Monday, 27 May 2013


I'm not the first to finish by any means, that honour in this round of jeans making goes to Yankee Doodle, who finished about a week ago.  I bet she hasn't taken them off since as she says that they are super comfortable.  I've just finished mine this evening.  I made substantial progress at the start of the week and just needed to get my waist band on, add belt loops and finish the hems.

There are plenty of us who are at various stages.  Target dates seem like great things when you start out but, as I know only too well myself, life does get in the way sometimes.  However, nothing to be disheartened about as long as the jeans get finished at some point.

Here are a few photos to keep us all going, first up is Yankee Doodle sporting her new troos, the first of many we hope:

Here are her comments on the finished article:

Generally I'm very happy with my jeans. The fabric, oh I wish I could get some more. It's so soft and hangs so nicely, I love it.

Next time I will make them smaller. I think I was so afraid of making them too small that I went too far the other way. I'm just so used to jeans being too tight in the waist. Maybe the sizing would be just right for non stretch denim, but they are a bit on the baggy side. However, they sure FEEL good!!

Here are a few pics of my own efforts.  I'm afraid that my assistant is sorting out the jungle garden so no shots of me wearing them, but I can assure you that they fit very nicely indeed.  Such a revelation compared with RTW for me.  Unless I find myself unable to sew, I'm never buying jeans again.  To tell the truth, even if I couldn't make them, I'd rather pay a talented seamstress to make some for me!

Construction wasn't all plain sailing - not surprising, really.  I broke a needle trying to get my topstitching done.  It was a topstitching needle, but only a 90 and clearly not up to the job of piercing its way through all those layers of denim, so I swapped for a proper jeans needle, a 130, and that was much better.  

I made use of my hammer, too.  I whacked the tops of the belt loops before stitching; think of a denim tenderiser rather than a steak tenderiser.  It's exactly the same principle, though, of breaking the fibres so that the needle can go through the layers more easily.  

To do the bar tacks across the top section of the belt loops on the waistband, you are asking a lot of any domestic machine: 

  • the belt loop is 3 layers (top, bottom, enclosed seam allowance); 
  • this is folded  double (another 3 layers); 
  • this is then attached to the waistband (at least another 2 layers, or if it lies over the inner seam allowance, another 4 layers).  
  • So, we have a minimum of 8 or maximum of 10 layers of cloth. 
It's a wonder you don't need to attach a harpoon instead of a needle to go through that lot!

So am I pleased with my jeans?  You betcha!  

Will I change anything for next time?  Definitely!

  • I'm not entirely happy with how I've curved the bottom of the waistband above the leg side seam and need to distribute this more evenly. 
  •  I also need to place the back pockets slightly more widely.  I was working on the principle that if they were closer together I'd make a bit of a trompe l'oeil and make my bum appear a little less wide - my jury is out on this but I think I'll try altering the placement a smidge on the next pair.  
  • The legs are reasonably tight on the upper thigh, but my denim has stretch and I anticipate a little give as I wear, but I've made careful note of this as my next ones have no stretch.  Great for holding you in, but not if you nearly cut yourself in two when you try to sit down.

I previously made the Vogue Sandra Betzina jeans and these are from Ottobre magazine - to be honest, I really can't choose between the two and like them both equally.  I've decided that this is a good rather than a bad thing, as I now have 2 quite different jeans patterns that I really like.  A happy bunny, indeed.  My new jeans are already booked for a number of social engagements (I'm just going along as the wearer, you understand), and they will hopefully be accompanied by a lovely new jacket to do them justice.

Hot off the press, turquoise has just finished her very lovely jeans.  As I type, I'm already developing jean envy.  She has used a heavy weight white denim, and check out her two coloured topstitching detail - way to go, turquoise!  Another success, then, as these were her first pair, too, and she's already planning the next ones.  She'll have to, though, as if they were my jeans, I'd wear them to death over the summer!

Here are her photos:


  1. I know you're so proud of yourself, making jeans kinda scares me lol! great job!

  2. Don't be scared Nanna - I was too and tried to keep the attitude of "step by step" and "this is just the first attempt" and it was OK, I have a nice pair of jeans. One thing I think helped with the pattern instructions for the front pockets (which did scare me) was that it broke the construction down into a set of "units" and then you put all of them together.

    Go on buy some cheapy fabric to take the pressure off and have a go :)