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!👇🏻