19 August 2019

Jessa: Sewing the legs

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

I hope you're ready for the next installment of the Jessa sewalong because it's happening right now :) It's Nikki here, Product Manager at Team Buttons, and today I'm going to cover the process of sewing the legs on your Jessa trousers or shorts.

Catching up? Check out the dedicated sewalong page to find all of the posts published so far. 

I would recommend at this stage tacking (AKA basting, AKA sewing with a 4-5mm stitch length) the inside leg and side seams so you can try them on and check the fit. Tack the interfaced waistband (not the un-interfaced facing) to the waistline to check the fit around the waist. It's much easier to do this before you have properly attached the waistband and will save you a lot of unpicking! Take in or let out the side and inside leg seams until you are happy with the fit, then sew with a normal stitch length.

It's a short and sweet post today, so let's get right to it.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

The previous post in the sewalong covered sewing the zip fly, so the next step is to sew the legs together. Pin both back legs together along the centre back seam, matching notches. Before you stitch this seam, it's a good idea to check that you have enough thread on the bobbin - those legs are verrrry long and Sod’s Law would have it that you run out of bobbin thread a few stitches in and don’t notice until you’ve got to the end of the legs and removed all the pins!

Trim the seam allowances and finish them together, either with an overlocker (serger) or with a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine. Be careful to pull the rest of the legs out of the way when you are finishing the seam allowances around the curve to make sure you don't accidentally catch it.

Press the seam allowances to the right leg - this is the right leg as you'd wear them so you will be pressing to the left-hand side.

Now it's time to sew the back legs and the front legs to each other. This process isn't tricky at all, but make sure you double check that you're sewing this bit correctly, otherwise you might end up sewing the legs together in such a way that you accidentally make a skirt instead of a pair of trousers.

Hopefully Tilly won't mind me revealing that one night, in the early development of Jessa, she accidentally did just this and looked like she was wearing a bright pink mermaid skirt instead of a pair of trousers (sorry Tilly, I had to share!). It was easily rectified but it did give us a good laugh :)

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern
Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

Lay the front legs over the back legs, right sides together and start by lining up crotch point so centre front and centre back seams are directly on top of each other. Pin here, and then pin the notches. After this, pin the rest of the front and back inside leg seams together.

The back legs are slightly shorter than the front legs - between the top corner and the first notch down if you are making the trousers, or between the top corner and the hem - so you will need to ease the inside leg seams together at this point. The slightly shorter back leg helps to stop sagging in this area and get a good fit under the booty. Pin the ease evenly between the top corner and the top notch (or the hem if you are sewing the shorts) and stretch the back leg to fit and smooth out the front leg with your fingers. The picture above shows what it will look like once pinned.

Now it's time to sew the inside leg seams. Start at the hem of either leg and sew up towards the crotch. When you get to the bottom corner of the centre (crotch) seam, pause with the needle down, raise the presser foot and pivot so the seam allowance guide lines up with the other leg. Check that the seam allowance on the bottom leg is still lined up with the fabric on the top, and the lower the pressure foot and sew towards the hem on the other leg.

A nifty little trick here is to sew with the front leg (which is the longer leg) on the bottom and the back leg on the top. The feed dogs will grip it and help ease in the fabric, making your life a little easier :) If you see any fabric is caught and creates any little pleats, don't be afraid to unpick it and stitch it again.

Trim the seam allowances and finish with an overlocker (serger) or zigzag stitch.

Finally, pin the front and back legs together at the side seams, matching notches. Stitch, then trim and finish the seam allowances. The side seams are the same size on the front and back legs so this bit is a breeze.

Tilly and the Buttons - Jessa trousers jeans shorts sewing pattern

And that's it, you have successfully sewn the legs together! I love this part of sewing a pair of trousers and shorts because it feels like you're so close to the finish. Join me back here next time where I'll cover sewing the waistband and sewing the fastenings. As always, don't forget to share your progress on Instagram with the #SewingJessa hashtag, We can't wait to see what you make!


Photos: Jane Looker
Pink denim: Higgs and Higgs
Teal corduory: Like Sew Amazing
Model: Alice Irvine