After three years of talking about it, it was time to make it happen.
I finally sewed myself a pair of jeans!
It is well and truly my proudest sewing achievement to date.
My last jeans shopping trip was so frustrating, finding a well-fitting pair is nearly impossible.
(Dear Fashion Industry, not everyone looks good in skinny jeans!)
That's probably why I've always considered sewing jeans somehow the ultimate sewing challenge, either too hard, too likely to fail.
The fit really needs to be really good...
I enrolled in the Jeans making course from Closet Case Patterns because I wanted to make sure I got the pattern adjustments right to get that really good fit.
I found the course really helpful, and learned quite a bit about sewing jeans in general.
I made the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns. From experience, her pattern drafting is top notch, and again she did not disappoint here.
After cutting my pieces, I basted the whole pair together (apart from the back pockets) to check the fit. I made a few adjustments (see summary below) and then had to take the whole thing apart again. But it was worth it. Hello, non-gaping jeans!!
I still can't believe how well they fit, how comfy they are and that they haven't become baggy either after wearing (which used to happen all the time with store-bought jeans).
So in the end, it wasn't all that hard. It's just about taking the time to learn how to do the pattern adjustments and taking the time to make a test pair. Now I can make many more.
I used a button fly which is apparently easier to sew than the zipper fly.
Adding the rivets was fun and makes the jeans look professional.
I rubbed edges with some sandpaper to give the jeans a bit more character. The real worn look will have to develop over time. I didn't dare run the sandpaper over the front or back of the leg of my brand new jeans!
If you're after some tips on how to distress jeans, have a look here.
And then for the final detail, I wanted a leather patch with something fun on it.
So I decided to emboss it with "Maai Jeans" as you should never take yourself too seriously! :-) Indeed "Maai" is pronounced just like "My".
I found this youtube video on how you can do this yourself at home.
I basically wet a piece of leather I had in my stash (but tried it on a test piece first), created a stamp with cookie stamp letters, and used a bench vice as a press and left if in there for about 24hrs (until the leather was dry). Don't take it out too soon or the embossing will reset.
This leather was quite thin, so I can sew with it on a regular sewing machine.
It's either goat or kangaroo, I can't quite remember.
The leather did stretch while I was sewing it on as you can see in the picture. I've since fixed that up as the distortion would have bugged me forever.
A few other things I've learned along the way:
- If you can, set up 2 sewing machines as that will save you a lot of time. Otherwise, you will be changing between regular thread and topstitching thread a lot.
- Hammering the thick areas down before topstitching really makes a big difference!
- Take the time to test your topstitching and bar tacks, it's really worth it. Check which length and thread tension works best, and write it down for future reference.
- I chose not to interface the waistband which allows for a bit of give. (after a big meal)
Sewing pattern: Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Files
Hardware: Antique Bronze
Thread: Denim Top Stitching Thread 2040 (regular thread for seams)
The top is also me-made, it's the Geneva Raglan Tee by Named Patterns, in a heavy bamboo jersey (colour Rosy).
Pattern size and adjustments:
- Waist size 8, graded to size 12 at hip.
- Added 3 cm in length to the legs. This allows me to roll the hem or not, whatever I feel like on the day. :)
- Added a dart to the waistband at the back to take out 3cm in the length of the top of the waistband to stop the jeans from gaping. I did that at the end (seam is hidden by the belt loop anyway), but will adjust the pattern piece for my next pair.
- Deepened the crotch curve on the front leg pieces.
My measurements are: I'm 178cm tall (but long upper body - I add 4cm to all my tops) waist 73cm, hip 100cm.