many, many, many moons ago i set out to re-create my favorite pair of RTW jeans: the elizabeth and james crosby. it’s a carpenter-style jean, with patch pockets, not a classic five-pocket variety. i loved the slim fit, the industrial details, the seaming and the leg zip.
happily, it was a fairly straight-forward trouser to copy. it has a very straight leg, and once i wrapped my mind around copying the back leg (a tad bit more involved than copying the front leg) i was totally in business.
none of this would have been possible without the work i’ve done with kenneth king, both in-person and using his jean-ius class on craftsy. the craftsy class is essentially a demonstration of his garment-copying method using a trouser (or a jean) as the base garment. (cindy has made a shirt for her husband using similar techniques by lynda maynard) instead of de-constructing a garment for pattern pieces, you trace out the grainlines and seamlines of each piece using thick embroidery thread, and transfer those markings to paper (or muslin) to make a pattern draft.
it’s easier than it sounds, i promise. clio has also done it with excellent results. she also shares my opinion that kenneth’s fly-front method should be a go-to. first try, every time – and this weekend i did three in a row on three more pairs of these babies.
i knew from the outset that i wanted my trial version of the draft – it really came out too well to call it a wearable muslin – to be in a stretch cammo. it has, perhaps, a bit too much stretch, and man, that cammo really does blend into my rock wall, no?
the crotch fit is perfect (key!!), and i used kenneth’s straight waistband technique. this involves utilizing the crossgrain of the fabric to give the waistband some shape without using a contour waistband or interfacing.
the back yoke, alas, stretched, probably because it is slightly curved. that bias, plus the stretch of the cammo, means that i will likely need to suck it up and add belt loops. (insert sadface)
i had a heck of an adventure with my topstitching. my little janome, which i keep as a backup machine, had all kinds of tension fun as i used the topstitching thread in the needle and regular thread in the bobbin. there was much re-stitching of seams as i worked out the issues, but in the end i got a beautiful, thick flat-felled seam that i think is a bit reminiscent of early day true religion jeans.
everything has a 1-inch seam allowance, which gave me plenty of room for a generous flat-fell and some insurance for any fitting issues. like i said, the fit is fairly bang-on and any future variations on that front will likely be dependent on the stretch content of the denim. i’m working on a series now with only 2% lycra and the fit is considerably tighter.