I wear jeans all the time, for years I’ve bought the same pair and style from Topshop (branching out to Cheap Monday if I could get them in the sale) in mid blue and black. Every year the fabric looks worn within six months and I pledge to look for another style that will last and that I love. But that never happens, well until now.
I made myself a pair of Mia Jeans from the Sew Over It City Break e-book. The jeans challenged my skills, taught me how to insert a fly front, how to do top stitching and how to add hardware (hint: a lot of brute force) but I don’t love them, the fit is not great and I did some adjustments to improve it. Making the Mia Jeans gave me the confidence to tackle jeans, this time more strategically in search of the perfect pair.
The patern for the Mia Jeans required denim with at least 2% stretch, I bought indigo stretch denim from Fabric Godmother along with the zip and hardware. The Mia jeans are simple, with just two pockets on the back, with no front pockets or belt loops, so a great starting point. The style is very similair to a ready-to-wear pair I owned, but the elastane in the denim lasted about two months and the knees went saggy. The fabric I used for this pattern was great quality, it felt long lasting, heavey and durable, but it still had a bit of stretch in to make it comfortable.
You add all the design features whilst the jeans are flat, adding the back pockets and the fly front. I used a Sew Over It free YouTube tutorial to help get the construction right on the fly front. I’m really proud of the topstitching on the fly, it took me three goes, but it’s worth the hassle of unpicking because the gold top stitching thread really does draw your eyes to any wobbles.
Sewing trousers seems frightening, but the construction is relatively simple, I started sewing by making pyjamas bottoms, so it helped me figure out to put one leg inside the other to join at the crotch. To add the button you need a lot of brute force and a flat surface, we (I roped in my husband to help with the brute force) used a flat concrete step so not to damage any surface at home.
The fit is not great, they are baggy around the waist and the knees, they have a bit of ease built into them. Part of it the problem with the fit is my fault and it doesn’t help that I lost two inches from my waist during the process of making them. So part of me would want to make them again, but a size down. However, before that I feel I need some tuition on the fitting of trousers so I plan to attend the trouser fitting class with the Ministy of Craft and work my way through the Sew Over It online class on trouser fitting first.
So although not my greatest success, I did feel a huge sense of accomplishment making jeans, that look good and don’t look cobbled together. It really encouraged me to make stuff that I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of and to get a perfect fit that you just can’t get on the high street. For my next jeans making project I want to replace a tired pair of black skinny jeans in my wardrobe and for that I’m going to try the Ginger Jeans Pattern.
I know that stretch jeans that have a high elastane content are not going to be as long lasting as raw denim, but I have worn skinny jeans for over 10 years, and I know that to get them on and contour round the body they need elastaine. But this year I’m looking to break a habit of a lifetime, well 10 years at least, and ease myself gently off super stretchy jeans and look for a straight pair and use raw denim.
Alina Kroeker from Dogwood Denim makes made to order jeans and sewing patterns, I heard her interviewed on the Love to Sew Podcast and I was so interested in the concept of a custom pair of jeans, I know I’m not alone as a woman in tirelessly searching for the perfect fit for a pair of jeans (without tons of elastaine). I’m sure if I add up the cost of all the jeans that I have bought and worn out within the year, over the years, it would easily justify the cost of custom made jeans, especially as they have a repair service built into the guarantee.
Now, I would also be interested in a custom jeans pattern. Next week, I’m going to Manchester Universtiy to get a 3D Body Scan and a printout of my measurements, which would help me to develop a custom jeans pattern in the future. In the UK, I know Huit Denim are producing sustainable jeans, restoring the history of jeans making production in Cardigan in Wales and they offer free repairs for life.
I’ve been collecting images of styles of jeans I’m prepared to try and I’ve tried a few pairs on in the shops. I think the best way to get this done is by booking an appoinment at a department store personal shopper to help me try styles I wouldn’t usually go for and get over any pre-existing prejudices. For now here’s a few styles that I’m interested in, it seems practically impossible to find womans jeans on the high street without elastane, but I’ll keep looking and keep your eyes peeled over the coming months for my perfect jeans patterns. So far I know they’ll be in black or indigo blue 100% denim, with a button front, straight leg and 7/8th length.
All for now
Claire & Co.