It’s not long after you dip a toe into the sewing community that you realize people are obsessed with making jeans. Of course I had heard about the Ginger Jeans because I took Heather Lou’s Learn To Sew class and she invented them. I soon learned about so many other great jeans patterns. Here are just a few:
- Morgan Jeans – Closet Case Patterns
- Getaway Jeans – The Sewing Workshop
- Dauphine and Bravado Jeans – DIBY Club
- Dawn and Ash Jeans – Megan Nielsen
- Mia Jeans – Sew Over It
- Ames Jeans – Cashmerette
- Jamie Jeans – Named Clothing
- Liana Stretch and Mountain View Pull-on Jeans – Itch To Stitch
- Safran Pants – Deer and Doe
- Birkin Flares – paperdahl
I wanted to make jeans for my 6-piece module wardrobe, so I looked at all of these. I decided on the Mountain View Pull-on Jeans, mostly because reviews said they were a great first jeans pattern to tackle, and also because I’ve made a few Itch To Stitch patterns and could trust the instructions would leave little for me to figure out on my own.
I’m 5’8″ and have been by default adding 3″ to all pant legs and sleeves and have not yet regretted that decision. I did the waist one size smaller than the hip, which was easy to grade out. The fabric was this Indigo Washed Designer Stetch Denim from Califabrics. I paid $8.11/yard, and it’s now on sale for $7.49/yard. I’m not a fabric expert but the quality seems amazing for this price. It’s a thick and soft, supple denim with the perfect stretch for this pattern.
These were a real dream to sew up. As you can see above, there’s a bunch of topstitching. I used Gutermann extra strong thread (Color 1870). I like the extra strong over topstitching thread because it doesn’t unravel and fits easier through the needle. I also used Gutermann jeans thread (70% poly 30% cotton), which on the spool looks blue but when you’re sewing jeans with it it looks very purple. I probably wouldn’t use this again and just go with blue 100% polyester thread.
Itch To Stitch has some blog posts on how to distress your jeans. I tried taking sandpaper to a few scraps but just didn’t like the look. It looked like a cat had used the fabric as a scratching post — not my style. I decided to leave my seams au naturel.
The pattern has you build the front pockets first. I didn’t look at the instructions much here because I really love this video from DIBY Club that so elegantly explains how to build jean pockets. I used a remnant I got from Joann for $1.25. It was a message I needed to hear in these days of COVID-19 (and Day 12 of self-isolating).
The front pockets were a breeze thanks to the DIBY Club video. The first challenging bit was the faux fly. It took a steady hand and some precise stitching. I did end up pulling out stitches once or twice.
It’s a little shaky at the bottom, but I won’t be inviting people to look closely at my fly — even if I did make my own jeans.
Sewing elastic into the waist was the second challenge. The pattern says to use 1/2″ elastic and to sew it into (not going outside of) the seam allowance. Well… when I read this I had already serged on the waistband, slicing off the entire seam allowance. Whoops! I then cut all the elastic length-wise down to about 1/8″ and sewed that to the edge. But it still created an odd roll at the top of the waistband. I’ll fix this next week by opening it up and sneaking in some 1″ elastic using the method from the Pietra pants.
The back topstitching below the waist I did with a twin needle. Like every time I use the twin needle (and I never learn), it turned out wavy. Luckily, when I put on the jeans my butt creates plenty of tension and this straightens right out.
The final challenge was installing the back pockets. This was only difficult because again there’s precise topstitching AND you’re negotiating a ton of jean fabric. I used a downloadable pocket design from DIBY Club for the back pocket design first. (Heather Lou also has 33 designs you can download). I used this video from DIBY Club to work out how to get a paper design onto pockets.
Next I clipped and pinned the back pockets in place. I tried them on a couple of times and kept moving them up. I must have a high butt because the pockets ended up right underneath the back topstitching (or I made too big a size?).
In the end, I really liked the design and the pocket placement. Is it me or do the designs look like something I saw in Kathmandu? Must be my subconscious working things out.
Tell me, who else has pockets like this?
I’m definitely making jeans again. I’ll probably take Heather Lou’s Ginger jeans class first — I can’t get enough of online sewing classes! I might even understand some of it with this one experience under my belt. -rp
Rachel, Jeans are hard to make, good job, they lookgreat.