Did you see Melissa’s awesome post on making a jeans pattern using your favorite pair of existing jeans? She shows you how to make a “rub off” pattern, with no cutting or destroying the original pair. She also goes over some fit issues, with some really great tips.
Next week is the official sew along! In preparation for that, it’s time to make a muslin. I showed you a few jeans patterns earlier this week, the three that I’ve used and will be using the sew along. I’ve heard from a few of you that are using some other patterns, and then there is Melissa’s way of making your own pattern. So, after you have the pattern, what next?
First, you need to take your measurements. High hip, low hip, and waist are usually the measurements the pattern companies have listed on the envelope to help you decide which size to make. If you are super lucky, your measurements will fall directly in line with one size and you’re ready to go. If you’re like the rest of us, you will have hips in one size and waist in another. Congratulations, you’re a woman! If this is the case, trace out the waist of the size you fit into with that measurement, then trace the hips for the other. Connect the two points with a slightly curved line, and you’ve got your custom sized starter pattern. I say “starter” because there will likely be more fitting issues to address before the pattern is going to work just right for your body.
I was going to over fit issues in more depth, but I really think Melissa’s post HERE does an excellent job. Another resource that goes over a few other fit issues, and includes a bunch of helpful diagrams is on Cation Designs HERE. Also, the Craftsy class, Pant Fitting Techniques, is so good for this. I know, I’m an affiliate and not exactly impartial. But really, that is the class I took before making my first pair of jeans last year. It goes over every fit issue you can think of, and discusses the differences in pant style designs in depth, too. It’s really good. AND (!) if you are using the Jamie Jean from Named, the pattern used in the Pant Fitting Techniques also has a center leg seam, so I think it would be perfect to use with that class.
But me, my muslin. What I do. So, I have my hippy pattern traced out, using two sizes from Jalie. The point of the muslin is to check for fit and style, it’s a practice pair. You don’t want to use your good fabric, but try to find a fabric with a similar drape and stretch, if you can. I found a similar drape, but the funky polyester I used has hardly any stretch at all. Still, I used it because I am cheap.
You only need to cut out the front and back legs, yoke, and waistband for the muslin. For the front, you’re going to need to adjust for no pockets, and cut the front as a solid piece that extend all the way to the side seam. You can use the pattern’s pocket facing to help guide you.
When you go to sew, make sure you are sewing on what would be the normal stitch line, so you have wide seam allowances left over. You can measure the new seam allowance out on your machine, and mark it with some tape or even a Post-It note stuck in place, so you make sure to have a uniform, wide allowance. Also, a trick I learned in the Pant Fitting Techniques class, sew with the seams out, wrong sides together. That way, when you try things on, it’s easier to mark directly on the seam allowance where changes need to be made. Also, use a basting stitch. The point of the muslin is to make a garment that can be adjusted, so picking out seams is pretty much a given. Using the widest stitch length on your machine will make seam ripping go much easier.
So the pants above, in all their blue polyester glory, are the Jalie straight off the pattern. Like I said before, I’m directing you to Melly Sews and Cation Designs for fit issues. As evidenced by the shots of my bum in the pattern review post, this is an area I struggle with, so I think they’ll handle that better. But, I do want to show you how to adjust for different styles.
The Jalie is a bootleg-cut design. The pants gradually flare out after the knee and end fairly wide.
I’ve adjusted my Jalie pattern to accommodate both skinny and straight-leg fits. The straight leg is the easiest adjustment. All you have to do is take where the pattern starts to flare, just below the knee, and fold it under straight down. In the picture below, the straight-leg adjustment is represented by the orange lines. (The red is for cropped skinny, which we’ll get to in a minute.)
Here is the straight-leg pattern laid out on the original, bootleg-fit muslin.
This is the front. You need to trace out both the front and the back separately. Don’t just trace out a straight leg on the front, and cut both front and back pieces at once. The backs of your legs have more muscle, and so need more fabric than the front, generally. So trace out the front, then flip and trace out the back. Pick our your seam allowances (aren’t you glad you basted?), THEN cut each of them to match the new style lines.
And here is my muslin taken in using those style lines. The leg goes straight down from the knee, with no flare: straight leg.
For a skinny-fit jean, you have to do a bit more adjusting. Here is my skinny pattern laid on top of both the original bootleg Jalie, and my straight-leg adjusted Jalie. Again, orange line is the straight-leg, red is the skinny.
This is the skinny pattern I used for my white cropped skinnies I made for Project:Sewn last year. I wanted them to have a really low rise, so I took the crotch in, as well as the leg sides.
To get a skinny leg, you want the pattern to go opposite of the bootleg, and start angling in towards the ankle after the knee. Also, my skinny pattern comes in starting after the hips. I use pretty stretchy denim for my skinny jeans, and so bring the whole pattern in to accommodate the fabric. The polyester of the muslin has no stretch, and there is no way I could have gotten them on my body if I took anything above the knee in. That’s where using a similar fabric for the muslin as I would use for the real garment would be handy.
Here is the cropped skinny pattern laid out on the original bootleg muslin
And here it is sewn as a skinny after the knee(but not cropped). Remember how I said not to cut the front the same as the back? Yeah, well, I was trying to hurry and was feeling lazy. Just muslining for a post, what do I care? So I cut the skinny leg front and back at the same time. Can you see how much twisting there is at the knee? The fabric is being pulled to the back of my leg, where there is more (presumably) muscle.
Here is what the skinny looks like when cut separately front and back on the pair I made a few weeks ago for Shades of Me. This is stretch denim, so I also took in from below the hip. They’re pretty tight, but the same exact pattern as the white pair above. This fabric wasn’t as stretchy as the white denim, and I’m a bit bigger than I was last spring, so the fit isn’t as good. yay winter weight. But you get the idea.
This pair I made this past fall, I left the pattern as-is at the hips and thighs, then brought in to something between a skinny and straight leg after the knee. The fabric was upholstry fabric, so no stretch at all. I did cut it on the bias to allow for more movement, but nothing like a stretch denim, so I needed a looser fit.