Jeans for James!


This project arose out of the mad trouser-making mayhem of the spring.  He liked the jeans style trousers I made for him and wanted a proper pair of Denim jeans.  OK, I said: I'll buy the fabric, and you make the jeans!

So he did!

seamallowance.JPG (91787 bytes)  cutting1.JPG (77644 bytes) The first thing to do is sort out the pattern!  Luckily, as I'd used this one recently for a pair of black poly-cotton drill jeans style trousers, we knew it fitted.  But it is a 20 year old Burda pattern, and therefore has no seam allowances.  Here you can see James adding seam allowances and cutting out his jeans.  He made a very neat job of it, too.

If you don't know how well a pattern will fit, once you have made adjustments to the paper pattern to fit it to your personal measurements, it's a very good idea to make a test fit pair of trousers (a 'toile') from some cheap fabric: that way you can make fitting adjustments without wasting expensive fabric.

The first sections to be sewn together are the inner yoke and pocket construction for the front pockets.  These get stitches, neatened on the overlocker where possible, and zigzagged elsewhere, and pressed.   athemachine.JPG (96676 bytes) pocketpressing.JPG (73509 bytes)
pocketstitching.JPG (89739 bytes)  TSckoseup.JPG (59793 bytes)  TS.JPG (142106 bytes) Here you see James top stitching the pockets.  He made a very neat job of the double rows.  They were sewn separately rather than with a double needle, so we could vary the width of the space, and so we could use the larger Jeans needle, getting a better result.
Next came the back yoke and pockets.  First the top edge of the pockets were neatened on the serger, then top stitched and pressed...  Then the yoke seam was stitched and top stitched

Serging for the first time can be a little scary, but the Bernina 1150MDA can be made to go fairly slowly.  James inserted the correct needles (size 90 Jeans needles for this project) and threaded up the machine himself, and did a few test seams before setting forth on the jeans.  Luckily we didn't need to make any tension adjustments.  The thread is standard 120's poly.

Again, he made a very neat job of both the seams and the top stitching.

James&1150MDA.JPG (93206 bytes)  firstsergedseam.JPG (120211 bytes)

yoketopstitch.JPG (61454 bytes)  yoketopstitching.JPG (92057 bytes)

hipocket.JPG (116901 bytes)  bumpockets.JPG (95150 bytes) Once the pockets were stitched in place, we felt it was time for a break!

Top stitching and edge stitching are not difficult, but, as James would tell you, they take a bit of thought!  Most machines have marks on the foot that can be use for lining up and guiding the fabric.

James chose a nice red Gutterman polyester top stitching thread: this is a thicker thread designed to show up well against the contrasting fabric.  You might have to adjust the tension on the machine to cope with the thicker thread.

The next stage is the back half of the crotch seam, which gets sewn on the serger, then topstitched.

Serging round corners can be tricky and needs patience.  You need to pull the edge straight and push the curve towards the knives at the same time, while also letting the machine feed the fabric!  Slowly is best until you perfect the technique!

Top stitching the curved seam also has it's own peculiar characteristics: much slow stitching and stopping to ease out folds is necessary!  But it does get easier by the time you are on your fifth or sixth pair of trousers!

bumseamserging.JPG (137321 bytes)  bumtopstitched.JPG (170672 bytes)
zipstitching.JPG (52936 bytes)  flyneatening.JPG (67187 bytes)  flytopstitch.JPG (87359 bytes)  finishedfly.JPG (134944 bytes) I think the most difficult part of the process was sewing the zip in!

First sew the FRONT crotch seam on the sewing machine...  Then insert the zip!  Making a fly zip opening is more complex than a skirt zip, and requires patience.  You have to assemble all the different parts in the right order!  Here's a good tutorial on putting in a fly zip:

I think young James did very well with this, considering that it's his first zip ever!

After putting the zip in, we had a break for Dolly Mixtures out of my fairy Cake pot!  We'd earned them! fairycake!.JPG (68791 bytes)
frontfitting.JPG (71365 bytes)  workingpockets.JPG (68741 bytes)  backfitting.JPG (89464 bytes)  shakinthatass.JPG (108121 bytes) The outside seams were the usual serged seam plus top stitching, and the inseam is just the serged seam.

Then it was time to try them on!  The fit's OK, and the pockets work!  And there's room for wriggling!

By this time it was midnight, and we were both ready for bed!

The next process will be the waistband...

Here he is in the finished jeans!  He says they are very comfortable, and has worn them two days in a row...


Not at all bad, considering this is his first ever clothing project!

In the end, I sewed about 12" of the inseam across the crotch where two top stitched seams meet on a curve, a little bit of top stitching that needed straightening, and the belt loops, buttonhole and hems as we were running out of time.  All the major stuff he did himself.

FINISHED!.JPG (43242 bytes)

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