Ash Jeans for the Win!

For those of you waiting for the results of the jeans! They’re done, worn and I’m rather happy with them!  I have had my fun and games trying to chose the right size to make, initially going purely with my measurements and toiling the 31 in the slim leg version in some left over pieces of denim in the stash.  The toile fabric wasn’t quite stretchy enough, but I figured with the proper stretch, that the 31 was  just fine.  But I was wrong – so wrong!!  They were like leggings, but without the amount of stretch that leggings have – I felt like I was back in the late 80s again, having to wiggle and jump into my jeans!  So if anyone out there would like a pair of slim leg Ash jeans in size 31 – I have a pair looking for a home!

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Wide leg Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns

It was tricky to figure out which size to actually make.  In the end, I retraced all the sizes from 31 to 35, and graded between the sizes.  I toiled the wide leg this time, using the left overs of that fabric I used for the slim leg version, so be sure of the stretch percentage.  This time I had the 35 at the waist, going to the 33 at the hip, eventually ending at the 32 for the legs.  The fit was much better, but slightly loose higher up, so I went down to the 34 at the waist.

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Fabric for this pair of jeans came from the stash.  I had initially bought two pieces of stretch denim from Croft Mill for these jeans, and the first pair was made with the Brexit – Devine fabric.  It’s a lovely fabric, good dark blue colour and good weight for slim leg jeans.  After the poor fit, I immediately put another 2m of the fabric into my basket to replace it!  I didn’t want to use the next piece if it was going to go bad again, and I remembered that I had a piece of denim in the sewing cupboard.  I cannot remember where or when I got it, but it was probably from Croft Mill too!  They do tend to have good denims.  Thank goodness for a stash!

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As most of the construction details have already been covered in my Work in Progress post, I’ll leave that out here.  Here I’ll tell you that I’m pleasantly surprised with this pair of jeans, they fit well, after all that faffing with different sizes, and I will definitely be making another pair, this time I’ll be brave and make the slim leg version.  The sizing I chose seems to have done the trick, so I’ve transferred all that information to the slim leg pattern.

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So, for me, it wasn’t a case of “fits straight out of the envelope”, but then that really doesn’t happen to many of us, does it!?  The instructions are good and easy to follow, I just did my own zip thing.  (See previous post about pattern designers making fly front zips overly complicated!)  Initially, I thought the length of the “regular” height, full length was perfect, I cannot remember when last I didn’t need to cut a large chunk off the bottom of a pair of trousers.  But, after wearing these a couple of times now, I feel they could be a smidgeon longer, max 2cm.  Of course, that’s just about the hem allowance, so I’ll have to make a hem facing if I actually want to lengthen this pair.  Perhaps with the slim leg, this length will be ok – but with the width of this pair of jeans, I feel they could be just that little bit longer.

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So, it seems I can put my Birkin Flares (now 3 sizes too big) to bed, because Mama’s got a fabulous new jeans pattern – yeah!  And with 4 leg styles to choose from, I’ll be busy for a while here…  ps, I also have a length of another denim from Croft Mill Fabric to use on another pair, I can’t link to the fabric because it seems I bought the last 2m!  Check out their denim fabrics though, I’ve honestly yet to be disappointed with their denim fabrics.  Always get a sample first though, before you part with your hard earned money.

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Work in Progress Wednesday 8/19

I’m making jeans!  I haven’t made a pair of jeans since 2016, when I made 5 pairs of Birkins!  I did some research on the current favourites, as well as patterns that have been around for a while, and, despite the fact that I already have the Ginger jeans pattern – and have yet to use it, I bought something else entirely!  I’m not that sold on the Gingers.  I traced them while on holiday in September, and the more I traced, the more I realised this was not the pattern for me.  The shapes weren’t right for me!

My choice for this year is the Ash Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen.  I dithered a bit over the Dawn, but realised I wanted jeans with stretch, so that meant the Ash.  I like that there is a choice of 4 leg types, and a very decent size range.  I toiled the 31 – which, according to my measurements should have been just about perfect, but they were waaaay too small!  I made the slim leg, but they turned out like leggings, all over…  I actually couldn’t close the button.  So I went back to the size tables, compared the Birkin Flares and my Burda measurements and the Ash measurements to get an idea of what I should have done with this new to me pattern company.  In the end I retoiled using the 35 at the waist, going to the 32 at the leg.  That’s a big jump!  And they were a little baggy, so in the end I’ve got a 34 waistband, moving quickly to the 33 just above the hipline and merging into the 32 by the crotch level.  The only thing that’s close to my measurements is using the 34 at the waist the other sizes should technically be too big.  Here goes nothing!

I re-arranged the order of work slightly by making up all the small bits first.  I overlocked the pocket edges, pocket facings, fly pieces and belt loops, then ironed the turnings and folded over the top edges of the pockets.  Then I topstitched all the pocket edges and made up the belt loops.  Now they’re ready for use when I need them.

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All the small pieces ready for overlocking and topstitching

Next I attached the back yoke to the back leg overlocked that seam and topstitched.  Then I attached the back pockets.  This means less changing of topstitching thread.  Then I overlocked the centre back seam and the outer leg seams of the back and front pieces.  The centre back seam was next, followed by topstitching.  Now the back is ready.

Next was zip.  I reversed the zip so it would open to the left, like all my other trousers.  I guess it’s a hang-over from when jeans were exclusively menswear, but I don’t like my zip opening the “wrong” way.  I chose a green thread for topstitching, just an ordinary thread.  My Bernina will do a lot I ask of it, but it baulks at topstitiching thread, whether in the top or the bobbin.  It just doesn’t like it.  I didn’t change anything in the zipper instructions, apart from reversing the sides to sew things to.  But I did chalk on the centre front line on the left, and pinned the right CF to that line before attaching the zip tape to the right fly facing.

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Fly done, topstitching complete

Front pocket bags are cut from the back of one of hubby’s shirts.  Don’t panic, he’d managed to wear through the collar and get holes in the sleeve where the cuff joins, so it had already been relegated to the “re-use for something else” box.  I unpicked the back darts, gave it a good press and cut the shallow pocket.  I’ve used French seams for the bottom hem of the pocket, it should add strength.  Once the pockets were done and topsttitched, I overlocked the outer leg edges.

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Attaching the pocket facing and coin pocket to the pocket bag – made from a Ted Baker shirt!
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Pockets done, outside leg seams to go

Now to sew the front to back along the inner leg seams, and then overlock those seam allowances together.  At this point you’d usually press to one side and topstitch, but I’m going to skip that step on these jeans.  If I decide I really need topstitching, I figure I can get in there and topstitch afterwards as the legs are fairly wide.  It shouldn’t be that tricky…  The side seams are now sewn and the top section topstitched to keep the seam to the back.  And that’s it for today, I’m hungry!  Somewhere along the line I kinda forgot about lunch.  So tomorrow I’ll attach the belt loops & waistband and do the button and hems.  Fingers crossed it all works out!

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Pockets finished, seams done.  Where’s dinner?