Monday, September 20, 2010

the diamond in the rough

black banana republic twist top
new black jeans
handknit socks
not pictured: pas de valse cardigan
SSS 09/21
Pattern: Vogue 1204
Fabric: clearance black denim from joann fabrics, bought at least 5 years ago
Size: modified 10
Started: September 17, Finished: September 18

i truly hate shopping for jeans. i can never find ones that fit well for the right price and i always have to significantly hem them, which i hate doing. my current jeans in wearing rotation are several pairs i got in an old navy sale. they were cheap and adequate but i don't love any of them. i would love to replace them all with jeans that actually fit.

there was a pattern sale at joann awhile back and i picked up a few vogue and mccalls patterns. one of them was V1204. the pictured pants in a printed denim look horrendous. i skipped right over this design because the modeled pants are so hideous until i saw mushywear's red version. only then did i see the pattern's potential. well, i still don't like the tunic--the model looks like she's wearing a highly stylized tent, but the pants were worth a second look.
Vogue 1204
the pattern itself is great with very good detailed instructions. i'm not sure that i care that much about how the inside of my pants look, so i might skip the binding on the fly and fly facing next time, but i do like the flat-felled seams and french seams on the pockets. the pattern is for straight leg jeans. i didn't notice it on the envelope but the legs aren't tapered at the bottom. i made this pair as directed but i think for future pants i'd prefer either skinny or bootcut legs. at least that detail is easy to alter. i also only interfaced one waistband piece because i was using a pretty heavy interfacing and i feared a double layer would be too thick. it turned out fine that way.

every time i make pants, i learn a few more things. i've pretty much established by now that i need to remove 7 inches from the legs. believe me, i'm still in denial at times that my legs are that much shorter than the average woman, but at least it saves me some fabric.

i learned from fit for real people that i've been choosing the wrong size. i should pick the size that fits my hips and then expand the waist to fit. so this time, i traced the pattern in a size 10 and slashed and spread the waistband to fit. i had to do this a few times to get it right. this pair's waistband still doesn't fit perfectly--for some reason i keep overcompensating and ending up with a waist that's too loose. maybe it's because you really shouldn't have much wearing ease in the waist? i dunno. this pair is still salvageable thanks to the many belts i have in my closet.

these are the best fitting pants i've made yet with a few exceptions. firstly, i could really use another 1/2" or so in the thighs to be comfortable. next time i will take a smaller seam allowance in that area.

perhaps more importantly, i tinkered with the crotch length a bit too much. i removed 1.5" from the back, which i think was appropriate. i also removed 1.5" from the front, which was way too much. the rise on these pants fits like Britney Spears from the "I'm a Slave 4 U" era. the zipper is barely two inches long. these are really only weekend pants or for wearing with extra long shirts.

if it weren't for that snafu, these pants would be close to perfect. i retraced the front as originally drafted so my next pair will have a slightly lowered back and be (hopefully) normal in the front. the only other thing that keeps this pattern from being a 10 is the slanted front pockets. i'd rather have rounded pockets and i may modify that detail once i've ironed out the front-rise and waistband issues.

i've already cut out my next pair in red corduroy. it's great to be so close to a jeans pattern that fits just right and can be modified for slightly different styles. the red version will have tapered legs. when my fabric buying moratorium is off i'll definitely be purchasing some denim to do a few more pairs. it'll be great to have some truly custom fit jeans in the wardrobe.


  1. Your jeans look great. Pants of any kind are still outside of my realm, but maybe someday... I look forward to seeing the red courdoroy pair.

  2. Have you seen the Jalie jean pattern? I want to purchase it before the end of the year, and then buy some nice medium/light denim to make them. If you want the Jalie pattern no., let me know.

  3. Wow, your jeans rock! Nice job! Also, your mirror is insanely cool.

  4. Oh wow. I only WISH my POS machine could sew thru denim!

  5. Wow! Very impressed you made your own jeans!

  6. I'm working with this pattern right now and I don't find an instruction for finishing the zipper! In step 20 it extends above the upper edge.where it stays until step 48 where it disappears. None of the rave reviews for these jeans mention this. What a puzzle!

  7. MGSewer: You are a no-reply commenter so I can't contact you but just in case you check back...I'm not even sure I still have this pattern but I'm pretty sure you just leave it unzipped and cut it off to align with the top of the fronts. or you could leave it and cut it off after you attach the waistband. hope that helps.



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