Call +1 (406) 540-4068

J Stern Designs

  • Straight-Edge Jeans

    As you know, I'm a big fan of Jennifer Stern's pattern line. I wrote about my first pair of her Misses Jeans here.  I have made many versions of The Tee for myself. I have taught two classes using The Tee pattern, and my students love it. Now Jennifer has a jeans pattern for women whose hips are relatively straight, called J Jeans. The side of the pants is perfectly straight, making the pattern great for uber-cool Japanese selvedge denim. I have now made two pairs of J Jeans. Both out of Montauk Twill (which I will soon be selling on-line and in my store!). Robert Kaufman's Montauk Twill is beefy, but becomes very soft after one washing. 

    J Jeans side view. Photo by Andrea Jones. J Jeans side view. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    In case you don't know about Jennifer or her patterns, you can scroll through her blog here. She has classes on Pattern Review, and a brand-new jeans class on Craftsy (25 percent off during Memorial Day Weekend). In addition, she videos a Quick Tip every week on her blog, and a few months ago, she used my baggy-knee issue with these pants as her tip. You can see the knees bagging in the photo above. I had done a flat derriere adjustment using Fit for Real People, which helped a lot, but did not fix all the issues. I sent Jennifer a photo, and she posted her great video here.  Did I mention she is awesome?

    I made my first pair of these jeans at a quilt retreat without making any alterations to the pattern. I hoped they would be a wearable muslin, but no. I tweaked and tweaked, but I couldn't get them to fit well enough for public viewing. 

    Live a clean life, or you may find yourself here late at night -- in a public restroom with a quilter taking a picture of your butt in badly fitting pants!!!! Photo by a quilter who prefers to remain anonymous. Live a clean life, or you may find yourself here late at night -- in a public restroom with a quilter taking a picture of your butt in badly fitting pants!!!! Photo by a quilter who prefers to remain anonymous.

    I had fun with the top stitching. Photo by Andrea Jones. I had fun with the top stitching. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Back to this basic blue version. I made a few alterations to the paper pattern. First, I lengthened the legs (but not enough!) Second, I did a Fit for Real People flat derriere adjustment, which for me involves folding out one inch of width in the  back. I made a long vertical fold all the way down the leg in the back, including the yoke. Third, I pinched half an inch of length out of the front by folding the tissue horizontally between the waistband and the crotch because the front of my first pair was quite roomy. Fourth, the shape of the back crotch was similar to mine, but I lowered it by about an inch (I turn 51 next week -- and all that wisdom comes with some southward migration).

    The back looks pretty good if you can't see the knee bagginess. There is no stretch in the fabric! Photo by Andrea Jones. The back looks pretty good if you can't see the knee bagginess. There is no stretch in the fabric! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The front. My next pair will have a little more length, and a little less knee bagginess. Photo by Andrea Jones. The front. My next pair will have a little more length, and a little less knee bagginess. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    I do love this twill, so my next pair may be out of the same fabric in a different color, but I am tempted by the challenge of Japanese selvedge denim. I have some for the shop, and I'll need to be able to tell my patrons how to sew with it, right? 

  • $1,000 Jeans

    When I bought my Viking Designer I sewing machine ten years ago, the warranty card had a little survey on it. The survey asked, "Why did you buy this machine? Check all that apply." One of the check boxes was marked, "To save money on clothes." Hahahaha! I could buy a ton of clothes for the price of my new machine!

    The creative process of sewing my own clothes is priceless, however. I love choosing the perfect fabric, planning my project, buying the thread, listening to music in my sewing room while time flies. The sewing itself is soothing and satisfying, and the finished product makes me feel comfortable and proud. So, while the making of these jeans was an epic and expensive task, it was a wonderful process, and I will "save money on clothes" when I make my next pair. 

    These jeans started their life in Detroit, Michigan. Fred and I traveled to Detroit last fall -- I wanted to attend the American Sewing Expo, and Fred wanted to visit his step daughter and grand babies. At ASE, I took an all-day jeans fitting class with Jennifer Stern. I had watched Jennifer's Fit Your Tee to a Tee class at Patternreview.com, so I knew I enjoyed her calm, clear teaching style. 

    In Detroit, Jennifer had us all make test garments out of stiff denim muslin. Mine fit great. She had also lugged a giant roll of denim from the garment district of NYC to her home in Connecticut, and she had driven it to Detroit for the Expo. I bought 6 yards and flew them back to Montana, where they sat for months.  

    In June of this year, my daughter graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut -- Just 20 minutes from Jennifer Stern's house! I used my test garment to cut out the denim from NYC, and packed it in my suitcase for another trip across the country. Jennifer and I spent an entire day together perfecting the fit and sewing up the jeans. We had a great time, and I learned a ton.

    I repacked my partially finished masterpiece and flew it across the country again. When I got home, I quickly finished the jeans with oh-so-satisfying topstitching. I bought some rivets from Taylor Tailer. Now I have just one more purchase -- a rivet press -- and my jeans will be perfect. Here they are, sans rivets and buttons!

    The front. Photo by Andrea Jones The front. Photo by Andrea Jones

    The side. Photo by Andrea Jones. The side. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    And a close-up of the back. Yes, I used two different top stitching colors. Photo by Andrea Jones. And a close-up of the back. Yes, I used two different top stitching colors. Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Close-up of the front! Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the front! Photo by Andrea Jones.

2 Item(s)