Category Archives: Pants

Wrapping up 3 denim projects

Front view of Style Arc denim skirt

I made up this stinkin’ cute Style Arc Sally Jean skirt very shortly after Christmas, but somehow was unable to manage adding the buttonhole and attaching the jeans button fastener. I am not going to say it was because I ate too many Christmas cookies, and was unable to comfortably zip up the thing. Time. I just couldn’t find the time for these tasks.

stretch denim jeans from Calvin Klein fabric

Same thing here for these Jalie 2908 (modified to straight leg) jeans – awaiting buttonhole and fastener for nearly 2 months. Size was not the problem. Inertia? I REALLY love this fabric. It is a Calvin Klein stretch denim that is a little dressier, almost a jean trousers look IMHO. Bought it last fall from Ashley at The District in Seattle. Nice stuff!! Notice I like to roll the cuffs on straight legs or skinnies, so I often don’t bother with a double-turned hem. Just serge and roll!

Dark wash Jalie jeans

Soooo I have worn these dark wash jeans before, but I decided that I wanted to straighten the bootcut leg. Just in time for the fall 2014 trend to start showing wide and bootcut trousers!! But since this denim is pretty firm, the bootcut looked more flared than it really was, so I decided to slim it a bit. That is one BIG. FAT. ANNOYING. alteration job. No wonder it took me a while to work up the enthusiasm.

What’s on your sewing table today? I think a few knits are moving to the top of my queue next!

Happy sewing!


Time for new jeans: Jalie 2908

I love making my own jeans. Oftentimes sewn garments are more expensive than purchased garments, but jeans are one item where you actually can save a little money. And they are fun to sew!

Black Jeans Supplies
My preferred pattern is Jalie 2908. If you venture over to you will find many reviews of this jean pattern, and it was rated a “Best of PR” pattern in 2009. A good place to start if you are new to jeans-making.

Bernina 830

Bernina 710

Bernina 1300MDC

I like to set up 3 machines when I make jeans. Sounds crazy, I know, but it eliminates constant thread changes. I use my vintage Bernina 830 to seam with regular poly thread; my Bernina 710 for topstitching with denim topstitching thread; and my serger to run a 3-thread overlock on all seams.

Black JEans Yoke Reversed

I was able to get the back legs of the jeans totally assembled. As a matter of fact, I assembled part of this section twice. I cleverly reversed the back yokes—yes, topstitching, serging and all—so I got the chance to bond with my seam ripper tonight. BAH! Wouldn’t that have been comfortable with the center back dipping down in the middle?

Black Jeans Back

That’s more like it! I also decided to try dropping the back pockets down 1 inch from where the suggested pattern placement. Have you noticed how some jeans have the back pockets halfway down the legs? Trying to avoid the mom jean look here – tho I don’t think this pattern is mom-ish as is. But anyway, trying a new pocket placement. 😉

Black JEans Fronts

Not too much accomplished on the front legs. Yes, that would be because I had so much ripping to do. Not that I am bitter or anything. I got both front pockets/linings attached. Darn it, I forgot to add a coin pocket to these pants. It is not included on the pattern but I sometimes put one on just for a fun detail. Oh well, next time.

Black Jeans Red Lining

The red pocket lining will have to provide the fun factor for this pair of jeans. Maybe I can finish them tomorrow. No promises!

Happy sewing!



Style Arc Claudia Stretch Woven Pant

Pants! Is there anything harder to fit than pants? Easy to sew, hard to fit properly.

Style Arc CLAUDIA PANT patern





Dear readers, I am in heaven. I stitched up a pair of Style Arc Claudia pants last week before heading to my annual fall sewing retreat. I decided I would throw caution to the wind and cut them out exactly as drafted. I know how to live life on the edge, right? 😉

I did lengthen the legs by 2 inches, because my legs-that-really-belong-to-a-six-footer ALWAYS require that I add a few inches to my skirts and pants. Always. Oh, and I also added about 1/4 inch to the back crotch point length, because you cannot add that alteration after-the-fact, and my ever-so-slightly-chunky-thighs often need a touch more room than most pants patterns allow. So shoot me, I did make a couple of eensy-weensy pattern changes.

For my test pair I used a beefy stretch knit – think heavy Ponte weight fabric. Despite the fact that the pattern name says stretch woven, the fabric sample Style Arc attaches to their patterns is clearly a stretch knit. I used this fabric because I am in stash-bustin’ mode, and I wasn’t going to cry if they didn’t work out. Low bar, eh?

These pants stitched up in a flash. They really are a project that can be completed in an afternoon. A seam down the center front for a little visual interest, a dart up the bottom of the back leg for shaping, a few darts at the waist, an invisible zip and a facing and DONE!

After a quick try-on I determined that all women in Australia are clearly over six feet tall, since the extra 2 inches I had added were totally unnecessary. First clue that this pattern was drafted entirely differently than U.S. counterparts (or is that counterPANTS? hehe). Waist fit was good, the front looked perfect, so I checked the dreaded rearview in the mirror last. Amazingly, a few smiles under the seat were the only thing off in the fit. A quick scoop of the back crotch fixed that problem, and my pants FIT! This was confirmed by my ASG sewing buddies at the retreat last weekend, and trust me, they are a tough crowd to please.

Beefy Ponte Claudia pant








So there you have it. A smidge more length added to the back crotch point and a small scoop of the back crotch, and voilà – PANTS THAT FIT. Those designers down under know how to rock the pants patterns!

Happy sewing!


#%$& Jeans zipper

Sometimes sewing is an exercise in patience.  And I don’t have much! I had a new pair of jeans nearly finished – they just needed the waistband, belt loops, and a button and buttonhole. I was shortening the metal zipper so I wouldn’t have unnecessary little metal teeth in the waistband, and …… you can envision what happened, right? Despite adding a thread bar tack to stop the zipper, the pull slid right off the end.  &*^@#$&*^#  I tried my darndest to get that stinkin’ pull back on, and finally decided it would be faster and easier to put in a new zipper. I was sooooooooo sad to rip out the beautiful red topstitching around the fly. I guess I will be getting more topstitching practice soon. Sigh.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Pants with lots of topstitching

Jeans! They are just pants with lots of top-stitching, right? I must be a glutton for top-stitching – I love making my DH’s dress shirts and am having loads of fun experimenting with making jeans. I don’t have the pattern fitting right yet, partially because I keep playing around with different fabrics (stretch, non-stretch, different amounts of stretch), and partially because I keep messing around with a variety of patterns. So far I think the Jalie 2908 is the best-fitting pattern for my body type. Huh. readers already figured that out…doh!

But….I have been kind of obsessed with my vintage Calvin Klein 2442 pattern, so I based my latest black jeans attempt on this design.


At least it was my starting point. I tapered the thighs a little and added some flare below the knee instead of keeping the full, straight leg design. And the pattern’s curved waistband was not working for me at all, so I ditched that as well.  What I did love about this CK pattern though were the little construction details. Great little coin pocket. Sewn on fly extension. Great curve on the front pockets.

I still need to work on the booty fit. I am definitely making progress on the construction details, the fit is improving, but perfection…..not quite there yet. Anyway, I plan to wear these jeans around the house tomorrow and see how they perform. Pictures coming!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Jalie 968 jeans – cutting layout craziness

I am experimenting with a variety of jeans patterns in my quest for perfect fitting jeans. I am pretty darn happy with the Jalie 2908 jeans – designed for stretch denim – but I also decided to try the straight leg Jalie 968 jeans. Maybe because I like to support pattern companies so much. 😉

I had 4+ yards of a medium/dark denim, and decided I might even be able to squeeze two pairs out of it if I was careful. My first fabric-squeezing effort involves the back leg. Take a look. Notice how the back leg hangs over the selvedge edge?


Most men’s slacks are cut with a small wedge of fabric added to the inside of the back leg to minimize fabric requirements, so I thought the same technique might work on my jeans. This is also known as the “Judy Barlup” pants cutting technique. 🙂 I cut out the front pant leg, and then added a small section of fabric to the selvedge edge of the fabric intended for the back pant leg pattern piece. Here is the right-side view of the fabric only:


And the wrong side view:


And finally the back pattern piece laid out on the “extended” fabric, which now has sufficient room for the upper back leg area. Sweet!


And here you can see how I was squeezing in all the bits and pieces you need for a pair of classic jeans.


Well, after all was said and done I did not end up with quite enough for a second pair of jeans for me – tho I could easily get a pair out for someone shorter, and definitely could get a cute skirt or a casual short-ish jacket for me out of the leftover yardage. Not bad.

I am always glad when the cutting, marking, and interfacing is done and I can get down to the fun part of using my power tools, err, sewing machines. I REALLY love sewing jeans because I set up 3 machines. One sewing machine is loaded with a denim  needle and navy thread – for seaming. Another sewing machine is loaded with a denim needle and jeans top-stitching thread in the needle and regular polyester thread in the bobbin, and my serger is loaded with navy or black cones for overcasting the edges. LOTSA power tools are employed when jeans are being made! More to come on this project.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen