would need to take-in more for the hips, little less for the tummy and a lot for the thigh and calves. Well actually my SM throat plate is marked in mm’s so I took in 5mm at a time. After stitching the first 5, disaster!  The camera broke. Well, I knocked it face forward onto the basement i.e cement floor. After that the picture was blurred. Timeout to order a new camera which Amazon promises me will be here in 2 days. I cannot fit without a camera. So I retrieve my cell phone, which rarely gets used, and figured out how to take pics and email them to myself.  Don’t tell me old dogs can’t learn new tricks!

Fit 01, with side SA’s just 5 mm deeper, surprised me. The butt is almost perfect. I’m not sure I want to take it in any more.  The waist definitely needs the next 5mm deeper but the Tummy would be better at 2mm. The back of leg mess and front thigh

are both begging for less fabric. Like maybe a whole 2.5cm less.

But FIT 02 and another 5mm off the side seams (which turned out to be not too much) and  2.5mm off the inseam and the upper jean looks good. Butt not too tight,  tummy just needs to be let out a smidge. Oddly, thighs feel close when I”m trying to slip into them, but definitely are not when I look at the pics.  The side views actually look pretty good. It’s the full on front or back pics in which the pant is begging for  intervention (alsoreveal my underpinnings and therefore not shown).

Let me take a moment to point out that Fit02 is exactly why I didn’t want to trace the Size 22 and start over.  I have another 4 hours into this pattern on Muslin2 and I’m barely at the point I ended with Fit04 of the First Muslin.

So Fit 03 and another 5mm off the side seam from crotch line to hem.

This says that the butt circumference is still good.

However the crotch is now too long

This suggests I should take more ease/circumference from the leg:

However the sides and front say the legs are looking nice!.

The front crotch still appears to be the correct length (and it is comfortable) but what the heck is this just under the tummy?

Fit04 I decide to temporarily ignore the under-tummy fold/crease/divot and take  another 5mm off the side leg below the crotch and another 2.5mm off the inseam.

The side still look nice

The front is about the same. It tends to vary as I don’t exactly pin the front together the same way every time. Sometimes I think it is still too loose from high point tummy to hem other times it looks fine or too tight.

The back looks good from waist to crotch although it still has the feathers which imply it’s a little long, maybe 1/4″. The back leg:

well honestly it looks good to me from knee to hem. It is that area between butt and knee that have me concerned; along with

It’s now a 14″ hem circumference and is not crazy bad but requires a little wiggle to get in and out of the ankle. Another new experience is that the knee feels restricted when I’m walking.

I’m finally at the point where I think I need to move to fabric, real denim. I’m by no means confident of the plastic table-cloth fitting experience. Especially since the ‘good’ aisle runner on the right leg repeatedly looks better. I think the waist and tummy needs to be finalized when I’m working with a zipper that definitely closes the front the same way, every time. I’m pretty sure the back crotch needs to be shortened by 1/4″,  but not dead certain. I removed and applied the WB a dozen times. OK 3 times and was never sure I was stitching at the 3/8″ I planned. The plastic tends to slide a bit. Might have helped if I could have found my teflon foot. I know it’s inhere some place. I only use the teflon foot  with vinyl and can’t find it right now. Point is the back crotch may not need changing and I can adapt 1/4″ while sewing the first fabric version.  As for the back leg, I’ve made neither  Hip Line Dart nor the Horseshoe dart at the inseam. Again, working with plastic makes me uncertain. Unfortunately, these 2 alterations have to be made at the tissue level.

So for now, I will be perfecting what I can perfect with my first fabric version and expecting to make changes for a Version 2 and maybe a Version 3. BUT  I must say I’m delighted to be starting with fabric. I’ve put 10-11 hours into this so far.  I’m relieved that I may be able to sew an acceptable jean made from a Big 4 pattern. It’s been so long since I’ve used any of their patterns I really doubted I would ever get to the fabric stage. It’s been a good day. Time to snap out the lights and go upstairs.


If you’re wondering about the sizing call

  • The back butt is now about a 20( Remember I added 1/2″ to the back side seam)
  • Front is  an 18 but with a 3/8″ wedge added to the center front.
  • Back crotch and front crotch are still size 22 with +1″ and 2″ length added respectively
  • Inseam is  an 18
  • Side seam from crotch to hem is about a 16.

No wonder I have so much problems fitting pants. I’m crossing 4 sizes with my front and back at different sizes

5682 - Jeans

Mom Jeans Day 2

Fitting took a detour.  Overnight I kept wondering if I needed the full 1″ added across the upper pant or if I really just needed a wedge that would add 1″ right at the crotch.  I think about 3AM I remembered I had kept a couple of aisle runner rolls that I don’t like to use.  One is hard to see and trace through; both react badly to a warm iron (forget about a hot iron.)  While I don’t use them, they are perfect for creating muslins.  I measured up 18″ from the bottom of the leg and drew a horizontal line.  I folded the pant leg up along that line and cut front, back, yoke and 1 waistband. Ignoring the zipper I stitched this short together. Pulled in on; pinned the front and settled it in position around my waist.

OK so there were pics, but I’m reluctant to share full views.  Aisle runner tends to be on the transparent side and I don’t wish to post photos of me in my underwear.  But these 2 sessions gave me some very good info and was well worth the time spent. The waistband sits right at the waist. So down at the bottom of the waistband and top of the waist which I think of as high hip, I could easily tell I needed the 1″ fit insurance I added. I let the side seam out from top of waistband down 5 inches. Top now has a SA of 1/2″ tapering down to 1″ at the high hip.  The leg and hip, have plenty of ease. I may take some in. Once the waist had enough length to wrap around my tummy and meet at what should be center front, I could look again at the crotch length and depth.  At this point, and working with what essentially is a lightweight plastic table-cloth, I think adding the wedge was the right call. BUT I didn’t add enough. While the sides are high enough, CF and CB still dip 1/2 and 1/4″ respectively. I’m tempted to add more to the crotch length. This plastisized tissue is difficult to read and I can’t take my own evaluations as gospel truth.  Looking at the back, I think I’m going to scoop just because I can look at the back crotch tissue and tell you “that’s never going to fit me” but this mess says

“not enough butt ease” rather than crotch depth. The tissue is stiff and so will be the denim.  The problem to me is that when I look directly at the butt, I don’t see drag lines, or bright lights bouncing back at me.  That area acts like the fit is fine. There isn’t any VPL –beyond seeing the entire under-garment but none of that crossing an elastic strap VPL.

Fit03, I sliced from CF to side seam and added 1/2″ to the front crotch. For the back,  I scooped  1/2″ I can always tell when I’m on the right track because, as did this change, the right direction always causes a garment (even a test plastic garment) to immediately feel more comfortable. The Waist was immediately level

The back of thigh mess changed significantly

Even with the added length, the front crotch looks too short. It too needs to be reshaped; and it’s obvious that my butt really does need more room. Why could I not see that when the crotch was too short? Interestingly, the back crotch now looks too long. It bubbles right under the yoke which to me says “don’t correct the front crotch until you’re sure the back crotch is right. I wanted to add more ease across the rear before any other changes.

Fit04 Adding another 1/2″ ease made a wonderful difference. (Pattern includes 5/8″ SA.  I added 1″ to the side seams. Initially I stitched at 1″ which adds 5/8″ (*2=1.25″) ease across the rear.  With the additional 1/2″ I’ve added a total of 2.75”. Truthfully, it might be a little much.  The bubble mentioned earlier, is now a big blister:

Scooping the back was probably a mistake. Too bad I couldn’t see or feel the need for additional ease.

Whew, Day 2 is over. I close the doors and turn off the lights.  I need to contemplate before proceeding.


Day 3, and this post will be short.  Something worried me over night. So I started Day 3 by measuring, measuring measuring. Measuring the muslin. Measuring the original pattern.  Eventually I decided everything I’d done to the muslin, had created the size 22 of the original pattern.  Have I even mentioned I was an Analyst? Computers, Info Tech etc. Not people. People I don’t get too much. Machines, data I do. My tendency is to analyze and then create an elegant solution. A solution that can be easily followed and repeated even if I have to walk you through it the first time.  Coincidentally, an elegant solution is something I can understand easily if I ever have to look at it again. So my inclination upon realizing I’d enlarged the muslin to a size 22 and in doing so created a lot of angles and some wonky bends, was to start over. But I’d didn’t want to start over because I’ve already invested 4 hours to get to this point and I could have just continued slashing and patching the muslin. Sigh, you never regret doing things the right way.  I traced the size 22; added 1/2″ to the side back. I was ready to sew (and this post might have been longer) except a spell of sweating and weakness struck me. Nothing too serious. I’d had diarrhea in the wee hours of the morn but had seemed fine afterwards.  I assume I have picked up a bug. Feeling as I did, I really had no choice but to load things up with weights i.e. ensuring they stayed where I left them and make my way upstairs to sit a spell. Until Day 4.

5682 - Jeans

Mom Jeans

ETA: correcting spelling and verbiage errors. 

Although I love my TJ906’s and they’re almost perfect now , there are times when I long for a typical jean. I want something that rests at the waist or immediately below. No plumber’s butt for me, please. I’d like them to be semi-fitted through tummy, hip and butt i.e. skim the curves without revealing the lumps. No skin-tight, hair-counting bottom layers for public wear.  I grew up in the 60’s and I’m over bell bottoms.  I even want my trousers, which have much more ease, to drape close to the body. So no big flaring legs. Not for me.  I especially want a two piece leg i.e. front and a back pattern piece instead of the 3 piece of TJ906.  Fact is, TJ906 takes more yardage than a 2-piece jean.  Definitely surprised me.  I thought that with more pieces I could shift things around and take advantage of the fabric. Not so. Each piece has a grain which must be honored. Otherwise the finished jean will twist and hang awkwardly. TJ906 requires 2-1/4 yards of fabric. Can’t do it with any less even if the fabric is 62″ wide. Whereas, I  use less than 1- 7/8 almost 1-3/4 yards of 52″ denim with a 2 piece leg.

So I look around for a new jeans pattern.  I went immediately to Silhouette Patterns because I seem to be on a good-run with SP. Didn’t buy.  3300 would have been my choice except  it rests 2″ below the waist and, having made 3200, I don’t believe the advertised 17″ hem.   I  thought, why don’t I see if there is a pattern out there that would meet my standards before buying a pattern I know is going to need a major overhaul to make me happy. I have the Jalie Jean. It is for knit fabrics with 25% stretch. I can’t always buy 25% stretch. Worse yet I’ve had twills that stated 25% stretch  but the finished pant was too tight.  I don’t want to mess with Connie Crawford’s pattern again. I got it to fit me but hated the back yoke and it wasn’t easy to fit.    I looked and looked and looked. Beware when  Googling “jean patterns”. There were a lot of url’s many of which didn’t pertain to a jeans patterns.  I finally decided to give Butterick 5682 a try.  I haven’t made any pants from the Big 4 in about 10 years. I absolutely could not correct the bagging in the back. But  my pants fitting knowledge has increased exponentially in the last 10 years. In fact my whole fitting process has been revised. So I purchased B5692 from PatternReview .com

I traced the pieces of  View A, the slim ankle length jean. I was thinking about the Straight Leg, except someone wrote that the slim ankle wasn’t as slim as she was expecting and she was glad she didn’t trace the straight leg.  I traced the pieces for a size 18 based on the hip chart on the back. Then I started measuring and mentally subtracting the seam allowances. I think it will finish with about 1-1.5″ of ease; providing my math is right. Still after I traced, I added 1″ to the side seams. I started to cut out the pattern and then said “Wait a minute. Why am I acting like I don’t have a clue about what will fit?”  I was mentally preparing for several fittings and multiple muslins. Why should I not shortcut the process by adapting the pattern to things I know about me. Like I have a defined crotch length which changes only by where the waistband rests. This is at the waist so it should be the same as my 906. I stopped and recorded lots of finished measurements from last pair of 906’s and then started measuring the pattern again.  The inseam length was 28″. I like a finished inseam of 29-30.  This is ankle length and that could make a difference in the final inseam, but I don’t want a jean, in the winter, which hangs above my boots. I want something I can tuck in. I decided even if I have to sew a vent for the side seam, I want this pattern to start with a 30″ inseam. Tummy and hip, probably OK especially since I added the 1″ to the side seams. Waistband came out a little long, but I decided I was good with tweaking that at the first fitting. But crotch lengths startled me. They were short 1″. Both back and front needed an extra 1″ in length. I took a think break.  My first impulse was to slash across the abdomen shorten/lengthen line and add 1″ evenly. Then I said, I’m always shortening the side seams 3/4″. Maybe I need a wedge instead of an even 1″.  I added the wedge. Trimmed the excess tissue. Reduced the crotch seam allowance to 3/8, but left everything else with the full 5/8″ SA. Then I hunted for fabric.  I wanted a non-stretch fabric. Denim or heavy twill, something that would be suitable for jeans, real jeans. Not some fancy knit jeans. Although I might like to make stretch jeans at a future date.  I also wanted a light-colored fabric so I can easily see drag lines. I may be over-confident, but I feel like I will get a wearable but probably not a perfect jean. I do think it possible the 2nd pair will be perfect/near perfect.  So I want a fabric that I won’t mind wearing, i.e. not pajamas, but won’t mind tossing if this goes south. Could I find that?  Not in the muslin stack. Not in the blues (my first choice because my blue bottom layers are in short supply). Not in my browns either. I do make colored pants. You know turquoise, yellow even pink but I like them for spring and summer. I have a good reason for that.  The times of the year when it is either muddy or slushy snow. Yep those times of the year cars even animals pick up and kick up dirt and deposit it on my clothing. Pastel color garments are immediately ruined. At least, I’ve never been able to remove the oil and whatever stains that come from those sources.  But finally my eyes did slid all the way down to a bottom row where my purple, green and teal fabrics reside. It was almost a no brainer then to select the light-olive green denim that has probably sat down there for 8-10 years. The only down side: 25% stretch. I decided to cope with it.  I pressed and laid out my fabric. Pressed and laid out the pattern pieces. I did not use the separate fly pieces, the front pocket pieces or the belt loop.  When I make belt loops I do so on the cover stitch and I cut the fabric the width needed to glide through the folder and under the needles.  I see no reason to cut a strip the wrong width.  I prefer a cut on fly. Easier and faster to sew. If you do a good job, no one can tell that it is cut on.  Besides I wear underwear always. Everyday. So I don’t need to worry about my jean zipper catching tender flesh or tweezing hair. As this is a fitting, I don’t like to use the pockets. I’ve had pockets disguise fitting issues. Interesting at how the garment will ‘borrow’ fabric from the pocket area and I can’t tell that’s what happened. So no front pockets for jeans #1. I don’t use pockets anyway.  I think they create lumps where I don’t want them.  So lights out. Tomorrow begins jean fitting.

Note this will be a multi-post project that  I’m leery of even being able to successfully complete.  While I don’t think I’m horribly deformed, anything closer than a 20″ hem trouser is hard to fit. There have been many slacks/jeans patterns I was unable to fit to my satisfaction. But I want to take a run-at-it and I want lots of good notes so that if I am successful, I can do it again in the future. Maybe. 


The Ribbon Jeans

I began planning this pair of jeans almost as soon before taking pics of the previous. I feel like I’m close which makes me happy.  I hunted for a good fabric. I would have preferred a medium-dark, non-stretch denim. None to be found in my stash. I’m needing blue pants in my closet so I looked carefully I what I did have.  I had to discard one denim because there simply wasn’t enough length with this pattern. I think it odd, but the 3-piece leg requires more fabric than 2. I would have thought it possible to shift things around and make maximum use with 3 pieces. Not so. By the time everything is on-grain, a full 2 yards is required for shorty me and I would prefer 2-1/4.   Anyway what I did choose was a heavier weight denim, about 10-11 oz,; navy blue almost black with 20% stretch. It is a cotton/lycra blend which is fine with me.  I stopped to review my previous tissue alterations:

  • Added 7/8″ length to front crotch
  • Shortened inseam to 29.5″
  • Narrow hem circumference to 18″
    • -1/2″ on inseam
    • -1″ on sideseam
  • Establish seam allowances
    • Crotch 3/8″
    • Inseam 1/4″
    • leg center-back 1/4″

And then I added a few more learned from fitting:

  • Reduce waistband length -1/4″
  • Reduce side seam length above hip
    • back 1″ back *divided
    • front 1.25″  *divided
  • Add 1/2″ ease at back side seam for butt
  • Add 1″ ease (2″ total) at center front

Basically, I’ve added 3 more alterations for above the knee fitting.

906 has the center back seam in the leg and I considered adding the extra ease there. But I need to reduce circumference under the butt.  I don’t want to create a wildly bulging curve by adding more circumference directly above where I chisel it out.  I considered the typical alterations for ‘protruding rear’ . But they add ease at the waist and under the bum as well. If I use those alterations, I  must make more alterations to offset the ease added at waist and under-butt.  I hesitated on adding the 1/2″ at the side seam. I know I’ve made similar alterations in the past. I end up with Micky Mouse ears on my side seams. I don’t understand why, but the extra ease does not get pulled to where it is needed and instead hovers over a rather flat part of my body (the side hip). But I had run out of options. I’d run out of answers to the question: Where can I add ease for the butt without adding too much at the waist and under the butt.  I added 1/2″ on the side  right about where I stick out the most in back.

Adding ease to the center front came about after I made the side seam shorter (via the 2 side darts) I noticed that the center front was curved and pulling towards the side seams.

That’s not the line I usually see at CF on pants. This is one time I’m usual rather than different. I decided to cut right along the fly line and watched as it sprang open 1″ on it’s on. I taped tissue into place and decided to just go with it.

Despite my reservations, I began cutting and construction. I mean that’s the only way to tell if the changes are  going to work. I serged inseams and center  back-leg seams; installed the zipper with permanent stitching and also serged the top seam of the waistband to its facing (followed by triple stitching that seam to nail it into place).  I basted everything else with water-soluble thread in the bobbin before the first fitting. I will note that it wasn’t the easiest thing to ease the side back to the side front seam and easing the waistband to the top of the pant involved a lot of stretching and a little swearing. See not only was the waist expanded by the CF addition but I forgot and stitched my 1″ fitting seams at 1/2″.  Old habits are bound to kick you now and then.

So the first fitting didn’t tell me much beyond I had more than enough ease. I also saw that the back side seam was gathered to the front. I thought I had shortened the front 1/4″ more than the back but this was a lot more than that.  I ripped out the side seam to just below the hip and offset the yoke and back leg 1/2″; then restitched side seams at the 1″ depth they were supposed to be.  I also corrected the crotch seam. Somehow I had sewn one side deeper than the other and at an angle. I have no explanation and no defense.  But I was pretty happy with Fit 02. No pics of the fittings. Mostly that was it. Stitching the seams at the right depth and taking a little more from the back side seam depth.  When I did the permanent stitching I also let the back and front sides align as they desired (vs me forcing the two dissimilar curves together). It straight the curve just a little, removing about 1/4″. For the final fitting and pics I am sharing, I lightened them 100% and still it’s not easy to see the fitting issues.

The front feels like the crotch might be 1/4-1/2″ to long. I thought adding 2″ at the CF would be too much ease, but my pics says my tummy wouldn’t mind more.

The outright gathering is gone. That 1/2″ was the right decision. But like the back

Diagonal lines on the butt are ribbon.

I think the sides are saying “too much ease”.  Here’s my problem: I’m wanting to fit this pattern for non-stretch denim. This denim has 20% stretch. If I take it in, which the tummy BTW says “no”,  a non-stretch fabric has no chance of fitting. I suppose I could take in just the pants and not transfer to the pattern??

Anyway, pants feel great during wear. As I said before, they do feel a little long in the crotch front. I can see they may be a little long in the leg but I like that in new jeans. Interesting that denim seems to warm, soften and stretch width wise but over time shrinks lengthwise. My favorite jeans are always discarded

And the Pockets?  Totally easy to create. That’s 2 widths of grosgrain ribbon. The 1″ is stitched to the wrong side of the hem, folded to the right side and top stitched. Hem done. The 1/2″ grosgrain was stitched next to two lines I chalked onto the denim. Then I serged the outside. The raw edges don’t have to be serged but I find that it folds easily and more importantly evenly to the wrong side fit it’s serged first. I secured the pocket in place with 1/2″ Steam-A-Seam before top stitching the pocket to the jean. Easy. And so many possible variations. Not only can the ribbon be orientated differently, it can different colors, stacked, embroidered, painted. It’s just a wonderful embellishment I should have been using all along.




Large differences usually work better for me if I make them into small difference. So for the side seam length reduction, I made two 1/2″ darts (3/8″ front). The result is that the full amount has been reduced but the side seam retains its curve and did not degenerate into jogs.


  • Added 7/8″ length to front crotch
  • Shortened inseam to 29.5″
  • Narrow hem circumference to 18″
    • -1/2″ on inseam
    • -1″ on sideseam
  • Establish seam allowances
    • Crotch 3/8″
    • Inseam 1/4″
    • leg center-back 1/4″
    • side seams 1/2″
    • waistband
      • upper 1/4″ (3/8 when folded to WS)
      • lower 1/2″
    • Yoke 1/2″ except 3/8″ crotch
    • Top of leg 1/2″
  • Reduce waistband length -1/4″
  • Reduce side seam length above hip
    • back 1.5″ back *divided
    • front 1.25″  *divided
  • Add 1/4″ ease at back side seam for butt
  • Add 1″ ease (2″ total) at center front



Fitting 906

After a few  days of fitting, interspersed with life’s duties and activities, I have returned with a post about fitting my beloved Trudy Jansen Designer Jean Pattern #906.

The lovely med-dark brown, stretch, denim fabric  I selected, was easy to cut and very cooperative during sewing. It is, as well, a joy to wear.  The finished jeans feel wonderful despite having a bit too much ease.    I stitched the zipper in permanently and  serged the waistband to it’s facing along the upper edge. But I basted all else using Water Soluble Thread before starting  the fitting.

To my delight there were several fit issues already  or very close to correct.

The waistband needed to be shortened 1/4″ ( by removing 1/8 from each center-front edge and redistributing the top of the leg along the waistband). Hardly noticeable and not much trouble.

The inseam length was correct!

The hem circumference was my very favorite, 18″

During fitting I found that both the center back leg seam and the inseam needed no further adjustments. Which means due to my initial pattern alterations , they were right and I could have serged  instead of basting.

The crotch lengths, both back and front, are either right, or so close I can’t tell. As with the inseam and back leg seam, the crotch could have been permanently sewn instead of basting.

My first alteration was the 1/4″ adjustment to the waistband. Immediately I launched into fixing the pooling and drooping along the side. I expected this error.  I knew how exactly how long the crotch and inseam needed to be. I knew the side seam needed to be shorter, but didn’t know how much.

Unfortunately. I was not able to completely eliminate the side droop. I was able to shorten the sides (back 1″ and the front 1-1/4″). Anymore and other issues developed. It was just too much change in the same place.  When I carried the change back to the tissue, I had to make two  corrections instead of  one i.e. i made two 1/2″ darts on back, and 2 3/8″ darts on the front. Otherwise, the tissue would buckle.

My 2nd not totally resolved  issue, was actually the circumference needed at the extreme points of both hip and tummy.  I needed all available fabric in both places but not between. As of this writing, I’m not sure I will ever be able to adjust that perfectly, but I may come close by making adjustments to the tissue before cutting fabric.

I did correct the tent which formed in the center  back. It was a simple change of the angle of the yoke and back crotch with a 1/4″ wedge/or fish eye dart over the yoke/leg conjunction.

Not even attempted were the legs which I would like to be closer fitting. I think jeans should be body conscious. I just don’t want you counting my hairs. KWIM?  I am disappointed that the back X’s have appeared. I have not scooped the crotch nor changed the angle (other than nipping off the tent). A third possibility is that my comfortable back crotch length needs to be shorter.

Right now, I feel like I’ve done what I can do with this cutting, this fabric.

(Final fitting. Pic on the Right is lightened 80%)

I need to copy all the changes to the tissue and make another pair.

(Final fitting. Pic on the Right is lightened 80%)

It’s amazing to me that sometimes I can make a garment fit despite the issues (thinking now of the pink jeans and my forcing it to work with a pocket that didn’t duplicate the front). Especially since I know the fabric can only be pushed and pulled so far off grain….

…before the draft needs to be fixed.  That’s the point I think I’m at.

So, Yeppers, I know I still have work to do. I need more ease at the prominent points of my hip and tummy. At the same time, I need less ease/circumference nearly every where else. I am still happy, very happy with the things that are right, are PERFECT (or so good I don’t know they are wrong) which would be:

  • Waist band width is my preferred 2″. (Usually I change this after I’ve fit and made a few pairs. This time, I wanted to start with what I love) (Egads! Shades of Peggy Sagers)
  • Waistband Length is perfect (Will be using a 1/4″ seam between waistband and facing; 1/2″ between waistband and top of leg.)
  • Inseam, both length and seam allowance, are perfect.
  • 18″ Hem circumference is my favorite.
  • Center back leg seam is perfect.
  • Back Crotch length perfect
  • Front Crotch length perfect.
  • Crotch curve is perfect




Is is possible that alterations to one of the unsat areas could cause these areas to need balancing or correcting But I’m happy with them now; not planning alterations; and will not baste them into place.


The Gross Error

Let me tell you it was not fun to transfer all the changes back to the tissue. I had tweaked some areas multiple times which I now wanted to make into a net change.  I needed to add length to the crotches and take away from the waistband width (I’d used part of the seam allowances to give myself enough crotch length.) I’d darted the side front and side back several times. Oh and lots of other little changes.   The last thing I did was to compare the pocket piece. I’d made so many changes, I was sure it would need some adjusting. I was in shock. Absolute shock. The pocket was horribly, horribly wrong. If I attached it in the waist seam, only the corner of the hand opening would have been caught in the side seam. I am not a fan of hanging pockets. Those not caught in the waist seam will over time, crumple and become unattractive front bulges.  Not attached all along the side seam and the pocket will pull loose. Apparently, I put a lot of strain right at that point.

It dawned on me, like the proverbial light bulb, that the issues I had in Fittings 4-10 were probably the result of forcing the pant to fit the pocket. Think about it. It’s quite common for women’s knit tops to be longer on the side front than the side back.  The front is eased to the back which causes  a little bulge to form in front for your little front bulges. It’s almost standard for the back inseam in jeans to be shorter than the front. Again the front and back are ease together and the result is the back forms little pooch for your pooches. Let’s not forget the well-accepted practice of men’s bespoke which asks “dress right or left” so that the tailor can provide a little room for the male anatomy. Got the picture? Except there was no need for a pooch where I forced it.

My recollection of the pocket pieces were tracing and using as is. That perplexed me.  I’d made similar changes to those patterns; how could they have fit? So I drug out the original pattern and compared the pieces. First comparing traced pocket pieces to pattern originals (they matched) and then pocket pieces to pant. They didn’t match.

I use the size 18 which is the set of dashes  third from the outside. Here the pocket has been folded along the side and top drafted lines and aligned as best possible, on the front piece.

I also got to looking at the front fly and realized when folded into position the fly did not match at the pant waist:

We’re looking not at the original pattern, but a newly traced copy.

Which explains why I always have this problem:

i.e. when sewn the top of the fly is not caught in the waistband. It can droop. Usually I let it droop as shown on the pink jeans because I knew about it and thought it resulted from some sewing error of my own.

I do wonder if these two issues were by design i.e. were they drafted this way? For me however, they aren’t working. I can tell by the rotten time I had fitting the pink jeans.

When I realized these issues, I went into a mild shock. The pant fly was not so bad. I have been assuming I’m doing something wrong in the sewing and letting the fly lie as it will. But the pocket I am always forcing into position. Thinking back, there have been times  I created my pocket pattern pieces by tracing the upper pant and cutting the tissue to my desired pocket shape.

But the question now was what to do going forward.  Continue apply the fitting changes to the tissue?  I certainly wanted to fix both pocket and fly issues. The fly might not be critical. BUT I wasn’t sure how many of the fitting changes I made were due to the pocket. That were a lot of tweaks to the front that had to be reflected in the back. Would those changes have been needed anyway? So do I proceed to apply the fitting changes or restart with the well-taped pattern I began with for the pink jeans?  Or was it time to go back to the original?

I had to put things away and think about it. Seriously. 2 days of puttering around the house occasionally looking in on the pattern pieces strewn about my cutting table. In the end, I decided to go back to the beginning. All the way back to slipping the tape measure around my hips over my underwear and choosing size based on the tape measure reading. It was with some relief, again, that I was able to choose the same size, 18. I traced it. Then sat it aside for another day. Man, this thinking stuff takes time.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around Peggy Sager’s teachings. Some I still don’t agree with. This time though I said, this is not a pattern I have no clues about.  I just successfully – not beautifully but successfully fit this pattern. I know things about this pant. I know that I like a certain front and back crotch length. I know I like a certain inseam length. I know several hem circumferences that I prefer.  I know how much ease my butt requires. I know, I know, I know. I know lots of things. Peggy repeated urges that you copy the things you like.  So I carefully measured the things I knew I liked and applied them to the newly traced copy of TJ906.

I do mean carefully.  I used my Curve Runner to measure the top and bottom of the waistband along the stitching line.  Compared that with the stitching line of the new tissue. That means I had to mark the seam allowances and the front overlap. Carefully as in with lots of care and thought; I applied changes to the crotch length, the inseam and the hem circumference. I marked my preferred seam allowances except for the side seams.  Since this is a fitting exercise, I expanded them to 1″.  I walked the seams, along the stitching line.  Carefully. Very, carefully.  One thing I decided was to  not sew the front pocket. I will make and  the back pocket in the last stages of fitting. I will stitch and give the impression of a front pocket. But for now, I want to eliminate the front pocket as a fitting issue.  When I can isolate the front pocket as the fitting issue, that means future versions, then I will create my own pocket pieces from the fitted front tissue.

Then I picked fabric. I hunted for fabric that would be an autumn/winter weight, light in color and no stretch.  Could not find such a pant-worthy fabric in my stash. I picked a 10% stretch (cotton/lycra), in a medium-dark brown denim. Sigh, I managed to avoid black and the darkest of blues and brown, but the winter selection was sorely lacking in light colored pant fabrics. My fault  really. Light colored clothing gets ruined at the first snow.  Somehow snow dissolves rock-like gunk which gets thrown up onto clothing staining it forever. Sturdy outer layers are crucial. Dark colors supreme (if you want to wear your clothing more than once!). So I picked the medium, dark brown and hoped my software can lighten the pics enough to be seen.

Come along on this journey with me.  I’m still unsure of the decisions I made. Even after waiting another 72 hours (dr appt in distant city), I keep wondering if I’ve made the right decisions. The pattern pieces look too small. Yet I know they are larger than my calculations and that my fabric has a fudge factor (10% stretch). Not to mention that when I chose size, I was in-between. I choose the next size up. So I should have another fudge factor from having started with a pattern slightly too larger.  Still, my eyes say “I dunno…”


TJ906: Fall 2017 Jeans

I chose to use a pink denim purchased 10-13 years ago from JoAnn in Rapid City SD. It was the end of the summer season.  I think of pink as a spring/summer color so I put the fabric away for next spring. Next spring came, but I was deep into finding pants patterns which fit (a task which took me 9 solid months of sewing). Then I got side tracked onto other sewing projects. Dusty pink departed from the trends; leaving this fabric to marinate for several years.  It is a 100% cotton, loosely-woven twill. Not like a hand-woven but still not the tight weave of typical jean denim. Definitely a nice spring/summer/autumn fabric.

Trudy Jansen 906 is always my first choice for jeans. However,   I gave up on using TJ906 for shorts this summer. Every alteration seemed to make the next  pair worse than the previous.  I feared I had ruined all my fitted 906 patterns and would need to start fresh, when I pulled out all the envelopes and folders and  found two  complete versions of the long-legged jeans.   I can’t tell you how relieved I was. I compared the 2 patterns carefully and decided to use the pattern with the 18.5″ hem circumference. The two patterns were very much alike other than hem circumference (the other was 22″) and  one yoke was 1/2″ wider.   I didn’t know which yoke was ‘right’. I reasoned  if it was too wide, I could trim easily. However not wide enough, well a whole different challenge.  I pressed the pattern pieces carefully (they were traced on canary-yellow tissue paper and must have been old because they were quite fragile as well as heavily taped together; and then  I pressed my fabric. I cut the pieces and serge finished before inserting the zipper.  I swapped out the bobbin for water-soluble thread and basted the rest of the pants together. Crossed my fingers and did the first fitting. Followed by fitting 2, 3 all the way through 10.

Why so many?  Actually the first 3 fittings fixed the worst of the issues and the last were tweaking with front leg wrinkles, front crotch folds, and some awkward butt wrinkles.

Every alteration to the front, required a balancing act with the back and sides. Honestly I despaired. On the 10th fitting, I decided that while I may not have gotten the usual beautiful fit, these were wearable.

They have quite possibly been distorted from all the ripping, stitching and ironing done along the way. BUT, I’m not embarrassed to wear them. Once I’m fully dressed and in action, they look good

I’m hoping that the laundry shrinks them just a little. Jeans are supposed to be body-conscious, I just don’t want anyone to be able to count hairs.

When I transfer fitting changes to the tissue, I discovered a gross error…


… which I will share in a future post.