Tag Archives: itch to stitch pattern

Basic Jeans and Tee

I sewed another pair of stretch denim jeans.


It’s the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull on Jeans.  It’s the fourth time I’ve used this pattern.

My denim is from Cali Fabrics.  It is 10 ounce and described as midweight.  I like this denim, but it isn’t as stretchy as my magic denim shorts that fit me perfectly through weight fluctuations.  It was sold as 25% stretch, but I tested it as about 15-20%.  My magic denim (from the thrift store so it’s also mystery denim) has about 30-35% stretch and the comfort is amazing! I still like the weight, the color, and even the smell of this denim, but I would love to find a stretchier denim.  Previously, I had ordered stretch denim that I liked much less: one was shiny and didn’t look like denim, and another with color that came off on my hands just from touching it.  It’s hard to find the perfect denim, but this is close enough that I would buy it again.

I love the cute doggy fabric that I found at Dollar Tree for the pockets.

I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the waistband over my hips, so decided to skip the elastic.  I may redo the waistband and add elastic when I start wearing them again in the fall.  I was going to substitute ponte knit fabric for the waistband, but the denim does stretch enough to just get past my hips.  I will wear these a whole bunch because they meet my two musts in pants : stay up while walking, and complete comfort while sitting.

It turned out my Ginger Jeans are unwearable, because they wouldn’t stay up even after I added a button further in than the first one. I am always needing more bottoms than tops because I have often have pants that are either too big or too tight as my weight fluctuates 5-7 pounds.

flat lay of jeans and tee

I topstitched with the same gold thread, but omitted the rivets since I used them all up.

But…I made a mistake eliminating the back seam.  That seam really does help with lessening the typical bagginess I have in the back thigh.

I would have taken in the inseam more but I had already topstitched it.  I also think I have a too long crotch extension. I did a flat seat adjustment, but that wasn’t enough.

On the same afternoon I finished the pants, I quickly sewed up a tee shirt.  I used a 3X tee shirt I got at Dollar Tree as my fabric, and a free pattern.  I really like my dollar shirt.  I used the easy tee pattern from It’s Always Autumn blog.  The one size she offers, a size large, fits me well.  I’ve also used the free Kirsten Kimono Tee Shirt pattern from MariaDenmark for this type of tee shirt.  The shirt has cut-on sleeves without an armhole seam.  I raised the neckline, and I sewed a band for the sleeve cuffs the same as I did for the neckband.

Next up:  I’m excited to get started on my summer sewing.  I plan on making 2 to 3 pairs of shorts, 2 tops, and maybe a dress or skirt.


Denim Shorts and a Refashion For Two

I have been holding on to about a yard and a half of stretch denim I bought at my now closed neighborhood thrift store for several years.

It wasn’t quite enough for a long pants version of the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull-on Jeans, so I decided to use the same pattern for a shorts version.  I already sewed this pattern two times previously this year: these green pants and these gray pants.

I bought topstitching thread and jeans rivets for this make. I’ve read about some machines not being able to handle the thickness of topstitching thread so i practiced on a scrap.  This thread’s thick!

comparison of all purpose thread and topstitching thread

No problems and looking good!

I also practiced installing a rivet.  They are installed by making a hole in the fabric with an awl, and then hammering them in.  The difficult part for me was cutting down the posts, as I didn’t have a tool strong enough.

If the post is too long it will crack through the rivet.

one rivet installed, discarded cracked rivet on the right

I had to improvise to find a hard surface for hammering them in.  I used the back of a cast iron skillet.  Next time I will follow advice to use a block of wood.

I chose to eliminate the back leg seam of the original pattern.  The previous time I made the pattern I traced a new pattern piece after sewing the two back pieces together.

I love these shorts!  The fit is perfect. The waistband stays put with no slippage yet they are very comfortable when sitting down.  I haven’t had a pair of denim shorts that fit for several years, and they go with so many of my summer tops. The shorts have creases in the photos because I couldn’t wait until I photographed them to start wearing them!

front view

back pockets

front pocket bags

In the top photo I’m wearing them with my I love this fabric refashion,  but I have a new refashion to show you.

I’ve had this knee length rayon challis dress with a beautiful Hawaiian print in my closet for almost 20 years.  I’ve gained weight over the years and it no longer fit, but still I hung on to it.

I laid another refashioned rayon sleeveless top over the bottom of the dress, and thought it would be just wide enough to make a top.  I used store bought bias tape for the armholes and neckline.  I didn’t take apart the side seams so had to pinch out armhole darts to remove the excess flap of fabric that formed when I tried the top on.


I love it!  I like the way the high side slits from the original dress hem show off my rivets ( I put 4 in the front) on the shorts.

What to do with the top of the dress?

I saved the best for last…..

I grabbed the leis for some twinning with my dog Sparky in his matching shirt.

I am so thrilled to add these two pieces to my closet.  They will be summer staples for me!

Stretch Woven Pull-on Jeans #2

I ordered gray cotton stretch twill to make another pair of Itch to Stitch Mountain View pull-on jeans.  The idea being that on my second go-round I would have the advantage of learning from my mistakes from the first pair.  My two main problems were cutting the fabric with the stretch up and down instead of across the body, and twisting legs.  Despite these mistakes I have worn the olive green pants lots, and the only thing that bothers me about them is that they slip down a bit. To fix that problem I am making the second pair with a higher rise, and with tighter elastic.

So how did I do this time around? Will this be mistakes part 2?

I cut the pant pieces very carefully, measuring to keep the grainlines straight, with the stretch in the right direction, and in a single layer.

I did this in an effort to eliminate twisting of the legs. I believe the twisting was caused by the back and front outer seams being different lengths causing me to twist the legs as I sewed them. But the extra steps couldn’t hurt.

I also referred to this pattern review post and especially the diagram about balanced pants.

I had to piece the pockets to cut all the pattern pieces from 2 yards of fabric, and topstitched a simple design that well with the seam. I used a lighter gray all-purpose thread for the topstitching.


Straight legs!

I like this pants pattern because instead of having a bunchy elastic waist they are smooth and flat, and hold my stomach in while being comfortable. I also enjoy the actual sewing of the pattern; the instructions are good and making them is just complex enough to be satisfying, and easy enough for me to sew well.

Fake fly but real pockets

And this time I decided to change the back waist to knit ribbing, and used the navy I had on hand.

Um, no.

This time I couldn’t pull up my pants!!

I learned the number one thing to know about working with stretch woven fabric: test the stretch percentage.

I ordered fabric with the same description from the same vendor as my olive green fabric, but while the olive has 30-40% stretch, the gray has only 10%. When I received the gray twill, I thought it felt different, but ignored the sewing “red flags”.  The pattern states the fabric needs to have between 20% and 30% stretch. I used the Megan Neilsen guide  for calculating the stretch.

After I added the waistband, the pants couldn’t get over my hips.  I thought about adding panels to the side waist, but then realized the length of the waistband has to stay roughly the same to sew onto the pants. The stretchy knit ribbing I used for the back waistband worked, to my relief. I don’t wear my shirts tucked in, so it doesn’t show. Luckily, the pants legs are slim but not skinny tight, so I can move in them, although they’re not as comfy as my stretchier pair.

I plan to make a shorts version for the summer, and a denim version eventually.

For me, there is a lot of problem solving in sewing.  I’m able to get through projects faster now that I’m better at figuring out solutions. Do you find that you are always having to solve problems in your sewing or in your craft ?


Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull on Jeans

The subtitle for this post is :  Mistakes in Sewing a Stretch Woven Fabric.

I finished an item from my “Make Nine List”, the Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull on Jeans. They are elastic waist stretch pants with real front pockets, a fake fly, a seam down the center back leg, jeans topstitching, and a wide waistband.

This was my first time sewing with a woven cotton fabric with a small amount of spandex giving a two way stretch to the fabric.

My first change to the pattern was to take 5 to 7 inches off the length of the legs.  Yes, I’m short! There are 2 different lengthen and shorten lines, and I removed length from both places.  The other change I made to the pattern was to add 1 and 1/2 inches to the length of the rise of the back pieces.

Because this fabric is wider than non-stretch wovens, I got confused about which sides were the selvedges, and folded the fabric the wrong way and cut out my pieces on the crosswise grain instead of the lengthwise.  This means I cut the pieces with the stretch going up and down instead of horizontally around the body.  Oops!

With three yards to work with, I was able to recut the fronts and the waistband.  I didn’t have enough fabric to recut the 4 back pieces (the legs have a seam down the back).  I was worried about the pants fitting, as they are designed with negative ease at the hip.  The size 8 are designed for a hip measurement of 40 inches with a finished garment measurement of 36 and 7/8 inches.  Although my measurements put me at a size 8, I made a size roughly between a 8 and a 10, to give myself a little wiggle room.

The instructions for the front pockets were good and they went in easily.

I should have sewed the 2 backs together with a triple stretch stitch or a slight zigzag to compensate for the lengthwise stretch, but I sewed them with a regular straight stitch, which makes the stitches more prone to pop. I had trouble with rippling seams, although a good pressing took care of that problem.

After I sewed the inseams, I noticed the legs were skewed with the inseam twisting to the front.

I had a long session with Google researching about the reasons for this problem, and pondered what to do.

The most obvious possible reason is the pant pieces were cut off grain, but it’s not always as simple as that.  I also read about the weave of the fabric, the direction the legs should be cut, and that the inseams should be eased between the knee and crotch.  I sewed down the leg and the pant bottoms didn’t match up.  I also had a mix of crosswise and lengthwise grains.

There is no easy fix.  I wanted to get on with my sewing, so I opened the inseam from bottom up several inches and resewed with 1/2 inch overlap of the back pants on the seam, removing some back width.  I think it helped a little bit, and it’s not too noticeable as the seam isn’t topstitched. The inseam is at my ankle bone.  I read about instances of ready to wear skinny jeans with the inseam twisting to the center front, so mine aren’t as bad.  I hope I can do better the next time.

The elastic is zigzagged stitched down in the seam allowance.  The pattern calls for 1/2 inch elastic, but I only had 1/4 inch and 3/4 inch. I didn’t want to rip the stretch triple sewn waistband seam to sew a deeper seam, so I went with the 1/4 inch.  Next time I will use a wider elastic for more stability and strength to prevent the pants slipping down.

Topstitching with a contrasting thread is what makes the pants look like jeans, but I didn’t use a lighter thread color until I worked on the back pockets.  Next time, I will take the time to change the thread, because visible topstitching will improve the look of the fly and front pocket area.

I read a tutorial on the blog Diana’s Sewing Lessons: Designing a Jeans Back Pocket.    Topstitching thread is thicker than all purpose thread. I followed her tips and used 2 standard threads together and a longer stitch length.

I found a back pants design I liked, made my own template to fit the pocket size, traced the design on tissue paper, and sewed over the tissue.

The finished pocket:

Although the pockets could be left plain, I enjoyed the process of finding a design and topstitching them.  I had some trouble with my stitches being loose when I ripped off the tissue paper.  I had better results when I carefully removed the paper using tweezers.  I also learned I need to turn up the tension on the machine  to combat this problem.

I don’t like the back view and had a problem with the yoke piece bunching up and bagging out. Ugh! In the future, I will make the waistband narrower and the tops of the pants higher because I don’t like where the horizontal seam hits me. I have excess fabric in the back thigh that could have been reduced if I had basted all the seams first, taken the pants apart, and altered the pieces.

The bottom line is the pants are done, and I’m wearing them.

Whew! A long post with tedious details doesn’t make for good reading, but I wanted to document all the mistakes and things I learned while sewing these pants.


I’m adding links about preventing inseam twist for your reference and my future reference:

Closet Case Patterns – Cutting and Prepping

Sweet Shop Sewing – Leg Twist

Fashion Incubator Leg Twist

Pattern Review Forum – Leg Twist