Pants / Sewing

My Second Pair of Jeans

Jeans, graffiti

I seem to be in the habit of making jeans not in denim. This lovely material is a mix of 50% Cotton, 26% rayon, 20% wool & 4% lycra. I like to think the wool helps keep me extra toasty, but don’t think it actually does. But no matter, the foggy December day on which these pictures were taken was unseasonably warm in the 60’s.

For these jeans I used the same pattern as my first pair. Black hides a multitude of sins. And there’s too much Lycra in this fabric. Issues may have been present in my first pair that I just didn’t see. Again, they look good when you first put them on, but after a day of moving about they develop saggy-bottom-itis. As well as saggy-crotch-itis. You can see that in these pictures. My next pair of jeans will not contain any spandex. Although, now I’m looking at all the photos, the sagging wasn’t as monstrously horrible as I had remembered.

And the saggy/bagginess has gotten better since I did what you’re not supposed to do & put wool in the dryer. Actually, putting both of my jeans in the dryer helped solve a lot of problems. It took both pairs from ‘EeEeEeeEeeee!’ to ‘oh, that’s not so bad’.

I was going to further improve the sagging pants by lining them in jersey, but after drying them they felt a touch too tight for that. You know when you know something, but it takes a few times of having it repeated before it dawns on you that you already know the solution? Yeah. Years ago I bought those ridiculous Victoria’s Secret butt-bra pants because I thought they were ridiculous & was interested in seeing how they were constructed. The theory is you stick some extra fabric in the behind of a pair of jeans & VS angels will magically lift your buttocks to a higher & more shapely position. What can I say? I had disposable income in high school. At least while those pants didn’t do anything for my butt, they didn’t get saggy.

Then, months ago I saw this informative video by Sandra Betzina for Craftsy. But it wasn’t until after I saw Laura’s post about preventing saggy velvet problems that it dawned on me to do the same thing. Clearly my whole life has been leading up to lining pants.

So next time, when I’m not making skinny jeans, I’ll line my pants in a similar way. Perhaps I’ll use jersey. It needs to be thin, somewhat stable & should probably have a touch of 4-way stretch. Maybe a lightweight but not quite tissue thin cotton? But I think what will matter most is not using fabric with Lycra. That stuff is just not made well nowadays & I am convinced it is the culprit behind our nation’s saggy bottom problem. 😉

Great googly moogly! What in Sam Hill is going on with my crotch?!

Can we talk about my crotch? I’m horrified by those odd folds- not the horizontal ones, but the ones under my crotch. Luckily a friend came to town who used to work in a costuming department. She said this folding mishap was caused by the direction in which the seams were folded. When making pants you have four different pieces of fabric that come together at the crotch. I serged the inseams first. Next, when I serged the crotch seam I started serging from the back of the pants, over the inseams- which had been at right angles to the crotch seam- then finished serging to the front of the pants. Serging over the inseams pushed them in the direction I was serging, towards the front. This forward folding of both inseams caused the wonky crotch. My friend said to solve this I could angle the inseams so one was pointed towards the front & one towards the back. Or, I could point them both towards the back.

There were a few things I did differently with these jeans. The original pair I patterned off had flared legs, the seams of which didn’t run perfectly perpendicular to the floor. The odd thing is the problem is mainly on one leg & only slightly on the other. I’m not entirely certain, but I’m attributing this to scoliosis making one of my hips higher. Maybe that’s also why that weird crotch fold is lopsided. My not so precise copying skills seemed to make this twisting more pronounced on both legs, so that the inner leg seams twisted around to the front of the pants.

When doing up these pants I didn’t change the legs because I wanted to see if it was my cutting or sewing that had slightly twisted my first pair of jeans. But the skewed seams were even worse on these, perhaps because the light color showed it off so well. Then, I tried exaggerating that twist to make it look like a design feature. Not so cute. As you can see, I ended up making them into skinny jeans. I really like this look with this fabric because when paired with a black blouse & Mary Janes it looks vaguely retro. And I dented the hems so the pants are slightly longer in the back than the front.

Because hammering in the button was so difficult last time, this time I used a dungaree button. It’s like a brass tack that you can easily push through the fabric without cutting out a hole, then you snap on the back. No tools needed. Alas! As easily as it pops into place, so does it pop off in the wash. Dungaree buttons also don’t have as long of a shaft as jean buttons. They barely have enough length to get through the thicker button holes that jeans have.

That upward wrinkling on the side seam is caused by the pocket bags being sewn into the side seams & me trying to pull one of the bags inside out.

In my stash I had one jean zipper that was the correct length & it was red- which was the only color the short ones at the store came in. For my first pair Kenneth King instructed me to shorten a longer jean zipper. This was very painful to do & was just not going to happen so soon after having done it the first time (bad blogger that I am, I finished these jeans back in November). I reasoned that the zipper would be covered anyway so no one would see how vulgarly red it was. Wrong! Of course you can see it. Big sigh.

To match the pocket bags with the zipper I used red cotton left over from my Drunken Polka Dotted Princess Dress. These pockets are gloriously deep. Now, whenever I wear my RTW jeans I get very angry at how shallow the pockets are. But, you can’t see the glorious depth when I try to pull the pockets out because they’re sewn into the side seams of the legs. However, you can see the French seam I made at the bottom of the bags. My main fabric is so lightly colored & thin enough that the seam is glaringly visible as a horizontal line running across my thighs. Not ideal.

While these jeans aren’t perfect, they did help me learn more about the jean making process in general. And they took me about half the time to finish as the first pair. So I’m counting these as a win, especially since my saggy butt problems have improved with subsequent shrinkage from drying them.

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26 thoughts on “My Second Pair of Jeans

  1. oh my! jeans are a lot of work!! I appreciate your deconstruction of the whole process and the changes you made, it’s very informative. I had no idea the way you fold seam allowances at the crotch made any difference.. weird!

  2. Let’s get together some time. I can show you a couple of things about crotches too. Wow, if we didn’t know that we were talking about pants, that could sound rather bad 😉
    I think you did a great job and I love the setting of your pictures. Where are you?

    • Haha yes! I’d appreciate some crotch talk. The pictures were taken between the Foster & Thorndale beaches. It’s so pretty out there it’s one of my favorite spots in the city. Although, I think Montrose beach might have it beat in the picturesque department.

  3. These are definitely a win! Love ’em. And of course I adore the red pockets.
    Your photography is always beautifully done too. Hope you’re having as much fun as you look like you are.

  4. Look at you, another pair of jeans/pants! I don’t think I would have noticed the issues you mentioned, but only because my RTW jeans all have the same problem, especially with the leg seam twisting. I managed to correct it a little bit in the one pair of pants I made by redrawing the leg shape, but I don’t know if that’s the correct way. Anyway, I think these look just fine, red accents and everything!

  5. We just started watching a recent Woody Allen, To Rome, with Love. Look at the young blonde American’s trousers. Is this his new version of the Manhattan wardrobe statement from so long ago? I’ve never seen such a droopy crotch seam! Don’t feel bad about yours- look at these and you’ll feel better. Besides, the other costumes are Sweet! 🙂

  6. These look great! And the saggy fit issues you’re having could easily been seen on some RTW trousers- so a success I think! 🙂

    I’m surprised by the lycra issue- I’ve always thought of it as a memory fibre, and so would help hold the garment in shape (my RTW jeans with lycra are a lot less sagtastic than the ones without…)
    Hmmm… Do you think the way it’s woven in makes a difference?

    • I think it’s a fiber quality issue. The RTW pants I copied for this pattern were probably 10 years old & the lycra in those babies has held up really well. I spoke about this with my costuming friend that I mention in the post & we agreed that in recent years the quality of spandex we’ve seen in RTW pants has really gone down so that the pants are nice & tight when you try them on, but a few hours after wearing them they start to sag. We’ve found that on older pants & newer expensive jeans the quality of the spandex is so much better that they don’t sag as quickly or as horribly.

      With both these & my first pair of jeans (& this pair used nice, designer fabric from Theory) they would get larger & larger with successive wearings & washings until I shrunk them in the dryer. I’ve never found fabric made with natural fibers to do that so I’m chalking it up to the lycra.

      • I suppose it’s quite a weighty fibre, isn’t it? And if it didn’t have the quality to snap itself back to make itself short again, then it makes sense it could drag the cloth down…
        Such a shame to take time getting the fit right on trousers, only to have them sag! I’m going to attempt them this year, so I’ll be watching out for lycra trying to ruin my happiness! 🙂

        • It was disappointing to have all my fitting time feel wasted, but what I learned on my first two pairs will really help my future pants. Good luck on yours! It can take awhile to find good denim that doesn’t have spandex, but it will certainly be worth it.

  7. Looks like you are making progress. Your thoughts on lining are very interesting! I agree with you about the lycra making the jeans stretch more. I made a pair of pants in 100% polyester and it is amazing, the feel pants have, when there is NO stretchy fabric in them. For one, the waistband stayed where it was supposed to be!

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