Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jean Genie

So you know I'm participating in the MPB Jeans Sew Along, right? I'm using the ubiquitous Jalie Jeans pattern. Apparently, it won as Pattern of the Year.

Nonetheless I'm very pleased to have the sew along to review along with the Jalie instructions. Because Jalie has a unique way of presenting information. And by "unique", I mean "not so easy, as far as I'm concerned". This is to say nothing of the 27 sizes available on one sheet of paper. No joke - the pattern you'll use for your 5 year old is on the same page as the one you'll trace for you. That's a lot of stuff going on on one page, peeps. Tracing took me 2 hours.

Whatevs. I'm willing to work with it for its supposed awesome RTW look and fit.

I'm using a mid-weight dark blue denim with 3 per cent stretch:

Pocket positioning is an art. You have to be sure to align both pockets on the exact same part of your tush or you run the risk of looking lopsided!

Note: I've only done 1 pocket so far. The other one is staring at me ominously. Cuz, you know, jeans stare.

Not the clearest photo, but you can see the twin stitched pocket, now affixed.

Why, you might ask, is the swoosh on the pocket in sassy orange, while the pocket side stitching is "jeans blue"? Well, the orange thread is very thick and the denim (or the machine) just can't take it. Especially when it's being twin stitched. I learned this, painfully, over the course of an hour. I could start from scratch and go find some less thick, similarly orange thread, but I'm not displeased with the blue. It's much less conspicuous - which isn't a bad thing on one's first attempt.

I'm opting not to flat fell the seams, but to twin top stitch them. It will give me more latitude until I perfect the fit on me.

On the topic of sizing: I cut the V, though I think - unless these fit small - I might have to serge off quite a bit on the side seams. The U might have been better, but I'd rather start off too large than too small. I changed the arch of the back crotch. I didn't touch the front because I don't understand, exactly, how the fly will influence fit. I'm just going to have to use this pair experimentally. You know how I love that.

Update: I have now stitched both back pockets at the expense of 3 twin needles. And those suckers aren't cheap. I think I'm out 20 bucks... Note to jeans sewists: Go out and get an actual denim twin needle. It's unlike me to be unprepared in this way - and to sacrifice, not 1 but 3, needles to my impatience - but I'm over it. Another 10 dollar needle is in my future - this time of the correct gauge...


  1. I am so excited for your jeans project. I can't wait to see them. I love my Hudson jeans but have been very intriqued by the Jalie jeans. I know Dawn from Two on, Two off - did a great pair a while ago. Good luck with your jeans!!
    P.S. Good tip off on the instructions; I have some Jalie patterns but haven't opened them (yet!).

  2. Hehe! That is why I don't twin-needle my topstitching in denim. The perfectly parallel lines are nice, but the breakage rate is much lower with a regular needle.

    I prefer to sew my CB seam before positioning the pockets, so they're centred on the stitching rather than the seam itself. Also, with the stretch denim, the distance between seam and pocket will grow when they're on you. A LOT.

    With the Jalie pattern, you WILL (unless you have a preternaturally flat butt) need to take a tuck out of the back yoke pieces. You can of course do this just before you attach the waistband, and have darts in the yoke of your first pair. I took a 1cm tuck in mine and I don't exactly have the world's most well-padded tush.

    And, now that I've played know-it-all, yay! Have fun---I hope they turn out super-fab!

  3. Hi there! I'm using the same pattern for jeans, my first time trying to make pants. I was wondering how you knew to change the curve in the back crotch, and what that accomplishes? Did you compare it to other pants patterns you've sewn, or what? I'm just trying to puzzle out how this all works, thanks!

    And tanit-isis, your comment about the dart in the back yoke is helpful to me, as I'll be working on that part next.

  4. You're going to LOVE these jeans. Trust me. I'm going to have to make another pair because I've already worn mine to death (and because they are getting too big). I had better luck just topstitching twice vs. using the twin needle. I like your pockets, they turned out nice. :-)

  5. Pammie: Hudsons are awesome! I read Dawn's post but I should read it again for more context...

    T: OMG - it's ridiculous! I'm going to give it another go with the correct gauge. Good to know about the tuck reqt. Of course, this first one is as much a muslin as anything. I do hope these work out :-)

    Choco: Hello! If you look back through my posts (under pants or V1166) you'll see that I did a muslin of a TNT (simple, back zip) pants pattern in December. It was quite an adventure and 5 versions later I understood my crotch length and depth a lot better. (It's a trial and error undertaking.) Thing is, the fly front on the jeans kind of messes with my ability to tell how, or if, it's necessary to adjust there. However, I'm pretty sure it's necessary for me to copy the back curve. For someone who's never made pants, I suspect it's best to just give the regular pattern a try for the first pair and start the fitting process, as necessary, depending on what you see. Hope it all goes fabulously!

  6. Thanks so much for that...yes, I'm sewing straight from the pattern for my first try, but I'm hitting the books (or the blogs) to study up for the second round. I'll take a look at your Dec posts, thanks!

  7. I will have to bookmark this post for a future jeans project.

    For now, congratulations! The jeans look great and I hope they will fit perfectly.

  8. Susan: It's a bit tricky because there are lots of steps and the instructions aren't particularly intuitive. But once you do it once, I'm sure it's not hard to do the next time...

  9. CGC: Based on your and Taran's comments, I've decided to work with one needle and double top stitch. Extra work, but less fussy...

  10. Oh, pants are a pain in the ass! Pun intended... hehehe. Once you get the fit the way you want it, these are going to be gorgeous. And then you'll have a good sloper for more pants!