Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baste & Gather Birkin Jeans: Tested and LOVED!



I did a quick (front, back, yoke) muslin in a non-stretch twill. So they were REALLY snug. My denim has just a touch of stretch (no fiber content available as I got it from SR Harris) so I thought a a non-stretch woven was best for muslining.


They were SO tight! LOL!!!! But I knew they would be fine in the denim.


Based on my 33" waist and 43.5" hips, I chose a size 33. The pattern is of higher rise; not natural-waist high but high. There is 3" of negative ease at the hip and positive ease at the "waist". However, don't be put off by this. Choose based on your natural waist. The area of the body where the waist hits is wider; thus the larger measurement.

Jeans don't normally take a lot of fabric but these are (awesomely!) extreme flares. I was all "pfft! 3 yards?!" but I *totally* used that yardage. I could have preserved a little bit but...trust the fabric suggestion.

I cut denim single layer. 1) My sad hands can't take the double layer 2) it's easier to ensure you're on grain.

I lay the denim out and using my wide ruler (5" x 24"), I make 'extra' grainlines. Lining the ruler up with the selvedge I use a pen to make a few extra grainlines across the width of the fabric.

I line up my pattern piece and take measurements from the grainline to the edge of the cutting table at the top, center and bottom to ensure the grainline is straight.  Flip the pattern piece and line up with one of the "new" grainlines and do the same.

No twisted legs!

Changes:
*Removed 2" from the length on the paper pattern. The pants are designed with 34" finished length and there is no universe (or high heel) that exists in which I need a 34" inseam! :).

*Shortened front crotch length 1/2". This is standard. I haven't 'met' a pants pattern where I didn't need to shorten the front. No change to the back rise though! :-O I didn't need a 'big booty adjustment'! Woohoo!

*1/4" full inner thigh adjustment

*I added 1/2" at the side seam for insurance but ended up sewing a 3/4" seam allowance. So basically the straight pattern with 3/8" side seams. Next time I'll sew 5/8" seams. They relaxed a bit during wear. Not stretched out of shape but just relaxed, as denim does. The next pair will be really snug through the hip.

*Raised the pockets 3/4" and brought them in to center 1/4". The pockets on these are big but I like them.

*Pressed the yoke seam UP instead of down. These jeans manage to be higher rise without making the pockets appear too low, which is one of my biggest gripes with the beloved Gingers. The yoke looks so ridiculously long/tall that it makes many of the versions out there look like the pockets are on the back of folks' thighs! (Obviously the low rise version of that pattern fits differently...). With my Sandra jeans, I shortened the height of the yoke. I will do the same on these. Just a tad. Again, all of my RTW jeans --even higher rise-- have 'skinnier' yokes.

*Used a one piece waistband

*Interfaced the buttonhole area (the waistband doesn't need interfacing and none of my RTW jeans have an interfaced w/b). But I've learned the hard way, and especially with stretch denim, to interface the buttonhole! Or alternatively, use a stabilizer.


Blunders:
*I cut the extension off the wrong front piece. And instead of just reversing my zipper, without thinking, I cut the extension off the other side too! So I don't have a perfectly hidden zipper now :(

*I must have dulled my needle at some point and continued trying to sew with it. It was hell. I spent nearly 2 hours sewing and ripping out topstitching on the fly front before it was halfway presentable. My thread kept nesting, breaking, shredding. It was horrible!!! I took a break (I had a massage already scheduled that day - ahhhh!) and came back and got it done. I then basted the side seams. The next day, I sewed the (deeper) side seams, pressed, serged and was ready to attach the waistband.


I was initially using a hot pink jeans zipper and went to remove the teeth. I did one side and then zipped it to ensure the other side was even.

You see where this is going?


I pulled the zipper pull off the top of the one side.  Now, I've done this before and found the 'fix' of putting it on from the bottom. But, I have never, ever did this and had a zipper work 'normally' after. It catches, it skips, it doesn't work well...So I did the unthinkable.

I ripped out all the fly front stitching. The topstitching, the zipper stitching, all of it. And inserted a new zipper. So disappointed in the results though. This was made MUCH harder as the pants were fully assembled at this point so trying to work around everything was tough.

Took several tries again for the fly topstitching and it isn't perfect. My thread kept nesting and I kind of gave up.

Sigh.

*All this waste of thread and redoing things...I ran out of topstitching thread. Seriously. I still needed to do the waistband and hem. At this point I am over the whole process. I mean, I like the jeans and it isn't their fault! :) But I was OVER.IT.

Luckily the second time I sewed jeans I decided to get regular thread, that matched the topstitching thread, to use in the bobbin. I just doubled this thread to do the remaining topstitching.


Isn't that a thing of BEAUTY!?!? I think from now on I'll just topstitch with two spools. Worked marvelously.


*I somehow missed that the waistband piece was cut 2 -- as in waistband and facing. All of my jeans have a single waistband piece that is folded over. And then I didn't have a large enough piece. I wasn't thinking; I should have just added a CB seam for the waistband. I was clearly not functioning at my peak at this point. I needed that CB seam because my waistband was gaping like crazy. Again, being OVER.IT., I used the elastic trick that I've used on RTW denim instead of having them taken in at the waist. I have a 10" length of elastic that is stitched at the ends. The stitching is hidden by the carriers.

Likes:
*They fit very well through the butt, hips and thighs. Really love the fit!

*The fabric is nice. Heavy but not too much so. They suck everything in nicely! And just a little bit of lycra. I hate really stretchy jeans. Hate. Hate. Hate.

*The flare is SO fun!!! I want to make another pair in a lighter wash denim.

*There are some really great tips for sewing these! Things that I'd not thought of before and really help to make things look handmade vs. homemade!

Dislikes:
Just a couple...

*The front pockets are shallow. But the bottom of the pocket piece is straight so deepening them will be a cinch. I need at least another inch of pocket depth. If my phone can't fit, it's not okay! ;-)


The final pattern will have pockets with 1" additional depth.


*The coin pocket. It is prepared same as the back pocket. When I chose the SA Sandra as my intro-to-jeans pattern, I reviewed others in my stash -and- my RTW jeans. All of them have the coin pocket 'caught' in the stitching/serging of the front facing piece.

Blunders and mishaps aside...I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!


That flare is *EPIC* 


The pattern is really fantastic and my mishaps were just me having rough sewing days. I do have a couple cuts of denim in stash but nothing that's 3 yards. I'll be on the lookout for a lighter denim to make another pair. Maybe gray <3

I've tested a few patterns now but I think it's clear that I wouldn't do a test unless it was a garment I was actually enthused about. It's time and effort and often on a tight deadline and who wants to do all that work *JUST* to get a free pattern?! Not I.

I hemmed these Saturday morning and took the photos above...and then I decided I just had to wear these that day. Styled as such:


I felt really awesome and glamorous and fantastic all day!!!

42 comments:

  1. You aren't kidding about epic flares! Measuring off your mat they're 26". I can see why they take 3 yds. of fabric.

    The fit on you is fantastic! I'm curious as to what the back crotch curve looks like. That's my problem area w/most jeans patterns.

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    1. So epic! LOL!!!

      It's sort of a soft L I think. Nowhere near as curved as many patterns are.

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  2. They look really super on you! I'm still not convinced of the flare trend on me but you may be selling me...

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    1. Thank you!! I have always been a firm "NOPE" on flared legs. But I suddenly got the urge this year and was going to 'hack' my Style Arc jean pattern to have a flare.

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  3. You look hot in these! I'm in the same boat as Jenny- not sure I could rock the flares- but these look so good on you that I am sorely tempted!!

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    1. Thank you!! I think the key for me is that they have to be floor-length long and paired with heels.

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  4. What a sewing journey these were. They are awesome on you, WELL DONE!!!

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    1. Thank you!! I never cry but these almost did me in!

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  5. These look awesome! Can't wait for this pattern. I need new jeans and haven't been totally in love with the Jalie pattern I've used in the past. These seem to actually have a good style and fit!

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    1. Thanks Lisa!

      I have never made the Jalie and I know it's well loved. I think that those of us in the testing group had a wide range of shapes and sizes and honestly everyone's jeans looked good.

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  6. Love love love these!!! Totally buying that pattern! Those flares rock :-)

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    1. Thanks Kristin!!! I think they'd look fantastic on you!

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  7. great looking jeans, girl! that flair reminds me of my days in the 70's. I loved that flair!!

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  8. Wow.. fantastic.... Great fit . I wish I could make pants that fit............. Not fun at all for me.lol
    Happy sewing, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Haha thanks Judy! I have a much harder time fitting dresses! We've all got that one thing :-p

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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  9. They look really great! I have some corduroy that I've been holding onto for some type of wide-legged situation. These might be what I'm looking for

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    1. Thanks Tasha! I really enjoyed wearing these! :)

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  10. Flares/bootcut are my favorite--I don't have a lot of curve on top (unless you count the ones going in the "wrong" direction), but I have slim (some might say scrawny) legs, so flares/bootcut helps to balance me out. I have all kinds of denim in my stash that needs using, and my thighs have nearly worn out all my jeans...maybe I need to buckle down and sew some up!

    P.S. Can you link me to your full inner thigh adjustment tutorial? I think I need this, since sometimes the wrinkles in my jeans cut into my thighs.

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    1. Thanks!!! I use Stitches & Seams info shown here:
      http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/2008/01/full-inner-thigh-alterations.html

      Delete
  11. What a great fit!! I just love them! I need to think about this style on my but I just love them on you. Great jeans!

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  12. Winner! These jeans fit amazingly well and I love your topstitching. The Jalie jeans has a fold over waistband and the next time I sew them, I will try a two-piece waistband. I might be able to get a better swayback fit.

    I've pulled many a zipper tabs clear off the track. LOL Now as soon as I cut the zipper (like IMMEDIATELY after I cut the zipper), I grab a safety pin and place it over the zipper teeth. I can't be trusted without a zipper stop! =)

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    1. I pin as well, or I would just forget.

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  13. Love them! They look so pro! Well done!

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  14. This is one superb jeans , what a great fit, and your perseverance really paid off . Great jeans

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  15. Love them - and if you look in RTW, the waistbands are always two piece. I love two piece waistbands. You can use a contrast fabric too. Usually lighter in weight to reduce bulk. What a problem with that that thread. All credit to you that you persevered. They look really good and suit you.

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    1. All I can do with this and the post is just nod nod nod yes yes yes. I have a similar waist/butt ratio, and I need that curved waistband to continue the curve.
      As big as pain as pulling the zipper can be at that point (I do a LOT of jeans alterations), it pays off down the road; they look fabulous on you.
      But I have feels for your pain, cringing awful "oh noooooo" sympathy.

      Delete
  16. You did do an awesome job with these jeans despite the issues you had with the top stitches! Great job and I know you'll be rockin' these jeans for a while!

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  17. These look fabulous! I'm trying to wean myself off skinny jeans - not totally, I just want other options - so I might have to give these a go.

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  18. The look absolutely wonderful on you. You've outdone yourself!

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  19. These jeans look great on you! Kudos to you for continuing despite all of your mishaps. These would be sitting in my UFO bin, LOL.

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  20. misery loves company...At least I'm not alone in fixing disasters and you definitely did a great save on these. The final product and fit speak volumes of your effort. The pdf idea just seems like so much extra work though! sigh...
    I love them on you.

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  21. Great job with these flares! I have never sewn jeans. I really want to try these as I loved the flares in the 70's and think I would enjoy them now. Yours fit great.

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