Monday, 5 March 2018

First Cashmerette Ames jeans

The good news is I finished my Ames jeans. The bad news? Siberian temperatures prevented me from modelling them without a coat. Minus 10 ℃ and strong winds, brrr! Well, these jeans go with a lot of other things I've made recently so once The Beast from the East has left the country the Ames will show up as support act in the next few blog posts.

The pattern:

The Ames jeans are a mix-and-match sewing pattern with interchangeable pelvis fits (apple or pear) and leg fits (skinny or straight).  

I'm neither apple nor pear shaped. I'm more of a figure 8, a full hourglass with a high hip curve. 

According to the Cashmerette site:
Apples typically find waistbands too tight, have a flatter bottom, smaller hips, and a larger waist.
Pears typically find waistbands gape at the back, have a larger bottom, larger hips, and a smaller waist. If you’re not sure, I’d suggest starting with the apple pelvis, because that’s most similar to existing Cashmerette drafting (which is for apple/hourglass figures).

I reluctantly declared myself an apple, based on the larger waist part. I liked the look of the skinny legs better than the straight cut so no doubts in the leg department.

I bought 2.5 m of black stretch jeans, with a weight of 10 oz / 280 gram.

I traced the pattern and measured the pattern pieces against a more or less well fitting pair of jeans. Most obvious was the difference in length, which came as a surprise. Cashmerette patterns are drafted for a height of 5'6", I'm 5'7" (173 cm). I always need to add one inch to the bodice of Cashmerette patterns so I figured that if the height difference was in the torso, the legs should be okay.
However, the inseam of the Ames measures 76 cm, while I am wearing 82 cm. 
I've seen a few reviews mentioning the pattern runs short and I agree.

I lengthened the legs with 2''/5 cm above the knee by using the lengthening/shortening line and added an extra inch to the hem for extra insurance. Note: in the pictures you see a temporary hem. I always wash my jeans several times before deciding on the final length. 

Although the pattern description mentions the Ames jeans have a high rise, the pattern envelope clearly shows the apple version does not hit the true waist. For me, as an 8-shape it is essential that it does. When your high hip measurements are almost identical to your full hip measurements it is a good idea to anchor your jeans at the dents of your true waist so they will stay up.
I lengthened the rise by adding 1" at the pelvis lengthening/shortening line.
Of course this meant I also needed to lengthen the pocket facing, pocket lining and zipper shield with the same amount.

I added a little extra width to the high hip and shaved a bit from the low hip and felt that after these various flat pattern adjustments I was good to go. Sewing jeans is so much more fun than fitting them!

The pattern has a pocket stay for smooth shaping. I wanted my jeans to be quite neutral on the outside, black on black topstitching, no rivets. All the more reason to go wild on the inside!

So far, so good. I liked the look of the front and back pockets and the fly front but would they actually fit? At first glance I was pretty happy. The back rise needed a bit of extra length but for a test run it looked allright. That was, until I saw the pictures... 

Wrinkles at the back legs. Ouch!

Apparently I have the same drag lines in my expensive RTW jeans.
I need to go down the rabbit hole to see what these wrinkles tell me. Do I really want to know whether I have a low derriere? Yes I do if it helps me to get the fit right!
I'm not new to jeans sewing but I'm clearly dealing with challenges that didn't exist earlier on in my sewing career!

During the 'All you can watch' Craftsy weekend I watched the Melissa Watson / Pati Palmer class on fitting pants and I checked my fitting books. So far I'm thinking I need to scoop out the back crotch, let the front inseam out by 1/2" and take the back inseam in by 1/2 to 3/4". 
In the class Pati Palmer made the remark that in order to really get the feeling for pant fitting you should make five pair of pants in a row. I like that thought.

I also want to remove some of the bagginess at knee height. 

Now, is this pattern the Holy Grail for curvy jeans sewing? No it isn't, but then I didn't expect it to be. When it comes to fitting pants so many measurements have to be taken into consideration and I don't believe any pattern will miraculously be drafted with exactly the right crotch length, depth and width, hip curve and leg length to fit anyone straight from the envelope. This pattern is a good starting point and with the adjustments I've made so far I think I'm ready to take Pati Palmer's approach and make four more to slowly fine tune the fit.

If you have any thoughts on solving the wrinkle issues, please share!

To be continued......