Side Stripe Jeans
Whew, these jeans were a project. Perhaps waiting for the sewing room to be fixed (it finally is!) has given me a certain amount of patience, but at any rate, I’ve enjoyed working out every last detail that went into these.
My inspiration for these jeans came in the way of “The Racer” jean by Rag and Bone:
I love the stripe in the side panels, and I’m always a fan of zippers in the side seams for decoration. But in the spring, I had tried on a pair of pretty pale green jeans at LOFT and had green jeans stuck in my mind.
I thought originally I’d just skinny up the legs on my Jalie 2908s and be done, but I discovered a pretty big fit issue that I needed to fix. The side seams were hanging crooked, and since my side seams were going to be embellished with vertical stripes, I had to go back to square one.
The side seams were a little straighter in these BWOF 8-2008-122 jeans, so I started with that pattern as a base. I originally thought that my front thigh was pulling the side seam backwards (indeed I carry all my weight in my thighs). I cut a muslin with a front 2 sizes larger and then did a full front thigh adjustment, but it just didn’t seem right to be adding that much fabric. How on earth did I fit into the other pair in the first place? It didn’t make sense. So I asked my friend Linda for help and we spent an entire Saturday figuring out the deal. It turns out I needed a wedge of extra length across my bum across the CB seam–about 1.25″, tapering to nothing at the side seams. It was miraculous, but that released the tension at the side seam and it was hanging straight again. We tweaked some other things, but the bum wedge was the most dramatic change. (Only in a post about pants is “bum wedge” not a weird thing to say…)
Since the BWOF pattern has a back welt, darts and angled front pockets, I added a back yoke, using my Jalie pattern as a guide for drafting the yoke. I also borrowed the back pockets from the Jalie jeans. I changed the front pockets into jeans style pockets instead of the angled pockets they were originally. The front pockets are a hybrid of Vogue 1034 and my Jalies. The pockets are a little wider than my Jalies but not quite as wide as the Vogue jeans. The coin pocket is just a little rectangle of denim, all pressed under and topstitched.
In the muslin process, it occurred to me that the vertical stripes were an optical illusion on the inspiration pair. There’s no way that you can just sew straight stripes on at the side seam and have them hang straight because your hip is curved. So to draft the panels, I made strips 1.25″ + SA wide down the hip, following the curve into the calf area 11.125″ above the hem. They look like little elbows, but I was amazed to find out that indeed they did hang straight when sewn.
I could not use my denim as the contrast because it would’ve been too bulky for my machine, so I bought some plain white broadcloth and after extensive swatching,
I used a weak dye solution (1/16 tsp RIT kelly green and 1/16 tsp RIT teal in 1 cup water) to come up with the seafoam color I used for the middle stripes. To sew them, I seamed the front two, pressed the raw edges under. Then I hand basted them into place along the sides and tops and topstitched the pressed edges. From there, the pieces are treated as one with the fronts and backs.
My process for the side seam zippers was pretty similar to this tutorial by Pattern Runway.
The rivets are from Cawaiiland on Etsy. I’ve used them in the past and I like their rivets, and they give you enough to last for a really really long time for not a lot of money.
For the basic construction, I referred to Jalie 2908 because their instructions are so well written, particularly on the pockets. I did french seam the pocket bottoms because it makes for such a pretty pocket. The vintage McCalls’ girls like pretty pockets:
This girl is admiring my fly.
I should note that the fabric is a sage green stretch bull denim from Denver Fabrics. The side panels are from plain cotton broadcloth, and the pocket fabric and fly facing is a print of vintage McCall’s pattern girls in their sweet dresses that I got from Hancock’s eons ago.
These jeans were a big challenge, but I’m glad I went through it all. I almost bought the jeans at LOFT, but mine fit better, the stripes are more fun, and the puzzle of putting it all together was a joy.
My full review is here, and you know I’m hitting you up for votes for PR’s Jeans Contest. Vote for me!