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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jeans Sewing: Drafting a Basic Pants Pattern

Learning to create the pattern  for my first pair of jeans, certainly has me
Enchanted by Sewing!

1) Summary - What I've learned
2) History
3) Resources
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1) Summary - What I've Learned
* Have now drafted my Basic Pants Pattern
* Jeans Pattern will be a variation on the Basic Pants Pattern
* A lot of time!
* Basics - Used charts in book (see Resources below) to draft a basic pants block. Created first pass at pattern from that block. 
* A double tracing wheel-  carbon paper to fabric tracer tool - (like Clover Double Tracing Wheel) was very useful for adding a 1 inch seam allowance to the original pants block. The reason I couldn't make that work before - lousy carbon paper from local store. Clover Chacopy transfer paper works much better. I bought both on the web.

I continue to use these time saving, transfer, seam allowance adding, tools on each iteration of the pattern.

* Alteration Time - Time is the key word here. I continue to spend a lot of it on this project
* Alter muslin, alter pattern, study results with fit buddy or in the mirror (for the front anyway). Repeat these steps until done.
* Fit buddy eyes me and suggests alterations
* Studying typical alterations is very useful - even those that don't sound like my fit issues help me to think through those I need to make
* Not all alterations are standard. Studying them helps me to develop my eye, and use my own senses about what needs to change in each pattern and muslin draft
* Mirror is essential. I used masking tape on fit lines, so I could see them better in the mirror when I was working on my own between classes (this really only works when altering the front!). My teacher thinks masking tape drags down the muslin. In order to keep going on the project, I needed that masking tape!
* Straight of Grain (SOG) is essential, as well as perpendicular fit lines. When I make changes, I need to relate back to the original pattern and these lines provide those relative points.
* Drawing fit lines is essential - waist, upper hip, lower hip, crotch, thigh, knee, calf. They need to be dark enough to see them in the mirror when I try on the current muslin
* Fit lines below the crotch need to stay parallel with the floor!
* Watch that straight of grain!
* In the curvy parts of the body, fit lines and SOG will curve. That makes sense, when I think about it.
* Thread basting fit lines takes longer. I like using a dark pen that shows through both sides of the muslin better
* Staystitch the waist line. Use narrow elastic to tie muslin pants on at the waist. Leave open at front (where zipper would go) but draw on stitching lines and pin on there when trying on.
* This process takes a lot of muslin. When I try to conserve muslin, sometimes it just adds a lot more time

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2) History

I've blogged/journaled many times about my determination to learn to sew jeans. In the summer I began this journey by working on jeans sewing techniques, but without the jeans! That is, I first sewed a jeans-style denim skirt

I had found myself intimidated by the many different, and new-to-me, skills involved in sewing jeans. When I sorted through what was keeping me from getting going, I realized that getting the fit right on a jeans pattern was a biggie, so I put that off and focused on materials and techniques - though I found fitting that skirt in heavy weight denim - versus the twill I'd used to test out the pattern - to be more work than I'd expected. I'm currently at work on the October Enchanted by Sewing Podcast, which will be an audio show about my experiences working on the jeans-style sewing skirt project. You can signup to be notified (no spam!) when monthly podcast episodes are released by visiting the show notes for the  Enchanted by Sewing Podcast.

This fall, I've begun working towards my first pair of actual jeans

I'm taking a pants drafting class in order to get a pattern that fits me. Alternatively, I could have worked on altering a commercial jeans pattern. There are several recommendations for jeans patterns others have tried, in the Pattern Review forum Make Your Own Jeans, You Can Do It! Several of those patterns, have detailed instructions about fitting the patterns to your figure type, as well as  many more sizes than are typical in Big-4 patterns.

I haven't ruled out using a commercial jeans pattern for a future jeans project (in fact I bought a couple when I was first considering taking this learning project on), but since I am a student in the Cañada Fashion Program, why not learn something about pattern drafting and fit in a classroom environment?

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3) Resources
* Jeans Sewing: Skirting the Issue - Terminado!/Done! 
This blog/journal post summarizes the work I did to create my jeans-style denim skirt. This project got me started on the path to jeans sewing.

* The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is an extension of this blog. It's a monthly Audio Show where I focus on sewing specific garment styles and interview other sewists. You can either listen right on the web (while you sew maybe!) or download it to a mobile device like an iPhone, Android or other mp3 player. http://www.enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com

* In pants drafting class, we're using the book Building Patterns, The Architecture of Women's Clothing by Suzy Furrer.

* Pattern Review: Make Your Own Jeans - You Can Do It!

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