Category Archives: Self-drafted

Self-drafted boat neck jersey dress


I just finished my first self-drafted jersey pattern. Here’s a picture of my dress.


I wanted a comfortable jersey dress that I could wear to work, and since I finished my patternmaking 2 class at Portland Sewing, all I want to do now is draft clothes.

I was looking for something like this.

I started with my basic torso sloper, and followed instructions on drafting a knit shirt from the book Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women’s Clothing. I first manipulated my darts into the side dart, removed ease at the sides, and drew my neckline. Then I eliminated my side dart by bringing my waist up by that amount.

Here’s a picture of my front and back draft.

I made my back neckline width 1/8 inch wider than my front neckline width to prevent gaping at the center front neckline. You can see on my back draft that my shoulder seam came out a little bit.

I cut a stretch lining fabric using the same front and back pattern pieces, and also cut out a facing. The lining covers the entire front and back, but not the sleeves.

I finished the lower edge of my facing with a serger, then basted it to the lining. I sewed the shoulder seams of both the lining and the fashion fabric, and then sewed my neck edge right sides together. I stitched the facing to the seam to hold it in place. Then I sewed my side seams, permanently attaching my lining to my outer by sewing all 4 fabrics at the same time.

You can see here that my lining is attached to my outer fabric.

I used my double needle for the first time. It was surprisingly easy to use, and made a nice finish that was also stretchy. They have great instructions here:

I’m not quite sure what the fabric is, because I bought it from the Annex section of Mill End, but it’s a woven not a knit, so it must have some spandex in it to give it stretch.


Self Drafted Jeans and Tips for Sewing Jeans


Since I’ve been doing so much reading and experimenting with jeans, I thought I would post my top tips for sewing jeans. Here’s a picture of my very first pair. I started them at the beginning of January, but I only just finished them now, mainly because I had to repair my flat felled seam on my inseam, which started totally coming apart, since I only used a 5/8 inch seam. These were made using a stretch denim. I’m not sure what the weight is since I bought it from the annex section at Mill End.


Here’s a picture of the pocket. To make the pattern for the top stitching, I folded a piece of paper in half, made a random curve on it, and cut that out.

Here’s the back of my jeans. For the back yoke, I wanted to completely eliminate my back dart by having the yoke encompass the whole dart. This made the back yoke length 4 inches. Bad idea. You can see how far down the yoke goes, and I’m not so into that look. So for my next pair of jeans, I made the back yoke 3 inches, and moved the rest of the dart into my side seam.

And here are my top tips for sewing jeans.

1. Make a muslin first, and after you make adjustments to your pattern, make another muslin, but this time, use your final fashion denim to make a pair of short shorts. That way, you can see how the stretch and weight of the denim affect the fit.

2. Buy high quality buttons and rivets. Do not buy those cheap ones from Joanns. High quality buttons and rivets are made out of metal and are easy to install with a hammer and metal plate. I used ones from

3. Use a 3/4 to 1 inch seam allowance for flat felled seams on denim. A 5/8 is insufficient. Tape paper to the outside of your pattern, and add that extra amount by using a ruler and pencil. 3/4 inch is good for a narrow looking seam, and 1 inch is good for a wider seam with 3 or 4 topstitching lines.

4. Practice sewing the front fly. By the time I got to my 4th fly on my purple jeans, then I finally felt like I knew what I was doing.

Okay, I was aiming for 10 tips, but that’s all I can think of for now. Have a great day!

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.