Did you hear? I MADE JEANS!! More importantly, I made jeans that fit!
I've been putting off having another go since the infamous Ash Jeans Disaster of 2018, but I felt it was time for me to get a grip of myself, stop moaning about how poorly ready-to-wear jeans fit and do something about it. So I did. With bells on!
I chose the famed Closet Case Ginger Jeans pattern in the end, as I definitely need a high waist to cover all my lumps and bumps (or "New York Paunch" as I like to call it, which seems to occur after every visit. Mainly due to my inability to turn down beer and deli!). Also, I'm more of a skinny jeans gal than owt else, despite my husband saying I look like a golf club when I pair them with my Converse. ;-)
On my last visit to Mood Fabrics in NY, I came across some lovely Alice + Olivia stretch denim which was the darkest blue I had ever seen. It did have A LOT of stretch to it so I cut the pattern out in the size which I would normally, but I basted all the pieces together first to get some idea of the fit before I started sewing properly, and I'm sooooo glad I did! I ended up going down 2-3 sizes to allow for the stretch in the denim, which I have to say is a major confidence booster! Dare I say, parts of the jeans looked almost baggy! Not quite MC Hammer pants, but definitely not skinny jeans.
If you've never made jeans before, don't be scared of the actual sewing part. There's nothing really complicated and the instructions are really well written, as all Closet Case patterns are, and include little sketches. What took the longest was switching between top stitching and regular thread and I'm a bit precious with my top stitching so any that wasn't bob on, I did again. If you're lucky to have a second machine lurking about, you could always thread each one up with different thread so they're ready to go, which would definitely save time.
I must say, as a fan of the Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt and having made this a few times, I feel this stood me in good stead for tackling jeans. A lot of the faffy bits, such as the fly zip and the topstitching, occur in the making of this skirt, which makes it a good practice garment.
I seem to have a mental block with fly zips. As much as I like sewing them (and I really, really do!) I ALWAYS sew the zip right up to the waistline, thus seemingly not leaving enough room to stitch on the waistband. Pah! I've had to get out of worse scrapes than that before; I just ever-so-gently stitch over the metal teeth using the hand wheel of the sewing machine. If you do the same thing, you could always remove some of the metal teeth at the top with pliers if you wanted to, but it's a bit too much like medieval dentistry for me is that!
The trick to obtaining a good fit with jeans is trying them on over and over again. I must have tried them on at least 20 times throughout the whole process before I was totally happy with them. Also, I didn't realise there were so many adjustments you could make to get them to fit better - it's no wonder you struggle to find ones perfect for your figure in the shops! Closet Case have a fab blog post: 14 Common Fitting Adjustments for Jeans & Pants which takes you through how to alter your pattern to correct everything from a smiling crotch to a camel toe! Through this I discovered I have a long crotch and round pubis, which I don't quite know how to react to, but hey if it means I can make a pair of jeans to suit my shape, then who actually cares, right?!
To give them a professional touch, as well as topstitching in the traditional bronze coloured thread, I also made sure to use bronze rivets to finish off the corners of the back and coin pockets. There are many rivets available, however I like using the fixings for the Prym Vario Pliers as they're just so easy to work with.
I'm not by any means saying my first pair of jeans are perfect; I feel like I twisted the front leg somehow and I forgot to topstitch down the inside leg, but for a first attempt I couldn't be more pleased! So chances are if you see me in the foreseeable future, I will be wearing them. Probably to the point of them being thread bare, in which case I will then have to make some more, which to be honest, I can't wait to do. In ALL the colours!
If you fancy making your own jeans, then we've put together a section in our store with all the supplies you need to make it easier for you here, including our wide selection of denims. We probably have too many denims in relation to the size of the shop, but hey, I love a denim! There's nowt worse than having to track down everything before you can start, is there and now you really have no excuse not to give them a go!
Here I am modelling my new jeans, teamed with a Deer & Doe Airelle top in a pub toilet, the classy broad that I am!