Sewing Along

Dawn started another jeans sew-along at Pattern Review.  I have a lovely piece of denim sitting in my stash.  I was just undecided about whether to use my previous Marfy jeans pattern (which I love, love, love) or have a go at the famous Jalie jeans.  There are plenty of glowing reviews for the Jalies, but Mary Nanna's warning was lurking in the back of my mind.  I decided to make up a muslin in a striped stretch denim that I bought years ago, when I returned to sewing.  Back then I wanted some groovy clothes and decided stripes would be the way to go...I have since found much better ways to get groovy clothes and have been wondering what to do with the stripes.

Here are some lessons I learnt along the way.

1.  Starting to stitch - I'm a bit of a lazy sewer, I don't often hold my threads when starting to stitch.  I have found that top-stitching thread wants to be held when sewing jeans.

2.  Matching Stripes - I have never needed to match stripes on pockets before.  An old article by Angie Zimmermann in Autralian Stitches came to the rescue.  She showed had to place the pocket pattern piece on the cut-out pants, draw the stripes on the pocket pattern and then use this to cut out the pocket.  So simple when you know how.  Look at this beautiful stripe matching, from yoke to back to pocket.


3.  Re-inforcing pocket corners - in the above photo you can see how I re-inforced the pocket corners with the diamond stitch on my sewing machine.  I don't have many fancy stitches on my machine, so I would think most machines have this stitch.  I like it.

4.  The waistband.  I learnt a new method to put on the waistband.  LauraLo adapted a cuff method she learnt over at Fashion Incubator for applying waistbands.  No stitch in the ditch, no hand stitching the turn-under, no binding the waistband edge.  THIS IS BRILLIANT.  Check it out.  I wasn't sure that it would work, so I only sewed it in regular thread, not top-stitching thread.  In the photo below, you can see both the inside and the outside of the waistband.  It think it will work for contoured bands as well.  I will use this for a lot of waistbands from now on in.

5.  Rivets - There was a thread at pattern review on where to get rivets in AustraliaI got all excited and bought some with an antique nickel finish.  Then I saw another thread at pattern review about rivets and nickel allergies.  Then I had a brief panic because I have a nickel allergy and did not take this into account when I bought the rivets (I also forgot to take this into account when starting work at a nickel refinery...hmm, you think I'd remember this...but really, the only impact it has on me in my everyday life is not being able to wear all the groovy earrings).   Then I thought some more and realised that jeans in the past have not caused me problems because rivets are typically positioned over underpants.  Now I am wondering about the underwear wearing habits of people at pattern review!

Then I had a go at installing rivets.  Very bodgy.  More help from pattern review where I was kindly directed to Brian's tutorial.  I have had another go on these jeans (click on above photo for close up), but I'm not too thrilled with the result.  I think they are a bit like welt pockets.  You have to weigh up the risk of failure versus the effect if they work out okay.  For me, rivets don't add much in the way of looks, so I will be leaving them off my final pair.

Pattern Review:
This pattern has been reviewed so many times already that I won't write up my review over there.  But for anybody who visits me here...my 2 cents worth.

The instructions / construction method

Mostly I like the construction order, which is different to the way I traditionally put pants together.  I didn't like the method for the fly zipper.  It results in the zipper being very close to the CF.  I remember one of the Alice & Olivia Vogue patterns beign criticised for having a fly close to the CF even though it reflected RTW.  Personally, I always thought that this was one area that RTW jeans could improve.  Then folding the washing last night (during the final of SYTYCD - wasn't it fabulous) I noticed that Peter's jeans did not have the fly so close to the CF.  So then I had to do a survey of all jeans in the house at the time...I can report that Lee, Ben Sherman, Sportsgirl and Pumpkin Patch all have their zippers well and truly away from the CF fold so that they are not easily exposed during wear.  I think I will go back to my standard fly zipper method for my real jeans.

The fit
 At first I thought the jeans looked terrible.  Then I finished the hem, put my heels and a different T-shirt on, stood nicely and admitted that the front did look like the photo on the pattern cover.  My waistband did have a little gaposis, which has been well documented at pattern review and the blogs, but it was not significant enough for me to want to correct it.  Then the back view and thumbs down.  I won't even show you a picture.  Not very flattering and too much fabric under the bum.So I dug out the Marfy pattern for comparison.

The front shows little difference in the crotch and leg.  The Jalie pattern is the one with the lower front.  I like the lower front for non-stretch, but for stretch I think I need a higher front to hold it all in!

Comparing the back patterns, you can see that the Marfy pattern has a few less centimetres across the inner back thigh.  I think I need this.  From memory, I think when I compared them to my very close fitting Sportsgirl jeans, the Sportsgirl jeans curved in even more at this inner back thigh.

 The Jalie pattern is a bootcut.  I think I am the only person in the whole wide world that does not think the bootcut is universally flattering.  I knew this, but I am clever enough to change the leg shaping...I was more interested in the fit of the Jalie jeans across the back.

The verdict is in.  Marfy has won.  I just need to decide the leg shape for my pair.  I love the flared leg I made last time, but am thinking I will try the straight leg that the Marfy pattern came with, not sure about the button detail on the side of the hem though.
Now I'm not sure what to do with the striped jeans.  I will never wear them.  It seems like a lot of work to throw out, even if they were a muslin.  Perhaps I should put a button on them and send them to the local op shop.  Do you think anybody will want striped jeans???


  1. I do hope the op shop would like them because that's EXACTLY where I sent mine! Shame they didn't work for you but I do feel a little smugly vindicated .. actually, I keep seeing more great reviews for those jeans and asking myself, why oh why, did they come out so bad on me???
    Ok I know the reason for that, but anyway, I am MOST impressed by your stripe matching and thanks for your other tips - I'll bookmark this for next time I brave a pair of jeans..

  2. Thanks for the interesting review. I have been tempted to buy this pattern after all the hype so I am happy to hear more about it before I get carried out. This is from the sewist who isn't even convinced I want to tackle jeans sewing!

  3. Thanks for reinforcing Mary Nanna, I do know these stretchy Jalie jeans would not suit me at all, but patternreview is such an enabling place for unsuitable pattern crushes.
    I am very grateful for your striped pocket search through Australian Stitches. I am using that tip almost immediately.

  4. A very useful post. I'll look it up when I finally pull out the white denim and McCalls jeans pattern that I've had for over a year now!

  5. Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  6. I;m still laughing at the thought of what underwear the nickel allergy sufferers over at PR wear.... But what your post says to me is that jeans will remain one of the few things I'll keep buying and not sewing, there's no way I have your energy and patience to do all the muslins and tweaking required

  7. I love blogs with pictures and examples ... on this occasion to explain how to make those seams! you are very kind to share this information with us!
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