While I was away, one garment among the few in my carry-on suitcase got perpetual use: My GAP 1969 Real Straight Jeans.
I bought these in the midst of the skinny jean craze, when skinny jeans felt less versatile for my everyday life. Too tight for both my working life and my comfort in high heat. The straight jean was a revelation: I could still have a slim silhouette with comfort (low to mid rise, a bit of stretch) and confidence (the cut flattered my rectangular frame and style).
I love these jeans. I’d own one in every color if I could.
And when I returned, an idea percolated. I was drooling over J.Crew’s fall catalog (full of corduroy!) and I remembered that Steffani Lincecum’s Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-Off Technique to Re-Create and Redesign Your Favorite Fashions was lingering on the bookshelf. I also had a bit of purple corduroy in my stash that I had thrifted nearly two years ago.
When I first bought Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit, I was instantly in love with the concept. You begin with a garment and work backwards to the pattern. For those of us who have started with a pattern and fiddled endlessly to achieve the right fit, it makes sense, doesn’t it? If you start with something you know fits, you save yourself a lot of headaches later on in the sewing process.
So with some handy transparent patterning material (like interfacing without the "glue"), I traced my favorite jeans. To be fair, she doesn’t cover tracing trousers in the book (rather, a skirt, blouse and purse and then shows you how to alter the master pattern for different looks), so I adapted the technique with lots and lots of double-checking along the way.
And when it came to figuring out the smaller pieces, like the fly and the pocket yoke, I depended on a trusty pants pattern I had already used, Simplicity 3850, a Built By Wendy Pattern, to guide me.
Once I had all the pattern pieces, I added seam allowances (directly on the fabric) and made a muslin. Despite the 2% spandex in the original, the give of the corduroy with wear made it a fine fit.
So, did it work?
Pants can be a conundrum for me. They are the garments that make me feel the most comfortable, but sewing them has been difficult. We’ve so many curves to think about, agility to consider. And what’s baffled me is the difference in leg shape in the front pattern piece and the back. In most contemporary pants, it feels like the rear piece wraps generously around the leg to a slim front piece. That's something that stumped me when trying to draft my own.
But now it’s no longer a secret — I now have a pattern for my favorite GAP jeans that I can use over and over and over, making it better each time. Totally worth it. This is my first garment for the Fall Essentials Sew-Along and the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge.
What about you? Do you have a favorite garment you’d love to recreate?