The First Fitting

I knew these would be too big. In fact, they should be too big.  I chose sizing based on my hip size. My hip was 1/2″ larger than the hip measurements on the chart. Logic would say, make that size (because the next size up is 2″ larger) and let the seams out. But I’ve been bit by such logic before and ended up trying to work with 1/8″ seam allowances. That was not a lone incident either.  In another case I inserted a 1″ ribbon using 1/8″ seam allowances in order to have enough ease. So when I check for pattern sizes, I prefer to choose one size larger and sew wider seams.  But I admit, that was probably error #1.

2nd error occurred during comparing the  JSM trouser pattern with this Jean pattern. Jeans should fit closely. The JSM fits loosely. Grain lines are slightly different on jeans which permit the crotch seams to flex more and the fabric to wrap around the body.  During the comparison I noted that my jean tissue contained 1/8 to 1/4″ more ease than the trouser and that the back crotch length appeared to be 1/2″ longer. But I know that jeans and trousers can’t be exactly compared. I opted not to change the jean tissue instead waiting to see what happened when fabric was added to the equation.

Error #3 was probably the fabric. Purchased from FashionFabricsclub just recently it was advertised as 100% cotton denim.  It may be cotton, but I wouldn’t label this as denim.

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Denim has a distinctive weave with a white warp and blue (or other colored) weft woven in a twill pattern. This may be cotton, same as denim, but it is a plain weave with slubbed yarns more like linen, faux linen or even silk noil. It has a firm hand, not stiff but not cushy denim. I wouldn’t want to use this in a trouser draft. It’s too stiff and would add visual pounds to the fluff I already carry around. It’s not really good for jeans either — not enough give to be comfortable. But it’s good for toile or muslin in a test garment as I’m doing for Petite Plus #605.

So I started with a pattern too large, a jean draft with trouser ease and a fabric not appropriate to the draft and then I stitched all the seams together use a 1/4″ seam allowance. Except for the crotch. I used the recommended 3/8″ SA for the crotch. (3/8″ is recommended for the entire pattern.)  The first trial felt surprising good. It was comfortable. I couldn’t wait to take pictures and really examine the fit. I wasn’t prepared for the mess under my rear:
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or the vertical front folds. The pockets on the rear were just hideous. This first pictures didn’t even say “mom jean”. They said “get rid of me fast”. I didn’t (probably mistake #4)

No I made another fitting effort. First I made all those seams 3/8″ as per the pattern instructions.  Per the pattern the gathers in the back should have been on the side.  I didn’t want my jeans gathered to the waistband anywhere. I deeped the back leg seams at the waist 1/2″  X 4″ long and fit the pant waistline to my waistband.  I tried the pants on again. Nope still too big.  This time I added a wedge across the back.  The pattern was not designed with a yoke, but I’ve managed to add one:
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and I took the side seams in but unevenly.  I removed the wings on the sides. Seriously, the side was curved out like a big ol’ C or Mickey Mouse Ears. Just what every mature woman wants: Mickey Mouse ears where our hips should be. I may have taken out too much. Can’t be sure because I’m dumb founded by:
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what must be  the nastiest camel toe evah!  Originally it was just vertical lines indicating too much ease. Now it’s something bad. Really bad.

I haven’t decided what to do. I can’t take the jeans in across the hips any more.  Nor the legs either.  These are tight in the leg when walking up and down the stairs. The “yoke” removed 1″ across the back. I’m pretty sure even more needs to be removed to smooth out the back leg:

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If  I do that, I will need to scoop out the crotch, a lot. But that’s not going to fix the camel toe in front or help the knock-knee issues developing at the back knee. I’ve already checked the master pattern. Going down a size would not fix the issues. Go down two sizes and the jean will need to be graded up. Heck, I didn’t like this pattern anyway because it didn’t have a yoke or contour waistband. Maybe I should just chuck it.  I’ve already ordered Connie Crawford’s jean pattern #5403. At least it has a yoke.


Jeans: Petite Plus Style

Years ago, OK about 5, my sewing angel sent several pairs of pants which were too large for her but she thought I might be able to use.  The JSM became and remains a favorite. My second choice was Trudy Jansen 906 Jeans.  Amongst the several tried were a pair of Petite Plus Jeans.  At the time, TJ906 fit better and what’s more I was able to purchase it locally. Not that I’m against international trade. It’s just that my personal international shopping experiences have been fraught with delay, damage and substantially higher shipping costs. So as long as I could buy excellent patterns domestically <<shrug>> why go through the pain of an international sale. But this year my shape changed drastically (another of Life’s milestones).  It was difficult to achieve an acceptable fit with *TJ906.  I recalled the fit and comfort of this pair of jeans and decided to order the pattern #605:

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It arrived earlier than expected.  While I’m pleased with the delivery speed, I rather wish I’d examined the pattern more closely.  A careful examination shows that these “jeans” lack a back yoke and posses a straight waistband. This is not  “jean” styling.  To me, jeans should fit closely, posses a back yoke, curved front pockets and butt pocket with detail. They should also posses a contoured waistband, fly front zipper along with zipper shield, belt loops and a coin pocket. Never mind that I never trace, cut or sew either the zipper shield or coin pocket, jean patterns should have these details; and had I seen the shortcomings  I would not have ordered the pattern.

Thankfully, I didn’t notice.  I traced the pattern in the size recommended for my hip circumference. I was really delighted that I didn’t need to trace pocket facing or the piece that becomes the visible pocket on the front. These pieces are the same, regardless of pattern size. Truthfully, I think that’s excellent.  I’ve been stunned by patterns that try to indicate 1/16″ differences between 8-10 sizes.  They end-up showing a solid black line anywhere between 1/4″ and 5/8″ wide. WTF?  Besides, if 1/16″ is going to make that big of a difference, I don’t think I even want to try out the pattern.  I measured my waistband against the pattern waistband and chose to use the 605 waistband but marked with my JSM equivalents i.e. side seam, center back and center front. I carefully compared front and back crotch lengths, general ease and over all length. I WAS STUNNED.  The crotch lengths that I’ve worked so hard at developing over the last few months was spot on with the Petite Plus pattern.   Same is true for the over all width and get this length.  The knee notches were exactly the same.  Not only that, but this is the first pattern EVER that I have not shortened.  Between the JSM and PP605 there is a difference in how the straight of grain is positioned and therefore the slope of the crotch and side seams as compared with a trouser draft BUT I expected this difference because PP605 is a JEAN pattern not a trouser.

I chose one of my recently purchased brown denims with which to test this pattern. The pattern indicated that 3 yards would be required. I’m not sure I read the instructions well enough because my 2.5 yards of 54″ denim was more than adequate.  In fact, I think I have enough left for the brown purse I’ve been desiring. I did press and fold the prewashed denim carefully and laid out the pattern pieces all in one direction. The pocket facing was cut from a lighter weight cotton. Waistband, zipper fly and hems are all interfaced; pocket edges are taped with fusible tape.  I can’t tell you how eager I am to begin sewing but <<sigh>> actual sewing must wait for another day.



*I define acceptable fit  as possessing sufficient length and  width without  reveling any feminine bodily parts or underwear.  TJ906 meets the minimum but is somehow not attractive.