Jalie Stretch Jeans for Frances, Theoretically

So I mentioned a few posts back about how Frances now wants to be wearing jeans again, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen the picture of the jeans I started making, realized were the wrong size for her, and ripped apart.

And here is part 2 of that saga. I’m hoping it’s the second part of a trilogy, as I’d hate to have Jeans for Frances turning into a Wheel-of-Time-esque fourteen-volume epic fantasy. But time will tell. At any rate, it’s not done yet.

On the recommendation of some online sewing friends, I decided to give Jalie’s Stretch Jeans pattern a try. Jalie is a french Canadian company, and what’s more, there’s a small fabric store in Hamilton that sells their patterns, so hurray for no shipping fees. Also, their patterns have absolutely crazy multi-sizing: they start at about a girl’s size 5 and go all the way up to a woman’s size 3XL or so. All in one envelope.

InΒ fact, all on one piece of paper.

This makes them very cost-effective, but it introduces its own challenges: for one, all of the nested pattern lines can be difficult to follow; this I solved by first tracing the size lines I wanted in a dark Sharpie pen so that I could then trace it onto pattern paper more easily. (It worked, if you’re looking for a solution yourself.) Also, the pattern pieces–some of them, at least–come kind of in a jigsaw-puzzle style, with for instance the top of the front leg on one piece and the bottom of the front leg on another piece, and you have to put them together before cutting out the fabric. It’s doable and laid out well, but it does take more time.

Proper metal blue-jeans button, pounded in with a hammer and everything.

I have no one to blame but myself and the dozens of nested pattern size lines for this goof, but: I accidentally traced and cut out the low-rise view.

It took me a while to figure this out, though, and by then I was already invested in them, emotionally and physically, in the form of cut-out denim pieces partially sewn together with front pockets and everything. But I’m getting ahead of myself:

I do like how the back looks. Too bad they're too low.
I do like how the back looks. Too bad they’re too low.

So, to deal with my bunny-girl’s sizing issues, I went with a straight size-7 for the back pieces, and at the front graded out a fair bit, as I usually do with knit pants and dresses (and it works well there). For these, it did not work. I’d assembled the front pieces and back pieces, done the top-stitching along the seams, and joined them up along the inseam, when I held them up to see how they’d fit. The front pieces seemed fine, but the back pieces were a good inch too short on each side.

Thus followed the very tedious process of ripping out the double top-stitching on the inseam and the serging.

I was lucky to have just barely enough of the denim left to cut out another set of back leg pieces and back yokes in a wider size (this was when I realized I’d accidentally cut out the low-rise versions of both the front and back, but I didn’t have enough to cut out new high-rise versions for the whole jeans, so I cut the low-rise again).

You can see why this project took forever.

Anyway. Sewed them up, did the double top-stitching again, assembled the front-fly, and basted the front and backs together and …

…it was too big. Not much, but too big.


Serged it down a bit on the sides for the final seams and back-tacked the side seams at the hips. It was also becoming clear that the low-rise version was not going to be high enough, but I wouldn’t know for sure until I got the waistband on, so I made up the belt loops, and put the last of it together, with a proper metal blue-jeans button and everything. And yes, it is too low.

It’s also too big. As in too loose. Which it really shouldn’t be, given all the trying-on we did while I was putting it together. But it’s the first time I’ve made blue jeans, so I expected some goofs and learning experiences.

blog-4-1Because they’re too loose and too low and I know Frances won’t wear them, I’ve decided not to finish the hem. I’ll just cannibalize them for denim scraps over time, and get some more stretch denim when I have the chance, and try again: high-rise; snugger in the waist.

The good news is that the rest of it went together pretty well and I got some decent practice on the contrast top-stitching and the assembly of the belt loops and waistbands and pockets etc. So the next pair will hopefully not just fit, but also look better. These ones were a bit messier than I’d like.

It’ll have to wait until I get more denim, though.

And hey, maybe after the conclusion of the Frances Jeans trilogy, I can make my own!

14 thoughts on “Jalie Stretch Jeans for Frances, Theoretically

  1. Woah woah woah, hold the phone. Did you just reference Robert Jordan? Are you a fantasy book nerd like me? If so, I definitely now understand why I like you so much.

    1. Thanks, Erika. πŸ˜€ Yes, that does explain a lot!

      I am definitely a fantasy book nerd. I have to admit I never got past book 7 of WoT, but there’s a ton of other epic fantasy on my bookshelves.

      1. Yessssss!! I think book 7 was where I stopped when I first started reading it because the story lines started dragging on between books, but the last 4 were really good and I cried so many times during the last book. They also introduced me to Brandon Sanderson’s writing and well, now I’ve read everything he’s written!

        What other epic fantasy series are your favorites? I’m between books right now and I’m having a hard time picking something that seems like it’ll keep my interest.

      2. I’m reading the Mistborn series right now. πŸ™‚ Honestly though, while I’m reading through to the end, I’m not loving it. I’m not hating it, and it’s keeping me reading so there’s obviously something there, but I wouldn’t rank it in my top 10.

        Recent fantasy books I love, though–

        Lev Grossman’s The Magicians series. I hated the first book the first time through, as all of the characters were obnoxious, but the rest of the series redeemed it. Must-read if you loved either Narnia or Harry Potter.

        Jeff Vandermeer’s Area X series. I wouldn’t even know how to classify it, but it was wonderful.

        Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series. Not done yet, but the first two books were great. Dragons and Victorian society and breaking of gender and class stereotypes. So fun.

        Patrick Rothfuss, of course.

        Rachel Hartman, Seraphina. YA fantasy, but really, really well done. The sequel’s coming out next March, so not long to wait.

        Bee Ridgway, River of No Return.

        I’m also on a mission to make everybody read Matt Haig’s The Humans. It’s sci fi, not fantasy, but just fantastic. So, so funny.

        Kameron Hurley’s Mirror Empire was fantastic, too, with the caveat that it was not an easy read. Not as in dark, but as in so different in so many ways that it took a lot of attention and focus to keep the story straight for the first 75 pages or so.

        Robert Jackson Bennet, City of Stairs. Not a series, I don’t think. James Bond meets Epic Fantasy.

        …and that’s probably enough. This is a dangerous topic to get me started on!

      3. I can definitely feel you on Mistborn, it’s not my favorite series but it’s a quick and easy read… and it’s basically finished so can’t go wrong there! The Way of Kings, though, definitely one of my favorites right now. Even though it’s killing me that there are only 2 books out of 10 finished.

        I’ll actually haven’t heard of most of these, which is awesome and I can’t wait to start. All the “best” lists I look at are all the same so it’s nice to see different stuff! A coworker and I get so distracted talking about fantasy novels and piss around for hours it seems like trying to decide what to read next!

      4. I’m all about different. πŸ™‚ It’s great to see people expanding the genre in new ways, and giving the poor orcs and fairies a break.

        I hope you like some of them! You’ll have to let me know what you think when you read them.

  2. Oh my dear, that was quite the adventure you had with denim and thread. Did you pull any hair out along the journey? Sounds very frustrating, but you handled it well, and chalked it up as a learning experience. Good Girl!
    How long will it be before you get back up on that “bicycle” again?

    1. Nope, no bald spots. πŸ˜‰

      It’s not something I can try again until I find a good amount of decent stretch denim, so I’ll work through some other projects in the meantime.

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