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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Two Pairs of Pants - from Grainline Maritime

I mentioned in my last post that I had made a pair of jeans from the Maritime shorts pattern. I made a second pair of pants between then and now, so I'll be sharing both of those with you today. I considered using a real pants pattern, but I really liked the fit of the Maritime shorts. I didn't want to mess around with a new pattern when I figured I could just lengthen one I know fits me in the waist and hips.

I altered the pattern for pants by simply laying the shorts leg pattern pieces on top of tracing paper and extending the sides down. I based the length and how wide I wanted the legs on a pair of pants that I own. But made it a little bigger for seam allowance, of course, and also so I had some room to play around with the fit. I cut out the new pattern from the denim, which was the same fabric as I used for the shorts last post. Like I said there, there is no stretch to this denim, and it is stiff/thick. It was easy to sew, not so easy to wear...

I wanted jeans topstitching, so that required a different construction method than the original pattern uses. However, because I had left some room to adjust the fit when making the pattern, I initially just basted the leg seams and pinned out the extra fabric. Then cut off the excess, removed the basting stitches, and properly constructed it. I referenced a random jeans sewalong to follow the construction. Because of the topstitching along the inner leg seams, you have to sew the inseam first, leaving the sides open. Then you topstitch the entire inner seam, and then sew the outer leg seams. The you topstitch through the bottom of the pockets on the side seams.

I like the look of real jeans, but it was a bit of a pain constantly switching between regular and topstitching thread! And I actually ran out of topstitching thread before I was done with the project. I had a single spool of the yellow jeans thread, and if I hadn't been so picky about my topstitching at the start of the project, I would have had enough. I ended up picking out the topstitching on the first pocket about 10 times because it wasn't just right. I was getting used to the thicker thread, so it kept turning out slightly wonky. Turns out the fabric store doesn't carry that color anymore, grrr! So I bought regular thread in a very close color, and just doubled up in the needle and bobbin, which worked surprisingly well. I ran out when I had the waistband and hems left to topstitch, but it's nearly impossible to tell they are done with different thread. So if you're in a bind... double thickness of regular thread works ok!

I wore these all day and they didn't really stretch out (which usually I would say is great for jeans, but I was hoping for a little give with these!). The fabric just wasn't right, so I don't know how much I'll be able to wear them. I can't sit on the ground with my legs crossed in these pants (which I don't do often, but actually had to do that day!) But I'm glad I made them because I learned a lot about pants, specifically jeans, construction.

For my second pair, I used a red denim with 3% spandex, which was a good amount of stretch for these pants to be comfortable. I can actually sit down and cross my legs without worrying I am going to pop some seams. I used the same pattern, but ended up taking the legs in from the hip down on this pair because this fabric was much less stiff. The difference fabric content can make! Also, unlike my first pair, these actually did stretch out during the day, which was unfortunate. I was hoping these would hold their shape better.

I'm not thrilled with the fit on these pants, but I have definitely worn them anyways. When I took the pants in, I only adjusted the side seams. But it seems like there is too much fabric at the upper thigh/crotch. There are horizontal folds there, which I want to just pinch out. There is also fabric pooling in the back of the legs and on the sides. I'm not quite sure what the solution for these fitting issues are, so I will have to investigate before my next pair.

The only thing I changed for this pair is that I made the pockets smaller. Because the pants are tight-fitting and the pockets are long, you could see the outline of the pockets mid-thigh. So I shortened them by about 3 inches. (Also, Brewers pockets!) 

The other thing about these pants is that there's no back yoke because there wasn't one in the shorts pattern. I probably experiment with adding one for future pants for a true pair of jeans. Not that you can ever see that part of my pants because my shirt always covers it, but I'd like to try it.

I used a jeans button for this pair, like the kind you have to hammer in. I misplaced it the first time, so I had to remove it and darn the hole. 

I think my button hole skills are improving! I took it slower for this one and it definitely looks better than some earlier ones I had done.


  1. I think you're doing a great job on these jeans and really learning a lot for the future. You should check out j stern designs blog. I'm pretty sure she had a post in the last few weeks on how to adjust for pooling on the back of the legs. She also had some other posts on Jean making recently.

  2. Both these pairs look great! I like the red ones the best.