March 26, 2014
Sewing your own jeans is a lot easier than you think. About 5 years ago I made my first pair of jeans because I was fed up with buying jeans that never seemed to fit me how I like. I decided that instead of wasting my time shopping for jeans and paying a bunch of money for them I would learn to make my own.
This is the first pair of jeans I made using a Kwik Sew pattern. The pattern is number 3193 and I know as of a year ago it was still in print. I made these jeans approximately 5 years ago and yes I still wear them. They have become a little faded over time but they are very comfortable.
It is kind of hard to see but I embroidered the back pockets of these – I did not have good light conditions outside for these photos but wanted to show how these jeans looked. The pattern is super easy to follow with great zipper instructions. There are 2 versions of the jeans a wide leg, as I am wearing, and a straight leg. I like that the waist is a littler higher on these and not such a low rise, too. I am getting too old for those low rise jeans.
I began making more of my own jeans a few years ago after buying the Bernina My Label pattern drafting software. This is software that helps you design your own patterns using your measurements. I am not sure if they still sell it but there are other software programs available that do this. I really like it because it is a more custom fit. It does – has – required some tweaking and learning to do things on my own. So, all the current jeans I have made I am now using the My Label pattern which is essentially my own pattern made to fit me.
Recently I have been on a major jean sewing spree. I told my husband the other day that I was really getting a system down for making them and I can now get a pair done in about 5 or 6 days. This of course is not working on them constantly and some days I only have time to sew for about 30 minutes and some days I have no sewing time. The most sewing time I ever get is about a 2 hour session on the weekend.
I have taken 2 Craftsy classes that have really helped me learn a lot more about designing and sewing your own jeans. The first class I took a couple of years ago was Online Sewing Class Jean-ius by Kenneth King. This was a great class and I learned so much about fitting and sewing the details on the jeans like the pockets and waistband and topstitching techniques. In this class you can actually learn how to take a pair of your favorite jeans and copy them to make your own pattern. The other class I recently took through Craftsy was Sewing Designer Jeans with Angela Wolf. I learned some more great sewing tips and techniques for the jeans as well as how to put a curved waistband on the jeans after taking Angela’s class. I also learned how to distress the denim fabric in her class. Both of these classes are wonderful for increasing your sewing knowledge and learning the skills you need to make your jean sewing a success. You can learn more about the classes I just mentioned by clicking on the highlighted text to take you to the link to them. If you are going to make your own jeans I would highly recommend taking both classes.
Some of the tips I have that I think are important when sewing your own jeans are:
- Use a size 90/14 or 100/16 denim sewing machine needle
- Take your time and sew slowly – especially when topstitching
- Make a muslin first using inexpensive muslin just to get an idea of the fit – this way you can adjust some things without ruining your expensive denim. You may still need to make a few minor adjustments on the denim but at least it will be less and you won’t ruin your fabric
- Press all your seam using a hot steam iron. This will make sewing so much easier and your seams will lay nicely. I took a whole class on pressing once from my Sewing Guild and it is a very important step.
- Use 2 spools of the same color thread through the needle when topstitching versus using the jeans thread they sell. I tried using the jeans thread on my dark denim ones and my machine (an older Bernina) does not like it – it is very thick thread and requires tension adjustments. I found it easier and less stressful to just use 2 spools of thread and a stitch length of 4 for your topstitching.
- Sew your inner leg seams first, before the outer leg seams. This is the opposite of what patterns usually tell you to do. This way you can topstitch the inner leg seam easily. Also, stitch from the center crotch point down to the hem on each side for best results when sewing this seam together.
Fabric is a fun and important part of making your own jeans. I have bought denim fabric from JoAnn that I like as seen in the pair I made 5 years ago (above) as well as the glitter denim fabric I used in this pair:
This pair was the first pair I made after taking Angela Wolf’s class. I had this fabric in my stash and decided to use it. It is hard to see but there is a light silver glitter in the fabric and this denim is very lightweight – no stretch. I embroidered my own design using a K logo for Kimberlees Korner using a metallic silver thread.
I also got this fabric that I made these shorts from at JoAnn. I have only wore these once since it is still kind of chilly here.
I didn’t have enough of the fabric to make the curved waistband facing so I used the fabric that I did the pocket lining with and love how this turned out.
The fabric I recently bought from Fabric.com is really nice quality denim and a great price, in my opinion. They also have free shipping on orders over $35.00 and it arrived quickly. The photos below are the jeans I made using the fabric I bought from there.
So far the above light color denim and the shorts are my two favorite pair. They both fit how I like them – not too tight and not too low of a rise. I really like how the curved waistband adds some extra give to the waist area, too.
What sewing projects are you currently working on? Click on Leave a Reply and let me know. I am still in the jeans sewing mode and currently working on another pair of denim shorts using some more fabric I found in my stash. I also have a tan twill fabric cut out for shorts using the jean pattern but have not started sewing those yet.
Have a great day!