Since joining the RTW Fast in January 2014 I knew that to keep up the fast I’d need to make some jeans sooner or later. So I’ve been thinking about this for a while, I finally bought the Craftsy Jeanius course last November when on Black Friday it was on offer for £12.50. Craftsy regularly have offers but this was the best I’d seen it at. Last week I finally got my act together and started the course. To me the idea of jeans just looked too intimidating – all that topstitching, I’ve never done a fly zipper opening and (most importantly) getting the fit right.
I’m really enjoying the course, it’s hosted by Kenneth D King and I find his delivery clear and thorough. I like how his ruler has ‘prof King’ stuck to it.
The jeans I wanted to copy are a pair of Levi’s straight leg demi curve which fit really well. The problem I normally have with jeans and any trousers is the gaping at the back waistband. These jeans are perfect and I can wear them without a belt.
I spent a couple of evenings thread tracing the seam lines then transferring on to the silk organza and finally transferring on to pattern paper. The word that stuck in my mind from the tutor was ‘accuracy’, so I made sure I spent time measuring my seam lines and making sure they matched up.
Thread tracing the seam lines on the back yoke and pocket
The toile was easy to sew up as you make this before you’ve added any front pockets to your pattern. You do need to put a zipper in and it’s optional whether you want to add a waistband, which I did.
The original jeans have 2% spandex and the denim I have bought has 3% in but my toile fabric is 100% cotton. I managed to wriggle into the toile but couldn’t do the zipper up, but could just about close the waistband at the front. Ignoring the zipper issue the fit around the bottom and thighs is perfect, slightly tight but expected without the spandex. The back waist has a tiny bit of a gape but taking a closer look at the waistband on the original jeans it is shaped as the length of the top edge is slightly shorter than the bottom edge. Shaping the waistband should eliminate the gape but just to be sure I’m going to take tiny bit out of the top edge of the back yoke.
I needed to add some width to the front body as even with spandex that zip wasn’t going to close. I added 1.5cm into the front pattern piece at the waist by drawing a horizontal line at mid thigh height then cutting in a straight line down from the waist to this line then out to the side seam. I opened up the pattern at the mid thigh by 0.5cm, this then gave an opening at the waist of 1.5cm. I filled in the opened up wedges by sticking pattern paper on the reverse.
Left hand picture show the pattern being cut and opened out to create more width at the top edge. On the right I’ve filled in the open sections by sticking pattern paper behind
I bought the silk organza from e-Bay. I’ve used this seller before for organza and the delivery from Hong Kong is always quicker that you expect.
I didn’t buy the denim until I’d gotten far enough in to the project and knew I wasn’t going to give up. I’ve bought denim from Ditto Fabrics before so this was my first point of call. I ordered a swatch of the Italian denim at £8.25 per metre. 97% cotton / 3% spandex. The weight is just slightly lighter than the Levi’s but I really liked the colour so instead of messing about and getting more swatches I went for it and it arrived the day after ordering. Because a lot of their fabrics are ex – designer clearance I didn’t want to faff around and then find it’s sold out.
So I feel ready to start….
I have some orange Guttermann topstitching thread already – two spools – as in my experience you get through a lot of this when trying to get the tension right. I always use a matching colour normal thread quality in the bobbin; since I’ve learnt this trick my top stitching experiences have been less fraught.
Denim fabric along with topstitching thread, standard thread, rivets, jeans needles and topstitching needles
For some great topstitch advice read this post from ‘yes, I like that’.
I’m going to pace myself with the sewing and not try to do too much in one sitting but I have to say I’m quite excited about making my first pair of jeans.