The Holy Grail of Jeans

11.13.2014

In the past I've talked about my problems with pants fitting in general. The crux of the problem being my giant backside and the amount of pattern manipulation needed to cover it. Scotch brand tape probably sees their stock go up when ever I try to alter a pants pattern. Quick Froggie, bring me another roll....or maybe a 3 pack.
Despite fitting aggravations, I've been amassing jeans supplies for years.  I've bought every jeans related class on Craftsy and tried numerous patterns. Most of them were complete failures and I smashed the multiple muslins into the trash can in a hulk like rage. Why so many jeans patterns for people with flat butts?  Can't those of us with bountiful booties have one? Cause I've tried to reverse engineer a "flat butt" pattern and it always goes sideways once you start adding 3+ inches to the rise. Not even kidding about the numbers here, the big booty genes are strong in my family.  It had gotten to the point where I'd thrown my hands up in the air about sewing jeans and decided to purchase NYDJ jeans from now on. (Side note - Best fitting RTW jeans I've come across. They don't gape in the back and the rise is longer than most. Though if you've got a big booty don't size down like they tell you.)

So I was never gotta try a jeans pattern again until Heather posted that she was releasing one. Heather is a bootylicious lady like me! Does this mean that big booty ladies finally have a jeans pattern?  I creepily tweeted her that my butt was very excited about this new pattern. At least I didn't attach a picture.
My hope for a big booty friendly pattern turned out to be true. I selected the higher rise skinny leg version and only made a large calf alteration before making a muslin. It fit better then most of my "real" pairs of sewn pants. Ahhhh it's so good when the fit model is closer to your figure than not.
I did go back and make several more fitting tweaks before sewing up this pair.  The next pair will have a few more fitting tweaks. That's pretty much pare for the course when it comes to pants fitting on my figure. That and there will always be wrinkles in the back of my legs because I need that ease to sit down. Curse you butt, can't your fullness be higher? Nope. Also giant calves and skinnies don't really mix,. But that's the style of jeans I like right now so screw it!

Those unfixable fitting issues aside, these are the most comfortable pair of jeans I've made to date. For once I want to make another pair of pants rather than run screaming towards some knit jersey. That's like winning the lottery in my book, the jeans lottery!

Pattern
Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files

Fabrics used
- Dark Navy stretch denim - I think this one was a designer roll end purchased from Hot Patterns. They don't sell fabric anymore but it was a good score at the time.
- Left over Chambury for the pocket bags and waistband facing.
- The top-stitching thread is Gutermann brand - Color 1870
- Jean's button from Cleaner's supply company.
And now these #gingerjeans are officially done. 🎉🎉🎉

Pattern changes/alterations
Quick run down of my lower body fitting problems - tilted waist, small lower back/sway back, large butt, post baby gut, full thighs, large calves and ankles.

1. Made a large calf alteration by slicing up the middle of the back leg. See Cation Design's pants fitting post for more info. This added about 1/2-3/4" extra circumference in the calf area. (My calf circumference is 15.5")
2. I also increased the calf circumference by folding the pattern up 1.5" to the knee and adding the same amount of length to the bottom of the pattern. (Most of that length was cut off later.)

3. Added 3/8" to the inseam of both the back and front legs since I carry a lot of weight in my thighs.
4. Increased the back rise 1/2" on the line provided on the pattern for my big butt.
5. Added 3/8" to the front side seams at the waist/pocket area and blended it out. This accommodates some of the post baby gut.
6. Took 3/8" off the CB seam of the yoke since my body starts narrowing as it goes to the back waist.

7. Darted out the back waistband 1.5". This the mid rise hits right at the narrowest part of my body and I needed to take a large amount out to get the waistband to lay flush on my lower back. Used 3 1/2" darts to reshape the waistband.
8. Reduced the length of the pants legs by 2.25". I cut it off the bottom rather of the pattern instead of using the shorten/lengthen point.

9. Moved the pocket placement up significantly. My muslin showed that the pattern's pocket placement was too low for my butt shape.  I might have overcompensated and put them too high. They are 1.5" down from the yoke on the side seam side and 1" down from the yoke on the CB side. For now I'm holding off on putting in rivets until testing out placement on the next pair.

Confessions/Advice
- Since the stitch quality on my old machine is pretty crappy, I sewed these all on one machine. Pre-reading the instructions and grouping top-stitching verses regular thread tasks is the way to go.

- Didn't mention it on the blog, but due to a sizable donation from my sister I was able to get a new Bernina sewing machine in the middle of the year. It proved it's worth on this project as it chugged over multiple layers of denim without a problem. I did find that increasing the bobbin tension a bit worked well when using the top-stitching thread on the top of the machine.

- The instructions for Ginger Jeans are excellent. Each step has both a written instruction and pictures. Despite sewing numerous fly fronts the order of assembly is never retained by my brain. Heather instructions for this are easy and give you a great finish. Have no fear of fly fronts!

Husband Comment
"Looks great from the back." Which made me think of the 30 Rock "Brooklyn without Limits" episode. Don't think Tracy Jordan would have a problem with my butt size.

My Final Thoughts
I pretty much feel like my search for the perfect jeans pattern "for me" is over. I could jump up and down....so I did. You'll be seeing more of this pattern since all that hoarded denim can finally be sewn up. So, so, so much denim.

54 comments:

  1. There is voodoo in that jeans pattern! Every pair looks amazing and yours are no exception! Will have to add to the pattern collection in the new year me thinks!

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  2. This is so inspiring. I have a flat butt, small hips and large waist and have been working on pants fitting for a while. While I have different fitting challenges from yours, and I don't think this pattern is one for me, it's great to see your progression to very well-fitting pants. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Oh man, I'm SO happy these worked out for you. I've been waiting to see me-made versions cropping up in the webs, but kind of holding my breath... I really respect your opinion so the fact that you love this pattern means the world to me! I think the fit is pretty good - the crotch looks like it might be a touch long in the front. Maybe shaving a 1/4' off in front and adding to the back would help your full thigh issue for the next pair? And I am so excited for the leopard version I cant even stand it.

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  4. Looking good! I do have my self-drafted pattern (based on a pair of Southpole jeans-- I have a friend from Trinidad, and she likes to joke that I have a "black girl's booty", so I guess I'm in the same boat as you!) But there's details on it that I think could be better. So I may have to give this one a whirl the next time I dive back into my denim stash.

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  5. This is ahhhhhhhhhhmaaaaaaaaaaaazing! You look fabulous in those. Bootylicious! :D

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  6. I've been looking at this pattern. It's great seeing it made up, and such great reviews. I have to disagree about your 'giant butt'. You look like a female is supposed to!

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  7. These are great and I can't wait for the leopard pair. Think these gingers are going to become infectious across the sewcialist world.

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  8. Denim hoarding FTW!!!!! Dude, these look awesome on you and I really can't wait to see your leopard version!!!!! LOVE the leopard sweater, too! MeeYOW!

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  9. These look great! I was looking forward to reading your details after stalking your jeans making progress on instgram =) Good to know about the calf adjustment as i have the same size calf as you (which is why i went for view A with the stovepipe legs because stovepipe looks like skinny jeans on my calves!) but now i may give view B a shot as well, knowing about the adjustments you made. Thanks for all the great info!!

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  10. nice fit!! glad a pant pattern finally worked for you, and i can not wait to see the next pair!

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  11. Those are good looking jeans and hurray for you!! I really need to get my pattern taped together.

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  12. www.tresbienensemble.comNovember 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    These are great, Heather! Thanks for photodocumenting all the changes you made as you sewed. As a fellow BBG (big booty girl) I have a feeling I'll need to use a couple of these fit mods. I have piles of denim at home waiting for me to get my sh*t together and sew jeans. I've been talking about this pattern non-stop with my sewing buds, so I think I'm close.

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  13. Thanks baby! Get that new human all finished and then you can have fantastic jeans too. :)

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  14. Thanks Accacia. Pants fitting is certainly the thing I'm still learning about. :) If you haven't seen Cation Designs pants fitting post I'd really recommend it since it covers a lot of different fit issues. http://handmadebyheatherb.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-holy-grail-of-jeans.html

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  15. Thanks Heather and thank you for designing this pattern "for me". You did make it for me right? LOL
    Anyway I agree with you on the front crotch length on these and reduced it for the leopard pair. Gonna be tight!

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  16. Black girl booty's unite! I've been told something similar by some college friends. Definitely recommend this pattern for the details as well as the fit for us big booty girls.

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  17. Thank you Andie! Posting shots of my booty is always a bit nerve wracking but you've made me feel better about it. :)

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  18. Aww thanks Valerie. I can say that RTW does not make garments to accommodate my backside. Good thing for sewing!

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  19. Thanks Maeve! I think you're right about these becoming an infectious pattern. :) Leopard pair sooooon.

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  20. My pack rat habits have finally paid off! Look at all the money I'm "saving"! LOL. Thanks Sonja, you look great in these jeans too.

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  21. Get on the taping Lori. I know you're going to look fabulous in these jeans.

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  22. Thank you so much. I was hoping that my fitting changes might help similarly shaped ladies. Can't wait to see your finished jeans.

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  23. Thank you Lisa. So great to have a pattern that works for me finally. I'll be getting leopard jean pics this weekend if everything goes to plan.

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  24. Thank you Michelle. I was hoping the mods might come in handy for other ladies. It sounds like you've also been hoarding denim, Muhaaaa! Better put this semi-high on the sewing list to take care of that. :)

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  25. These look awesome!! I am so glad that you finally found a great pattern and thanks for sharing all your changes. I can't wait to try it out myself!

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  26. So much win! I'm so glad you soldiered through testing these out quickly, because I'm pretty sure you've just convinced at least 20 people that yes, it's worth the effort !hey look fab! And this outfit is just so good!!!

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  27. Caroline BeckenhauptNovember 13, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    These are fabulous; if you hadn't mentioned your unique figure qualities, I would never have noticed them. Thank you for sharing how you altered you pattern! PS You rocked on The Sewing Affair Podcast!

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  28. I'm saving up my sewing budget (already blown for this month) to get this pattern. Every pair I see looks amazing and yours in no exception. Come on December!!

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  29. The jeans look fabulous Heather. Like Accacia, I have the opposite fitting issues, with a flat butt, tiny hips and huge waist, but your success has inspired me to try making jeans again.

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  30. What the heck! You have a terrific figure! Your jeans look amazing. Thanks for the detailed review. This pattern may have me sewing jeans in the near future.

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  31. Thank Heather. I hope fitting this pattern goes as smoothly for you. Can't wait to see some.

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  32. Awww thanks Gillian. Thought us big booty girls needed to know if our jeans dreams had finally come true. :)

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  33. Thanks Caroline. Was hoping the alterations might help others. Hooray!

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  34. Darn budgets. It is that time of year isn't it? Hope the days fly buy and then you and the ginger pattern can have a pants party.

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  35. Thank you Sue. Wish you good fitting luck with your next jeans project.

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  36. Thanks Janet :) I say do it, do it, sew some jeans.

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  37. Yay! I can't wait to try mine. I have a friend sourcing fabric for me now. I actually also think you could go a hair snugger. You have a really lovely figure. And, as someone whose butt runneth over, I liked seeing your very different alterations!

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  38. You look rocking!!! I'm so happy for you! I want to try these now they look so good on you but I have no idea of my butt size....

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  39. Thanks for the 30 Rock chuckle at the end of your post! Also these look great and thanks for all the sewing details for nosy people like me! I also have some of these same fitting issues- big booty, post baby tummy etc so its nice to see how to alter a jean pattern for the fit. I am so tempted to buy this pattern even though I have two other great pant patterns that really should be used first arggghhh- sewing dilemma!

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  40. Thank you Emily. Kisses! Many of the pattern testers didn't have overly large butts compared to their frame so you could always give it a shot. :)

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  41. Thank you so much Miss Celie. Sitting down a while did make this bag out a bit more than I though. Wish it was easier to get denim with really good recovery.


    Anyway, best of luck sewing your own pair and I hope that friend gets you some great denim. :)

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  42. Thank you Elizabeth. That 30 Rock episode had me in stitches with the increasingly different "body doubles" from the back.


    You could always try some of these alterations on the pants patterns you already have and see if that gets you the fit you're looking for. But then new patterns are so much more fun. :)

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  43. Great looking jeans!! I will have to enjoy seeing you wear them, as I fall firmly into the flat butt camp nowadays. Hehe!

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  44. As I was trying to muster the courage to tackle the Ginger jeans (the only thing I've ever sewn in denim is a pair of Turia dungarees) ... I found your post. You've got ninja skills!!! (and great figure!)

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  45. They look great! I think the back pocket placement looks good. =)

    Have you ever tried making a pattern from a well-fitting rtw pair of jeans? Just curious since it seems you've tried everything aside from drafting one totally from scratch.

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  46. Yay for a great pair of jeans - these look fabulous on you! While I've made a couple of Jalie jeans the perfect fit is still illusive! I'm gonna give this pattern a try - I still live in my RTW more at the mo.

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  47. Thanks Maris. I'd be happy to donate some butt if you ever need it. ;)

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  48. Thanks so much Sasha. I think the instructions for the Ginger jeans are really good. Don't worry, I think you can do it. :)

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  49. Thanks Brooke. I've never had a good fitting pair of RTW jeans because of my giant butt. The NYDJ ones are a lot better than what I've had to put up with in the past. Still they are too short in the rise and too tight in the legs.

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  50. Thank you Sandra. It is hard not to stay with RTW jeans since it's hard to find denim with the same amount of stretch recovery. Even so I'd highly recommend this pattern.

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  51. Yay! These really do look great on you.

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  52. Thanks Laura. :) It's nice to have a pants alternative on chilly days.

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  53. Tell me about it! I have officially sworn off skirts and dresses until March or April, when it warms up again. It isn't even cold here compared to your area!

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  54. Thank you Lauren. I hope you have a good time sewing some Ginger jeans.

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