Pattern Review

Simple Skinny Jeans Review

So I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t like it when I have to be negative about an indie pattern.  Every indie pattern designer works really hard on their patterns and these small businesses are directly supporting the designer’s family, etc.

But, I always try to be honest about my sewing experiences on this blog, and I wouldn’t be honest if I only shared the patterns I love with you guys.  So here goes.

I bought the Sew Liberated Simple Skinny Jeans months ago, excited about the prospect of a comfortable, simple pair of jeans that sewed up almost like leggings.  Well, I sewed them up in the fall in a lovely dark stretch denim from lowpricefabric.com.

And … I hated them.

As in, hated them to the point that I sent them off with my Goodwill pile before it even occurred to me to take pictures.  So I can’t show you the lovely fabric or my beautiful topstitching or the incredibly horrible fit on me.

I had several gripes about this pattern that are partly due to the pattern and partly due to my own body quirks and preferences.

First, it was very difficult to figure out my size in this pattern because there was no size chart** in the pattern.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  Nowhere in the pattern — not on the envelope, in the instructions, or on the pattern sheet (I searched it all) — was there any sizing chart.  I had to navigate the Sew Liberated web site (which is not the easiest one I’ve ever encountered) to find their general sizing chart, and I chose my measurements off of that.

I tried on the jeans as I was making them because I still didn’t trust the sizing chart from the web site.  It’s a good thing I did because even though I choose a size based on my measurements from the Sew Liberated Size chart (actually, I think I even cut a size down), I still ended up taking out at least 1.5-2 inches all the way down each leg.

Next, the fit.  It was awful.  Baggy in the butt with funny stretching across the front crotch, and the pants kept sliding down my hips.  I was constantly hiking up these pants the entire time I was wearing them.  Now, a good part of that is due to my own body shape.  I’ve always had issues with very low rise pants.  I find it difficult to wear them because I always feel like they’re falling down and I keep hiking them up.  I hoped that the wide elastic waist would help on these pants, but it didn’t.  They were so uncomfortable.

Third, faux everything.  I understand the faux fly because of the elastic waistband, but it would have been really easy to include proper front pockets in this pattern and it would make the pants so much more functional.  The back patch pockets are obviously functional, but I get only so much use out of those.  Since the pattern has a waistband, I couldn’t see why there weren’t front pockets (especially since you still have to sew together a few pieces to make the faux front pockets).  It didn’t occur to me to just add them until after I had everything already cut out.

I was really disappointed these pants were such a flop for me.  I spent a lot of time doing lovely contrast topstitching to make them look more like “real” jeans. My faux fly was perfect, and I even added back pocket details.  But the final result was practically unwearable for me.

In defense of the pattern, I do think these would make decent maternity pants.  The problem, as I see it, is that they’re marketed as a non-maternity pattern, and they’re really not.  If it’s a maternity pattern, own it. These would make a nice maternity pattern with the low rise elastic waistband.  I would also recommend going down a few sizes from the measurement chart and making them more like jeggings than skinny jeans.

Pattern: Sew Liberated Simple Skinny Jeans

Size: 12

Fit: Very poor.  See above for more details, but these were so incredibly uncomfortable for me.  The low rise meant they kept slipping down my hips.  They were saggy in the butt but had weird pulling across the crotch.

Modification:  I took a bunch of width out of the hips and legs, but they still ended up too big with the stretch denim recommended by the pattern.  I added quite a bit of topstitching to try to make them look more RTW.

Fabric:  A very nice stretch denim from lowpricefabric.com.  Based on my experience, I’d recommend something with only a very small amount of stretch, or maybe even no stretch since denim will stretch out a bit on its own with wear.

Pros:

  • This would be a decent maternity pattern.  The low rise and elastic waistband would accommodate a growing belly quite well.
  • The construction is very simple.
  • The elastic waistband could make these good pants if you’re planning a big meal.  Though personally, I’d skip something like this and just go for leggings or a dress.

Cons:

  • No sizing guide in the pattern, and the one in the Sew Liberated FAQs doesn’t seem to work well for this pattern.
  • No working front pockets.
  • I had lots of issues with the fit, as detailed above.

Overall Grade: C-.  I’m not grading this pattern lower because I do think it would work well as a maternity pattern.  But I cannot recommend it as a non-maternity pattern.

** For anyone looking, the Sew Liberated size chart is in its FAQs, here.

0 thoughts on “Simple Skinny Jeans Review

  1. I appreciate an honest review! I can see that I would probably like a pair of jeans with an elastic band as a waist but I too hate low rise garments and usually end up pulling them up all day. It sounds like you would have had to redraw the whole pattern to make them work for you! I am sorry you had to send them to a new home after all that work!

    1. Yes, I really would have had to redraft the whole pattern. I figure that if I really want a pair of elastic-waist pants for something, I’ll just make leggings!

  2. I understand how you feel – I also hate to say anything negative about any of the pattern designers. However – sometimes you just have to! I’m sure a bunch of folks will benefit from your honest review. I feel your pain about hating it so much it went right into the Goodwill pile too – been there. More than once 😉

    1. I always appreciate honesty in reviews, and I actually couldn’t find any reviews of this pattern before I made it. If I had, I might have thought twice…

      This was actually my first complete, 100% flop. I was probably due.

  3. I recently made and reviewed these jeans too. I agree with your assessment that the fit out of the envelope is poor. I managed to make them work for me by drafting a second back yoke to make the rise a bit higher in back, but I think I was just lucky that that fix worked for my body type (I also had to take in a significant amount of fabric from the hips down to the knees but that was a fairly easy alteration). The faux everything also drove me nuts.

    1. Yours turned out cute at least! I agree with you on the length issue also — I forgot to mention that. I’m not tall — only about 5’4″ on a good day — and these jeans were still a bit shorter than even I like them. And yes, definitely turn the front faux pockets into real pockets. That’s not even very difficult to do so I’m not sure why the pattern doesn’t include them in the first place. (Sorry I couldn’t comment on your post — blogspot hates me).

  4. Thanks for your honesty! I too struggle with how honest to be about some indie patterns since I feel strongly about supporting them and know they rely on good web reviews etc. Just on a side note, I moved from KC over a year ago and my sewing buddy still lives there!

    1. I love buying indie patterns and supporting patternmakers, and this was really the first dud I’ve had. Admittedly, I haven’t tried some of the patterns that seem to be harder to fit, like the Colette Peony. But based on honest reviews of Peony, I’m not sure I want to try it. I find bad reviews just as helpful as good — I’m glad you agree!

  5. Thanks for your honest review! I bought the pattern a while back and some awesome denim, but I can’t bring myself to make these jeans. I think it’s the maternity thing. I liked the waist from a sewing perspective, but I’m pretty sure I’d hate it from a wearing perspective.

    I’m glad to have found your blog. I too am a lawyer/mom trying to piece together a few minutes here and there late at night to sew.

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