So apart from a pattern, fabric and the usual sewing tools (machine, scissors, thread, etc), what additional things will you need to sew a pair of jeans? 

The following are pretty much essential:
  • topstitching thread - the colour is entirely your choice, whatever goes with your fabric or floats your boat.  Some instructions say that you can double up on standard thread for topstitching - this is okay if it's purely decorative but the function of topstitching in jeans is to make the seam much stronger, and the right thread gives a better result.
  • Topstitching needles - don't even try to squeeze topstitching thread through the eye of a normal needle.  It won't go easily and, if it does, it won't sew well.  Apart from having a larger eye, a topstitching needle has a channel in the shank that allows the thread to squish into it as the needle goes through the fabric.
  • A hammer.  Really, yes, a hammer.  Denim is generally quite a thick cloth and some of the seam overlaps will give you 6 or more layers of fabric.  Asking your machine to punch its way through all this without complaint can be asking a bit much.  By hammering the thicker seam joints down, you will be able to sew them much more easily.  Think of it as the fabric equivalent of a steak tenderiser.
  • Jeans button.  You can, of course, use a normal button, but the metal jeans button is a distinctive element.
  • Rivets - these are really optional rather than essential as there are other ways of strengthening corners and stress points, but they are seen in most jeans.  If you don't fancy using them, get some extra topstitching thread!
So that's the stuff you might not have thought of.  Let's have a chat about the basics, i.e. your fabric. 


  1. Hear that sound? That's the sound of denim in the washing machine! I'm making progress! Decision making is hard for me sometimes and I'm so influenced by other people's choices that I'm always doubting my own. If we're out to dinner together, you can be sure I'll be thinking I should have ordered what you did. But hey, it's just a pair of jeans, right?

    So I'm using fabric from Ditto Fabrics - medium blue washed denim £8.75 pm, 98% cotton, 2% elastane. It's a very soft lightish denim, perfect for summer.

    I've decided to go with the Jalie jeans pattern. I will have to make serious adjustments on any pattern I use. I will use the size dictated by my hip measurement but that means I will need to adjust the waist (bigger!) by 6 inches. I checked some of the other patterns to see if there was less of a difference between hip and waist size, but there's not much. I bought the Jalie pattern, it has seriously good reviews, so I'm just going to jump right in and see what happens. I'm trying to learn all I can about pattern adjusting in the meantime and watching the Craftsy Jeanius class. I'm hoping in the upcoming lessons, there is a model built just like me (fat chance!)so I can see how he does the adjustment.

    I have zippers, buttons, rivets, threads, needles, and hammer. I even bought the belt loop folder attachment for the Baby Lock (thanks, Morgan, I didn't even know there was such a thing). I'm sure there is something funky in my vast quiltmaking stash to use for the pocket.

    This weekend my husband is away so it's nothing but a jeans prep weekend. And when I feel guilty because the dog is downstairs by himself, I'll go keep him company with the laptop and read more jeans making adventures. had a jeans sewalong a while back and the thread is still there to read. There are lots of links in the thread to other interesting blogs and websites. I'll post links as I run across good ones.

    I hope everyone is enjoying themselves as much as I am. I felt a little weird at work yesterday, though. It was dress down Friday and I couldn't stop studying every pair of jeans I saw. I hope no one noticed me staring at women's bottoms.


    Yankee Doodle

  2. Sewing gets you a bad name sometimes when people notice you staring at them in odd ways - they think that you're doing a 'Tom Cruise' and not making eye contact when, in fact, you're staring at the details of their garments. I'm going to be staring at my own bum in the mirror with patch pockets in different positions over my existing jeans to test out the pocket placement theory!

  3. Feeling good about today. I started playing with the pattern and managed to blend the big waist and the narrow hip sizes pretty well. I made a rough toile out of some lightweight cotton with no waistband or zipper but I think it's going to work! I think I'm ready to start working on the real toile which I hope will be wearable. I have some bright blue twill which I think I'll try to make into crops, or capris (I always forget which is which, but I mean the trousers that end just below the knee). I probably won't do much detail work on them as I'll be eager by that time to get on with the real jeans. I don't mean to get ahead of the group schedule but we're off on holiday for a week starting next Friday, and I don't want to end up behind. I'd take my sewing machine with me but somehow I don't think that would go over well.

    My pattern, after I adjusted it, was a real eye opener to see. Basically for about 3 inches below my waist there is a tiny little curve out, then it's just a straight vertical drop. No wonder nothing fits!!