Friday, April 3, 2009

SWAP Diary April 3rd

I finally finished the next item in my SWAP. A pair of brown denim jeans. In preparation for drafting a jeans pattern, I did a lot of reading and research which included the following;

1. Measured favorite well fitting jeans.

2. Studied the instructions for drafting jeans in various pattern drafting sources to see how patterns are drafted for different shapes. These included;
Weekend Designer Jean Draft
Metric Pattern Drafting for women’s wear, by Winifred Aldrich.

3. Took my own personal hip and waist circumference measurements in front and back segments, not just full circumferences. Anna Zapp describes this in her book “The Zapp Method of Couture Sewing” and sewing instructor Cynthia Guffey also demos this in her pants fitting classes. But Cynthia advocates takes measurements every two inches from waist to hip. From this I learned I need more fabric in the front at 2 inches below my waist for my tummy, and then back equals front until 8 inches down from waist when the back need more fabric because of my butt. This is shown below on a dress form. Put a piece of tape on both sides from waist to hip. Mark 2 inch increments.on the tape starting at waist. Measure from centerline of tape on one side to centerline of tape on the other side, on both back and front at each 2 inch increment.

4. Turned a few pairs of well fitted RTW pants inside out, with one leg inside the other, so I could look at the shape of the crotch seam as well as the amount of space between the center back and front seams.

5. Re-read Threads magazine articles "Making Jeans that Fit" (Mar 2004) and" Design Your Own Jeans" (May 2008), The lengthy answer to a Fitting column question about crotch length in the March issue was very helpful too.

I made a muslin of the pattern out of a red and tan checked fabric so I would have woven vertical and horizontal lines in my muslin. They looked like clown pants. During one fitting session, DH happened to see them and asked diplomatically "Where are you going to wear those pants? I assured him they were not going to be worn in public. My personal shape is a low flat butt, high rounded tummy, and no leg curvature below the widest part of hip. Many RTW pants, and especially McCalls and Butterick patterns, which fit in the waist, have too much fabric in the butt and outer thigh. Sure enough the muslin had excess fabric in the outer thighs, and at the top back center seam. There were issues in the crotch area and I ended up adding 3/4 inch to the front and back crotch length at the crotch point. On all the LB pants pattern drafts, the center line of the pant leg is equal distance from the crotch point and the side, and it is used as a reference for all dart and styling detail. So I also had to re balance the leg patterns around the new center line and redraw the darts and pockets. I really need to draft only the basic shape and fit it, before drafting style details. It would save me a lot of time and effort.

The finished jeans fit okay. I think they need some tweaking; scoop out the front crotch to address the wrinkles there and remove even more excess fabric in the back side legs. They are a little long in the crotch, but I can’t change that easily with all the top stitched yokes near the waist. I may slim down the legs even more.

But all this will have to wait for a couple weeks, until after we return from our spring break trip to Barbados. Right now, I need to find out if my bathing suits still fit, check the expiration date on the sun block lotions left over from last year, sort through the snorkeling gear,…….later guys!


  1. Clapping here for you! Drafting jeans--and making them fit-no easy task.

    Have a great time on your vacation.

  2. I'm impressed.

    Enjoy that warm sunshine.

  3. Cute top - I think I have that same fabric - need to double check the stash!

  4. Thank you for your process notes. The jeans look great on you! Hope you have a fun vacation!

  5. Great job on making the jeans!!!I would never attempt this but always glad to see when others do. Truly you did a great job. Enjoy trip to Barbados--lucky you!

  6. AMAZING! Those look really good and I'm sure your next pair will be even more on point after you make your final tweaks!

    I am itching to see your completed SWAP especially since it is all drafted as well as sewn by you!

    Have a great time on vacation!

  7. Having never sewn a single pair of pants in my entire life, I can say that your jeans are quite an accomplishment. Kudos to you for drafting them so well! And enjoy the vacaY!

  8. This was very helpful post. Thank you. And you look great in your new jeans!

  9. BRAVO!! Your jeans turned out fantastic!!

  10. Great job on the jeans!!! I am on a quest for the "perfect pant" and am in awe of anyone who can draft their own.

  11. You did a gerat job drafting your jean yourself, and they look so beautiful on you. You are such an inspiration. Enjoy your vacation