I made jeans! I think this is actually only the second pair of jeans that I’ve shared on my blog, but I’ve also made the Closet Case Ginger Jeans and the Cashmerette Ames Jeans (well, my first tester version of the Ames is actually on my blog, you just didn’t know it) and I have yet to share them with you. My BAD! 🙂
These jeans are made from Simplicity 8447, a 1940’s re-issue. I initially wasn’t too jazzed on this pattern as I don’t want to wear overalls, but I picked it up anyway during a sale at JoAnn’s as I thought I might want to make something else in the pattern someday. Honestly, I didn’t look too closely as I didn’t notice that the envelope had the pant made into jeans. I was planning to sew some 40’s jeans when someone in the We Sew Retro FB group mentioned this pattern and there was a lightbulb. I had planned to make another Simplicity 40’s pattern into jeans, but decided to test this one out instead.
I looked at several vintage photos of 1940’s jeans before I started on these. Most are very baggy and held with a belt. A lot look like perhaps they were men’s jeans. I wanted to do a lot of contrasting top-stitching and add some pockets, but as this was my first pair of retro jeans, I decided to simplify the process and follow the pattern. The top-stitching that I did is in a blue jeans top-stitch thread.
The fabric is a dark indigo heavyweight non-stretch denim that I picked up at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley. I don’t see it on their website and I’m not sure what ounce it is, but it’s about the same as the weight of my husband’s Levi’s.
I finished the seams with my serger and added the little pocket from the pattern. It’s just big enough to hold my cell phone with it sticking out a little bit.
Following the measurement chart I graded these up (just like I always do….). I didn’t make a muslin (I rarely do…). And these were about 4″ too big in the waist. I did try these on as I sewed and I knew that the fit would be bulky and probably not too flattering from the vintage jeans photos I had been perusing, so I didn’t think much of it. I already had the side placket done and the waistband on and I realized that these were way too big. As they were top-stitched and sewn, I didn’t want to take them apart to get them to fit right, so I moved the buttons until they fit and altered the placket so there wasn’t extra bulk. It doesn’t look as good as it did originally, but it worked. I also took it in on the outside leg seams.
And as I had a flap in the inside due to the extra fabric, I sewed on an inside button which helps a lot with buttoning these and keeping them secured.
I used some vintage metal buttons from my stash. And yeah, these jeans give me a wrinkly saggy butt.
The legs on this pattern are different than the pattern drawing. The photo of the sample on this pattern does show them more narrow. From my understanding, the original vintage pattern is more like the drawings with the wider leg, so I’m not sure why they changed that in this reissue. As I had to alter mine when they were basically already made, the fit is probably not as good as drafted.
I’m wearing my grandma’s Air Force jewelry with this. My grandpa was a WWII fighter pilot and career USAF Colonel. That link ID bracelet in the photo below was his.
This pattern has cuffs. I thought about leaving them off and just rolling them up, but decided to keep the cuff for this pair. I think it makes the jeans a little dressier, especially as I didn’t do the contrast top-stitching.
Aside from the wrinkly butt these jeans give me, I still love them. They’ve been in constant rotation ever since I made them, which was before Christmas. What I really love about this style is that I can wear slim-fitting tops with them. I don’t feel comfortable wearing a top like that with a skinny jean, so they’re perfect for my sweaters and fitted tees.
I’m wearing these jeans with a sweater that my grandma knitted for my grandpa. She made two of these for him and I just love wearing this one with these jeans. A fun fact is that I was in an antique store wearing this sweater and I saw a very similar hand-knitted horse sweater there. It was a different color and had a different horse scene, but it was the same style.
I’m planning another pair of 40’s jeans, but I’m not going to use this pattern. I recently sewed up another 40’s pant pattern (Simplicity 3688) which is similar, but it has a better fit on me than these. I later realized that I went up about 1″ all around when grading this pattern, but 1″ wouldn’t have accounted for that large of a waist. I’ve seen some versions of the overall version and they don’t look big and seem to be tighter fitting, so it makes me wonder if my grading was off that day….. Oh well, in the end I made these work and love wearing them, so that’s what counts. 🙂
- Jeans: Simplicity 8447 in midweight denim, made by me
- Green sweater: Macy’s
- Brown sweater: Handmade by my grandma
- Shoes: Bass Weejuns
- Jewelry: Vintage 1940’s from my grandparents
- Lipstick: Besame 1965 Portrait Peach (affiliate link)