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 www.madalynne.com.

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.

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Bronze Jeans: Burda 1/2010 #136

Warning: there’s a lot of pictures in this post, and, well, no amount of tweaking can make my 40-something mother-multiple-times exercise-free butt look younger, childless or hawter. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 😉

Burda 1-2010-136 frontI did it.  I crossed into the world of the unknown and I did it!  I cracked the jean mystery, peeps, and I am so EXCITED!  I have long scoffed at the idea of making my own jeans.  Whatever for?  What a hassle.  That’s just sewing geekiness.  Not interested.  bronze jeansBut the idea of making jeans has a way of getting under one’s skin and wandering through one’s sewing plans, and more than once I was coerced by Linda at EmmaOneSock to buy stretch denim.  For no reason except that it’s nice to have stretch denim in your stash, right?  No plans for jeans here.  Stretch denim can be used for a LOT of other clothing items besides jeans.  So you see it’s really not my fault that I made a pair of jeans.  The entire sewing universe has been conspiring to convert me.I’m so glad I did!  I feel like I’ve taken one major sewing step forward.  As I sewed this up, Burda 1-2010 #136cracking the big jean mystery one seam at a time, it was amazing to learn how simple jean construction is.  I used this model from Burda 1/2010 #136.I did not make a muslin specifically for this pair.  After sewing up my one and only pair of skinnies from the Burda block, I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be altered, so I measured myself from various angles very carefully, and then measured the pattern very carefully.  And re-measured.

I didn’t make any adjustments to the to the front, except to leave off that weird front patch between the front thighs.  Why it is there?  It looks…. well, uncomfortably embarrassing. Maybe their designers thought it would be interesting, but I didn’t like it.  Besides, can you just picture it in this bronze denim with dark purple topstitching?  *shudder*  Wrong visual.  BTW, the front crotch depth is good, but I’m not sure if the little extra fabric at the front crotch should be left or adjusted.  I need to think about that more.  It’s not uncomfortable and I don’t think it looks bad, but I still need to think about it from a “perfect fit” perspective.  Any opinions on this would be lovely!frontI lengthened the back by one full inch by extending the crotch curve.  This was a mistake because the inseam of this pair is 1 inch forward of where it should be. forward inseamThis is a good lesson to learn!  I should have left the crotch alone and slashed and spread the length of the CB seam instead to get the length I needed.  This would have left the inseam in its proper place. I did need to taper both the CB seam, the yoke and the waistband to fit the curve of my lower back.  backThis was no big surprise, and since I was anticipating this adjustment as a last little fitting tweak, I constructed the back in such a way that the CB seam was the last to be stitched.  I attached the waistband to the jeans and fit the CB seam, taking in about 3/4″ at the waist and tapering it to the hip level.  Burda’s instructions suggested stitched the CB seam and topstitching it prior to attaching the waistband.  Well, I knew that was going to be an un-picking nightmare, so I went down a different construction street quite happily.

left sideright sideMy side seams are almost perfectly perpendicular to the floor, which is a good thing, and I don’t need to tell you fellow sewistas that I’m very happy about that.  After taking these pics, however, it’s obvious the back thighs need to be shortened – probably a good 4cm – so the wrinkling under my butt goes away. I have some thoughts on this and will share them next post.

The pockets have a decorative self-fabric binding, which I wasn’t sure about.  That could mean too many layers of denim to sew through, but after a couple of test runs on scraps I went ahead with it.  It’s a unique detail that I’ve never seen on jeans before.  Not that I’ve seen a lot of jeans in my life.  But anyways… Burda 1-2010-136 pocket binding I used a denim needle for this project, and it stitched through all 5 layers of denim at the turned-under ends of the pocket binding with no complaints.Burda 1-2010-136 pocketsThe topstitching pattern for the back pockets is all Burda’s.  I claim no credit for creativity.  But I like these pockets.Burda 1-2010-136 belt loopsThe belt loops were the other area I discarded Burda’s instructions.  I was supposed to stitch a long tube and turn it.  Uh.  Right.  I hate turning tubes of fabric on the best of slippery fabrics, so why would I want to do that on thick stretch denim?  So I serged both long edges of the belt loop piece and turned the edges in on themselves in thirds, exactly like all the RTW jeans I inspected.  It turned out to be a little wider in width than typical belt loops, so I took the opportunity to use one of the decorative stitches on my machine instead of just straight topstitching.bronze denimI didn’t use studs to reinforce any pocket corners on this pair, although I studied every single pair of DH’s and DD1’s jeans to see where the studs were used.  I wanted to keep this project simple without a lot of extraneous detail or embellishment.  The only new-to-me hardware issues were the stud button and shortening the metal zipper by hand, neither of which was difficult or stress-inducing.And I added 2 inches of length.  I may be vain, but IMHO, the added 2 inches give the illusion of longer legs than I really own.  😉 After finishing this pair and wearing them for a day, I can tell you I have more in the queue.  Thanks to all of you sewing bloggers who have documented the process of making your own jeans.  Without all your posts and pics and details and FO’s I would not have crossed the hurdle of jeans.  You know who you are.  😉 Burda 1-2010-136 back

Pattern Review: Vogue 8287

I thought I’d share some of the details of my orange skirt.  The pattern is OOP, but it’s a favourite of mine.  I’ve made the skirt up before – it’s the purple one in this post.

For this version I made the waistband about 4” wide and top stitched it every 1/8th of an inch.  It’s very tight, but that’s the look that I was going for.

embroidery & waistbandAnd I bagged the hem.  I wanted the rounded hem edge instead of a crisp one, and bagging the hem helps the already crisp taffeta stand out as much as it possibly can.v8786 bagged hem

It’s a super fun skirt to wear – it walks like it’s floating around me.

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