Friday, 20 February 2015

Self drafted jeans pattern fail and some bits and pieces

The target - but first some small stuff ...
I've been getting on with clearing some of my UFOs and doing some outstanding tasks. By which I unfortunately mean they needed doing rather than that I did them in an outstanding manner!

I put false hems, using grosgrain ribbon, on several pairs of trousers as I needed to lengthen but there was no hem. I've bought more ribbon to do further pairs.  Why did all these trousers 'suddenly' need doing? Perhaps they have continued to shrink a little. More likely because I have gained weight, they don't lie so freely. It would be lovely to think these same trousers might be too long in a few weeks, but I'll have to do better than I'm doing at present.

I repaired the fastener on a pair of jeans-style trousers. However, they're too tight to wear just now. Sad. They are in one of my key colours -grey.

  I repaired my moccasin slippers. They felt great - then my knot unravelled almost immediately and I had to do again. It's stayed in this time.

A while back I made a grey wool wrap skirt for myself. I finished it but it was too big. That was then! Anyway, I started to alter it. I took in the side seams in both skirt and lining and waistband yoke and lining. I handstitched the lining to the inside instead of, as previously, stitching-in-the-ditch from the right side. It looked pretty good but my Thursday tutor pointed out that the wrap was arching out which meant,  she said,  that the lining was slightly too long. This lining, of course,  was bagged. No way around it. I created a gap in the lining side seam and removed the understitching and seaming from the relevant portion. I smoothed the lining and trimmed about ⅛" excess. I then restitched, understitched and resewed up the gap in the lining by hand. Looks much better. I'm too cowardly to try it on in case it doesn't fit!

Quite a few weeks/months ago, I was golfing in the rain, wearing my golf waterproof trousers. Suddenly, these were around my ankles!! Not funny. (Okay, it was!)  The elastic in the waistband, anchored from side seam to side seam across the back only, had come away from one side. I unpicked the stitching at one seam, worked the elastic though from the other end and re-attached the elastic behind the side seam, securing it with zigzag on the underside and topstitching. Looked good for a few seconds until I realised I'd somehow got a twist in the elastic. So I repeated the same set of steps at the other end, untwisting the elastic. I'm glad I did this, as the elastic wasn't securely held - I don't want another waterproof pants disaster!  I'm also afraid to try these on, having shortened the elastic, in case they're too tight! I put them on as required on the course, so usually over trousers, so a bit of extra space required. Not worth posting a photo.

Jeans Techniques Class

I've blogged about doing a jeans technique class. I'm doing okay, and just have the waistband and button to add to my sample short length. I don't think we're doing rivets in the class. In class, though, I'm intending to make trousers for myself, taking advantage of the tutor's expertise to help me fit the trousers properly. I think I'm going to use Simplicity 2860

as having tried to modify the muslin for McCall's 6901


that I began last year, it's really not working and isn't further modifiable. So, it's a true wadder. Begone!! It's bad that I modified the pattern tissue directly but here's the good point - the pieces  come in two separate size ranges within the envelope and one of the girls at class chucked out (and crumpled in a ball!!) the larger size range which she didn't need. I rescued the tissue as that is my size range. So I actually have an uncut pattern still too. I think it was the modifications made to the pattern rather than the pattern itself that's at fault but I'm going to go for the different one this time. I won't trace it as, for some reason, I have two! This wasn't intended. Now that I have my stash listed it wouldn't happen again unless I get pattern free with a magazine subscription - this has happened on a couple of occasions so far.

Anyway, to get back to jeans making. I want to make a pair of jeans to practice my skills but not for myself. That will have to wait, maybe until next term when in pattern making we'll be doing a trouser block, but certainly for a few weeks minimum until I get the trousers done. So I decided to make a pair for DH. He doesn't have much problem getting trousers to fit - 34/33. His jeans, which are working, crawling around the floor type jeans, are a much less good fit. In addition, he quite often wears chinos.

DH was up for this, even though I told him he'd have to be pictured in the final garment - I let him off for the muslin, though!

The first problem was that I couldn't find a pattern, though eventually MPB's blog led me to Kwik Sew 3504.
I also looked at Thread Theory Jedediah pants but they didn't quite meet my needs - chinos really - and the pattern was expensive, though cheaper as PDF if I ever decide to go that route.

I bought some lovely dark green denim with a 2% Lycra content. I haven't prepared it yet, so don't know how much it will shrink. The Lycra content is not obvious, I don't notice any stretch in the fabric. I've bought the thread and the top stitching thread - in dark green as DH doesn't want contrasting top stitching but still need to get dark green overlocker thread. I've ordered jeans zips but they haven't arrived as yet. DH plans these as dressier jeans ie not crawling around the garage in them. I just can't photograph this denim. The colour just doesn't come up. I got DH to try too.


I decided to draft DH a jeans pattern!  Not as daft as it sounds as I have the Sure Fit Design package, including instructions for modifying for a man. So, I went ahead. I drafted the basic trousers as recommended in the SFD kit, using DH's front crotch length, back crotch length, waist and hip circumference and OUTSIDE leg measurement. I followed instructions to modify steps for men. I made up a short length in a reasonably heavy calico. I don't have a photo of the muslin on DH. It wasn't a bad fit. I needed to lengthen the front by ½". The back was fine. However, a big chunk, about 2", needed to get cut off the top of the sides - just to even th3e slope of the waist from back to front. SFD gives the option of adjusting the pattern at the drafting stage or adapting after muslin fit; I chose to do the latter. I should add that this would make the pants too short as the measurement used is the outside leg. In addition, one side seam was slightly off centre and tight and I needed to increase one seam allowance and reduce the other by less. DH doesn't want a close fitting jean.

I simply modified the muslin, DH tried on and it seemed okay at that stage. As a result, I went ahead to modify my basic pant pattern into a jeans pattern. I marked grainline (and fold line though jeans won't get folded). I had to fold each side of one jeans part to meet outseam and inseam at hem and at crotch point. Front wasn't too bad but back required quite a bit of modification to try to even the garment around the 'centre seam'.  The fold line created was nearly at the side on the body part of the jeans and therefore the grain would be way off.

I used the lines on the wood floor to keep fold lines correct. The scissors are pointing to where the side seam goes off.
I was going to make a full length test garment. At this stage, I noticed that the back effectively bent backwards at around the hip level - this was no straight side seam!  To join to the side front was going to require quite a bit of heaving and hauling. This didn't seem like a 'good idea'. The sizes of the two garments were in the same ballpark.

 This was on Wednesday. My KS pattern arrived that day and I had a look at it - the grain was straight up the jeans. Although the college was on midterm break, my tutor D in the jeans class was running an extra sewing bee in her studio,  which she shares with R, who is my pattern cutting tutor. R was still there when I arrived and looked at my pattern - and D tried on my pants (not jeans) muslin. R said that there were a few things - the crotch was at an angle more suitable for women than men and the bend in the side seam meant that the jeans body would have fabric effectively on the bias. She asked me if I had noticed the grain when I tried on the pants muslin - no I hadn't.  Being on the bias would mean that it would stretch too much. She showed me that I might have to straighten that seam. I hope I haven't misquoted her - that's what I picked up, anyway. I was going to show her the comparison with the KS jeans pattern but she declined, saying patterns 'fit nobody'.

You can see from the photos where the seam starts to bend. I began to modify and then realised that a lot more was required as the front wasn't right, either. I got totally fed up, I'm afraid.

In this photo, I have aligned the side seams as for sewing. I haven't yet modified back inseam at this stage (I did do that)

Oh, and DH admitted that test garment hadn't felt comfortable as the back appeared to be pressing against his leg. That made me reject my drafted pattern.

Eventually, I decided I would modify the KS pattern to DH's measurements. (I traced the pattern this time). This involved increasing crotch depth by 1" front and back. I think a little more crotch length is required as the crotch looks slightly tight at the front and there is a slight 'frown line'. I made a full length muslin. It's long enough in the legs - the pattern gives a 32" finished length and DH takes 33". However, I might have to allow for further shrinkage.

Another thing I noticed is that while the main jeans are cut on the straight of grain, the yoke piece given is cut on the cross grain.

By this time, I decided to use the KS pattern in its entirety - pockets, yoke and all, even though I'd already drawn all these out to my own specifications, including an extension to anchor the pocket into the front seam - I'm not sure what this is called.

I'll let you know how I get on. Do you think I have done the right thing?  How would you approach this? I have probably learned a few things! Has anyone else used the SFD men's pants instructions? Was it me or was it them?
One last question - with the 2% spandex content, even though I don't notice stretch, should I actually be making the jeans slightly smaller?
Thank you for reading.

Until later ...


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