Sunday, 11 February 2018

Completed: Safran Jeans

I have 4 posts written in drafts, but I just haven't managed to get photos of anything recently. I put that right today with a major blog photo shoot, photographing 5 things in one session! The photos aren't the best, but they'll do!

Let's jump ahead with this, the most recent of makes: Deer and Doe Safran Jeans. My winter sewing has been practical but boring and this is no different. I am in desperate need of trousers for work. In recent years I've worn a lot more dresses and skirts during the winter, but this year I just haven't felt like dressing like that. For work, I've been living in my one pair of RTW black trousers, which are starting to suffer a bit. I had been planning to make a pair of black Gingers, when someone blogged about the Safrans. I had obviously seen them before, but this time around the welt pockets at the front caught my eye. I liked that they were a little less "jeansy", but equally would work as casual wear. To make them even less "jeansy", I made them in some stretch cotton twill.

I started these back at a #sewscottish meet up in November, when I sewed the whole front together, including fly and welt pockets and then they languished in the cupboard for ages afterwards until I had a day off in Jan that I could dedicate to fitting them. I initially had some reservations due to the fact that I am not the curvy shape that Deer and Doe appear to design for, but actually the fitting was very different to what I anticipated.

First things first, I cut the size 38 grading up to the 40 at the waist as per the sizing on the pattern and the finished garment measurements. This was actually my first Deer and Doe pattern, and I found the instructions to be OK, definitely not for beginners but good enough with a bit of experience under your belt. I loved the welt pockets although my second is better as I had figured out what I was doing by then. I read through both the D&D and the Closet Case Files instructions for the fly (from the Ginger jeans, a pattern I already own) and went with the latter which felt clearer and more intuitive. This meant changing the construction order a bit, but I managed to figure it all out.

I basted the crotch and side seams and got down to fitting. There was quite a lot to fix, as it turns out. I had to take a huge amount out of the waist. In the end, I took 14cm (yep, that's 5.5") out of the waist in the back and side seams and I also added darts. The Safran doesn't have a yoke and isn't darted, instead relying on negative ease for a fit. I was sceptical of this at the start and I remain so. The pattern calls for fabric with 20% stretch, and mine had that, but there was no way I was going to get these to fit without adding darts, and I'm not the curviest of people (my waist is 28/29" and my hips are 36" for reference).

I have pretty large calves and I have thighs, which is often an issue in RTW, and this pattern was no different. I let out the calves a bit at the side and inseams (not officially the correct way to do it - theoretically you should add more to the back and not change the front leg), which isn't perfect but has helped. I then moved onto the knees which had quite a lot of excess fabric gathering. I can't figure out if the knees is down to the fabric gathering because the trouser legs can't slide down over my giant calves, if it's to do with my knock knees, or if the pattern is just truly too big at the knees. In the end, I just took the side seams in a bit here (I have some really interesting S shaped side seams going on now) and called it a day. The knees still have some excess fabric, but by this point my fitting enthusiasm was waning somewhat.

Check out that side seam on the left, it's wandering about all over the place!

You can see the excess at the knees here. And a bit of pulling at the fly which I hadn't previously noticed.
The crotch isn't too bad. There are some drag lines at the front which *may* indicate I could with scooping out the front crotch curve a bit, but it's not a biggie and with the fly already done I was limited here. The back has a lot of drag lines immediately under my bum and the legs feel very tight at the back of my thighs. Not sure what to do here, but by then I was just fed up of fitting. I can't see my back anyway and in black fabric the drag lines don't show up too much. Fitting fatigue is a thing, and actually now that I look at these photos, the back actually looks fine!

The waistband proved a challenge. For some reason I decided to fit without the waistband on, and when I subsequently tried to apply the same changes to the waistband it was far too small. At this point the jeans went back in the cupboard again and Instagram was duly consulted. After a bit of advice and a bit of distance, I went back to them. I suspect there are numerous reasons why the waistband didn't work. Firstly, the waist more than likely stretched out with all the trying on I was doing. Secondly, I totally forgot that I shifted the side seams on the jeans to counter all the excess that I'd taken out of the garment at the back, and I didn't do the same to the waistband. Thirdly, I was treating a curved waistband like a straight one and was taking the same out of the top as the bottom of the waistband. Trial and error and a couple of versions later and I had a waistband that fitted well enough.

I'm really happy with these. They are *far* from perfect but at least they fit on the waist, which RTW never, ever do. They are comfy. Not lounge on the sofa comfy, as the fabric doesn't quite stretch enough for that, but they are definitely comfy for sitting at a desk for long periods of time. The legs ride up over my calves and don't slide back down, and there is still loads of excess fabric at the knees, but I like them nonetheless. I love the welt pockets and am super proud of both them and the fly. I missed the blogger-memo about recommending a stretch woven for the pocket linings and just made them in a standard bird print cotton (from Franca). This hasn't caused me any issues, but then again, the fabric's not stretching massively around my hips. Definitely one to consider if you are better endowed than I in that area. I made a mixture of version A and B: I omitted the belt loops, but kept the back pockets and cut them at ankle length to wear with ankle boots. Unfortunately the fabric is a fluff magnet, as twill always seems to be. It also feels a little rough against my skin. Not sure why. The fabric was one recommended on the D&D website and also came from France, from a seller called Mamzelle Fourni, (they don't seem to have it any more).

I don't know that I'd rush to make this pattern again. I'd like to try the Ginger jeans next, just to see how the fit compares, however I would love to incorporate the welt pockets into a future pair of jeans, even if it ends up being a mash up of patterns. But I will make jeans again, and I'll wear the hell out of these Safrans in the meantime!



  1. These look epic and well done for persevering with all the fitting issues. They look really great now!

  2. They look fantastic! It's a good thing you stuck with it and kept fitting and altering them. I try to cheer myself through the process but with pants/trousers there's a lot of "back to the drawing board" moments of doubt and difficulty.

    I'm with you on the alterations that don't seem "the right way to do it" -- I have my worries about them but deciding on them has rescued a half-finished pair for me more than once. I'll keep working on "the right way" but, most likely, working my way through more of such provisional rescue strategies.

  3. Phew! You did well to stick these out. When I saw your first picture my only thought was “what a great fitting pair of jeans”! I would never have guessed the amount of work you had to do to achieve that fit!

  4. That was a scary amount of fitting :) I have the Ginger jeans pattern, ebook AND course and have yet to get to it but I'm committed to getting this pants fitting done this year and I'm always keen to read pants fitting blogs like yours :) I've been following HandmadePhD and her jeans fitting tutorials which are great by the way - you would find them interesting too I'm sure :)

  5. I'm always super impressed by people who make jeans. These are great, well done!!


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