Friday, 13 April 2012

New - Old Jeans

Having completed one pair of jeans with relative success, I moved almost directly on to a second pair but this time using my own perfect bum pattern pieces (relaxed fit style) and matching the legs of a pair of wide legged Marc Cain RTW.

I've included here some stages that I had left out of the denim series of posts that you may want to consider if making jeans for the first time.

I have ONE very basic Janome sewing machine and NO overlocker (serger), so when I need to do topstitching in a contrast thread I have to re-thread the machine. Therefore, I try to ergonomically design my sewing of jeans so that I can do a lot of topstitching at once. This method also helps with the construction as all the bits are ready to go when needed.

With jeans there are loads of 'bits': pockets, front back and money, belt carriers and fly.  I also discovered during this oddessy of jean making that proper top-stitching thread is actually tan-brown, not yellow or gold as I had previously thought. When it lies next to the denim it lightens and just 'looks' yellow - or is it just my eyes?

This time I did use a brightly coloured  patterned cotton for the pocket linings, fly shield and waistband - cerise pink, royal blue and gold paisley pattern with roses.

Back pockets have to be topstitched before sewing them to the backs. To achieve almost perfect symmetry on both pockets, I traced my design on bog standard tracing paper and placed this on top of the pocket pieces (greaseproof paper would work well too). Then just sew over the paper following your design lines as closely as possible. The paper just peels away afterwards as you have perforated it with the needle.
 The back side with topstitched pockets attached. They're not perfect and I don't do symmetrical very well but these little nuances prove they're hand made and not churned out by a computerised, automated machine.

I also added a little tab on the left pocket to hint at the colour on the inside.
The money pocket
 Teenage son is now well over 6' tall (2m) and that's why it looks like you're looking down at me - it's his point of view we're experiencing here.

Un-hemmed jeans from the back and side - the legs are really quite loose and wide on this pair but  they are incredibly comfortable.

Worn with another kimono wrap cardigan (unblogged); this time in a fine red wool. I threaded the ties through the belt loops.

BUT.... These jeans reminded me of sensible mummy jeans and I don't want to go there just yet. I think it was the darkness of the denim - too conservative or something - I've also lost my waist somewhere in amongst that 'relaxed' fit  - it was hard to put my finger on it - there was something just not right.

So I got these.......

and did this........

 ...... and a 12 hour soak in the bath with a mild bleach solution;

........a polish with some sandpaper at the pocket edges and along the seams - and ended up with these:

Rather uneven faded jeans, but I think, better than before. Certainly softer and not quite so sensible looking. Good for running around the house and garden in and it doesn't matter if they get dirty or scuffed up - a working pair of jeans is what these are (though I'll take the Hermes off when power hosing the paving!)

Don't be fooled by that sunshine - it was freezing!

Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. They look great! I haven't been game to try fading denim yet but I really like how your's turned out, I might have to give it a go!

    1. Wear old clothes, that bleach has a mind of its own!

  2. They look great and I love the Jeniffer Paganelli fabric inside too!

    1. I'm afraid it got bleached too but the design is still visible. I've just visited your site, what wonderful work you do and such a colourful blog.

  3. You did great work on the jeans. It's a good idea to use tracing paper. I'll remember that:)

  4. Your jeans look great. I really like the relaxed look.

  5. Those look fantastic, and the tip for the pockets is a great idea. I've been chalk tracing, but having it on a piece of paper that will tear off is great.
    Have fun!

    1. It also means that you can trace one pattern off the first so there's almost symmetry.

  6. AlaskapsychApril 13, 2012

    They look fab! PS: it might have been freezing but at least the grass was green. I still have 12 degree temps and a foot of snow!

    1. In April? Yes the buds are starting to blossom here - I love the different seasons.