My first pair of Jalie jeans

Jalie 2908 side viewThis is my third pair of jeans (the second pair went to live at the thrift shop because I really didn’t like the too-short-for-my-liking length), and I’m really happy with them.  I used the famous Jalie jean pattern, and followed along with Angela Wolf in her Craftsy course on making designer jeans.

Well, I wouldn’t call mine designer, but there were many little tricks that were helpful in that course:

  • using a hammer to flatten many layers of denim
  • distressing tools, particularly sandpaper
  • a beautiful fly zip with a fly shield
  • how to keep your waistband in place against your body
  • topstitching tricks of the jeans trade

I confess these aren’t distressed very professionally, but it was fun to sandpaper the denim!jeans front flatI kinda overdid this pair on the front. Because it’s a stretch denim, when it’s standpapered, little folds of fabric appear out of nowhere.  Hence the slight visual mess. It looks a lot worse in the photo above than when I’m wearing them.

I’ve been wearing these all day, and they are really comfortable.  I used the normal rise pattern in the back, and the low rise pattern in the front because I usually need to shorten the front crotch length by one inch anyways.  I thought I’d see if I could save myself the hassle and just cut it.  I measured first, and it was perfect. It’s supposed to sit below the waist, but it sits at the CF of my short waist.  🙂  You can see the difference in the rises in the picture above.The back yoke was cut using their mid-rise pattern, which is a good inch or so higher than the low-rise pattern.  I usually need to add length through the back crotch area, so this worked perfectly.  On me, the back waist sits 1″ below my real waist.

I love the fit of these jeans.  That crucial POM at 2″ above the bottom of the crotch curve is precisely 6.5″, which is why the back of these jeans fit so well.  I mentioned this in my last trouser post, and finally tracked down the blog that made my “aha” moment.  The diagram is linked to the original blog post at

Rise21 Pattern Making: Pant Rise The back of my jeans looks pretty good.  The topstitching is all precisely marked in chalk everywhere.  I have never used so much chalk in one project before.jeans back flatYou can see the distressing around the edges of the pockets and seam edges.  It’s fun to distress and hammer those multiple layers of denim flat enough to topstitch easily.  Great therapy. 😀

I made minimal changes to the Jalie pattern:

  • using the low-rise in the front and mid-rise in the back
  • substituting a contoured waistband from my BurdaStyle pair for the bias one they suggested
  • tapered the boot-cut silhouette in by 1/4″ at each side seam

Has anyone made these jeans with the bias waistband?  What did you think?  Did it work well?  I’m curious about it, but I don’t know if I care to make another pair of jeans with a bias waist if it’s not going to be a good thing.  I’m happy with the fit of the contour band.  It’s on the straight grain at CF, and I added twill tape along the top edge.  It hugs me perfectly, even when sitting or touching my toes.

If I were to change anything on this pair, I’d move the pockets closer to the CB seam and not add 2 inches to the length.  The hem can always be changed, and the pockets will have to wait for the next pair.Jalie 2908 front viewI’m just so excited about that little 6-7″ POM that I’m happy to make up trousers forever.  Let’s hope it doesn’t let me down because I get so happy about it I get cocky and forget to measure or make toiles.


28 thoughts on “My first pair of Jalie jeans

  1. JEANS!! I’m always so impressed when someone makes jeans and yours look so profesh! 😀 LOL I actually figured out the hammer press technique (didn’t know it was a technique LOL) when I was making my Cooper bag because I couldn’t press the waxed canvas and those bulky seams needed TAMING! 😀 Very therapeutic, I agree! Love the sandpaper idea too – I suspect that would be easy to get carried away with!! ^__^

  2. That’s a fantastic pair of jeans! Inspiring.

    Which Jalie pattern is it? Or is there only one? I want to bookmark for when I get around to making pants & jeans!

  3. Yours look great!! I’ve made these twice…I’m still looking for the better waistband. I used the bias one on my first pair, and I can’t describe it well, but they just felt…un-snug, is that a word? I think I’ll use a contoured pattern if I ever make them again. I love the sand-paper effects!

  4. I’m developing an interest in sewing jeans. I must try the Jalie pattern. Yours look fantastic!

  5. Wow, these look fantastic! I just made some jeans too and considered distressing them since the RTW jeans I copied were heavily distressed. I chickened out, but now I’m inspired. I’ll have to watch out for that class to go on sale. I made my jeans using the Kenneth King class and he recommends a waistband using a straight piece of cross grain steamed in to a curve. I don’t know about the bias waistband, but the cross grain thing really didn’t work for me. If the jeans fit pretty well, I don’t want my waistband stretching out much at all. As you say, the fit when sitting is important too!

    1. On every single pair of trousers/jeans I’ve made so far, the only time I really like a waistband cut on the cross grain is when the trousers are cut to sit at my natural waistline. Otherwise a contour waistband with the front cut on the straight or cross grain work best for me, probably because of the little bit of bias/shaping around the sides.

  6. These look so great on you! I loved your ikat trousers too:) I just bought some denim to make my first attempt at jeans, but I think I’ll wait till the fall. I need to beef up my skills some more first.

    1. If you can, take Angela’s Craftsy class. No super sewing skills required as she walks you through every singe step in a take-your-time way. I would highly recommend it to make your first pair a happy success!

    1. Y’know, the first pair went very slowly, but I was amazed at how simple jeans are to make once you break all the details down into steps. I think you’ll have fun making your first pair!

  7. Very interested to read more about the POM. The fit is excellent! I’ve read a lot of reviews of the Jalie Jeans pattern and it seems many advise against using the bias waistband – it gets too stretched out.

  8. these look amazing! i need to try out that craftsy class for distressing, yours turned out great. they look completely RTW—which is a good thing when it comes to jeans! i have made this pattern twice, the first pair was a muslin so i cut the waistband on the bias and… nope. not cutting it. so for my second pair i drafted my own curved waistband and it was much better.

  9. Nice job! I have used the bias waistband on Jalie jeans, and I didn’t like it. I use denim with 2% or 3% lycra and the bias waistband was just too stretchy. I wound up stabilizing the back waistband with twill tape so that it wouldn’t stretch out. From now on I make the waistband on-grain.

    Out of curiosity…what does “POM” mean?

    1. Thanks for the feedback about the bias waistband. I thought it odd that a waistband would be cut on the bias, so went with the contour one. And POM means “point-of-measure”.


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