Monday, 14 December 2015

I made jeans!

Yes folks, this is why there's been so much 'radio-silence' on the blog. I've been busy and taking my time with these jeans and they've turned out lovely. I'm very pleased with them, can you tell?

The pattern
As a taller than average person, I decided to used Named Jamie jeans pattern and bought the PDF a while ago. After a wee while spent cutting and taping the pieces together the pattern was ready for any alternations I'd need to make. So I then spent ages measuring myself and also a pair of RTW jeans that were ok but had fit issues (the rise was too short). I altered the paper pattern by adding 1" to the rise and 2" to the leg length. At 5'9" I'm only 1" taller than the woman Named patterns designs for, but hey ho, we're all different and that's why we measure twice, cut once!

I also added 2" in width from the knee to the hem of the back leg pattern piece as I didn't want skinny lower legs. I also added 1" in width from the knee to the hems of the front leg pattern pieces. Ultimately it was a guessing game where to add the extra width but it's worked out very well.

The fabric and notions
This was a stretch denim from Edinburgh Fabrics and seems to be a new bolt of it as they were sold out for a while. I don't remember how much lycra it has in it, it's so long since I bought it. I did pre-wash the length of denim before cutting out. I also bought the rivets there and the metal jeans zip as they sell YKK zips which are the best zips, in my opinion. The pattern says buy a 4" zip but I suspected I'd have to add height to the rise so I bought a 6" zip and that was perfect. The jeans button I bought from John Lewis but they didn't have the copper coloured rivets to go with it. It has taken a long time to collect all the stuff!

My sewing machine seriously doesn't like topstitching thread. At all. No matter what you do with the tension etc. I read on another blog that if you run two spools of normal polyester thread through the needle and run one thread through the bobbin, the effect is just like using topstitching thread. And it works! You have to do a bit experimenting with tension on a scrap of denim and a top tip from me, take hold of the two needle thread ends and pull them tight just after you lower the presser foots and then start sewing. That will help stop a small loop forming on one of the topstiched threads. It was fairly straightforward sewing the front and back pockets, the back yoke and then topstitching as needed, it was on to assembling everything and fitting.

Ah, the most time consuming bit of the whole project! And definitely the bit to take your time over and to get it right. I sewed the crotch seam and tried them on. As they were good enough, I sewed the zip and fly, which went in easily enough. I think the fly topstitching was ripped out once though!

I pinned and machine basted the inner and outer leg seams and the crotch seam together using the longest stitch on my machine. Then tried them on. And repeated the process until happy! Then overlocked all these seams. I took 11cm in at the back waist and 4cm from each waist side seam, tapering to nothing at the hips. The inner and outer legs I sewed with a 5/8" seam allowance. I have jeans that don't gape at the centre back. Hurray! I think this is due to the curved waistband too, which I reduced by 1" at the centre back.

I didn't add belt loops as I only wear a belt if the waist is too big. And it shouldn't be on these custom made jeans, should it? Ha ha!

Get the hammer out! I interfaced each end of the waistband using a medim weight cotton fusible interfacing, not the whole length of the waistband. Only time will tell if this was a good decision or not!The jeans button went in well and I eyeballed the centre of the waistband. The buttonhole was done after some trial and error using a scrap of denim and varying the stitch length.

The rivets could be a bit tricky if you aren't brave! I used the spike on my seam ripper to put a hole through the edge of my pockets but the rivet back still wouldn't poke though. So I used the seam ripper to 'encourage' a small hole that the rivet back went through. Put the top on, hammer it in and both rivets have one wash already.

I haven't tackled the hems yet so technically these jeans aren't finished yet. I've washed them just in case there's any shrinkage and I'll use my double topstitching to sew the hem.

Now onto an easier job, checked/tartan brushed cotton pyjamas with flat piping...I'll be back!

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