Monday, September 12, 2011

Can I Do Better Than These?


These jeans sell for $560 on Net a Porter.  Yes, they are by Chloe, but they don't fit her  very well.   See those wrinkles in the crotch? Ouch! I think I can do better than this and I am not a size 2.
To facilitate fitting the perfect pair of jeans I bought  Palmer Pletsch's new 2 disc dvd on fitting and sewing jeans.  It really covers everything you need to know about making jeans, or so I thought.


The DVD fits Marta first as well as 2 other women of different ages and shapes. It's definitely better done than some of their other dvd's and covers a lot of territory without spending 5 minutes taping the tissue. They show the usual tissue fitting and then,  instead of sewing up the pants with the zipper and details like pockets first and then pin fit,  they have you pin fit before you sew anything except for the front and back crotch.
Even though I carefully clipped the crotch for the tissue fitting so that it could be pulled up to touch my crotch the crotch depth was a good 1" too deep in the denim.  I had to really drop the back crotch and sew a deeper center back seam to straighten it out even though I already had lowered it during the tissue fitting.  I had to  pull up the center back to get rid of wrinkles below the rear end, a lot. It looked pretty good so I started sewing, putting in a zipper and doing the pockets.  I basted all the seams together and put them back on.  Hmm.  Not bad, but not really good enough.  I still had some wrinkles below the rear end and too much fabric at the lower crotch that I didn't catch in the pin fitting. This really can't be fixed once you've cut out the pants. The front pockets weren't wide enough either. Remember I copied these from a rtw pair that used to fit?  I graded them up but I didn't make the front pockets wider.  Unfortunate that, but since I had other issues I decided that these were a muslin.  Nice denim but if they weren't a great fit I wasn't going to wear them anyway. I added a cb seam for the waistband, but it was also too big in the waist so I took it in a good inch or more using small darts in several places around waist in the tissue to take care of this. I have a pretty curvy high hip to waist and this  makes it  work for me.

After cutting and  fitting these jeans I saw Peggy Sagers fitting videos on her website and gee she had one for fitting jeans that comes at it from a totally different perspective than Palmer Pletsch  does.  She recommends using denim for your jeans muslin, which I ended up doing if inadvertently.  I pinned a dart out below the zipper and another one below my rear end that took excess fabric out.  Also something she shows on the video.I also added back some fabric at the upper cb where the pants were pulling down (below the yoke as you don't want to change that size of that). Remember, I pulled it up here to get rid of wrinkles.  She does not advocate scooping out which is a big aspect of fitting rear ends for PP.  That's actually putting it mildly.  She's very opinionated about it, but she does get results.  Sagers recommends just using your muslin to cut your pants, but I find that awkward, so I transferred my changes to the pattern.  She also  suggests that instead of lining up your back pockets with the yoke seam that you line up the side of the pocket with the cb seam.  I went to Net a Porter and looked at how pockets were sewn on high end jeans and sure enough the most becoming had the pockets sewn almost parallel to the cb.  I was also looking for a treatment for those pockets and the high end jeans had very simple understated topstitching which is perfect for me. In fact, I think I'll use black topstitching to be even more understated. The back pocket needed to be a bit larger as well.  Large rear, bigger pocket looks more proportional.  I think that I am pretty close to a good fit now,  certainly  better than I can get in rtw.  
One other issue I encountered is using a contour band makes it very stretchy as the whole thing can't be cut on the straight grain, or the non stretch direction while PP only has you interface the buttonhole area on both ends, I doubt that's going to work for me.   If I don't interface I'm going to be wearing these around my ankles.  I think that I'll cut the interfacing along a different grainline so that I end up stabilizing the waistband. Did I see this on your blog Sirgrid?  It's a great idea. 
 On to cutting out my next pair, hopefully this time a totally wearable pair. 

I have one question for you readers, if I am not going to tuck my shirt in or wear a belt with them, do I need to use the belt loops? 


19 comments:

  1. Beware of trying to eliminate wrinkles below the seat in jeans; unless you are making a true trousers style, the close fit means you won't be able to sit down comfortably unless there is some extra fabric there.

    Re belt loops - if you are never going to wear a belt, they are totally optional. If you are already making more of a trousers style, I'd definitely leave them off.

    Sigrid may also use different grains on her contour waist interfacing but I wrote about it here: http://kaythesewinglawyer.blogspot.com/2011/05/unseasonal.html I used two layers of fusible interfacing cut at different grain lines.

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  2. Thanks Kay. I know that I can't get all of the wrinkles out, but I have a flat butt and some more needed to come out.

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  3. Sounds like you were wise to check out Sagers videos. Thanks for detailing the two different approaches, very informative post, Nancy.

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  4. I took the class with Jennifer Hauseman of Jsterndesigns. If you ever get the opportunity do it! She has the pattern that fits closest to ready to wear and she does advocate scooping which is how you get that nice shapely fit. I added two inches in height to the pattern and they are still nowhere near my waist. Her pattern fit my 15 year old perfectly. She doesn't grade the pocket, that is something I will have to look into.

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  5. I've made 3 pairs of jeans, all without belt loops, as I rarely wear a belt.

    I only miss one in the front, because I carry so many keys (landlady) plus the alarm fob for the car that I have 3 rings on a carabiner, they don't fit in my pocket. I don't carry a purse. So I need one belt loop or something to hang the carabiner.

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  6. Oh gosh, there is such a lot of information to take in when making jeans - I am very impressed with the extensive research you have done. When I made my pair I was doing Jennifer Stern's online course on pattern review and I doubt if I would achieved anything wearable without her help. I used the Palmer Pletsch jeans pattern but used Jennifer's advice for the fitting and construction. Good luck with the next pair - I bet they're going to look perfect!

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  7. I bet your jeans will turn out great because you understand your body. You got a really great fit in pants a while back, with input from Claire in OK, didn't you? Great contrast and comparison of the 2 different approaches.
    Looking forward to seeing your work.

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  8. Pants are challenging enough and then jeans have a generally closer fit that make them a true challenge. I've only made one jeans muslin so I really appreciate your comparison of these two fitting perspectives. I would skip the belt loops. I would never need them and they can just look lumpy under a knit top.

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  9. I never sew belt loops on my pants because I don't wear belts... my vote is to skip them if you don't need them.

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  10. I am voting the opposite to everyone else - I find jeans stretch out when wearing and so I still wear a belt even if the top goes over it. However having said that, I haven't made jeans. Maybe the interfacing on the band will help with this issue.

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  11. Just breezing through before bed, but sew some twill tape into the seam allowance between waistband and top of pants. That will keep the contoured band from stretching out.

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  12. Very informative post indeed. There will be a pair of jeans in my near sewing future (one can always hope) and will sure look at the video's.
    I used silk organza on the waistband with a different grain.
    Like the idea of Debbie as well.

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  13. Skip the belt loops. I almost never wear belts and I love the pants I have that don't have them. If you plan on wearing belts, add them, if not, SKIP!

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  14. Thanks for the tip about the Peggy Sagers videos - I've watched a couple now, but I'll go back and watch her jeans fitting one. I like her fitting techniques - I've had more experience with draping than flat pattern making - so they make sense to me. The wrinkles always point to the problem! I'm sure you're all ready familiar with Joyce Murphy's body-space techniques that she discusses in Threads magazine. These seem to be very logical and intuitive as well, and I've never had such well-fitting pants with so little tweaking! And just for the record, I've NEVER had ANY luck fitting pants using the *scooping* technique. It really seems to throw the pant back out of balance for me and doesn't really solve the problem! I love FFRP and PFRP for other fitting issues though. Oh, and I vote for skipping the belt loops if you're going for a trouser style and won't use them.

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  15. $500 jeans? Really? Bah. I like PP, but also like Peggy Sagers fitting techniques. I did have a lightbulb moment watching Peggy Sagers fit pants and jeans though. As for belt loops-I don't see the need if you're not wearing a belt.

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  16. Thanks Nancy for the great post. You do fabulous research. I am bracing myself for some jean fitting/sewing. I want Mom jeans - yep, the kind that go up to the waist, front and back. The only time I looked good in low-waisted jeans was when they were in the first time - 40 years ago.

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  17. Wow! Lots of good information. I agree with the others, skip the belt loops. Debbies tip on the twill tape is a good one for all contoured waists.

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  18. Nancy.....I just want to say thanks for the link to Peggy Sagers video's and patterns - very intuitive and they made so much sense to me. Especially the ones on pants/jeans fit - I have also never had any luck with the PP way of altering and hate tissue fitting - it makes more sense to me to use a fabric for my muslin, tissue has no drape at all! I have always found that scooping just doesn't do it for me and for that reason (and others) haven't sewn anything for over a year - sewers block!

    Thanks to the Peggy Sagers webcasts I am excited again and have ordered some of her patterns and dvd's - so new wardrobe here I come - thank you :-)

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