Welcome to my August post on the Minerva Blogger Network. This was a challenging project – a pair of pull on Blakley Stretch Jeans by Style Arc. This is my first pair of jeans and was challenging due to the limited instructions, which Style Arc Patterns are known for, and compounded by the adjustments I need to make for my middle-aged shape (hips/bottom & evolving tummy).  

Careful consideration is required to choose fabric with the correct amount of stretch, and I opted for this Stretch Slub Denim Fabric in washed blue containing 76% Cotton, 21% Polyester, 3% Spandex. The pattern also calls for some Elastic for the waist.

I used the pattern pieces to fit against me and when measuring the pieces, I found the crotch-to-waist to be too short. I often find trousers ride down at the back as the rise is not high enough. I overlaid another pattern that I have used in the past rather than hacking the original one in order to lengthen the rise. It worked well for the back, and I had to copy the fly shaping for the front pattern pieces plus remember to check the yolk & waistband are long enough before cutting the fabric.

Similarly, I measured my calves & thighs against the pattern to confirm the width before cutting. It is easier to take in a seam later than to not have sufficient width in a piece of fabric.

When I googled ‘making a pair of jeans’ the faux fly was interesting reading as I understood it to be the fly shape with no zip in situ with shaping for effect. In actual fact it appears it’s the difference between a male & female fly with a zip but without the back extension piece. I suspect the term ‘mock fly’ is more accurate & Melly Sews give a good tutorial on a mock fly, albeit on a child’s pair of jeans. It is the first fly I’ve done & I read a couple of techniques before following the pattern. Again, it worked well.

There are many detailed tutorials on the web, and these are three that I found particularly helpful, firstly Crotch Curve Fitting, secondly Common Fitting Adjustments and finally Pants Fitting Cheat Sheet.

Having read the Style Arc instructions for the rear pockets which suggests using card, drilling holes & marking with chalk, I felt there must be an alternative method for transferring the design. I have only recently discovered freezer paper & tested it on a scrap of fabric before drawing the templates. You can usually reuse freezer paper a number of times but as I was stitching through it, I knew I would tear it away to remove it & so I created two templates.

I set the stitch length to 4 for all of the top stitching. Old gold colour is traditionally used for blue jeans & I had 3 in my stash to choose from. I selected the one with the most on the reel as they are all slightly different shades - it would be just my luck to run out mid stitching!

I’m really pleased with my pocket top-stitching especially as I don’t have a twin needle. I aligned the edge of the foot with the seam edge to maintain parallel stitch lines once the outer stitching was complete.

It was a bit frustrating having to keep changing threads for the top stitching - maybe if I make more jeans I’ll treat myself to a second machine or use the overlocker for the seams and keep the top stitching thread loaded on my regular machine.

The instructions suggest top stitching the pockets in place before joining the centre back seam but, as suggested by another reviewer, I didn’t stitch in place until I’d fitted the full jeans to ensure the correct placement.

The faux pockets are a nice feature & were easy enough to create after reading the instructions a couple of times & testing the line-up of the pieces. I did notice that I lined up the wrong line of top stitching between the front pocket and back yolk, however, it was sufficiently aligned on the finished item, but I’ll know for next time.

I had to take in 4 or 5  centimetres at the centre front seam because when I extended the crotch seam I kept the same width to allow for my tummy. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need the extra allowance & just moved the fly section in relation to the centre front.

The waist band & elastic insertion was not how I would have made it, but I followed it to judge the process. I felt the waistband was too deep for the size of the elastic & I would use a smaller waistband in future with elastic the full depth of the waistband.

The final seam was the inside legs & crotch which I pinned, tacked & tried on for size. Although a thicker fabric, denim is really easy to work with & this fabric was not too heavy, but sturdy enough to be able to pin & stitch. However, pins in the crotch area may not be pleasant when trying on, hence I tacked this area for fitting!

I had considered making the jeans three quarter length and opted for full length in the end as the finished jeans are comfortable without a stiff zip & button fastening & can be worn all year round.

This was my first ever attempt at making jeans & I was really pleased with the finished result. Admittedly, I altered the pattern slightly but only to make them higher waisted with a deeper crotch. Otherwise, it was the original pattern and instructions & the design with the top stitching was well aligned.

I have had problems a couple of times with the sizing of style arc patterns and usually test the size with a pattern I have used before then pattern fit it on myself or tailors dummy before cutting out.

I am going to invest in some pattern paper & recreate the pattern I created to perfect the fit which could make them a relatively quick make in the future. I would always use stretch fabric for comfort & this pattern would tolerate even more stretch than the fabric I used. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the finished result and have noted my adjustments for future makes.

Thank you for reading & to Minerva for the fabric & pattern.

Helen @ JustSewHelen.com