Saturday, January 25, 2014

Upcoming work, drafting jeans and the weather

So this is what has thwarted my plans today.
I was at the train station bright and early and waited for two hours, and then decided by the time the train came in another two hours, it would be time to turn around and come home.
So I shovelled instead. Nevermind.

On the work front, I have some interesting projects both modern 1930's, (one of my favourites) and some Elizabethan costuming in the next few months.

One of the shows requires me to make jeans! How much fun is that? We are going to reproduce a vintage style of jeans, higher waisted, in non-stretch 10 or 12 oz denim, that can be danced in.

I spent part of last week making up a draft for them. Now I don't know if you have ever reverse engineered something but it is an interesting process. I mean I know what a typical jean pattern of this style should look like, but when I went a searching through my books, I couldn't find one that really fit the bill. I wondered if those drafts are so extremely proprietary that nothing similar is in a book....hmmm. I didn't have a pair of vintage jeans to take apart and examine, so I just have to work with the information I have.

What are the requirements of these jeans? They need to sit just below the natural waist- not on the hip, not hanging off the butt with the pockets at the back of the thigh with only magic holding them up.

      I have seen guys wearing jeans so low that I am tempted to follow them around the grocery store so I can see the inevitable wardrobe malfunction, but so far I have refrained. I wonder if future costumers will puzzle over how to get those jeans they wore in 2010 to look like that?

The jeans need to sit high into the crotch, let a dancer do the splits, squat, or kick his leg up above his head without splitting or limiting motion. They need to be slim in the thigh, but not tight. Many dancers have a 7 to 9 inch difference between their waist and hip measurements which isn't typical of the average person or the jeans they wear.

So the process starts with identifying how the jean fit is different from a regular trouser, and modifying the draft that I normally use. Slimmer in the thigh and leg, shorter rise, and most importantly a modified crotch curve. The first fit sample I made was ok, but I made the thighs a bit too snug and didn't get enough fabric over the cheeks so the CB seam had tension on it in the wrong area.
So a bit of analysis is in order, and this is the interesting part of the job- mulling things over.

 When you squat down in tight jeans, the expansion of the seat muscles require extra fabric length and width. If the thighs are not tight, it allows the body to move within the cloth. If the thighs are tight, it restricts that movement of fabric, and has to be compensated somehow.
The shape of the back fork and centre back seam run/angle are important aspects in allowing this movement.

So I will try my modified pattern out on a dancer next week, see if the modifications I have made work,  and then try to quantify those modifications, creating my own "jeans" draft, that I can reproduce in a variety of sizes.
When I get back to work next week I will try to remember to photograph my pattern for you to see.

In the meantime, stay warm!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I really enjoy the mulling part of costuming; thinking about how the garment will be worn/used/moved in. And I did actually witness a guy's low-slung jeans falling down once - in a Burger King at Victoria train station, central London! It was absolutely hilarious :D