Finally (YAY): (Almost) perfect 50s jeans, aka Butterick 5895

Woohoo!! I’ve finally got these done, not sure what took me so long (they’re the most straightforward sew EVER), apart from, again, the sewing like an idiot and having to unstitch a lot…  Also finishing most of the seams with bias tape took a while, to say the least…

They make me really happy :).  While there are MANY issues, such as:

  • Despite making a muslin, they have come out at least 1 size too big.. HOW??!!  I Made a Muslin!  Again, HOW???
  • I bought this denim many years ago, and having sewn it up I realise that it’s not the best quality, so they probably won’t last that long.
  • My topstitching leaves something to be desired.

However, the above points are totally negated by the following:

  • You know what miles of extra ease means, don’t you?  Yup, COMFORT!  I’ve got to be honest, I’m a comfort girl, first and foremost.  These are the most comfortable trousers I’ve ever worn, Possibly because I don’t have to keep hiking them up every 5 minutes, like I do with lower-rise trousers.  My hips are wider than my bum, you see, so anything designed to sit lower than my navel just keeps on sliding down.  It’s not a good look.
  • It’s a first go, it doesn’t matter if they don’t last for years, I have finally made myself a lower-half garment that I can wear day-in, day-out.  So far I’ve worn them for several school runs, a party and a day at work.  They were fine for all those things.
  • Most of the really obvious topstitching is ok.  Also, it’s not like anyone can inspect it that closely without looking like a pervert…
  • Surprisingly, I really love the high-waist trouser silhouette.  I mean, I knew I liked it on other people, but I was rather apprehensive it would be incredibly unflattering on me.  It’s not.  At all.  It makes me feel curvy, sure, but in a good way.  I like ‘curvy’.  What I don’t like is ‘weirdly lumpy around the middle’, which is what I look like in shop-bought trousers.

So all in all, I can proudly pronounce these a WIN!  I really don’t know what’s going on with the fitting, but at least it means I can sit down in comfort…

I made a couple of changes to the pattern instructions.  After further consideration (OK, my mum bossed me haha), I decided to change the zip from the original centred back zip to a lapped side zip.  This was definitely a good decision.  For one thing, I can never quite get a centred zip to look that great, and for another, I mean, honestly, who has a zip up the backside of their trousers?  Really, who?

The other change I made was to stitch all layers together at the bottom of the pocket (that lower curve of topstitching in the top photo).  In the instructions, you sew the pocket and pocket lining together, keeping them free from the outside front of the pants.  In the only useful point my muslin made (as it clearly failed dramatically in all other fitting issues), it was obvious that if I added a side zip without securing the base of the pocket, it would pull the seam all over the place.  I assumed stitching the pocket in would make it un-usable, but since they’re, ahem, so roomy, it doesn’t affect pocket function at all.  It really improves the stability of the trouser fronts, so I recommend it (although I guess only if you like that visible stitched curve on the outside).

Oh, and I flat-felled the crotch and inseams, again for durability, and because I wanted an excuse to topstitch them like jeans.

The other good thing is that they enable me to wear a jumper I knitted in April, and have never worn because it goes with nothing I own. Until now!  Its the crewneck sweater (design no 26) from Debbie Bliss’s S/S 2013 knitting magazine, knitted in Rowan Cashsoft 4-ply:

This is a jumper I could happily make again – it was a joy to knit (so easy! so soft! so stripey!), and sized up perfect, which is always a worry for me where knitting is concerned.  You can obviously see that even making a muslin can’t save me from rubbish fitting, so imagine what it’s like when I can’t even do that?!  I love knitting, but I always breathe a massive sigh of relief when something fits…

So there we are, despite being nothing like they’re meant to be, I’ve made something I LOVE!  Great when that happens, isn’t it?  Have you ever made anything you loved despite itself?  Have a great week!




  1. October 11, 2014 / 10:14 pm

    Well done and brave enough to make trousers! Don’t understand the ‘my mum bossed me’ though!!

    • October 12, 2014 / 8:04 am

      I was joking! You did say the side zip would be better, that’s all!

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