Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Year, New Stuff, NEW JEANS!

Yeah, you read right! New Jeans. Jalie Jeans to be exact.

It's hard to believe my last post was early/mid October! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's came and went, and I didn't get as much sewing done as I would have liked but will show you what I have made.

I was busy sewing swimsuits in late September because it was hot, hot, hot! Then just as quickly it became cold, cold, cold. I pulled some fleece out of my stash and made two fleece tops in October. November produced a sparkly, purple Kwik Sew top, and did I make anything in December? No, I don't think so. Not even any Christmas gifts this year. It was that busy.

Then New Year's Day I started that Jalie jeans pattern. You know the one...2908! The one that so many PR members have been raving about. Do you think another review added to PR is going to matter on this pattern lol? I don't 'think so, but let me tell, I WILL rave about this pattern too. I finished those jeans on January 2, then moved on to sewing a third fleece top, then pulled out some UFO sports headbands and created two new ones for a persistent pre-teen and her teen sister who are family friends. In the middle of all of this, I started working on a baby quilt for my new great niece and my second pair of Jalie jeans are cut out and sitting on my kitchen table.

So let me start in reverse chronological order with my FAVORITE project (thus far) that I started and finished the first two days of this year. My Jalie Jeans! Let me say this, I don't know if I'll ever go back to buying RTW jeans. I loathe jeans shopping like some women loathe swimsuit shopping. The RTW bum always seems to be cut for a 20-something, the legs are usually too short, sometimes the crotch doesn't feel right, or the rise is too high, or if the rise is just low enough for my liking, it is low all the way around. Sorry, I'm not into the plumber's crack look.

I love these jeans. And I thank every PR member who wrote a review on these jeans! Especially helpful were the reviews of people who have a similar figure to mine. I was prepared going into this project that the thigh area would probably be too snug, the back waist band/yoke area would probably gap, the legs were flared which I don't like, and the legs were probably too short. When I was mulling over jeans pattern, I looked at both of these:

I kept coming back to the Jalie because of the pattern reviews. In fact, that is the reason why I purchased the pattern about 3 mos. ago.

The first area I tackled was the thigh area. How wide is the pattern in the front and back in that area? So I measured my favorite RTW jeans and made the comparison. It was close, but I knew that the RTW jeans were off in the thigh area. My front thigh is fairly muscular and the side seam on this particular pair has a pull to the front so I had to take this into consideration. At this point I didn't feel like simple measurements were enough so I duct taped my jeans. Say what? This is what I did. (Don't do this on fabric without testing the duct tape adhesive on a sample swatch!):

I taped the back from the top of the yoke to the mid thigh area, including the crotch curve. I taped the front (not shown) as well. Then I peeled off the duct tape and placed the "patterns" on freezer paper shown below in the photos:

I placed the duct tape pattern on top of my traced Jalie. Not that bad. Pretty close measurements in that thigh area, although I'll still need to add a little width. Remember, the duct tape does not have seam allowances. Here's the front. Remember I told you about that pulling/muscular thigh issue? The Jalie looks better with more width. So far so good.

What I have to tell you is about my traced pattern is that I made 1" side seams on the Jalie pattern--the orange line (I listened to those PR reviewers!). I also traced off a larger size for the waist. My hips are about 37", but my waist is around 29 or 30" depending on the day.

My next step was to examine the crotch curve. The Jalie crotch curve is definitely better than the typical Big 4 crotch curve, but it's still not low enough for me.

I *know* my bad-ass curve! So I dropped it to reflect my dropped rear lol. It's marked as the dotted line on my pattern.

I didn't touch the yoke or the waistband. I'd rather wait and see how much to remove. I don't mind darts into the yoke on my first pair because I'm a short-waisted gal. It's a rare day that I tuck in my shirt. I only did so in my pics to show you the Jalie jeans.

On to the legs. I knew they'd be too short so I lengthened them for a 33 1/2" inseam. I also narrowed the legs to the hemline circumference of my fave RTW jeans from the knee to hemline on both the side seam and inseam.

Now that the alterations were done, the fabric was cut, I worked on the pockets and back piece assembly. These jeans thus far were "Jake approved":

BTW, what fabric did I use? A couple of years ago I bought some great stretch denim from fabric.com. About 7 yards of 96% cotton, 4% lycra or thereabouts. It's pretty stretchy, and a great dark color. I had been waiting for this day to use this fabric.

Now on that front. When I got to the pocket facing and pocket yoke, I had issues. There were some reviewers that used a pretty lining fabric, and it looked great. However, my RTW jeans have a different pocket facing. About half of the facing is denim, the other half is thin cotton. The lining piece is cotton. I can't believe the facing was supposed to be made out of denim! Talk about a tell-tale pocket line on the outside of the jean. No thanks. So I split the pattern in half, added seam allowances, and made it like what I see in RTW jeans. The bottom half of the facing is thin cotton fabric, the top is denim. See below:

The pieces in fabric:

Here's a peek inside the pocket of the finished jeans. Just like RTW:
Sew, sew, sew. The jeans are done with the side seams basted. Too tight in the thigh. Remember my 1" seam allowances? You can see my narrowed seam allowance here to allow for a little more thigh room. I did have back waistband/yoke gaposis. Here two small darts were created on each side (4 total) on the yoke:

I pinched out the yoke to determine how much to take out on the flat pattern for Jalie Jeans version 2.0. Adjusted the side seams in the thigh area on the flat pattern. Some reviewers mentioned the waistband being just long enough. What I did was cut the waistband last, and made it longer than the pants so the extra could be cut off. In addition, I didn't cut it on the bias. Too many issues from PR Reviewers. I cut it on the lengthwise grain for no/minimal stretch with a double layer of lightweight interfacing. My only issue with the finished jeans was that amount added to the side seams for a bigger waist was too much. I shaved off a little on all the pocket and jeans pieces for my next pair. Just a smidge tighter would be good.

Many reviewers mentioned using Sandra Betzina's fly instructions instead of the pattern so that is what I did. Didn't even look at the pattern's instructions. My only problem with that was I forgot to do a fly shield. What was I thinking?!?! Every day I wear them I zing myself at least once when I pull up the zipper. Zippering skin is not a comfortable thing to do.

I didn't have a jeans button for this pair, but had an extra Walmart fancy brass button I bought a couple of years ago. I like the look of it on the jeans, a bit different than the standard jeans button. And as for rivets? Maybe I'll add them on a third or fourth pair. I want to get this pattern perfect and enter a pair of jeans in our local fair this summer. Nobody sees my rivets anyway because again, I'm not a top tucker-inner kind of girl. Here's my brass, Walmart button:

End result? I love my Jalie Jeans!!! They are better than any RTW jeans I've ever worn. A huge 100th, 200th, or is it a 300th+ thumbs up for this pattern. Like Patternreview needs another review of this pattern lol. It doesn't, but I'll do it anyway.

For version 2.0: There is still a smidge of excess under the butt, so I dropped the crotch curve another 1/2" to see if it helps. Some of the wrinkles need to be there for ease but there's a fine line between removing a smidge of excess and losing ease. So we'll see how dropping the crotch curve just a little more will work.

Here's an extra pic in the flat. In conclusion? Buy this pattern if you don't have it. It's a gem!