unintentional denim rescue

Burda 1-2010-136 side backI’ve tried again.  I was so hyped after making my first pair of jeans that I wanted to try again, only this time I was going to try to fix those pesky smile lines in the back.  And I wanted a pair that was heavily topstitched in a dark indigo denim.  The fabric is from my stash – a length of stretch denim blend purchased at a roll end party from Emma One Sock this past year.

I got cocky distracted this time around and didn’t measure properly, so this is a rescue post.  First, I had to add width.  Yup.  I wanted a pair of jeans that fit a little looser than my previous pair, but I didn’t add the extra inch or two of width when I cut.  *headdesk* So, after offering them to DD1 and DD2 (neither of whom were particularly enthused about a new pair of mom-made jeans) I put them aside and went to bed.  For the second day.  During the night, of course, inspiration arrived and I added a strip about 1 3/8 inch wide down the sides.  Piece work was required because I was using scraps.Burda 1-2010-136 cute backI was pretty dayum pleased with myself for this little bit of ingenious rescuing.  Of course it turned the jeans into dress jeans because the legs are wider than I wanted them to be.  My DH thinks they’re too wide.  I will not pick out all that topstitching, so they’re staying wide.  *humph*Burda 1-2010-136 side frontBut let me tell you, I had a saaaagaaaa of fitting frustration that drove me to distraction.  They’re still not the way I want them to fit, but they’re pretty good.  And I think I’ve finally figured out how to fix those lovely little smile lines.  Of course, I learned it too late for this particular pair.  But I now know.Burda 1-2010-136 backAnd they’re too short, damn it.  I wonder how stupid they’d look with a hemline add-on…Burda 1-2010-136 sideY’know… maybe something a bit flared and cut on the bias, because that’s all the scraps I have left!

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Bronze Jeans: Burda 1/2010 #136

Warning: there’s a lot of pictures in this post, and, well, no amount of tweaking can make my 40-something mother-multiple-times exercise-free butt look younger, childless or hawter. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 😉

Burda 1-2010-136 frontI did it.  I crossed into the world of the unknown and I did it!  I cracked the jean mystery, peeps, and I am so EXCITED!  I have long scoffed at the idea of making my own jeans.  Whatever for?  What a hassle.  That’s just sewing geekiness.  Not interested.  bronze jeansBut the idea of making jeans has a way of getting under one’s skin and wandering through one’s sewing plans, and more than once I was coerced by Linda at EmmaOneSock to buy stretch denim.  For no reason except that it’s nice to have stretch denim in your stash, right?  No plans for jeans here.  Stretch denim can be used for a LOT of other clothing items besides jeans.  So you see it’s really not my fault that I made a pair of jeans.  The entire sewing universe has been conspiring to convert me.I’m so glad I did!  I feel like I’ve taken one major sewing step forward.  As I sewed this up, Burda 1-2010 #136cracking the big jean mystery one seam at a time, it was amazing to learn how simple jean construction is.  I used this model from Burda 1/2010 #136.I did not make a muslin specifically for this pair.  After sewing up my one and only pair of skinnies from the Burda block, I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be altered, so I measured myself from various angles very carefully, and then measured the pattern very carefully.  And re-measured.

I didn’t make any adjustments to the to the front, except to leave off that weird front patch between the front thighs.  Why it is there?  It looks…. well, uncomfortably embarrassing. Maybe their designers thought it would be interesting, but I didn’t like it.  Besides, can you just picture it in this bronze denim with dark purple topstitching?  *shudder*  Wrong visual.  BTW, the front crotch depth is good, but I’m not sure if the little extra fabric at the front crotch should be left or adjusted.  I need to think about that more.  It’s not uncomfortable and I don’t think it looks bad, but I still need to think about it from a “perfect fit” perspective.  Any opinions on this would be lovely!frontI lengthened the back by one full inch by extending the crotch curve.  This was a mistake because the inseam of this pair is 1 inch forward of where it should be. forward inseamThis is a good lesson to learn!  I should have left the crotch alone and slashed and spread the length of the CB seam instead to get the length I needed.  This would have left the inseam in its proper place. I did need to taper both the CB seam, the yoke and the waistband to fit the curve of my lower back.  backThis was no big surprise, and since I was anticipating this adjustment as a last little fitting tweak, I constructed the back in such a way that the CB seam was the last to be stitched.  I attached the waistband to the jeans and fit the CB seam, taking in about 3/4″ at the waist and tapering it to the hip level.  Burda’s instructions suggested stitched the CB seam and topstitching it prior to attaching the waistband.  Well, I knew that was going to be an un-picking nightmare, so I went down a different construction street quite happily.

left sideright sideMy side seams are almost perfectly perpendicular to the floor, which is a good thing, and I don’t need to tell you fellow sewistas that I’m very happy about that.  After taking these pics, however, it’s obvious the back thighs need to be shortened – probably a good 4cm – so the wrinkling under my butt goes away. I have some thoughts on this and will share them next post.

The pockets have a decorative self-fabric binding, which I wasn’t sure about.  That could mean too many layers of denim to sew through, but after a couple of test runs on scraps I went ahead with it.  It’s a unique detail that I’ve never seen on jeans before.  Not that I’ve seen a lot of jeans in my life.  But anyways… Burda 1-2010-136 pocket binding I used a denim needle for this project, and it stitched through all 5 layers of denim at the turned-under ends of the pocket binding with no complaints.Burda 1-2010-136 pocketsThe topstitching pattern for the back pockets is all Burda’s.  I claim no credit for creativity.  But I like these pockets.Burda 1-2010-136 belt loopsThe belt loops were the other area I discarded Burda’s instructions.  I was supposed to stitch a long tube and turn it.  Uh.  Right.  I hate turning tubes of fabric on the best of slippery fabrics, so why would I want to do that on thick stretch denim?  So I serged both long edges of the belt loop piece and turned the edges in on themselves in thirds, exactly like all the RTW jeans I inspected.  It turned out to be a little wider in width than typical belt loops, so I took the opportunity to use one of the decorative stitches on my machine instead of just straight topstitching.bronze denimI didn’t use studs to reinforce any pocket corners on this pair, although I studied every single pair of DH’s and DD1’s jeans to see where the studs were used.  I wanted to keep this project simple without a lot of extraneous detail or embellishment.  The only new-to-me hardware issues were the stud button and shortening the metal zipper by hand, neither of which was difficult or stress-inducing.And I added 2 inches of length.  I may be vain, but IMHO, the added 2 inches give the illusion of longer legs than I really own.  😉 After finishing this pair and wearing them for a day, I can tell you I have more in the queue.  Thanks to all of you sewing bloggers who have documented the process of making your own jeans.  Without all your posts and pics and details and FO’s I would not have crossed the hurdle of jeans.  You know who you are.  😉 Burda 1-2010-136 back