Friday, 26 December 2014

Make your own Jeans.

My Minerva post this month has landed on Boxing Day...

Ever wondered why people bother making their own jeans? I did until I actually did it. My, oh my I get it, I totally get it now. 

This post is a bringing together of many thoughts and paths. Firstly, I had a new years resolution to make my own jeans after seeing some by Handmade by Carolyn
Secondly, I select materials from Minerva each month to try out for them and I wanted to source the jeans 'gubbins' so I made up a jeans kit as a way of forcing myself into a corner and helping others.
Thirdly, I have been following the Ginger jeans sewalong online throughout November and learnt lots of new things to try. I was more than ready to fulfill my 2014 resolution just in time.

I bought the denim stretch fabric from Minerva and washed it to avoid my garment shrinking. Next I swotted over the Minerva site finding all the right bits and pieces to make this kit.

The kit does not include fabric because I think any stretch corduroy, denim, thick cotton or sateen would also be great, it is the bits and pieces that take ages to find.

I made a prototype pair of trousers to test out some techniques and understand some of my sizing. They are here.

It is not hard to make jeans but accuracy in fit and top stitching are the key to real looking jeans. Doing everything in the right order is also pretty crucial.

I searched google images for a pocket design idea, sketched one up and sewed through the paper to get the design.

I used some new techniques too. Have you got a hump-jumper? A personal question I know but we will be getting on to bottoms and crotches in a minute so I am easing you in! It is a plastic wedge that allows you to stitch over bulky seams.

Just before you reach the chunky bit, insert the needle down, lift the presser foot up, slide the hump-jumper in the back, put the presser foot down again and sew. Easy. The wedge of plastic simply falls away at the back as the fabric moves through.

I am one lucky lady because I have an overlocker so I could make the seams nice and flat but fray-free. The other bit of kit I used was a magnetic seam guide which grips to the foot plate with a strong magnet. I could ensure 1.5cm seam allowances throughout which made seams match up accurately.

Why did I want to make my own jeans? I have a sway back so all clothes are too big in the waist for me especially at the back. When I told my engineering dad I was making jeans, I thought he would be interested in the construction but... 
    "What an earth for? when you can buy them." he uttered,
I took off my belt and showed him my waistband. Still not convinced he said, "You must be looking in all the wrong shops." 
    "I am 42 dad, if I haven't found a pair to fit by now, I am not going to!" I replied
    "Fair enough," he agreed.

This is why I made my own jeans, no baggy waist all gathered in behind a belt to poke in my back when I sit down. YAY!

The Burda pattern was good for me and I made only a few alterations. I took a whopping 3 inches off the leg length by using the lengthen/shorten here line so the knees are in the right place still. I cut a hip size 40" but took 6cm out of the waist because that is the way I am. The crotch and rise were all OK and I am over the moon with the fit on my bottom. I will make lower rise alterations next time as they were a bit too long in the body.

I made notes on what tension to use on my machine for top stitching thread, needle size and alterations. Will I make more? Oh you better believe it. The most positive sign is that even my mum didn't know I was wearing my own jeans and she taught me to sew, if I can fool my mum I am considering it a success.

 This is the future - jeans that fit, it might even catch on!

Thanks Minerva Crafts UK.
 My 2014 resolution has come true, could this be yours next year?


  1. How brilliant is that? Well done you!

  2. Jeans that fit? Oh that would be fabulous! And these certainly do look spot on to something you would find in a shop (especially with those back pocket details!!). Congrats, dear!! xx

  3. Oh wow Jo, you are just amazing. Your jeans look great. I don't think I ever owned a pair of jeans that fit but I am so terribly overweight now that I would need to buy half a mile of fabric to make my own. I am thinking about it though! I have a list of things I want to make over the next two years, one of them being a winter coat. Have a great weekend. x

  4. You did a fantastic job they look wonderful on you.

  5. Congratulations on the success of making your own jeans! That's awesome! Looks like they fit perfect! I like the pocket detail too!

  6. Fantastic job!! I hope you had a happy Christmas! xx

  7. I am sooo impressed! They turned out beautifully! Hope you had a great Christmas! xo

  8. Well done, Jo... a lot of beautiful stitches and accurate measuring...a happy way to end the year and start the new year! Hope the rest of your holiday is happy. xx

  9. They're fab Jo! The fit looks perfect. Bee xx

  10. Well done, Jo!
    You must be so pleased!!!
    They look fab!
    Ingrid xx

  11. Oh wow I am so impressed. Years ago I did (try!) to make jeans-don't think they were very successful! Yours do look brilliant and like they fit perfectly-very well done!
    Alison xx

  12. Hey how are you? Have a nice blog, I stay as a follower and I invite you to know my blog. a greeting

  13. They look fantastic. Jeans have to fit properly to look good. Hope you have a very Happy New Year.

  14. Wow I'm so impressed! I think I'd have major fitting issues trying to make jeans but yours look great!

  15. Fabulous! There really is no need for you to ever buy clothes again is there, I don't think there's anything you've not made! Ooooh wait, 2015 challenge: underwear! hahaha

    I love the heart patterns on the pockets, so many possibilities... I'm not planning to venture into trousers just yet, but J bought me Tilly & the Buttons sewing book and it's got some PJ bottoms so I'm going to give them a go :-)

    Happy New Year Jo! x

  16. Just catching up on your posts. These jeans are amazing. I have the same trouble as you in that I always end up with a gaping waist band. I think I might have owned just 3 pairs in my lifetime that fitted me well. And then you can never find them again!
    I would never have put these down as homemade. Good job!

  17. Congratulations on your first pair of jeans! :They look absolutely fabulous! and the fit is spot on :)

  18. We all know about the hell that is finding jeans to fit right. (Everything is always too short for me.) I can totally understand why you love these so much, they look sensational on you.

    I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year Jo - sorry for being such a bad blogging friend, life's just been so manic, but I've enjoyed a good old catch up. Here ends the comment bombing! Have a lovely weekend. xx