Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

I was nearly defeated. This pattern made me question everything I thought I knew about fitting pants and my body. It all started when the pattern size for my measurements (size 14) was too small and I had to size up to a size 16. I knew things were going to go badly for me. And yes, I have confirmed my measurements, I should fit in a size 14, but don’t.

I went into the adjustments thinking I would only have to make my standard adjustments: (1) lower waist, (2) wide hip adjustment, (3) add length to front crotch and remove length from the back crotch, and (4) lengthen the leg. Boy that didn’t work out at all.

The first day I did just that. I took the pattern, made my standard adjustments, and then spent the rest of the day doing minor tweaks to see if I could get the fit better. By the end of the first day, I had only managed to make the jeans fit worse.

I took a new approach on day two and decided to draft a pattern from my pant block to see if I could get a better fit. For whatever reason, I had jeans that fit even worse. I was tired. I was not thinking straight. I took a break from the pattern to clear my head.

I came back to the pattern after a break and started from scratch. Instead of trying to make all my adjustments at once, I took it one step at a time. After a long day and a few tweaks the next day, I finally arrived at a pattern that fits well and is comfortable.


Lowering the waistline was always going to happen, so I just did that along with my first step, which was to figure out how much to move the center back and the center front seam line. I went through a ton of iterations. First, I shifted the seam line an inch for both the front and back. Then I shifted both by two inches. I went back to 1 inch on the front and 3 inches on the back. Every time I adjusted, I had to shift the side seam as well and then guess what to do with the crotch length, meaning the length of the crotch line after the curve. I know I require a longer than average front crotch length and a shorter than average back crotch length. Luckily you can go back and sew a shorter length if it is too long, so I left things long and adjusted the crotch length if needed. I was more interested at this point with determining how much to adjust the position of the center front and back, and I was looking at two things to make this determination: (1) did the side seam have weird puckering / warbling and (2) did I have fabric pooling on the outer part of my butt.

With a little research, I found that several people have this fit issue with this pattern. I found it extremely uncomfortable, and the pants were unwearable, so that’s why I had to fix it. I shifted my center back seam (and equally the side seam) until the excess fabric under the outer butt near the side seam went away. The center front seam was less obvious. I noticed warbling along the side seam, and the pants just felt twisted on my torso until I got it right. In the example photos above, you can see the puckering on the side seam along the hips as well as the excessive pooling of fabric under the butt on the outer hip area.

I have to apologize that I don’t have a better explanation for this adjustment. I can’t find a reason why it would be needed in the first place. In my complete ignorance, I’m just describing what I did. It took me about 5 toiles to figure out what I needed to do!


The next issue to deal with was to get my leg to sit in the center of the pant leg, and this required my wide hip alteration. Remember, I call this a wide hip alteration where some people refer to this as a knock-knee adjustment. Usually, I would make the same amount of adjustment to the front and back pieces but not for this pattern. Even though I have my pant block, I still had to try many options. First, I made a 1-inch adjustment to the front and back, and then I made a 1-½ inch adjustment on both. I went back to a 1-1/4 inch. Then I considered 2 inches. Back and forth and back and forth.

The end goal was to figure how to get my leg to sit in the center of the pant leg and not have the pant leg collapse inward or outward. Normally I’ll have fabric gather and wedge itself along the inseam and then I know I need to swing the leg portion outwards (wide hip adjustment) by overlapping the torso and leg portion along the side seam. I go into greater detail about this adjustment on these posts:


At this point, the torso portion felt comfortable, and my legs were center in the pant. I had also figured out the knee had to be dropped an inch, the legs lengthened 3 inches, and the back crotch length needed to be shortened.


What to do about the front and back leg widths? The front of my pants was too tight around my upper and middle quads, and the back was too loose around my hamstrings. Again I played around with leg widths and where to add and remove the fabric. I didn’t want the leg to become twisted, so this was harder to do than it should have been. I ended up removing inches on both seams of the back leg. For the front leg, I removed a lot from the side leg but added to the inseam.

Lastly, I made sure to true my pieces, double-checked that the inseam and side seam lengths were the same, adjusted the rise, and tweaked the curve of the crotch for a perfect fit. I’ve never put so much work into fit adjustments. In the past, I would have just given up. I sewed more than 20 toiles. I altered several toiles multiple times when I could. I drew the pattern repeatedly, because my paper pattern got too tattered. I was exhausted and frustrated most of the time, but I made it to the end, and the proof is how the pants fit, especially from the back.


If you don’t believe me or want to try my alterations, I’ll totally mail you a copy of my pattern pieces. At this point I’m not sure I could still consider these to be Dawn jeans. I made too many alterations.

6 thoughts on “Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans

  1. Wow! I can’t believe you had so much trouble with this pattern! I have it, and I always think of two things when considering Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans: wide legs and high waist. After what I just read, I am still NOT ready for these. Your final product is beautiful and the fit is precise! But as you say, are they really Dawn jeans? I think you could design and draft your OWN jeans after that nightmare/experiment! Hmmm?


  2. Wow. Great job! What a helpful post. I can’t believe you made it through 20 toiles. I’ve currently thrown in the towel on a coat after just two toiles … maybe I’ll pick it back up again later, but I’m very frustrated!


  3. Thank you so much for this post! I have trying to fit pants for me for years, driving myself crazy. I also find that I have to change the angle etc. I have saved this address and will come back to read in detail what you did, hoping to achieve as great a fit as you did! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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