First off, I need to get the Operator Issues out of the way. (the Operator would be me, of course...) There were a lot of them. I referred a lot to my set of posts about the Jalie Jeans - this is one of the wonderful benefits of blogging! Having your own experiences documented in words and pictures that you understand is priceless. :) I just didn't heed my instructions quite well enough at the beginning, which was one of my downfalls :(
Mistake #1: I tested thread and needle on the fabric, but one quick seam over 6 layers of fabric to determine what needle and topstitching thread would work did NOT mean that same needle and thread was going to be optimum for most of the stitching that needed to be done. In fact, there are precious few spots where I'm actually going over 6 layers of fabric. :::rolleyes:::.
Mistake #2: I made a quick muslin using the denim I had made the Jalies from, and it took me way too long to realize that the new denim I was using behaved WAY differently - thinner fabric, more stretch, not nearly as stable. So I was using topstitching thread that was too thick, a needle that was too large, and using a relatively unstable fabric, not treating it as carefully as I should have. All of this resulted in atrocious (really!) topstitching (wavy, too small a stitch length...not attractive. Not at all attractive.)
I did, however, carry on anyway and finish the jeans, and. I'm happy that I did. In the end, I do have comfortable jeans that fit fairly well right after a good hot wash & dry, but sadly, they stretch fairly quickly into a bit of a baggy mess. Comfy, but baggy. :( And I won't be showing off any of that topstitching with any sense of pride.....
- When researching and practicing topstitching, seam stitching, needles and thread, try ALL of the different thicknesses and grain directions you'll be using to determine what's needed for what.
- Remember that not all denims are created equal. Practice. Test. It's worth taking that extra bit of time until you know what you're working with!
- Bright gold topstitching on very dark (almost black) denim may not be the best choice.
- You don't HAVE to start now and use the threads you have on hand....sometimes shopping and waiting for the right ingredients is worth the wait.
General Notes on the Jilly instructions: Not for beginners, and probably not a good idea for someone who has never made jeans before. Unless you want to follow instructions from a completely different source. Style Arc pattern instructions are designed for people who do not need to be told construction details, and although you can email and ask questions, and you will get fabulous response and help, I would strongly advise you to not try this pattern as your first attempt at jeans!
Style Arc notches: If you see a notch, mark it! You'll probably need it. Notches do not necessarily match up with other notches; in many cases a notch marks the spot that will match a seam - this is great because you don't need to make any marks that might disappear by the time you need it!
I'm not going to write a lot of construction details here, since I did that in my Jalie posts, and the front pocket details, posted here. For the most part, after I read through the Jilly instructions, I just set them aside and followed the details in my Jalie Jeans posts.
Jalie vs. Jilly
One of the first notable differences is the leg width - Jilly is much wider in the rear leg, with a narrower front leg. My Jalie pattern is cut in between their high and low rise - the Jilly jean is closer to my preferred rise as is (although I did cut about 1/2" off the front piece, angled from the side seam to 1/2" at CF). Both jeans have a very similar circumference at the bottom hem; Jalie angles in at the knee, then back out again, Jilly is straighter all the way.
In the next pic you can see the differences better at the top. Note that I chose to use Jalie's cut-on fly extension - Jilly has a sewn on fly. Jilly has a lot more room in the butt area; I actually ended up angling this in, removing nearly 1" at the top. BOTH patterns required gaposis darts in the back yoke and waist seam.
Jilly has an option for a curved waistband or a straight one - a VERY nice touch! I drafted a curved band for the Jalie, and added darts (at the pattern level) in the Jilly curved band - this ended up creating a waistband with a pretty deep curve in the back.
Another difference is that Jilly's back yoke is taller. What I did NOT like about this is that the pockets ended up being placed lower (I also shifted the placement of the pockets to be more angled, which made them lower still....this was another big Operator Error Issue, because they are now WAY too low on my butt!)
The front pocket has a deeper curve on the Jilly - it's comfortable for getting the hands in the pocket; some may prefer the shallower curve.
One more major difference is in the zipper. Jilly has the zipper placed in the center of the front, rather than being off set like most jeans are. I completely ignored the Jilly zipper instructions and followed those from my Jalie post.
On to some pictures. The unfortunate disclaimer here is that I've been wearing the Jillys for two days, so the sags and bags in this stretchy fabric (only 2% lycra, but 9.4 oz. weight...just much flimsier than the Jalie fabric I used. FWIW, I got the Jalie denim at JoAnn's, and I bought a pile of different weight denims from Fabric.com when they had it on a big sale last year. I'm now not so happy that I bought as much as I did, but hopefully the heavier weights that I got will please me more. To get a fair representation of the fit differences, I really should have taken the photos right after a wash & dry, but the truth is that this is what the jeans are going to look like most of the time :(
Jilly on the left, Jalie on the right. The rise is very similar (remember that I re-drafted the Jalie to be in between their low & high rise, and cut down the front of the Jilly by a bit). That gathering at the knee of the Jilly doesn't go away no matter what size heel I have on, so I think it's a combo of the flimsier fabric and the straight leg. The Jalie goes in at the knee. (The Jalie denim is pretty dark; hope you can see the details OK.)
You can see here how much further forward the side seam is on the Jilly. This I like! You can also see how much lower the back pocket site on the Jilly. This I don't like :(
Just to show how much ease this stretchy fabric has..... :(
Another side view - on this you can see that the inside seam ends up being further forward on the Jalie. The crotch point on the Jalie is further forward. Overall, I much prefer the leg seam placement on the Jilly.
I don't remember offhand (and I'm too lazy to go look it up) whether or not the Jalie called for the 2 belt loops at CB. Jilly calls for only one; I prefer 2, but when I got to that stage I didn't feel like cutting a new piece just to have the extra loop. Even though the sagging of this fabric means that I need to wear a belt more often! Also, I didn't sew down the bottom of the belt loops on the Jilly Jeans; I did on the Jalie. Looking at the pics this is something I WILL do while the thread is still in the machine - hate that loopy look! I think you can't quite tell in this pic how bad the pockets look on the Jillys - they really are placed too low and end up in a little fold at the bottom. SO not a good look! I mentioned above that I adjusted the pocket placement, and really should have left it alone - where they have it would have been better.
Bottom Line: I would like to make another pair of jeans while the info is still fresh in my head, and I would redraft something in between these two patterns. I think they both have a lot of good aspects - I like the leg seams on the Jilly, although I might narrow them at the knee more like the Jalie. I also prefer the narrower back yoke of the Jalie. Both jeans have a comfortable fit on my body (after some tweaking, although the Jilly took way less tweaking!). Both needed a gaposis fix. The curved band on the Jilly is very nice. I like the pockets on the Jilly, although I might try the method of extending the pocket into the fly next time - sounds like a great way of adding support to an aging belly! ;-)
My biggest lesson here? All denims are not created equal, and my personal preference is for something a little beefier, with a little more stability. Oh, and in my quest for sewing a better topstitch, start with the appropriate needle and thread right off the bat!
Next up is a super fun piece of frosting! I know I said I was going to focus on more practical items, and I am....really, I am....but this particular flavor of frosting just ambled on to my sewing table and it was love at first sight! Sneak Peek:
And you? Are you focused on a nutritious main course or frosting right now? Happy Sewing all!