Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jeans Accomplished

On one of my trips to Portland a couple years ago I visited Bolt and got myself a copy of Jalie 2908. With 181 entries on PatternReview.com, this is possibly the most-reviewed jeans pattern on the planet. It was a Best Pattern of 2009.

Which I guess makes it almost vintage now. I had a yen for the high rise version - it reminds me of the jeans of my youth. It's not easy to find a pair of high-rise jeans in RTW these days, and my years of low-rise jeans showing a cute slice of abs when I raise my arms are way, way behind me.

I think they turned out pretty much the way they're supposed to, but man, has it been a while since I wore jeans this snug. The waist actually feels pretty good; it's the thighs that make me think twice about how to bend over.

One of the many reviews on Pattern Review mentioned that this pants block fits flat Canadian butts without needing alterations. Here is proof that it also fits flat American butts.

I'd forgotten how nice back pockets can be
I hoped this pair would be my wearable muslin. I used a piece of stretch denim that my friend, Jessica, located while pawing through a bargain bin on our junket to the Sew Expo at Puyallup.

My pants fabric is the middle one, between the future raspberry raincoat and the fabric that became my Burdastyle dotty shirt
There are a lot of bits that go into making a pair of jeans; even a somewhat simplified version like this one. I was tempted to leave some of those bits out for my muslin, but I'm glad I didn't. Some of the techniques were new to me and I actually enjoyed figuring them out. These pants were my first try at:

  • belt loops
  • fly shied
  • back patch pockets
  • using seam binding to finish the inside edge of the waist band
This was my first Jalie pattern, so I cut my size based on their chart and hoped for the best. They use a 3/8 inch seam allowance, which I had never done before. They also had you build the pants differently to how I've done with other patterns. They want you to construct the back of the pants (patch pockets, yoke and crotch seam), then the front (hip pockets, fly and crotch seam). Then you sew the back to the front at the inseam and sides; and it's just popping on the waistband and you're done.

So by the time I was basting the back and front together I'd already invested some sweat into the project. And when I tried them on, Gee, they felt tight. I was wishing I'd added a few eighths to that seam allowance for insurance. I finished them with the narrowest seam I could manage. Which was 3/8 inch. And I thought I had an instructive wadder.

Now that I've test-worn them a couple times, they're kind of growing on me. I'm remembering that little jump-and-pull that you use to wriggle into this kind of jeans and I'm adapting to seeing the shape of my thighs.

I have a piece of blue stretch denim that I got to make a real blue jeans version of this pattern. I think it has just a tad more stretch than this khaki denim. If I make the same size it might be just about perfect.

My pattern review is on PatternReview.com here.


  1. The fit looks great in the photos! The photos look great! I like high-rise-(ish) pants too. I've wondered if as I've gotten older, I've worn my pants generally 'looser', so when I do put on a pair of pants that fit..... like you have here..... they might feel 'tight'.... but they really aren't? I'm saying all that because I just made myself a pair of pants that feel 'tight'.... but when I look in the mirror, they don't necessarily look that tight... maybe? Still pondering that. 'Jump and pull'.... yep.... well said! :) Yours do look great and look forward to seeing the final pair of jeans!

    1. Thank you! I do notice that when I see my blog photos of my every day pants I often have saggy-butt syndrome. The pants feel good, but the fit is not what you could call "trim." I'll work on getting used to these!

  2. These look great!.....fit perfectly for jeans. We 60+'ers usually need the high-rise to feel comfortable. As always....good review of pattern and style.

    1. Thanks! I must say that, as a 60ish brick, I have trouble keeping the low-rise pants from sagging like a rap star. Being able to have my high-rise is one of the things I love about sewing!

  3. You did a a great job & the fit is really good.

  4. The fit looks perfect, Nancy. Pants are so individual - too tight isn't a good look for many bodies yet if you're short (like me) too wide of a leg makes you look stumpy. That's the good thing about sewing- make what you like, what fits, and what is comfy. I think your jeans are terrific.

  5. This is a really impressive first effort! I never would have guessed that these were meant to be a muslin. The fit is lovely. Great job sewing outside your comfort zone and creating such a fantastic garment!