Friday, May 19, 2017

Vanessa Jogger Shorts // Pattern Hack (Jalie 3676)

You own (or are eying) the Vanessa Fluid Pants pattern and think "pants can wait, it will be summer soon (at least in Canada)"? We've got news for you! After reading this hack you will be able to wear this pattern year round as you will have anything you need to make great pants AND stylish, comfortable shorts!

First off, sizing. I go back to the Jalie Measurement Chart each time I make a garment, even if I made something the week before. Our measurements change all the time and my kids sizes change even more quickly.

Juju's measurements (as of today) are 28" waist, 37 1/2'' hips. Her waist corresponds to size S and  hips are between sizes S and T. The hips measurements is the most important when picking a size for pants.

I would normally go with size T, but I will use S for this project because:

  • Today's hack will add ease 
  • I will use a knit that stretches across the grain


Pattern Preparation

  1. Print / Trace the pattern (I am using the PDF pattern for this hack - the pattern is also available in paper (printed) format.

    If you are using the PDF format, remember that you can print one size at a time! Take a look at our tutorial How to print and assemble a PDF if you are not familiar with downloadable patterns and want to learn more about them.

  2. Cut the pattern pieces making sure all marking and notches are visible. They are very important and will make assembly much easier.

    In the following picture, I cut the notches flush with the cut line and trace the triangles inside. I usually clip the fabric instead of cutting the outward triangles that you see on the original pattern. However, I strongly recommend you keep the triangles outside, as you see them on the pattern, especially if you are working with a fabric that frays. This way you will make sure you can all see them.

  3. Measure approximately 4'' (10 cm) inseam (black line) on the front and back pieces.
  4. Measure approximately 5'' (12,5 cm) below the side seam notch (red line) on front and back pieces. 
  5. Trace from inseam to side seam to create a "temporary hem line". 

Pattern Alteration

Back Piece

  1. Cut or retrace your new short pieces.
  2. Draw the seam allowances (1 cm / 3/8'') from edge to visualize the actual seam lines.
  3. Divide in 4 sections, with lines parallel to center back

Front Piece

  1. Place the pocket bottom (D) piece under the front piece, lining up notches, to see the complete front waist and divide into fourths as shown.

Let's Have Fun! 

  1. Cut along the lines, leaving the top attached. Fan out to add about 2 cm (3/4'') between each section. If you want more ease, open up a little more. You can go up to 5 cm (2'') for a "culotte" look.

  2. Place a sheet of paper under your pattern and tape the sections in place.
  3. Trace a new hem line, square or curved, as you feel it. Follow your inspiration!
    You can see here that the dart is cut. I moved the point towards to the left to align it with the  "opening"

  4. On your front piece, start a line, square with your inseam.

  5. Use the front piece as a template for the back hem curve . When putting the pieces one on top of the other, always align the notches to keep everything straight and in this case, make sure you have identical side seams lengths.

  6. Cut your front hem along the line.


  7. Now it is important to check the pocket placement because you don't want pockets sticking out at the bottom! You simply have to lay the pocket and pocket facing pieces on top of the front piece and trim them if you need to. We decided to remove about 1'' (2,5 cm) since our pockets will be made of knit and therefore stretch downwards a little when Juju puts her hand in them.


  8. Trim the pocket (D) and pocket facing (C)


Time to Sew

  1. Cut 1 1/2'' (4 cm) wide strips on the bias (45 degree angle with selvage) for the shorts binding. 
  2. Overlap ends as shown and stitch at 45 degrees (diagonal). 
  3. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4'' (6 mm).

  4. Press seam allowances open. 
  5. Assemble the shorts, following the pattern instructions (you can read them on the Jalie website before buying your pattern!), but leave a section of the side seam open.

  6. Pin right side of bias to wrong side of shorts and stitch 1/4'' (6 mm) from edge.


  7. Bring the seam allowance upwards, on right side of shorts. 
  8. Fold bias wrong sides together, by 1/2'' (1,25 cm), its raw edge against the seam.

  9. Fold bias again onto the right side of the shorts.
  10. Pin binding generously.


  11. Topstitch binding 1/8'' (3 mm) from top edge.


  12. Finish the side seam (right sides together).

Finished shorts - wrong side out

How to wear them?

Wear your new shorts with a Pika Tank 3679, a french terry sweatshirt 3355 or a sleeveless 2805!


Here is a Pinterest inspiration board with fabric, color and outfit ideas for your Vanessa shorts:

You like this tutorial? 

Pin the Pinterest-friendly image to one of your Pinterest board!

Enregistrer Enregistrer

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Perfect Gift for New Moms

There is no better than Mother's Day to introduce our new official collaborator: Mélanie, the mother behind the lovely Filles à Maman patterns (which translates to "mommy's girls"). You might have already read the Reversible Charlie Tutorial and How to color block a leotard on her blog. Here is her first post on the Jalie blog: 

First off, I would like to share some info about me :) My name is Mélanie but people in the online world know me as Mel Henry. There is one man and three girls (5, 5 and 12) in my life. My family is my everything, but sewing has been a great part of my life, since I am very young. I am super happy and grateful that Jeanne and Émilie, the talented "Ja" and "Lie", gave me the chance to share my creative world, ideas and creations with you. Yay!

For Mother's Day, we are treating a new mom and her little girl to a cute Jalie gift

Gift for Mom

 JALIE 3132The starting point for this project was the Jalie 3132 top with nursing option. This pattern is a versatile nursing top that includes different neckline, length and style variations:
  • Cap or 3/4 sleeve
  • Hood or V neck
  • Optional kangaroo pocket
  • T-shirt or tunique length
What is great about this pattern is that in includes a non-nursing version as well. This means that you can use the pattern for yourself if you are making a nursing top as a gift or you can make your own nursing top and keep the pattern to make yourself t-shirts or tunics years later, when you are no longer nursing. Don't worry if you change size along the way, we got you covered with 17 sizes in the same pattern, from 31'' to 50'' full bust!

Karine, the new mom we are making this for, is a modern young lady who likes classic, modern and comfortable pieces. We had the perfect off-white jersey with thin stripes in our fabric stash for the top!

The Joys of Learning Flat Lay Photography
Picture me holding the tripod with the camera attached to it, standing on a wobbly chair, with my 5 year-olds taking turns at pushing the button on the remote control when I say "GO"! Quite a setup! The lengths we go to so we have beautiful photos for Jalie fans! It's funny how it looks so quiet and simple on the photo. In real life it's a little... hmmm... complicated and hectic :) An epic moment for mommy and her little ones!

Nursing Top Jalie 3132 with matching bodysuit Jalie 3133

Gifts for the Baby course, we had to include something for the cute little Romy! She was born three weeks ago, but since new moms are usually well-stashed in newborn size items, we decided to go with the super-useful 6-month size.

We used pattern 3133. The pattern includes 9 sizes, which cover weighs from 5 to 30 lbs. It includes various styles and options, and works for both boys and girls:
  • Tank style
  • Short sleeve (regular or puff)
  • Long sleeve (regular or puff)
  • Round or boat neck
  • Appliqués (frill or tie)
We had some of the striped jersey left so we decided to go with a "matching outfit" idea. I picked a coral rib knit for the bindings that created a fun, lively color element to the bodysuit.

For a short sleeve bodysuit (view A), I picked a darker floral print cotton spandex with nice stretch and recovery that caught my eye, and used the striped jersey for the the bindings. Modern, comfortable pieces for mademoiselle.

Jalie 3133 tank bodysuit - (View C)
Baby Onesie Pattern Jalie 3133 - Tank Style (C) Short-Sleeved Crew Neck (A)

I would have loved to have these two patterns when I gave birth to my daughters! At 5' 10'', everything that was available in stores back then was too short and I was never happy with the fabrics or the styles. With the 3132 pattern, my closet would have been packed with stylish nursing tops with a perfect fit!

Same thing for bodysuits. They require so little fabric and sew up so quickly that I would have made tons with fabric scraps.

Émilie told me that these two patterns were drafted when Éléonore was born. She also disliked the styles off the rack with the too-many-layers or the maze-like designs.

Éléonore was tiny and most available bodysuits in stores were ill-fitting. They were also often pastel coloured, which washed her out. Jeanne made this pattern for her so she could have custom-made onesies in fabrics that made her dark eyes pop.

With this pattern you can make great baby shower gifts for years to come!
Jalie 3133 Bodysuits

Now, it's time for my gift to you. When picking gifts, I often go for things that I would love to receive myself and, what I would love for Mother's Day, is some sewing time. Here are printable coupons you can use for well-deserved Jalie time. Your loved ones will be grateful for this last-minute gift idea :)

Happy sewing,

Mel xoxo 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

VANESSA Fluid Pants - Comfy Trousers That are Not Leggings or Yoga Pants

Fluid Pants? You Mean Joggers, Right?

Joggers are everywhere! I love the look of the modern joggers... but only on my kids or on other people. Each and every time I try a pair on, they are too tight at the calf so everything looks like leggings with a baggy crotch. Not flattering. At all.

I did not want to give up on the idea so we started making joggers prototypes. There was nothing that would fit me in ready-to-wear and I assumed I was not the only one in this situation. The new pants would have to be comfortable but flattering. The Justin Bieber drop-crotch-pants look does not work for me.

The Fabric

The perfect jogger fabric is not too thick, not too thin, not see through, not a "cellulite-enhancer"... After so many tries with various fibres, I gave up. It's official. The perfect jogger fabric (at least one that would meet all my criteria) is the unicorn of fabrics. It does not exist.

Still. I was determined to have pants with an elastic waist and that doesn't scream I'm wearing PJ's on the street. We looked in our stash and found some challis. Rayon challis is what I like to call the "naked" fabric. It is opaque but not stiff, it flows, drapes beautifully and is cool to the touch. It was love at first try! The fluid pants pattern was born.  Something as comfortable as joggers, but a bit dressier. In the right fabric and shoes, you could easily wear these on a date or at the office!

Because our prototype had a little more ease at the calf (my #1 requirement), using a woven fabric did not pose any problem. If you find your perfect jogger knit, it will work too, no worries! You can go a size down if you want the more fitted jogger look in a stretchy fabric. If you have slim calves, go ahead and make the pants even more tapered! It's always easier to take in than to let out!

Picky Éléonore approved the rayon challis and tencel. She would wear her Vanessa pants with 3245 tank tops. It quickly became her favorite "after swim class" outfit. You know... when you want something long to cover your leg, but nothing clingy. When it's hot outside but don't feel like wearing shorts or a maxi dress...

Henri being a fan of pull-on pants, we had him try our size M in a camo baby corduroy and medium weight twill.  We even put shirting fabric to the test. It worked! He was happy with how comfortable the pants were and I was happy he was out of sweatpants :) The elasticized cuff was a perfect fit with his high top sneakers too!

The pattern is designed for women/girls, but they style works for boys too. For men, a longer, slimmer leg would be very easy to do. Simply hide the pattern cover, pretend you found a new pull-on pants pattern for men and you're good to go!

I also put the pants to the test on the other side of the planet. They are the perfect travel pants and I enjoyed wearing them during the 21-hour flight and when dealing with the A/C-to-tropics temperature changes. The busy print was very forgiving too. Challis does wrinkle... The print somehow camouflages that a bit.

The Pattern

Tencel prototype: a bit too long and to wide above the cuff.
But I love them anyway :)

We tweaked the pattern so there was enough ease for comfort but did not look like a potato sack because of the elastic waist.

Jeanne and I are pear shaped and usually dislike anything tapered or gathered at the waist. We adjusted the ease and lines until we both felt fabulous in the pants! Darts in the back reduce the amount of gathers.

We decided to add an inset at center front to give the waistband a little je-ne-sais-quoi and also reduce the gathers in the front too. It allows for fun color blocking and it is also very useful for grommets installation. If you want a soft, lightweight fabric for the waistband, you can make your live much easier using a heavier fabric for the inset only (buttonholes on sheer fabric? No thank you!). Also, if you mess up the installation, you do not ruin the entire waistband, only a tiny bit of fabric ;)

You can hem the pants (ankle length) or add a cuff (long pants). You might wonder why we did not include a shorts version. Yes, you could cut these pants at any length, but we have a little pattern hack post coming up. I think those of you looking for stylish shorts for the summer will enjoy it. Stay tuned! You can find the Vanessa pattern on our website. It is available in both paper and PDF (tiled and copy shop formats).

The Story Behind the Name

Mini Jeanne, 4 years old
One of Jeanne's lifelong dream was to learn to play piano. Because she grew up in a very humble household with 9 siblings, the idea of buying a piano or taking private lessons was unthinkable.

For her 60's birthday, she decided to realize that dream. She bought a piano and starting looking for a teacher who would teach her at home.

She found M Piano online, a small piano school offering that service. She talked to someone over the phone and had a good feeling. When Jeanne opened the door and saw her teacher, it instantly clicked.

The very bubbly Jeanne had met her match: Vanessa!

Vanessa convinced Jeanne to perform at the annual concert
with Henri.  She was the only adult student brave enough to do it! 
Vanessa has been teaching Jeanne for two years now. Every week, the notes blend with laughter during the whole lesson and Jeanne often has a prototype for Vanessa to try after the hour of piano flies by.

It's nice to see Vanessa feeling fabulous in her new clothes. At the same time, Jeanne's is proud of her achievements, her heart is filled with music AND we get review / approval of each design in size FF.

Vanessa is the PERFECT fit model. She knows what she wants, gives us her honest and constructive opinion about each design. The perfect win-win, sewing-music relationship! It was beautiful to see Vanessa bloom during those two years. Having clothes that fit, things designed for her, wearing fabrics / prints / colors that she would not dare to wear before she met Jeanne literally transformed her and boosted her self-confidence.


Guess which piece of the 
latest collection is Vanessa's favorite?
Yep! The Vanessa Fluid Pants... or joggers :)
To our great surprise, the very reserved and shy Vanessa said yes when we asked her to be our model. She nailed the photo shoots and everybody was super happy to see her in our promo photos that I shared in our Facebook group this spring. Our sizing is super inclusive and our photos now better reflect that reality.

We hope you like this latest pants pattern as much as we do. Join other Jalie fans on Facebook to discuss fit and fabric choice and don't forget to post photos of your creations on our website!

We look forward to seeing your versions of the comfiest pants ever :)

You can find styling and fabric inspiration on our Pinterest board: