Red Dawns Rising

“Fell deeds pants awake. Now for wrath fabric. Now for ruin fitting. And the red dawn[s]!”

Here we go again! My first ‘proper’ MN Dawns, the pattern only slightly mauled, in corduroy. Corduroy again! This is it for a while, though…probably.

I surprised myself with this fabric, as I’ve got kind of a self-mythology that I don’t like red; which is why I’m describing this color as “ruby chocolate” (Mood said “henna”, and it’s OOS). The fact that these pictures were taken on Valentine’s Day is PURE COINCIDENCE I ASSURE YOU. Anyway, this cord is definitely du roi. It’s seriously plushy. Like, the first time I washed and dried it, it overflowed the lint trap with ruby chocolate fluff and almost committed ruby chocolate arson. While sewing it shed tiny velvet fuzzies all over my ironing board, sewing machine plate, and legs. But I like it! It’s warm! It’s rich! The wales are deep and dramatic and luxurious! The small amount of stretch in the fiber makes next to no difference, though – I had hoped it would aid in recovery, but nah.

Oh, by the way, the yardage estimate for the Dawns is VASTLY overgenerous. It calls for 2.5ish yards and I had over a yard left over! I passed the remnant on, so you won’t be seeing it on the blog again, partly because this was straightforward to sew until I reached the belt loops, whereupon I broke no less than 5 needles, two on the same loop. Yikes. Enough was enough for me.

These Dawns are freshly washed, and they’ll bag over the course of the day, but right now I think the fit is – dare I say it – pretty good! I made further significant changes to the pattern, which I had already modified as described here, with the help of my personal Good Book, Singer’s Sewing Pants That Fit.

The below illustrations encompass ALL my changes, shorts and pants – i.e., starting from the straight leg view, unmodified 14 waist, 16 hip, with a 16 rise, here’s everything I did to get to these pants. First, I stacked and taped all the affected pattern pieces; pocket bag, facings, etc. on the front, leg + yoke on the back. Then it was time to slice-and-dice…shall we gif?

The finished pieces don’t look ‘ideal’, as in, they don’t look like a platonic/generic pants pattern, but they work for my body way WAY way WAY better. My other helpful change, not to the pattern pieces but while sewing, was to stretch the heck out of the waistband when attaching it to the pants. I wanted it to conform to my body, and on my shorts muslin the waistband stands up straight, partly because I forgot this step.

Just to commit a quick pants blasphemy for a second – I don’t think this pattern, with my changes, benefits from a curved waistband. The rise hits at like the one point of my body that isn’t curved, and I’ve already made every seam that meets the waistband less vertical, essentially widening dart intakes on the sides, front and back. The mild curve of the waistband is superfluous. Also, a folded rectangle is easier to cut AND there’s less bulk to sew through when adding belt loops. Ooh la la!      

My changes also made these pants less suitable for corduroy overall, mainly because topstitching the fly meant sewing a shallow diagonal across the wales (it reminds me of a story of a college classmate once told, of a boy who went in for a kiss she tried to avoid, and his teeth ended up scraping sideways clack-clack-clack across hers).

But that’s true of the original pattern as well. I’d like to try canvas or traditional denim next.

Begging the question, will there be a next? I think probably yes. I’ve achieved a fit state that Professor Boyfriend calls ‘Pareto optimal’ and I call ‘Whack-a-Mole’. The front is a little long, but if I pinch out the extra length, I get more wrinkles at the crotch. The waistband isn’t perfectly level but a shortened back rise would be worse. But the overall effect is comfortable and reasonable-looking.

There’s still tweaks to be made – I might want to enlarge the back pockets further, experiment with their placement (right now they’re about an inch lower than the pocket markings, by the way), try this zipper technique one more time (I’m still not wowed by it but I need to know if it’s my lack of experience), and swap in a straight waistband. And I’m tempted to give the tapered leg view a whirl. Basically, I can always find a reason to sew another pair of pants.

I hope you got to spend Valentine’s Day doing something you love, maybe with somebody you love…and I’ll leave you with these affectionate words!

Til next time!

Pattern: MN Dawn jeans

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 14 waist, 16 hip, with ch-ch-changes

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Italian Burnt Henna Stretch Cotton Corduroy, $35.97, Mood; 1/2 yard Rifle Paper cotton in Strawberry Fields, $6.25, Gather Here; 9″ metal zip, Sewfisticated; thread, Michael’s, $3.19

Total time: 9.5 hours

Total cost: $45.41

13 thoughts on “Red Dawns Rising

  1. LOVE THESE! This fabric looks soooo dreamy! The cropped length is great as well. I was thinking about making some corduroy dawn jeans but now you’re having me second guessing that plan. Were all these changes from the gif from the shorts muslin or did you do any other additional adjustments since the shorts? Also, adjust as you go or did you make a muslin in between if you did that or did you just do it directly to the pants? Sorry, so many questions! Pants fitting is still a mystery to me! Also the fit-right-after-sewing vs. the fit-after-wearing-for-a-day also a huge difference for me.


    1. Thanks so much! That gif shows the shorts AND pants changes. The scooped crotch and angled front and back crotch seams are changes I made before sewing the shorts muslin; the narrow waist/wide hip adjustment and lengthened crotch extensions are the changes I added before making the pants. These were *sort of* a muslin in that I didn’t trial the changes between the shorts and pants, but I could see I had enough leftover fabric to recut the front or back if I decided I need to, so I just went for it. 😀 I love pants questions!


  2. Well, those are pretty darn gorgeous!! Fit looks marvellous from here. I adore the colour, and I agree that corduroy is perfect for winter. I make a quick leap from flannel pjs to cords almost every morning. Love that gif, thank you.
    Overall, congratulations 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❤ I've been wanting EVERYTHING in corduroy lately – I'm considering a shirt if I can find an irresistible pinwale fabric!


  3. Professor Boyfriend had it right, although I would have said that they’re as good as it gets…ie. freakin’ awesome!
    Thanks for the Valentines card – I’m rather frond of you too! Sadly, it was the only card I got this year, but then again my loved ones have been with me for 337 days. If that’s not love… (674 lunches and dinners but who’s counting?)


    1. WOW, when you do the math, that’s a lot of love! 😀 One thing I love is being alone in my apartment, so I did the reverse calculation – maybe 10 hours since March 2020?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad it’s clear! They’re useful for me to make – for example, I didn’t realize the lack of shaping between the yoke/pants back until I overlaid the drawings and saw how neatly they lined up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, they’re dreamy! Way to persevere. I might have to buy your altered pattern pieces from you because I bet they’re a lot closer to fitting me. Beautiful work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad to find your work! I am struggling through my first pair of pants (ever) and completely forgot to do a zipper for the fly, and have it safety pinned as I try them out lol. Fits perfectly in my hips (39″) and then I’ve got a huge gaping 5 inches excess that I can’t close up… I am so at a loss and feeling better after reading your blog. Do you have suggestions for pants? I have the kelly jeans from rad patterns and lazo trousers. I’m not feeling great about it, I’m 29 bust, 27 waist, and 39 hips at 5’4″.

    I’m at such a loss making pants that fit and look good!


    1. Ooh I’ve never tried Rad Patterns, but that jeans pattern looks thoughtfully designed! My experience with the Lazo trousers is that it fits a straight/slim body with a flat butt best, and it sounds like you’ve got about the same number of inches between your waist and your hips as me, so probably not the best pattern to learn on.

      Did you grade sizes on your pattern? It might seem like a big change from hip to waist, but if you spread it out over both side seams and the front and back crotch, the angles won’t be too dramatic. Right now with the pair you’re working on, you can pinch darts out of the back yoke (like for “gaping back waist”, here: Then you can transfer that change to your paper pattern and that will remove some gaping next time too!

      The best-fitting pair of jeans I ever tried was the Ginger jeans, but that’s a stretch pattern. I’m super tempted by the M&M Heroine jeans but that pattern is so pricey! Meanwhile, they’re not traditional jeans, but the Peppermint wide-leg pants pattern is *free* and really nice. Good luck! 😀


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