So, I’ve achieved it – I’ve sewn a pair of jeans. And they actually look like proper jeans. With all the proper gold topstitching and everything. I enjoyed it more than I expected. And my Bernina was a champ – stitching through layers of denim with topstitching thread like nobody’s business. (Well, until we got to the buttonhole, at which point the machine just said ‘Whatever, I’m done here’). And despite an early but thankfully minor setback (I cut out two left legs and only barely had enough leftover to fit my mistake), the construction was pretty straightfoward.
This was my first time using a Jalie pattern. I think the fit is very good and their instructions and illustrations were fine. But I did not like the heavy paper, which pretty much demanded that you trace off the pattern or cut each peice on the line before putting it on the fabric (which I do not have the time or inclination to do). I tend to cut the peices apart by going roughly around the lines, then cut on the lines as I cut the fabric. That was hard on my scissors with this heavy pattern paper.
And the instructions were so large and spread out, it was a bit unwieldy.
But the thing that I liked least was not having the finished measurements printed on the peices. I really rely on that for fitting.
It was obvious early on that these were going to be tight. Tighter than I wanted. This is my fault, for not buying stretch denim as instructed. I figured I’d go up a size or two and it would be fine. But without the finished measurements on the pattern peices, I was just guessing at ease (yes, I could have measured and calculated the finished size from the peices, but have I ever mentioned I’m a lazy seamstress?)
And I guessed wrong. They weren’t going to be as comfy as I would like. For a while there, I thought they wouldn’t fit at all! And with only a 10mm seam allowance (as opposed to the 15mm many other patterns use), there was no room for taking out seams. Again, all my fault.
This had an impact on how I sewed though. When I ran out of white thread for finishing the seams, I switched to beige – after all, these jeans probably wouldn’t even fit. I decided to do a zip fly rather than the more ambitious button fly I had planned – why take the time if the jeans wouldn’t even fit? Some of the topstitching uses brown buttonhole thread on the underside.
I did decide I would finish them, even though when I tried them on before attaching the waistband, I wasn’t sure I could sit down. I’m hoping that they will ease up a bit with some wear, and maybe even be worn in public. They do fit, and some people like their jeans this tight, but I’m not convinced yet.
So, will I ever sew jeans again? Yeah, I probably will. I’ll probably even use the same pattern – but add a bit more ease next time!
Want to see even more photos of my jeans? Check out my Flickr stream
* I was trying to think of a clever, or funny, or at least interesting title based around jeans. This was the best I could come up with. I think it also shows just how out of touch I am on the whole fashionable jeans thing. Does anyone even wear Guess or Wranglers anymore?
You may also be interested in my first post about these jeans