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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Part Two - Sewing the Pants Stay

Welcome back to part two, the actual sewing of the stay. I want to say that if you have a pants pattern that has pockets in front with an under pocket lining and an upper pocket lining your pattern may be as simple as just extending it out to the edge of the fly. Hopefully that will save you a bit of time and effort. In my case, I drafted the sloper so had to make it all from scratch, which you certainly could do with a pattern as well.

First, cut the seam allowance edge of the pocket on the Upper Pocket Lining.

With the pants leg facing up. Place your Upper Pocket Lining on the pants, smoothing out and matching edges. pin the edge of the pocket opening down. That is the area with the quarter inch seam allowance. 

Stitch on the 1/4 inch seam allowance and then trim off the excess as shown.

From the right side press the Upper Pocket Lining away from the pant leg.

Turn the Upper Pocket Lining to the wrong side and leave about a sixteenth of an inch of the fashion fabric showing at the edge. Press well. Pin into place.

I put some Stitch and Ditch paper stabilizer underneath and then proceeded to topstitch the pocket edge with a double row of "triple stitch". That's the stitch that goes back and forth three times to give a heavy topstitch with regular thread. Make samples and play with the tension to get it right before doing the actual pocket edge.

Serge or pink the bottom curved edge of the fashion fabric Pocket Facing. Pin the Pocket Facings to the non fly edge of the Under Pocket Facing. Stitched this curved edge down to the Under Pocket Facing. 

With the pants now wrong side up, pin the Under Pocket Lining with it's corner Pocket Facing face down to the Upper Pocket Lining. I think the picture above makes it a little clearer than words. 

It should look like this with all layers in place. Make sure all is smooth and serge together the two bottom edges of the Under and Upper Pocket Linings. Once done, smooth and press it all flat and pin into place. 

Serged bottom edge and pinned as above.

Your pocket and tummy stay are complete and ready now for the fly zipper to be installed! My favorite method is that of Sandra Betzina which you can find on the Threads website here.    My zip is all installed which I did tonight and tomorrow I hope to face the back of the pants. I will do my own thing there which means doing a two part waistband that separates at the center back, the better to fit my backside! First, though, I have to watch that rivet tute on You Tube if I can find it

This is not the most glamorous tutorial out there but it is one that I think can give you a lot of service through your pants making journey. I will put it up on the tutorial page for future reference. Let me know if you have any questions or need help...... ...........Bunny


  1. Ever since I tore apart a NYDJ to check for secret tricks I've been making these pocket stays in stretch jeans. Really works! The only downside is the extra large size of the pockets where coins and doggy treats get lost. Lovely fabric for your jeans!

    1. Marianne I'm exactly the same - except I haven't torn my NYDJ apart because I love them so much! I will be stitching a line to make these pockets a bit smaller though, because yes my phone and lipsticks tend to migrate to the CROTCH end of the pockets - not a good look.

      Bunny, thank you very much for these tutorials!

  2. This is very clear and helpful, thank you. And as always so immaculately neat..I rather agree with the comment above about the size of these pockets. I tend to cut the upper pocket lining and the under pocket lining longer at the side seam end and curve them upwards to the fly edge. And I I sew them together about half way along the front so as to get a somewhat narrower and deeper pocket. But I still have two problems and I'd be interested in your thoughts on these. First you have three layers of fabric at your fly front, and that can get awfully bulky for putting the zip in. And second, is there a solution if you have darts on the trouser front? Putting a dart in each of the under layers again produces a very bulky result. But I tend to need a dart because my waist is so much smaller than my hourglass/saddlebag hips. I don't have a protruding stomach so I can have a flat front, but that means an awful lot of curve on the hip.
    Looking forward to seeing the finished jeans.

    1. The first time I used this technique, eons ago, was on a classic pair of pleated trousers. The pleats are folded out of the pattern and that is then used to make the upper and under linings. It really helps hold the pleats nicely as the stay is flat and the pleats are not. It also feels good and I have used this many times since when the trouser look was a bit more in style. You would also fold out any darts for the same flat effect. To make my sloper change from pants to jeans I removed the darts and cut back the sides to make up the difference. So all is flat going in with the jeans making.

      I think that is a great idea to put a seam down the pocket vertically so that those pennies aren't floating around in there. I actually think that's what Sandra Betzina shows but doesn't mention in her method. Will have to check that out when I get home.

      One of my personal fit issues is that my lower front torso is very very short. I really can't curve down any lower along the leg seam as that will go down past the sitting crotch crease for me. Also if I go up with the curve I cut into the fly and I would rather have it be the length of the fly. So for myself this piece is almost even across the bottom. For others without such an odd short bottom torso, front only, the pattern piece could look quite differently. Thanks for this observation.

      AS far as bulk, and I should have mentioned this, the next step was the fly installation which require a normal seam for a few inches in the crotch and then a basted seam through the center front fly seam. Once that basted seam was in I cut back the two layers of lining to a quarter inch from the seam to eliminate any bulk. I was worried about the bulk as well but the fly is now complete and it seems fine with removing those two layers. HTHs.

    2. To clarify: I cut back the two layers of lining to a quarter inch from the seam under the fly extensions to eliminate any bulk.

    3. Great questions, Anne. Thanks.

  3. Really lovely tutorial and so easy to follow for all levels of expertise! I have made these too but found putting in a thin dart at the top edge or trim the underneath a sliver narrower helps hug the body better when the fabric is not stretchy. Now I think we all want a flashy pair of jeans like yours, Bunny!!!!

    1. There was a method to my madness. I figured this print would hide any major sins I might commit!

  4. It's wonderful to follow your sewing process Bunny; I truly miss having the time to do elaborated clothing construction and documenting it along the way....
    Many hugs and thanks for sharing!

    1. You are still inspiring us with your fashion sense even though you are now so busy with your little one. You will get back to your more challenging sewing eventually. I know exactly your position with trying to sew with a baby, not easy at all, but it will all come back, I promise. Thanks, Tany.

  5. Bunny, you are doing such a wonderful job teaching jean making. A lot of work, but appreciated.

  6. Great job on this tutorial! Sewing the pants stay can be a bit tricky, but your detailed explanations and photos made it so much easier. By the way, have you ever thought about design clothes online? It's a fantastic way to experiment with different styles!


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