A recurring theme with Cowboy’s clothes is that they don’t stand up to what he puts them through. As consumers often notice, clothing brands that were traditionally high-quality and long-lasting seem to lose something over time; seemingly overnight, things that used to last for years barely make it through one. And most frustratingly, as quality drops, prices escalate.
Obviously there are many factors that contribute to how long clothing lasts: fabric quality, construction and workmanship, and washing methods, just to name a few. I don’t know which of these has changed in our little corner of the world, but it boils down to this: Cowboy needs better pants. And as it so happens, I like to solve problems with my sewing machine.
I didn’t go into this project with big expectations. Basically, this pair of pants was meant to be a functional muslin–a starting point from which to improve until I’ve mastered the perfect pants for Cowboy.
The Pattern: Jutland Pants from Thread Theory
The Fabric: dark washed denim with slight stretch from Fashion Fabrics Club
Everything about Thread Theory patterns shout quality. The printed PDF pages came together without incident and all the pattern pieces were organized according to which variation was being sewn to reduce printing/waste/confusion–really appreciate that!
After measuring Cowboy, he best fit the size 36 measurements, and because I was running out of Christmas sewing time, I cut a straight size 36 without any adjustments. The fit was quite true–the leg length being the only real issue–they’re a little long, but that is usually the case with his storebought pants as well. And, in the grand scheme of things, pant length is a super easy fix.
For the French-seamed pockets I used a mystery gray and white striped shirting from my stash. The method of constructing the pockets was really fun and I’m confident they’ll be strong enough for the 10 pounds of stuff Cowboy puts in them every day (think Leatherman, cell phone, 20 keys, etc.). I’ll mention here, though, that Cowboy installs all of his own suspender buttons–what a guy!
As I was under a time crunch, I was thankful that the pants came together smoothly. The only trouble spot appeared with the fly and zipper, and I still can’t figure out what I did wrong. Having sewn many zipper flies before, I didn’t really anticipate any problems, but even though everything fit into place, I finished and wrapped the pants knowing something wasn’t quite right.
The flaw revealed itself when Cowboy tried his pants on for the first time and the zipper pulled out from behind the fly, making it look like he was wearing pants with an exposed zipper–which, I guess he was. Although humorous, it was definitely not the look we were going for.
I’ve since fixed the issue with a me-invented sewing hack, but I suspect the problem originated with my addled, Christmas-sewing-stressed brain.
In addition to the pockets, some of the other highlights of this pattern were the hem reinforcements, the contrast waistband facing, and all of the topstitching. Plus, over on the Thread Theory blog there is a sew-along with lots of customizations like adding a gusset (which I’m still dying to try). Overall, Cowboy was happy with these pants, but his one request is for more pockets–there can never be too many pockets!
After paying careful attention to the pattern instructions, which warned against using too thick of a denim with a standard sewing machine, I chose a medium weight denim from my stash. I loved topstitching with the traditional gold thread on the dark denim, but I think it might be too reminiscent of stretch polyester Levi’s worn by men of a certain age. Cowboy would probably have preferred dark blue topstitching.
Plus, as evident from this shot of the interior waistband, it’s clear that I was pushing my sewing machine to the brink of its capabilities. I used faux flat felled seams on basically everything, but when I topstitched through more than two layers, things started to snarl.
The fabric itself was easy to work with, although as expected, it did ravel a bit. I also noticed blue dye on my fingers after working with it for awhile, so we’ll be washing these bad boys by themselves for a few more times.
I’m glad I got these Jutlands under my belt, and I can’t to make the next pair–endless possibilities! I’m scouting around for an industrial sewing machine, too.
Have you made a pair of Jutlands yet?