Denim Persephone Pants (I made jeans!!)

Several years ago, I wrote on this blog how much I hated jeans… the fabric, the fit, basically everything that makes jeans jeans. So it may come as a shock that not only have I made myself a pair of jeans, but I absolutely love them!

To be honest, they’re not ‘true’ jeans; they don’t have any rivets or hardware except for the zip fly, they don’t have pockets and I didn’t do any contrast topstitching… I like to think of them as a more minimalist version of jeans.

Because I left off the pockets, they don’t have the bulk of normal jeans, caused by layers and layers of fabric sat on top of each other. This is also helped by the fact that they have no side seam (!!), which is such an interesting and unique design feature! When I wear them I feel like I can still move around relatively unrestricted, something I never expected to find with rigid-waisted trousers.

I have pretty much exclusively worn elastic or tie-waisted trousers since I learned to sew. I’m not a fan of fabric pressing against my lower stomach; for me, it can trigger some unwelcome, disordered-eating type thoughts that I’d rather avoid. But I’d been in a good place body-image-wise lately, so I decided to experiment.

I chose the Persephone Pants pattern because it’s essentially a more fitted version of my Safiya trousers, a silhouette I already know I love. I used a 10oz denim from Stoff and Stil, which was much more lightweight than I was expecting. The jeans bagged out a lot after only one day of wear (and yes, I did interface my waistband!), especially at the knees, bum and waist. They’re now a lot looser than I would like, so next time I’ll go up to 12oz denim and possibly make the next size down.

I made a toile, and sewed the full zip fly to practice the technique, which was new to me. It was surprisingly easy, although most of the time I had no idea what I was doing and just blindly followed the instructions! This wasn’t a problem though, because the instructions are fabulous; well-written, with nice clear diagrams. I should say that I used the zip fly expansion pack (the original pattern has a button fly), so I can’t comment on the button fly instructions.

I originally cut a size 2, which exactly matched my waist and hip measurements on the size chart, but I still ended up making some adjustments.

If you’re making a toile for a pair of fitted trousers, I highly recommend wearing them around the house for a while before making any fit decisions. This will give you a more accurate idea of how comfortable they are than just wearing them for a few minutes in front of the mirror will. Honestly, I had prepared myself for the worst and was expecting the fit to be a nightmare, but they were actually comfortable straight out of the packet!!! That being said, here are the changes I made:

  • I took in the waistband by several centimetres. My waist measurement changes a lot throughout the day, and when it was at its smallest the jeans were falling down. I figured they would eventually become looser with wear, so it was better to get a close fit from the start.
  • I then adjusted the darts to fit the new waistband. I increased the dart uptake, and also lengthened them slightly, so it wasn’t such a dramatic angle (which can create weird pointy darts).

That’s it! I’m so impressed with the drafting on this pattern, particularly the crotch curve, which was the part I was most worried about.

I know there are probably fit issues that frequent trouser-sewists will be able to spot from the photos, but I honestly couldn’t care less! I’m just overjoyed that I’ve made a pair of comfy, wearable jeans without an elastic waist!

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