So you think you want to sew jeans?

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Recently I sewed 2 pairs of jeans for my boys using some awesome denim from Cali Fabrics.  As a first time sewist of jeans I learned quite a bit, and I thought I’d share some tips and tricks to help fellow jean makers.

Use the right tools:

You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new set of tools, many of these items you probably already own.  And some are very specific to sewing jeans, so you might need to get them.

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A good pattern (A good pattern will teach you how to sew jeans and be easy to understand with lots of photos or illustrations.  Read the reviews and check out other sewists versions.)

Good denim fabric  (I used this dark blue 10 oz denim from Cali Fabrics, and it was perfect. Believe me, you don’t want to fight with the fabric while sewing jeans.)

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Topstitching thread (This will make your jeans look real, a must.  It’s sort of ironic how we go to so much trouble to make jeans ourselves because we want the perfect fit, but don’t want them to look “homemade!”  Topstitching thread is thicker than regular thread and the exact color you need.)

Denim needle (Thicker and more durable than other needles.  You’ll need it to sew through all the layers.)

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Rivets (Many recommend ring rivets, but I found nipple rivets easier to install.)

Jeans button (Has a metal shank for durability.)

Rivet insertion tool (I used this one: http://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/sewing/fasteners/jean-buttons-rivets/33901/ )

Ask your favorite handy man for the following:

Awl or nail (To make small holes for installing hardware.)

Hammer

Wire snips (To cut the ends off of the rivet posts if they are too long.)

Pliers (To pull out extra metal zipper teeth, and for reshaping rivet posts if necessary.)

Metal surface (I used the bottom of a cast iron skillet.)

Make a muslin

This is so important because almost no pair of jeans will be perfect on the 1st try.  If I would have made a muslin, I would have realized the legs were too skinny for my 11 year old son’s preference, and wouldn’t have wasted a yard of perfectly good denim and weeks worth of work!  {Crying big crocodile tears!}

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On the happy side, the pair I made for my 2 year old fits him perfectly…and he’s too young to complain about the fit!

But seriously, if you’re sewing women’s jeans rather than boys jeans like I was sewing you will have more curves to deal with and probably be even pickier about fit than boys.  You will want to use fabric that is compatible to denim in weight.

Buy extra hardware

This is so you can practice.  You will need it!  I bought both ring and nipple rivets and discovered that one was easier than the other for me to install.  I bought extra of both, and ended up needing every single one!

Watch some video tutorials

Because watching it is 10 times more helpful than reading it!

http://closetcasefiles.com/install-jeans-hardware-home-video/

If you want a whole video course, here are 2:

https://academy.burdastyle.com/courses/jeans-demystified-pant-fitting-and-construction-the-easy-way-on-demand

https://www.craftsy.com/sewing/classes/sewing-designer-jeans/35621

Gather your support group

Several of my sewing friends have made jeans, so I alerted them as to what I was attempting and asked them to keep me accountable and stay on stand by for fielding questions!

Just DO it!

At some point you’ve just got to get started.  Take it one step at a time.

Don’t let yourself be under the pressure of a deadline.

If you come to a difficult spot, try sewing something else for a while first.

If I can do it, you can too!

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Audrey is a mother to 7 (and one on the way!) blogs at Skirt Fixation, and loves to sew!  Sometimes she even remembers to make a muslin…

4 thoughts on “So you think you want to sew jeans?

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