Vado Bootstrap skinny jeans part one

This project is the last one I bought fabric for in the summer. I wanted a new pair of jeans but I am not a fan of traditional blue denim, so when I saw some dark yellow denim in Barry’s Fabric Warehouse I got a couple of metres despite not having a pattern lined up. I say it’s dark yellow, but I think that’s actually the wrong side of the fabric. The other side is a classic jeans blue. The wrong side was originally off-white but has been overprinted with the yellow colour. I am using the yellow side regardless of whether it’s the ‘right’ one.

I’ve made lots of pairs of jeans over the years from various Burda patterns. They have all been good enough to get worn but the fit isn’t quite right: I get lots of folds under the seat no matter what I do. Rather than go through yet another round of tweaking I decided to give the Bootstrap Vado skinny jeans pattern a try. This is a custom PDF pattern that’s generated to match your personal measurements. It comes from the Bootstrap Patterns website, which supplies custom PDF patterns from a range of designers. Vado Designs has a few others besides the skinny jeans; in particular there’s a bootcut jeans pattern that quite a few other sewing bloggers have written about. All the reviews I’ve read have been positive which is a good start.

I haven’t finished sewing the pattern yet, but I’m about halfway so I thought I’d blog about my impressions of using the custom pattern before I get mired down in the details of fit.

The pattern is very customisable. We aren’t just talking hips, waist and inside leg: there’s the rise, the knee, thigh, and ankle sizes to enter. You can also select your desired paper size and file format, choose whether to add seam allowances (for a small extra cost) and even select the degree of stretch of your intended fabric.

I don’t think the process of taking and entering measurements is particularly easy. I found it helped a lot that I already had a pair of ‘almost right’ jeans that I could use to sanity check things like the desired rise and waistband measurement.

I really like that the pattern comes with non-overlapping pieces so no tracing is required. I got my pattern printed at a reprographics shop on A0. Annoyingly I’m tall enough that the pattern overflowed onto a second sheet by a few inches, but it was wonderful to just cut out a pattern without needing to trace it in order to add length or make any adjustments for once…although we’ll see how well it fits when it’s done.

One curious thing I’ve noticed about my final pattern is that there is absolutely no shaping in the back yoke seam. I’ve long suspected I have a flatter backside than average so this may just be the effect of the customisation, but it will be interesting to see how it fits. I’m not making a toile to check because it would need to be done in the same or very similar fabric to be useful.

The fabric length estimate is no help at all. This isn’t a surprise for a completely custom pattern and it does warn you of that. Having said that, I looked at it, decided it was a massive overestimate and then struggled to fit my pattern into two metres of fabric which is normally plenty for jeans for me. The problem is the waistband piece. The waistband is one long piece and the grain runs around the waist. My waistband piece is rather curved so it took up a huge amount of space as there weren’t many other pieces I could lay alongside it to fit into the curve. My Burda patterns have the waistband in several pieces which are cut on the cross grain. I think I prefer that even though it means more seams.

The pattern comes with fairly detailed instructions (at least by Burda standards) but if I didn’t already know how to sew jeans they would not be sufficient. In places what’s shown in the photos doesn’t match the text, and they miss some fairly important information. In particular they don’t give any direction as to which side to sew asymmetric details like the ticket pocket and the flat felling on the centre back seam. Having said that, I’ve learnt a few things from this pattern. The method given for the fly is clever and different to any I’ve tried before, so I am intending to give it a go. The instructions also have a very slick technique for the front pockets which gives a nice clean finish.

So far I’ve constructed the back, the front pockets, and am about to tackle the fly. Watch this space.

17 thoughts on “Vado Bootstrap skinny jeans part one

  1. Love your blog. I have a “flat butt” problem too and have – at last – found the perfect pattern at Style Arc. it’s called the Flat Bottom Flo Pant. It needs fabric with a little stretch but I’m now on my 7th pair from the same pattern (only needed to tweak te first pair a tiny bit) and then just flew on from there.

  2. OOOH these look interesting! I don’t have the patience for multiple attempts at getting aperfect fit, but I second Ruth’s mention of the Flat Bottom Flo, it’s really good. Once you see the shape of the [yes, fairly straight] back curve, it’s easy to overlay the pieces onto other trouser patterns and [oh I hate this term] ‘hack’ it. Style Arc’s ‘Misty’ pull on jeans work well for my bum too, and I think I’m happily in the stage of preferring elastic waists to any palaver with zips and buttons sticking into my flabby belly….
    I like rebelling and using whatever side of the fabric looks best as well, sewing anarchy!

    1. Definitely have to look into those. I still like a fly front on trousers, but I don’t mind adapting things. I know what you mean about ‘hack’; to me it carries a meaning of doing a lazy or bad job. I like ‘tweak’ instead for patterns!

  3. I have a flat bum and always do a flat bottom adjustment on all trouser patters. I take about an inch out. I think it is also called a fish eye dart and you can get a tutorial on the style arc site and there is also one somewhere on artisan square. I have never made jeans and it would be a bit more complicated with the yoke but it really does take that extra fabric out.

  4. Good looking so far. I want to make jeans too. Had a frustrating experience yesterday that reminds me why I sew – tried on on two different brands of jeans – my common RTW wear problem came up again – fits my hips but too loose in the waist. Didn’t like that one brand had no hemming on the legs- just let it fray.

  5. Great post, what an interesting project. I’ve sewn one pattern from Bootstrap and was impressed by the fit. BTW, love the color you chose, these jeans will be brilliant!

    1. The lady who runs the “closet case files” site put up a post on pants fitting a while back. She included images.
      Sandra Betzina has a pants fitting course over on bluprint. (used to be called craftsy) If you find it is too pricey, check the American calendar for likely sale dates. (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Labor day, Fourth of July, etc.)
      Good luck.

  6. Ooo! I haven’t seen this jeans pattern before, and it looks very interesting. I’ll be interested to see how your jeans turn out. Good luck with them!

  7. I love that denim. Two-sided. Gorgeous colour! Good luck on the jeans. I’m thinking of trying a first pair of jeans this year. Still all twisted up mentally about whether to use denim with lycra or “real” denim.

  8. Jeans sewing is my favorite! I was somewhat interested in that Bootstrap pattern. I’ve never had luck with Lekala so I was on the fence. I’ll be looking forward to the finished jeans.

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