Jeans fit lousy these days

Note: At close we have a sponsored give away; a free pair of jeans from Tummy Tuck Jeans.

I have been sitting on this post for a couple of months mostly because I don’t know what to call it and I don’t have any (easy or fast) answers. Specifically, what’s up with the fit of jeans these days? I am beyond annoyed. I thought it was just me but then I got this email from Sue:

I am a consumer who found your site while I was looking for links to pants patterns and manufacturing. I have been noticing the trends in the patterns for most commercially retailed women’s pant. The recent troubling trend is the lack of buttocks room at all, even in higher rise pants. It just seems the a$$ just keeps getting flatter in all pants. It may be a way to save costs on labor (less curves and uneven measurements ) and material. But even the expensive brands are going in this direction. What the heck is happening and who do I holler too?! I am so frustrated I could scream.

Specifically, jeans are round-mounds lately. I’m calling it the mono-butt. There’s no nice way to say this but -we have cheeks back there, what happened to the bifurcation? A buttless, mound back there is annoying. What happened to “shape and lift”? This isn’t flattering. We want cheeks!

When I’ve brought this up with some people, they’ve said it’s because women are wearing their jeans too tight. Right. Today’s kids are the only ones who’ve ever worn their jeans too tight. Like we never did. Or don’t. It’s not that the jeans are too small (although they’re snug, all right?), it’s the cut. There’s supposed to be a CURVE back there. Redbook did an article on The Best Jeans For Your Butt and every single pair had a mono butt. Below are some views. While these are snug, I wouldn’t say they’re too tight -but I would say these have mono-mounds.

I have this idea that the cut of jeans has become increasingly worse because everybody’s copying each other. People launching a denim line grab a pair of the best selling brand in the market and copy it line for line, errors and all. Who knows how the original market leader got butt-less but I’m not the only one to think it’s from using off shore product development (review: Push manufacturing; subverting the fit feedback loop). Eric thinks it’s something else. He thinks that a given brand made a drafting error, the style became popular, and it became a look all its own. He thinks people are deliberately making them that way now either because they think it looks good or that it’s so ubiquitous people don’t know they’re supposed to look any other way. Well, I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg. All I know is that if you want cheek room in pants these days, you either have to buy them used, make your own or hunt and peck for the few remaining brands that aren’t buttless. By the way, one such brand is Rockies which you may have never heard of. Rockies are cowgirl pants. Below is a pair of Rockies on the left. I don’t know where the pants on the right came from. The latter photo came courtesy of google image search and I’m kicking myself for not saving the originating url. Rockies are available in western wear and many feed stores.

Of course I would love to open the floor to a discussion of this fitting problem but we might have to move it over to the forum so people can upload sketches of their drafts and proposed solutions. I know I have a hum-dinger I’m looking forward to posting from a vintage German pattern drafting book.

Okay, in keeping with today’s theme of jeans fitting, I coincidentally got an offer from the Tummy Tuck Jeans PR person to sponsor a jeans giveaway. All we need now is a contest. So our contest is, selecting from the silhouettes on this page, which pants pattern is most likely to render the worst fit? I will randomly select a winner from all correct responses. Upon selection, you will have to provide your size, name, address and contact information for the product to be shipped to you. Deadline is next Monday.

PS. If you have any recommendations for companies still making decent jeans, sing out. This company looks promising except they don’t show any on a model. Problematically, they claim “We invented Diamond Gusset jeans in 1987”. Good grief. I’ve been putting gussets in pants at least ten years prior. Perhaps needless to say, I’ve been inspired to play with pants drafts lately…

Related: Jeans and pants fitting tutorials
Jeans fit so lousy these days
Jeans fit so lousy these days pt. 2
Yet another pet peeve: Waistbands
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.1
Anatomy of a Camel Toe pt.2
How to fix a camel toe
Adding a gusset to pants pt.1
Adding a gusset to pants pt.2

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  1. Christina M says:

    So excited to see this topic Kathleen!!! I have been searching for a butt lifting/fitting pair of jeans for years. I have tried everything from mass retailers to those dreaded $200+ boutique jeans. Nothing. (well I did find some at Banana Republic, but I don’t think they would fit well on everyone)
    Finding the right fit in jeans is more of nightmare to me than finding a swimsuit to flatter my shape..and it’s clearly almost that time, too. I can’t wait to see the responses!

  2. RebeccaF says:

    Rockies do fit great, us cowgirls need to have room for our cheeks to use our seats to help control our horse’s performance, Plus the bonus is they look good and feel great! Another good brand was Roper also a western jean but I’m not sure if the Company is still in business.
    My vote is the McCalls pattern #6985

  3. oliviacw says:

    I’m voting for the McCall’s #6985, too. And I bet the Style #2712 might be the best, at least for me (a large waist-hip differential).

  4. Anne says:

    I had terrible luck with the tummy tuck (got as a gift). The pair I got only works on an apple shape or maybe the larger sizes. I’m a size 4 with a little baby belly. It fit in the hips and thighs (nice) but the waist was gaping alot on me. Worse than any pair of jeans I’ve ever tried on. I can only wear it with certain long shirts but I save it for gardening since they’re so loose. I have a kangaroo belly pouch right up front. I can overlap it four inches easy.

  5. vespabelle says:

    I tried on the tummytuck jeans. They do look pretty good, but are out of my budget and I prefer spandex-less jeans.

  6. BJ says:

    I have been noticing the mono-butt too – guess that goes with the uni-boob look. Jeez. Anyway, my vote is for McCall’s 6985.

  7. Darby says:

    I could rant for hours about jeans. I had a pair of TR jeans that my DDs loved and talked me into getting… well, I ended up giving them to a friend of mine who is like a size 0 (I’m a size 4 and the rear of those jeans looked so bad on me). I’ve since come to the conclusion that many of the high-end jeans look best on…. pre-teens. Most real women with curves, um, help! We need attractive jeans!

  8. hannah says:

    I agree, the mcCall 6985 – cameltoe AND monobutt. Glad to know others are having fit problems too, I only have 2 pairs of pants because shopping for them is so frustrating..

  9. Marji says:

    Oh, would I be happy to find commercially available jeans that left room for the butt.
    The worst draft is McCalls 6985, now I’m curious what pattern that was.
    (BTW, your whole blog post shows up in Bloglines, not just the first few lines – I thought you might want to know to change it)

  10. hannah says:

    also — i thought my roommate just had a really hot butt until just now, when i realized that she only wears used pants from the 80’s. hmmm.

  11. Heather says:

    I know what you mean about lousy fitting jeans. I’m always on the search for a great fitting pair of jeans. I think a great pair of low rise jeans have the best fit.

  12. Diane says:

    I have a big butt/small waist/swayback, most jeans gap in the back for me.
    Most pants, for that matter.

    My favorite jean for fit is definitely the

    Lola Boot cut from Lucky Brand.

    True “lift and separate” butt lift technology

  13. vicki says:

    I say the McCalls 6985, too. The front, the back; not sure where to begin but I know that I would have to make more alterations if I were using that pattern than the others.

  14. Lisa Bloodgood in Portland says:

    I’d say the McCall’s #6985 and the Style #2712 both because there is barely any room for a butt on the back crotch seam. Yeesh!

    All my jeans fit me weird. None of them are low rise but none of them go all the way to my natural waistline either. Or are supposed to go that far. They all go up that far in the back and are just below my belly button in the front. I have a fairly “normal” waist/hip difference and am slightly sway backed. Also my butt isn’t flat. I definitely have a butt.

  15. LisaB says:

    Thanks for helping me think, once again, about something that had never bothered me before.

    I pick the McCall’s 6985 pattern because of the lack of back extension.

  16. I also think 6985.

    Rockies are great, and available at low prices on eBay if you don’t mind used jeans. You can find great styles and LONG inseams. Also, they rise to the waist.

    I am dying to try a pair of NYDJ (Tummy Tuck) because they have stretch, long inseams, and a trouser cut. I was near their booth at a recent show and the rep said they would sell to me as a courtesy at wholesale. He took my information and said they’d call for size & CC number–they never did. NYDJ–are you listening? I want my jeans!! Maybe I’ll win a pair here.


  17. Juliane says:

    I vote for McCalls 6985, for all the reasons already mentioned.

    By the way, you are going to tell us which pattern would give the BEST butt fit, too, aren’t you? I’m thinking the Burda one….

    Great topic.

  18. mikawendy says:

    I’m guessing 6985 because the curves are practically nonexistent–nearly straight lines.

    The other thing about jeans fitting that bugs me is when the jeans fit in the hips but not in the waist. Once I find a pair of jeans to fit me in the hips, they are too big in the waist. If I try a pair that would fit me in the waist, they’d never fit me in the hips or thighs. I have many other athlete/dancer/skater friends who have the same problem.

  19. jules says:

    I think it depends what the trousers are for – these aren’t jeans drafts are they? So tricky to know what Kathleen is going to decide constitutes a poor fit.

    Anyway – going with the topic of the post, I think the most droopy-bum draft is the last one, Burda #3752, so that’s my vote.

  20. Grace says:

    I have reasonable luck with some cuts made by Lands End, Ralph Lauren, Lee and Talbots.

    I cannot wear any of the high fashion jeans or even the department store private label jeans in the “modern” or “updated” cuts. I have a 11-12″ drop between my full hip and waist. I could never wear the skinny straight jeans, even as a teenager.

  21. Kate says:

    I’m guessing that McCall’s 6985 would give the worst fit– that curve looks like it is intended to fit a paper doll.

  22. Frid says:

    Jeans do look ugly today, and they don’t fit me, that’s why I use skirts mostly. A few years ago jeans with wide legs and formed waistbands were in, they fit me great, but aren’t modern anymore.

    All jeans are cut so tight around the thighs and made for a woman without curves. I can’t wear that, but I don’t think it looks good either.

    I knew I couldn’t be the only one annoyed with the jeans, thanks for the post!

  23. Kathy says:

    I eliminated Burda and Simplicity patterns. McCalls certainly looks to leave the least amount of room for your body, there is no shaping whatsoever in the legs, I think it would require more alterations. Since everyone seems to agree with the McCalls, I am going to be the contrarian and go with the Vogue pattern. Looking at that back leg, I think it has the worst fit. It is very close to the McCalls’ horrible crotch curve. Considering if I were purchasing the patterns and making them up, I am sure the Palmer Pletsch pattern would give a much better direction on fitting/fixing these rather than Vogue’s “vague” directions.

    Regarding the Diamond Gusset pants, I have purchased them numerous times for my husband as work pants and we have been happy with them. He absolutely refuses any clothing made anywhere but the US. Diamond Gussets provided a great turnaround in order process to delivery and I have not had to mend a pair of their jeans yet–and he works construction. As to their fit… his weight fluctuations aside he tends to wear his pants with a belt, but not at his natural waistline (like most men in his milieu) . I have not ordered them for myself but then, I suffer from flatass so don’t have the monobutt issues. My issues are more for the high hip and belly variety and as far as I know, there are no blue jeans manufacturer that address this (except maybe Tummy tucks? but I have not seen them in my local stores–but then again, I don’t shop new for me anymore. I am just thanking the fashion gods that the waistlines are going up.

  24. Colleen says:

    I have tried, “find the perfect fitting jeans, pants and bras in three minutes”, and found their suggestions helpful.

    Also, as part of a jeans fit project I worked on, I found that rise shape and maniacal attention to meeting spec within tolerance were key to great and consistent fit. The “U” shape rise fit better than the “V” shape rise (and is trickier to achieve) and a 2-piece waistband corrects the gaping at the back waist. I suspect the “V” shape rise came from off-shore and/or “green” patternmakers.

    I have worked on Tailored and Casual lines and find that denim is the trickiest – the variety of fabrics, patterns per color, washes, trim, etc.

  25. joni says:

    I’ve always had a jeans fitting problem – even way back when – I have a womans bum and a waist and to fit my behind means usually that the waist is too large – OK, a belt helps.
    Todays kids don’t tend to look that way – many are overweight and the bum and waist of the pants create that large blob of flubber that moves around when they walk – flat assed jeans help push the blob upwards – where else can it go? It is not a flattering look.
    The “western” jeans companies tend to fit the better way – full seat and a waist line included! Women with shape! I like 20X by Wrangler- there are different styles to accomodate the rise and all!
    Who has time to make jeans anyway???

  26. Marnie says:

    I agree with Eric on why we have the mono-butt. It’s the current fashionable butt shape. (It may well have started as a patterning error, much like how I think the empire-waist seam across the bust line trend started.) The picture of the Rockies jeans looks strange to me, like they’re riding up uncomfortably.

    This isn’t the first time that a double-mounded body part has been squished into a single mound in the name of fashion. Think of the pigeon-breasted mono-bosom of the 1890’s. Silhouettes are constantly changing, and this is the currently fashionable one. I think the smashed-butt look is on its way out though, as the higher-waisted, loose-leg look is becoming more popular. Whether this will mean highlighting both cheeks again remains to be seen.

  27. vickib says:

    For 30 years I have done custom jeans and there is no pattern that I have found that is right so I do my own from customer measurements. I sell POSTED brand jeans in my store. They are designed by someone who, years ago, worked for Rocky, I believe. In some ways they are similar to Rockies but without the wedgie (which is slightly noticeable even in the picture above).They are designed to fit a woman’s curves.
    A good thing is that they are available in TWO CUTS, slim and relaxed, TWO RISES, neither of which is low (the mid-rise is my personal favorite),with BACK POCKETS (that actually do flatter) or without, and in three lengths,and 100%denim or stretch denim. It is a challenge to stock this much variety in sizes 0-20, especially when I get a customer who whants me to ship everything I have in her size.

  28. Christy B. says:

    I agree with Marnie and Eric; jeans have been this way for long enough that anything else looks wrong to me. I actually prefer monobutt! Then again, I was the 4 year old pulling her pants to fit at the hips because it was more comfy to me… I did the sag-bum look for a long time. Of course most jeans still fit horribly, trying to do the low rise without even thinking of the bum and everything. Correct fitting jeans look like cropped baby tees to me now… not current!

  29. marian says:

    Well I don’t know pattern drafting but I vote for the Simplicity 8239 mainly because I’ve had most trouble fitting Simplicity patterns! Looks like too much fabric under the butt. And, I don’t see how the front and back side seams will match.

  30. Wyncia says:

    I go with the McCalls because there is no curve room around the butt. But some have more leg room than most will need. I have one pants pattern that I like, wide straight, well draped (The Sewing Workshop, Mimosa pant), but they are not jeans. I have no jeans that fit.

  31. Anita says:

    Oh thank God! I thought I was a rare case of having jeans (and most other pants) fitting so poorly. I’m glad I’m not alone, though I don’t wish poor fitting pants on anyone :-)

    I’ve pretty much given up on finding commercial pants that didn’t gap badly at the waist or have cameltoe. I’ve even shied away from trying to make any pants because I’m a relative newbie when it comes to pattern making and fitting and don’t know enough about how to alter or draft a pattern that fits the big-butt, small waist scenario. All of my off-the-rack pants have a curve in the side seam right at the hip, since there’s not enough room in the butt and it pulls rearward.

    I actually like the lower rise, since that at least minimizes the huge back waist gap (though it does nothing for the cameltoe or lack of butt room). The monobutt look doesn’t bother me much, but it still needs to be big enough to accommodate a real woman’s booty without looking like one is wearing clown pants. You might as well buy men’s pants, for all the lack of curves in the women’s pants out there.

  32. Renee G says:

    The McCalls – if the Tummy Tuck jeans are supposed to fit an apple – I might have to track down where to get a pair to try on…….

    At the moment I have on pair of blue jeans, two denim skirts, and three pair of black jeans (one faded, one brand new, and one in the middle on the fading issue – why does black have to FADE so fast?). I live in Texas – denim just WORKS for most situations down here.

    I can get up in the morning and get dressed without worrying about needing to change clothes if I am going out for pizza at lunch, gowing grocery shopping, to the library, working in the yard, or cleaning house – the jeans will take me almost anywhere I need to go during the day.

    And I’ve seen younger girls in jeans with sequinned tops at the theater……….which I thought was a little casual – a nice black skirt would have been dressier……….but at least the top was sequinned instead of a t-shirt!

  33. Zaz says:

    i could not chose. i hate them all, sorry. just seeing the legs makes we twitch (?) some seem to want to go inside your two parts of a$$. some seem to think that you are built to stand leaning backwards. but definatly all seem to think you’re an old woman with no beginning and end to your butt curves.

    one pair i would NEVER part with is a ragged (now) pair of silly 7 JR. M made by levi’s under silver tab in flare. send me your pair, sell it to me, or give me a link, it is my BIRTHDAY! dammit and i keep trying to find a pair that fits like it!

  34. Marie-Christine says:

    I vote for the McCall, like everyone else. It’s got that square, low-slung crotch that gives Americans a bad name wherever they go. Baggy crotch, plumber’s butt, you’ve got it all in one heinous design, your only choice being the size: potato bag or wedgie. Even the Style, shapeless though it is, tries to differentiate the front and the back some.
    There, I feel better, thanks for letting me take it off my chest :-).

  35. sahara says:

    Personally? First, I blame Darryl K. When she opened her store in the East Village years ago, she developed jeans to fit “herself and her butt-less friends.” This fitting mistake is now ruling. Then, in the 90’s, Harper’s Bazaar shot the “waif look” and Kate Moss into stardom, and that was it. In NYC, where skinny rules, this has become the standard fit, especially for designer jeans. A number of my friends wear skirts, to circumvent this foolishness. But NYC Fashion Week still sets the standard; it’s so skewed.

    I love low-rise jeans, as I am all leg, with a very short high shoulder to waist length. For my ample butt, I cut my rise higher in the back, so when I sit down, I don’t have “panty peek”(which my younger acquaintances think that’s what gets the guys––yeesh).

    Bebe Noir, has the best fit I’ve ever come across;
    Victoria’s Secret is second, in that they avoid “panty peek” and still look sexy;

    Herein comes the rub; young girls don’t want to look like “women”, or they don’t attract young men. And fashionable looking women don’t want to look like themselves; they think it’s complimentary to look like an older sister. Or am I just living in the wrong city?

    I wonder what jeans Jaime Lee Curtis wears? She’s seems to be the only “woman” celeb who’s happy with herself.

  36. Deanna says:

    This is a really tough question… are they all the same (theoretical) size? Because a “2” is going to have a flatter butt than at “16” any day.

    Ok I’m going to say McCalls (good fit for gumby)and Simplicity have the flattest butts, and Vogue is baggy butt ugly. The other 2 aren’t bad because the upper portion of the back is slightly rotated lengthening the crotch seam.

    And we have a term around here for the jeans you have pictured above: Thass (or thaspiens)

    Kathleen, I love this post, and I’m dying to hear your critique.

  37. Suzanne says:

    I have no butt and I am straight up and down, so I love the low rise no-butt jeans, I do have a pair of hudsons that when I fit into them (we won’t talk about that), the shape of the butt and the flap pockets made me look like I had a butt. I’m just enjoying this time that a woman with no waist and tiny thighs can find jeans to wear. I loathe 80s jeans with the mom-rise and the huge hips to waist. To fit my straight waist the hips would hang and sag, thighs too. UGH.

  38. SarahM says:

    Buttless jeans do not look good on 99% of people, big butt, medium or none! They are as bad as Mom jeans.

    A slight boot cut, with a medium rise (a little below natural waist) seem to be the best cut for most body types.

    Anne Klein boot cut is my vote (I’m a 2P/4P with curves.) I’ve had luck with Talbots and Ann Taylor Loft in the past.

  39. Adriane says:

    I though it was just me. I could literally scream when shopping for jeans. I always reasoned that most of the fit models for denim companies were buttless. Therefore, you ended up with jeans made for buttless people.

    There is also the difference in having a big wide butt as opposed to a big round butt which, like majority of African American women, I have. This means, depending on your level of taste and, you either have to fit your waist or your butt. If you fit you hips, then you end up with this big gap.

    My pattern knowledge is not that extensive so I couldn’t really say which one would be worse. I will say that I would rather have the monobutt than that of the Rockies pair of jeans.

  40. Yvonne says:

    I have always had problems finding a proper fitting jean as I have no butt,no hips and I’m a little thicker in the waist. I have to agree with Suzanne that I love the fit of the low rise, no butt jeans with the back flap pockets that enhance my rear view. However something changed as this past summer I must of tried on every brand available in both women’s an men’s before I could find a comfortable fitting pair. I finally found comfort in Lee Natural Fit Bootcut Jean, which fits just below the waist and also has tummy control.

  41. Reindeer mom says:

    I also believe McCalls will give the worst fitting jeans if you have any shape at all. Each and everyone has its own drawbacks, but if I had a choice to buy, #1 would be Burda, that would give the best fit, with the least amount of tweeking for me.

  42. Claire says:

    What a great topic. I guess I better check out the rear view of my favorite 7 for all mankind jeans. I was happy they fit in the thighs (only because they have lycra however).
    Victoria Secret claims to have a “butt lift” jean. I haven’t tried them out, so I don’t if the jeans really do lift the backside.

    Good grief! I must be one of those people who have become accustomed to the “Unibutt” look because I think the girl in the western jeans looks like her crotch is a bit short and digging in.

  43. Trish says:

    Wow, talk about a post that generates comments!!!

    I will not choose the worst until I make up the examples but remember that the pants with the long crotch extension are not really jeans… they are trousers or slacks. Jeans have very little crotch extension so that the butt is “lifted and separated”.

    I recommend Helen Joseph Armstrong’s drafting rules for jeans and trousers. You take the hip measurement and use a portion of that number to add the extension. Her stuff really works in my opinion. Plus she explains that the length of the crotch extension determines the pant style.

    Goddess, please do not let people fall in love with the hideous mono-butt… it is NOT stylish, it is horrible (just my opinion, LOL!!)

  44. Karmen Flach says:

    Just got in from a long day of fitting and am having to join most everyone else in voting for the McCall’s pattern.

    Kathleen,I’d love to see you do a post (or series!) on pant and jean drafting and the differences and similarities. Yes, I’d pay!

    I just got feedback from my very fashion conscience 13 yo DD. She looked at the pics and informed me that mono-butt is the way jeans are supposed to fit. She and her friends also want them to be low- waisted and to not have any extra fabric under the backside (the first set of pics). Skin tight is “correct” in her mind.

    Her reaction to the Rockies jean was a loud “yeeccch! That looks like they have a permanent wedgie!” She calls those “Mom” jeans and says they look uncomfortable.

    I asked her opinion cause I suspect this is possibly an age thing, with the younger generation having been raised on mono-butt and believing that this is the way they are supposed to fit.

    Additional thought—- Ask any teenager to identify their waist and they’ll point to their hip, which is where the tops of their jeans ride. In their minds, that makes it the waist! My own DD does this and she has a tailor for a mother and should know better!

  45. Here are my guesses: McCalls 6985 would be the worst, with very little back crotch extension. Vogue 2946 is bad too, because although it has ample room–it would be a saggy rear fit. Burda 3752 is my top pick, as it looks like it is long enough in the crotch extension while curving back in the legs for a non-saggy flattering fit.

  46. SarahM says:

    Did anyone see the segment on sizing on the Today show on 4/23? A woman has developed and is promoting a new sizing. You determine your size and then your (1 of 3) body type. So someone could be a 4.3 (size 4 and hourglass shape.)

    It sounds good… in theory.

  47. kate says:

    I think, of all the patterns, I have to go for the McCall’s 6985 as the worst — it more closely approximates a “v” shaped crotch (ouch).

  48. Morgen says:

    Thank you Kathleen for asking us to take a closer look. I had taken for granted the mono-butt look so prevalent today. Yes, the Rockies fit looks a little dated to my eye, and a leetle bit wedgie, but there is something refreshingly womanly about the look they give. I think it’s nice. They look like you could walk more than five paces without the waistband wiggling down to your low hip.

  49. J C Sprowls says:

    @Morgen. Not only that; but, there’s a difference in how the jeans models are used. Rockies are cowgirl pants, so utility and durability are emphasized. The crotch curve needs to be set high enough – like an armsceye – to support range of motion (i.e. throwing a leg over the horse).

    RE: Fashion jeans. I have a different opinion about how the curve got to where it is. It’s two-parted.

    First, there’s knocking off of a knock off. Think of it like making a fax of a fax. It requires some forensics skills from the patternmaker to true up a pattern from a ripped down garment – that takes specialization and time. Both are in short supply, these days.

    Second, is grading rules. I don’t think most junior patternmakers grasp that when you make a size larger, the forks of the crutch also get longer to accommodate the change in crotch girth.

    Now, Trish raised a point about calculating the length of the crutch forks. I’ve never been a fan of this method, mostly because of my custom clothing background. I find direct measures of the fitting model to be much quicker, easier to draft and more comfortable to wear. For me, the issue is getting the “floor” of the curve to cradle the perineal floor.

    Whatever happened to Guess jeans? Those were fashion jeans that made everyone’s (or, nearly everyone’s) butt look good. I think I mentioned, before, that I suspect there was shaping in the yoke seam to help with that.

    RE: worst fit. My vote is also for McCall’s 6985.

  50. Angela says:

    The 2946 pattern will make the most rediculous pair of pants ever. People will assume you are trying to hide the rolls of fat on your inner thigh or are maybe part of the cult of MC Hammer. And why is the crotch point so far to the front? That is wrong. I’m sorry but if anything went up my butt like those Rockies I would file a restraining order. PLease don’t wear those unless you are actually sitting on a horse. The Mono butt came about because of the low, low rises that have to squeeze you in order to stay on. If you don’t mond some high rises you can shape the waist to keep the pants on you hips. Levi’s are always a good bet. I like the 565.

  51. justmyrinda says:

    hmmm thought provoking…it’s too late for me to look, but I don’t know hooey about patternmaking either, just how to adjust them to fit my kids best…

    I do know that I am BEYOND frustrated with jeans! For something that so many people wear everyday, you’d THINK we could get some that fit properly! I tried some spendy brands too even, but that was no help…I have come to the conclusion that the best thing is to find some jeans that ALMOST fit, buy them one size too big and have them taken in for me…

    Now all I need is a really good tailor…any one? anyone? LOL!!!

  52. Jasmin says:

    My vote goes to Aura jeans – pick your rise, and leg length – more cowgirl jeans, and I order mine in to New Zealand from the US, they are the only decent jeans I can get for a shorty. I think maybe the combination of form and function make cowgirl jeans better (like most good design – the functional constraints stop people going too far with the concept!).
    You can get them online from Sheplers, take them seriously about going down AT LEAST one size. I fit a 6 and I’d normally be a ten (I think? anyway, 29-30″ waist, 39-40″ hips about). Other than that, vintage – jeans I got 20 years ago fit better (but sadly are nearly dead!)
    Gotta say, those vogue 2946 pants look absolutely hideous. My pick for worst is McCalls 6985 – unless you happen to be a toothpick with no ass, it is really going to be an awful fit. If you are a toothpick, it is still going to look pretty ugly … terrible proportions.

  53. Jasmin says:

    BTW – just wandered off to check Sheplers, and noticed, every pair of jeans shows the butt view, so clearly they know what it is about the fit everyone wants to check!

  54. krissy says:

    If you want your bum to look like 2 cheeks, get a fitted pair of jeans, and wear a THONG!!! The underwear are usually the problem behind ‘mono-bum’! Guaranteed every pair of pants will look better. I think if you want comfortable, baggy pants, JEANS are not the answer. buy a pair of joggers or lululemons. Jeans are a fashion statement now, not comfort clothes, sorry!!

    My mom has a retail store where she sells to women age 40-70 and they RAVE about French Dressing Jeans, and ‘Not-your-daughter’s jeans’. They are fairly high waisted, and offer lots of bum room. they look kind of like the rockies jeans posted here.

    P.S. i vote BURDA!

  55. Thanks Kathleen, for the insights.

    While I’m a child of the seventies and eighties, so mono-butt just looks ill to me (what’s wrong with that poor child? no waist, narrow hips, and stiff!) something looks wrong with those Rockies pictures too. They’re a little tight, eighties camel-toe style? Or something. I like something more obviously built for movement:

    I agree with Angela about the origin of mono-butt in low-rise jeans. Now that waistlines are creeping up again I’m seeing a more pronounced bum. I’ve seen a couple of women in gauchos lately with a proper cut in the crotch.

  56. Helen says:

    I too think McCall’s #6985 would have the worst fit. I’m wearing an old pair of Avenue jeans that I took in at the waist when I lost some weight. I find Avenue jeans fit the shall we say ample figure pretty well, but then I’m not talking about tight legs or or backside.

    I generally like Burda pants when I’m sewing for myself.

    It’s pretty hard to imagine a jeans block that would fit from my size and shape (5’8″ size 28) down to a size 0, narrow hipped teen.

    Think of all the shaping variations: waist to hip ratio, depth, crotch length, front to back depth vs side to side width (I don’t know what this is called, I think of it as the cross section shape). A loose pant only has to fit at the waist and be large enough, a jean has to match pretty closely.

  57. Babette says:

    McCalls will make for a terrible fit around the inner thigh and will probably cause camel toe as well.

    Vogue offers a flappy baggy back upper thigh area which is going to pull into the leg so sharply it will make you look like you have a fat bottom but will be a bit better in the crotch than the McCalls.

    However, what’s with the sloping CF seam in the Style pattern. Even a woman with the flatest stomach is going to feel paunchy in this.

    I don’t know that any of these could be considered “worst”. It’s just that the Burda is better.

  58. Kathleen says:

    We had 28 correct entries selecting McCalls pattern #6985. The lucky winner of the Tummy Tuck jeans is Misty (aka Christy T). I’ll make an official announcement later today.

  59. Brian says:

    Oh yes!
    I would love to show our jeans! We heard that complaint so many times we now market our jeans for this market. No more buying jeans size 14 when your waist size is 10 because you need to make up for a lack of thigh and butt room. I wish I could send a shot of our jeans to prove my point.

  60. Carrie says:

    I am a runner and the most frustrating thing for me is to find jeans that fit. For runners, our thighs get large due to muscles, but the remaining portions usually remain small. So, finding jeans that not only fit in the thighs, but also in the hips/but is merely impossible. Another thing is that I hate jeans with a low crotch. My waist is around my hip bone and that is where I usually wear my jeans. Unfortunately, the jeans that are mature looking all have relaxed fitting crotches and they hang down well past where they should! Frustrating! Does anyone have any suggestion or a brand they would recommend?

  61. km says:

    I finally got to try a pair of Rockies over the Christmas vacation. Wow. They fit wonderfully. I have only made my own jeans for the last three years. I don’t remember the last time I bought a pair that fit this nicely.

    The fabric is 13 oz denim and feels wonderful in your hand. None of that whimpy denim they have been passing off as jeans fabric. And the cut is so comfortable. They are made to sit and to move. Yes they have thigh room. The store only had one pair in my size, but I plan to buy more.

    Thank you Kathleen, finding these jeans was a wonderful Christmas present.

  62. AJ says:

    I have to say that split butt jeans are really unattractive to me, and probably to the rest of my generation and the younger ones (I’m 29). We have a tendency to avoid anything that shows the shape of “private parts”. We don’t like pants that show the shape of the crotch on guys or girls, we don’t like seeing the split in the butt (and therefore that crotch again) and we don’t mind cleavage but we don’t like showing the shape of the entire breast all the way to the bottom (ie you won’t catch us in empire waist dresses without bras letting the girls hang down over the high empire waist).

    Speaking culturally maybe it’s because in our lifetime sexual images have been really out there and rather accepted. Showing the shape and curve of a body using the outside silhouette, such as a continual curve over the butt (mono butt) is seen as sexy to us whereas splitting an a$$ down the middle and being very obvious about where the person’s crotch is (as seen from behind) is actually a bit vulgar because in our lifetimes we’ve seen that as a $exual image (classic image of a girl wearing a string bikini, standing with her back to the camera, butt cheeks clearly showing that string bikini disappearing somewhere comes to mind) and so to having it like that during every day non-$exual moments is…yah, vulgar. Not that I care that much but I can’t think of a better word, it’s different than unattractive. It is a bit attractive but in a dirty $exual sense, not a sensual $exy and pretty sense…let’s say 6/10 on the vulgar scale.

    p.s. sorry about the $$’s but the spam thing didn’t like all the $exy words

  63. shelly says:

    Wow, this is really fun reading everyone’s comments! I agree with Sahara that the mono butt may have come from Daryl K. That look doesn’t really bother me if that’s what you want – a lift in the back due to low and tight back pockets and squeezed cheeks. I have patterned jeans for a client, Little in the Middle, and her (patented) fit is 1 or 2 sizes smaller in the waist and they feel great on me and have seen them on many others that swear by them. Because of this blog I have so many other labels that I want to try, thanks Kathleen!

  64. lynne says:

    Here is my thought on the current butt shape. They are shaped just like the dress forms. Flat across the bum with very little slope to the waist. I just figured they computer pattern the jeans based on a dress forms measurements, and never put them on a fit model. Just my guess.
    Then again jeans are pretty much a 2nd skin and what are the odds of finding your perfect 2nd skin…even my sisters are shaped differently them I am and we have the same genetic code.

  65. Shirley says:

    A few suggestions.
    I understand that everyone is looking for a good pair jeans.
    Why not buy butt-lifting jeans!

    Our butt-lifting jeans are built to provide no gap at the waist, to accentuate the thigh length to look longer, thinner and sexier. The backside inseam is stitched to lift, rise, gather and shape your behind so it appears rounder and smoother.

    We know from experience, you will return for another pair.

  66. Sabine says:

    so, who won? I would have voted for the burda one as being the worst one, no extra room for butt cheeks in there, just good for giving you a wedgy (but I guess that is what separates the butt cheeks? ouch!), followed closely by the McCall which gives you a bit more room for well formed “gludius maximus” but not really any room to lift your knee high or something, better walk in short steps in those.

  67. Natalie says:

    I LOVE this post. I am 26 and I HATE the way jeans fit nowdays. (I also HATE the fact that flared and bootcut 100% cotton jeans without rips and tears have nearly disappeared but that’s another discussion).

  68. Sarah says:

    I have to be honest, I was really excited when I started reading this article, because I am one of those “big bootie” girls and I can never find pants with a high enough back rise to outfit the cheeks. I hate flat butt jeans. When I find a pair to house the goods, obviously, they are way too big at the waistline…and too high in the front, too low in the back. But then….then when I saw the rockies with the camel toe butt….oh, that’s awful! Camel butt is not the solution for flat-butt jeans. I agree cheeks shouldn’t be squashed, but they certainly shouldn’t be bifurcated rockies-style! Bifurcated cheeks are embarassing to look at. You wonder whether there is pain involved when the person sits down. You wonder whether the person wearing them is informed that modern people do not wear their pants this way. Agreed we do not have enough cheek room, but how can camel butt help the situation?

  69. Kathleen says:

    If you don’t like the look, don’t wear them. I don’t wear “modern” jeans because I don’t like the way they look and if that means I’ll remain blissfully “uninformed”, so be it. Believe me, I know what you mean by “embarrassing to look at” so I can only suggest to avert your eyes (as many of us stone age people do when seeing what some “modern” people wear) altho I suspect your BF/SO won’t. Mine doesn’t.

    Btw, if you’d ever tried on a pair of these pants to have a point of comparison, you’d know these are not uncomfortable -exactly the opposite of product defective ones like camel toe or mono-butt- with greater ability to move around. Unfortunately, since mono-butt jeans are all that some “modern” people know, they don’t have a point of comparison for their opinions to know what the comfort of good fit and unrestricted range of motion feels like.

  70. Sarah says:

    Every generation has it’s own very defined idea of what a butt should look like, so I can’t agree that the cut of jeans today is so “bad” because everyone is copying everyone else. And to be certain, I am not in 100% agreement with the cut of jeans today. I don’t want a mono-mound and I don’t want complete bifurcation. As any designer would, I have my own ideas about what changes need to happen to jeans patterns. Levis just came out with an ad in Vogue for jeans that are cut “slight-curve”, “demi-curve”, and “bold-curve”. I am hoping that this is the solution that I have been waiting for though I don’t have high hopes, as I have not as yet found a pair of jeans with an approproate fit for my figure. The model in the ad is also not that curved. I’m sure there are brands out there that market themselves for a specific figure, I just haven’t discovered them yet. I have a great pant pattern that I created for myself that I always keep in the back on my mind when trying on jeans, but who has the time to make themselves a wardrobe full of jeans?

  71. Anita says:

    Id sat Mcalls too … very little shape and very little crotch. Im english with a very round english bum and its just a knightmare i dont have no scrawny little butt to squeeze in !

  72. Laura says:

    I realize this is old, but I wanted to mention that DL1961 makes incredibly great fitting jeans if you have a very curvy figure, with a much smaller waist than hips (DL1961 Coco is the style to look for). On top of that, they have the perfect stretch in the material so they don’t stretch out/sag after the first wear. It looks like they are slightly less mono-butt than some of your other examples – exactly the fit I want. The only jeans that fit me that don’t require a belt.

    Photo –

  73. Sarah says:

    Go Kathleen! Those who say “we” younger generations prefer the mono-butt, should be saying “I.” Also, like others said, you haven’t tried on a poor that actually fits you properly to be able to compare. I’m in the last of my teen years, and I’ve always hated the way jeans fit. I have to get ones that pinch my waist, leaving a permanent dent there in order for them to fit my thighs. They always fall or sag and I can never bend or get up from my chair without holding onto my waistband. I think these annoying jeans should stick for young teens only until they start developing curves. That’s what happened to me after middle school. They were perfect then, but my body’s changed and now I can’t find any pair that fits. I tried the levi’s curve id, and even that doesn’t work. It feels like normal levi’s jeans. Also, I’m sure if someone did a survey on whether guys like the mono-butt or normal butt, I think it would change the young generation’s mind since that’s one of the things we or I care about or at least is all the magazines talk about, not saying that girls should live based on what guys say of course.

    oh and i’m a different sarah.

  74. E L Beal says:

    I am very upset with the pant makers as they seem to make them for some model that is not human.
    The pants seem to be long in the crotch in the front making them feel like they are pulling which they are. The back does not fit my round bum and are always too big for my waist. I am essentially the same size as I was in my teens though I have 50 years added. Pant patterns and store bought use to fit now nothing feels comfortable except some of my very old ones that have survived.

  75. Lisa2 says:

    I’ve been reading through these old posts and gleaning so much good information. Jeans still fit awful. But, for me, those “camel” jeans aren’t going to cut it, either. I have a long waist length and those things are murder, it’s like wearing a cheese slicer around all day. I don’t know how many jeans I have thrown out in disgust over the years after wearing them around one day and not being able to wait to get home and take them off. Can’t they fit properly without causing mono-butt without having such a short crotch length?

  76. Helen says:

    I just realized that I developed my preferred method for buying jeans because of this problem. I prefer to buy 100% cotton denim (preferably medium to medium-heavy) about half a size too small . Eventually the cotton will permanently stretch over the areas of great lateral stress (curvy-out bits) but the seams will remain the same (curvy-in bits). Mono-butt avoided! And eventually the jeans will fail at the pockets (greatest lateral stress). I get a reasonably good fit this way, but pants don’t last for more than 2 years or so. Boo hoo.

    This doesn’t work with stretch denim. All the pants will do is ride up or down uncomfortably while creasing. Well-fit non-stretch denim is much more comfortable than stretch denim.

  77. Sabrina says:

    Here’s how I see it: the crotch curve has to be relatively straight if it’s going to divide the derriere and give a “stereobutt”; it if were very curved it would just go around and result in a monobutt, right? My evidence for is this: any of you wearing a skirt right now, pull the back between your legs to the front and check the fit at the back. Does that not give you stereobutt?

  78. Sabrina says:

    Also, the fold under the bottom gets there by the pants being put on the leg and going out of pitch, if that is clear. It would disappear when in horse-riding position, wouldn’t it?

    I tried a toile of my self-drafted pattern this morning. It didn’t work out because of the crotch depth (too deep; I must have measured wrong).

    Does anyone agree or disagree with me? I’m trying to puzzle it all out. :)

  79. TRW says:

    Hi, I’m a guy just learning to sew partly out of frustration from not finding pants that fit. Monobutt is just one of the issues I find annoying – I put a lot of effort into having a nice butt (actually not why I do but hiking and weight training has that effect). Even a certain mens pants company that brags about having “a little magic in the seat” has monobutt.

    Anyhoo… I read the cameltoe article, and I think the issues are related… subtract just a little from the rear curve and you can fit the pieces closer together without changing the measurements noticeably. Unfortunately it lengthens the curve and takes away slack required to follow the curve of the wearer.

  80. Cynthia says:

    “Stereo-butt” – oh my, laughing at that! I do love Rocky Mountain jeans, as well as some Wranglers. As someone who rides, they are very comfortable in the saddle, and just fine on the ground. They have several rises and fits as well. As another “bubble-butt” gal, I don’t like the fit nowadays either. No suggestions, just commenting….

  81. Crystal says:

    I find it a bit ironic that the Rocky Mountain jeans are one of the few jeans that don’t have mono-butt. I remember back when they were all the rage in my school days and they only fit the flat bottomed girls.

  82. Sarah says:

    I don’t know how the butt looks, but I’m fairly happy with my Bold Curve Levi’s. They fit okay in the hips and don’t gape in the waist. I must find a shop with mirrors and see how the back looks!

  83. John says:

    An opinion from a guy: Men’s jeans don’t fit right anymore either. They are tight in the legs and loose in the waist over the butt. I think the goal is to have them sag and fall down in the back so you look like a rapper. It’s beyond annoying, like having someone trying to pull your pants down all the time. I’m about to give up on jeans as I find this problem among all manufacturers.

  84. Vanessa says:

    I am excited to see this topic of buttless jeans. Im a 61 Black woman and I have much butt and a plus size. I always have to get 1 -2 sizes bigger because there is little to know material in Behind of most jeans. All the material is in the stomach, which I don’t have the typical apron that a lot of plus size woman may have. During my life time, I did find one brand of Jeans that did actually had a lot of room in the butt and the waist was smaller and they fit great, That was Guess Jean, but the last 15 year or so have not seen them on the market. Why have jeans with material all in the front and none in the back.. I would love to get some jeans that were made for the women that have butts. I have tried, Levi’s, Walmart, Kmart, JC Penneys, you name it I’ve tried them and they all leave a 2-3 inch gap in back at the waist.

  85. Sabine says:

    Wrangle booty-ups are nice for definition and have little gap in the back…
    Carreli jeans are even better for leaving no gap in the back, but have less definition.

  86. Vicki C says:

    I have probably 30-40 pairs of the “Rockies”, bought from 1980’s to 1997. They are the best ladies jeans ever made.
    Of course I had horses till last year, 2014. He had been. retired out for about eight years at the age of 31.
    Well, I will get back to Rockies Jeans. I have gained some weight and can’t get onto my old ones. But I will be that size again and I’m working out now, so I can fit into them once again. These jeans are the only ones that makes you feel so sexy, because they are so flattering.
    I stumbled on to this sight, but I hope ever lady and young lady will find these jeans and try them! I’m going to track down this company and try to get a couple pairs until I lose allite weight. If anyone finds the company, please email me.
    Good Luck,

  87. Kayleen Reynolds says:

    Rockies jeans are no more. the company is now Cruel Girl. The last time I checked they have gone to that same sad stretch jegging everyone else is selling.

    • Sam B says:

      They now reroute to “Cinch” women’s jeans, and from the pics might actually sell real jeans for real cowgirls…I already bought fabric, so won’t be testing out any more RTI jeans for a while. My last purchase was a pair of Levis straight leg. They fit fine…and in two months of normal wear the fabric looked worse than my 2 1/2 year-old jeans. Why are jeans only 60% cotton? I’m done.

  88. Agnes says:

    It looks like more than 8 years after your post some things have started to changed and we can now see more and more brands introducing curve/curvy/et cetera lines and also vintage cuts are becoming popular. After all clothes should copy our body lines and complement them in a nice way . The mono butt jean cut is something awful and i have found that it is not the only issue, if you have a smaller waist , but a bigger butt or tights or both then you have a problem to find something flattering.
    I am a modern young women and always have had a problem to find skinny jeans that fit my waist 23- 25 (depending on the season) and my bigger thighs 20-21 .

  89. Sam B says:

    I was a little confused for a bit, whether folks were voting for good or bad jeans patterns; I have a McCall 5142 that seems okay, although my weight has changed a lot since the last time I cut out a pair. I don’t even remember having to change much in the fit the first time thru, and for the longest time I had a large hip-to-waist difference and relatively flat butt/hollow back. I’m due for a new pair or three, because I’m fed up with disposable clothes.

    The trend of offering different fits for different body-shapes seemed great, until I bought a few pattern without realizing that “curvy” is the new name for “apple”, not “hourglass”. With a self-conscious teen daughter to sew for, I was hoping the new patterns would make clarify getting a good fit, but now I’m one step away from drafting/draping whatever we need.

  90. Tom says:

    When I was 135Ibs, and now just over 200, pants have fit in a way that my butt would rob crotch room. Over the last 10 years of drastically different weights, the butt and crotch space has flattened and drawn in to the point where I have 4 options: buy used, get a tailor, have the waist and calves 2 sizes too big, get a tailor, or strangle my bits.

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