The Jalie Jeans 2908 pattern has been reviewed - one would think to death - 88 times over at pattern review (and counting!) So what am I gonna do? Add another, of course!
I spent more time reading & researching how to make a pair of jeans that fit than I suspect I will have spent sewing them up by the time I'm done! This was really out of necessity, because at some point I realized that I've never (at least in memory...which is sketchy at times) made a pair of fitted pants before, let alone a pair of jeans!
My main sources of material were the Sewalong threads at Pattern Review - PR #1, PR#2, all of the posts at Peter's Blog MPB Jeans Sewalong, and all of the links those threads led me to (pertinent places added later). These are excellent sources of info; I'm merely consolidating everything I found helpful, & detailing my experiences here.
Because this is my first journey with fitted pants, I'm posting from a novice's point of view. I won't address lots of fitting issues & other highly individual aspects, but I will try to be as detailed as possible about what I found that's working for me. Although I missed joining all the prior sew-alongs, the good news is that I get to benefit from everyone else's experiences - thanks, everyone else! :D )
On to the basics - First up, Supplies:
Fabric (Denim - in this case, stretch denim) Normally, I'm quite a pacifist, but in this case, I say ABUSE this puppy ahead of time! Wash (hot!) and dry (hot!) at least twice, preferably 3 times. Serging the ends to prevent fraying (not to mention those nasty threads that tie everything in knots in the washer & drier) is very helpful. A tip from Ann of Gorgeous Things: Once the fabric has been washed, let it sit & settle (preferably spread out on your cutting surface) for 24 hours - this supposedly helps it keep its shape.
Thread - much was written about this, because folks had problems with choosing & using a topstitching thread that worked for them. I used Gutterman's topstitching thread up top, with all-purpose thread in the bobbin, but a lot of people found G's TS thread too thick & unruly - Gutterman's Upholstery Thread got some good reviews, as did YLI topstitching thread. I'm doing my topstitching on my 201, and so far she's handling the Gutterman TS just fine :) Bottom line here: test test test! You'll also need a sturdy thread for seam stitching, & serger thread if you'll be using your serger (recommended for this pattern - the seams are serged, ironed to one side, then topstitched with 2 rows)
Needles - The consensus here is to use 110/16 or 18 Larger needles are necessary for the heavier fabric and thread.
Rivets - I got mine from Junior, again, a consensus showed his to be very good (I'm not at the rivet stage yet...we'll see how I do!) And of course, the hammer, block of wood, & other goodies necessary to <strike>get your aggressions out</strike> - I'll detail this when I get there....
Interfacing - lots of options here, just use your favorite! I love Pam Erny's selection; I used her lightweight woven.
Lining/Facing Fabric - For pockets, fly facings, & waistband. You can use your denim for some of these, or a fun & feel good cotton, for that less bulky, custom look and feel.
Zipper - Lots of choices here too. You don't need a "Jeans Zipper". In fact, I made a couple of test zips using some old ones from stash, and I liked the looks of a gold one I used so much that I might actually rip it out & use it in my jeans!
Oh yeah, of course - your Pattern!
- An old pair (or 3) of jeans that fit you, &/or that you can study the construction of. (trust me, this is VERY helpful!)
- Also, more than one machine! So that you don't have to constantly be switching threads.
- Oak tag or an old file folder for making templates
- Tacky Glue
- Steam a Seam or Wonder Tape (for the zipper)
OK, on to the fun stuff! I finally sat down to read through the pattern instructions, and much to my surprise, step 1 is topstitching the back pocket! Back to the research....what design to use? But first, remember my comment about testing your thread? Different threads, different machines, a bunch of playing around:
I tried the Jalie design, but ended up drawing my own. I transferred the design to my pockets using a tracing wheel & paper; some people used a template & chalk to mark their designs.
Next step - I recommend making your pressing much easier by making a pocket template, the size of the finished pocket, so that you can just fold over your edges & press them w/o the bother of measuring.
Topstitch your pocket tops, & then, thanks to hints from rocketboy/Brian Sews, I brought out my tacky glue, & I'm a convert! Glue the folded edges of your pocket, place them on their home base, and sew without pins! (which can really distort a heavier fabric like denim)
I was still using the Featherweight here, but those corners (4 layers of fabric) convinced me that she wasn't going to have enough oomph by the time I was dealing with 6 or 8 layers of this fabric!
Amazing! No seams stitched together yet, but it feels like the jeans are beginning to take shape!
I'm actually a bit out of synch here, because although I dove right into topstitching the pockets, there were some fitting issues that I dealt with before cutting out the rest of the pieces, mainly involving the rise on these pants. Next up will be how I worked that out, and sewing the front pockets :)