corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Jeans

22 Comments

There hasn’t been too much happening in the sewing room this week, so I thought I’d show you some of the jeans I’ve been cranking out over the summer and never really blogged about and present you with a dilemma over my proposed leather trousers/pants. Read on

I took Kenneth D King’s Jeanius online course earlier this year; I managed to snag it at a bargain price. You can buy access from all sorts of sites, I got mine via Craftsy.

It is a rub off method for copying your favourite pair of RTW jeans. The process of actually getting the pattern, while involved, taught me lots about pattern drafting and I even bought new tools and gadgets to make the job easier. Once the pattern is drafted it is ready to use. I have made four pairs of jeans from the one pattern – each pair a little different from the last but the fit is getting better and better every time. It is interesting to see how different fabrics, especially those with a bit stretch, sew up differently from each other so there’s always a bit of tweaking involved somewhere along the line.

I can sew the crotch area without worry. I’ve almost mastered the fly zip. Topstitching is still a bit wobbly and back pocket placement is somewhat random….. but I’m getting there.

No. 1
A very non-stretch creamy moleskin type of fabric. Lots of faults but making these highlighted what areas need to be adjusted.

No. 2 Grey denim with a slight stretch. I wear this pair A LOT. Here they are hanging on the washing line alongside teenage son’s.

No. 3 The fabric is the unbleached cotton twill from Raystitch purchased ages ago and I finally got round to putting it to good use. The jeans are a little ‘heavy’ – good for autumn/winter wearing though. When I’m not in the grey jeans I’m in these.
No 4 Finally and most recently the pleather pair. With these I straightened the legs and are my muslin for the real leather pair that I shall make one day when the world is perfect.

I’ve done a bit of serious research about leather this week and have found out this –
Garment weight leather comes in thicknesses of 0.6-0.9mm. Any thinner and it may tear, heavier thicknesses ( 1.2 – 1.5 cm) are used for biker jackets and really thick hides are used for shoes.

Leather is sold in hides by the square foot. There is a fairly simple calculation to convert yards/metres to sq ft. which means you can in theory make any pattern in leather. This is taken from Vogue Sewing Book, page 359 – the answer to my query was on my bookshelves all along! There are 13 sq ft to one yard of 150cm wide fabric. I need 1.8m or 2 metres to make life easy of fabric for these jeans

Metres = 2
multiply by 13 = 26

Multiply 26 by 0.15 for piecing allowance = 3.9. Even go to 0.2 to be on the safe side

26 + 3.9 = 29.9

So I need to acquire 30 sq ft of leather at 0.6- – 0.9mm thick for a pair of leather jeans.

Seems simple enough and so I went trawling the net for UK suppliers of leather hides almost ready to buy a traditional black or dark brown and this is when the next dilemma occurred. There is just too much choice! All the colours of the rainbow; pigskin, goatskin, calfskin, cowskin; leather, nappa, suede; smooth finish, mottled finish, embossed finished, metallic, patent and on and on.

So opinions please…. plain black or brown or a colour?

I’ll get more wear from a neutral colour but I am tempted…..

Thanks to all of you who offered advice, hints and showcased your own leather sewing projects in the last post. As always, I appreciate your expertise and encouragement.

I’ve also just noticed, when the photos of jeans construction are placed in chronological order my hair gets shorter and shorter!

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22 thoughts on “Jeans

  1. Your jeans look great – really good fit and I love the bootcut shape on you! I'm with you on how the stretch material changes the jeans – it depends so much on how much stretch is in the material and sometimes you have to wear them awhile to work it out!The leather pants look really interesting and I can't wait to watch you make them!

  2. I love that you just keep improving them- I know this will sound crazy from me, but a nice brown or black would be a nice neutral that you'd never stop wearing….

  3. That's funny about the hair – i even scrolled back to see again ) about the color for leather, i suggest Any gray, I think it would complement ur wardrobe well. Black seems A little too hardcore to me – but this is just a personal opinion- you should choose what makes you feel best!

  4. I kind of agree with Marina. Black is "biker chick", but that may be a fun personae for you to try. Gray would probably be more in the look and less edgy. Brown is always nice. I have similar coloring to you and wear it a lot. My skins are a dark chocolate brown. You're making me long for more time to sew! My hair is really short now and I love it. 1/2 hour less getting ready time in the morning is definitely my style!Looking forward to seeing your new pants!

  5. I think that Marina's grey dea is an intriguing one. I hadn't considered it, but I like it!Please do tell us about the leather suppliers you have found. I don't have any UK sources.

  6. I bought some nice suede from Tandy http://www.tandyleatherfactory.co.uk/ you could try them.Your jeans look great – I am itching to get sewing on some jeans – need to push it up my list. Good luck with the leather – I too like the idea of grey.

  7. Suzy, I like boot cut shape I think it balances the hips against the lower legs. But I love wearing wide legged too, like yours. Most of my work wear trousers are wide legged.

  8. Shame there's no leather in paisley patterns

  9. I'd never even thought of grey! I am concerned like you about black being the 'expected' thing.

  10. More like biker old woman! I love my short hair too, so easy.

  11. Karin so far it's:http://www.leprevo.co.uk/ – I think this may the one I'll usehttp://www.leather-hides.co.uk/leather_hide_uk_ltd_040.htm – but seem to do 1.1mm thick only. I haven't searched through the entire site though.http://www.pittardsleather.co.uk/category/leather-skins-and-hides/29/0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0/1 – small hides only it seemsBy buying in the UK I won't have to pay customs but I'm going to keeping searching for a European supplier.

  12. Thanks Pauline – another good source. Hope you had a successful day's shopping!

  13. Wow, your jeans are very impressive! Good luck with the leather.

  14. Your jeans are fabulous. Great job. I can tell you that once you start sewing with leather, it can become a bit addictive. At one point, I think that almost my entire wardrobe was leather.

  15. Thanks for this very useful post. Leather is apparenty very in. This was in one of yesterday's papers and has info on leather thickness/wearability. http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2012/sep/21/how-to-dress-leatherAs for the black/brown/colour dilemma: I think brown wins in that it's sexy but practical and judging by the number of people who check in on my site just cause I once mentioned Saga's, there's a quiet obsession with brown leather jeans going on. Whatever you do, good luck and…. I'll be jealous!!

  16. Thanks Marianna – good link. You mean I'm on trend???

  17. Thanks to Ann, I've found your blog! And wowsers! What a great set of jeans. Clio just wrote about her Jean-ius experience, and I'm really tempted to take that course, too, if only to learn as much as you did about drafting. As for the leather, I have one pair of leather pants. And they're CHRISTMAS RED. Yup. In caps. And I love them. I have a lot of browns and neutral pants, but the red leather pants are a winner. Just a thought!

  18. Thanks to Ann, I've found your blog! And wowsers! What a great set of jeans. Clio just wrote about her Jean-ius experience, and I'm really tempted to take that course, too, if only to learn as much as you did about drafting. As for the leather, I have one pair of leather pants. And they're CHRISTMAS RED. Yup. In caps. And I love them. I have a lot of browns and neutral pants, but the red leather pants are a winner. Just a thought!

  19. Your jeans all look great. I'll keep an eye out for your leather version too. Very clever!

  20. Thanks Tia – and you said it twice – wonderful! Red – your leathers sound fantastic. Tell me, are you a very outgoing and bubbly person? I always think 'red' says "I'm confident". I suppose if you go for leather why not go all out huh?

  21. Hopefully not too long now – a little secret – go to the next post……Shhhhh

  22. Pingback: The Right Tools | corecouture

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