I am continuing to work with the Trudy Jansen Designer Jean #906. Up to now, I have used this pattern exclusively for denim and twill — two fabrics which either shouldn’t stretch or have little stretch. However, current figure issues have me scratching my head and deciding if I need to use knits/stretch fabrics then so be it. I selected a very nice and Ponte Roma purchased this year from Stylish Fabrics. I made the purchase from them because they gave more detail on the fabrics allowing me to make better choices. For this fabric is was the GSM (grams square meter) that convinced me it would make a nice pant. Color I am using is the Denim Blue. Of course, it didn’t hurt that that prices were reasonable. Which I took with a grain of salt. Price can often be an indicator of quality. IOW I might really be working with a muslin-type fabric. But it feels good in my hand. Recovers well and hangs nicely on the hanger. On my body– well fit is the issue. Especially since I am using a pattern drafted for no stretch and this Ponte easily stretch 60%.
To make it more interesting, I decided to adapt the pattern for the DG2 Waistband. Well, that’s what I call it. I noticed with my fav RTW jeans, DG2, that there wasn’t a real yoke or waistband on some styles. No the “waistband” had been divided at the side seams and attached to the top of the yoke and front leg. A full WB is used as a facing. When the facing is topstitched into place, it really looks like a separate waistband. I immediately adopted the idea and used it frequently. Well when I was making jeans all the time. I so loved the DG2 jean that I seldom made jeans. Which accounts for why I have forgotten so many things about this pattern and so many small changes I made to it would be perfect for me.
For the DG2 waistband, this sewing session was started with a little tissue work. I noted I would be using the back lower leg pieces and one copy of the waistband as the facing. I would need a new yoke extended and a new front both extended to include the waistband.
Using existing pieces.
I don’t think I spent a lot of time on creating the new tissues. Although I did take it one step further and make a 1″ tuck in the lower leg. The previous shorts have all finished with 10″ inseams. I prefer my shorts a little shorter. The 1″ tuck means the finished short will have an inseam of 8″. Much better for triple digit SD summers and I think looks better proportioned with the top-lengths I usually wear.
I gave the fabric a quick press (it presses easily), laid out the pattern and started cutting and constructing. Even though the Ponte could have been used for pull on pants, I wanted to keep much the same procedure and used the front zipper closure. Because it was Ponte, I interfaced the zipper pieces. All of them. Thoroughly. Even then, I watched carefully during the 5-minute application. Instead of installing the walking foot, I lifted the foot several times to keep the fabric layers from shifting! Specialty feet work, but if you know what you are doing, the regular presser foot does it all! With water-soluble thread, and after interfacing the WB facing, I basted the rest of the pieces together. Within an hour, I was ready for the first fitting. Sewing pants is fast. It is fitting that takes the time.
“And how was the first fitting?” you ask?
Well kind of as expected and kind of not. I had stitched the seams the designated amounts but I expected the 60%-stretch Ponte would need deeper seam. It did. The waistband was falling off. Impossible to tell how the rest of the pant fit until the waistband was fixed. Eventually I stitched the side seams 1.75″ deep. The 1.75″ SA made the pant look nicer on my body.Oddly, this wasn’t tight enough to hold the pant waist to the body but make the SA any deeper and the pant was too form fitting. Since making the SA deeper gave an appearance I didn’t like, my solution was planning to later make an elastic application.
That 1.75″ was on the side seams only The yoke-to-leg, CB and waistband-to-facing remained at my personal default 3/8″.
Viewing the camel toe and the mess on the back leg prompted me to I let out the inseams; and scoop the crotch. Also, lowered the crotch. All changes I normally need and which helped the previous TJ906s. Well, the back actually got worse.
The front camel toe required some reshaping itself. But the worst was the unstable WB. Or maybe it was my waist. One fitting the waist would fit. Next times it was too large. The time after that, larger still. I made the first WB facing from the Ponte. A ripped it off and made a second with a non-stretch fabric. Really appreciated how thin that made the WB but didn’t help with the changing waist length. Also I was still playing with the crotch length. Eventually, I stitched the back crotch at the default SA but the front I added 1″.
After 8 fittings I called it wearable but not perfect. I installed what I call a floating elastic waistband:
I didn’t invent this, but I have found it to be an easy acceptable “fix” for RTW–especially back gaposis issues. I cut the elastic shorter than needed had I made a pull-on WB (31″). Placed it inside the pant and neatly top-stitched.
I did not make belt loops. Unfortunately, my top stitching seems to disappear into the fabric so we don’t see the great effect the DG2 WB can have.
This is still far too large at the waist and hangs even though the elastic is hugging my body. I am flummoxed not knowing how I could have taken the WB in any further without making the lower portion too tight. I tried gathering to the facing. Nice puffy waist. I finally eased over 4″ of the pant waist to the facing. It is still that large. Which allows the pant to hang other than designed and adds weird even misleading drag lines.
I worked a lot with this Ponte pant. 8 fittings is a lot to do especially with a pattern that should already be fitting. Don’t think this is cast in concrete, but I am unlikely to use Ponte Roma again with TJ906. I think there are a few reasons for this failure. First, the pattern selection. Ponte would work far better with a different waistband say a Yoga. The zipper was not needed. Later on when I considered changing the WB to a pull-on, I ran into the issue of ripping the out the zipper. I avoid ripping. If there’s anyway that I don’t have to rip, I wont. The massive seams needed were difficult to work with and particularly uncomfortable in the crotch. It was relief when I serged them suckers to 1/4″ for the finish.
At this point, I think I’d need to develop separate non-stretch and stretch patterns. I do think the SA depth required for both 40 and 60% stretch is consistent and at least would be a better/closer place to start the fitting. Could save me a few fitting sessions and trips up those torturous stairs. However, I do need the wider inseam SA. I am not entirely sure about the recent addition I have been making to the front crotch. It works, but I’ve always been told not to touch that. I’ve seen Indy pattern developers/drafters/sellers react with horror when someone mentions tweaking the crotch curve. I mean, their reaction shut-down the conversation and people drifted away. (I used to go to sewing conferences). But when the other solutions don’t work, what’s a body to do?
The probably won’t be in the closet next year. But I do take away some hard-won knowledge from the experience.
Seam allowances depths (not changes but what the SA depth measured) made to the defaults of the traced pattern
|CB Back Leg||5/8″||NA|
|Back Crotch Scoop||1/2″|
|Lowered Back Crotch||1/2″|