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Jeans Finally!

I have been trying to make myself a comfortable pair of jeans for literally years. Full disclosure, making well fitting pants are hard. For a plus size person there are added hurdles. I started with the Sure Fit Design method. I learned so much from this system. I made custom blouses, gorgeous dresses, and a few pants with some success but only after I accepted an elastic waistband. The front was achievable, but the back of pants were always off with various wrinkles. With every alteration I seem to move the wrinkles but not eliminate them.

I tried some other plus patterns. Having some success with other Megan Nielsen patterns, I tried the Curvy Dawn. I could not even get the toile up my legs. After opening the legs up, the back was a mess, discouraged I gave up. After a long while I discovered Muna and Broad patterns. These patterns are all about the plus size body. I made their Waikerie Shirt and fell in love. Cute lines, and the short sleeves were stylish and just enough coverage  to hide my upper biceps, and still short enough to be cool in the heat of summer. I am not a fan of wide leg pants. Being rather short, they just never felt quite right for me personally, so I have not tried Muna and Broad’s other pant patterns. But when they recently released the Noice Jeans pattern, I had to make it.

I am 5’4″ tall with 48″ waist and 59″ hips. I made a toile out of heavy satin cotton, typically used as drapery lining. It had similar enough thickness and drape I thought it would be good practice for construction methods as well as a test for identifying necessary fitting alterations. I used size G for waist, and graded to H for hips. This required some minor alterations to the pocket pieces at the sides, to match my grading. I stumbled a bit making my toile from the written instructions, but I got there. Then I discovered that Muna and Broad provides a Resources button on the Noice Jeans pattern page which is a list of videos demonstrating the construction process. Suddenly, I was cruising along. The videos demo proper grading with heavy fabrics, zipper installation, and a Hong Kong finish on the waistband which I love. My toile is completely wearable but even with the generous seam allowances which allow for alterations, my bottom crotch area was, as they say, a bit hungry. Easily fixed by adding to the back crotch curve and moving the back crotch point out a bit. Other than that, they were a complete hit.

Now, another full disclosure, the Noice Jeans are HIGH waisted. I mean high waisted. I wore my  toile and although I can see outfits that I would welcome the highness of waist, I decided to lower the front waist to match my forward tilting natural waistline. I removed 3 inches from the top of my front piece. That meant using a 6″ zipper instead of 9″. I had to redraw all pocket pieces, zipper pieces, and the front waistband. It was tricky work, but doable if you take your time.  I also made the necessary minor alterations to back crotch. I then made my first real pair of denim jeans for myself. It was a heavy non-stretch denim. The second round of construction went smoothly except for the buttonhole. The thickness of denim proved problematic for my automatic buttonhole foot even with a compression plate. I ended up making a fairly decent keyhole traditional buttonhole using the manual buttonhole procedure on my machine. But while cutting open the buttonhole, I sliced through the threads. Disaster! Quick video from internet on how to make hand buttonholes, and I was saved. I like the handmade buttonhole even better.

These jeans are comfortable when sitting and standing. I can comfortably bend over and touch the ground. There is some small gaping when I sit, but it is minor, and easily fixed with a belt. I may reduce back waist band a very small amount in the next make. And there will be more makes. In lovely high quality denim that I have been collecting and saving for the day when I had a denim jeans pattern that worked for my unique body shape.

I do not work for any pattern companies. I am simply putting this  information out there, to aid others who might be attempting to make their own custom plus size denim jeans. The secret to my success with Muna and Broad Noice jeans is due to the choice of two fits. One fit is a traditional curve from waist to hip, and the other fit is for folks who have a more boxy drop, as if there is a small shelf  on top of the hips. The resulting back yoke shape is much more dramatic and curvy than I had encountered on any other patterns. Once that area was properly fitted the lower back crotch curve can be adjusted with normal methods. This probably won’t work for everyone, but it was a game changer for me.

Some added details… I used a 90 jeans needle for both topstitching and regular sewing thread. I did a lot of practice on scraps of similar thicknesses before stitching. The topstitching thread I used was 30wt topstitching thread from Superior Threads. The topstitching was standard stitch with tension adjusted for thicker jeans fabric on 3.5 stitch length. My hardware came from KAMsnaps. The belt loops were a zigzag .75 length with 2.2 stitch width. I hammered down the bulk before all attempts to sew. This was on a Bernina 710. I also have a gravity fed steam iron. Hope that helps! Happy Sewing!

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