Today we finish our jeans!
Today? We create our waistband, belt carriers, and stitch our curved jean hems!
Easy part first! Hems. Now, stretch denim (or in my case, stretch herringbone twill) is a little annoying and doesn’t topstitch as well as 100% cotton (or any nonstretch bottomweight). This is why I thread-basted the foldline for the hem. To put the hem in, I merely folded up along the basted line (3/16″ past so you can see my basting), then double folded and topstitched from the wrong side of the jean:
At this point, I remove the basting, then steam press the hem. Gorgeous!
The waistband is a bit more involved. Unlike our dem jeans waistband, which was torn on the crossgrain and steamed into a curve, this waistband (and most stretch jean waistbands) is cut on a curve. Personally, I like the crossgrain method better – but this one might be a bit more comfortable, especially if your waist is a cushy one. I have developed my own methods to getting a gorgeous effect. Read on:
First, having pressed up the facing at the seam allowance, I stitch the right-sides of the top edges of the waistband and facing together, lining up all those lovely marks we made when prepping our pattern pieces:
Then, I trim down the facing to 1/8″. Remember, in general we shorten the seam allowance(s) closest to the body, when grading):
Now, I steam-press these two seam allowances toward the facing, then bring the long joined pieces to my machine and understitch these two seam allowances to the facing. This helps the waisband sit properly with a nice, smooth folded edge showing publicly:
Next, join the bottom edge of the waistband (not the facing) to the top raw edge of the jean. Stitch carefully, lengthening to basting-length stitches 2″ from one of the fly edges:
Why lengthen to basting-length stitches, when approaching the fly on one side? Because sometimes at this juncture, when we pull up our zipper to close the jean, we have a small misalignment (like this). It happens anytime, and is just one of those things. In this case, I lucked out and the waistbands matched. So I simply went in and stitched directly on my previously-basted line:
More grading – this time, we are leaving the waistband at it’s length, and carefully cutting the jean and pocket down to about 3/16″:
Steam right on this last seam line, then finger-press the jean up. You can steam-press this seam if you like, but use a press cloth as not to distort your fabrics by the bulk of this seam:
Press the facing back down. The facing should barely overlap the previous stitching line by about 1/8″. If it doesn’t, patiently steam-press the facing seam allowance so that it does:
Next, open up the waistband and facing, and use a ruler to draw a line extending from the fly on both sides. Don’t eyeball it – you’ll likely end up cattywompus. No one else will notice, but it might bother you.
Fold the facing and waistband together and stitch on that line we just drew. Grade and clip, then turn the seam so the waistband is right-side out. When sewing this seam I like to start and finish my seam within the body of the waistband so there are no thread tails hanging out. I leave very long thread tails on the waistband/pant front join, because I’ll use them to hand-stitch down this little bit right at the terminus of the waistband:
Now it’s time to press that facing down like there’s no tomorrow. I like to use a little double-sided fusible web here to really anchor it:
Press, press, press!
Now, time to finish our facing! We can either slip- or whip-stitch by hand (which looks gorgeous) – see here:
I use a little folded up scrap here, to give my topstitching seam a great start:
Stitch in the ditch slowly, with a relatively long stitch – about 3.0 mm:
Remember those long tails I told you about, when stitching up the terminus of the waistband? Here is where they come into play. Often times when we stitch in the ditch, that first half inch or so of the facing won’t get caught. I like to pull my thread tails to the backside, knot them, and whip-stitch this bit of facing down:
Only belt carriers left!
Now these are a tiny bit tedious. You just finished up a BOSS waistband. Now’s a good time to stretch, get a cup of tea, and take a break. I’ll wait, I don’t mind.
Ready to continue? Let’s go!
First, cut a strip of 2 14″ along the lengthwise grain. You’ll use about 3″ per carrier, a little less than that perhaps, so cut a strip accordingly. You can either serge- or zigzag-finish an edge, or use the selvedge (I’ve shown both, below):
Fold into thirds and topstitch two parallel lines down the strip:
Cut and press, with plenty of steam, your carriers. I think I cut mine at 3″ and folded down 1/2″ at each side. I use a lot of steam and I’m very patient to make sure they all look identical. I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of my lined-up little pink carrier soldiers – but here’s photos from another jean project to give you the general idea:
Using another little folded up scrap to keep a nice even stitch length, go ahead and satin-stitch these little guys down. I start with the top edge of the jean, then return and do all the bottom edges. This is tricker than it sounds, to get it all to match. I line up my foot and make sure to track where I start stitching. It takes time and focus to get things really consistent. If yours aren’t perfectly identical when you’ve finished, don’t worry. No one else will notice!
Go slowly, for best results. You can use a stiletto here or screwdriver to make sure the bartack doesn’t push the carrier folds forward as you stitch:
To secure all these bartacks you can either do a firm backstitch or – my preference – pull both threads to the backside at the beginning and end of each bartack, knot them, and feed them through the bartack (this requires a strong and sharp needle – go slowly and don’t stab yourself!):
Let’s just take a moment and admire perfection!
And – you’re all finished!
Bust out your jeans, wear them around town, and if anyone complements your look – make sure to tell them you made your jeans!
Thank you so much for joining me. You have all been wonderful!