Its all sew pants – cigarette pants, trews, ankle grazers…………..

Trousers are something I find easier to buy off the rack, I find making trousers a pain and fitting issues too fiddly so buying off the rack and taking the waist in often seems easier (my waist is two sizes smaller than hip).  Making tops, skirts, dresses and coats are what I prefer, and yet I wear jeans more than skirts on average due to practicality.  

Part of my sewing mission has become to make a handmade wardrobe and now I needed to make some trousers!  I started a pair last month, and based it on a butterick pattern I had done a toile for last year.  I cut the trousers from a linen pair, but the weave was tighter, and the fit was awful.  In part its a vanity issue, as I was in part relying on the ease allowed in a pattern rather than just using my brain and a full set of exact current measurements (seriously, there are times when I have worked from an old set of measurements thinking that these measurements still apply…..dream on……).

So I figured I would take a break from them, and in the meantime, I found these jeans (stretch fabric and a size too big) in the charity shop and also in the colour I needed, so I figured I would do this one from scratch.

recut refashion jeans

I drafted a Jeans block with current exact measurements, and laid it over the Butterick 2704  to combine the two.   (I love the high waisted fit from waist to high hip fit in the Butterick) I used the jeans block for the leg however, when I laid it over the trousers fabric, it just about  fitted  and the leg line of the jeans were in a different direction (coincidentally the same as the Butterick).  So I adapted the leg, and started on a muslin. The fit for the most was great, except now there was too much fabric under the back seat, and I was relying on partner J for critique, and a make-up mirror as a rear view on the full length mirror.    I tried a ‘fish eye’ dart, but it didn’t improve anything, and even Allyne Bane (sewing guru go-to book) no insights, so I went with taking the excess fabric out in a dart going straight up the middle and it fixed it a lot so I undid the muslin leaving dart in place, and retraced the pattern, then I went ahead with pattern and cut.  

recut refashion jeans

I had to chance a few things when cutting the trousers from the jeans, I left the front pockets of the jeans intact, but sewed them shut as they would be too high up.  The front zip was removed but the stitch marks are still there but not hugely noticable and are in the correct place for a ”zip” (the real zip is to the side which I prefer), so actually look fine, and I removed the back jeans pockets and I later replaced them after sewing the trousers.   The stretch fabric gave a generous fit so I took the side seams in about 1cm more and got a smoother fit again, the photo below is before the trousers were taken in. The fit before (mirror photo) is a nicer trouser fit (the left leg is the unaltered, the right leg is half taken in…), but the fit after taking them in, seemed to suit a jeans fit more 

recut refashion jeans

 I am so very happy and the trousers were worn straight away (which is always a good sign) and I finally have a proper trouser block sorted now – which is just as well as I have a pair of wool trousers to re-cut this Autumn!  The simplicity top still needs to have the tucks adjusted at the waist by taking them up one inch which I knew needed to be done, but really know now after seeing the photos! (the outfit got its first ‘outing’ in these photos, and after a 90 minute drive and 5 hours of watching irish dancing, the photos were taken ………….. ) 

recut refashion jeans

While this was going on,   I have repaired my favourite jeans with sashiko mending (thanks to seeing it done by Karen, at RUDE) and its brilliant, I love the integrity of these repairs, its not trying to hide it, but makes the repair a thing in itself.  I normally darn on the machine using a zig zag type stitch, but ultimately it doesn’t work that well with the stretch denim, I think it stresses the fabric more, so this time, I ironed black woven vilene (all I had) on the inside, stretching the jeans a little as I pressed, so the vilene had a wrinkle (deliberate) to accommodate the stretch.   I then did some running stitch with button thread, but then started a type of cross stitch.  What I did was a bit crude, but I love it.  I really like the honesty of the hand stitch and its also a lot more sympathetic to the denim than the machine darn (I think) and  its stronger as it moves with the fabric it a more sympathetic way.  There are some gorgeous examples on pinterest, very inspiring! 

2 thoughts on “Its all sew pants – cigarette pants, trews, ankle grazers…………..

  1. wrongdoll says:

    The detail of what you have achieved trouser wise is way over my head – being two sizes smaller at my waist than hip, I'm sticking to A-Line for the foreseeable for the quick wins. But it's good to know if I ever pluck up the confidence to move outside my comfort zone there are some very big brains to pick out there. Just wanted to say how great the top is looking – I love the fabric and trim details – looks super with the Jeans 🙂 x


  2. Eimear Greaney says:

    thank you very much, it probably wasn't too bad once i got real about my measurements, and how to fix the excess fabric, but once i reshaped the back leg there was the a-ha moment (as the line looked so correct) and doing it scientifically/methodically was a good practice as for some reason i have gotten very lazy about pattern drafting! showed my sis your sindy collection and we were most envious!


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