More Jeans Making: Calvin Klein Vogue 2850


Hello, here I am again and this time I’m making jeans using a vintage jeans sewing pattern maybe for the first time. The reason I sound a bit uncertain is that first of all I have made a pair of jeans but I made it by cracking an old pair into pieces and using that as a pattern. Secondly, I’m not actually sure I haven’t done this before. I have two vintage jeans patterns in my collection, both of which are Calvin Klein from the 1990s. One of them looks like what is now called Mom jeans and the other looks more like a Boyfriend cut with straight legs. When I opened the envelopes, which are in remarkably good condition, I found that the pattern pieces were both cut out but I can’t for the life of me remember ever using these patterns, (this is becoming a thing) so either I’ve got double amnesia or for some reason, I never got round to actually making the jeans. Did I chicken out at the last minute?

Whatever happened, I’m making some jeans now and unlike apparently everybody else in the sewing universe, I’m not going for Morgans, Gingers or Dawns (no shade). In keeping with my self-imposed pledge to try and use my stash, which includes my patterns, I’m actually going to use these long-hoarded Calvin Klein patterns. I had some denim in the stash now so it felt like a good time.

I unearthed this pattern last year and made these wild and wacky jeans in some novelty fabric I’d picked up on my travels. I really liked the fit and I decided that I would have a go at making some “real” jeans with it. It dates from 1992 and that’s approximately when I bought it. I never made the pattern, I’m not sure why but pre-internet, it was probably due to limitations on sourcing good denim.

Vogue 2850 Front

Now I’m a real skinflint when it comes to notions and things for sewing and it took me years before I changed the blade on my rotary cutter. I struggled through the first leg sawing back and forth and then I conceded that when you’re cutting something like denim, you need a fresh blade and seeing as I have recently bought a pack of ten, I thought maybe it’s just silly struggling on with an old cutter. So I flipped through to a fresh one and I can’t tell you what a difference it made, it’s just sliding through the denim as though it were tissue paper – not that I’d use this blade to cut paper of course.

I feel comfortable making jeans now, but there are still some tweaks I need to make to them. I figured though, that by using a classic pattern like these, hopefully, I should be well on the way to getting a great fit.

I did make a couple of adjustments, I had to grade up two sizes because … my 90s body is not my Now body … and I increased the depth of the yoke as I thought I’d need more room there. Plus, I added one of @yuki_wafflepatterns tool pockets for a bit of a utilitarian twist.

I used the overlocker to sew most seams, that with topstitching gives a good cheat’s flat felled seam. I did minimal topstitching and used no hardware so the construction was relatively quick.

What I do like: I was really impressed with the fit of the first pair of jeans I made from this pattern and once again I think it looks quite good. I like the position of the waist on these jeans, it’s quite high on me which I’m comfortable with. Low-waisted jeans are a no-no for me.

What I’m not sure about: The waistband is a bit too tight, that’s down to me – after the first wash, these jeans threw me back into the ordeal of trying to force the waistband closed like old school jeans – which indeed they are! I think that is due to the fact that I used non-stretch denim and didn’t think about adjusting that when I made it. Conversely, the legs seem quite baggy to me – in the pattern envelope photograph, they look straight, almost tapered in fact. I think I want to trim the legs down a bit as they seem to balloon out around the knee and I’m getting a little bit of a clown pants vibe. Trouser legs are something that I’m having a little bit of trouble getting/deciding absolutely how I want them. Plus, I’m still undecided or what length my trousers should be. I’m wearing extremely high wedge heels in the photos but they don’t look so good with flats – maybe I need to crop them? Also, it looks like I didn’t need the extra amount in the yoke, it looks a tad long now.

Finally, the front crotch on these is still a bit long which is something I should have adjusted as I always have this problem, however it looked better on the previous pair.

So the verdict? I’m wearing them as I type so they’re keepers and I think that the waist will ease with time but I’m itching to have another go to work out those glitches. I think I’m going to have to investigate the “Top Down Centre Out” method that I’ve seen a lot of people talking about as I’m seeing some of the problems it is supposed to address such as the baggy bottom.

Have you marvelled at how one pattern turns out dramatically different when you change fabrics? These look and drape completely different from the animal print pair.

Final word: So wishing I was a tracer in my previous sewing life. I just saw someone selling a copy of this pattern on Etsy for £180 so if you have one and don’t want to make it …sell it!

Thanks for dropping by,

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

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