Canvas Jeans

Still needing black jeans, I pull from my stash this 100% cotton canvas.  It is not a stiff fabric. Oddly it is a firm bodied, soft fabric. It has absolutely NO stretch.

Having had size issues with the previous pair of jeans in a fabric that had 10% stretch, I opted to trace a size larger. I shortened the leg 3″ and shortened the side seam 1/2″ because both were needed on the previous jeans and had to be made during fitting. I used the same waistband. It fit so why reinvent the wheel?

Unfortunately, things did not work as I hoped. In fact I started these jeans 2 weeks ago. Worked on them for a solid week, then stopped and stitched both the POV Blouse and the Crepe Jinni’s while continuing to think about and try different fitting options.  Nothing worked

Other than the amount let out right at the waist, the jeans never looked any better. I mean I tried it all. I

Let out all the seams (in pairs, like side seams then inseams)

  • Took them all in
  • Shorten the side seam
  • Lengthen the side seam
  • Repositioned the waist lower
  • Repositioned the waist higher.
  • Scooped the crotch 1″
  • Lowered the crotch 3/4″

Except for the crotch changes I tried all the above repeatedly separately and in different combinations.

There’s not much more that can be done to jeans.

Not only did the back leg and front  crotch lines never diminish, they increased! As for the the side break it got deeper and deeper.

I reach the point of saying “I don’t know”.  The only things left are going up a size and getting a different fabric.  I left them alone for a few days then decided to just finish and wear.

They are comfortable if rumpled and being black the drag lines aren’t so noticeable.  Eventually, I will want to replace them with something better fitting but for now, they work.





Crepe Jinni

Not a food, but my new Jinni trousers in black polyester crepe.

Wonderful fabric purchased from fabricmartfabrics.com. It’s a recent purchase too. I rarely buy fabric and sew it immediately. This is a special case because I need black pants that fit me and this crepe is perfect for trousers. It is heavy. Not like wool but heavier than you would want in a blouse fabric. Still thin but it does have a cushy thickness. Has a 10% stretch factor which is very comfortable. Hardly needs pressing at all. Just a geat fabric.

As you can see, I still have not closely fit this pattern i.e. there are still vertical folds extending almost from waist to hem.  It is still very much a trouser.  I wanted to try fitting the back leg a little closer and maybe remove some of the excess ease added when I altered the pattern to offset my crotch alteration.   I added a center back-leg seam by splitting the back-leg pattern vertically along the grainline and adding 1/4″ to either side of the split. When I sewed the trousers, I put both sides of the leg together and serged them.

Look closely to see the center back-leg seam.

Sewing proceeded fairly normally IOW I serge finished all the raw edges and inserted the zipper but when I tried to sew the side seams I ran into a problem. Neither side nor inseams were the same length. I spent about an hour tracing this because I had 4 patterns at this point (original, fitted for non-stretch fabrics, fitted for 10% stretch fabrics and the new fitted for 10% stretch with 2-piece back leg.).  Eventually I discovered and then confirmed that after the final fitting of the 10% stretch version, I had double the front depth change i.e. instead of a tuck 3/4″ I made it 1.5″.  Then copied the error to this new version with the 2-piece back leg. Once discovered, the error was easily corrected on the pattern. Fixing the pant took a little more effort. Somehow making the change at the hem worked. After that I tried to fit the back leg closer to my body, but I swear it turned into a big bow along that back-leg seam. Not sure if it was the accumulated changes or something else. Decided to leave the pant looking good if a little roomy.

Side seams hang perfectly. It is so comfortable to wear. Hope the wider leg remains popular a long, long, long ol’ time.


906 Twill Jeans

Already loving these jeans. They feel so good.

Dont worry, I’ve adjust the exposure on the rest of the pics so we can see the drag lines. 

I have been diligently working with slacks patterns the last few months and haven’t touched 906 since the end of July. After trying on all my fall/winter pants, I knew I needed to increase their number starting with black. I chose to work with a cotton/lycra twill. This is a heavy fabric. Definitely winter worthy. It is also quite firm even after 3 coke washes. Not like a brand new tent but definitely not like the soft jeans I’ve been accustomed to wearing the last few years. The Lycra give it a 10% stretch which I like. I think 10% is just enough to be comfortable and for the fabric to “snap back” when I bend. Eliminates bagged out seats and knees.  Realistically it is too firm to be a trouser. The legs would absolutely stick out umbrella-like. Of the 2 patterns I have fit, 906 is the better choice for this firmer fabric. 906 is a jean pattern. I will leave off most jean details (pockets, belt loops, top stitching) so it is more of a casual-dress pant.

Armed with a plan (so to speak),  I pulled out the box with the pants patterns and was immediately stunned to a stop.  I should have 3 envelopes: (1) the original pattern (2) a fitted or nearly fitted jean adn (3) a shorts version. There must have been 2 dozen envelopes. I had rubber banded a large group together. A quick look revealed that they were all minor variations on the basic. I discarded them immediately as the pieces will all need to be revised for my new body. It is easier for me to trace of the newly fitting pieces then it is to add tissue and change the previously  fitting.  That left me with 7 envelopes. I looked and looked. I wondered if I’d lost my mind. I know my sewing angel has trained me to carefully label the tracings with dates, measurements just anything you can think of because our senior minds don’t remember these details after a while (sometimes a very short while).  I could find nothing that told me when these were traced or fit. I stopped and read my blog to see if there were any clues there. Not too much. Well not too much for fitting the pattern straight-out-of-the-envelope because I didn’t do much this last time around.  Apparently I had selected to start 2 sizes too large and restricted my initial changes to shortening the leg 2″. Other than going down 2 sizes, I hadn’t written much. So I go back to the patterns try sorting through them again. Got really frustrated. Threw the whole batch in the trash.  I’d wasted enough time to trace the pattern 3-4 times and if I really didn’t make many fitting changes…..  I pulled out the originals. Pressed to remove wrinkles and traced a size 18. I shortened the pattern leg 2″ and got started.

Fitting was not difficult but did have a few surprises.  I ended up shortening the leg 3″  (1″ above the knee 2″ below). I also shortened the crotch length 1/2″ and shortened the sides 1″.  The side shortening I do with a dart. It’s a depth change; changing only the length of the side without effecting the crotch uprights (length).  Had to make the waistband twice. I cut it and stitched it together; well sort of nailed it together. Then discovered this thing wasn’t going to work with this body.  I experimented a bit; pinching and pinning before decided I needed a new one.  New WB worked beautifully.

I want to share a few additional details on the WB. Fitting the waistband has been a real challenge especially on this 906 jean. Partly, it is my own error as I kept fitting at the top of the leg when I needed to adjust the contour waistband itself.   This time I made two 3/8″ darts in the pattern which removed 1.5″ length along the top edge i.e. the waist edge. Curiously that made the WB too short, so I had to add 2.5″ to the under/overlap edge. I know, crazy. But without the darts the waistband would not snug to my waist. Without the extra 2.5″, I didn’t have an over/underlap. To preserve the WB fit through wear, I  borrowed a trick from the RTW industry. I used 1/2″ elastic  triple-zigzag  stitched inside the waistband band, on the facing, at the top (waist) edge.  I’m not satisfied with the procedure I used on the elastic.  I stitched the WB and facing together then added the elastic. The elastic was cut 4″ shorter than the area I planned to attach. (I didn’t attach it from underlap to overlap edge). Thinking this was as good as understitching to the facing, I completed the WB attachment. Oh what a pain. I expected the facing would be a little challenge as the elastic would change the way it handles.  Did not expect the facing to refuse to stay on the inside and since I didn’t stitch the seam allowance to the facing, the seam allowance wanted to  curl and fold and make a mess. I needed to top stitch the WB edge carefully smoothing out the SA on the inside while rolling the facing to the back side. Then the elastic effectively gathers the facing and didn’t want to lay flat as I stitched in the ditch from the front to secure the bottom edge of the facing. PITA. I said a few bad words too. Definitely want to revise this procedure next time started with how short I cut the elastic. It does not need to be 4″ shorter.

The jean looked nicer during fitting then it does in the final pics taken after the WB was finished. I mean I fit the entire pant. Removed basting and then nailed in the waistband with the elastic tweak. The pant always looked better; felt great but I admit jean-snug. So I’m not sure, if it is the fabric, the new size I traced or the final WB, but the finished jean is not fitting as nicely as the previous or as it did during the 3 fittings.

My waistline has settled down. For months after surgery it could change inches daily. Not doing that any more. Pretty obvious here that the tummy is a a bit tight which may be causing those wrinkles in the joint.

Have to confess that during fitting I let out the sides seams and added a waist gusset.

I stitched strips of elastic together and  basted them in place. When I was happy with the fit, I trimmed the “gusset”. Even at this point I was asking myself is it the size or the fabric. Absolutely a different fabric can change the fit. I really thought with 10% stretch this fabric would have needed the side seam-allowances increased not decreased as I did. Still a stiff very firm fabric needs extra ease…

The diagonals here surprised me. Again question as to size or fabric being the cause. Next time I go up a size. It is easier to stitch the SA’s deeper than it is to add a gusset.

But Dang! These feel good.  I’m wearing them despite these wrinkles.


Final fitting changes:

Leg length -3″

Crotch length -1/2″

Side depth -1″

Suggested changes

Tummy adj:  1/2″dart CF

Start with size 20