Before I left for Hawaii I’d been working on a secret test for a lovely creative inspiring designer called Suzanne Winter. Her company is called Winter Wear Designs. Suzanne has an Etsy Shop, a blog and a FaceBook group (you can look for that one yourself!).
It’s the first time I have ever tested a design and to be honest it was a bit of a concern for me. I wasn’t sure if my skills were up for the challenge. I must admit that I am still slightly befuddled about how I became one of the chosen few testers. But hey, I didn’t worry for too long because there was frankly, just too much to do. The hardest part was being unable to tell my friends what I was up to, and ask for advice (did I say it was my first time?).
The jeans are called The Real Deal Jeans. The real deal because they had a yoke (not a worry), waistband (that’s fine too), but a jeans zipper?!! (ho hum .. I got there – eventually).
Enough joviality though .. they were and are a fantastic pair of jeans, well crafted, and the testers were all height, shapes and sizes. Part of me wondered why a designer would try to incorporate sizing from a 00 – 24 on one pattern. It certainly gave her a lot of work, and I must admit that I now have increased respect for both designers and paying for the patterns.
But back to the pattern… These are a straight legged jean, though I made mine slightly boot legged as I live in cowboy boots for most of the year. The pattern also includes shorty shorts (bedroom shorts for those of us who are a bit older?), long shorts, capri pants and full length jeans. Suzanne’s blog and the FB group have instructions for distressing your fabric, converting to a skinny jean and other options. They are made from a stretch fabric. While, in essence that seems an easy thing to buy, it honestly isn’t! There are many types and qualities of stretch fabrics, so read the experts suggestions! I’d chosen a soft pink stretch corduroy, but it sadly had great stretch but not good recovery (as in, it didn’t return to its original shape). As such, they will get finished but I’ll have to size down on the pattern to make them fit and stay up. It was a valuable lesson learned.
What I got out of this experience (apart from a great pair of jeans!) was being part of a team, learning from a professional, and knowing I had input in creating a great product. I’m 5’9” tall with a 33” inside leg. It’s not terribly tall, but I have a longer rise and find it hard getting clothes to fit. It’s why I started sewing at 14. I’d grown out of 2 school uniforms in 6 months and my mum gave me fabric and told me to get sewing. Thanks Mum, it’s a lifelong love affair!
The pattern is a PDF; I still hate printing, cutting and pasting the pieces together. Like most fitted patterns its essential to make a muslin beforehand. If you use a non-stretch fabric for the muslin like I did, then I’d advise cutting it on the bias or on an angle to give a bit of stretch. Otherwise you’ll need your muslin to fit tightly or you might end up going down a size. I used cotton for my muslin, then needed to go down a size with my stretchy cord.
The pattern instructions are clear with lots of pictures. The instructions include suggestions on decorating the pockets, get fancy with seam decoration and generally personalize them. As a visual learner I really appreciated the pictures. Suzanne was great in taking on board the suggestions to ensure it is an easily understood, well written pattern.
It’s six weeks since I finished my pair, but I know I will be making more. I liked that I could alter the yoke and rise to fit me, in just the right places. I’m thrilled with how they turned out.
Anyway, here are my finished pair in a burgundy stretch corduroy shot with silver flecks. I hope you are inspired enough to make your own pair!