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Last year, I was lucky enough to be invited to test the newest Megan Nielsen pattern for jeans, Ash Jeans. My observations in this post refer mostly to the tester version I received and not on the final version of the pattern you will be buying or receive as a gift hopefully.
The pattern is quite versatile as it includes 4 versions and includes cutting lines for tall, regular or cropped to cater for different heights as well, which is a characteristic I like to have, considering I am only 5ft2. Just imagine the possibilities this pattern gives. Fit once and make 4 different jeans, with only one pattern. Waw!
I started with choosing my fabric, which as a piece of stretch denim from the bargain baskets from my local Abakhan store. I made sure I used Megan’s Stretch percentage guide included with the pattern files. The reason for this was because I chose to make version 2, which is the skinny jeans version. After looking at the sizing table (which for this pattern is different that the other patterns – the size is dictated by the waist measurement making it equivalent to some ready to wear sizes) I’ve gone for size 27 which corresponds to a waist of 27 inches or 69 cm (even though my waist is more like 71 cm – there is stretch in the fabric after all).
Usually when I am testing a pattern, I force myself to follow the instructions to the letter, so I can provide accurate feedback on the instructions as well not only the fit of the patterns. So I did a bit of testing different colour threads for top-stitching and making buttonholes, which was one of the first advices given once you cut your fabric before you started constructing the pattern.
My fabric had two sides that could be used as the right side. I chose that I wanted fun jeans and used the wrong side as the right side (lighter – slightly purple) and make the coin pocket and belt-looks using the other side (darker – denim blue). My fabric had more than the minimum 20% stretch.
Just because I could, I played around with the top-stitching for the back patch pockets, I even did some research on the high-street checking out the stitching on the pack pockets on the ready to wear jeans.
To customise my jeans even further, rather than to put my label inside, I put it on the outside on one of the pockets. As if my behind does not get enough attention. LOL
Throughout construction, I finished the seam on the overlocker, rather than flat-felt seams, which you can also do on jeans.
For the pocket bags I used leftover fabric in a crazy colour.
My fly is not a perfect as I wanted it to me. However, considering I was working from draft instructions (which by the way, were very detailed and straightforward) it is looking good enough. Besides, I’ll not wear them with a cropped top very often so it will stay hidden most of the time. Remember I was saying I force myself to follow instructions while doing a pattern test? Well, sometimes I do unwittingly do my own thing. And in this case, it was when I did the top stitching o the wrong side of the fly. Ups! (Design Element!)
Because my instinct kind of told me that I might have an issue with fit, I did not topstitch the side seam. I was making a smaller size after all. Once I baste the inside seam and tried the jeans on, it became apparent that my hips need more space, or I will risk the jeans’ seams bursting on me. So I had to unpick the seams and use a smaller seam allowance. I used a 1 on the outside seam and got close to 0.7 on the inside seam. I then used my hammer to make the seams lay flat.
Even after cutting the trouser pieces on the cropped line, I still had to shorten them by about 5 cm. I am glad I had the option given with the pattern pieces as this save me some fabric. I have such short legs. No wonder I have to really learn how to walk long distances in hills (this is a skill I am yet to master).
All throughout the instructions for this pattern are included little tips and tricks to help you make your jeans with the least amount of stress as possible. You also get a few customising ideas, which can get your creative juices flowing.
I was really pleased with my tester version, and I’ve been wearing it quite a few times since making them.
As most of the times I’ll be wearing my Ash jeans with a top like the one below that covers most of the waist area, nobody will see my mistakes with the fly. Not will they see my wrong side coin pocket or belt loops.
I am happy to report that due to the higher percentage of stretch in the fabric, making a smaller size was not a major downfall for me. Even before I finished my tester version I knew I’ll be wanting to make more versions of this pattern. I noted down for myself that next time to make a waist 27 going out to 28 in the hips to give my hips a bit more room.
Now I cannot decide what fabric to use, I have two in my stash I could use. I might just have to make two pairs. How many pairs of jeans can one have? I already have 7 out of which 2 pairs are me-made.