Coming up roses: stretch denim jeans

Style Arc Sandra jeans

Here’s that second draft of Style Arc’s Sandra jeans I mentioned. They still aren’t perfect fit-wise but they are much closer and much better constructed. I’ve been wearing these pretty solidly since I finished them, especially since I shrunk my favourite RTW Gap pair in the wash recently.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

For this pair I used a stretch denim in a pretty abstract rose print from Rolls & Rems. It was £5.50 per metre and it’s quite thin with a generous amount of two-way stretch. I started with my already-adjusted Style Arc Sandra pattern, but bearing in mind my fit issues from last time and also that I was using a stretch this time I made a few further adjustments.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

The fit came out completely different to the first pair – it just shows how much effect the stretch factor has. I was able to taper the legs way in for a skinnier silhouette, and I added a bit more hip ease to compensate for the first pair being too tight around there. They’re way more comfortable, almost with legging-type ease of movement. I cut the leg length right on the ankle for a nice springlike look with flats.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

They came together pretty smoothly. I didn’t have any additional trouble from using a stretch denim. I used a universal needle for most of it, a stretch twin needle for topstitching, and a denim needle for the many layers of the waistband. I used regular thread again, not topstitching, mostly because I was too lazy to go and buy some and have to change thread all the time. I do think a contrast pale blue would have been cute on this pair.

Style Arc Sandra jeans
Style Arc Sandra jeans

No gasping strain lines this time! The waistband, however, was an extra challenge to get right in stretch denim. I had a *massive* gape at the centre back, probably due to adding the hip ease and needing to pinch it back out towards the waist. After about 5 or 6 failures, I ended up drafting a four-piece band instead of the continuous one of the pattern, in order to ease out the excess through angling the seams. I also interfaced the inner waistband to prevent it from bagging out over time, although it actually has stretched out a bit anyway and they’re a bit too big now. It’s also got quite creased as you can see – I think I might hunt out some special waistband interfacing for the next pair.

Style Arc Sandra jeans
Style Arc Sandra jeans

The guts are much neater than my first pair. After cutting all the pieces I spent a really boring hour finishing every single raw edge on the overlocker so it was out of the way when I came to sew. I reduced the size of the fly shield as it was originally kind of bulky compared to my RTW jeans. I also bias-bound and hand-slipstitched down the inner waistband. Tidy.

Style Arc Sandra jeans

I really love these jeans! I’ve worn them loads since I finished them, and they have the same ease of wearing as RTW jeans. Do you know what I mean, that you sometimes feel a bit self-conscious in self-mades in case there’s a construction fault or they look a bit homemade in a bad way? None of that with these. Not that I look to emulate RTW clothing when I sew, but you definitely don’t want craftsy looking jeans. Now I’m not sure whether to keep tweaking and improving this pattern (I want a polka dot pair next!) or to try a new one. I like the look of this Burda pair from the newest issue…

Style Arc Sandra jeans

Pictures were taken by Josh by the way instead of my usual self-timer + tripod, and in case you’re wondering why I look like I’m trying not to laugh in every one is because he insisted on playing this as were were photographing. I really need to fix the tripod…

25 thoughts on “Coming up roses: stretch denim jeans

  1. AvatarElena

    Oh, these look awesome! I love that fabric, and the fit really does look perfect. I’ve been thinking lately of tackling jeans, so it’s good to know this pattern is a winner!

  2. AvatarSally

    These jeans are so awesome! I was just eyeing a pair of white lace looking jeans over at the LOFT this am and these are like identical! Except blue :) I wish I could steal them and wear them all spring!!!

  3. AvatarSara

    I love your jeans. They look like nice ‘ordinary’ jeans and I love the fabric. You did a great job. The fitting is always going to be tricky because I find jeans always end up baggy on me, even if they are pretty tight when I buy them. Trying to guess how much give to allow for is going to be difficult; right now though, the fit of jeans is looking pretty good.

    I thought you might like to see some men’s completely hand stitched jeans, they look pretty cool to me but not in the least rtw. Why do we all want that? – they so often look raggy and ratty with serged seams with bits hanging off and threads hanging down all over the place. The web site the jean makers name links to is seriously artsy and a bit scary. I like the jeans though.

      1. AvatarMarilla

        Wow, they are a thing of beauty! I love the selvedge denim too, but it seems costly and difficult to get hold of. Does anyone know where you can get it in the UK?

  4. AvatarTracy

    Wow I love these jeans, the fabric is perfect for spring and the fit looks really good too. I can see why you have been wearing them so much. Well done, great job and thank you for sharing your journey to perfect the fit.

  5. AvatarCirque Du Bebe

    Oh these are all kinds of awesome! Its hard to get a fit like that across the butt with RTW jeans sometimes. I will definitely be stopping back here for tips and the like if and when I make a pair of jeans.

  6. AvatarMarilla

    These look great, much like some Gap super stretch RTW jeans I have. I’ve been thinking of trying the Burda style pattern too, so will keep an eye on how you go and let you know if mine are a success! X

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      All my RTW jeans are Gap, they fit me so well. I always stock up when they have a 30% off weekend, ha ha.

  7. AvatarAngie

    Wow! these are so so cute! I am really ready to get into my jeans making now! I so love how you finished the insides. Such a cute print, and great fit on you!

  8. AvatarMaris Olsen

    Great job on these jeans, Katie. I use Jalie 2908 as my “base” pattern for jeans, but am going to try the Style Arc pattern also because I am currently so obsessed with all things Style Arc! ;-)

    One idea on the waistband I learned from Angela Wolf’s pattern/instructions – but haven’t tried yet – is to stay the waistband edge to prevent stretching. Makes perfect sense, and will try this on my next pair. She does not interface her waistband – and I have not been totally happy with interfacing so will try her method next. Always learning!

  9. AvatarFabric Tragic

    These turned out so well! I’m not sure if this is the same as a waist stay, but in the Colette Beignet skirt instructions they instruct you to sew some fine twill tape into the waist seam when attaching the lining to the skirt shell, so the waist line doesn’t stretch out. I’ve always thought this would be a great thing to do to the waistband of trousers, especially those made from a fabric with a bit of stretch. I think over time with washing, drying and ironing even the best interfacing would eventually degrade….

  10. Avatarsewlittletime

    these look fantastic – and how amazing that they look good and are so comfy! you really nailed those fitting issues and i can tell you’;ll wear these to death! quick, make another pair!

  11. AvatarHeather

    I love these! They look fantastic, and I love the printed denim. I am just about to tackle jeans myself, and it was nice to read about your experience.

  12. AvatarAnnica

    I think the jeans look great! I’m brand new to sewing (literally, I have never made anything myself, and I’ve been browsing blogs to get ideas/inspiration). Hi-5 to Josh on the song selection! Maybe Ginuwine had actual tailoring questions….”Tell me is there any more room…for me…IN THOSE JEANS!!!” lol

    Thanks for the post!


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