I’ve had denim sitting in my stash for years waiting to be made into jeans, but I kept putting off making them because I didn’t know how to get the fit right. I finally did it. It took making four muslins, but I perfected my jeans pattern enough that I was willing to sew it up in denim.
I’ve had such bad experiences with the fit from commercial patterns, I wasn’t willing to use one. So instead I started with a rub-off pattern from my best fitting pair of old jeans. I altered the pattern to add some length to the back crotch seam, and I got the length right, but I couldn’t quite get the shape right.
After three muslins, I was about to give up and say my figure just isn’t suited to jeans, but I decided to give it one more try. I have a custom pants form I made from a plaster mold last year, and I draped a completely new jeans back pattern on it. I was surprised at how straight the back crotch curve is. I sewed up one more muslin, and finally, the jeans felt right.
I compared my pattern to McCall’s M5894, a classic fit jeans pattern I have, hoping I could get some clues about how to alter commercial patterns in the future. Maybe these comparisons will give someone else with a similar figure some fitting hints. My pants front pattern was not altered from the ready-to-wear pair I copied. Look how different the McCall’s front crotch curve is (the solid line corresponds to my size). If you look at the pictures of the models wearing these jeans, you can tell there’s some weird bagginess in the front crotch area. I’m thankful I did not use this pattern – I would have had even more fit issues.
And look, no mono-butt! At first I wasn’t too concerned when I noticed that style had become popular. I thought it was just a fad and would be gone in a few years. But now all pants seem to be cut tight under the bum, and I realized how uncomfortable they are, since the tightness on the lower butt cheeks makes the pants pull themselves down every time you move. Also, there is no extra fabric down there to allow you to sit without pulling down the back waist a little too far. This style has lasted so long, there is an entire generation that thinks it’s normal to be constantly tugging up your jeans. Thankfully, I have a jeans pattern for myself now, and I no longer have to be subjected to the discomfort of mono-butt jeans.
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I wasn’t trying for completely wrinkle-free pants like those modeled in Pants for Real People – comfort was my primary concern. I’m not sure it’s possible to get the back wrinkle-free for my body shape anyway – I have a lot of curves back there!
After all the pairs of jeans I sewed for my kids, and the wearable muslins I made, I got pretty good at topstitching. And aren’t my inner pockets pretty?
P.S. I uploaded my back pocket pattern, if you want to use that swoosh I have on them.