adventures in JEAN MAKING: Making your own jeans is a feat to be celebrated. If you've never tried sewing jeans, the most important step is finding a pattern that works well with your figure. The rest of the process is a rewarding one that will empower you to continue your jeansmaking adventures. Read on to learn how making your own jeans is easier than it may seem.
I decided to sew jeans because I have trouble finding ready-to-wear jeans that fit me. The length is the biggest problem. The first pair of jeans I ever made was a Calvin Klein pattern in the 80's--wow, that was a great pair of jeans! I could finally stop buying Levis 501s and pegging the leg. While you can find longer jeans these days, it's easier to sew a new pair of jeans from scratch. The most interesting part of sewing something new is finding out how it's done. I'm pretty much an engineer at heart, so figuring out how jeans (or whatever else) are made is fascinating.
Mid-Rise Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
JEN BEEMAN, GRAINLINE STUDIO
I was waiting for the perfect pattern, and my favorite ready-to-wear jeans for the last six years were discontinued. There were a lot of steps involved [when I made my first jeans], but take them one at a time and you'll be just fine. The process is pretty straightforward, with not many surprises. Maybe that's the surprise?
Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen
The Ginger Jeans were the first pair of pants I've ever made, and my sewing experience is based more heavily in quilting than garments, so I quickly reached out for additional resources beyond the general pattern instructions. Heather Lou from Closet Case Patterns hosted a wonderful and extremely helpful sew along for this pattern. Being able to reference photographs and read others' comments regarding the more tricky steps helped immensely. I went into this project knowing--and more importantly accepting--that my first try would most likely look pretty rough. But honestly, as I slowed down, practiced techniques on scrap fabrics and stayed patient with myself, my jeans started turning out way better than I could have imagined.
FAVE PATTERN: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
AMANDA CARESTIO, SEW NEWS
Sewing jeans felt like a real achievement, a moment to pause and consider what you can make with your hands. The jeans sewing process was easier than I thought it would be (not hard, but definitely involved), and the results were wearable the first try-so a total win. I made my first pair with a sewing buddy, Kelly Eisinger, and I think that helped: We talked through sizing and steps and fabric selection, I made her do all the hard parts first, etc. I find myself hesitating before jumping into pair number two, probably because I now know what's involved, but I'm hoping to make space for it this fall.
FAVE PATTERNS: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, Lander Pants by True Bias
I wanted to conquer the much-feared "jean making" because it included skills like a button fly, pocket stays and baste fitting that I didn't have much previous experience with. The truth is, though, anyone can make jeans. Maybe it's a longer project, but it's just a bunch of small steps put together. I followed a great sew along that broke the instructions down into small doable chunks. I was surprised how capable I felt as I complete each step. Making jeans made me feel like a SUPER-STAR!
FAVE PATTERNS: Ginger Jeans and Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
When I first started sewing clothes about four years ago, my two goals were to sew a pair of well-fitting jeans and a well-fitting button-up shirt. When the Ginger Jeans pattern was released, I made the pattern once and was hooked. I loved everything about sewing jeans, from the denim to the topstitching thread to the rivets and buttons. My first pair turned out great, and after I'd made a few, I decided to start trying other patterns. So far I've made: the Closet Case Patterns Ginger and Morgan jeans, the Angela Wolf Angel Bootcut Jeans, the Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch jeans, the Hot Patterns Weekender Boyfriend jeans, the Named Patterns Jamie Jeans, the Baste and Gather Birkin Flares, and I made my husband a few pairs of the Thread Theory Jedidiah/Jutland combo. Sewing jeans is so much easier than I had imagined, and I find it an extremely satisfying project. The feeling of wearing a pair of jeans that you made is tike nothing else. And if someone compliments you too, even better. I don't know how I could ever go back to wearing store-bought jeans.
Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch
I've never been able to find jeans that fit just right: they were either too snug in the waistband, slid down my proportionally small hips or got saggy in the seat. I picked the Itch to Stitch Liana stretch jeans for my first pair. I got lucky because I cut one size (even though my waist is a size or two larger than my hips) and they fit really well. I did a little bit of adjusting (scooping out the back seat and grading out for my calves) and used elastic instead of twill tape in the waistband for an even better fit. It was really helpful to have a stretch denim fabric because I think it was easier to fit. Sourcing denim with just the right amount of stretch and recovery is a little tricky, and I've had some difficulty shortening zippers/preserving the zipper stops for reuse. I've learned the adjustments I need for most pants now, which makes fitting way less intimidating than it was. Sewing jeans feels like leveling up, and it's a thrill to have pants that actually fit me!
FAVE PATTERNS: Liana Stretch Jeans by Itch to Stitch, Bryce Cargo Pants by Hey June Handmade
I was wearing my favorite ready-to-wear jeans on constant rotation. When those became too small, I jumped in headfirst: Why not try my hand at some jeans? After all, I desperately needed a new pair. I hesitated for sure. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I really wanted them to turn out how I saw them in my mind. However, once I started sewing my Ginger Jeans, I realized I had no reason in doubting myself. With some tips from online sources and the spoils of a brand new sewing machine, it was actually far easier and far more fun than I had anticipated! Denim is sturdy and easy to sew. My biggest challenges were in fitting, but I think that comes with practice and a little trial and error (and that means sewing more jeans!). There's an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you pull on a pair of me-made jeans, and nothing feels better than being asked "Where did you get your jeans?" when you can answer "I made them myself!" I recently finished a pair of denim Lander Pants from True Bias, and they are honestly the jeans I had been looking for all my life. I am currently working on a pair of denim Jedidiah Pants from Thread Theory for my guy, so I think it's safe to say that I've caught the jeans bug.
Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns, Jedidiah Pants/Shorts by Thread Theory, Lander Pants by True Bias
I made my first pair of jeans at a Ginger Jeans class taught by the designer Heather Lou. I considered myself a very beginner sew!st, so I was pretty nervous to jump into an advanced pattern, and a little intimidated by a class full of people I assumed were much better than me at sewing. But I did it! I learned that jeans making isn't nearly as difficult as I expected, but it does require more patience and focus than a basic project.
Honestly, making a pair of my own jeans really did a number on my confidence. It made me wonder what else I can learn how to do, and now I'm not so overwhelmed by learning new skills. I get a lot of confidence from wearing that first pair of jeans.
Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
We asked the Sew News community for their thoughts on jean sewing. Here's what you had to say.
Have you sewn jeans? Yes 34% Other 3% No 63% Note: Table made from pie chart. What's the most intimidating part of making your own jeans? (Multiple selections allowed.) Fit - 59% Fly Front - 28% Topstitching - 13% Picking the right style - 13% Sourcing fabric - 12% Dealing with stretch - 7% Other - 6% Which rise do you prefer? High-rise 36% Low-rise 5% Mid-rise 59% Note: Table made from pie chart. What's the major factor in keeping you from sewing jeans? Possible fit issues - 55% Intimidating techniques - 34% Readymade jeans work - 18% Time investment - 13% Other - 20% What's your favorite jean style? Skinny 13% Relaxed 11% Boyfriend 6% Wide leg 5% Flare 4% Straight 34% Boot cut 26% Note: Table made from pie chart. What's your favorite denim wash? Deep indigo - 50% Medium indigo - 31% Black denim - 7% Bleached denim - 5% Colored denim - 4% Other - 3% Do you plan to sew jeans? Never 17% In the next three months 17% In the next six months 14% Within the year 33% Other 19% Note: Table made from pie chart.
BY AMANDA CARESTIO
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|Date:||Oct 1, 2018|
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