Jeans have been on my to-sew list for a very long time. Home made jeans are supposed to be one of the harder things to sew, so I was putting it off. However, my goal in life is to have a completely handmade wardrobe eventually, so I knew I would have to give it a try. My latest issue of Threads magazine had an inspiring article in it on making jeans. And it just so happened that my favorite pair of Express jeans was getting pretty worn out, so I decided I would pick them apart and make a pattern from them.
I unpicked all the seams, and ironed out every piece. I made sure to take some photos of the way things were constructed for sewing reference while I was unpicking. Then I traced off a paper version of every piece, making sure to measure out all the seams and transfer all markings. When I was done tracing all the pieces, I measured and trued all the seams to make sure they matched up.
I marked each pattern piece with the grainline, the pattern details, and the seam allowance measurements. Then I cut them out and proceeded to sew them up! I’ve made many pairs of trousers before, so I know the general construction of pants. It was actually very straightforward and had no problem putting everything together. I referred to some of my other jeans for details such as topstitching placement etc.
I decided on cream and orange top stitching for the first pair I made. I used a double needle and a triple stitch so the top stitching looked really nice and crisp. I reused the zipper from the Express jeans, cause I hate waste. :) The jeans I made the pattern from had a few nice, subtle details, such as a 3 piece inner waistband to eliminate bulk at the center back, and the seam at the bottom of the legs is shifted to the back, so it doesn’t show from the front when you are wearing the jeans. Nice little details that a commercial jeans pattern probably doesn’t have.
I wore these for 4 days straight. The fit so well, it’s not even funny! You’ll have to forgive my bad picture taking skills today.
I put some grosgrain ribbon in the waistband so it won’t stretch with wear. I also made the pockets in a pretty floral print, because why not! The only thing lacking to make them perfect is rivets, and I have some fancy ones on order right now.
I did a little decorative top stitching on the back pockets, but I’d love to experiment with fancier embellishments. I figured for my first pair, I would go pretty low key. I love these jeans so very very much. So much so that I immediately cut another pair and started sewing them. I finished them up this morning!
For these ones, I wanted to have big fancy appliques on them to make them really special. I created the appliques from a set of four vintage flower appliques that my mom gave me. The flower shape outlines were satin stitched in orchid pink, on a white linen background. I carefully cut away the linen, and attached the satin stitched outlines to different fabrics. I decorated them with different stitching, beads, and sequins until they were all different. I decided to top stitch these jeans in an orchid pink colored thread to match the flower outlines. I also wanted these jeans to be a little more flare legged, so I traced off the front and back pattern pieces and modified them. I added pocket flaps to the back pockets as well.
I just love how these turned out too. Now I have two awesome pairs of jeans to replace the one I picked apart! I’m really please with the appliques… here’s some detail shots of them.
Now that I know jeans are a piece of cake, I have SO many jeans plans. Colored jeans! Embroidered jeans! Jeans made out of other fabrics!