Custom Jeans: part one
Jeans. The perfect jeans are everyone's dream, right? I wear jeans more or less every day now that I work at home and having just two pairs is pushing even my limits for clean laundry. It's time. I am making my own jeans patterns. My plan is to draft a pair of skinny jeans, and a straight-legged boyfriend fit pair. Basically I will be improving on the two pairs of jeans that I currently own and like.
Two years ago I thought I'd found the Holy Grail of skinny jeans. A very old/trusted/popular American jeans company started making a bicycle commuting jeans line for women. (For women!) The jeans have reinforced inseams, the exact right amount of stretch, amazing fabric recovery (they don't stretch out and stay stretched), a higher rise in the back to cover your assets (no whale tail!), and they are drafted for ladies with muscles. Holy. Grail. Holy freaking Grail.
Fast forward to last summer when I tried to snag myself a second pair...gone. This very old/trusted/popular American jeans company no longer makes their bicycle commuter line for women. It's just for men now. Because only men ride bicycles? Only men need pants drafted for bodies with muscles? Probably it just wasn't profitable, but damn, I would have purchased every last pair they had. Luckily, I have the skills to circumvent this problem.
For my very own custom I-have-muscles-and-ride-bikes-and-play-soccer-and-like-well-fitting-pants skinny jeans, I started with my knit pant sloper. The knit pant sloper is meant as a block for yoga pants and other leggings, so paired with the right denim, and adjusted properly for stretch it should be a good jumping off point for skinny jeans.
After a first fitting with a less expensive denim (33% stretch), I made adjustments to the sloper to adjust the center back waist, the back inseam, outseams, rise, back calf width (muscles!), and length. You can see the changes to the back pant sloper in the pic above.
Once the sloper fit like a glove, I added 1/4" to the sloper width to adjust the basic block to a stable 18% stretch from the stretchy 33% stretch that I used for the fit. From there, I drafted my skinny jeans off the Stable 18% stretch lines, added seam allowances and it's ready to be stitched up. With most garments, you would stitch a muslin, but every denim is so particular in weight, stretch, recovery, that we are sewing a prototype that will hopefully be good enough to wear, or need few enough adjustments that they can be altered in the making to get a perfect fit. Next up: construction!