Jeans, you bastards! (Excuse the wear wrinkles – Nels wore them all day.) Full disclosure – I acquired many of my current favorite jeans construction techniques from Kenneth D. King’s “Jean-ius!” class, which I purchased on sale some time ago and only recently took advantage of. I adored the class and learned quite a bit.
In this case, I created a custom pair for my tall, thin nine year old. I really enjoy making jeans. They are far simpler than your average non-sewist might think, but shhhhhh as I like to keep some of my mystique and perhaps impress a couple of you.
Fly front! Aided with a chalk wheel for marking, and double-threaded double topstitching. All that means is that instead of hunting for denim or topstitching thread, I just threaded two threads of the same color through the jeans needle used for topstitching. And then I carefully stitched a row next to the first row. The two-thread method has advantages and disadvantages. When you live in the sticks, like me, and sew on a budget, like me, the two-threaded option is a nice trick to have.
Outseams: serge-finished before construction. It also helps to serge-finish everything involved in the pocket’s side seams. In this case, I was finishing the inseams with the welt-seam option, which means the outseams couldn’t also be finished that way.
Belt loops, waistband, and front pocket. Not much to see here. All bartacks on these jeans are meticulously pulled to the back, tied, & threaded either into the seams or into the stitch itself, then clipped and Fray Check’d.
Back pocket – my own design. Three parallel goldenrod lines of that double-threaded topstitching. If you look carefully you can see the top row has a pinkish tinge, from the wax paper I used to mark its position. This will wash out when the jeans are laundered, of course.
This is the pocket bag (left) and the inside of the fly shield (right). Go ahead and check your own storebought jeans’ fly shield and weep at how assy it looks in comparison.
A pocket bag and a pocket stencil (a red star) – again, double-thread topstitched. This was done as many jeans have this detail, and I knew Nels would appreciate it. Spoiler alert – he did.
Yes. Yes I do want to pinch his bottom. I have refrained for quite some time though. Be proud of me.
A modern, relaxed-thigh, slim fit!
You know, and now that I’m thinking about it – really jeans aren’t even that simple to make either. They are simple for me because I’ve been sewing a long time. But even then, they take a lot of fairly meticulous detail. I also use three machines to make them: one machine threaded for construction seams, a serger, and one machine threaded for topstitching. Yes, you could easily make a pair with just one sewing machine – and a very old straight-stitch machine, at that! But having a few machines speeds things up quite a bit.
My jeans also have better construction than anything I’ve seen ready-to-wear, and the methods employed mean they are more comfortable (hello! cross-grain waistband steam-fitted to a curve!). More comfortable construction means people really enjoy wearing the garment more – including children. If you look at RTW jeans construction you will see a lot of slip-shod details.
Also – and many people don’t like to address this – the labor that goes into jeans and the very harmful practices employed in their production happens out of sight from most Western eyes, so many do not think about it.
It’s pretty cool to make something that is more ethical, wears longer, feels better, and looks better than the typical fare.
Yup. I’d love to teach a jean-sewing class… but alas, I fear my locale does not have many who are committed to the time it takes to learn the craft of home sewing.
You know here’s how my sewing works: I made the above hoodie – as in drafted the pattern and cut and sewed every bit of it – one day after buying the cowboy knit from Sew Now Studio in Shelton. I designed the round-hole kangaroo pocket, the double-athletic stripe hood and sleeves, cuffs et cetera. An organic grey knit to compliment the cowboy fabric. Finished it and, since I didn’t get a picture right away, immediately tired of the idea of documenting it. Any time someone wants to move in to help me document my sewing, please do. I sew too fast to do a thorough job, myself.
In other sewing news a client told me the silk jacket I made her was “the best fit [she’s] ever had.” Now you know what? That makes a tailor feel GOOD.