My blouse wasn’t good enough to get through to the second round of the sewing bee contest. I don’t know why, we didn’t get any feedback, but there were some really great entries. I wasn’t too disappointed especially when they announced the second round was embellishing fabrics, which is definitely not my forte.
Anyway I decided I needed a new challenge so I got out the jeans pattern I bought sometime ago and never had the courage to try. The pattern is McCall’s 5894 described as “the perfect jean”. Certainly a promising title.
I didn’t have any denim but I did have this white stretch corduroy. I love corduroy trousers, I think they are so much more comfortable than jeans, and warmer too. The trouble is I’m not really a white trousers sort of girl. But the cord is the right weight and I figured if they came out well I could always dye them.
The pattern has you pin together the tissue to see if it fits before cutting the fabric. I sit between a 14 and a 16 on the McCalls sizing chart. I know they normally come up big so I cut the tissue at 14 and pinned it together. Let me tell you, pinned tissue paper is not the easiest thing to manhandle. I managed to get one leg in, and it looked ok, but I really couldn’t tell much about the difficult crotch area. So I cut out the fabric and basted it together. I could have made a muslin, but I don’t have any spare stretch material hanging around and I didn’t want to waste the corduroy if I could help it.
On trying on it became evident that all was not right. It was MUCH too big. All over, but particularly in the centre back. Once I had pinned and re-basted then transfered the markings back to the tissue I was down to a size 8 in many places (and even smaller in the centre back). The exception was the depth of the crotch curve which stayed at the 14 line.
Since doing this I have found this great video on fitting jeans. I wish I had seen it before I cut my fabric, and I will definitely be following the advice there next time.
Once I got everything fitted the jeans came together pretty easily. The trickiest bit is the fly front. I’ve done them before on skirts using the Hot patterns zipper fly front tutorial but I had problems with these jeans because the fly bit was sewn on, and therefore the extra bit of material was only on one side. To do the hot patterns method you really need a bit of extra fabric on the other side. Next time I make these I will cut-on the fly extension to both sides so it looks like the one in the video. (I’m not explaining very well but if you watch the video you will see that the fly bit comes out on both sides of the centre front – the jeans pattern does not have this).
The top stitching when much better than I expected, I read somewhere that you could need as much as 3 spools of top stitching thread, I bought 2 (and it wasn’t even described as top stitching thread, just heavy duty strong thread) and only used 1 (the spool is now empty though).
The belt loops were a bit tricky because you are sewing through so many layers of thick fabric (I think I counted 8 layers). I put a folded bit of fabric under my machine foot to keep it level and used the hand crank rather than the pedal (gave me a blister on my hand but it was worth it). I went forwards, backwards then forwards again. Only about 5 stitches for each pass so I wanted to make sure they were secure.
Fit wise I’m pretty happy. There are some wrinkles front and back but they are no worse than I have on my RTW trousers.
More importantly these are THE MOST COMFORTABLE TROUSERS I own. I tried them on once I’d finished the hem just to make sure, and kept them on all day. I swear they are more comfortable than my pyjamas.
The only real bummer (if you will excuse the pun) is the pockets and their placement. The pattern has you sew the pockets on to each individual trouser leg before sewing the centre back seam. I assure you I carefully matched up all the squares but once together the pockets are all over the place. Added to that they are much too big.
Next time I make jeans (and there definitely will be a next time) I will sew the centre back together then place the pockets.
The top is from my TNT top pattern based on the Deer and Doe Plantain T modified to my preferred fit. I’ve made loads of these now. They are absolutely my favourite T-shirts, I will always chose one over any other in my wardrobe (as long as they are clean). I only have a couple of long sleeved versions so I desperately needed another now Autumn is here. It comes together very quickly on the serger, this one took me about an hour including cutting out. Speaking of cutting out I got a couple of A1 sized cutting mats for my birthday which have completely changed the cutting out process. The used to be a chore, with just one A3 mat being moved under the pattern as I cut. Now I put the 2 big mats on the kitchen table and lay the whole thing out and cut in one go. It is a revelation.
The fabric by the way is a viscose knit I got from our local fabric factory outlet shop (Telor Tissus in Fontenay le Comte if you are ever in the area). I probably paid about 8€ a metre and I used about 1.5m.
I really like my new outfit, and I might even keep the jeans white, they are growing on me. And if I want another colour I can always make another pair!