Dawn Jeans and Monarch Jacket


Hello! I am back with an outfit that was a long time in the making. I am a big fan of batch cutting projects since the cutting is often the thing that slows me way down in my sewing. This is especially true of projects with a lot of pieces, like jeans or button-up shirts. Last May, I decided that I was going to cut out a pair of Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans and a Hey June Cheyenne shirt before my kids got out of school for the Summer. My plan was to sew them over the Summer whenever I had some free time…

Well, I didn’t end up sewing them over the Summer. And then when it got to be fall I thought they weren’t exactly seasonally appropriate since they were both light pink. And I still didn’t sew them over the Winter! They’ve been in the back of my mind the whole time sort of silently making me feel guilty that they were both just sitting in ziplock bags waiting for their turns to be sewn.

When February rolled around I decided that I was going to get both of the abandoned projects sewn. I made the Cheyenne shirt right after I sewed my Amherst shirt since I was already in shirt making mode. I haven’t gotten photos of it yet, but I’m hoping that we can do that soon! As soon as I finished the Cheyenne I moved on to the Dawn jeans.

I’d made the Dawn jeans once before in the wide leg view. (Here they are!) I didn’t have any major fitting issues with that view of the jeans, other than my pair has always been pretty darn snug. This time around I decided to cut the straight leg view. When I cut this pink pair I went up a size to cut a size 16 at the waist graded to an 18 at the hips (and I extended the front and back crotch out to the size 20 since my wide-leg pair seemed a little short in the crotch for me) and tapered back to a size 14 from the knee down. I lowered the rise 1.5″ all around and did a 3/4″ knock knee adjustment on the front and back leg.

I also decided to merge the fly with the front leg piece and sew it as a cut-on fly instead of a sewn-on fly as the pattern is designed. This is totally a personal preference thing since I’m more used to doing it this way. After that I let the jeans sit for 9 months in a zip lock bag. (Facepalm.)

Since I hadn’t made this view before I did a baste fit of the jeans. I was pretty happy with the fit from the front view but the back had some serious problems. I had a whole lot of excess fabric right under my bum and it was pretty unsightly. I also had a bunch of drag lines on the back of my thighs. I was fairly stumped about what to do about the back so I asked for some advice on Instagram and got some good suggestions.

I started by scooping out the back seat by 5/8″. This helped with some of the excess fabric since I definitely have a low butt. Usually, I add a wedge to the back seat when I make pants to adjust for my low butt but I didn’t do that this time around since I hadn’t needed it on my wide-leg pair. I also shortened the front and back crotch by about 1″ each. Then I just sort of played around with the leg seams trying to get some of the draglines on the back to go away.

I ended up sewing the outer leg seam with a 3/8″ inseam from under the low hip to the hem. The inner leg seams were sort of a challenge. I always struggle with mystery drag lines on the back legs of pants and this time I got smart and unpicked the inner leg seam at the mid-thigh to see where I needed more room. I’ve got some extra leg meat in that area on the back of my leg. I pinned the front and back together so that the back was offset and sewn at a smaller seam allowance than the front. That seems to have helped the situation as much as it could be helped with pieces that were already cut.

The big lesson that I learned here is that I really should have made a muslin of this view before I cut into my denim! This would have been super easy since this pattern is designed for non-stretch fabric. I could have just used actual muslin and wouldn’t have needed to track down something with stretch. If I decide to try the tapered leg view I’ll definitely be smart and make a muslin! And I think if I make this view again I’ll also make a muslin to see if I can improve the back view a little bit more.

Once I finished my baste fitting I drew in my new seamlines right onto my denim with my daughter’s Crayola washable marker.  Then I traced the seamlines onto my pattern so I’d know what in the world I’d done if I come back to this view again. Thankfully each time I’ve used washable markers on the fabric they’ve come right out in the wash. I only marked on the inside of the pieces, though, just in case!

That was a long story, right? Are you still here? After all of the work that went into the fitting of the jeans, the sewing was a total breeze! I sewed them in two days and had a blast doing it. I really love topstitching and all of the detail work that goes into jeans. I used an off white topstitching thread, which looks great against this purply pink denim. (The denim has been in my stash for a few years. It’s from Cloud9 Fabrics and the color is called Heather. I think it’s still available in a few Etsy shops but as far as I can tell the line of colored denim isn’t produced anymore.)

I’m super happy with how they turned out in the end! The fabric is pretty lightweight for jeans; I think it’s around 8-8.5 oz per square yard. It stretches as I wear them which helps the fitting issues on the back to be not as much of a big deal. And honestly, I can’t see that view anyway so once I’m wearing the jeans I don’t give it another thought.

So! On to my jacket! Back in September, I made this Monarch Jacket from some black Ponte that was in my stash leftover from something else. I really love the style of the Monarch jacket. The cropped, boxy fit is so comfortable. The jacket is really fun to sew and it comes together quickly. I wear my pink one regularly and I’ve been wearing this black one quite a bit, too.

My jacket is a size 10 graded to a 14. There are a couple of different neckband lengths included in the pattern for fabrics with different stretch percentages. I basted on the neckband cut at the length for 40-60% stretch and thought it was a little loose so I ended up cutting between that length and the length for 60-80% stretch.

I love how the black jacket looks with these pink jeans so I have a feeling it will be my go-to pairing until it’s warm enough for short sleeves.

I am so very happy that my long-standing work in progress (can I really call it that since it wasn’t in progress at all??) is finished in time for Spring to roll around again. Do you have any projects that have been cut and waiting to be sewn for a really long time?



8 thoughts on “Dawn Jeans and Monarch Jacket

  1. Ugh. Those back drag lines. I muslined the straight leg view, in my recommended size, and promptly stuffed it all in a bag, I had too many issues. Maybe I’ll try narrowing the legs of my Merchant and Mills Heroine jeans since I k ow they fit great.


    1. I always, always have drag lines on the back of my thighs on pants unless they are wide leg. Part of me wants to dig in and figure out how to solve it but a bigger part of me doesn’t feel like doing it on my own. Maybe one day I can take a class and get some help with it! I think narrowing the legs of a pattern that fits well is a great idea!!


  2. In my attempt to fix backside issues I have done 6 muslins of these jeans! They have been set aside for a month or so while I sewed things that actually turned out. After seeing yours (IMHO I think they look pretty darn good!) I am motivated to get back to mine. They will still be better than anything I could buy. Thanks for sharing your makes.


    1. Wow, 6 muslins?! I am amazed— I would have put them in time out after muslin 2, I think. Thank you so much! I am definitely of the opinion that they’re better than anything I could buy, which is why I’ll still wear them even with back leg drag lines and wrinkles. I hope you can get your sorted out!


  3. We’ve got very similar measurements & builds, did you use the straight sizing or the curve sizing? I’d like to try this pattern but I’m still very much in the research stage.
    I think they look really good on you!

    I grabbed a quick shot from my Singer Sewing Pants That Fit book…does this match your wrinkle pattern in person? The photos look close.


    1. Sorry for my late reply! I used the straight sizing for my jeans. When this pattern first came out I asked someone at Megan Nielsen patterns about the sizing and I believe the sizes that overlap are the same in both the straight and curvy sizing. (That was a while ago, though, so my memory might be failing me!) I pretty much always do that exact adjustment on my jeans/pants patterns since it does help with my draglines. Maybe I need to make the adjustment larger when I try this pattern again. Thanks for the suggestion!


  4. Hi! We have the same measurements and build, and draglines too! I made the second muslin of the Morgan jeans but I didn’t improove it much. I had to add a bit of width at the crotch on the legs because of all that fleshy fluffiness, and did a flat seat adjustment (yes, a flat seat one, can you believe it?) But the drags on the back legs didn’t get much better…Can you take a picture of your Morgan jeans pattern to show what changes you made? Thank you for sharing all this hustle and bustle. It’s so depressing seeing pictures of narrow hipped women who have best results and no dragging! Finding someone with the same problem makes me feel less alone!


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