I’ve been working on these jeans for about a month, so I’m really excited to have them finally completed, especially before the warm weather hits Florida! I was really getting concerned that I wouldn’t have a chance to wear them this season. Plus they’re just in time for February’s Smarty Pants Challenge over at The Monthly Stitch, and my first time contributing! Between the indigo dyeing (which I did twice), the sashiko stitched pockets, tons of top-stitching using a single needle, and extensive hammering this was a really time-consuming project.
I’m so psyched about how these jeans, my first pair ever, turned out! If you know me chances are you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve seen me wear jeans! Most pairs I just find so uncomfortable and the fit is just never quite right. I actually don’t have any RTW jeans at all right now. I also DO NOT like skinny jeans and I know I’m in the minority here. I don’t think they look good on me at all, especially since I’m hippy and a little bit knocked knee-ed. I’m all about the comfort so I knew when I made my first pair I was not so concerned about making a trendy pair of jeans, I wanted a pair that I would want to wear everyday and was as comfy as my yoga pants :)
My first step was to sign up for the Craftsy Class Sewing Designer Jeans taught by Angela Wolf. Her class is really excellent, it takes you through each step of construction and offers a variety of techniques to make the jeans how you like them. She shows different leg shape options, finishing techniques & pocket ideas. She shows some great distressing techniques too, which I didn’t use for this pair but may use in the future. Her lesson on fitting the pattern was so helpful! For my pattern I used Vogue V8774 which I had seen in Vogue Patterns magazine (Oct./Nov. 2013) Denim Issue. This was one of my fav issues so far since it had some really interesting articles on making artisanal jeans, how to source material, fitting and construction! I highly recommend checking it out if you’re thinking about jeans.
I also decided to dye my own denim with Indigo. I used an Indigo kit form Noon Design Studios to try my hand at indigo, you can read more about that process I used here and here. My denim is a natural hemp/organic cotton denim from Near Sea Naturals. It’s a great strong twill with the hemp and a really nice weight at 9.6 oz. I used denim thread for construction and a silk thread in a light grey color for my top-stitching and white silk thread for my sashiko pockets. I also lined my pockets with a shibori fabric- it was actually the fabric wrapper on my dye kit- just the right size :)
I altered my pattern quite a bit after trying on my muslin. I cut my pattern in a size 12 and added 1/2″ just to the outer seam to give my jeans a more straight leg, boyfriend cut look and added 1″ in length. I wanted them to just skim my leg at the thigh and then stay straight. I scooped out the back about 1/2″ and added a bit to the front crotch as well and did a full calf adjustment to remove wrinkles under the seat. What a great adjustment though it sounds crazy- it takes out some length from the thigh and adds it back under the calf only on the back of the pant- but it worked wonders! I also had to take in the back yoke about 1″ total on each side and then alter the waistline to match. The only change I would make is next time I’ll lengthen my belt loops and make them a little skinnier.
If you’re seeing wrinkles in my pants it’s because I was wearing them all day before taking pics. I love the light at my mom’s house, especially the peach outer wall that looks a bit art deco- so if I can I try to take pics there on the weekends when we visit the fam. All in all I’m really happy with the fit now and can’t wait to make more! I’m thinking shorts and maybe another pair of pants in linen.
I’m glad I waited a bit to construct these since I got a serger for my birthday, best gift ever, and this really made the pants look so much better since this denim does fray really easily. All the top-stitching is done with a single needle so by the end I felt like a topstitching pro- my next pair will be perfect :) I really wanted to try my hand at some sashiko stitching, so I worked on a simple repeating pattern for my pocket design. I chalked the design in with an oval template I made and then did the stitching with white silk thread doubled. Pretty good for my fist go I think!
I also finished the jeans with rivets and a jean button in an antique nickel finish, both from Taylor Tailor, he has a great supply shop for jeans, love his blog! My original zip was from there as well, but I had an accident and pulled the zip off the top and had to redo it, part off my waistband disaster. My first waistband was too short and I really messed up my buttonhole ( I forgot to hammer, duh) and I had no more fabric left- so I freaked out a bit! I took a break and let myself calm down and went to Joann’s with my little girl as soon as they opened the next morning. I found an almost perfect match- amazing since mine was hand dyed- and scooped up a yard just in case I had another mess up. The color is Medieval Blue and the grain is almost identical! About half a shade darker than my denim but since I’ll be wearing these mostly with a belt not noticeable at all.
Love my new jeans- they’re very me I think and so comfortable! So glad this month’s challenge is finally done, so I can get started on next month’s Miss Bossy Patterns. If you haven’t voted yet head on over to vote here for what I’ll be sewing next month! The voting is still really close- I think the top two contenders are only a vote or two apart!