Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jumping on the Jalie bandwagon.

When PR offered 20% off patterns for members over January I knew it was time to see what all the hype was about with Jalie patterns. Me and my neighbour, Jenni from across the road shared postage and ordered in 5 patterns between us.

I am having a buying freeze on material at the moment because - due to a number of circumstances - the leading one being greed, the second being fabric crushes that vanished soon after purchase, I have managed to fill my stash box. I am not one of those people who takes joy in owning a lot of beautiful fabric, I like to keep things moving so I thought I'd get onto a few things that have been loitering in my box. The only really suitable fabric for a first time run on these jeans was this cotton lycra which just squeaked in with 20% stretch. (this was purchased because it was on sale, I have since grown to really dislike it)

As I sewed these jeans (#2908) from Jalie a disturbing thought entered my head. Should a middle-aged woman really be pouring herself into stretch jeans?

Remember this from TS Eliot?

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

No, flared with 20% stretch apparently.

I really enjoyed sewing these jeans. The instructions absolutely rock. I learned a new way to sew a zipper - I really like the way they use bar tacks to secure the fly shield. I totally misunderstood the belt loop instructions though and put them in the wrong place. Oh well.

Because this is a stripe, and because this is a new pattern company for me with different sizing and different blocks, I thought I wouldn't waste my energy matching anything when the chance of first off success wasn't high. So I cut the pockets and back yokes on the bias to avoid unmatchy unmatchy unmatch. I also used my walking foot because of the stretch, which means my top stitching is not as straight as when I use the edge foot.

Fit wise they're OK - there's some kind of poufy business at the front that looks alarming like "camel toe" - I think I shouldn't have extended the crotch front length, a normal alteration for me.

After trying them on and showing them to my husband they got the big thumbs down. "They really excentuate the fullness in your thigh area." I was right to be worried about sewing stretch jeans. Would it be cruel to say if you are plus size you need to be young and fearless or if you are older you need to have chicken thighs to wear these? It never occurred to me that the only people I have seen successfully make these have been waifs.

A wadder. Absolutely. But a good learning experience, and the moral of the story must be "favourable reviews from thin young people on Pattern Review should be read with extreme caution."

costings - Jalie pattern imported from Pattern Review - $20 incl postage; leftover cotton, cotton stretch suiting lycra from Smart Dress fabrics Mt Albert - $16 = $36.


  1. I have recently been sucked in by all the hype and I, too, have bought a bundle of Jalie patterns that are making their way across the oceans to me. Including the jeans pattern. I decided a year or 2 ago that the jeans advice plastered across every single magazine...that bootcut flatters simply incorrect. Boot cut makes thighs look bigger. But if you like everything else, there is no need to throw out the jeans pattern with the bootcut (which I think look fine on you, btw), just play around with the leg shape until you get one you like. I went and tried on hundreds of jeans in the shops, and found that they all look awful on me, so had to return to my sewing room. For me, I need jeans that flare from the thigh and not the knee, for which there is no pattern. Instead of the leg shape, when I look to a jeans pattern I am looking at the fit around and under the bum, because that is where most commercial patterns seem to deviate most from RTW. PS After such a long "comment" I almost forgot to add that I like your bias touches.

  2. Bugger, I just got this pattern too, and have been very hopeful based on the rave reviews!

    I suspect that if you made these in a darker colour you'd like the look better. Maybe the lighter colour is what is "emphasizing the thigh area". The shape itself looks fine to me. You could always ignore the stretch factor and make a bigger size in non-stretch too. Or you could chalk it up to experience and move on ;-)

    So, what other patterns did you get? Enquiring minds want to know!

  3. You are a machine! I can't believe how quickly you got those sewn up!

    I agree with Judy about the colour choice - I also think that if they were in a firmer fabric like denim, you'd get a more flattering result. I actually like the look from the front and I'm sure that with your expertise you could tweak to make it work ;-)


    PS FYI, I went to Nick's this morning and he's got some lovely ex-Line7 interfacings in at $2/m.

  4. You do amazing work. I always think the jalie jeans look a little tight, even on the waifs.

    I actually like the fabric. :)

  5. I like the fit on you as well, but I was one of the rave reviewers on PR (although certainly not a waif!) so perhaps I have some bias. I also really love the bias touches on the pockets and yoke. So fun!

  6. Camel toe! Oh, no! Sorry to hear this pattern didn't work out, but better to know for sure than to always wonder. I'm going through a similar decision with Colette patterns, which I believe are made for curvy women (not me).

  7. Jeans are the Nadir of my sewing, but only when I sew them for myself, because skinnier people look better in them. I was able to resist the rave reviews of this pattern, but only just! They are not bad jeans, although I think your other trousers are more flattering, but maybe it is the 20% lycra that is the problem, I think 1 to 3% is what commerical denim jeans have.

  8. The sewing part of our brains must be linked up because I just got this pattern in the mail yesterday! I keep searching for cheap-o stretch denim because I'm positive it's going to take me at least 3 tries to get it right, but can't find anything that suits me.

    I hope you aren't giving up-- I'm eager to see where this goes!

  9. I am so impressed with your pant sewing. The sew along scared me away. I love your comment about keeping your stash moving...I like the feeling too!

  10. I am sorry they didn't work out for you. What other patterns did you get? Do you plan to try the other ones?
    I am making a second pair in a smaller size to see if that solves my problems from the first ones. I would really like to have a pattern that fits so I can do some embroidery on the legs and such.
    Oh, you mentioned the other day that your youngest had outgrown the nap. I make everyone "rest" each day. My oldest reads for an hour - he looked at books before he became a really good reader. The twins still sleep most days.

  11. Sorry to hear you don't like the jeans. I don't think the shape looks so bad on you. I think it would help a lot if you loved the fabric as hating the fabric won't help! But I am with you on using stash and not letting it accumulate!

  12. Really, you don't like them? I, actually, think they look really nice.

  13. I think they look good. Just a little extra fabric under your butt, other wise they are great, FWIW. I actually ordered this pattern last nite! :)

  14. I love your bias pockets. And, it you don't like that jean, try the relaxed fit McCall by Palmer/Pletsch. I made that jean and loved it.

  15. Speaking as someone the same size and shape as you, I don't think you have a thigh problem (although perhaps I have a denial Problem). Certainly the photo doesn't do justice to the fabric. I like sharing the blame around. The word verification for this is criap. Sometimes life gets the last word.

  16. You have such nice commenters on your blog. However, as your sister, I can be very frank. I agree that they are horrible jeans, but they are beautifully sewn.

  17. Beautiful work, but I agree about the boot cut. I find the legs skim in around my thighs and then fly out again at the bottom, making me look like my thighs and hips are bulging out of too tight pants. If they fit, you should just frankenpattern the leg shape of a pair you like onto the top half of these. I was planning to buy this pattern, too.

  18. I have also resisted this pattern as well, but was weakening of late. Now with your review, I will resist. Thanks!

  19. Hi Maryanna - well you could fly to Stewart Island - it only takes 15 mins or there abouts and is painless even for me a non flying person. I can see why those jeans don't work but as everyone else says - they are beautifully sewing. I am attempting a lined hoodie for ANnarose atm. It has silver stretch lining. It will be a challenge I think.

  20. Ahem. Camel toe isn't weird poofiness, it's actually extreme tightness. The idea is that the seam actually digs in, and delineates the surrounding areas, if I may be so crude..

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