jalie 2908 | finale… for now

i finished my first real live regulation jeans and i have to say, i’m pretty proud of myself! not long ago, even after having a great deal of success with pants, i had put jeans in the “not to bother with” category. and really it wasn’t due to any lack of skill set, but more due to the inconvenience of getting it done right. i’m looking at you topstitching thread!!! the constant back and forth, threading and re-threading my machine, then switching pressor feet all the time… ugh. not gonna lie folks—it’s a hassle.

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HOWEVER, it’s totally doable. if you’re even thinking about making jeans, just know that you probably won’t crank them out in a day. so let’s get down to the nitty gritty here…

first off, this pattern (jalie 2908) gets pretty high marks from me. it is an excellent starting point that got me to wearable by version two. i’m taking a bit of my own advice and wearing them and washing them to see how they break in before i really know how they’ll fit. at this point, they’re more snug than i was going for, but denim is kinda that way. it seems as though this denim has less stretch than the corduroy of my first version, so that’s a little frustrating. just goes to show that a muslin can only show so much.

over-exposed to show detail…

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i detailed my alterations in my last post, but i thought i would re-cap here:

reduced/flattened the front crotch curve to remove the “flap.” it does seem counterintuitive to add fabric in order to reduce what appears to be extra fabric. i’ve seen various theories on this. some people remove or wedge out front crotch depth, but i could tell that the pants weren’t sitting as close to the body as my regular RTW pants. this led me to believe that the “flap” was really pull lines, not excess fabric. there are a few factors contributing to this, including full or prominent thighs, tilted pelvis, etc. really it’s all about figuring out your individual crotch curve. easier said than done, i grant you.

moved hip shaping to the back outer seam. i noticed that my outer seam was skewing to the back, so i removed 3/4″ from the outer seam on the front pieces, and added it to the outer seam on the back pieces (back and yoke).

added to back rise. i wedged open at CB to give me a little extra rise for le bootay.

added fabric to back along the lower crotch curve. this gets rid of uni-butt and lets the fabric uh… hug both cheeks instead of gliding over them as one. sorry… tmi…

shaped the yoke. in my previous version i had to take width out of the CB and side seams (i chose size based on my hip measure—a full two sizes larger than my waist). to spread out the reduction, i made three slash and overlaps to remove the excess. this made for a very curvy yoke, but what can i say. i have-a some junk in mah trunk.

curved waistband. the jalie pattern has a straight bias cut waistband. while i discovered that i didn’t need much curve on the waistband, which i attribute to a nice fitting yoke, i still needed some curve. i determined how much by sewing on a straight piece of fabric and making a few small darts. i removed the muslined waistband and used it to make a new pattern piece.

tapered leg from knee down. while i may have over-tapered, i’m pretty close to ideal. i think if i add just the tiniest bit of width back in i’ll be golden.

and, as much as i should do another version of this pattern, i’m also interested in trying the named jamie jeans. truthfully, i wasn’t all that interested in that pattern when it first came out—i’m something of a purist when it comes to jeans—but they do have a sleek dressy edge to them that i’m really digging. not to mention that you don’t have to topstitch that curved pocket edge. that curve trips me up every. single. time.

and now for the photo dump…

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final thoughts… like i said, i’ve been wearing these for several days and am giving them a chance to get broken in a bit before i even think of making another pair. i imagine they’ll soften up soon, it always takes so long for a new pair of jeans to feel comfortable. i think the most telling thing is that my husband hasn’t noticed my new jeans! he’s usually pretty observant and complimentary about the things i have made, so i think it’s funny that he hasn’t noticed. i have to think it’s because he can’t tell that they’re any different from my RTW jeans, right?

—lisa g.

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jeans update | jalie 2908

i had hoped to have a finished pair of jeans at this point, but lacking time (and motivation) has me lagging quite a bit. they are so close to being done, but i think—scratch that—i know i need to remove the waistband and cut a new one. and the waistband just happens to be my absolute least favorite thing about pants making EVER. EVER!!! i don’t know why, i just hate waistbands. also, there stands a chance that they will be too small entirely and unwearable for anything other than standing. but before i go there, let’s talk fitting!

if you recall, i started with jalie 2908 and cut a straight size, only making a few adjustments at the waist as i sewed them up. i took a pinch out of the yoke at CB, and a little more at the side seams. for a more accurate adjustment, i took my yoke piece and darted out the excess in three places in order to spread out the adjustment. spoiler alert: this worked marvelously! the shape over my bum is fantastic! adding to that, it seems this great fitting yoke translated into not needing much waistband shaping. who knew?

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so onto the waistband… i sewed on a straight piece of twill to draft the waistband and darted out a couple places to get my curve. then i cut my actual waistband on grain (not with the stretch) and over-zealously interfaced it, resulting in so much stiffness i can barely fit them over my hips. so, that needs to be re-done on the cross grain, and interfaced in such a way to allow for a little bit of give. i really think swapping out a new waistband will give me a much better fit, and perhaps a better overall liking of the jeans.

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added width to the back piece at the outside seam

one thing about the original draft on the hip line was that my side seam pulled to the back. a hip measurement is only the beginning of the equation. most of my circumference is on my curvy backside, so the hip curve on the front pattern piece was far too extreme. i shaved off about 3/4″ from the front hip side seam and added it to the back side seam. the result is a side seam that is straight as an arrow down the length of my leg. LOVE that.

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this shows the outer side seam where i removed width. since the side seam was moved, i also had to alter the pocket placement.

but, my biggest complaint from my initial pants was the excess front crotch flappage i had happening. based on my limited knowledge of pants fitting, i knew the front curve would need to be flattened. this seems to have done the trick! it’s rather counter intuitive to add fabric where it appears too much fabric already exists, but the result is a closer or, i should say, more accurate fit around the front. i also flattened out the curve on the back crotch slightly (again, adding fabric) because my first iteration seemed to be giving me uni-butt. i read somewhere that a flatter curve would assist in shaping the backside. i also raised the inseam by 1/4″ on the front, and removed a 1/4″ wedge from the back inseam to help eliminate the under butt wrinkles.

another adjustment i made was to taper the leg in from the knee down. my cords were definitely too baggy, and i had a hard time stuffing them into boots without them pooling over the top. comparing them to my current skinny jeans led me to removing a full inch which may have been too much…

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my fabric may not have quite as much stretch as this pattern requires, which is leaving me with a very tight fit, and one that may not allow me to actually bend my knees. oops. in hindsight, i should have left myself much more SA to account for stretch variation, but alas i did not. the thought of these potentially not being wearable (and having my least favorite tasks ahead) have definitely stalled me out. after all, why waste my time with all that topstitching, etc if they’ll just end up in the donation pile? however—denim stretches. what is initially too small, sometimes ends up as just right, or even too big a wear or two down the road. for that reason, i will finish these… as soon as i get a little more motivated.

—lisa g.

black dress pants

as mentioned in my last post, i made a white shirt/black pants outfit for my daughter to wear for a school concert. here are the pants i made, using the ever popular jalie 2908. i used a stretch cotton sateen that i bought from my local haunt for $3-4/yd, and what a bargain that stuff was! i bought several yards, and i’m so glad i did because it’s nice and soft, but still a good weight for pants. so yeah, i’ll be getting a pair of thurlows out of it at some point.

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i changed it up a little and re-drafted the jean pocket styling in favor of a slash pocket, and left off the back patch pockets. i contemplated altering the yoke and making darts, but then i would have felt compelled to add welt pockets, and i guess i just wasn’t in the mood at the time.

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Anastasia is pretty slim, so i graded a size down in the hips from the rest of the pants. i am so pleased with the fit! i know it’s hard to tell since they’re black and all, but they really look nice on her. she’s in an awkward size for RTW—the size 8 is way too small, but the next size up is really too big. it’s nice being able to fill in the gap, especially for something that needs to look dressy.

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also, i should mention that the sweater she’s wearing is one i made months ago but never blogged. it’s the Greenpoint Cardigan by Hey June. L-O-V-E this little sweater.

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it’s a raglan sleeve so it comes together practically in minutes, and is just one of those great patterns to have on hand if you sew for kids. i probably should have gone up a size since this fabric doesn’t have a ton of stretch, but it should fit through the spring. actually, i’m pretty tempted to grade up or hack out an adult size version of this sweater. if i ever find a good cardigan fabric for myself i just might!

—lisa g.

burdastyle | ruffle blouse

my daughter, Anastasia, needed a black pants and white shirt outfit for a recent choir performance. i came across a satin stripe white shirting at Fabric Mart (no longer available) so i bought a few yards to make her shirt and to have enough leftover to make myself an archer at some point. i used burdastyle 10/2010 #148, which has two variations. one is this ruffle front blouse, and the other is a tunic/dress with a drawstring casing. hopefully i can get to the tunic version this spring, because it’s so cute!

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i made a size 134 (oh how it pains me to see her in the “pre-teen” size set!!) and the only change i made was to lengthen the top. looking at the picture from the website the shirt seems a bit cropped, so i added about 1 1/2″ to the length. i used my serger to finish the edging on the ruffle, just as you would for a rolled hem without actually rolling the hem, if that makes sense.

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i haven’t had considerable luck with fusibles on collars and such (i need to splurge for the good stuff some day…) so i cut muslin as a sew-in interfacing for the collar stand and cuffs. i did use fusible on the button placket, and if i remember correctly, i used my roll of knit fusible from Sunni. that stuff is awesome—i use it all the time!

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all in all, this is a great pattern! i’ll be coming back to it many times since it has all the details of a nice button up. it does lack a traditional tower placket, but that’s not a big deal. i don’t mind the continuous placket for a dressier girls blouse, and it’s easy enough to add a tower placket if i want.

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while i’m discussing shirts (as i so love to do) i recently came across some great info. i’ve noticed for ages mysterious topstitching on the inner collar stand of dress shirts. i really couldn’t conceive of what it was there for until i came across this information on The Rusty Bobbin. ah-ha!!! they turn and press the neck edge of the inner stand and topstitch the SA in place before sewing it to the outer stand. LOVE this idea, and can’t wait to try it out on my next shirt! she has several posts there from taking apart a RTW dress shirt, and i highly recommend reading them. also, recently Pam from Off The Cuff did a tutorial on making a two piece tower placket. previously i never saw the merit of a two piece instead of one piece tower placket, but seeing her tutorial opened my eyes. to those of you who live in fear of the mysterious tower placket, that should demystify it for you. interesting things people!

—lisa g.

dixie diy | ballet dress

i haven’t felt much like writing lately, but i do have a backlog of projects to show off! and it’s only natural to start with the last thing i made and work backwards…

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the knit skater dresses have been über popular around the blogs, and for good reason. in the quest for everyday wearable clothes, few things are more comfy than knit dresses. i decided to go with dixie DIY’s ballet dress. and really, how has this pattern not received more love? i’ll give up $4 to avoid drafting my own, that’s for sure. there is only one sleeve length in this pattern (3/4 length) but you could easily shorten or lengthen as needed. i should say, this was probably one of the fastest .pdf files i have ever put together. i managed to cut and tape while playing a rousing game of candy land with my son. multitasking at it’s finest.

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this is the fabric’s actual color

the pattern size chart is simply a list of finished measurements. i find this particularly helpful with knits since the stretch of your knit can vary so widely. i used a grey poly/lycra ponte. i know, i know… ugh polyester… it just felt so nice i thought i’d give it a shot. plus it was only $4/yd. as far as sizing goes, i decided to grade from an XS up top out to a M at the waist. this worked out great, though i have a little bit of pulling on the sleeve at the underarm. the shoulder seam may need to come out a touch, and perhaps the armhole scooped out in the front a tad. the waist seam hits me right at my waist in the back, but hikes up a little in the front. i think next time i’ll add about 1/2″ to the front bodice length. also, i cut the skirt 1″ longer than my size dictated to compensate for my height. these are all minor adjustments, and i’m perfectly content with how this one fits.

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i had planned to do a neck band finish, but when i tried it on for size i was happy with where the neckline was sitting. i decided to bind the neckline edge by serging a strip of fabric to the right side, then wrapping it to the back and top stitching. i was a rebel and used a regular straight stitch. the stitches pretty much disappear into the fabric giving me a nice neat neckline. then i finished off the sleeve and hem with my twin needle.

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i really love this dress and am already plotting several more. i know it’s been said ad nauseam, but this really is a perfect style so if you haven’t sewn one up yet, what are you waiting for?

—lisa g.