Jeans Making – Part 2

Welcome back and thanks for joining me as I chronicle my grand jeans making adventure.  I had lots to learn about the various denim weights in Part 1

In Part 2 I found out the big thing to learn was JEANS FIT.  I had no idea when I started this that I would need to make 3 muslins!

I have made many pants before.  I even made a pair of denim pants and called them jeans, but they are really just denim pants – no yoke, no rivets, a side zipper since I like that flat tummy look I get from a side zipper.  I have a TNT (tried-n-true) pants pattern that I use all the time, but I wanted these to fit and look more like “real” jeans which means they cup the rear more instead of hang off the butt curve.  Enter all sorts of new challenges! Here’s how facing those challenges went…….

Muslin #1

The Morgan Jeans pattern instructions include a suggested basting step to check for proper fit, which I decided to follow.  I basted everything together – back yoke, front pocket, legs and waistband – just enough to try them on.  And this “lovely” look is what I was greeted with.  UGH!

My first stop was the Closetcase blog article on 14 Common Fitting Adjustments for Jeans and Pants.  I made a guess at the source of my problems and tried making changes but didn’t see much improvement.  So, I sent a plea for help via text with a few pictures to my in-real-life (IRL) Plano ASG friend and local jeans-making expert, Debby Bowles, and was met with an invitation to come to her house for IRL help. 

She had me put the jeans on wrong side out to make the adjustments easier. We decided to try lengthening the front and back crotch, take in the leg width and shorten the seat but then add to the yoke. You can see the adjusted seam lines in these pictures. From left to right you see the back crotch, the leg width and the front crotch adjustments.

The picture on the left is what they looked like when I arrived at Debby’s and the picture on the right is what they looked like when I left. You can watch clips of her fit adjustment comments in the video. 

Debby’s tips on my jean’s fitting


Debby says you can easily convert your TNT pants pattern to a jeans pattern with 2 steps.

  1. Raise the back center crotch by 1/2″ and redraw the crotch line to meet the original line a few inches in.
  2. Redraft the back to split out the yoke. Then just close the back dart to create the angled yoke shape. And of course, don’t forget to add seam allowances to the split pieces.

After working on the changes I got from Debby, I still needed more help. My next stop was another Plano ASG friend since Debby was out of town. Enter Mary Jo Forbes!

I had tried to use my TNT pants pattern to identify fit issues with the Morgan pattern before cutting and had mostly felt clueless. Mary Jo helped me compare my TNT pattern crotch curve to the Morgan pattern, which was a lot different. Making that change and a few more got me closer to the fit I was looking for. Here are some progression photos.

Even though I still have the pant waist pinned in the 3rd picture, you can really see the difference between the left (corrected) leg and the right.

I finally felt ready to transfer all my changes to the pattern so I could try again.

Changes to the back pant pattern piece
1 – Plastic copy of TNT back pant pattern laid on top of Morgan back pant pattern showing difference in the crotch curve. It’s important to keep the grainlines on the 2 pattern pieces parallel when doing this.
2 – Dart out excess fabric in rear.
3 – Remove excess fabric in upper leg.
4 – Darting the rear changed the grainline above the dart so I shifted the space in the upper side seam to the upper back seam so put it back on grain.

Muslin #2

After making this many changes, I knew I had to make another muslin to test the fit. Here are some pictures of my next version.

There was a lot of improvement, but I still wasn’t quite there. There was still some “weirdness” in the back yoke and a new fold of fabric in the front. So it was back to Mary Jo for what I THOUGHT was going to be some minor final changes. However……..

Correcting the back yoke was pretty straightforward. The most unexpected change was in the back leg. The pulling in the front as well some remaining wrinkles in the back seemed to be coming from stress on my calves! Mary Jo pulled out her Sandra Betzina Fast Fit book for extra advice and suggested I shift the back leg seams. We took about 1/2″ off the back outer seam and transferred it to the back inseam. The fabric pooling seemed to be caused by a bit of twisting that was coming from this little bit of fabric being in the wrong place.

Muslin #3

Another muslin was cut and sewn, this time out of the same weight of denim I wanted to make my “real” pair out of, 10 oz. cotton, non-stretch denim. I was actually quite surprised to find it at the Hobby Lobby near my house! This is the fit I achieved. I’m not gonna lie, at this point

I was just about ready to throw in the towel.

But part of the joy of sewing (am I having fun yet???) is conquering challenges so I refused to use my TNT pants pattern and make another pair of denim pants!

Thankfully, another Plano ASG member, Cindy Vance, arrived at our first Sewcial Sew all-day sewing retreat. Cindy has experience working on jeans fit. She could see additional tweaks we needed to make. It was awesome having her as a resource all day.

Watch for Cindy on the PBS series, Fit to Stitch as a fit model!

1 – Add 5/8″ to 3/8″ to zero in upper hip.
2 – Take 1″ wedge out at center back, narrowing to zero at side seam.
3 – Add 1″ wedge just below the yoke, narrowing to zero at side seam. This seemed so counter-intuitive since I was taking out and putting back the same inch, but I needed that inch higher on my hip to smooth the rear out.
4 – Take out a 1″ wedge on both front and back side seams, just below the knee, coming to zero at the inseam.
Note: I did not reattach the waistband in these pictures.

At the end of the day, we both agreed that even if this might not be perfect, it was time to move forward. I still don’t like the wrinkles below the rear but found that without them I can’t sit down. So come what may, my next step will be to make this pair of jeans!

I hope you are enjoying my journey. It’s a journey I could never be making without my sewing community. Thanks for being here to cheer me on and hold me accountable. I’ll see you back next week with Part 3 – my grand finale!

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8 thoughts on “Jeans Making – Part 2”

  1. Thank you for journaling your fittings! The tips you posted should help me fix my skewed legs in my muslin. I’m really enjoying reading about your Jean’s making project.

    1. I am so glad you are enjoying reading about the perils of my jeans making adventure. 😉 I will be very interested to hear about how your muslin adjustment goes and if trying one of my attempts does the trick. Good luck!

  2. Following your journey sounds too, real for me!
    My question is does the seams at intersection of the crotch
    set exactly in center of your human tulip 😉 . Otherwise it will never fit!
    Check another pair of your favorite pants to compare.

    1. They finally fit pretty well by the time I got to the bitter end. I’m wearing them today as I fly to Atlanta and realizing I’d still like to curve in the waistband a little more since the denim stretches with wear. But generally pretty happy after that long road through fit. 🥰

  3. Hi, just a note and a few suggestions, #1 Watch Peggy Sagers video’s on fitting. She splits and adds (or darts) in the seat, upper leg and especially darts at the knee. (so much simpler)# 2 use muslin (cheap and stiff like denim for your muslin ) and you can see your markings easier then use it as your pattern. So you can save your fashion fabric for your real pants. Now to find Peggy . Go to u-tube type in Silhouette Patterns Peggy Sagers. Go to Media , there you will find a zillion to select from. Enjoy! She has A Spiffy in the first column on the left that fits 5 ladies. You and your friend will have lots of help there.

  4. I can certainly relate to all of this. I never knew I had a dropped, flat rear until I started making jeans. I’ve read every blog and seen every video out there. I’ve used parts of several patterns and done probably 5 muslins. I have decided it’s better to use the same type of denim for your muslin just a lighter color. Do one small alteration not several at one time. In the end I had a beautiful looking jean but it was too uncomfortable to sit in. I like all my pants rather fitted but have decided that I really should try to like less fitted slacks better for all my non-stretch fabrics. If I want very fitted jeans I will use only stretch denims from now on. Persistence is key!! They are worth it eventually and will still fit better than store bought ones. My experience also has got my husband looking at every woman’s fanny as he tries to understand. Ha! Ha!

    1. This is great to hear Suzan! It truly is a journey to fit a pair of jeans but one it sounds like you are as glad you made as I am. And you gave me a good chuckle with that last line. We need those chuckles right now! Thanks for that!

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