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.





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



906 Shorts with DG2 Waistband

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.

New Pieces:

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.

Final fitting

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?

Anyway,when I am half gussied, these are wearable:

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

Side Seam 1″ 1.5″
Crotch 3/8″ 3/8″
CB Back Leg 5/8″ NA
Inseam 1.5″ 1/2″
Yoke 3/8″ NA
Waist 3/8″ 3/8″
Back Crotch Scoop 1/2″
Lowered Back Crotch 1/2″



Summer Shorts

.High summer has arrived in SD. Complete with thunder storms, hail and high temperatures. Like triple digit temperatures. This is the type weather where I keep an unlined rain jacket handy to slip over my daily wear of either dresses or tops with shorts. Definitely not long pant weather.Not surprisingly, none of last year’s shorts were wearable. So flush with my success using Trudy Jansens Designer Jean (#906), I decided to use it making shorts. AND since I did want to be able to use the non-stretch fabrics languishing in my stash, I selected a corded cotton for the first pair.

After fitting the 906 jeans, I cut my pattern down 2 sizes along the side seams.  Despite the final back picture, that crotch was pretty good. Beyond trimming to a 3/8″ seam allowance  I didn’t touch the crotch.  As there had been like 6″ of left over waistband, I trimmed the waistband 3″ which still made a 1.5″ over/underlap.  To snug the WB to my body,  I also darted the upper edge of the WB 3/8.  Ready to go…

Or rather crash and burn (First Try-on)

It’s a good thing fat squishes and compresses because,I could barely pull these up. I let the side and inseams out the max and finally added a 2″ strip (net 3″circumference added) to the side seams. I was able to breath once again, but there were still obvious crotch issues and no more seam allowance

Honestly, I was kind of stunned. I didn’t think the 10% stretch of the denim would make quite this much difference.My mind was a whirl of “What happened?” “Was a stretch fabric going to be necessary or me to fit pants?” I opted to leave these as UFO’s and try another fabric, a 10% stretch sateen.  First fitting stunned me.

If the fabric’s tested the same amount of stretch, why were these so tight. I let out side side seams and eventually inseams to the max. Final change was a nice big back-crotch scoop.

BTW, I’ve lightened the pics enormously. The Sateen is a dark, rich Hershey’s brown color. Walking about, the drag lines aren’t noticeable. I know because I’ve already worn these in public.

Still I wasn’t satisfied with this pair and was especially perplexed about the tissue. I kept considering the question “If both fabrics (denim and brown sateen) had the same amount of stretch, why did the garments need such vastly different fitting adjustments?   Does the inherent stretch of the denim make that much difference?  Or did I not really fit the denim jeans?

My eyes alighted upon a Bengaline fabric that I’ve been avoiding for 3 or so years.  I’ve had 4 cuts of Bengaline. 3 purchased in SD USA, the other sorced all the way from Australia. I hate this fabric. Try to steam press and it bubbles. It feels like a nasty polyester. (Note I generally don’t have an aversion to poly. Bengaline is the exception. ) I grabbed it now thinking it’s 40% stretch  would at least be a good sacrificial fabric.

To my tissue I added back the previously trimmed-away 2 sizes plus an extra 1/2″ on both side and inseams. The waistband still would not snug to my waist.  Oh it would start out right, but by the end of the fitting, the WB was settling lower. So I made another 1/4” dart at the top of the WB before laying out and cutting the Bengaline.

So loose, it barely stayed on my body. Hmm, just like the denim jeans. Several fittings later ….

I made the side seams  1-3/4″ deep but let out the inseam 1/2″.  Also made a big scoop in the back crotch.  The WB required major surgery.  I didn’t have enough to cut another WB, in fact I hadn’t had enough fabric to cut WB and facing from the Bengaline.  I used a poly sheeting-like fabric for the facing and interfaced both with weft–I want to stop that stretching along the upper WB edge. To my shock the WB was way too short.  I had to piece both WB and facing. I had to stitch the back crotch along yoke and upper leg 3 times to tame the poofiness. What happened to the change I made to the pattern after the denim jeans?  I swear, I pinned yoke to leg and carefully cut a straight line.

I talked it over with my Sewing Angel. Decided that for now, I goal should be decent fitting garments appropriate for the season and occasion. The goal of  perfect fit as I have achieved in the past is just not practical with a body that changed rapidly due to cancer and is still changing (I hope) due to diet and exercise.

So I have 2 new pairs of shorts in the closet that aren’t too tight and don’t need a hair elastic at the waist holding them up. I am happy about that. That first shared nonstretch pair are still hanging in the closet as a UFO. Quite likely I will rip out the zipper and discard them.  I think 25%-PLUS stretch fabrics and the much too large pattern is the way to go for now. It means big changes at fitting, at least until I can work with various stretch fabrics and settle into a routine. Oh and a new goal of appropriate to season and event with decent-not-perfect fitting.  Hope that makes my pant sewing more bearable and successful more often.



Changes for fitting:

  • Brown Sateen 10% stretch
    • side and inseam SA 1/4″
    • shorten side seams 3/8″ more
    • straighten CB seam.
    • Big crotch scoop
  • Bengaline 40% stretch
    • Side SA 1.75″
    • Inseam SA 1″
    • Big crotch scoop



Pants Fitting the Chemo Body

I can still wear some of my jeans if I make a buttonhole extension using a hair elastic which lets the waist spread to a comfortable circumference. But the jeans and pants I can wear (with that little cheat) are winter or at best 3 season wear.  The season they can’t be worn in is now, Summer.  I am jean-less for hot weather. I purposely shopped for lighter weight denim purchasing 2 cuts of 8.5 and 9 oz denim several weeks ago.  After sewing angel started talking , I had to have summer weight jeans now.

I haven’t made jeans since I discovered Diane Gilman at HSN. None of my DG2 jeans are wearable during this heat wave. Much too hot. Somy  Trudy Jansen Designer jean pattern comes out of the box.

I’ve loved this jean pattern  from the very first pair I made. Over the years I have made many variations. I think the secret is a unique crotch shape combined with a center back leg seam. That CB seam lets me really fit under and over my seat. This jean has always been easy for me to fit.

I started the current pair by checking my hip and waist measurement.  My hip puts me in a 20 (yes I have gain that much) but my waist is not on the chart! My solution was to measure the waist band which led me to believe that the largest size  would work for my  waist.  I traced the largest size then  pressed the wrinkles out of the 9oz cotton/lycra denim (10% stretch) and laid both fabric and pattern out on the cutting board.  For now the pockets are traced but set aside.  I probably won’t add the front pockets to this pair.  I can lie to myself about fit when using front pockets–so no pockets at least during fitting. While I’ve gotten much bigger around, I am not any taller.  I knew without a doubt the 35″ inseam was a mistake. So the only change I made was to reduce leg length 2″.

After stitching the zipper in the front, I installed water-soluble thread in the bobbin; contrasting thread in the needle and started basting the rest of the pieces together.  So glad I was using WST because I forgot to stitch the yoke to the back leg. Duh!  I’d say a blonde moment but right now I have very little fuzz on top and it is all a brilliant white. Anyway, ripped out seams as needed;  added the yoke, waistband and WB facing.  Held my breath and went for the first fitting.

Son of a gun, they nearly fell to the floor!

I had to hold them up for pics. — BTW the pics are much lightened so we can see the wrinkles. My fabric is a medium-dark blue.  Doesn’t photo well for sharing purposes but looks good IRL.– You can’t imagine my joy at needing a smaller size. In fact, TWO sizes smaller.

For the second fitting,I pinched at the WB side seam and then in the leg just to see how much excess circumference I might be looking at. Removed the WB past the side seams and stitched the side seams another 1/2″ deeper before replacing WB and taking 3rd set of pics.

I’m not having to hold them up but they did feel a little loose at the waist. Nearly every time I refit this pattern, I need to scoop the seat just a bit (takes care of most of the crotch issue) and stitch  the center-back leg seam just a little deeper below the seat. At this fitting the leg is  too long and when I look at the sides….

… I think the sides are too long as well which is another one of my common issues. Still that butt looks nice. I always say I don’t have a flat seat, think this proves it.

For  third fitting, for which I am not sharing pics, I shortened the side length  1.5″.  There is a trick to doing this when dealing with a yoke.  The yoke has to be unstitched and offset to the upper leg.  Since the crotch doesn’t need to be adjusted the offset only goes half way across the side-leg piece. A little tricky but does the job nicely. At the same time I restitched the side seams I wanted to snug the waist. So I made the side seams  1/4″ deeper at the top of the leg . Replaced the WB but angled across the front and front SA to line up the top of the back SA. It’s an alteration that is easier to do than to describe. . When I took pics of the last fitting I pinned up the hems to determine how much still needed to be removed from leg length.

To finish, I  serged along all the basting lines trimming away all the excess. OK, I did have to open the seams where seams crossed such as the yoke and side seam. To tweak the waistband, I added elastic between WB and its facing.  I skipped the pockets and the belt loops. I’m not really a belt wearer. The finished jean:

That’s the worst the back looked through all the fittings.  Looking at it now I realize I was taking in the side seams at the top of the leg to adjust the waist fit. With this waistband, little darts have to be placed in the WB to adjust the fit at the waist. The places to make the darts are even indicated on the pattern. Taking in the side seam at the top of the leg, adjusted 2″ below the waist. Hence, the waist is still a little too big and the back droops a little.  The side seams may still be too long and there may still be too much circumference. Because I used a stretch fabric, I could have achieved a closer fit i.e. removed more circumference. However, I have several jean-type fabrics that are non-stretch.  I want my TJ906 jean pattern usable with them.


The very BEST thing about this pattern: instead of working for days and weeks before giving up, in only TWO DAYS I have a pair of jeans I am happy to wear. Love this pattern.

Love it. Love it. Love it.



Summary of Changes

  • Shorten leg 3″
  • Shorten side seam length 1.5″
  • Trim 1/2″ from side (reduces circumference 2″)

Needed change

Add 1/4″ darts on WB








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.

906, Shorts

906 Refitting: STALLED

I transfer changes back to the tissue. I didn’t cut the tissue.  I carefully measured and  marked and folded the new excess out of the way. I rounded the changes i.e. a 1 1/8″ change became a simple 1″. I was not fighting with measuring 1/16 or 1/32.  Those are often a thread or two and I’ve said repeatedly if my pattern can’t abide a change of a thread or two, it’s not the pattern for me. I’m not a perfectionist sewer. I don’t like picky fussy clothes and and I don’t like picky fussy sewing.

Then I pick another nice fabric. It is 100% cotton in a novelty weave. A bit light in weight but comparable to many of my summer shorts. It’s just not a stiff denim twill which since 906 is a jeans pattern I feel I should be using a jean like fabric. At least for fitting. I cut my fabric and because I know the pattern still needs some adjusting, I serge finish all the edges before putting the zipper in with permanent stitching. I baste all the other seams with water soluble thread WST.

The first fitting and all the droop in front has returned:

I find this especially annoying. But also, I wonder why? Am I working on the wrong issue?  Typically I find that if I fix an issue and it returns, then I’m not fixing the issue I’m fixing a symptom of the true issue.  Like when the doc gives you aspirin for pneumonia. You need antibiotics. As long as he gives you aspirin your chances of recovery are low and you still look really sick. It’s not until I start attaching the waistband that I realize what is wrong. The front is too wide. How can it still have too much circumference? During fitting I took out 1 1/8″. I recheck and discover I’ve made the error Peggy’s always warns us about and why she prefers to use the fitted muslin for a pattern. I made the fitting change but did not transfer it to the tissue. I correct the tissue. Take apart all the stitching and recut the front. Also serge finish the new side seam and waist before using WST to put everything together again.  That seems to have fixed nearly all the droop so I continue with Fitting 2; and then  3 and 4.

At fitting 4,  I throw up my hands and declare “This is crazy”.

I’ve got rouching along the side seams

Rouching for which I have carefully and multiple times walked the side seams. I’m always careful to make the same amount of change to both front and back. Rouching? Rouching!

I’ve got bubbles in the waistband and below the waistband


At the same time the crotch is cutting into my own.

Which is does while concurrently looking like I have too much crotch length. And the last few changes to snug up the rear have re-created the front droop

Albeit that the droop is now almost in the leg instead of the tummy.

This is the worst fit so far. The worst fit in 5 test garments.

It should be getting better not worse. It should not be that hard to fit this pattern.  I’ve always, like for the last 13 years, put a tape measure around my butt where it sticks out the furthest, and chosen a size based on the number read. I may need to take in the sides a little. I have scooped the crotch for some fabrics (but not most). I’ve tweaked the back seam under my bum to get it a little closer. But I’ve never made this many tests or these many adjustments. Never!  I don’t think it is the method. I still think it should work to choose the size by the finished measurement. I think my finished measurement is wrong. I’ve started with far too big a size and struggled with tweaking it smaller through draping. I can’t brag that draping is working.

In sheer desperation, I pull out the tape measure and measure my bum. Look at the chart which says I’m between a 16 and an 18.  I may be close enough to  use a 16 but I trace the 18. Mostly because the very first test garment was a size 16 and I had such a hard time zipping it up!   I take this pant as far apart as I can, (the zipper was put in permanently and I don’t want to rip); Then I compare the size 18 to the fabric.  I’m thinking I’ll just cut this modified 20 to an 18 and start from there.

Except, the modified 20 is now smaller than the 18. Can’t recut. Complicating that process is that I’ve taken so much from the side seams that the sides are shorter than the 18. Can’t start over with a straight 18 on this fabric.

I can use fresh fabric. But will that work? If this test is smaller than the default 18 I’m going to be tweaking the size downward again. So far I’ve made massive changes  without success.  I’m doubtful of that process. But the 16, the size smaller, was too small. While the 20 crotch length was needed in the back. Looking at the pant above, I’m not sure if I need an even  longer back crotch because the crotch is cutting into me but all those diagonals indicate the back crotch is too long.

I’m going to put this aside for a day or two while I contemplate my approach. I really want to start with the right size. I still believe in this pattern. I just think I’m going about it in the wrong way.