Possibly subtitled “the best laid plans…”
In a fit of obsession yesterday afternoon, Syo and I decided to tackle her jeans. The project was simple; all the materials were on hand: one traced version of Jalie 2908, size K (aka 7); one metre of dark blue stretch denim; gold jeans topstitching thread, and a little metal zipper.
The pattern is the same size I traced out for Tyo’s jeans last spring, which she had outgrown by August. Syo is now wearing these jeans, quite comfortably, so I was feeling pretty confident about the fit. They would probably be a bit long, but otherwise shouldn’t be problematic.
Syo required only one, simple alteration. Tyo’s jeans had been flares, the pattern’s basic shape. Syo’s must be skinny. Yes, my seven-year-old is much more on-trend than my ten-year-old. Which probably says everything you need to know about their respective personalities. So I measured what seemed like a reasonable distance out from the midline of each ankle, drew a line that angled out to the knee, and we folded the pattern in along that line. Just in case Syo wants a pair of flares in the future (not likely, but this is how I roll). Oh, yeah, I double-checked my reduced width with the circumference of her pointed foot, to make sure she could still get her feet through. All seemed good, so we set to cutting it out.
Syo really wants to be able to sew. And cut out fabric. Unfortunately, the fabric shears
are still too big for her little hands. This didn’t stop her from doing her best with the embroidery scissors on the pocket lining, and she actually did an excellent job, but man, it took forever.
After much discussion, we settled on stars for the back pockets. The first pair I made Tyo has stars on the back pockets (stars are nice and easy to embroider on stretchy denim when you don’t have an embroidery machine and are too lazy to stabilize your fabric).
This is the first pair of jeans I’ve made since I got my serger back in order, so it was my first chance to remember to serge seams after sewing, but before topstitching. I mostly managed this. (Note: this pattern only has 1 cm seam-allowances, so you need to serge without cutting anything off or your second row of topstitching may not catch the seam-allowance.)
I like the Guterman jeans thread; it’s not as heavy as their topstitching thread, so
doesn’t require dirty tricks to get the upper tension high enough on my machine. Still, I can tell that my newish Janome doesn’t quite have the balls of the Grand Old Dame when it comes to stuff like this. The Dame would eat projects like this for breakfast—the Janome I have to baby along here and there. And this is with really thin denim.
I only hit one hitch in the construction, when I realized I’d cut the size Q back yoke (my size) rather than the size K. I think the size K yoke piece may have evaporated… oops. Another reason why I love tracing my patterns. However, I was pretty sure the outer width of the yoke was pretty close, so I just trimmed the wide, inner portion to fit. If there is any actual difference in the size, it’s well within my usual cutting-inexactitude; the side pieces went together just fine.
Oh, yes, and I added in a detail on the back lower legs ripped off from some RTW skinny jeans owned by one of Tyo’s trendier friends: basically a long, thin topstitched dart with a stud at the top of it, forming a very small amount of shaping below the calf. I keep meaning to do this on jeans for myself, but forgetting as it has to be done quite early in the process. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be, though, though I suspect my studs are not perfectly aligned.
With the aid of Debbie Cook’s tutorial, I once again achieved near-perfect fly insertion. I actually had double-sided wonder-tape to use to stick the zipper down this time, and it was very nice indeed, although using pins instead really isn’t that terrible either. I did manage to put it in backwards (so girl-version, as opposed to boy/jeans version), but in my defense this is because I was matching the topstitching direction of the crotch to the one I’d already done on the rear of the pants, and I find it pretty much impossible to think that far ahead. The moral of this story is that I should probably construct the jeans front and fly before the back.
My straight-stitch topstitching is getting so good!
My around-pocket and around-fly stitching… not so much. Perhaps I am sloppy because they’re for the kid… I’d like to think I wouldn’t wear such shoddy work.
I can’t promise anything, though. I’m pretty lazy about un-picking.
I sewed up the outer sideseams, and Syo came to try them on…
and they were HUGE.
Now, I don’t want to repeat my mistake with Tyo and make pants she’ll outgrow in three months. But these are supposed to be skinny jeans, not tapered-but-baggy jeans. I took in the side-seams by a cm on each side (so 2cm off each leg).
Better, but not perfect. Take another cm off. Hrrm. Well, maybe that’ll do. Keep in mind this is the same pattern as the other pair she’s wearing that are actually getting a wee bit tight. The only thing I can think of is that the first pair shrunk, which isn’t impossible, but I have a pair of my own out of the exact same “denim” that I’m still wearing just fine, and I promise you I definitely haven’t shrunk.
Putting waistbands on kids jeans is so much more relaxing than putting the waistband on a pair for me. For one thing, I use the pattern’s straight waistband piece, instead of my own contour band (coopted from the Ellen pants, if you must know). I also didn’t bother with interfacing. The only thing to remember was to put in buttons and buttonholes for the attaching of the buttonhole elastic. I did have one problem with the sizing, as my waistband wound up being too short to centre the CB seam on the back and cover the fly-extension. Maybe I’m doing something wrong with the fly extension, although what I end up with seems to be the same as what I see on my storebought jeans, so I don’t know what. Rather than fuss around, I gave in and put the CB seam of the waistband about an inch off of the true CB seam. It’s a problem, but it’s mostly covered by the belt-loops anyway.
Finally, all that was left was to hem them to an appropriate length. This is always dicey with children, and skinny jeans are even worse than flares in this department. In the end I opted for a length that would be floor-brushing in socks if they weren’t being pulled up by the front of her feet, and just folded the excess 2″ of fabric under, topstitching three times to make sure it’s well in place (this mimics the three rows of topstitching on the top of the pockets, so it’s a design feature, right?). In theory this means that when she hits her next growth spurt and grows three inches by summer, I can let out the excess length. In practice, we know this’ll never happen, but hey, allow me my fantasies, all right?
Also, Syo was very helpful in the hammering of rivets, and only hit my thumb once. And Steph, the awl from your sharp and pointy giveaway kit is divine. How on earth did I live without it?
So that’s one more project down on the “madly off” list. Which leaves, mainly, shirts for my hubby and those skinny cargoes! If I can get the neck alteration figured out for the hubby’s shirt before he abandons me, I can putter away at that until he gets back. And I think I’ll take a stab at the drafting for the cargoes this weekend, if I can find paper I like for it. I’d rather use craft paper than tissue paper for stuff like this.