Getting The Safrans Show On The Road

Inspired by the sort-of success of my Burda trousers, I decided to finally crack the whip at myself, stop procrastinating and get the Safrans Show on the road. I’ve been faffing over these bloody Deer and Doe Safrans trousers for FAR too long.

The very reasons I hate shopping for trousers are the same reasons I have been put off making them – it’s SO hard to get jeans that fit my shape. Which, if you don’t already know (and if the picture above doesn’t give away) is ginormous hips and a small, high waist. If my rear end looked like this I wouldn’t mind so much:

But it doesn’t, and I’ve instead been blessed with wobbly, weak glutes and dramas every time I want a new pair of trousers. Cosmic.

Even stretchy jeans and jeggings that apparently ‘stretch to your shape’ don’t stretch to MY shape. If I get them to fit my thighs, the waist is huge. If I get them to fit my waist, I can’t get the legs past my calves ??‍♀️??‍♀️ I’ve recently had success with Mom jeans from Asos so I bought three pairs and have literally been wearing them on rotation ever since. It’s amazing that once you actually sew something for yourself that fits – PROPERLY – you come to realise how badly some (most?) RTW stuff fits. Maybe not in your case, if you’re lucky, but defo in my case. My mind then starts to wander and ponder situations such as how a ‘standard’ pair of jeans from a high street store could be bought by a thousand people, all of whom have unique shapes. How many of these people do these jeans actually fit? How many of them are forever yanking them up because the waist is too big, or wearing them rolled up because the legs are too long? Or forever fidgeting because they are uncomfortable at the crotch?

Every single pair of jeans and trousers that I own has fit issues. Even the Mom jeans that I’m currently living in right now are a *smidge* too tight just above the knee when I’m sitting down (which, admittedly could be rectified by me shedding a few pounds and slimming down my legs), so even they are not perfect. I genuinely think that if (when?) I’ve got the fit of these Safrans nailed, I won’t want to wear any of my other jeans. Especially the low rise ones, don’t even get me started on those.

All my jeans – other than the aforementioned Mom jeans – have been relegated to the bottom of the wardrobe. I think I need to do some serious soul-searching and REALLY consider if I will wear ill-fitting or low rise jeans jeans again (I’m genuinely not sure I can, now that I’m fully aboard the high-waisted boat) or indeed jeans that Just. Don’t. Fit. My. Shape.

Plus – after the very long search for the perfect underwear – I’ve recently bought a whole bunch of high-waisted pants from Monki that don’t look like granny bloomers (OMG where have these been all my life?!) and they are, obvs, totes incompatible with low-rise jeans ?


I’ve had the Safrans pattern for a while now (and before I got it I’d been *thinking* about buying it for even longer) and it took me *SO* long to find the right stretch denim. Honestly, how hard is it to find plain black 20% stretch denim?! Not blue, and not grey, and not even you-think-I’m-black-but-I-actually-have-grey-threads-too-when-you-look-closely. Just plain, actual black.

I originally bought some grey leopard print twill from Croft Mill which had the right amount of stretch, but after buying, they then contacted me to say actually they only had one metre in stock. Gah. I had big plans to dye it red and everything.

A few months later, I bought some 20% stretch black denim from Fabric Godmother (YAS!) only to find that when it arrived and I tested the stretch, it wasn’t 20%. Not even 10%. In fact I’m not even sure it had any Lycra in it. I contacted them and they were very helpful, apologising for the inconvenience but their supplier had changed the fabric compositions without informing them, and it indeed wasn’t as stretchy as they thought (or had advertised). So… we went back to the drawing board AGAIN. I really thought this project was cursed.

Then I found some ‘super stretch’ denim, again on the Fabric Godmother website (I just looked to get you guys the link but I think they have since sold out of this… soz). I deliberated over whether to buy some, after the drama of the last lot I got from them – but I went ahead and took the plunge, and I’m glad I did because I wasn’t disappointed. It’s got a sort of suede-y feel to it, much softer than regular denim. Sort of the same as jegging fabric, with a smooth moleskin-type effect.

Even though I’m proper nervous about making jeans, it’s a definite gap in both my ready-to-wear and me-made wardrobes. I’m not even sure what exactly it is that I’m afraid of, but it’s probably the thought that they won’t fit my weirdly proportioned shape and zip fly is scary and I have no idea what I’m doing ?

Practice makes perfect though, right?

I know a lot of people choose the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case as their go-to jeans pattern (a pattern that I also have in ze stash) but I thought I would start out with the slightly-easier-looking Safrans, and then progress on to the ‘real’ jeans if these are successful.

Deer and Doe patterns are drafted for an hourglass shape, so I was hoping not to have to do many adjustments. It always makes me laugh when I see ‘high waisted’ jeans in the shops where the waistband, hips and thighs are just straight down, no shape whatsoever, like a drainpipe. Usually I just chuckle to myself and think – who do these actually fit?! 10-year-old girls? I have a 12 inch difference between my waist and my hips – yikes – so straight-up-and-down ain’t gonna fly for me.

And so I began the scary journey of bringing the Safrans to life. I saw a post on the Deer and Doe blog which gives you some advice on grading between sizes, so I printed that out and read through before I did ANYTHING.

**There’s also a whole range of posts on their blog that cover things like fitting the front, fitting the back, adjusting the knees and what sort of notions you need which you can browse here, if you so wish. You’re welcome.**

Like a good student, I worked through each step in turn, not wanting to hash anything up.

You’re told to take three measurements – your waist, your high hips (widest point of stomach) and your low hips (widest point of bum). This didn’t get me off to a good start, because although it put me in three different sizes (which I would expect to increase from waist through to low hips) , my high hips was a problem child and the sizes didn’t come out the way I was expecting…


I would have expected the sizing to gradually get larger as you moved from waist to low hips… but my ‘high hips’ turned out at a size 36, in between a waist sizing of 40 and low hips size 42. 36? Really? Either I’ve got a really small stomach for my waist and hips size (unlikely), the sizing chart is off, or I’ve measured in totally the wrong place (probably the most likely cause).

I wasn’t really sure what to do here, so in the end I ignored the high hips and decided I’d grade from 40 at the waist to 42 at the hips, as that was more in line with how I thought it should be. (Ha! Like I know anything about sizing jeans, lolz)

So with the waist grading sorted (‘blagged’), I carried on working through the instructions, hoping that it was going to get a bit less complicated. It didn’t.

There were some more adjustments to make – mainly around the fly and crotch curve. I had to re-read the instructions a few times (I’m not even sure I correctly interpreted them in the end) but I *think* I’ve got it now. To be honest though I’m totally winging it and if these turn out wearable I’ll be amazed ?

Things then got even more complicated with the pocket adjustment. That ‘high hips’ measurement that I glossed over in the first step came back to haunt me.

I didn’t really know which of the following three options to go for:

I mean, *technically* – in real life – my high hips were two sizes below my waist. But since I was going to grade from 40 at the waist to 42 at the hips, that wasn’t what I was actually going to cut. I guess I was saying that the high hips were going to be somewhere in between the 40 waist and 42 hips, so – 41? ??‍♀️ Half a size bigger than the waist? As you can see there wasn’t an option for this so I went with ‘one size above’ which was the closest.

Overall, making those adjustments felt like a bit of a mission, and I genuinely don’t know how these are going to turn out or whether all the adjustments were actually for better or worse. They could well be a total shambles. In my head, I imagine putting these on fresh off the sewing machine and rejoicing that I’ve AT LAST got the perfect fit – a la Sandy from Grease. Actual results may vary, I feel.

For a little bit of gothic-ness (because you KNOW it pains me to make plain stuff) I’ve cut the pocket trims from black leather… which I may come to regret once I actually start sewing because leather can be a bee-atch to stitch ?

And for a bit of glamour on these trousers which probably aren’t going to fit me, the pocket linings are cut from some leftover ‘Joy and Sorrow’ Liberty lawn ?

I’m posting this ‘in-progress’ instalment partly so that you guys can see the wholllllle process from start to finish (in the hope that I can perhaps encourage someone else to take the Safrans plunge) and partly so that I don’t wuss out of actually sewing them. I’ve made all the adjustments to the pattern, traced the pieces and even cut out the bloody fabric, so there is literally no excuse. I just need to put on my big girl pants and get on with it.

Pants are on. ??

Next week on the blog I have a very special guest blogger… the very one, THE ONLY, Handsome Husbeast. YAS!

Some of you might remember that last year he made a silk top for me for our twelve year wedding anniversary (the 12th year is silk, obvs). Well, he’s now come over to the dark side of blogging and has written a post about his experience for your enjoyment from a beginners – and male – point of view. So I get to kick back for a week while he prepares the content for next Sunday ?? (and when I say kick back, I mean spend more time panic-sewing for our trip to NYC in eight weeks… EIGHT WEEKS TO GO AND I STILL HAVEN’T STARTED THE BIGGEST AND MOST COMPLICATED PROJECT I WANTED TO TAKE WITH ME ???)

Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the debut post from the Handsome Husbeast! Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!??


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  1. August 12, 2018 / 8:59 am

    Complicated! I would guess you measured in the wrong place. ‘High hip’ to me, is measured on your ACTUAL hip bones. ‘Hip’ for sewing purposes is the fullest part of your butt, so much lower than you expect when you start this game. My belly fat starts just marginally below high hip, but is widest at my waist [what waist?]
    For all you talk of humungous hips, my non-hips and flat bum measure more than yours, so huish girl. You have a shapely figure, and everything you make moves your fitting better and better. I don’t put such effort in, as long as the finished item is comfortable and looks reasonable, it’s way above RTW.
    Love the big girl pants, that’s the shape I like too. Ohh Lulu! do a pattern shape that is close to that if you ever want to make some [quick and easy]

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 6:57 am

      Ooh, thanks for the tip on the big pants! I’ll check them out… do you make yours with cotton jersey or something else?
      And yep, this Safrans lark is most definitely bloody complicated… I’m hoping the actual sewing is going to be much easier! I’m fully expecting to have to make several pairs of these to get a good fit, but finding the right fabric seems to be a mission! ?

  2. August 12, 2018 / 11:15 am

    Stirling effort, these jeans are going to fit like a glove! ??
    Are you using topstitching thread? I’ll look forward to the next update ? and next weeks post of course ???

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 7:11 am

      They better fit ?? ermmmm I do *have* some topstitching thread, but hadn’t actually got round to thinking about whether or not I’d be using it ??‍♀️? I guess so?!

  3. August 12, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    I don’t know if you’ve had a look at Cashmerette’s Ames jeans pattern? You might consider giving them a whirl before you venture down Ginger lane for jeans. Jenny has, in her infinite wisdom, designed a jeans pattern which offers the option for curvy with the puffier bottom vs the flat bottom. She has an online class to go along with the Ames if you’re so inclined 🙂 I’m a big fan of Cashmerette – I can SO easily get a good fit. I have this pattern but I haven’t made it up yet so I can’t speak YET to its greatness but many already have. I have your opposite problem too – a flat bottom, fairly narrow hips but no waist to speak of so I’ve had to buy rtw for my waist size which means I’ve suffered droopy drawers all my life meaning pants are on my roster too. Every time I think about tackling them however, I feel this deep sigh starting deep inside me like girding myself for that big tbsp of cod liver oil I know is so good for me 🙂

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 7:18 am

      Hmm, I haven’t looked at the Ames pattern, but I’m going to now! Thanks for the tip! I haven’t actually sewn any cashmerette patterns ?
      Well-fitting RTW trousers seem like a mythical thing, don’t they! I really, REALLY do need to get into making trousers… maybe next year I’ll do a Make Nine full of ‘em ? otherwise I’ll just keep putting them off ???

  4. Brenda Holmes
    August 12, 2018 / 6:19 pm

    Lovin’ the look of them pants. Must get me some. Sewing trousers that fit is tricky. I recently finished a pair of summer slim fits that I started more than 10 years ago. They don’t fit, but mainly because I don’t measure what I did 10 years ago, lol. Maybe I can lose that much weight, hahaha.

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      Haha Brenda! ?? I hope mine don’t take me another 10 years ? at least you can call yours ‘practice’, and then when you make the next pair you’ll have more of an idea what you’re doing ?? I really hope my Safrans fit and are wearable ??????

  5. Julia M Passafiume
    August 12, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    Did you know that ONJ was sewn into those pants for the final scenes of Grease? like, straight up, the costume designer whipped out a needle and thread and sewed those onto her and she couldn’t use the bathroom while they filmed.


    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 5:22 pm

      OMG no I did *NOT* know that!! That explains the fit ? hmm perhaps I don’t want mine to be THAT close fitting then… ??

  6. Talie
    August 12, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    The eternal fitting drama is why I have a mostly finished wearable toile in my unpicking/I’ll deal with you later basket that have been thinking about what they’ve done wrong for about six weeks.

    They fit perfectly at the hip, and I *thought* I graded the pattern to two sizes smaller at the waist, but obviously did not so many alterations are needed, which is of course very intimidating for a sewist of 4 months.. They might get out of time out just in time for the Australian summer that is fast approaching…

    • Sarah
      August 14, 2018 / 5:30 pm

      Haha, I’m glad I’m not the only one with a pile like that… Mine’s currently inhabited by a skirt that’s just a bit ‘meh’ (and by that I mean, a bit of a crap fit ?)
      Ah, I can imagine that it’s really not appealing to unpick those trousers… I know I wouldn’t want to do it ? perhaps go back to them in a few months, maybe after you’ve made a couple more pairs in the meantime?
      You’re looking forward to summer and I’m looking forward to winter ?✈️☀️☃️

  7. artcoopsville
    August 13, 2018 / 8:32 am

    I feel you pain. I have exactly the same size issues. 28 inch waist and 40+ hip. I ended up drafting a trouser block to get anywhere close to the right fit, but haven’t perfected it yet. I have the ginger jeans in my stash, they’ve been there for months and I haven’t made them yet. Looking forward to see how these turn out. My next pair will be red tartan trousers.

    • Sarah
      August 15, 2018 / 7:44 am

      Good luck with the trouser block! I’m really hoping that it doesn’t come to that and I can use an already-out-there pattern ?? buttttt I do see that the time investment would probably be worth it to get the PERFECT fit! I’ll give the Safrans a fair crack first and see how they come out. Ooh red tartan sounds fabulous! I once had a pair of pink tartan trousers which I absolutely loved ?

  8. August 13, 2018 / 8:36 pm

    I’ve also got a 13-inch difference between waist and hips (all in my hips, not my bum, so YMMV) but the Ginger jeans were a LOT easier than this. You can go tonal if you want to fudge the topstitching, it doesn’t seem like many more pattern pieces, and the instructions are clear and complete. I’ve sewn a dozen pairs of fitted trousers and frankly these look hard! So basically if it doesn’t work out persevere!!! Homemade jeans are the greatest and very much worth it, and I wouldn’t measure all future success by this pair unless they’re amazing in which case well done yay!!

    • Sarah
      August 15, 2018 / 7:47 am

      I really do want to join the handmade jeans club ?? I’ve told myself I’ll try the Safrans, and I’ll try the Gingers, and if they are both a total shambles… well I’ll rethink ? and maybe take a fitting class ? I’ve got stretchy denim so I’m hoping the fit will be a little forgiving?! ??????

  9. Kat
    August 14, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    I have the same waist-hip-bum problem and so far I’ve found Deer and Doe the best fitting patterns… I am looking forward to seeing your jeans as I was wondering if Safari is the pattern for me

    • Sarah
      August 15, 2018 / 7:49 am

      I’ve had previous success with most of Deer and Doe’s patterns… so I’m hoping the Safrans are going to follow suit!! ??????

  10. August 16, 2018 / 6:48 am

    I wish you luck. I don’t have the same issue as you, but nevertheless don’t get rtw jeans which fit like home sewn. The comfort of your own makes up for the time consuming drag of finding fabric and the slow slog of getting a pattern to fit. I use an easy method for the fly construction, mentioned on my last blog post and a few other posts when I’ve made jeans or trousers.

  11. August 20, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    Olivia Newton-John was sewn into those trousers for Grease, so maybe aiming for that level of fit is a little unrealistic (also whenever I hear about actors having to do this, I am reminded of how shit it must be to work in Hollywood sometimes, those clothes must be SO TIGHT. Do they basically not eat and drink on set ALL DAY?? But, I digress…).

    In a bid to actually understand what I’m sewing and why, I am currently reading a book about style (I have none). In the book it remarked that people assuming RTW stuff is actually RTW is very much a new phenomenon. Even as late as the 80s people bought clothes in shops assuming they’d have to be tailored in some way. Then fast fashion came along and everyone collectively forgot that clothes need to be fitted because we’re all unique. The author points out that no-one should ever be wearing bought clothes straight off the hanger, because shop sizing and fit is basically meaningless!

    I’m sharing that because I thought you might find it interesting (I did). Apart from changing the length of shop bought things, I’ve not actually tried tailoring shop clothes before.

    • Sarah
      August 28, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      Haha, perhaps I won’t quite aim for them to be *that* fitted then ? I know… we assume it’s all glitz and glamour but it’s probably really not ??‍♀️
      Oh that’s actually really interesting about the RTW items… what’s the book called that you’re reading? It sounds really interesting! I do often think about the fact though that stores sell these ‘one shape fits all’ clothes and they probably only fit a handful of people that buy it ?
      I too have never tried altering store bought stuff… probably because I hate unpicking seams ?

  12. August 29, 2018 / 7:06 am

    It’s called How To Get Dressed by Alison Freer. It’s a little American in places, but the advice is good. She’s a Hollywood costume designer, mostly doing TV sets, so has loads of random knowledge about dressing a range of body types and styles.

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 7:46 am

      Ooh, thanks Millie – sounds really interesting, I think I’ll give this a read! ??

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