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home-made jeans

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@reallypeacedoff good advice! Was kinda wondering if I should consider an alternative fabric and to hear that pros suggest the same thing makes me think I oughta. 

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Took @reallypeacedoff's advice and got some canvas instead of muslin. Was only a couple bucks more per yard than muslin at Joann's so it was a no brainer, and I have enough canvas left to make a real pair of jeans before I use my fancy denim. 

Modified the pattern I copied off a pair of levis. Gave them about 10" in the hem vs the levis' 8.5" or whatever it was. Really enjoyed patterning though, and it was a lot simpler than I had anticipated to make the changes. 

Stitched up a muslin (feels silly calling it that since I didn't use muslin) and used it as a chance to practice felled seams too. Made a few mistakes with orientation for the felled seams, but I think that's in part due to this canvas not having a clear right or wrong side lol.

Real happy with the fit though. It's pretty much precisely what I want, so I don't have to go and modify the patterns.

I realized that I need to get an edge guide though. Since this was a muslin I just marked the seam allowance with sharpie, but that's not gonna fly on the real thing.

Till next time!







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My nana gave me this serger a few years ago when she had to downsize her sewing setup. Finally trying it out for the first time, turns out they're less daunting than they seem. Feel like I'm in a good spot now to knock out this prototype pair.

Cut the pieces last night, hopefully next week I can start whipping things together. 



Edited by rbeck
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On 1/28/2024 at 12:32 PM, rbeck said:

Stitched up a muslin (feels silly calling it that since I didn't use muslin) and used it as a cha

Toile is the word you need.

I get my students to use calico first to get a basic idea of fit then adjust to a cheap fabric similar to what they are designing toward then some partial toiles on their real fabric if needed. More skilled students go straight to cheap similar fabric. This is them drafting a basic body block then adapting and adjusting it to interpret whatever they have designed. One year I got them all to design, draft and make their version of 5 pocket jeans... never again. most should have gone to worlds ugliest jeans thread... yuh know miss, like a Bratz doll vibe. 


Also Seam guide.. your machine will have lines on it off to the side of the foot your eyes should be watching the cut edges lined up them, should be spaced out in 5mm or 1/4 inches depending on machine.... Or get so taylors chalk to draw guide lines in.


Edited by tg76
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@tg76 my machine doe not have the seam allowance guide lines, but I know I can get one if I want. Ended up getting a magnetic edge guide, but for the felled seams I am probably gonna mark them with chalk. 

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Spent a few hours behind the machine yesterday on the practice pants. Learned a couple things from the first time I did some felled seams, so this time went smoother, though I had to fiddle with the tension a bit. Yoke seams came out kinda wonky, but not too bad.

Front pockets were a lot of fun to do because of all the steps, and after the first one I breezed right through the second one. Ignore the fact that I forgot to stitch the top seam of the coin pocket. Got too excited and didn't care enough to redo it since these are for practice. Planning on using the same pocket bag fabric on the real pair too. 





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Looks like a pair of jeans now. Waiting on buttons and rivets, but finally able to try them on for real. Little tight in the thighs so I need to add some room there but otherwise pleased. 

Had a hell of a time on the crotch seam. It kept confusing me and I ended up having to redo it a few times which is why it looks like shit. 





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Cut my denim up the other day. Spent last night sewing front pockets, yoke seams, back rise seam, and back pockets. 

Had a lot of fun on the back pockets. My first name is Ryan, so I did a lowercase R for the arcs. Also made a tab outta the same fabric I used for the pocket bags which I think looks sharp. 

Compensating feet are a game changer. They make it so even a novice garment maker like myself can get professional looking seams. Only wish I could find low shank ones that are wider than 6mm. I used a 3mm one for several seams last night though and it was a dream. 

Thanks for looking!

Oh also, the test pair has belt loops and a hem now too, just needs buttons and rivets and they'll be wearable. 








Edited by rbeck
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Yesterday I:

- assembled fly pieces

- attached crotch seam (much more cleanly than the last time I might add)

- attached front and back together


Test fit is perfect too. Added some ease for my thighs and it was a good choice. Also really like how the green serged edges look. 






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28 minutes ago, reallypeacedoff said:

Awesome job!

I'm interested in how you will get the buttons and rivets on there.


The etsy seller I bought the rivets and buttons from had a guide that showed how to use some stuff you can get at any hardware store, but I don't love the results on the practice pair so I may break down and look for a press or even just the right hand tools for the job. 

Edited by rbeck
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Realized that there's water soluble double sided tape that would have helped me out big time last night with lining up the waistband. But it's good enough for a personal pair, and I'm still proud of my work this far. 

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Thanks! I'm very pleased with myself. It's been hard not wearing them now that they're done aside from the patch but I am forcing myself to wait lol

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They're done. Thanks for looking everyone. 


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  • 2 months later...

I got so much satisfaction out of making that last pair of jeans that I told my brother I wanted to make a pair for him for his birthday. Been drafting the pattern the last couple weeks and finally got it where he wanted it. He's got a little bit more weight in his gut and thighs than I do so it was a good exercise in modifying patterns. 

Also bought this 1960s New Home (Janome) 532 zig zag machine off Marketplace for $50. It could hardly turn when I got it, so over a few days I doused it in kerosene a few times a day to de-gunk it. That did the trick so I oiled it up, put belt on it, and now I can do bartacks. It doesn't love going through belt loops but if you floor it it will get enough momentum to power through. 

Also some (admittedly poor) pictures of the denim my brother selected. He wanted a crosshatch slub so I found this stuff on Big Z. 

More updates to follow!





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Progress from the last couple days. 

Yokes are attached, backs are sewn, and rear pockets are attached. Front pockets are done too. I've had this gingham canvas for ages and I'm glad it's getting put to use now. 

My brother's name is Evan, so he wanted a lowercase e on the back pockets. He also wanted a purple tab (and purple serging and inseam topstitching to match later).

Added a closeup of the bartacks which came out better than I expected. 







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Another update, sorry for double posting today. 

Got the fly pieces attached, did the crotch seam, and did the first pass on the inseam. I have to wait to serge and topstitch the inseam because I want to baste the outseam and have him try them on first. That way I can let out some seam allowance if I need to before actually finishing the inseam. 

This denim is really trying the limits of my 201-2. I had some troublesome spots on the last pair but nothing as difficult as some of these seams have been. Maybe this is a sign to start shopping for an industrial machine lol. 

I'm happy with how quick these have come along. It's cool to know that barring fit checks I can definitely knock a pair out in a weekend. If it weren't for other plans and wanting to triple check the fit of these thighs then I'd be wrapping up tonight instead of leaving it where its at right now. 





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Been a couple days since I've had a busy week. Last night I serged and topstitched the inseam and sewed the outseams as well. 

My brother wanted purple topstitching down the inseam, but I got in a groove last night and used yellow. Didn't catch my mistake till after I got the outseams and the topstitching on the hips, so I had a lot of backtracking to do. I was afraid things would end up sloppy but everything stitched up nicely imo.





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Thank you @chicote! I'm really proud of how they came out. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Today is his birthday so my brother finally got to see and try on the jeans. He said it's the best gift I've given him yet. 

I learned a couple weeks ago how a yoke is actually supposed to work, so there's a bit of bunching on the yoke that I wish they didn't have, but he doesn't care. I treated it like a single dart on the center back seam and did not put a curve in the pattern where it attached to the back panels. Lesson learned, and it also explains why the yoke on my pair is a little off too. Next pair will be better, and I'm already thinking about what I wanna do. 

He thinks the flaws are charming though, so he's happy.

(Dorky shirt tuck was just to show the fit of the jeans)


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About 3 months of wear on my pair. Washed and tumble dried them probably 5 or 6 times. I think this fabric really lends itself to the heavily marbled look. The subtle slub is nice too. I really like what's going on with the back left pocket. 

The fly closeup is the most accurate for the shade of black that they're at. 










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