Monday, January 23, 2012

Testing the Au Bonheur Jeans Pattern

(No, I did not make this silk jacket, I bought it second hand.)

I've been meaning to try this pattern since I bought it almost two years ago. Unlike some of the most recent Au Bonheur patterns I've made that use only 2 or 3 pattern pieces, these jeans require many pieces and I spent time translating the pattern and trying to get my head around the construction.

This pattern features top-stitching, contrast knee insets, front and back, front and back shaped yokes, a back patch pocket, front pockets with an inset vertical opening, a fly front and a contoured waistband. The front knee yokes and back pockets have darts to create unusual shaping. There is lots of top-stitching, some echoing seams and some more freeform/artistic.

I was unsure what size to trace off, so I finally decided to go with my hip size and I traced off a size 42, with no changes. I figured I could make any necessary changes after testing the pattern in black ponte. The alterations I made were minimal:

  • Omitted the back pockets - though I plan to include them in my denim version.
  • Omitted the fly front zipper - again, I plan to include this in the denim version.
  • Replaced the contoured waistband pieces with a rectangular elastic waistband. Not yet sure how I want to handle this in the denim version.
  • For the most part, construction was straightforward. However, when I sewed the front leg to the back leg, the pieces didn't match up. The front leg was approx 4" inches longer than the back leg. I chopped off the excess from the front hem and the resulting hem length was perfect for my 5'5" height. I could be wrong, but I think the pattern has a significant drafting error.
  • Omitted the more decorative top-stitching.

The only problem I had with the finished pants is that the vertical front pockets tend to gape, as you can see in the second photo below. This is a phenomenon I've seen on men's pants and it does not flatter the hips to have pockets that gape as you move. (As you can see in the third photo below, they do not gape if I stand straight and still.) Short of omitting the front pockets, or employing some sort of closure, such as snaps, buttons or a zipper, is there some other way to handle this gaping?

Closeup of front vertical pocket

When I move, the pocket gapes

Standing straight, no gaping

Input is welcomed. :)

I was surprised how well these pants fit! They have a good fit through the crotch, which has not been my experience on previous Au Bonheur patterns.

The back doesn't look so great on the hangar, but fits quite well. You can see the back knee inserts and the back yoke.

More Tablecloth Skirt Goodness

In other news, Tablecloth skirt pics continue to arrive in my inbox. The most recent offering is Kathryn O's beautiful striped version:

This, and all versions, are available in the Tablecloth Skirt Gallery (link at the top of the page). Thanks, and keep those photos coming!

Pattern Pics