I think I’m going to have to find a new hobby and knock this sewing thing on the head. Ultimately I did mange to sew a couple of pairs of jeans but the journey was hard and the road difficult and I made many mistakes…..
While still believing I could follow through on my Sewing With A Plan without a plan, I had purchased this wine/burgundy/mulberry/pink coloured stretch cotton twill (although, I’m calling it denim) from MyFabrics with the intention of making jeans as one of my wildcards in the Heather colour scheme. One side of the fabric is deep burgundy and the reverse is pink (not sweet or sickly, just pink). First decision to be made was which side of the fabric to use and secondly, which pattern. I trolled sewing blogs and Goggle images, pattern companies and RTW. How about skinny legs so that I can wear my boots on the outside? I settled on Jamie jeans.
Except, every pattern reviewer of Named Jamie jeans is at least a few sizes and, in some cases a few decades, well below mine – would this style look OK on me?
One way to find out, huh? Read on and freely express your views and opinions.
PDF purchased and tiled, cut out, marked and sewn. There is a sew-a-long site that is a great help in construction and techniques, although I didn’t follow it faithfully.
Using the dark side first (ha ha ha), I cut out a 12, one size smaller than usual, as I wanted a tight fit and hoped the Lycra would compensate. These ones are tight, chiefly because I forgot about the 1cm seam allowance and used the usual 1.5cm (5/8″). Very tight around my calves and there’s a bit of bunching at the ankles – design feature, don’t you know?
If you have seen pictures of these jeans or read any reviews or have a pair yourself, you might be able to spot a large difference between any Jamies that have gone before and the ones I present here – the front pockets!
The front legs are made of two pieces with a centre seam (nice little detail). One piece has the pocket and the other has the fly. What did this overly confident and rash sewer do? Only sewed the left side to the right fly and vice versa, so my pockets are slanting the wrong way. Still quite wearable but honestly! I did wonder why the notches didn’t line up when sewing the seams – now I know.
However, the original purpose of making skinny jeans has worked – I can pull on my knee boots and I don’t get the bagginess and bunching around my knees.
The pattern calls for 1.4m. I had a total of 2m but squeezed Jeans 1 onto about 1.1m by facing the curved waistband with cotton, not self fabric. A curved waistband is a thing of beauty but it does take up an awful lot of fabric. This left me with close on another metre, so I flipped it and made a second pair using the pink side of denim.
This second pair are cropped due to fabric limitations. I managed to get the fronts right way round on this pair and I remembered to sew 1cm seams but I sewed the wrong pocket linings to the wrong pieces and instead of having useable pockets that are hand-sized I have these tiny wee things about the size of a credit card. Well, I suppose that’s all you need isn’t it girls? A credit card and lipstick and you can go anywhere!
I would have ripped them out and done it again properly, but between seams, understitching, overlocking and topstitching – that’s a lot of ripping out and life really is too short for that malarky.
Apart from the pocket linings, the right pieces were sewn in the right order and to the right pieces on this pair. Fly zip went like a dream with a perfectly matching zip. I tried them on to mark a hem. I rarely wash my fabrics before I sew – especially denim – as I know the ‘fit’ will be fitter after I sew then wash – allowing for 10-20% shrinkage. Now, don’t be telling me off and criticising my methods – I like fitted jeans – that tight fit that you have to lie on the bed and use a shoelace through the zip-pull for extra leverage to get it up and then the thrilling but slightly scary moment to test if the seams will hold. Well, my seams held – the zip did not!
Unwashed denim with broken zip
Of course, I had used a double row of stitches on each side of the zip for extra security, so double the ripping out! There comes a time when it is best to walk away. However, I knew that if I didn’t fix it right now then it would never be fixed.
Jilly showed me how to replace a jeans zip. The only zip I had at hand was white – so I used it! Yes, my friends you heard right – a bright white zip in deep pink jeans!
Washed denim with replacement (and rather scrappy) zip but it holds!
This coloured denim was over-dyed; my hands, nails, ironing board, even my sewing machine turned pink! Perhaps another reason to wash the fabric first…..I know I couldn’t wear either pair and sit on a white leather sofa before washing them both. Into the machine they went and quite uneventful it was. Out they came and dried.
Both pairs have faded to well-worn denim and I like it. The seams have that rippled colouring that only comes from years of wear and washing, similarly on the pockets and fly. Achieving this look would have been impossible if I had washed the denim before sewing, so the pink hands were worth it.
Needless to say, the white zip tape is polyester and stubbornly remains white even after the wash but the fly is a pretty good construction and covers it completely. Anyway I’m unlikely to be wearing my cropped bra tops with these jeans – LOL!
I did shorten a dress/tunic I’d made a few years ago into a T-shirt/tunic because the colours match perfectly.
Construction details for those of you who are interested: I focused on the fronts first as this is where all the hard work is – pockets and fly. Made back pockets with a strip of reverse fabric for added detail and top stitched in place. Jeans 1 – sewed inside leg seams and top-stitched, then outside leg seams, crotch, finally waistband and hems. Jeans 2 – sewed outside leg seams and top-stitched, inside seams, crotch, waistband and hems. I attached the waistbands as per Strides method: overlock one edge, sew as usual and stitch in the ditch on the outside to catch the overlocked edge on the inside. I didn’t add belt loops. All internal seams are overlocked which does create a neat and extra strength inside.
The verdict: Love ’em! They’re like leggings with muscle. A little bit of stretch so I can at least sit down and walk up stairs but they hold an awful more in place than a four-way stretch and, of course, I’m wearing ‘proper’ trousers, not thick tights.
Back pocket placement – perfect
Fly zip – perfect (and relatively easy!)
Tightness and fit – perfect (when you sew 1cm seams)
Little details – perfect – two-piece back pockets that you can trim, top-stitch or do anything else your heart and artistic inspiration takes you.
Apart from the wrong-way round pockets and the too small pockets and the white zip….
I don’t usually wear crimson lipstick – blame the auto-correct in iphoto.
I know I’m middle-aged, not a size 10 and have curves and dips and valleys -if you have these things also, then hopefully you can see that you too can wear skinny jeans. Just leave the cropped bra top at home and chose something more becoming or at least, covering……
A final word on advice for dressing and undressing: put your socks on before the jeans as you’ll never roll the sock legs up under these tight legs to straighten them; the only method I’ve discovered to get out of these jeans is to turn them inside out on the way down, stand on the waistband and pull! Then you’re left with this –
Hey – if you feel young enough to make and wear skinny jeans then you’re young enough to leave them in an unkempt, inside-out pile on the floor for your mother to pick up tomorrow!