Can I drape a pair of jeans?

After writing up my previous post, and reading the draping discussion at Pattern Review, I got to wondering if perhaps I could drape a pair of jeans to fit me.

I had a large piece of denim scrap, so this is how I set about finding out

  • I drew horizontal lines across the fabric, at 5 cm increments
  • I sewed the fabric into a tube and slid the tube up my leg, and used a band of elastic to keep it up.
  • I pinned in the shape of the leg, doing my best to keep the marked lines horizontal
  • I pinned in a side dart, which would later become the side seam
  • I pinned out a back dart, which would later become a yoke
  • I marked the CF and CB seams
  • I folded over the top edge at the height I wanted the waistband.
This is what I got.  The fit is a bit loose at the front, as I did the draping at night, when my belly is often bloated, and I took these photos in the morning, when everything is flat again :)

The above photo shows that the horizontal lines are going skewiff at the upper back thigh.  I tried to mark in a better crotch curve, by standing in the position shown in the photo below.  This draping is not glamorous!

I then cut up the seam lines and laid out my pieces.  I promised myself that I would not compare these to an actual pattern until I was completely finished.  You can see that the back crotch curve is a little unusual.  The legs are also curvy, which is not typical of patterns I have bought.

I marked off a waistband.

I marked off a back yoke.  It does not go as deep as the dart, because I do want them to look like regular jeans and also so that a pocket can fit below the yoke.  The bottom edge of this yoke is curved, but I might go back and make it straight.

I then marked the same horizontal lines on my next piece of fabric.  I was hesitant about cutting into new fabric, but when I unfolded the fabric from my stash, I found that it has discoloured anyway.

I laid my "pattern" on the fabric, matching the horizontal lines.  The pattern does not sit exactly flat.  I decided to follow the lines rather than have the pattern flat, in case the fabric had distorted during my process.

I then sewed up a quick and dirty muslin.  Here they are without a waistband (or fly or pockets). 

I did have to take in the side seams in several places, and I raised the crotch seam by about 15 mm.

They are not perfect, but they don't have the horizontal wrinkle under the bum that I usually have.  Is it even possible to get rid of wrinkles at the back knees?  I never notice knee wrinkles on other people.  Is that because they are not there or just because I don't notice?

I don't know whether to continue on to make a pattern and another pair.  I don't need any more jeans at the moment, but it is always good to have patterns that fit.

What do you think?  Are these worthy of a pattern?  Also, if you have any tips for further improvements, please shout out!


  1. Brilliant experiment! The image of the pieces flat and modeled is fascinating (I find it difficult to visualize what the solution to a fit challenge looks like & this is so helpful) It could be very useful to have this pattern complete, since you've invested the time already---

    1. Thanks Beth, I don't think I could have got to this same end point by attempting to fit an existing pattern. For starters, I am surprised by how small the back crotch extension is.

  2. This is really cool. I think these jeans are very close to a brilliant fit and definitely worth persevering with. Have you seen this jeans fitting adjustment guide https://closetcasepatterns.com/jean-fitting-adjustments-best-fitting-jeans/ There are others too, which might be helpful. I think Maria Denmark has done one recently. I'm imagining these jeans with some nice shoes and I think they would look great!

    1. Megan, I love that you can imagine these with nice shoes! Nobody else in my house ever seems able to imagine the potential of a garment until it is completely finished with the very last button sewn on :) I'm off to re-read the closet case fitting guide.

  3. Thank you for sharing this process! Given the principle that wrinkles point toward where you need more fabric, I wonder if you should try adding a little width to the inside (crotch seam) of the back leg only. It seems to me that the knee and butt wrinkles point toward the middle of the inner thigh (middle meaning midway between crotch seam and knee). The fabric shape of your draped muslin in this area has some curves that probably follow the actual shape of your leg, but lead to the stress on the fabric when worn; thus wrinkles. I would try gently smoothing the curve of the entire inseam from about the mid-calf to the crotch. No expert here, just my two cents. For what it's worth, I think lots of clothes have wrinkles when worn and we don't notice them unless we made the thing and are obsessing about it. ;-) And by the way I have loved your blog for years; this may be the first time I've commented! Thank you for your fabulous work and not giving up on sharing it!

    1. Thanks so much Mapmaker for your lovely comments!

      You are right about the inner thigh. After I posted this, and looked at the photos some more, I went away and let out the inner thigh seam, which got rid of those wrinkles. I also added a smidge more width at the CF seam which seemed to help with some of those wrinkles.

    2. Thank you for your nice reply! I also happened to be reading some information about making tailored pants in the last few days and it said that generally the back leg seam between knee and crotch is cut 1/2" shorter than the front (so the back pattern piece is slightly lower than the front at the inseam when cut). Because this seam is usually somewhat on the bias of the fabric, it is then stretched to fit the front and helps smooth this area and keep the wrinkles at bay. I can't say I've done this, but it sounds plausible. In any case, carry on, I am sure you'll figure it out!

  4. I think back knee wrinkles in non-skintight jeans are 'par for the course'. Jeans are so fitted compared to other pants and you need room to bend your legs.

    Aside from the inner thigh wrinkles you already addressed, they look SO good on you!! I think this experiment was a definite success! So fun!

  5. I have thoough about draping pants on myself, but never followed through. So was very interested in your experience. These look pretty darn good, especially if you have addressed the back knee wrinkles re the previous comments/suggestions. I say they are worthy of a pattern.