Another 2017MakeNine (kinda) crossed off the list!
I finally did it. I finally sewed a pair of jeans and I’m so excited to share them and the lessons I learned with you! You’ll read a lot of blogs that say, “anyone can sew jeans!” Yes, that’s definitely true, but if you’re prone to careless mistakes like I am, then you’ll need a good dose of sheer determination to be able to sew jeans. Lots of patience, too. Oh, and a seam ripper. Definitely have a seam ripper.
Most of my posts have been been me raving about whatever I was sharing about. Unfortunately, there will be a little less raving and more lessons learned in this post. That’s not because of an issue with the pattern, though (thankfully)…it’s more that it was a bit too much to expect to sew a perfect pair of jeans in the first go around even though I was secretly hoping that would have been the case.
So much of this involved basting and testing the fit, making adjustments and repeating. My first test fit was SO overwhelming. I cut out a size 8 graded to a 10 in the hips because that’s where my measurements put me. However, I did not take into consideration the amount of spandex in my denim, or the fact that it was not top quality that I probably didn’t need to size up. In fact, I’m thinking I could have sized down to a 6 all together. I think I was so terrified of the jeans being too small to even put on that I over compensated and made them too big. All of the adjustments I made were huge guesses as I flipped between 5 different resources, including the Closet Case Patterns Jeans eBook hoping that what I was doing was actually the right thing. Maybe after my second or third pair I’ll have more confidence in the adjustments I need to make.
I was finally able to get the legs to fit kind of how I wanted them, though I think I need to take more length out of the back legs. However, despite testing the fit however many times and the waistband fitting perfectly, it still ended up about an inch too big. I figured it was because everything stretched out a bit after sewing everything together so I threw them in the wash and dried them in the dryer (which I something I never do with jeans). This seemed to fix the issue…for five minutes until they were way too big again. You know what that means? More room for pizza, that’s what.
These jeans have been worn a couple times, but they end up so loose by the end of the day that I really haven’t worn them since. I think one of these days I’m going to remove the waistband, cut a new one and reattach it. However, that seems so daunting and time-consuming and there are so many other fun things I want to make as opposed to mending. I went ahead and bought some more cheap denim to give them a go in a smaller size before I cut into my nice fabric.
Other things I’ve learned:
- I’m not a fan of the thick, contrasting top stitching. This is something I should have known beforehand considering none of my favorite pairs of jeans have it. I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite.
- I need to buy a smaller zipper. The zipper I purchased months and months ago was a bit too heavy duty for these jeans. I want to say it was a YKK #5 Jeans Zipper. Next time I’ll try a #4.5 Pants Zipper.
- Probably don’t use such crappy fabric. I type this knowing full well that the fabric I’m going to be using for my second pair is not the greatest. While I’m doing that so I don’t waste good fabric, it’s also hard to tell how the nice ones will fit when you’re not using similar fabric. This seems like a lose-lose to me.
- Pay attention to the fabric content because you may need to size up/down depending on how much stretch it has.
- My machine handled the top stitching thread pretty well until it came to the buttonhole. Then it was not having any of it. I expected this, though. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the headache I thought it was going to be.
- Definitely utilize any and all jeans sewing resources you can! A few I suggest are here, here and definitely any/all posts from here.
Overall, I’ve learned a lot from sewing my first pair of jeans. I’m excited to try again and hopefully work towards a pair of jeans that rivals my favorite RTW pair!