Sunday, May 6, 2012

Style Arc Jilly Red Twill "Jeans"

I guess I fell prey to the spring trends! A couple weeks ago, I decided that I really needed red jeans. I must have red jeans!

I mentioned this to Margy, who immediately replied that she had some red stretch twill that wasn't her shade of red and would I be interested.

Would I? You betcha!

What arrived on my doorstep a week later was 3 yards of Italian cotton lycra twill in the yummiest color. It was even pre-washed! And gorgeous. I then had to decide which pattern to use:

  • The famous Jalie Jeans. I have made this pattern twice, once in blue denim and once in cream corduroy. I proceeded to wear the blue denim pair for 3 days and decided, pretty quickly, that I did not want to use this pattern.
  • The famous funky Au Bonheur jeans. I decided, very quickly, that though these fit me well, I wanted a more conventional pattern for my red jeans.
  • The Style Arc Jilly Jean. I've had this pattern in my stash for awhile. I decided it was time to try it out.

I wanted a skinny leg for this pair of pants. Even though the skinny jean look might be contraindicated for my figure, that's what I wanted. :)

The Jilly Jean doesn't look like a skinny jean if you look at the illustrations. Checking the few reviews on Pattern Review supported that suspicion - it has a very straight leg. I knew I would have to do some fitting at the lower leg.

A nice, rich, true red.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • I made a size 10, my usual Style Arc size. (They are SO consistent in their sizing!)
  • Cut off 3-3/4" from the hem. Style Arc designs for a much taller woman. :)
  • The leg on the pattern is very straight. I removed 1-1/8" from the inseam and the side seam at the ankle (after shortening), tapering to nothing at the knee. This removed 4-1/2" total from the ankle, resulting in the much closer fit that I wanted.
  • Widened the waist a bit. Mostly straightened out the curve on the back, front yoke, front pockets, etc.
  • This pattern comes with both a rectangular and a contoured waistband. I used the rectangular waistband, though I used a longer rectangle than they provided. I cut it on the cross grain so it would be stretchy. I then inserted elastic into the finished waistband so that these, unlike my Jalie denim jeans, will stay up.
  • Instead of using a zipper fly, I wanted a mock fly. I like the look of a fly on my jeans, but not an actual fly. Once again, I used Debbie Cook's Fly Front Tutorial, eliminating the zipper.
  • The pattern is designed with a sewn-on fly. I prefer a cut-on fly. I sewed it on, as designed, but when I make this again I will cut the fly on.
  • I didn't quite understand how to use the pattern piece that was provided for the pocket bag. Rather than try to puzzle it out, I drafted my own pocket bag and facing. I used a contrast cotton print for the pocket facing and bag.
  • Up top is the pocket bag that comes with the pattern. Below are the pocket bag and facing that I drew up.
  • I didn't bother to install rivets. I have all the rivets and tools, but I just can't be bothered.

Early top-stitching trials.
It takes practice to get a clean corner using the triple stitch. The secret (at least on my machine) is to turn the corner after the 2nd forward stitch. My machine goes forward 4 times, then backwards 2 times.


My next decision was about the top-stitching. Do I use cream/white thread? Red thread? Top-stitching thread? Regular thread? Once again, it was Margy to the rescue. She mentioned the triple stitch, available on most sewing machines, as great for top-stitching. Even my ancient Bernina 930 has this stitch, though the last time I tried to use it, about a year ago, it didn't work. But now that my machine has been serviced and is running like new, I decided to try it. It worked great! What's more, you use it with regular thread, meaning I didn't need to run to the fabric store for top-stitching thread. I decided to go with matching red thread.

I had to spend some time practicing the stitch. On my machine, it goes forward 4 stitches, and then back 2, then forward 4, and back 2, and so on. I was having trouble figuring out when to turn a corner cleanly. Again, Margy had advice. What worked is to turn a corner on the second stitch, going forward. Try it!


I love my red jeans!

I do wish the front rise was a scosche higher — it hits me at the fullest part of my tummy, not a great place. But of course my tops will cover that up.

I definitely want more of these! Maybe a lime green pair! Maybe a black pair. But I will wear these for awhile to determine if I need more fitting tweaks.