Back to denim

Okay, so I’ve been greatly frustrated with the lack of interesting trouser patterns available (mind you I don’t know all the indie pattern companies so I may have missed some, but I doubt it). AND I’ve been feeling nostalgia for denim. I haven’t worn any for about four years, and my last pair of denim jeans have gotten too tight. Plus I stopped liking them several years back!

So I picked up a couple of pieces of denim at the last OSF (a fabric recycler) sale, and I decided to have another look at a Marcy Tilton pant pattern that I made a few years ago. I posted the unhappy results here, and my alterations here. You can see the results weren’t great. I’m going to avoid calling this the worst drafted pant pattern in history, because maybe someone made these and is happy with them. I’m really curious about this. If anyone reading this made the V8499, do tell! What I liked about the pattern was that it was “different” and had a cool pocket feature and knee darts.

So this time I decided to straighten these pants out (the pattern produces a sort of round pant — narrow in the waist, wide at the hip and narrow at the ankles) I wanted to make them more vertical. First I altered the waist.


I eliminated the dart, drastically reshaped the hip-waist curve, and also eliminated a curve in the seam between the front and front-side pieces (there’s a seam up the centre of the legs).

After making a toile out of bedsheets, I also widened the legs, straightening out both the inseam and the outside seams from the knee down.

I was being really meticulous with these, and it was kind of a pleasure. I wasn’t sure what the result would be. Before cutting into the denim I decided to go all the way and add a front fly. The pattern calls for a half-elastic waist, which is another problem. The front has a facing, and the back a casing for the elastic. That means all the bunching up occurs at the back. I decided to have a casing all around to distribute the elastic around the entire waist. And just because you’ve got an elastic waist doesn’t mean you can’t have an opening. I like front flies. And I like to wear a belt.


Those are the knee darts, seen from above. I chose to topstitch in grey, which doesn’t stand out much, but I didn’t like the usual alternatives — blue jean gold, red, navy, black, white or blue.

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It’s really easy to add a front fly. All you need to do is make a buttonhole tab, which then slides into the casing, along with the elastic. Sew a little seam, and it’s done. On the left side, I simply stitched on top of the fly top stitching. On the other side, the line of stitching is hidden under the tab. Wish I had done this on previous pairs of elastic waisters.

So here’s the final result.


Erm, I love them, I think. With a long tunic top. They’re so shockingly different that I wonder what other people think. This ultra-baggy is what I see a lot of on pinterest. Seems to be a European style …

20 thoughts on “Back to denim”

  1. They look comfy. And I think the second look is the best. While the white top is awesome, with these trousers it’s like tent over tent – and personally I don’t think that’s a good look. If one half of an outfit is wide and flowy, I feel the other half needs to be more formal fitting. But that’s my personal view!

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    1. Thanks naught. I learned that rule too, and do generally like it. But pinterest is showing “tent over tent” looks now and my eye is adjusting to it and liking it. The pants are super comfy 🙂

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      1. Are they? Haven’t caught that, but then I haven’t been pinteresting much lately. It’s not so much a learned rule as what makes me comfortable. Tent over tent makes me feel like a wandering circus tent, and I really don’t like it. I struggle enough with my size as is, no need to make me larger… And of course know view everything through that lens. 😃

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    2. For me it’s the proportions of shirt & trouser that just don’t seem right… feels like a dark shoe might extend the trews visually and then the 2 would work… maybe? But the trousers do look supremely comfy and I’m amazed at all your work in getting them the way you want! (Pardon my butting in here!) del

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      1. I haven’t taken the pants off in three days 🙂 They’re totally growing on me. I definitely love ’em and have been looking again at pinterest to see how others wear the super-baggy trouser. I see everything from tight tanks to boxy tops to long drapey tops to maxi cover-ups. So there y’are 🙂 Never in my (long, long) life have baggy over-sized trousers ever been in fashion. Who’d have thought they ever would be ? LOL.

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  2. I have that pants pattern before and I took out quite a bit of volume and they still seemed very big. I remember having trouble with the waist, I don’t know if it was user error. I probably would have worn them but the black linen I made them out of was too scratchy. Check out Emma One Sock online fabric store, they have an amazing inspirational article by designer Kathryn Brenne. She describes in detail a pair of red jeans she made.


    1. Thanks for the referral to Emma One Sock Janet; I went over and had a look and it’s a great reference site. I read the red jeans article and also the leggings one. There’s a lot more to read for great make-it-better tips. And she’s a Canadian! When I reduced some of the bulk of my first peach coloured pair of these pants, I then could barely pull them up over my hips. I think anyone with a smaller waist wouldn’t be able to.


  3. Ooooh! They look great! Remind me of a pair of khakis that I loved until they litearly fell apart. I remember saving them for a while thinking I would use them as a pattern, but did I? Anyways, congrats to alteing the pattern, these last ones look better than the first, I agree.


    1. Thank you goddess. When I saw you “liked” all three posts, I was saying to myself, ‘oh for goddess’ sake, which do you like best??’ So you’ve answered that question, and I’m glad we agree. These really really are comfortable so they’re going to get a lot of wear. I hope I love them like you loved your khakis.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Uh oh. Yesterday I cut this very pattern out of some navy linen hoping for a wearable pair of hot weather pants. I think I’ll hold off on the top stitching as long as possible to see if I need to make some tweaks to the fit…..

    Thanks for a timely post!



      1. Status report: based on your story I went down a size from my usual and am pretty pleased with the fit so far, although as you say its hard to check until you are almost done. I seem to have shortened some leg pieces but not others so I have an interesting jagged end to each leg to be fixed and the waist treatment to figure out. So far so good……


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