originally posted 3/25/2010
I had a request to review Trudy Jansen 906 and a few others asking that I compare it to the Kwik Sew 3315 pattern. I’m happy to do so, but decided it would be possible to do both in one post. So here it is:
First both companies use a heavy, white, kraft type paper with dark black lines. Both are multiple sized patterns. Trudy Jansen uses even sizes from 6 to 22; Kwik Sew is sized XS,S,M,L,XL. Choose either by hip size. In both the pieces are arranged so that you can either trace your size or cut the pattern from the paper. I’ve been on the Weight-Loss/Gain Roller Coaster ride for years and years and years. Although I’m currently down and dropping, I never know when that could change. I much prefer to keep basic patterns intact so that I can retrace when needed. One problem I did have with the TJ pattern, is that the size is only marked one time one each piece. Fortunately there are not as many lines as on the Jalie patterns, but I still ended up having to count “lines” to be sure I was tracing the right size. This might not be a problem for other people. I have not only “mature eyes” but trifocals and they won’t sell me glass because of my strong prescription, I must have plastic. Obviously, I’m not typical. So this lack of repeated sizing may not be a issue for anyone else.
The 906 is a more fashion forward pattern containing a contour waistband, unique pockets and closer more jean-like fitting. The Kwik Sew is classically styled with a straight waistband and standard pockets and would be more easily adapted as fashions change. Kwik Sew 3315 of course, came with standard, easy to read and understand instructions. That is one of the strengths of the entire Kwik Sew line. TJ provides excellent instructions on 8.5×11 paper. That said, I have my own method of doing things and didn’t follow most of her instructions. Except for altering the waistband. After reading her instructions and trying the waistband, I made 2 snips and reduced the top overall by 1/4″ . I may need to do more, but I opted to be conservative and adjust by 1/4″ at a time. Especially since her instructions made it so easy. I overlapped, to enlarge you spread at the same two snips. I really thought this was just brillant. Hope I’m not violating any copyrights, here is a sample page from Trudy Jansen:
See lots of verbiage with appropriate, easy to understand diagrams. Her instructions are equally as good and thorough as Kwik Sew. Even recommending interfacing at appropriate times. She stresses marking the knee notches, which does turn out to be important, and being careful with that zipper tab during construction. If you’ve ever lost the zipper tab, you already know how important that is.
Now onto some important differences. Kwik Sew 3315 is a standard 2 piece leg (front + back), straight waistband, front jean pockets and back pocket. I immediately jetisonned TJ’s bellow pocket with flap. My 153# butt does enough bellowing on it’s on and I hate pocket flaps. Pocket flaps invariable curl up and require extra time at the ironing board to press flat. In the past I’ve been so annoyed that I cut the flaps to remove them from my pants. But these unique features are available if you like them. On my muslin, I didn’t use a back pocket at all. On the real pants I will be using the back pocket from the Kwik Sew pattern. To tell the truth, I wouldn’t use back pockets at all except I see them as a place to indulge my lust for machine embroidery. Generally I think back pockets call attention to the very spot I wish to conceal and minimize. I do not use them to carry anything and become annoyed with DH who uses his back pockets until his butt is numb. Then he wants me to carry the contents of his back pockets in my purse (Which he is always denigrating. “Women carry so much useless junk.” Yeah, half of it from a man’s back pockets!). I think I’m trying to say that you shouldn’t take my opinion of the back pockets too seriously. I start with a prejudice against back pockets. If you like back pockets, the 906 is such a fine pattern otherwise, I’m sure that these pieces of the pattern are equally good. I know the markings on the back for placing the flap are excellent.
Back to the legs. Both the 906 and 3315 are a one piece front leg. But after that the differences are vast. Take a look at this picture:
TJ 906 is on top. Yes it should be shorter. The contour waistband crops down lower on the body than the straight waistband would. So that’s not a surprise. But look at the difference in the width at the hip and the crotch. For those of you familiar with my fitting issues, I did not alter the front crotch extension of KS3315. This is cut straight from the pattern. To tell the truth, that narrow front crotch worried me. The hook is only about 2″ total. I just wasn’t sure it would work. On the plus side, I removed only 1/2″ from the front crotch length as opposed to 1″ from the KS3315. I have a tilted waistline. If I don’t remove from the front crotch length, I have a big bubble in the front. I look like I’m trying to be a man ( a man wearing socks in the front of his underwear). This is NOT the image I’d like to project. You can’t see it in this picture, but there is a front dot on the pattern denoting where you should make the clip. I do find that handy. I did not sew the front pockets on the muslin. I’m using them on my “real” pair. I however prefer the tummy panel and am converting to it from the standard jeans pocket front provided with the 906 which is very similar to the Kwik Sew pattern. Except that this jeans pocket front looks smaller and not as deep as I’ve seen most. That may be a result of using a contour waistband. I won’t know for sure if the front pocket is a good equivalent until I finish my real jeans. Oh and I also coverted the KS to a front tummy panel. The front tummy panel just does wonderful things for my figure, I hate to wear pants without one. Overall the front of 906 is smaller than the 3315. Which had me wondering, how are these going to go around me.
Well the back of the 906. It’s 3 pieces are larger than the 1 piece back of the 3315.
Again the 906 is ontop. It may be hard to tell, but I can assure you that the 906 is wider than the 3315, solving one of my most consistent pant pattern problems. Most pant patterns I buy have 2 much in the front and not enough in the back. I can always see that in the side seams. The side seams will bisect my leg below the knee, start drifting towards the back of my leg above the knee and at the waistline the outseam is clearly on the back half of my leg. Not so with Trudy Jansen’s 906. The outseam bisects my leg from ankle to waist. Before I move from this picture though, I do want to bring your attention to what will effectively be a dart in the middle of back pant leg. Those 2 pieces don’t line up right straight to each other. There is a big double fish eye dart, removed to make the 2 pieces. Also I have extended the back crotch 1/2″. I may cut that back to 1/4″. But this time, knowing my history, I decided to start with a full 1/2″. Which is considerably less that what I normally do. I normally have to increase the back extension, as is done on the Kwik Sew below the 906, by 2″. A full 2″ added to most back crotch extensions and 1″ added to most fronts. Only the Jalie 2908 stretch jean needed less alteration.
Warning: Do be sure to mark the center back seam on both back pieces (as well as the knee marks). Once you take the pattern pieces off, it hard to tell which side is the outseam. The inseam is easily identified (it’s the one by the crotch). So you can safely assume the other side of the same piece is the center back seam. But the other piece, can fool you. Well it fooled me. Not until I was struggling stitching the center back seams together, ripping out twice, did I realize I had goofed. When the pieces are correctly aligned at the knee, center back seam to center back seam, right sides together, the seams just zip together. On my real jeans, I marked the center back, just another chalk scratch in the SA. Had no problems.
Now take a look at the back yoke:
Narrow and l-o-n-g are good adjectives for the 906 pattern piece on top. Absolutely no problems easing the back leg to the back yoke. And that long yoke reaches all the way to my side, placing the side seam exactly where it needs to be. I’m sure it’s narrower, because of the contour waistband
The straight waistband of KS 3315 is, well straight and I didn’t photo it. The contour waistband:
I looked at that and thought “Am I really shapped like that?” Well I’m more curved instead of less. After the muslin I decided to remove another 1/4″ from the top, but leave the width at the bottom. I had to remove the waistband from the muslin during fitting and belive me, when Ms Jansen warns to carefully handle the waistband, she means it. I do think that I stretched it a little. So I’m being even more careful on my real jeans. I usually avoid patterns with contour waistbands. Generally they are harder to fit. Tissue fitting is never accurate. Ripping/unsewing tends to distort. You can have the whole garment close to done and ruin it just before the final touches. But because the 906 is so well drafted and thought out, the waistband was very close to fitting at the muslin stage. Had I not stretched it….. Also, I’d like to once again complement the designer on her excellent instructions for altering the contour waistband. And of course, I’m being very, very particular with the waistband on my real jeans.
Although the muslin looks good on me, I believe these are designed for the long legged woman. I removed a total of 4 inches (1 above the knee, 3 below) from the leg and I still have a 2″ hem.
If you match the legs at the knee marks, the legs will sew together perfectly. I believe she recommends to start at the tops and sew towards the hem. It may be the other way around, be sure to check the pattern directions. But I matched to pieces together, started sewing an inch, matched up the knee marks and zoomed to the end of the seam. Even after removing 4″ from the leg length, I had no problem with any piece matching. I often have to sew yokes twice or even 3 times. First time every time I stitched the yokes to the back legs, the seam was perfect. I’m really impressed with the drafting of this pattern. The pieces fit together, practically sewing themselves, all the critical match points are clearly marked. It’s just an excellently drafted work of art.
I want to take time to look carefully at the crotch.
This was hard to photo. I put 2 photos together trying to show all 3 pattern pieces of the 906. I have placed the pieces so the front and back crotch points touch. Look at the shape of the crotch. I belive that Ms Jensen study physeology. (Sorry spelling is wrong) Look at this pic a cut away view of a typical female body
(Thanks to Elona for finding and sharing)
Can you see how the 906 crotch would fit, but the usual pants crotches do not?
I’d also like to share my experience with the layout. The 906 pattern calls for 1.8 yards of 60″ wide denim. Do not skimp on width, especially in the larger sizes. I could hardly fit the pieces on the muslin fabric. On my real jeans, which I’ve added 1/2″ to the crotch extension, I had to stagger the pieces to fit. I am using more the 1.8 yards for my real jeans.
This gave me a long pause. I realized during the muslin cutting phase that this could be a real drawback for me. Many of my fabrics are 45″ wide and 2-2.5 yards long. Will I use this pattern? Even as well as it fit me, I think I will be by-passing this pattern due to yardage requirements. It was very hard to arrange the pattern pieces on the the fabric and keep the grainline straight. I’m more particular about grainlines with my pants because pants are usually harder to get fitting and looking good on me. Most of the time, pants go around my body, look good in front and in back they look good above the bum and below the knees. But from the bum to the knees there are masses of wrinkles. I don’t want to be adding to those wrinkles by being off grain. TJ906 however does not have fitting problems. It looks good front and back.
(My real jeans aren’t done yet. Until then here’s the back muslin only)
I belive that I will use Trudy Jansen’s 906 as often as yardages permit. I’ve already ordered her classic pants pattern 902 and her book “Have A Fit”. These jeans fit so fabulously, she must know something the others don’t. I’m hoping that the fit of the 906 is transferred to/from the 902 and I’ll be bragging about it in a few weeks.
Did I leave anything out?