Giulia left a couple of interesting questions on my last Ginger Jeans post which I thought was worth exploring further:
“I try to sew everything nowadays, two things though are not making it : underwear and jeans. So I ask, if I may, apart the interest of experimenting, is the fit worth it? I mean, more than a pair of very good quality jeans (bought at high discount :D)? And what pushed you to use a pattern rather than self drafting?”
RTW vs make your own
For me, the problem with RTW is not just an issue of fit. It’s also a problem of fashion (when you actually want a classic). And hating the whole process of shopping (except when it comes fabrics & sewing gadgets of course!)
Jeans count as classics for me. I only shop when old ones wear out and I basically want an exact replacement. But I have not managed to find a fit that I like among the brands that position themselves as classics (and always available). The ones I do like tend to be from fast fashion high street brands, which means that by the time I need them replaced, the fashion has long since changed.
Hence the need to make my own. True, trends in fabrics and notions may affect my ability to reproduce the exact same pair a decade later. But at least I have more control over the other elements of design. And if I manage to grasp the fitting principles, I won’t have to worry about the style I like not being available in my size.
I’m sure among the high end jeans there may be some new fangle technology that I can’t reproduce at home. But at least it doesn’t seem as daunting as the engineering required to make a good supportive bra. The latter I aspire to, but may never get around to making.
Commercial pattern vs self drafting
This really depends on how easy it is to draft my own and whether there are commercial patterns that are already pretty close to my blocks.
For skinny jeans, because of the lack of usual waist darts, the stretch nature of the fabric, and the number of pieces involved, it would take a lot more effort to draft from my Block. Plus you then need to work out the construction procedure.
I gave Ginger Jeans a go because Heather of Closet Case had already done so much of the homework and thankfully her pattern isn’t too far off from my 0-ease Pants Block. (I also have Baste + Gather’s Birkin Flares jeans pattern, but haven’t gotten around to trying that out yet.) It’s also nice to be able to support independent pattern companies who put in the effort and do so much of their own research. Not all are to my taste, so when I come across one that suits my style and saves me time & hassle, I make an effort to support them with a purchase.
But if the style is simple enough to replicate from my Blocks, or if it takes too much effort to alter to fit, then I won’t bother with commercial patterns. I may still buy the pattern for the instruction and/or pattern shapes, but I’ll use my Blocks & replicate the style lines. In fact, I’m doing that right now with a sailor trousers from a Burdastyle magazine. I did trace out the pattern, but gave up alteration when it looked too complicated to get it close to my Slim Trousers Block.