Friday, November 1, 2013

Jeans! Glorious Jeans!

Remember these photos?

I know you were supposed to be checking out the jacket, but there is something else to check out.  Wait!  Are...are those Handmade Jeans??  Why yes! Yes they are!!  Ha ha!  I snuck them in right under your noses!  :)  Oh Meigan, you are a sly one!  Yeah, I know.  I planned on everyone being distracted by my sweet brown jacket to notice them. 

So here are some non-distracting photos of the first pair of my handmade-by-me jeans!!

Back views:

Overall, I am thrilled with these jeans.  Yes, they need a few tweaks, but honestly, they fit much better than any RTW pair that I own.  Boo-yah! 

The details:  I made the normal rise version of the jeans.  I usually find that low rise jeans stretch and then fall down, which forces me to wear a belt and I dislike wearing belts with jeans. 

I trimmed down the leg flare to half of the original flare.  I drew straight lines on the pattern from the knee to the hem and then folded the flared portion over to meet the straight line.  Voila!  Half of the original flare.  I have short legs, and I feel that widely flared pants make my legs look stumpy, whereas a little bit of flare adds balance to my hip width.  (How many times can I use the word "flare" in one paragraph? Seven.)

I traced size AA and added about 1/4" to the sides of the hip because the widest part of my hip is lower than the pattern's.  I shortened the legs 3" centered at the knee, because like I said, I have short legs. 

I used stretch denim with 3% lycra that I bought from Denver Fabrics.  The pattern recommends 4% lycra or a 20% stretch cross-grain.  The 3% was more than enough.  In fact, I think it was too stretchy and will use denim with even less stretch in the future.  When I had the jeans all assembled the back yoke was gapping like crazy.  My 2 muslins didn't gap so I have to blame the stretchiness of the fabric.  I took 2 darts in the yoke starting right above the topstitching going up to the waist.  One issue with jeans is that a tremendous amount of topstitching has to be done prior to assembling the jeans, so it's a little late to do some fixes.  If the topstitching hadn't already been done I would have been able to take a tuck from top to bottom through the entire width of the yoke.  As a result, the bottom of the yoke is a little too long and looks a little wavy.

Speaking of top-stitching, I used Gutermann Mara 30 top-stitch thread in color #886.  I have recently started to buy my thread and zippers from and they are GREAT, I highly recommend them.

In the spirit of knowledge and education I will go through the picky tweaks I will do when I make these jeans up next.  First up is the back:

You can see the waviness of the back yoke along the top-stitching line.  I will make the yoke both shorter (side to side) and slightly narrower (from top to bottom), since I can pinch out fabric both a horizontally and vertically.

In the photo above, I am pinching out some fabric under the butt, so we'll pinch that out on the pattern piece as well.

Also, I will serge the raw edge of the belt loops before top-stitching them.  This is how they look after being washed and dried.  (I warned you that I was going to be picky!)

Now for the front:
You can see wrinkles between my waist and hip.  There is too much length here and I will take a 3/4" wedge out of the pattern to hopefully fix that. 

The waistband is a smidge tight when I sit.  Since the denim had so much stretch I didn't cut it on the bias as the pattern suggests but cut it on the grain instead, and I interfaced it.  After assembling the jeans and seeing the gapping yoke and noticing how stretchy it was, I took action (it was probably too much action).  I really hate when jeans fit great right out of the drier and then stretch as they are worn and then fall down.  So...I added a line of twill tape (at the back only) along the bottom of the waistband so it could not stretch out.  Well...I wish it could stretch a little bit. 

Those are my tweaks for Jeans #2.  My next pair is already cut out.  This time I am swinging the lycra pendulum the other way and using denim with no stretch!  Apart from the back yoke tweaks, I am only making length adjustments, and hoping for an even more perfect pair.  :)



  1. oh my gosh those look great and fit very well. I see what you mean by the few tweaks you mention but for the first pair, fantastic. You have convinced me to use this pattern which I have had for TWO years and not opened. I think 2% lycra would be enough for jeans to have them keep their shape. We all know even no-stretch jeans stretch a little bit when wearing. SO to find my pattern :) p.s. your top stitching looks fantastic. thanks for the tip about de-flaring the legs also.

    1. Thank you Beth! It's amazing how well and how RTW this pattern comes out. :)

  2. wow.. amazing how wonderful these jeans come out. You did a fantastic job.. Happy sewing.

  3. What a fantastic job - I have yet to tackle jeans in their entirety. You are right, some stretch fabrics have way too much give. Low rise do fall down - and that is a mighty uncomfortable feeling :).

    By the way, I did have a sneaking suspicion you may have made those jeans....the secret was safe with me :)

    1. Ha ha! You should have said something!! :D I am now a make-your-own jeans convert and think everyone should give it a try. My 2nd pair is done and the fit is even better!!

  4. Wow, Jeans????? Nice job, they look great on you! What a fab accomplishment.

  5. Your jeans look fantastic! Looking forward to seeing your next pair :)
    May I ask what pattern are you using?

    1. Thank you! I guess I forgot to mention which pattern I's Jalie 2908 :)

  6. Wheeeee! Congratulations! They look fantastic! Isn't it great to cross that jeans hurdle and have a pair that you really like?! I recently finished my first pair of jeans, too, and am sooooo happy with them. I have never had a pair of jeans fit me as well as my me-made pair does. EVER. I haven't tried the Jalie pattern - I used Burda 1/2010 # 136 - but hope to try the Jalie pattern soon. Looking forward to your next pair!


I love your comments and I read every single one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...