finally, a jeans post! i've been meaning to do a post on making a pair of jeans for a while now. sorry it's long, but there's lots to fit in. a couple things first:
1. i'm a jeans purist. i'm really only interested in raw selvedge denim and i rarely wash my jeans. learning how to make my own jeans came out of the fact that it's super hard to find raw denim jeans that fit me--i have a small waist and absolutely no ass, so i'm smaller than most places smallest size.
2. i've found 1 pair of jeans that fit me perfectly and of course they're $175. i'm obsessed with a.p.c. jeans, but as a broke artist, i needed to spend a little less on my jeans.
3. the pattern that i have is from a pair of a.p.c. jeans that i took apart, traced, and put back together. i have a rough understanding on how to make a jeans pattern, but making patterns is not fun and this way is just easier. some friends got excited about the fact that i learned how to make jeans, but honestly, if your jeans cost less than $100 it's worth it just to buy them. i'm on my 5th pair of homemade jeans (including 2 pairs of shorts) and it still takes about 7 hours to construct 1 pair. for realz. alright, let's do this:
i'm going to give the bare bones, and "highlights" to making a pair: it's really intense and i don't want to break this down into 20 posts.
i lay out and trace my pattern onto the denim. i like to draw in all the fold lines as well. after i cut everything out i go ahead and press down (and up) on all the fold lines. this helps me out in the long run.
i'm using a black denim. normally i only want selvedge denim, but i wanted a black pair of jeans and they don't make black selvedge denim.
the first thing i do is all the pockets. i like making the pocketing fabric red--why stick with boring old white when you're making them for yourself? the back pockets are pretty self explanatory and easy.
the front pockets took a little bit to bend my mind around. the most interesting thing i found about "deconstructing" a pair of jeans was that the pocketing is actually inside out, i.e. when you stick your hand in your pocket you can actually grab hold of the seam of the pocketing--the finished seam is on the "outside"of the pocket instead of the inside (even though it's on the inside of the jeans--ha!).
next up is the fly. i'm addicted to button flys which can be a little tricky, but with some practice i've almost got it down pat. figuring out where to put the buttons and buttonholes is tricky because where they are placed REALLY effects the fit.
this one little 3 inch seam below the fly is a total bitch and i couldn't figure it out until the 4th pair i made. it's a hidden stitch on one side and then over stitched to keep the folded fabric down. it helps to have the "re-constructed" original pair on hand to refer back to to double check if you have any questions.
once the pockets and fly are done and the yolks are attached it's time to get 3-D!
this part i always find hilariously confusing--even on shirts (and don't even get me started on the lined vest i made once)! you're essentially taking 2 or more pieces of fabric that lay flat and by sewing them together forming a 3 dimensional object that does not lay flat. trying to sew the right seams together can seen mind-altering. at least denim has a very clear right and wrong side. the seam on the inside of the leg is done first and then the two right-sides of the front and back piece are sewn together up the outer sides.
the last bit of sewing is the belt loops and waistband. trying to get the stitching on the jeans to match perfectly is a losing battle (i don't have an industrial machine) and this includes the belt loops (look at the "backside" of the belt loops on your jeans and you'll see what i mean). the most convenient thing i've found is cutting the belt loops out along the selvedge edge of the denim and folding the raw edge under the finished edge. these jeans aren't selvedge denim so i found that just serging one side and folding under the raw edge works well.
the finishing touches are the buttons and rivets (you can find them here) and, BAM! a new pair of jeans that i made myself! like i said this is my 5th pair and i still had to rip out a couple of seams to get it right, but every time i get better. aside from the price aspect of the a.p.c. jeans, i also just like being able to make my own clothes-some weird pride thing. i'm going to start to include some of the clothing and costumes onto my main site when i get a couple more things made.