Making More of your Patterns – Portia as Jeans – Part One

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This is another in the series of making more from your patterns. This time I wanted to use the Portia Trousers to make a pair of jeans. After making up the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans from Closet Case files and teaching the Jeans Making Course I have hankered after a pair of wide leg cropped jeans to wear with some new summer tops I’m planning.

In Part One I will show you what I did to alter the pattern, then in Part Two I’ll cover the sewing processes involved.

To give Portia more ‘jeans’ styling I needed to change the pattern a bit. This is a very straightforward adaptation that just involves a bit of dart manipulation. Don’t be scared, it’s easy – honest!

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This is what I did…

Reduced the depth in the crotch –

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I wanted these trouser to sit slightly lower than Portia, making them a bit more like the jeans I have already, so I drew a line about 3cm above the hip line straight across the front and back pattern pieces. I cut along these lines then overlapped them by 1cm to lower the waistline and reduce the depth of the crotch seam.

You may find that you need to take off from the top of the waistline to get yours to fit better. Practice and experience have taught me that this method works best for me and my shape. You may want to toile your pattern first to check.

(Yes I know I’ve already drawn on the yoke shaping – See this is what happens when you don’t have an Order of Work!!)

 

Added a back yoke –

The classic jeans styling includes a yoke across the back of the trouser to help with fitting. So I drew on a new yoke line. I measured the yoke from an existing pair of jeans and used these measurements to mark down the side seam and centre back on my Portia pattern.

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The yoke line fell just above the base of the back dart which was just what I’d hoped, as that made it easy to move the dart out of the way. You can either cut along this new line to separate the trouser back and new yoke pieces and add on new seam allowances or you can trace off the yoke piece to create the new pattern piece.

If you trace off the pattern piece you can combine the next stage as well…

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To move or close the dart on the yoke I just traced off the back part of the yoke up to the first line of the dart. Then I pivoted the traced off section over from the base of the dart so the drawn line was on top of the second dart line on the pattern underneath. I then traced off the rest of the yoke shape. See dart manipulation is easy!

Closing the dart at the waist kind of ‘flicks up’ the side part of the yoke creating a smooth pattern piece that still has the shaping because it has moved the dart to the side seam.

I’m gonna leave that there so you can ponder on it….but I hope you get what I mean?

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Because the side part of the yoke has flicked up, you can see that the bottom edge of the yoke is now rather pointed. That just needs gently curving off and then mirroring at the waistline. If you have just separated the original pattern you might need to add a bit of scrap paper under the waistline of the yoke and re-drew that in as a smooth curve too.

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Lastly not forgetting that the back trouser piece still had a small amount of dart left, and needed a seam allowance. As the remaining dart was so small I trimmed it off the side seam. I also added seam allowance onto the trouser part of the new yoke seam line. If you have cut up and separated the original pattern you can do this by adding in a bit of extra paper underneath and marking that in quickly.

Because I have traced off the yoke piece I have just added the 1.5cm seam allowance directly on to the original pattern and cut across that.

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Curved the front pockets –

Again I wanted to include more jeans styling so I re-drew the curved shape I wanted. You may need to add some spare paper under the front trouser pocket to fill in any gaps if you have already cut out your correct size. This alteration also needs to be transferred onto the inside pocket facing piece as well.

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Fly extension-

The Portia trouser fly is a traditional way of inserting a fly zip, but I preferred the way Heather Lou has created hers in the Ginger Jeans method. As denim can be quite a bulky fabric her way of constructing the fly uses fewer seams so I used the same method. That meant that I needed to alter the front fly extension on my Portia pattern. So I added 1.5cm onto the front edge and curved the bottom to echo the top stitching line that I had drawn on as a guide. I also marked in the dot that marks the end of the front crotch seam.

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Shorten the Hem-

I only took about 20cm off of the hem as I still wanted to have a deep 6cm hem allowance that I could top stitch for a bit of extra detail.

 

Curving the waistband –

I knew this would need altering as I had lowered the waistline slightly which meant that the waistband wouldn’t now sit flat to the body. However, I didn’t know how much to alter it by until I had made up a toile and tried them on.

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 You can see from the picture how the waistband is sitting away from my body and needs ‘pinching out’ to allow it to sit flat. Although I’ve pinched it at the centre back, it is better to ‘spread the load’ and take out smaller amounts in several places. You get a much nicer, smoother curve that way.

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Using the straight waistband pattern I marked on the seam allowances and cut it down to the correct width. I wanted the waistband to be 4.5cm wide when it was finished so needed to add on to that two lots of 1.5cm seam allowance as well.

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I then drew lines at the centre back and side seams and another point mid way between the two. I cut through these lines, but only up to the seam allowance. A snip through the seam allowance the other side enables the pattern to be hinged at the base but still overlap itself to create the curve I needed.

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The overlap was only 3mm but created at the marked points this would allow the top edge of the waistband to contract to fit around my waist.

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It’s much easier to work off a nice neat pattern piece so I traced off the new shape for the waistband and marked in the centre front lines at each end of the waistband. I also added a bit of extra length just in case.

That was the pattern altered, I just needed to cut it all out and sew it together!

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You can see what I did in Part Two of Portia as Jeans coming soon.

You can purchase your copy of the Portia Trousers ready to make you own jeans adaptations. The denim I used in the top picture is the Dark Washed 8oz denim from our store.

Jules x

 

3 thoughts on “Making More of your Patterns – Portia as Jeans – Part One

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