November 13, 2009


Okay - I'm asking for help from my sewing blogger friends. Do I have any left? Hello? Anyone out there?
One of my goals for 2010 is to start making pants. Up until now - wearing nothing but skirts and dresses to work wasn't that big of a deal. I have always driven myself - parked in the garage, walked 10 feet in the worst of weather. Now however - I ride the bus to downtown Seattle. Then I have a 10 block walk to the office. I need pants. I need pants that are nice and flattering.
I am a triangle. I used to think I was an hourglass. If you are in doubt - look at yourself from behind. I know! Okay have a friend do it. You will really be able to see from behind if you are a triangle or an hourglass. The other fitting challenges that I have are a full-behind, protruding front thighs, and the dreaded saddle bags. Lots of fitting challenges there.
Now you know why I make skirts - right?
So I'm asking those of you who have made jeans - which pattern? jalie? If so - the regular jean, which are described as being bootcut or the stretch. Or J Sterns?
Debbie? Dawn? Shannon? Angie? Carolyn? Sue? You've read my fitting issues, my tummy is still fairly flat - for the most part, but I am wide - through the ribs. My goal is to have a muslin made to take to the December ASG meeting to get fitting help - but I'd like to have a good start when the pattern arrives.


  1. I'm partial to the Jalie stretch pattern or the J. Stern. I'd probably pick the latter for myself. I've made many pairs of jeans over the years, but I've always made my own pattern. Yes, I know how much that doesn't help you. Muslin is your friend. Adjust and alter until it becomes what you want it to be. Wish I was closer....

  2. My Mom-Sue (M's stepmom) made herself a GORGEOUS pair of jeans!!!! I think she used a pattern from her designer friend... I think its J Stern Designs.

  3. Hey and here I thought J Stern was just a little 'ole CT gal ... but it looks like someone else recommended her stuff too. Mom-Sue has sewn a lot of stuff for her and even modeled her stuff for shows...

  4. Hey, G!
    I know I don't qualify as a sewing follower but just to let ya know; I just read in yesterday's paper and saw on some daytime show that tights are 'the thing' this season rather than the bare leg and that stockings are back, so go get yourself some tights to warm up those skirts.

  5. Good luck with that. I can't even hem my jeans, sooooo...

  6. Oh oh, now you want us to be honest about out hips and thighs? Well, I haven't made pants in a few years but I do have some thoughts. I'll email you.

  7. We're here!!!!! You know me, I choose the stretch Jalie pattern over all over patterns I own. It is hands-down my most favorite pattern. Consider using beefy stretch denim (10-13oz.). It hides a multitide of sins and isn't bad to work with. Make a muslin out of cheap stretch denim. I would not try to make a muslin out of non-stretch calico; it just won't be the same. Figure out your ideal type of jeans. The Jalie ones are quite fitted. If you like that look, then make them. If you want something less fitted, you should try a different pattern. Good luck and let us know if you need help!!!! Remember that there is the Jeans Tips and Tricks thread at I think it is pinned.

  8. Here is my pants advice, FWIW. Pick a pattern with fitting advice: (Palmer/Pletsch [mc5894 or 5142] or Connie Crawford [B5403]). Remember to buy the size to fit your hips because it's easier to make the waist smaller than the hips bigger. Also: the Connie Crawford pattern is drafted *totally* differently for the larger sizes.

    Pin fit the pattern tissue as best you can, then make a musliN, keeping track of any changes. Get a copy of the Palmer/Pletsch pants fit book. I also have a Singer book on pants fitting that is now out of print. There is lots of good fitting information in there.

    This is a great time to use up some light color denim so you can draw things right on the fabric. Keep good notes (blogging works!), and then when you're ready to make the real pair, it'll be a breeze. There will still be some variation in each pair because of the differences in fabric, but once you have the basic pattern set up, it will go pretty quickly.

    Another helpful tip: find a fitting buddy. The two successful pairs of pants I have finished, I made at sewing retreat, where there were lots of people to help and pin and give advice and be truthful. You could probably put together a test pair of pants in a long single Saturday of sewing with a buddy. Tip from experience: don't eat Mexican food while fitting pants!;-)

  9. Wish I could help you, but I don't wear jeans. I think I have owned 3 pairs of jeans my entire adult life and I hated every single pair. I find them sooooo uncomfortable. If I was you, I'd just keep making skirts and wear them with layered tights/leggings. Or, I'd wear warm knit pants to travel to work and change into my skirt when I got there. Sorry I'm not more help.

  10. Boy oh boy are you singing my song! Remember I stand outside and wait for the bus, then when I get off I walk about 6 blocks to work I feel your pain.

    However, I think fitting patterns is a journey. You need to pick a pattern and then see if it works for you...if not then move on to the next one.

    I would definitely suggest that you take the journey but in the meantime...invest in some tights!

  11. I wrote a comment hours ago. Blogger must have eaten it!

    You know I don't wear pants. It all goes back to 7th grade, when I went from 4'8" to 5'3" in 7 months. I wore jeans some Saturdays when we were first married, but that's a lot of kids and decades ago.

    the only thing I can say is make sure you make a high waisted style. You know my girls are skinny (great genetics), but even they look thick in the middle in pants that sit below the waist. None of us real adults can afford that!

    I'd be buying some of those cute flat boots I got for my second daughter last XMAS, and wearing them with tights and skirts. But I can't wait to see your efforts. I hope Debbie answers you soon; she looks like the real expert to me.

  12. So that's the secret to getting people to leave comments...ask if anyone is still reading *LOL*. I'm guilty - I read faithfully and comment rarely.

    Anyway, I have yet to make myself a pair of jeans so I have no advice for you. When are you thinking about sewing your jeans? Maybe we could do the journey together - long distance - but still...

  13. LOL - Gaylen, more than once you and I seem to be on the same wavelength - I've just finished up a muslin for a pair of pants (BWOF 04-2009-119, not jeans though)! Blog post still in draft form til later today.

    'Finished' to be be taked loosely - it's nowhere near perfect but I'm going to try my pants fabric and see how they look.

    Looking forward to seeing how your attempt goes.

    PS - when you need help - check the PR forums too. You wouldn't believe how many topics there are on pants.


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