mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Posts tagged ‘jeans’

My first jeans!

I have sewn simple pants like PJ pants or drawstring ones, but I’ve never made a complicated serious one.

But I hated buying jeans because it always doesn’t fit somewhere.  And in-home hemming didn’t look great.

I took this Craftsy course and decided that I’ll give it a try.  Roughly, the steps are like this:

  1. Get a pattern and cut out based on your hip size.
  2. Sew a muslin (cheap fabric test). Make necessary adjustment and transfer it to the pattern.
  3. Cut denim, sew, and voila! your new perfectly fitted pair of jean!

So I tried.  I bought a pattern Jalie 2908 (one of the recommended in the class, but I chose this because it also had kid sizes), traced my size, and sewed a muslin.


Basically, my body is so imbalanced.  Well, I think many overweight women are like me – big prominent abdomen, relatively narrow hip, and big thigh.  In short, my body is an “hourglass” shape, just squeezed and bulged at the wrong places!  I realized that I need to learn a serious pattern alteration before getting into even doing the muslin.  So now I’m taking another Craftsy course to learn.

Meanwhile, I decided to sew my daughter’s pair.  She has a fitting problem, too.  In her case, as a gymnast, she has a very strong and prominent thigh, and small waist and hip.  And many American girls are just the opposite.  And she’s super-short.  So all her jean has very loose looking waist with adjustable elastic pulled all the way like toddler’s and any hem design is lost.  Now I got the chance to redeem myself.  Since her waist and hips are of the same pattern size, only adjustment I needed to make was thigh.  I chose 2 size up for growth room, and added about 2″ extra on thigh:

S's adjust jean pattern

S’s adjust jean back pattern

I believe this will deal with it. The great thing about Jalie’s jean pattern is its modular structure: the front and back are divided at the knee and choose the upper portion (low or mid rise) and attach to the common bottom. So, the length adjustment was very easy.  I just picked the size of her inseam (much smaller than her size) and use that line to butt upper and lower pattern pieces, then trace the intended size.  Not cut and paste.  It is already cut! I decided to skip the muslin, it’s after all kid’s jean.  Grown out in two years.

Since I couldn’t find the stretch denim that meets the specification on the pattern, I bought online.  First thing I must do was to preshrink.  I usually serge the edges to prevent fraying and wash together with other laundry – after all, that’s how the new pair will be washed.  I again stuck, this time at serging.  Maybe I went too fast but upper looper thread was torn.  Because I didn’t go through this difficult process of threading serger in the evening with other laundry waiting, I left the serger and used regular zigzag stitch.

The dried fabric was ironed and pattern was laid out:

Jean pattern laid on stretch denim

Jean pattern laid on stretch denim

The fabric was cut out, mostly with rotary cutter (I need a real practice).  So let’s dive into sewing!

I noticed that this fabric is really stretchy, 3% spandex, though. So, when I sewed front yoke on pocket lining fabric like this, it didn’t saw nicely.

front yoke stretched out. Fusible web should have been used!

front yoke puckered. Fusible web should have been used before stitching!

I’m supposed to do edgestitch with the special foot but I was lazy to change, so I used the regular foot’s center line as a guide and moved the needle two steps (in this photo, to the left).  This worked pretty well.


Anyway, pockets were attached to back, back yokes were attached to back, and now the time to sew the back seam.  Then I realized – SEAM ALLOWANCE (3/8″) IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE FLAT-FELL SEAM! The result is a back like this:

two back sewed at seam line then pressed to the right side and topstiched.

two back sewed at seam line then pressed to the right side and topstiched.

According to the Craftsy class I took, the teacher explained this.  I should have made a flat-fell seam to make the real center back falls between two topstitches so that the distance between pocket and topstitch is symmetrical.  With 3/8″ allowance, it was impossible.  So I settled. Next time I’ll make sure I make a big seam allowance!

Anyway, I had some glitches and stuff that didn’t go as well as planned, but I finished and it fitted well on S! I’m surprised that even two sizes up, the waist was still tight. But there is a good room on thigh. I had 2″ extra on hem, so I can lengthen at least 1″ when she grows.

My first hand made pair of jean.  Not perfect but both S and I are happy.

My first hand made pair of jean. Not perfect but both S and I are happy.

The things I learned:

  • This particular pattern’s waist runs really tight.  No wonder I fail miserably.
  • With this much stretch in the fabric, using plain muslin for fitting doesn’t make sense.  I have to at least once use this real fabric (or fabric with similar degree of stretch), though it will be a bit expensive.
  • Seam allowances MUST be at least 5/8″!!! I barely managed to serge most seams this time, but it would be much easier.
  • I prefer lower rise and wider waistbands.  Only problem of low-rise is small back pockets.  I need to be able to carry my phone in my back pocket.  This is a MUST.  I need to think about this. I don’t like the way belt loops looks. Next time I will increase waistband by at least 1/2″
  • When this type of stretch denim is sewed on to woven fabric, fusible web would be helpful.
  • Buy two spools of topstitch threads!  I ran out in the middle and had to run to buy one. At least I was lucky the same color was there.

Maybe I modify her pattern and try again, or I will work on my own muslin (or real fabric muslin) and pattern.

But making a cloth that actually wear is FUN!




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