Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ponte Knit Jeans

Samina has embarked on a new sewing frontier-Ponte Knit Jeans! She used Midnight Black Ponte Knit and Ponte Knit Jeans Pattern by J. Stern Designs. Thanks Samina, for sharing your journey! You can follow Samina's sewing adventures at seweverythingblog.wordpress.com.


Much as I love jeans, I had to discard the last one or two pairs I owned since they no longer fit me; besides they were ready to wear and their fate was written back in 2010, the year I decided to slowly change my wardrobe to 100 percent self-made. A small corner of my sewing and wardrobe psyche was in darkness.  Until now.

The Pattern: Jeans are nothing if not snug and good looking at the same time. Since my last ready to wear pairs were discarded, I had no jeans to wear.  Enter the Ponte Knit Jeans pattern by J. Stern Designs; it fit the bill. They’re the “boot-cut” style.  A size match got me tracing out a size 16. The guide sheet pages have a body size chart and a finished garment chart, including helpful front-rise and back-rise info. Some light shone in the dark place in my wardrobe! 

Alterations:  I reduced a LOT of length. My friends, you know that I’m under 5’4”, right?  I discovered that the knee line is an important point in jean making. I reduced the length above and below the knee point, as well as at the hem.  Other than that I made the size 16 but I wanted them snug – this is knit fabric, remember? So I took in the side seams and noted that the next pair should be a size 14. The pattern guide makes it clear that for a snug fit, one should choose the size smaller than the one that matches your body measurement.
Midnight Black Ponte Knit from Sew Much Fabric
Fabric: I have no idea what I was doing before ponte knit appeared on the sewing scene. Since I already had a navy pair of ponte pants, I went for black - at the risk of going blind at the end of the project. I think my eyeglass prescription changed a little with this project.

Top of the jeans: this area is what makes jeans, er, jean-like. It includes a cotton pocket lining which extends across the inside front, forming a stay across the abdomen and forming a smooth line at the top. There are all the classic jean details - the fly front jeans zipper, an optional coin pocket, waistband, belt loops, back pockets and topstitching.  I eliminated the belt loops and back pockets.


Topstitching:  Almost everything in the top area is top stitched, including the crotch seam.  What’s a pair of jeans without top stitching, anyway? I chose a mottled denim-like thread for top stitching. It was visible without being too much of a contrast. I’ll save the yellow/orange topstitching for denim jeans. On the other hand, I always wear longer tunic length tops these days so all that effort is going to be hidden anyway.  The instructions do not specify topstitching on the sides or inseams; no mention of the hem in the instructions. So – I did not topstitch the side seams or the inseam, but top stitched the hem. 

The stitch: The instructions do not specify any particular stitch to use with the knit so I just went with the straight stitch extended to 3.5, and stretched the fabric slightly as I sewed. It worked quite well but we’ll see if the stitching pops open with the strain of wearing.

Things I will do differently next time: Select a non-black fabric, eliminate the coin pocket, reconsider back pockets, top stitch the side seams, trace a size 14 pattern, and narrow the leg. Oh, and I’ll use a stretch stitch for stronger seams.  Also, I’ll select a cotton lining fabric that matches the ponte knit color (just in case, to prevent the contrast peeking through at the zipper area); I’ll definitely give some shape to the waistband so it curves and has “hugging” properties.  I will also serge finish the edges of the zipper fly shields; for some reason they are left as raw edges in the pattern guidesheet.

Conclusion: I love this first pair, and see a few more in my future. I can hardly wait for fabric manufacturers to create denim-like ponte knit.

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