Hello Sewists,

If you’ve been following my recent Jean Journey – Thank you SO MUCH! Here’s a little bonus to round it off…

When I made my first (successful/ favourite) jeans, I didn’t have a decent pattern for them. Now I have the Ottobre magazine pattern I’m ok, but back then I decided to redraft my chino pattern from the Japanese Sewing book Men’s Clothes For All Seasons. It’s been one of my go-to trouser patterns for while now and I’m happy with the fit and style of them. If you click on the ‘trouser’ link at the top of my blog the majority of them will be this pattern!

… But these alterations can be made to any chino pattern.

I don’t really have a big enough table to successfully draft patterns on, not big patterns anyway… and crawling around on the floor for hours while attempting to draft a pattern doesn’t inspire me to even start. I know it’s excuses really – where there’s a will there’s a way, and all that – and this exercise really whetted my appetite to give drafting my own patterns a go. I have the book Pattern Cutting For Menswear by Gareth Kershaw, I’ve had it a while, and am embarrassed to say I’ve barely flicked through it… until now… I’ve flicked through it!

There’s a lot of detail, all clearly explained on how to create your basic block pattern and instructions on how to transform it into all types of menswear styles. I’d like to think I ‘cut a corner’ rather than ‘cheated’ by skipping the block stage and using my existing pattern! I still feel pretty new to sewing and confidence in drafting is something I would like to achieve… but for now, I feel safe (and challenged enough for the meantime) with my patterns and tinkering about with them.

To make them look like jeans – I needed to add a yoke and pockets to the back and re draft the front pockets from slashed to curved. I had already made the back yoke alteration on a previous pair of shorts, and was encouraged to read that I’d pretty much got it right. So let’s start with that…

1. Re-drafting the back.

  • Trace the back pattern piece without seam allowance.
  • Put your ruler on the point of the back dart. pivot the ruler (about 2cm) down the centre back seam to create the angle for your yoke. I curved mine just a little bit so it could accommodate the dart and not be too deep.
  • Trace one side of the yoke up to the dart, pivot your paper to close the dart then trace the other side of the yoke.
  • Add seam allowance to your new yoke piece, cut it out and set it aside.
  • Mark a horizontal line a couple of centimetres down from the point of the old dart on the new back leg piece.
  • Using the old dart point as centre, draft your pocket. I used an existing patch pocket pattern as a template and re scaled it a bit to fit better.
  • Trace off your pocket, add seam allowance and cut it out.
  • Add seam allowance to your new back leg piece and cut that out too.

And that’s the back done! You should end up with these pattern pieces: back leg – back patch pocket – yoke.

The next stage is a bit trickier only really in as much as there are more pieces to create. There are full measurements in the book, I took the measurements from my old shop bought jeans because I liked the shape of the pocket on them. Remember, my chino pattern fits me already so I only have to re draft the style, not the fit.

2. Re-drafting the front.

  • Trace your existing front leg pattern piece, leaving off the seam allowance.
  • Tape or position the pocket piece in place so you can trace the waist line right up to the side seam.
  • Mark the shape of the pocket bag.
  • Make a mark from the side seam along the waistline for the width of the pocket opening.
  • Make a second mark down the side seam for the depth of your pocket opening.
  • Use a curved ruler to draw the shape of your new pocket opening.
  • Draw another line parallel and approx 3cm down from the pocket opening. This marks the bottom line of the pocket facing and inside facing.
  • Extend the top corner of the pocket opening upwards by 5mm and smooth it into the waistline. (This was an invaluable tip I got from the book and will give you a little ease so you can get your hands in. Remember it’s there when you’re pinning & sewing the pocket together.)
  • Mark and draw a coin pocket for the right side. Mine is 6cm x 7cm.
  • Trace the four pocket pieces; back facing, inside facing, coin pocket and pocket bag. remember the pocket bag is on the fold so you will need to flip your paper to trace the other side.
  • Add seam allowance and cut them out.
  • Add seam allowance to your new front leg piece and cut that out too.

Now you should have pattern pieces: front leg – pocket bag – pocket facing 1 & 2 – coin pocket.

… And you now have a jeans pattern – or at least something that passes as one!

Don’t forget the back pockets are you’re opportunity to really make them your own! Here’s a few of mine… (use the hashtag #jeanspocketdetail on instagram to share your pocket-art… don’t leave me hanging!)

If you want to catch up with the rest of my Jean Journey click the links:

And, hey, (… I can’t help myself…!) if you fancy a badge to celebrate your Sewist status click here!

Happy sewing!

Notes to self:

  • Make the time to do more drafting and pattern-play. It’s fun.
  • Stop stalling and make a start on that block pattern!
  • Sell more badges… the listing only lasts another month or two!