Jalie 2321 Waterproof Pants

Back in the day, when we lived in Sacramento and spent a lot of time hiking along the coast or in Oregon, rain gear was essential. The only waterproof breathable pants available that were long enough were Arc’teryx Beta AR. I learned how vital breathability was when we bought just waterproof pants because they cost a lot less. Hiking in waterproof pants with little or no breathability was a big mistake! Eventually, we were able to save enough money and buy Arc’Teryx pants. Purchased in 2012 for $350, the pants have lasted us 10 years! However, it’s time to update our rain pants, and because there’s no way I’m spending $500 (current price for the Beta AR pants) on a pair of poorly fitting, boring black rain pants, here’s how I made my own pants cheaper and better.

Pattern

I used Jalie 2321 pattern. I sewed size V (33″ waist, 43″ hips, and 30″ inseam). The only adjustment I made was to lengthen the leg 3 inches and lower the center front waistband ½ inch. I also made the pants without a lining, which greatly simplified the sewing.

The size range for the Jalie 2321 is limited (23 – 53 inch hips), and right now, I can’t find the new company that’s making outdoor patterns for larger hip sizes. If you are familiar with the company, please let me know, and I’ll add it to this blog post. Found the pattern company that I wanted to highlight! The pattern is Borrowdale Trousers from Sew Outdoorsy. The size range for the Borrowdale is (51 – 80 inch hips). The pattern is similar to Jalie 2321 and gives you an extended size range!

Side zipper completely separates

I choose the pattern because of the side seam zipper that completely separates. You never get the inside dirty when you have to put on or take off the pants with muddy and wet boots. These rain pants are like those old-school tear-away sweatpants from the 90s.

Waterproof Breathable Fabric

Let’s talk about waterproof breathable (WPB) fabrics since not all fabrics are created equal. The features of WPB fabrics are (1) layers, (2) waterproofness, and (3) breathability. What do all those terms mean?

Layers

WPB fabrics with 3-layers offer the most durability, waterproofness, and breathability. The waterproof-breathable membrane is sandwiched between an outer face fabric, typically made of durable nylon or polyester, and an inner lining that usually consists of lightweight Tricot fabric. The Tricot lining protects the waterproof membrane from sweat and body oils. The 2.5-layer fabrics share a lot of characteristics with 3-layer fabrics. However, instead of a fabric lining, a print is applied to the backside of the waterproof membrane. This makes the jacket less heavy and improves packability. The 2-layer fabrics are made by applying a membrane to the face fabric directly, with no lining or print applied. Jackets with 2-layers are considered for emergency use only since durability is questionable. For sewing, a 2-layer fabric is great if you plan to include a lining on your garment. For my pants, I used a 3-layer fabric since I didn’t want to include a lining.

Waterproofness (Hydrostatic Head)

Measured in millimeters, the hydrostatic head indicates the pressure of water required to penetrate the fabric. Waterproof jackets range from 10,000 to 30,000 mm. The higher the value, the better. Wind, heavy rain, the weight of your backpack, and your movements put pressure on the wet fabric and will cause the fabric to leak. Therefore, waterproof garments are also treated with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) to repel the water and thus reduce the amount of water that passes through the fabric under mechanical pressure. Of course, the quality of the seams will also affect whether you will get wet; taped seams are necessary to maintain waterproofness. More on taped seams later.

Here’s a list of RTW brands plus fabrics available for purchase ranked from best to worst for waterproofness. Highlighted is the fabric I choose:

  • eVent 3L – 30,000
  • MONT Hydronaut / Pro 3 – 30,000
  • GORE-TEX 3L – 28,000
  • GORE-TEX Knit 3L – 28,000
  • GORE-TEX Pro 3L – 28,000
  • GORE-TEX Paclite 2.5L – 20,000
  • Outdoor Research Pertex Shield 2.5L – 20,000
  • Patagonia H2No 2.5L – 20,000
  • North Face HyVent 2.5L – 15,000
  • RBTR 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB – 10,000
  • eVent DVstorm 3L – 10,000
  • Helly Tech Performance 2.5L – 10,000
  • Marmot NanoPro 2.5L – 10,000
  • PolarTec NeoShell – 10,000
  • RAB Proflex 3L – 10,000
  • RBTR 1.4 oz 10D WBP – 9,000
  • Nike StormFit – 5,000
  • RBTR 0.74 oz MTN 7D Ripstop Nylon – 1,000

I’ll talk about which of these fabrics are readily available for purchase below, but essentially for a waterproof fabric, the only options are Polartec NeoShell and RBTR 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB. The rest of the waterproof options (10,000+) don’t have fabrics available for purchase. I don’t consider fabric waterproof if it’s rating is below 10,000.

Breathability (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate)

Measured in grams per square meter per day, MVRT tells you how much water vapor can pass through the fabric from the inside out. Lack of breathability means you’ll get soaking wet with your own perspiration! Rain jackets with less than 10,000 g/m2/day are suited for minimal to no activity. Jackets with an MVTR of more than 15,000 g/m2/day perform superbly for highly aerobic activities such as skiing and running.

Here’s a list of the same fabrics now listed from best to worst for breathability. Highlighted is the fabric I choose:

  • eVent DVstorm 3L – 30,000
  • RAB Proflex 3L – 30,000
  • RBTR 1.4 oz 10D WBP – 27,000
  • GORE-TEX Pro 3L – 25,000
  • RBTR 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB – 22,000
  • eVent 3L – 20,000
  • MONT Hydronaut / Pro 3L – 20,000
  • GORE-TEX Knit 3L – 20,000
  • Outdoor Research Pertex Shield 2.5L – 20,000
  • Marmot NanoPro 2.5L – 17,500
  • GORE-TEX 3L – 17,000
  • GORE-TEX Paclite 2.5L – 15,000
  • Patagonia H2No 2.5L – 15,000
  • North Face HyVent 2.5L – 15,000
  • Helly Tech Performance 2.5L – 10,000
  • RBTR 0.74 oz MTN 7D Ripstop Nylon 7,000
  • Polartec NeoShell – unknown
  • NIKE StoreFit – unknown

When we look at breathability measures, the only fabric that is breathable enough (15,000+) is RBTR 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB. The breathability of Polartec NeoShell is unknown, but some suggest it is above 20,000.

Weight

If you fret about garment weight, the RBTR Ventek 30 WPB weighs 3.3 oz per square yard. All of the Polartec NeoShell fabrics available (mostly at Discovery Fabrics) range from 3.5 – 5.0 oz per square yard.

Where to Purchase Fabric

Sourcing 3-layer WPB is a little difficult and most stores only carry Nike StormFit (blech!) and Polartec NeoShell (not a bad alternative). Not all shops give detailed enough information about waterproofness and breathability, so you are essentially spending a lot of money on the unknown. When it comes to technical gear, the unknown is not good. Based on waterproofness and breathability, the only two fabrics that made the cut are Polartec Neoshell (@ $45 / yd) and RBTR Ventek (@ $34 / yd). But here are the WPB fabrics I was able to find online:

Seattle Fabrics

  • 3L SWB-Tex @ $36.95 / yd
    • Waterproofness and breathability are unknown
  • 3L Ultrex @ $21.95 / yd
    • Poor waterproofness and breathability
  • Nike StormFit 3L @ $23.95 / yd

Discovery Fabrics

  • Polartec NeoShell (no stretch) @ $45.00 / yd

Rockywoods Fabric

  • Nike StormFit 3L @ $18.99 / yd
  • Random 3L WPB @ $15.59 – $20.29
    • Waterproofness and breathability are unknown

Rain Shed Fabrics

  • Nike StormFit 3L @ $12.50 / yd

RipStop By The Roll

  • 0.74 oz MTN 7D Ripstop Nylon @ $15.95 / yd
  • 1.4 oz 10D WBP @ $20.50 / yd
  • 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB @ $34.00 / yd
    • PRINT-ON-DEMAND any design or in any of the 1,341 PANTONE colors
RipStop by the Roll Colormap Printed on 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB Fabric

I ordered a colormap so I was able to see the colors printed on the 3.3oz Ventek 30 WPB fabric. It’s worth it to see the colors and know exactly what your fabric will look like!

Final Fabric Choice

RBTR VentekPolartec NeoShell
Waterproofness (mm)10,00010,000
Breathability (g/m2/day)22,00020,000
Weight (oz / sq yd)3.33.5
Price$34$45
Colors13412
Fabric Comparison

The fabric I ended up purchasing is the RBTR 3.3 oz Ventek 30 WPB. I went through their print-on-demand omnicolor option (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

My pants are PANTONE rubine red. I ordered 3 yards, but I could squeeze my pattern from 2 yards if I was careful about cutting.

PANTONE Rubine Red

Other Notions

Water Repellant Zippers

A long water-resistant zipper is needed for the side seam and sourcing a zipper that long is difficult.

I purchased my zippers from Zippersource (https://www.zippersource.com/store/cut-to-length-zipper/):

  • Style: Open-Ended
  • Material: Water Resistant Coil
  • Gauge: Medium Weight #5 Water Resistant Matte
  • Slider: Flatlock
  • Color: Black
  • Length: 42.5″

I could have probably requested my zipper length to be 43″, but it’s fine how it is. Each zipper costs $18.75. There’s no way to make a separating zipper (AKA open-ended) from a continuous chain, so I’m glad there’s a resource for custom-length water-resistant zippers. I would have liked to use a waterproof zipper, but those are even harder to find. Thankfully the pants come with a zipper guard, which helps to keep water out.

Seam Sealing Tape

Seam Sealed with Tape

I used Melco seam sealing tape for 3-layer WPB fabrics (MELCO-TQ2200). I was nervous about the application, but I found my Cricut EasyPress Mini on medium temperature (135 ~ 150°C ) was the perfect tool. If you don’t have a handy small iron, you can also use an “edge banding iron”. These mini irons can be purchased at any wood shop and are used to apply heat-activated pre-glued veneer. They are the perfect size for applying seam sealing tape too. A small iron makes it easy to just heat the tape, reducing your chances of burning your garment, and it makes it easier to get around those problematic curves and into those hard-to-reach areas. You don’t want to use steam when applying seam sealing tape.

Edge Banding Iron

Snap Buttons

I have a professional machine from KamSnap, KAM Professional Table Press DK93. It’s been great to have for plastic snaps for baby clothes, grommets for drawstrings, and metal snaps for outdoor gear. I used the Utility Spring heavy-duty metal snaps size 20 for the side snaps on the pants.

Needles and Thread

I used Organ Brand Microtex Needle in size 80/12. My yarn was Gutermann Mara 70.

Sewing Machine Setup

Pressure Foot Adjustment Dial
  • Pressure foot pressure adjustment dial: ‘N’
Thread Tension Dial
  • Thread tension dial: 5-6
Stitch Length
  • Stitch length: 3
Feed Dog Adjustment
  • Feed dog adjustment: medium – heavy weight fabrics

Conclusions

The pants were easy to make and straightforward. I loved that I didn’t have to change the pattern radically. I know my pants lack some of the fanciness of the Arc’Teryx Beta AR, but those are features I don’t need (i.e., pocket, articulated knee, elastic ankle cuffs, instep patches, etc.). If I need ankle protection I can always throw on a pair of gaiters, but I’ve yet to ruin my instep area hiking in spikes or snowshoes. I can also always add some sort of ballistic fabric like (cordura) to the instep later if I see tears forming.

Cost Breakdown

Let’s talk about the cost since that was a big reason for making my own rain pants. In general, here’s the breakdown:

  • Pattern $12
  • Colormap $22
  • Fabric $68
  • Zippers $37.50
  • Seam tape $12.50
  • Snaps $0.40
  • Needles $0.59
  • Thread $4.19

This doesn’t include the elastic for the waistband and shipping/taxes for everything, but the supplies listed here come to $157.18. I dare you to find cheaper RTW women’s rain pants with a 33+ inch inseam that is just as waterproof and breathable. You can’t! It’s impossible. And if you were lucky enough to find something, guarantee the only color it’ll be available in is black and not 1341+ PANTONE colors or infinite pattern options. Ignoring the fit improvement, my Jalie 2321 pants are cheaper than my old pants ($350) and definitely cheaper if I were to buy my pants again ($500).

Fit Comparison

Here’s how the fit compares. The other reason I needed to make new pants is that the Arc’teryx pants are too tight around my thighs and butt. They fit fine in the waist and everywhere else, but it’s like they designed these pants for women who don’t actually spend time hiking or skiing! I will forever make fun of outdoor gear for not actually fitting the bodies of people doing said outdoor activity: ski pants that don’t account for the thighs of skiers, jackets that don’t account for climbers’ arms and shoulders, etc.

I’m thrilled to have bright pink, waterproof, breathable pants that fit. Now we just need a record winter with lots of snow so I can test these new pants thoroughly.

6 thoughts on “Jalie 2321 Waterproof Pants

Add yours

  1. Very nicely made. I appreciate your time spent on fabric parameters and analysis. I have seen some of these numbers previously and not spent much time on comprehension. So thanks. To your point about fit, I do think there is a bias by outdoor sports wear manufacturers towards fit of certain body types, at the exclusion of others, an observation by many over the last several decades. These rain pants fit you very well, so your effort has paid off. You will be ready when the Utah snow flies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you found the post helpful. I finally found the pattern I was thinking about with the extended-size, Borrowdale Trousers from Sew Outdoorsy. Yay. Thanks again for your feedback.

      Like

  2. Wow, what a great explanation of what’s needed to put together these specialty pants! You are going to be a lifesaver for someone, or a few someone’s!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is fantastic! I live in an area with 200+ days of rain and have been so disappointed in rain pants that I stopped wearing them years ago. This post gives me hope! Thank you so much for your meticulous notes.

    Liked by 1 person

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