Tuesday, July 29, 2014

True Blue

In my classroom, I used to say to my students regarding menswear, "Men don't wear junk." Where women will wear anything and everything--even poorly made cheap clothing--as a rule, men are less likely to buy a garment that has been badly cut. Women tend to go for the latest, greatest "look." Men, in my opinion, look for things they will wear until they fall apart--and even then....

In a man's wardrobe, a good fitting pair of jeans is THE most important element. And though I've already covered the subject for the girl dolls and though the process is the same, I decided to revisit the subject of jeans, but this time in a more "authentic" way. That means creating a miniature version of the original garment with all of the details in right down to the belt loops.

Faced with having to make it work, I also resolved some issues I had with my original post concerning the waistband. For women's clothes, the waistband is usually cut in one piece and added to the top of the skirt. But after looking at many pairs of men's jeans, I discovered the waistband is cut in four parts-two for the front, two for the back. This also allows for adjusting the fit should you need to after you've sewn everything together.

Drafting the jeans pattern is really not difficult. With Ken, you don't have the problem of dealing with darts. However, since I am revisiting the jeans pattern, I decided to do a great deal of hand holding which those of you with limited sewing skills should enjoy. Following immediately, I will also post a detailed description of the jeans jacket (using the men's slim sloper) because it is very much in focus for next summer's menswear trends.

 I begin with the trouser slopers. You decide how wide or slim you want them to be. Also how long they should be as well. The length of the pant is a "style" choice. In the photo above, the first doll wears a pant that stops just below the ankles. His friend's jeans "breaks over the shoe." For the latter look, you should cut the jeans longer. After making the first pair, I decided to make a longer pair for another doll. I added an additional 1/2 inch. The longer you make them, the more they will "crush" over the doll's shoe. One more thing I should point out..my choice of fabric. Though these jeans look as though they were made of denim, my fabric is really silk! If you recall earlier, I had made my girl dolls jeans from my dad's old jeans. It was extremely difficult to work because the fabric is thick (even when it's soft). You can use a chambray (normally used for men's shirts) which will give the illusion of light blue jeans. Or you can search in your fabric shop of a blue fabric with a twill weave. This silk had the necessary body but was thin enough to work well. This is really important when making itsy bitsy belt loops and pockets.
After you've determine the length of your pants, let's add the "fly front to the pants indicated by the red dotted line in the shape of a small rectangle extended from the CF. I drop this down this down 1-1/4 inch from the waist.. enough so that the doll can get in and out of the garment. Now, I indicate the guidelines for the waistband indicated by blue lines on the front and back. It's about 1/4 inch down. Next, on the back pant sloper, I draw in my back yoke. There is no exact measurement, but this line should slope from the side down to about the middle of the CB seam. Cut the waistband off the top of the initial pattern and add seam allowance to the bottom and on the side. Extend the top of your front waistband by 1-1/2 times. (see next illustration).

This garment will have real pockets that an articulated doll (Ken Fashionista, FR Homme, for example) can slide his hands in. The pattern above has had the waistline removed. The red dotted line (drawn on the remainder of the pattern) indicates where to draw the pocket. It is roughly half way between the side seam and CF line on the waist. And about 1-inch down on the side seam. The (side front)  is the backside of the pocket which includes the left hand corner extending beyond the pocket drawn indicated by my blue lines. Trace this off and add seam allowance to the side and the top.

Now we need to draw in the inner front pocket. That is represented by the area marked by red curved line and the blue (pocket) line. Trace this off, adding seam allowance to the top and the side of this piece. Now let's finish the back pattern.
I've removed the yoke, adding seam allowance to all sides. As in the front, I extend the top of the waistband by 1-1/2 times the length. Add seam allowance to the sides and bottom.
There are quite a number of little pattern pieces of varying shapes and sizes. It is very easy to mix them up or sew the wrong side to the wrong piece. (Yes, been there, done that..too many times!!!) Mark your patterns well on the fabric, indicated which side is up. And keep the pattern nearby to verify it is the correct piece.
 For the inner pocket, use a very thin fabric. I've used china silk. Stitch to the curve of the pocket on the front pant sloper. Clip the curve close to the edge. Then turn and press down. Topstitch the edge.
 With the fabric facing up, overlap the pant front on the side front so that everything lines up (upper left image). I've lined up the tissue pattern pieces in the next image so that you understand better what we are doing. We see the upper corner visible while the rest of the pocket is hidden. Pin then tack at the two points where these patterns overlap (bottom left). Turn the fabric over, fold back and stitch the inner lining to the side front as shown on the bottom right image.

Attach the bottom of the front waistband to the top of the pants front. The waistband is placed upside down (fabric right side to fabric right side). Press with the seams pointed upwards. Clip the bottom of the fly on the right pant front slightly.
 Press the fly (right up to the top of the waistband) inwards. Now fold the waistband over itself. Press and topstitch.
 Topstitch a "J" over the fly front. For the left pant front, I topstitch the edge to keep it from fraying.
Take the back pant piece. Pin then stitch the bottom of the yoke to the top of the pant leg. Press, seams pointed upward. Then topstitch on the yoke. Pin then stitch the bottom of the back waistband to the top of the pants+yoke piece. Fold the waistband over itself towards the back. Press (seams pointed upwards) and topstitch.
Stitch the front to the back at the side (left). Now is the time to turn up the hem and topstitch in place. Fold the pant (wrong side of fabric showing) and pin then stitch the inseam (center). Press the inseam open (right).
Turn one of the pant legs to the right side. The easiest way to do this is with a safety pin attached to the bottom of the pant leg. Slide the pin up the leg then continue to pull until the pant leg is right side out. Leave the safety pin in for the moment because you want to now, put one pant leg inside of the other, right side to right side of fabric. Pin the front to the back stopping just before you arrive at the fly front. Stitch. Press. Turn the pants to the right side out. I use a hook in eye as a closure. (It's more sturdy than Velcro)
 Belt loops!!!! This is when it gets tricky because you're dealing with itsy-bitsy stuff. I cut a length of fabric that is 3/8-inch wide by whatever length will yield at least 3 loops (5, if you're ambitious). Lengthwise, I fold in thirds towards the middle. I used glue to hold everything together then pressed it well. Then cut off as much as you will need for each loop. (Mine was about 3/8-inch). Each of the smaller lengths is folded in thirds with the raw edge underneath. I glued this to the pants. However, I tried to leave the loops open so that I can get a belt through. The studs were easy. You can use "mini-brads" (mini attaches parisiennes) (mini broches alemanes) or gun metal toned pearl stickers. I've also topstitched the back center seam and added another row of topstitching at the back. This is a design decision.
Oh no, we're not finished yet! You cannot imaged how many pockets I made before finally arriving at a formula I could post! But here it is.
This is a square folded as such. For the girl doll, you can use less complicated pockets. But on the boy jeans, those square pockets are hideous! So you really need to do a shaped pocket. I also tried to "embroider" a pattern, without much success. So in my attempts to bring authenticity to the garment, I emulated Levi's with a leather patch on one back pocket!

Now that he's got his designer jeans, Monsieur needs a jacket as well. We'll be right back with a detailed tutorial. Stay tuned!
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  1. Can't wait to try these! Thanks for sharing.

  2. wow they look good but to me they look hard do work with but i will try it thanks for sharing the patterns you make them so easy lol.

    1. Hi Kathy and welcome to my blog. The key here is patience! Take your time and have fun!!


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