First foray into jean sewing

So, as I mentioned yesterday I’ve been trying to make some jeans. Because I am a practical kind of gal and jeans are what I want to wear a lot of the time. And yet I really struggle to find ones that fit (camel toe and general not enough space in crotch, too low waisted, big gapes in my middle back). So, despite being really put off by the thought of many muslins, with the help of my new online sewing friends I’m giving it a go.

Here are some thoughts on my experiences of the jeans style pattern from Ottobre. This is not a sew-a-long because, trust me, I do not know what I’m doing!

  • Choosing a pattern – I considered the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans because it is everywhere in my blogfeed at the moment, but went with the Ottobre ones in the end because I had the magazine already and hadn’t made a single thing from it. Plus I’m not really into skinny fit jeans and tracing a pattern is marginally better than fighting a pdf in my book. Oh yeah, and the Ottobre ones have a wider range of sizes, there’s a different set of pattern pieces for the larger “curvy fit” jeans, with the same set of instructions as the smaller “Lady fit” ones.
  • How to fit? cos, err, you know muslins (or toiles as my mum would say) and stretch fabric, of which I had none. I was eyeing up this purple stretch denim (more tasteful than it sounds, a dark shade) in a local shop, but had told myself I had to finish the pink wool Junipers before I bought it. But then when I went back it was gone, horror. So I found some black denim instead that is brown on the back (brown warp threads?) – making it a nice subtle shade. Then it turned out they did still have the purple, he’d put the last 2m on one side after a customer had complained it had a mark running down the fold line. So I bought both. And decided, the black are going to be a wearable muslin, the purple the real deal, hopefully. Both are quite lightweight but doable as trosuer fabric.
  • The dreaded seam allowance cos, you know, Ottobre patterns don’t come with seam allowance. So as well as tracing from this

    cue concentrating face

    (onto my greaseproof paper, cos all I can get locally are tiny packs of tracing paper that last half a garment), you have to add seam allowance. They suggest 1cm. I had decided to go with 1″ so I had room for some fitting. Now, I saw a top tip recently to tape two pens together then you can trace the seamline and seamallowance at the same time. I tried it with my two fabric pens and got a perfect 1cm seam allowance. So I rigged up something to increase that.

    my model of the space shuttle

    my model of the space shuttle

  • think thrice before doing clever things like using different seam allowances for different pieces. Yes, the back pockets don’t need 1″ seam allowance just in case you want to adjust how the fronts and backs are joined, so you can get away with 1cm there. But honestly how did you forget that the yokes join to the backs so really should have the same seam allowance. And the hip pockets. Sigh.
  • Pay attention Pocket bags are designed to be cut from a different fabric. Like it says. Read the instructions. Sigh. (more on how I’d do the pockets in hindsight another time)
  • Consider adding in notches Now, I struggle to see notches on the Ottobre patterns as they’re marked as a line at right angles to the seam line on the inside of the pattern piece. I didn’t find any on this pattern. Nothing. However I wouldn’t put money on them not being there. In general this wasn’t a problem, everything lined up. But the yokes. I’m really struggling to get them the right way up. Next time I will add a notch to the top of the backs and the bottom of the yokes and save myself head scratching and multiple unpickings.
  • Pattern lay out There isn’t one given. Which threw me. I’m not sure why, as I normally ignore the pattern lay out and do my own thing. But hey. I only had 2m of this denim, the pattern called for 2.2m. Plus I’d increased the seam allowance. I made it, just. But if my fabric had nap, I wouldn’t have made it as the fronts and backs lay in opposite directions. And the waistband (which I haven’t cut yet) will need to be four pieces, not 2. Either that or cut with the grain, rather than across it as directed. And I decreased my seam allowance at the bottom of the legs to fit things on, cos I’m fairly confident there won’t be fitting issues there.
    creative seam allowance

    creative seam allowance

    Right then, that’s everything traced and cut. Next up, the first bits of sewing.

  • 5 thoughts on “First foray into jean sewing

    1. I like you space shuttle! For some crazy reason I find tracing really therapeutic! I bought one if those double wheel tracing things from clover which speeded things up when adding seam allowances.

    2. Good luck with the new project!

    3. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | What has it got in its Pocketsies?

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