Pink jeans

Phew, this slow sewing business means long blog posts are also the order of the day! Here are my new pink pants which I self-drafted and poured a lot of love and detail into, so there’s plenty to write about…

The style of these trousers is based on a pair of very much loved ready-to-wear mom jeans from Monki. ‘Mom’ style refers to the somewhat 80s aesthetic combo of high waist, loose fit through the hips, tapering to a ankle-length slim calf – a shape I think works pretty well on my pear shape but is difficult to find a good fit in the shops. My Monki jeans were made out of a rigid denim and I was forced to admit that they’d become just a shade too tight to be really comfortable. I haven’t seen a single commercial sewing pattern for this style so made the decision to sacrifice my jeans by cutting them apart to draft my own pattern.

The rubbing-off process was pretty straightforward: I seam-ripped the waistband and crotch apart then carefully cut close to the main seamlines to open up the legs. Then I pressed everything flat and traced all the pieces onto dot and cross paper.

I slashed and spread a little to add in extra width where needed to make them actually fit again, trued up all the adjacent seams then finally added grainlines, notches and seam allowances. Some pieces like the pockets were easier to draft off the tracing rather than the original jeans. It was all pretty intuitive, though you could check out this Craftsy class if you wanted to learn how to do it properly!

Drafting bring all the curious cats to the yard…

Having made loads of pants I could retrofit the construction method easily using standard techniques. I did a lot of baste-and-try as I went to make sure my drafting was working out okay. Generally I did a pretty good job on the fit but annoyingly I made a mistake adding width into the back yoke as it turned out huge and gape-y in the small of my back. I did my best to fix it but it’s left a few irritating puckers along the yoke seam. Additionally when I use this pattern again I’ll take some height out of the centre back as it’s wrinkling a bit horizontally too. But eh, linen wrinkles anyway so it doesn’t show up too much.

I used a heavyweight blush pink linen from The Fabric Store, which they kindly sent to me. I think this is the first linen I’ve got from TFS, which is silly since along with merino knits I think it is what the store is most well-known for. They have many different weights and get beautiful trend-forward colours dyed just for them (the dreamy Caper shade has been a big hit in blogland, and I have my eye on it too…). In fact I have barely sewn with linen at all generally. I think I’ve always been put off by the wrinkles and that it’s always felt both a little rough yet delicate and loosely woven to me.

I’m glad to find that so far, my fears were unfounded. It was great to sew with, a little lighter weight than the usual denim I use so helped to assuage any bulky seams. My only concern is that it’s rather loosely woven and frayed quite a lot as I was working, so I really hope it holds up to plenty of wear. All the major seams are overlocked and faux-flat-felled, and I think the flax fibre is stronger than it seems so my worrying may be unfounded.

There are lots of details that I poured extra time into, which I had a lot of fun planning and sewing. Despite being made of non-denim I wanted them to definitely read jeans rather than chinos, so added all the usual detailing: double topstitching across the seams, fly topstitching, and nice metal hardware. I love the sturdy pink and brass zip and the fun jeans button and rivets, all from eBay.

I didn’t want the waistband to bag out over time so I stabilised the entire top edge inside with some twill tape, and also added some loosely-stretched elastic into the back waistband only. (Interestingly the waistband – as copied from my source jeans – is straight, which never usually works on me but this one is very narrow and sits very high on the waist, so it doesn’t gape.)

Something I’ve wanted to try for a while: I added a little underlap with a concealed button to the inside waistband. This helps keeps the waistband horizontally aligned and gives it a little extra stability. Super happy with how it turned out and it’s definitely my best-sewn fly front overall. (Yeah the buttonholes look messy: I put some paper behind the fabric as it’s a really difficult area to feed under the buttonhole foot otherwise, and I haven’t picked it all out yet.)

I think this is my favourite bit: I picked off the original back waistband label, machine-embroidered stars over it with my daisy foot and sewed it back on. I like the reconstructed nod to the source garment and it also helps give these that proper jeans-y look. I got the daisy foot for Christmas last year and it’s the first time I’ve used it, it’s great!

Pink jeans might not seem like a capsule wardrobe essential, but this colour is pretty much a neutral to me these days. In fact I thought I’d have to wait until spring to start wearing them but they pair really well with sweaters (RTW and Toaster above) and I don’t really feel the cold too much anyway so I can start wearing them right away!

These jeans feel amazing to wear, amongst the most comfortable and well-fitting I’ve made/worn, and they were an absolute joy to sew, from drafting to hammering in rivets. Overall they took about three weeks of leisurely sew-time which I think is a good benchmark to aim for in my slow sewing going forward. I can’t wait until spring really kicks in when I’m sure they’ll get worn to death with tees and sandals. I’m definitely going to use the pattern again to make a classic indigo pair next – I have some selvedge denim on the way already.

Have you self-drafted or rubbed off favourite clothing? I think it’s quite addictive!

56 thoughts on “Pink jeans

  1. AvatarJessica

    Those are just lovely, and the fit looks great. My entire closet seems to be black, navy and khaki right now–it’s so nice to think of dressing for spring!

  2. AvatarTyrion Miskell

    Nice! I’m always impressed with the commitment to see a pattern through from picking apart the old pair through to the detail on the leather patch. You inspire me to give it a go!

  3. AvatarCaroline J

    These look fab. Gorgeous colour and such a lovely fit.
    I have ripped up and un-picked a pair of my favourite jeans when they finally wore out but just not got around to sewing up a new pair – you have inspired me to give it a go!

  4. AvatarSusan

    These look terrific on you. I agree it is surprising that no one has done a pattern for Mom jeans. I have a top shop pair that are incredibly comfortable and surprisingly flattering — every time I wear them both my husband and my 16 year old grandson say I look great! I love Your pink linen — you’ve inspired me.

  5. AvatarEllen Miller

    Good Job! These jeans look great on you. Seeing the photos towards the end illustrates your statement that the pink jeans are a neutral/basic in your wardrobe. Great point.

  6. AvatarSara

    Wow these are fabulous! Look so professional! Getting inspired here :) I love to read about the sewing process also. Clothes from self drafted or copied patterns feel extra satisfactory when they turn out well. And it is nice to learn tricks from store bought patterns then use them on your own patterns!

  7. AvatarCynthia Gilbreth

    I did something similar a few years ago. I took the Craftsy Jean-ius class and copied an old really baggy pair of jeans. Since they were such a mess I got the grain lines all wrong but the crotch area fit. So finally I transferred my changes to a Closet Case Morgan jeans pattern and made them. I’m really happy, and I bet I can changed my muslin to a mom style, instead of the Morgan jeans boyfriend style. Yours are so gorgeous, and I’m sure you will love them. I love all the professional details you put into them, they look so much better than any you could by RTW. I will try to find some linen in the US, if not, will bite the shipping bullet and order from NZ. Thanks so much for the post, they are lovely, (as is your little helper).

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Great idea to convert changes onto an existing pattern, I almost dug out the Ginger pattern to compare these to which would probably save a lot of truing up. Thanks for the stabilizer tip too, I’ll look out for some.

  8. AvatarPsychicSewerKathleen

    WOW! I’m just in awe of your make from drafting to finish. It’s what I dream of – a perfect fitting pair of linen pants! I can’t imagine anything I would love more ;) I have linen pants on my sewing roster for this year for sure but I had a pattern in mind (Sandra Betzina’s but I can’t recall the number offhand. They’ve been long out of print and are now no longer even on the site) and a nice drapey linen in navy that I bought last year. I bought a pair of linen pants last year and they were VERY pricey but I love them. No one ever told me how wonderful linen is for pants (actually I’m discovering it’s pretty wonderful for everything!)

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thank you! Yes I think I am a linen convert too, I’ll definitely be adding more to my spring plans. I hear it just gets better with age too…

  9. Avatarpoppykettle

    Oh I luuurve these!!! (I also love all those yummy inside detail photos!!) Couldn’t agree more about pink jeans being a neutral staple – I have a RTW pair in almost the exact same colour (in denim) that I positively LIVE in. I would never have thought to try something like this in Linen, but it does work really well! I love all the little details you’ve incorporated into them, they were clearly a really in depth project, but the result speaks for itself – they look great! Winning :)

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thank you! I love seeing gratuitous guts shots too, haha. Really pleased I made myself go slowly on these!

  10. AvatarMargiemac

    I am in awe of your momentous effort to get these ‘Mom’ jeans to such a professional finish! I especially love the description of the ‘Mom'( for Aussie me, ‘Mum jeans ‘ as I have been struggling adapting a bought pattern for the same task! Bring on more Mum comfy clothes! Great blog!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thank you! It was a really fun project and they are very comfortable. (Yes in the UK it’d be ‘Mum’ too but the jeans style seems to go for the Americanised version, from what I have seen..)

  11. AvatarRebecca Young

    I am not a jeans wearer as I am not keen on the image of blue denim but I do like yours and am very tempted to give them a go!

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Thank you! Yes I like the idea of combining jeans-styling with non-denim fabrics. I often find regular denim jeans a bit boring :)

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Ahh, I heard of this a while ago, I can totally see it working! Great idea if you don’t want to sacrifice an original. Thanks for the reminder and link.

  12. AvatarLori

    Your self drafted linen jeans are wonderful. Love the process you took. Would love to make some mom jeans myself but have nothing to cut apart to go from. I have made other clothing from rubbing off though. A dress that I have copied literally a dozen times and shirts for my father, also sweat shirts and t shirts for my mom. I didn’t actually cut anything apart because the originals needed to be saved but I just pinned everything flat and traced the seam lines then added back on seam allowances to the pattern pieces I made from the tracings. I was so amazed when I did it with my dress but the button up western shirt I copied of my dad’s was the best ever. I made three of them. Its quite liberating to know that if you do have something RTW that you like and like the fit of that you can make your own pattern from it and reproduce if in whatever fabric you choose. I have traced a pair of my mom’s pants as well and you have inspired me to five them a whirl now! Well not now now but soon. LOL

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      Good work, a Western shirt sounds complicated. I agree it’s a great way to get things that are very likely to fit and be very much worn and loved, as they’re already tested!

  13. AvatarFiona

    Katie these are amazing!! So much work and thought has gone into them and they are dream trousers. I’m also a little bit obsessed with blush pink as a neutral at the moment and have some of this very same linen on the list for my next order!

  14. AvatarJoanne Waldron

    This post just reminded me that I have the Jean-ius! with Kenneth D. King class on Craftsy that I have done yet. You’ve inspired me to sacrifice a pair of my old jeans too. Brilliant!

  15. AvatarLia

    OoooOoo these self-drafted jeans are BEAUTIES. That shade of pink looks like the avocado-pit color some dyers get – fresh but earthy, and so good with the dark hardware. Really impressive and inspiring!

  16. AvatarChantal Lapointe

    Hi Katie, I would love to make myself a pair of Mom jeans. The only pattern I found from Knip mode is a disaster. Plus I can’t seem to find Mom jeans in stores (the trend has not migrated to our area yet!). Since we’re the same size (around size 40), could I purchase your paper pattern (or a copy of it)?

      1. AvatarChantal Lapointe

        Hi Katie, I’ve tried the M7754 and it’s just not a good match. The waist comes up way too high in the front and the proportions are not quite right for the Mom jeans look (way too baggy in the front crotch area). If you don’t mind, I’d really like a copy of your paper pattern. I’m willing to compensate you for this tremendous favour!

  17. AvatarKate

    I was thinking of these jeans the other day – how have they aged? Did the linen stay together or have the seams frayed a bit as you feared?

  18. AvatarSophie

    Katie these are GORGEOUS. I never really knew what the “mum jean” meant but your description makes total sense. And now I want some!

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