Pattern Comparison: Ash and Liana Stretch Jeans
We're back with another Pattern Comparison post! This one has been often asked for over the past few months. Today we're comparing jeans: a subject of much analysis and debate in the sewing world.
And we get it, sewing jeans requires a major time commitment. Bodies come in many different shapes and it can be hard to decipher which design will give your curves the best fit. Most people aren't venturing into jeans-sewing territory without doing some serious research.
Today we're offering a breakdown of two popular jeans sewing patterns. This Pattern Comparison is between the Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen and the Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch. Both patterns are comparable in their silhouette and the options they offer.
Despite being the most time-consuming Pattern Comparison post we've written (each pair took me about six hours to sew, start to finish), this has definitely been the most rewarding. These jeans were my sixth and seventh pair of handmade jeans. I finally (finally!) feel like I have a good sense of my own jean preferences and the areas where I need to make adjustments.
So, if you've been discouraged with fitting and sewing jeans, hang in there. The light bulb will turn on!
Both pairs of jeans below were sewn in our 10.3 oz. Cotton Stretch Denim (with between 15 and 20% stretch) and have been worn several times and washed once. More thoughts below on this fabric along with a coupon code!
Ash Jeans By megan nielsen
Megan Nielsen's Ash Jeans are stretch jeans with a mid-rise. Three leg options are available: slim, skinny, flare, and wide. And three length options are too: tall, regular, and cropped. I chose the skinny leg option in the regular length. My waist/hip measurements are 27/39 so I chose the straight size 28.
Below is a list of modifications I made to the pattern:
- Took a 1" wedge out of the back center seam starting at the waist and tapering to just below the yoke. I also shortened the waistband accordingly. (This is a typical adjustment for my hip to waist ratio).
- Increased to a 3/4" seam allowance on the side seams from the waist through the hips.
- Decreased to a 3/8" seam allowance through the calves.
- Cut the waistband on the cross grain to maximize stretch.
- I left the hem of the pant legs raw.
Initial Thoughts on the Ash Jeans
From what I had heard from the rumor mill, I expected my Ash Jeans to be really tight. In fact, after I cut out the size 28, I had worries they'd be too small and was planning to sew the inseam and side seams with a 3/8" seam allowance.
But the opposite was true for me. After a quick baste-fit, I found I wanted them to be a little tighter through the hips, which is why I used a larger seam allowance there. It should be noted that I like a really snug fit for skinny jeans, because they inevitably stretch out at least a little bit.
The waistband of the Ash Jeans is supposed to be cut on the grain, but some have found that this makes for a super constrictive fit through the waist. I like to have some stretch in my waistbands, so I decided to cut the waistband on the crossgrain so that the stretch would be running parallel to the waistband.
The Ash Jeans seem to be cut for a straighter shape, as there's not a lot of shaping through the hips and back yoke. I brought the back center seam in significantly, but this is pretty typical for me in all pants patterns.
I absolutely love the rise on these jeans. It's not as sky-high as my Ginger Jeans (View B), but it still feels like it's holding things in, which I'm a big fan of. I can wear cropped tops with these jeans, as well as my normal blouses.
The Ash Jeans pockets are not of the "pocket stay" variety, in that they don't span across the front and connect with the fly. I'm not a fan of this kind of pocket because they bunch up constantly and have to be pulled down to make the pocket facings lie flat. (You can see in the photo above how the pocket facings are bunching up a bit.) But again, this is totally my preference.
The fly zipper construction on the Ash Jeans was totally new to me, but worked like a charm and looks great from the inside! The alignment of my Ash fly isn't perfect, but I think that's probably because this method was something I had never tried before.
The only other thing I should note is that the skinny leg of these pants is about 2" too short for me, which is why I left the hem raw. I'm 1" taller than the regular length is drafted for. But in reality, I will need to add at least 2" to the length on my next pair to be sufficiently long. If you're tall or have long legs, I would recommend adding a few inches to the length or cut from the tall version.
Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch
The Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch are classic stretch mid-rise, five-pocket jeans just like the Ash Jeans. Skinny, straight and boot leg options are offered. My waist/hip measurements are 27/39 so I chose the size 4 in the skinny leg option.
Below is a list of modifications I made to the pattern to achieve a good fit:
- Took a 3/4" wedge out of the back center seam and tapering to just below the yoke. Shortened waistband accordingly.
- Decreased the seam allowance around the calves to 3/8"
- Omitted the flaps on the back pockets. (Personal preference)
The fit from the Liana Stretch Jeans was great for me, right out of the envelope! It's clear that Liana is drafted for curves, as the back yokes have a significant curved shape. The curve through the hip side seams is also pretty significant. When I pull these on, I feel like they hug my curves, which feels really nice.
Despite the shaping, I still needed to bring the center back seam in by 3/4", but this is typical for my body. No surprise there.
The rise on the Liana Stretch Jeans is about 3/4" lower than the Ash Jeans, but it still feels comfortable. I prefer the rise of the Ash Jeans because it's on-trend and I can wear my cropped tops with those, but it's nice to also have an option that's a little bit less extreme.
Liana's pocket bags have totally won me over, because they are, in fact, pocket stays. That means the pocket fabric is attached to the front fly. This keeps the pocket bag in place when you pull the jeans on and move around. It also has a bit of a tummy-tucking action because the pocket bag fabric has no stretch. A pocket stay sort of holds everything in, which feels nice. It also looks really clean from the inside.
The fly zipper construction on the Liana Stretch Jeans is similar to the Ginger Jeans. I love this method because it results in a perfectly aligned fly every time for me. I had to use a light blue zipper for these, but it tucks so far into the fly that it's not at all visible. For all future jeans I sew, this will likely be the method I'll use because, for me, it's foolproof.
The length of the Liana skinny leg is also perfect for my 5'6" frame. I didn't need to adjust the length at all.
Overall Thoughts on the Jeans
Because I'm curvy, I'm drawn to the Liana Stretch Jeans as my everyday skinny jean. I love how the design accentuates my curves and feels really comfortable on. These are the jeans I'll be wearing with flannel button ups and casual tees during the week.
But I do like the Ash Jeans for a higher-rise option for dressing up outfits a bit more. I can see myself reaching for my Ash Jeans when going out on a date or with girlfriends, because they do feel a bit more on-trend.
Here's the bulleted list of my observations after sewing the skinny leg version of both patterns:
- Both patterns are expertly drafted with stellar instructions. Both patterns have full sewalongs available here for Ash and here for Liana, making either of these designs well suited for the first-time jeans sewist.
- Liana is designed for curvier folks, while Ash is designed for straighter shapes.
- Liana has a pocket stay, while Ash has front pockets that hang free from the fly.
- The rise of the Ash Jeans is about 3/4" higher than the Liana Stretch Jeans.
- The fly construction of the two designs is very different. I think the Liana's technique is easier to get a perfectly aligned fly. But the Ash Jeans method was new to me and also not difficult to figure out!
- Both patterns have a wide size range. The Ash goes up to a 36" waist, while the Liana goes up to a 39" waist.
Overall Thoughts on the Denim
UPDATE: This fabric is now sold out.
My Ash and Liana Stretch Jeans were both sewn in our 10.3 Oz. Cotton Stretch Denim that has between 15 and 20% stretch. This was the ideal fabric for a pair of skinny jeans. In the photos you see above the denim has been washed once and is wearing great.
On the topic of recovery, this fabric doesn't have the recovery of a Cone Mills Denim, but it still is impressive to me for overstock denim. I do notice a little bit of stretching out, but I can wear both pairs of jeans about five or six times before I feel like they need to be washed. In fact, I prefer the fit on the third and fourth wear because they sort of mold to my shape and become really comfortable.
We're currently running a 20% off sale for this fabric, bringing the price down to $12.80 per yard! Use coupon code DENIM18 to receive the discount at checkout!
We'll be back next week with more sewing inspiration! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be notified of our upcoming Black Friday promotion.
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