Self-Drafted High Waist Side Zipper Jeans


Here is a pair of purple jeans that I sewed for the Pattern Review jeans contest.

These non-stretch jeans have flat-felled seams, four pockets, and a zip fly with button closure. It has a slightly tapered leg with metal side zippers. I used a purple 10 oz denim, and they are 100% cotton, with no stretch in them.

I drafted these pants using the book called “Building Patterns the Architecture of Women’s Clothing” by Suzy Furrer.
I wanted a pair of straight leg, high waisted jeans. I drew up the basic trouser sloper in the book, and then drafted the jeans based on the instructions in the book. I lowered the waistline to be 1 inch below the navel, and I’m pretty happy with this waistline. I used a contoured waistband, which I think fits much better than a straight waistband, even though my book says that if the waist is less than 1” below the natural waist, that you can use a straight waistband. My first pair of test jeans has a straight waistband, and it did not fit properly at all.

I drafted front pockets, and a front fly. For the zipper, I used a 5” metal zipper. In my test pair, I used a 7” zipper, and it was way too long. Since it was metal, it was hard to cut, but I did it anyway, with my paper scissors. For the front pockets, I used this fun purple and green quilting cotton. I wanted the fun fabric to be visible to me, so my whole pocket facing is with the quilting fabric. I serged and topstitched my denim piece that faces the outside on to the quilting fabric.

For the back pocket, I used the Butterick 5682 pocket. I also used the Butterick 5682 sewing instructions to construct my self-drafted jeans.

I used flat-felled seams on my back yoke and center back. On my test pair, I used the standard 5/8 inch seam allowance, and could not get it to really stay closed. I did some reading on-line, and increased my seam allowance to ¾, and that extra 1/8 inch really made a huge difference.

I followed the instructions on Male Pattern Boldness for both the flat felled seams,
and for attaching the fly:

I added 5 inch zippers to the bottom of the legs, and I really like how they turned out.

For topstitching, I used Guterman top stitching thread in brown, and a size 100 needle. I tried using both a size 90 jeans needle and a top stitching needle, but the size 100 needle worked best. I had them from my quilting days.
The rivets and buttons I got from Junior at and my husband said that they were easy to put in. He just used a hammer, and a metal plate that was on some piece of woodworking equipment. I bought the sombrero rivets, and read that sometimes they get smashed in. Luckily the ones that I had went in just fine with no special equipment.
All in all, I’m really happy with my jeans. I wore them today at work, and they brightened up the dreary rainy day.


About Karen

Karen first took sewing classes in middle school, but took a break until her husband bought her a sewing machine a few years back. Her MIL taught her how to quilt, and recently, she started making clothes again. Karen is taking sewing classes at Portland Sewing. She took Beginning Sewing 1 2 and 3 in summer 2011, Patternmaking 1 and 2 in Fall 2011, and is currently taking Textiles.

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