My last project of 2015 was a pair of jeans.
As most of you know, I mostly loathe modern low-rise pants. I’ve been on a vintage trouser bender for awhile now, but one of the things I really missed was jeans.
When I say jeans I mean the sturdy, triple-stitched, fly-front jeans we all know. These are different than trousers made of denim. I specifically wanted the at-waist, wide-legged, front-zip, many-pocket, belt-looped jeans. There are a few makers of exactly this. Freddies of Pinewood is my favorite. But ever the frugal stitchist, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own jeans before shelling out another $140+ for some that may not fit as I’d like.
The benefits of making your own jeans is that you can make adjustments for all your little body quirks. I’ve been using the belly adjustment from Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure on all of my pants lately, and it’s made a *huge* difference in how they fit, how flattering, and how comfortable they are. What stops me from purchasing any more ready-made vintage-style pants is that I have little faith that they will be flattering. So I make my own.
|Super wide-legged jeans made at-waist, with center front zip fly, back yoke functional pockets, belt loops, and lots of decorative stitching.|
When making your own jeans, there are some things to consider. I always make a list of everything I want in a garment before I get started. On my list for jeans are:
- Fly front zipper closure – a real one, not the mock ones you often get on women’s pants patterns
- No darts – darts have been converted to shaped side seams
- Belly adjustment
- Back yoke
- Pockets – front and back, and large enough to actually be useful
- Belt loops
- Reinforced Stitching – this requires a heavy duty needle and heavy thread. Reinforced stitching includes flat-felling that inseam, top stitching elements, often double, and tacking certain areas securely.
- Good denim – I go for no stretch, “hard” denim. Once it’s washed, that hardness is depleted considerably. I always wash and dry the denim yardage on hot first.
For my first pair of jeans, I used a 1970s wide-legged pants pattern, already without darts in front and back. I cut pockets into the front, with this shaped pocket method, and drew the shape of the yoke in back, dividing the two pieces and adding seam allowance.
I prepared each leg individually. The back pieces got their yokes and patch pockets, and the front pieces had their pockets applied and top-stitched. Then it was time for the zipper fly.
Luckily I found a fantastic video by Melly Sews that showed exactly how to do the fly closure. I followed each step and was tickled to have it turn out perfectly! Now I’m a fly front addict…
Bookmark this one for later. Srsly.
With the fly installed, it was business as usual. I flat-felled the inseams first, then stitched the outseams, overlocking the seam allowance inside. The waistband and belt loops went on, then I washed and dried the jeans again on hot *before hemming.* I did this because I’ve had jeans shrink up on me even after washing the yardage. I wanted to be doubly sure.
|I stitched “L”s onto my patch pockets in back. You get to do that when you make your own jeans. 🙂|
Hems went in, pants went on, and I went out to get coffee, feeling like a badass for having sewn my first true jeans.
The next day I dashed down to Mill End Fabrics for more denim. Next up? Overalls!