I apologize for the grainy photos----but at this point in the winter, I will take any weak ray of sunshine that I can get. Photographing indoors right now is much easier for most garments than outdoors while there are still mounds of snow everywhere, and ice patchily melting.
This is actually a garment that I sewed in November of last year to wear on our Thanksgiving trip to San Diego. When Mr Rat and I visit his parents, we are outdoors a lot, and sometimes help out cleaning up after the many animals on their property (Mr Rat's mother runs a successful petting zoo business and has miniature horses, ponies, miniature goats, ducks, chickens, and many beautiful rabbits scattered around their large yard). We also like to pick fruit and weed Mr Rat's cactus garden that he planted when we moved away from California and had to leave our potted cacti and succulents behind. While I do wear dresses and skirts while I'm in San Diego, sometimes it's useful to have my legs fully covered in denim, so I decided to attempt to make myself some jeans before we went last fall.
I was lucky enough to thrift a large piece of dark, heavy denim two or three years ago----almost five yards, I think, and 60 inches wide. It was very inexpensive, so I decided to go ahead without doing a muslin first and just try sewing up a pair of denim trousers using the 1970s Betsey Johnson pattern Butterick 3846, also found at the thrift store. I've made some pants from size 8 1970s patterns before (a while before I started this blog) and found that they fit----but just barely. They were too tight to be comfortable. My measurements are really closer to a full size larger for my lower body than my upper body, so I decided that making a size 10 might work And it did, even better than I thought it might. The crotch depth is rather low, but I think that goes with the 1940s-style of these wide-legged pants. I think the lower rise is necessary to make this style of high-waist pants comfortable to sit and walk in, since the denim has no stretch. The darts at the front and the back make the fit quite good, I think, and I like the high waist and wide waistband that make it easy to tuck in my shirts. I was careful to finish my seams with machine stitching on the inside to prevent fraying, I edge-stitched the waistband and the hem, and I used some heavy buttons that I bought at JoAnn fabric stores for the waistband closure and a metal jeans zipper for the front fly (my first time attempting one of those!). I did the buttonholes for the waistband by hand, which was a bit of a chore with such heavy fabric. But a thimble made it happen, and I put some fray-check on the inside, just to make sure it was as stable as possible. I didn't add the patch pockets this time, although I think I might the next time I need to make some pants. I did add some belt loops out of left-over scraps so I can wear a belt when I wish. The other thing I did to make the pants more sturdy was to sew the crotch and inner leg seams twice, to help them withstand the strain of movement. I left the hems rather long so I can wear my jeans with clogs, but when I'm wearing them with flats I just roll up the hems a little into a cuff, which has a rather 1940s look.
I was really impressed by how well our 1940s Singer 15-91 sewed through denim! On my old contemporary machine I would have been worried about straining the motor, but with our all-metal vintage Singer and a jeans needle, it was no problem at all.
I'm wearing my still-pretty-new jeans with a chambray shirt that I found on the clearance rack at a local thrift store for a dollar. It had a big tear near the original cuff, so I cut them off, sewed up a new hem on my machine, and rolled the sleeves up. I don't often do refashions, but occasionally I find something at the thrift store that I like well enough to take home and mend, like this shirt. I love the color and the faint floral pattern, and think it will make the perfect comfortable cleaning/work shirt.
I'm also wearing my old Lotta from Stockholm clogs and a thrifted sweater.
Mr and Mrs Rat
Mr and Mrs Rat like to sew.