OK, we are getting down to it for real this post. At this juncture, we should have all our jeans cut (except for belt carriers, waistband, and waistband facing – we’ll get to those!), our pieces marked, and our decisions about topstitching and needles all down pat. We covered all this material in our first and second posts.
Time to start on the front of the jeans with something nice and easy: the front pockets. We will be putting an optional stencil in the jean pocket, and will need to give the paint a moment to dry – so plan accordingly. We are also trying our hand at hammering rivets!
And in case you haven’t already figured this out:
I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR ONE BILLION PHOTOS OF JEAN CONSTRUCTION, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
First: for every serge-finished seam I make, that will not be enclosed and threfore hidden in another seam, I like to run the thread tails back through the column of serge stitching. Don’t worry, I will let you know which seams to do this too – and when we get there I will call the technique, “securing the serge”. Here is an up-close picture of the process:
There are very few seams that will need this treatment during our jean construction – but it is a great way to keep a serged seam from unravelling.
To prepare for our front pockets, go ahead and serge the top of the coin pocket(s), the outseam-sides of the pocket bag, and the denim pocket overlay (all sides except the top side, which will be enclosed in a waistband). Every one of these seams except for the bottom corner of the pocket overlay will be enclosed, so you don’t need to secure the serge – yet.
Coin pocket preparation: iron the top seam allowance of the coin pocket to the wrong-side of the piece, and topstitch. Front side of pocket:
Before affixing the coin pocket to the pocket bags, here is a little trip into a stencil. This is purely decorative and sweet – and will not be seen by anyone except the recipient of the jeans. I put these little stencils on the inside pocket bag – the part of the pocket bag that will face the leg.
I’ve written on using freezer paper to make a stencil before. It’s easy, fast, fun – and comes in handy often. Simple shapes are best, as per any stenciling. Draw the shape on freezer paper and cut out the needed pieces. Then remember – for best effect, stencil the side of the pocket bag that will face the leg. Otherwise, your stencil will be buried in the pocket itself! Make sure to leave room for seam allowance, too. Set the stencil aside – we’ll get to it in a moment.
Now that we have our overlays secured, it is time to iron our freezer paper stencil and paint, as per instructions. I stencil the side without the coin pocket – in this case, the left-hand pocket:
Moving on to the front pocket. First, we need some pocket stays. These keep the pocket firm and from gaping over the lifetime of the jean. Take a firm cotton woven, and tear a couple 1″ to 1 1/4″ strips along the crosswise grain. The strips should be longer than the front pocket curve:
Take the stays to the ironing board and press them into the curve fo the front pocket. Press and really pull on that crosswise grain. You will be surprised how much of a curve you can get in the cotton! (We will be using this method for our waistband later.). When finished, you should have something like this:
Sew the stays to the pocket bag, carefully, either exactly on the seam allowance or about 1/16″ inside of it.If you have a deep curve and can’t seem to get much stretch into your crossgrain stay, it’s okay to have a couple little folds in the stay:
As you can see, even with that extreme curve I don’t have any folds in my stay – that’s how much you can get out of that crosswise grain, if you use a lot of force and steam! At this point, I usually snip a bit on the long outer curve of the stay, and tear the stay so that the outer curve extends only 1/4″ to 1/2″ past the staystitching. But this is just me being really exacting!
Now, to complete the pocket bag. We will be finishing with a french seam. Turn the pocket as it will hang in the finished garment, and make sure everything lines up well:
At this point, I usually stitch the tops of the pocket to the front of the jean, at about 3/8″. The waistband will enclose these stitches. I leave pins in the side seam, baste, or secure with a lightweight fusible web strip, depending on my mood and the fabric weight and behavior.
We are all finished with our front pockets! Great job! Next – on to the button fly!
Good luck! As always, post any comments here in the post, or email me.