Update: Progress on the Jeans Front

First of all, can I thank all of you for your excellent advice regarding my Big 4 pattern question. I have taken it all on board and have researched my favourite patterns on Pattern review, so now I come primed with a list of interesting patterns to order while my husband is the States. You are the best!

“Progress, not perfection” is our mantra over at The Monthly Stitch where February is the months to tackle pants. This gave me the chance to work on version 2 of my jeans (version 1 is here). I tried to tweak the fit, with mixed results.
Anyway, today I am wearing version 2 for the first time:


IMG_6837I made these from a very light grey denim, too light for the still cold weather, but I can feel spring around the corner so I’m happy to put up with a few shivers.


Even my husband was worried about the gratuitous display of VPL – and he does not even know what VPL is! Sorry about that, styling is not my strong side, I know…

Now for the science bit: construction v. finished result:

IMG_6828IMG_6843I was able to remove a little of the extra fabric at the crotch by deepening the crotch curve slightly, but this was far as I was able to get.


I took a lot of width out of the leg, both on the inseam and on the outside seam. In fact, all the extra room I had added to the inseam in order to accommodate my full thighs was taken out again, and maybe even a bit more. I did keep a little extra at the top of the thigh in the outside seam (around where the V of the pockets ends). There is still a little something strange going on across the seat, but I have a feeling this will stretch itself out with wear, it already seems a bit better than when I made these photos this morning.IMG_6842


Not much as changed here, only the leg is slimmer.

Many of you commented that you thought version 1 fit just fine and did not need changing.


Looking at the comparison pictures I have to agree – version 1 actually looks better than version 2 with the fit changes, but I think that is mainly because version 1 is so very, VERY tight that no wrinkles have a chance of appearing. Also I realise with a degree of shock how much more forgiving the thicker, darker corduroy of version 1 is in comparison to the very light denim of version 2. I guess that’s why people wear black… Unfortunately (for your eyes at least 😉 ) I can’t be bothered with my looks beyond a certain degree, so that’s why you are getting the “warts and all” VPL pictures.

So for the summary:

  • fit wise I don’t really know what I am doing. Most of the changes I undid again when making up the final version, especially as far as the width is concerned.
  • One adjustment that is probably not even visible but that feels an unqualified success is adding a 2,5cm wedge to the seat. It makes the waistband come up a bit higher in the back without having to make the trousers high-waisted and it fits a lot more snuggly and feels MUCH better. In version 1 I often had the feeling I am loosing my trousers, just because the waistband sat on the seat rather than closer to the waist. So I will definitely be making this adjustment in the future.
  • I think I will continue to cut a size 42 and then take the seams in as required. In this case I could have cut a 40, given all the width I took out, but it makes for much more relaxes sewing to know I have some wiggle room.
  • I have now come to a stage where I feel confident about all parts of the construction and sewing trousers is a joy rather than a slightly scary thing. And that is something that pleases me most of all! So I am happy to end this post on a positive note!

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29 thoughts on “Update: Progress on the Jeans Front

  1. Emma Jayne February 20, 2014 at 11:37 am Reply

    I have to say version 1 does look better but it could be a combination of underwear and the properties of the two fabrics, rather than your fitting adjustments.

  2. SewingElle February 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm Reply

    Well done for sharing, warts ( actually VPL) and all. Trousers are still my scary thing.

  3. Ramona February 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm Reply

    I think you’ve done a wonderful job on these. Fitting is my nightmare as well, so it’s nice to read along to see what’s working (and what’s not!). By the way, what is “VPL”??

    • Chris February 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm Reply

      haha, I only learned this a few years ago: VPL = visible panty line. Until then I had always thought that it is normal that ones underpants show through ones overgarments in some way. But no, apparently you have to wear either a g-string or some magic underpants. I’m never sure I can bother with the kind of thing, to be honest…

  4. Tia Dia February 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm Reply

    What a journey jeans/trousers sewing and fitting is. I love your warts & all approach – what a breath of fresh air in this photo -perfect (blogging) world we live in. I think perhaps v.1 seems better because of the thicker darker fabric. I’ve always noticed that lighter colours in trousers show e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. be it good or bad. High 5 to you on this project, and here’s to more! 🙂

  5. Dede February 20, 2014 at 6:57 pm Reply

    To get rid of VPL – wear a thong! Trust me, it will make a big difference.

  6. Andrea February 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm Reply

    These look great! I am with you when it comes to vpl! No amount if vpl is worth wearing a thong in my opinion! I do find when making jeans that heavier fabric helps with the vpl issue. My favourite jeans pattern is Jalie and I have used this countless times. I haven’t made many Burda yet but I am hoping to change this.

  7. I made it!! February 21, 2014 at 4:35 am Reply

    Looks like you’ve learned a lot from this process! That’s great!

  8. Anonymous February 27, 2014 at 3:25 am Reply

    Wow you did it

  9. […] to a size 42 over the hip and upper thigh area. It came together without any incidence and after all my good jeans sewing practice of the last few months I did not even have to look at the instructions. I made the waistband using pre-cut interfacing, do […]

  10. […] to a size 42 over the hip and upper thigh area. It came together without any incidence and after all my good jeans sewing practice of the last few months I did not even have to look at the instructions. I made the waistband using pre-cut interfacing, do […]

  11. Annette March 12, 2014 at 5:15 am Reply

    One way to avoid vpl and not wear a thong is to wear underwear with flat/wide elastic legs.
    I think one of the issues you are dealing with is the inconsistency of stretch in stretch denim. Using the same pattern I have made jeans that fall off and another that had popped the back crotch seam. Part of that was that I forgot to change the machine back to a stretch stitch, but it caused me to put them away for a few months before fixing and having them be one of my favorites. Stretch denim is fickle.

  12. […] The jeans are a Burda pattern and  were  blogged about here, the top is the Deer&Doe Plantain (unblogged). […]

  13. Mia May 11, 2014 at 11:28 am Reply

    Hey Chris,

    great sewing!

    I prefer v2 of your jeans. It suits you very well and looks great for the upcoming summer I think. But there is a lot of VPL destroying the back. Therefor v2 seems to be less problematic because of the stronger and black fabric.

    Did you ever try to wear thongs? They will definitely solve the problem (and yes, it is a problem when even your husband notices your underwear ;)). So give it a start and share your experience in another blogpost? http://www.fehrtrade.com/article/676/free-lacey-thong-panty-pattern

    • Chris May 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm Reply

      Melissa, thanks for taking the time to post the link – I will go and try it, although I have been a life-long hater of thongs. But you are right – new experiences are never a bad idea and this one might be definitely easier on the eye 🙂

  14. Mia May 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Because you are feeling inconvenient with them? But your underpants will no longer catch everyones eye that quickly and the pattern seems to be a quite comfortable one. 🙂

    Happy sewing and keep us updated!

    • Chris May 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm Reply

      Well, there is a promise: your thong pattern is printing as we speak and I will sew one up asap. I don’t have any lacy bits around, so I will try a simple jersey version and in the spirit of research will keep the blog world updated.

  15. Mia May 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm Reply

    Just in order to guard against misunderstandings: I`ve just a name sounding similar to Melissa in some way, but I`m not the specific person. 🙂

    Thank you for your promise. If you like the pattern, lace still might be a challange for modified versions at a later date.

    • Chris May 11, 2014 at 11:44 pm Reply

      Sorry, Mia, I got myself all confused there. But my promise still holds and I might get a chance tomorrow to put my sewing where my bum is, as it were…

  16. Mia May 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm Reply

    What’s the news about the thong-sewing-project? Do you make progress beside correcting exams and struggling with other WIP-projects (counting five of them)? At least: take it easy. Actually it’s normal case to have some projects running (and resting ;)).

    • Chris May 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm Reply

      Hi Mia,
      it’s all in hand and almost finished. I shall report on the finished results and won’t spare you and the world the bum pictures 😉

  17. Mia May 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm Reply

    Hey Chris,

    don`t put us on the rack for such a long time :-).

    Enjoy your weekend, Mia

  18. […] I can’t tell you how hard I’m finding it not to write a post full of wildly inappropriate puns!! I’m practically sitting on my hands while biting my tongue as I type! Aaanyways, remember my musings re: vpl when I first started making jeans? […]

  19. Satellite 29 September 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm Reply

    Your VPL is beautiful, and so are you.

    • Chris September 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm Reply

      Thank you! 🙂

  20. Vin P. October 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm Reply

    Hi Chris, men DO know what VPL is, we spend all day looking at/for it but we shrug if it’s mentioned because we don’t want our spouses to know what pervs we are. Take it from me. I’ve chatted to male friends about this over the years.

  21. […] I have to confess to my faithful reader Mia that not much progress has been made on the thong sewing front, however I hope you’ll be pleased to find that nevertheless I take greater care selecting my underwear. Feast your eyes on the comparison pictures in this post… […]

  22. […] Thank you so much to all of you who’ve already said they will join Jeans in January – and a big welcome to those of you who are still thinking about it! A few of you are planning to make their first ever pair of jeans, some want to hone their craft. I kinda fall into both categories. I made a fair few pair of jeans, using three different patterns, but I only wear one regularly. The first pair of jeans I ever made was Burdastyle 4/2010 #120 . When I started making jeans I didn’t really understand about stretch percentages in fabrics yet – so some of the pairs I made form non-stretch or barely-stretch fabric were simply too tight (first try) […]

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