Jeans Journey - part 1

Jeans is where my sewing is at currently.  I have made 5!! pairs in the last month or so.  These days I am more about doing things over and over until I get them right...well, maybe not necessarily right, but something like that.

For my first pair, I used Kenneth King's Jeanius craftsy class to rub a pattern from an existing pair of jeans.  Here is the result.

I chose jeans to copy that are higher in the back than the front, as this is a feature I like, but one that I have never been too confident in making to existing patterns.

I bought this printed denim about 15 years ago in Adelaide.  I thought it was funky, then decided it was too funky for me and didn't sew it up.  It is a stretch denim, which I thought would be great for a muslin, because it seems silly to use calico to muslin a stretch garment.  Turns out, I like the finished jeans and have worn them several times already.  My kids have given them the thumbs up as well. The benefit of the print is that you can't see where I have taken a huge dart out of the yoke...they are a muslin after all.  I left the pockets pretty plain, as topstitching hardly shows either, and I left off the belt loops out of laziness, at the time thinking that I would not wear these.

There are some under butt wrinkles, but 5 pairs on and I still have not resolved that problem.  Some pairs are better than others.  When I think about, it seems ridiculous to try and fit flat fabric smoothly around a butt curve, when we employ darts for bust curves.  Jeans with butt darts...you heard it here first!!

My biggest problem, fit wise, with this pair is wrinkles behind the knee, due to what I consider normal calves, but others refer to as hyper-extended calves.  The fabric has softened now, but the wrinkles were stiff enough to actually be annoying on the first wearing.  A quick dip into my fitting book suggested scooping out the crotch curve more, I guess so that there is less fabric from crotch to knee and the fabric behind the knee is pulled upwards, reducing wrinkles.  I have scooped out the crotch on subsequent pairs, which has helped with the behind the knee wrinkles, but may have caused other problems.

Overall, I am pretty happy with pattern and how these turned out.


  1. Scooping the crotch curve may also help under butt wrinkles.

  2. Five pairs... I admire your dedication. I hoping to embark on a jeans journey soon...

  3. Great jeans and I love the fabric. I think you can only go so far with fit issues. A few wrinkles can actually look pretty good, I think anyway. Closet Case Files has a good blog post on jeans fitting.

  4. Another reason pants (in general) wrinkle behind the knee is because the fabric is often cut to the same length for the front and the back. At the same time, the normal movement of an actual human leg causes a need for more length in the front, but less length in the back. So, excess fabric at the back of the knee or top of the thigh tends to bunch up or wrinkle. This is something I've thought about, and I once looked at some drawings of very old semi-fitted men's pants and the pant legs look like they are actually cut like an S curve front to back. I suspect that length is taken out of the back of the knee (mid-point of the S curve) and the front is eased onto that part. It is similar to cutting the back inseam of the leg a bit short at the top and easing/stretching it onto the longer front seam at the crotch. So, a solution might be to remove a little length at the back of the knee, which is something I have thought about but haven't done yet. Don't know if you would want to go to all this trouble for jeans, but there it is!

    1. Yes, there is a lot to think about! It does seem strange that leggings and skinny jeans patterns have straight legs when ours are not. I have seen a leggings pattern with curves for knees and calves, which makes sense really.

  5. I love repetition for learning and perfecting fit, too. I scooped the rear curve on my most recent pair of jeans and it resolved quite a few of my wrinkles, although new, different ones formed after a couple of days' wear. I think these look great!

  6. Your post reminded me of a book I used to read to my girls when they were little "Bettina the Ballerina" and her mantra ...practice makes perfect. It's true isn't it. I think you've nailed it.