Butterick B6840:
The Palmer/Pletsch Jean

Fabric: Lightweight stretch woven denim, bought at the estate sale of a custom dressmaker.

I completed this pair of jeans in Helen Bartley’s Palmer/Pletsch Jeans Fit & Sew at Sew-op Makers’ Space in Vancouver, WA in October 2021. I gave Helen a challenge: Help me make jeans that fit my 50+ body.

I’ve never found jeans to be particularly comfortable. In high school and college, when I was already making most of my other clothing, I bought jeans because they were “difficult to make.” Perversely, I didn’t wear them often because I couldn’t make them! Later, in life, after two babies, I couldn’t find any jeans that fit me at all. I last wore jeans 20 years ago. I made 3 pairs using a Connie Crawford pattern and Marta Alto’s jeans fitting video. At that time, I wasn’t thrilled with the fit; it was good enough for gardening jeans, but not something I’d wear beyond my backyard. After spending depressing and unproductive time in department store dressing rooms, I decided that I’d stick to me-made slacks when I wanted to wear pants.

Fast forward 20 years to Helen’s class. She took my challenge. This pair of jeans sports a magical little alteration which makes it look like I actually have a posterior. Currently, it’s Helen’s little secret, but soon it will be available to everyone who reads her soon-to-be-released book, Fit and Sew Custom Jeans. Helen has taken Marta Alto’s fitting advice and expanded upon it. Helen’s book is filled with fantastic information about how to fit and create jeans --- reading it is almost as good as having Helen at your elbow, guiding each stitch. In five days, I finished the most comfortable jeans I’d ever worn, and began a second pair. I’ll call that success! 

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