There are three jeans-type garments in #TheShire: The Golden jeans, the “skinnies,” and the shorts.
That’s quite a bit of embroidery. 🙂 These jeans have a button fly, which I had to relearn because it’s such a long time since I’d done one.
The waist somehow ended up rather larger than I expected, even after toiling, so now it’s a paperbag waist. Well, they are inspired by Levi’s 501S anyway, which have a square-cut hip. 🙂
This fabric is quite thin and stretchy (though still not stretchy enough to be proper skinnies), so embroidery wouldn’t be advisable. Apart from that I was running out of time. So used lace overlays on the pockets instead.
You may have noticed the pockets: they’re shaped like shields, which I thought fitted because it’s heraldic. 🙂
The lace bits at the hem are not symmetrical. They were cut the same, but I should have used more notches. One of the back pockets is floral embossed leather, and the other has gold and silver embroidery in the style of Tolkein’s illustrated trees.
These and the skinnies have a zip fly, which still took a bit of reworking out. I still have to perfect the specs to make it look exactly like RTW.
Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂
I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).
These are the pages from my sketchbook:
These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).
I know I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, but I’m onto my final collection of my BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Production at York College. It’s called The Shire and is based largely on The Hobbit and LOTR (follow my Instagram for better updates). I’ve more or less got my final designs and two of the garments are jeans (oh yeah, I now work at Levi’s in York City Centre as a stylist and tailor). There will be a pair of Mom Jeans and a pair of skinny jeans. First I’m working with the Mom Jeans.
At Levi’s we have some jeans like this. They’re a slim, relaxed fit in the leg, with a good fit in the bottom, and a fairly straight waist. The latter is something I will not be incorporating because I like my jeans to stay up without a belt, but the legs are good and I want to use that look. So I compared the cut with those from Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear and found that they are wildly different, but both look good. The latter didn’t look Mom-jeanish though when I toiled them.
Now, bear in mind that the first ones are size 12, and the latter ones are my size (approximately 8) so mine are narrower. The legs on the Levi’s jeans are much straighter at the outseam than the Metric Pattern Cutting ones. The alignment is also a lot closer to the side seam; you could very nearly make selvedge jeans with that pattern!
So I printed it out in my size and toiled it. All going to plan, but I made the pattern too long and shortened it on paper. This is where things began to go awry. When truing the side seam I forgot to take account of the yoke on the back, so the front pattern ended up 3cm too short, and of course I didn’t realise at the time.
I noticed something was wrong when I was sewing the inseam and the back was not only not shorter than the front (it should be) but it was too long by a fair bit. I just cut it off the crutch with the overlocker (bad move). Now the inseams matched. So I sewed the side seams, and realised that it wasn’t just the inseams that wouldn’t have matched. I carried on sewing and tried the toile on afterwards.
Now, the first problem was the bum-nose. I do not wish to appear as if I have a tail tucked in there. I assumed that this was probably due to the issue with the crutch seam, so I moved on.
Another issue came to my attention when I looked down. The legs had twisted symmetrically. I could not fathom why. Levi’s jeans didn’t. And my toile wasn’t even in twill so that couldn’t be it. Surely it must be the fit?
I cut up one leg and examined the new shape. It was… odd.
Now, I assumed, based on half-remembered facts about twisted seams, that I must adjust the pattern to make the jeans hang right when I wear them. So I spent a good few hours playing with the pattern on Illustrator, in vain, because I couldn’t get the seams to be corresponding measurements. After said good few hours it occurred to me to get the toile out and examine it again. I thought, What would happen if I lay the legs as they would have, had they been the same length to begin with and I hadn’t chopped that bit off?
And this is what happened…
The back leg’s inseam was 3cm lower than the from leg, but sewn to match it, so the grainlines were not level. This meant the leg was trying to level itself out. As it couldn’t do that magically, it twisted round like a spiral staircase. It sort of makes sense and evidently is what happened, as you can see in the above photo. Accidental Pattern Magic. As proof, if I lay the front leg properly across (as it should have been) all it well. I wore it pinned for a while correctly and it didn’t twist. I didn’t take any pictures of this (but I’m going to retoile to eliminate this issue and check the fit otherwise).
So there we have it: the (or a) cause of twisted legs in jeans is when either the front or the back isn’t level (maybe because the seamstress/seamster stretched one of them and cut it off to match). I think this happens more if the problem extends below the knee.
I’m glad I learned that little tidbit, especially as I want to be a Master Tailor at Levi’s. 🙂
The second part of the outfit is the jeans. I knew I wanted to make some for my FMP, and to begin with, the designs were fairly mainstream, though better-fitting. As it goes with designing, the more I sketch, the sooner I come to a good idea. I came to these (note: these are my sketchbook pages, not my scruffy-book pages):
Some features I chose to include in the jeans were: a slightly lower front waist so it doesn’t dig into you; a gusset between the legs to avoid the “slicer seam” problem; and purposes, a contoured waist-facing instead of a traditional straight-cut waistband, giving a better fit and less bulk, as well as cleaner lines for the aesthetic. I wanted slim-fit legs, turn-ups, and, eventually, a back yoke shaped like a traditional shirt hem, just because.
Now, had I been able to make them in my size, I would have had more freedom to finesse the fit. As it was, I was required to make them in a tall size 12 (probably a shop size 10), and had no one the right size and height to test them on. I tried the toile on myself and had to pin a considerable amount out a the waist and turn the hems up a lot more. (Images here to save data).
These are the jeans I finished with.
Granted, they would look better on a person. 🙂
Here are some detail shots:
The gusset was quite tricky to sew. I had to clip into the corners to be able to get past the crutch point. I would have used a curved gusset like Kathleen Fasenella, but I couldn’t get the curved edges to be the same length as where they had to go on the jeans, so I used a diamond gusset instead. She does on her jeans anyway so it must be acceptable.
Even though I used hand-topstitching, there is a lot of machine top-stitching on these jeans too. It’s virtually invisible as I used the right colour Gutermann Sew-all thread (I can’t remember the number for sure, but I think it was 512). I tested a couple of thread colours and put the sample and notes in my pattern file. That must get some points. 🙂
If/when I make another pair, I will sort out this zip issue. I will have to stop lower down (would be easier to get the right length to begin with now I’ve time) because this comes close to showing when the jeans are fastened.
The other issue here was that the facings are not level inside. I don’t know why, because the toile seemed okay, and the pattern, I think, was correct (must check). I want to find out what caused this because it annoys me to have that fairly noticeable (when you are getting dressed) fault. >:|
And, yes. That wobbly navy stitching on the binding on the zip guard does bother me.
The back pockets were cut on the cross (not the bias, the cross, in case you use the wrong term) to take advantage of the selvedge, so when they are worn there is a shading differences, annoyingly. You can see in the photo that the grain doesn’t match.
One thing I learned when doing all this binding is that it is much easier to sew on in one go if you press it in half first, perhaps with a little bit extra showing on the underside, just to make sure it gets caught in the stitching. If you have a really good binder attachment then maybe you won’t need to do this, but I don’t have one.
So these are the Cut21 Jeans. I would give them about an 8 out of 10, taking design into consideration, and the neatness inside. Plus the fabric is really nice! 🙂
Next week, you will see the shirt in more detail.
P.S. Sorry for posting late this week, I was doing a trial but I’m evidently too slow to work in an alterations shop.