Community · Finished Project · Sewing

Straight-Legged Jeans: The Betty

Bam! That’s right. I just started you off with a picture of my bum. Which is covered in Bs. And, those Bs make these my “Betty” jeans. My straight-legged Betty jeans.

Why Bs? Just because. I put As on the pockets of my first jeans, so I figured I’d put Bs on these. I also named them just because. I’ve already put Cs on the pockets of my orange skinnies, and I’ve already named those as well. (Clair, if you’re curious.) By the time I’m making my “Zelda” jeans, I’ll be ready to make them out of straight gold.

Since these are the second pair of jeans for my SWAP (and my eleventh and final garment for it!), I wanted them to be slightly different than my first. Not only did I try to get a better fit, but I also attempted to make them skinny. The Jalie 2908 pattern breaks the leg into two pieces, one from the knee up and the other from the knee down. As is, the pattern is drafted for a boot-cut leg, which I followed exactly for my first pair. For this pair I took the lower half of the leg and made it drop straight down from the knee. Though I wanted them to be “skinny”, I was worried about taking off too much width. As it turns out, you have to be much more daring to make true skinny jeans. (We’ll see if I’ve been so bold this next round when those orange side seams get sewn together – we’ll also see if they fit. There’s almost no stretch at all in my orange denim.) But, in all honesty, I’ll get a lot more wear out of these than the jeans I originally had in my head.

To get a better fit, I followed a lot of the lessons I learned from the Jean-ius class on Craftsy. With a few minor adjustments to the pattern, I was able to get rid of most of the bagginess in the front crotch, the back upper thigh area, and, most importantly, the back waist. You have no idea how excited I was to find that I can wear these jeans without a belt!

A little detail that I’m really excited about is the fact that there are dragons in my pockets. Shh! They’re sleeping.

A detail that I’m not so excited about is the fact that this denim is a cat fur magnet. The woman on the jeans fitting video that Zilredloh posted earlier this week recommended pre-washing denim with a can of coke to soften it up. I plan to try it out to see if it also helps keep the cat fur at bay. I figure it can’t hurt, right?

If you’re a jeans person and haven’t yet made your own, I strongly recommend that you try. Jeans really are super easy. All you need to do is make sure your machine doesn’t mind sewing through lots of layers since denim can get really thick. But, it’s worth it. Look at how happy I am with my new jeans (crazy hair and all)!

71 thoughts on “Straight-Legged Jeans: The Betty

  1. WOW! Those jeans look fantastic! You’ve totally convinced me to look into making my own. The only pants I’ve attempted so far have been the Colette Clovers but I’m going to start researching that Craftsy class you mentioned.

    1. Thanks! The Craftsy class was great. It doesn’t come with a pattern, but Kenneth King walks you through how to copy your favorite pair. I haven’t gotten that far, but I have used his lessons to help me fit the Jalie 2908 pattern. My friend who’s been through the entire class made an awesome pair of jeans! If you do want to take the class, it retails for quite a lot. Craftsy is always having $25/class sales though, so if you’re patient you should be able to get it for cheap. If you really want to take the class and deals just don’t seem to be appearing, let me know, and I can email you a coupon link, which I think is for half off.

      1. Ohh thanks so much! I’m on their mailing list so I’ll look out for a deal. I think I have enough projects lined up that I can be patient but I’ll let you know!

    1. I’ve seen a lot of very nice garments made from Jalie patterns. I currently have two, these jeans and a running skirt. I’d love to get the tie front blouse, but I’m first going to try to see how a Renfrew version goes. I’m not sure where to find them in the UK, but it’s definitely worth a look!

      1. I found them too. I’ve emailed to see if/when they’ll be getting them back in stock! I’ll let you know via your blog when I hear from them!

      2. I hope you guys can find the pattern. If Habithat doesn’t work out and you need someone to ship you the pattern from the US, let me know.

  2. Great jeans – they look bought!! I too have enrolled in the Craftsy Jeans course – yet to do, but can’t wait. Need to loose a little more weight first before I do this class. Maybe when I get back from my trip.

    1. Thanks! I think the cat fur magnetism is still separating them from looking like ready-to-wear jeans, but the fit is starting to get better than what I typically find in the stores. I’m still tweaking though… We’ll see if I accidentally end up over fitting!

  3. Those Betty jeans look great!!! That pinching out the excess under the butt tip will probably be worth the price of the class even if I never copy a pair of jeans!!!

    1. I see you’re on Facebook now! I was worried I’d lost your blog. I’m glad you’re doing well though. I thought of those awesome dragons in your pockets when I used my dragon fabric for these pockets.

      1. I couldn’t stay away from blogging so I started another blog lol!! I saved all my scraps of that dragon fabric so It will be a waistband very soon 🙂

  4. Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus! Words cannot express how impressed I am with your jeans! With each pair of pants that a sewing blogger makes up, I can feel myself being pushed closer and closer into making my own pair…

    I love the back pocket embroidery, the amazing fit, and especially the idea of wearing jeans without a belt! I always have that gaping problem with my RTW jeans. I take it that you would recommend KK’s class even if one doesn’t have a pair to copy?

    1. Yes, I would. In fact, I bought the class knowing that I don’t have a pair of pants I really want to copy. I’ve worn through all of my favorite jeans from biking into work every day. Holes in the knees I don’t mind, it’s the holes in the bum that make them impossible to wear. So, when I copy them, I’ll likely take them apart. (Though I do want to copy a pair of my husband’s pants and a pair of my 4’11” neighbor’s pants, so the entirety of the class will come in handy eventually.) Kenneth King’s lessons on making and fitting jeans were really worth it in my opinion. I got the class when it was $25 though, and I already had the Jalie 2908 pattern…

  5. Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed they were self-made. The top’s cool too. Denim is one thing I can’t think of sewing myself-the fabric you get here is pretty crap. Maybe once I’ve fabric shopped in Japan.. XD

    1. I’m not really sure I’d know crap denim from nice denim yet, but I do know the stuff I bought loves cat fur. I got samples of stuff that looks really nice from, and it feels fabulous, but, again, I’m too new to this jeans-making-thing to really know my stuff.

      1. There is an online fabric store here in the UK (site is down for re-furb at the moment) that has regular stock of ex-Paul Smith fabrics, and his designer denim is to die for! Cheap too, £7.99/m. This is the site, keep an eye on it to see when it’s up and running again:

  6. Amazing job on those jeans. One of my favorite things of self-sewn jeans is the cool embroidery I see on the pockets, and going through the alphabet is genius – I love typography and fonts. Glad to know your opinion on the Craftsy jeans class. I hadn’t been inclined because I don’t have a pair I want to copy. Maybe now I’ll consider it. I could definitely use a pair like that.

    1. While most of the class is based around copying a pair of jeans, you also learn basic techniques for copying any favorite ready-to-wear item and basic jeans fitting and construction techniques. I really enjoyed watching and think the class was worth the $25 I paid for what I’ve already learned without having yet gone through any trouser duplications yet.

  7. Will u be biking in these? Looks like a nice fit for it– not loose but not tooooo tight. I am very impressed with your fitting fixes. They look great!

    1. Yes, I’ll be biking in these. In fact, I bike in most everything since it’s my main mode of transportation. My favorite trick is biking shorts under skirts. No worry about flashing, and a little bit of extra comfort.

    1. Thanks! I do recommend trying your hand at jeans. They’re not as hard as they look. Whenever you do make them, let me know. And, if you have any fit or construction questions, send them my way. Maybe I’ll be up to Z and a pro by then!

  8. Amy your Jeans look amazing! I’m starting to consider the craftsy class now as I didn’t have any trousers I wanted to copy but the fitting tips may be worth it if I can make anything that fits as well as these seem to on you! I have no help to offer at all about the cat hair, but I’d love to know how the coke tip pans out…
    I have to admit that trousers scare me a bit! I’ve yet to take the plunge although I love the Burda Bella trousers and Colette’s Clovers. I know Tanitisis swears by Jalie patterns and she is the queen of jeans so I’ll see if I can lay my hands on a pattern here in the UK. Or what the international shipping damage is!

    1. Vicki Kate – Habithat in the UK sell Jalie patterns. 2908 is £8.20. I bought mine from there. Am yet to make them up yet though as I’m bizzarely nervous about it. Really don’t know why – I’ve even got some £2.99/m stretch denim washed and ready for a muslin. Perhaps I’ll hava a go this bank holiday weekend. Amy – your jeans look stunning!

      1. Thanks, Kathy! I do hope you try out the Jalie pattern eventually. I’m really happy with mine, and I didn’t find it hard at all to follow the pattern instructions. Also, thank you for the tip on where to find Jalie patterns in the UK. It looks like Vicki Kate and Anne have already contacted Habithat!

  9. These are amazing! Great fit. I’m not sure I’ll be brave enough to tackle jeans – I am nearing the end of my Burda trousers, which once I cut the right size seem to fit ok so far…..

    1. It took me forever to get up the courage to make jeans as well. I’m glad I finally did though. Other than convincing my machine to tackle thick denim layers, they’re pretty easy.

  10. STOP TEMPTING ME WITH YOUR AWESOME JEANS!!!!! i know it will end in tears for me!!!

    couldja make a fuchsia wide legged pair so i could live vicariously?

    1. I have a wine colored denim that I got at a local fabric rescue that is destined for some sort of Jalie modification, but I’ll keep my eye out for a bright fuchsia as well!

  11. Those are amazing! They fit you perfectly. I love the B’s on the back. That’s a cute idea. Do you use topstitching thread on top and in your bobbin?

    I made jeans a couple of years ago in a sewing class using a Built By Wendy pattern. They actually fit well and are really comfortable – I just haven’t finished them! They need belt loops and a button. That’s it. :/

    1. So far I’ve been using top stitching thread in the bobbin. I run through thread really quickly though, so I’ve considered using a matching regular thread in my bobbin, but I haven’t tried yet. From what I can tell, most of my ready-to-wear jeans use top stitching thread in the bobbin. I should ask Kenneth King what he uses via the Craftsy forum…

  12. Amy, these are awesome!! Fantastic fit–you really nailed it. I think this has to be my personal favorite jeans fit. I like the rise and the straight leg. I so know what you mean by cat hair attractor–most of my gym clothes are strange at that. We have both white and black cats so it doesn’t matter what color I wear, I always look like cat hair.

  13. “By the time I’m making my “Zelda” jeans, I’ll be ready to make them out of straight gold.”
    This made me laugh so hard! That’s the spirit!
    Your jeans look wonderful! I’ve been curious about taking the class but considering I haven’t found time for the three others I’ve paid for, I better not sign up just now. I really should take a page from your book and schedule time for the classes each week. Bird by bird, as Anne Lamott would say.

  14. They look great! When I made my 2908s into skinnies, I measured around my foot at the heel, with toes pointed, and made sure I had enough width at the hem to get my feet through. They do taper all the way down. A second measurement at the calf might not be a bad idea, to make sure they don’t get too skinny too soon…

    I love your lettered pockets, and the fit on these looks great. 🙂

  15. What a fantastic pair of me made jeans! I am SO impressed & it is interesting that you were following the Craftsy course ….hmmm, that is one that I don’t yet have queued up….
    ANd “B” jeans – perfect logic – love it!!

  16. Knocking ’em out, Amy! Holy crap! You deserve solid gold. I’m just about done watching all the lessons, then will start on actually making.

  17. Just finished my first pair of the Jalie jeans, and I’m happy to say they fit almost perfectly. A minor swayback adjustment, as the back’s a bit gapey, but that should be it.
    Thanks for posting about this great pattern, and sharing your makes, love your blog!

    1. I’m glad the Jalie pattern worked out for you! My first pair gapped a bit in the back waist as well. It was easy enough to take in though in this pair. Hooray for handmade jeans!

  18. I love your jeans!! I made the Jalie jeans twice and am on my third pair. They are much easier than I anticipated. BTW, love the sleeping dragons.

  19. Your jeans look fantastic!! I love the two back to back “b’s” on your pockets, looks really cool! I actually have some fabric ready to go for my first pair of jeans and stumbled across your blog:) You encourage me that much more to give jeans a go!:)

  20. I just discovered your blog and am turning myself inside out with excitement! You look so fabulous in that blue/cream linen knit Drape Drape dress that you should wear it every day!

    Could you elaborate on what you did to remove the front crotch and back of leg bagginess in these jeans? I did the Jeanius class, but I don’t recall that being addressed. Those are my pants-fitting demons.

    1. Thanks for the lovely compliments! As for your question, Kenneth D. King covers both alterations while he’s fitting the muslin on the model. For the front crotch, he marked in 1/4″ from the center of the crotch curve and then redrew a new curve from the bottom of the zipper to the join of the leg through that new point. For the back leg bagginess, he pinned out as much as he could on the muslin from the back of the upper thigh, measured how much material he’d pinned, and then removed that from the pattern. He then added it back to the bottom so he didn’t change the length of the leg. It essentially just makes the back leg taper in more quickly. I really recommend you go back and watch the video lessons where’s he’s discussing the fit of the muslin because it’s great to see him actually do these little fixes on camera!

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