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Jeanealogy

December 4, 2011

At long last, I can add another notch on my sewing belt. These jeans were conceived and born in Texas, back when R was working in a library genealogy department no less. They made the journey northeast with good intentions, but sat neglected for years. Poor things. All that was needed was a waistband, side seams, hem and belt carriers. But I never made the time to finish them until last week. I certainly have lots of it now! Are they perfect? No. Am I okay with that? Yes.

Here’s why: They are my first pair of jeans. In the time between cutting and the final stitch (four years? five?), I’ve gained weight, lost weight, changed shape a little. Despite the time off, I’ve still learned a lot about fitting pants. The process of making this pair is complete; now I can apply knowledge gained to tweak these into a pair better-fitted. Lastly, I need to give myself a break now and then. I made jeans, yo! Who does that? (other sewing bloggers aside).

There are a few changes I’ll try on the next pair, once I’ve fully cleaned off my UFO plate. The crotch curve in back feels great to me, but was deepened to the extent of pulling down the back waist. My pelvis probably tilts, making this more pronounced. I don’t mind how low the back waist is, but this leaves the front rise higher, and a bit poofy. I’ll shave a little off the top, simultaneously lowering the zip so the fly doesn’t end up being 2 inches long! The front legs are a little tight across my thighs, which are probably more muscular now than when I started the jeans. I’ll have to compensate by adding in a little room. I have to deal with the slight drag lines under the butt. I’ll add rivets; didn’t feel like it on this practice pair. I’ll hem with boots on. Because I know better, but got lazy. My machine hates thick denim thread. Hates it. I’ll have to get a new machine. Ha! As if.

A friend of mine told a stranger at a party last night that I made my jeans. Awkward. Only because they weren’t perfect, and the denim is far from lived-in. I didn’t get the complete freak show look, but the person was a little curious why someone in this day would make jeans. I rambled off something about process, working with one’s hands, anti-rabid consumerism, sustainability, reclaiming lost skill sets, relaxation, fair working conditions. But the short answer is: because I can. Why climb Everest? Because it’s there.

Anyway, there will definitely be little jeansie babies in the making soon, and I can’t wait to get the perfect pair. Oh, if you’re wondering, I used McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch M5142 “The Perfect Jean” pattern, and made my own pocket detail.

Nice parting shot, eh? Because this is slightly discomfiting, let me distract you by stating one more reason why we should all give ourselves a break now and again. I remember when I topstitched the cb, and one line of thread went slightly curved for an inch. I was about to unpick and start over, annoyed with myself and not looking forward to the possibility that my machine and it’s distaste for this thread would give me more problems. Ultimately, I decided to just live with it. And you know what? A pair of mass-produced jeans that I wear all. the. time. have a wonky stitch at the inseam, right near the knee.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2011 7:54 pm

    Awesome!! They look great, especially for first jeans. The fit in back is particularly good. I don’t think anyone would guess you’d made them yourself.

    • December 6, 2011 1:25 pm

      Thanks :) After a few washings, hopefully they won’t look so new.

  2. December 4, 2011 8:07 pm

    yourbooty. ISPERFECT!!! isn’t that the hardest parts of pants?

    i love noticing the errors in RTW, and having them make our snafus better. and revisiting UFOS. also writing in caps with abbreviations.

    • December 6, 2011 1:26 pm

      Ha! More like “Ima arch my back, stick out my butt, and you’d better get the perfect angle or else!”

  3. December 5, 2011 12:12 am

    YOU made JEANS, yo!!! Magnifique! Love your pocket drawing!

  4. Jennifer Marsh-Crowe permalink
    December 5, 2011 8:25 am

    Hey Boo ~
    I love the jeans, you make them look great! I remember when mom made me a pair of jeans when I was in high school, loved them too, even with the decorative stud thingies she put on them back then. Wish I had the talent that you and Mom have.

    • December 6, 2011 1:30 pm

      Oh man, please tell me you still have those!!! Why weren’t studs in style in the 90s?

  5. December 5, 2011 9:24 am

    These look great! That’s such an accomplishment– congrats!!

  6. December 5, 2011 9:39 am

    You made a pair of jeans… That is quite awesome… They look perfect to me. Well done you!

  7. December 5, 2011 10:19 am

    Your jeans look wonderful and you have given me a nudge to move toward that project for myself. I can still find jeans that fit me pretty well in RTW, but styles change…

  8. December 5, 2011 1:19 pm

    These look awesome, congrats! I totally agree on cutting ourselves some slack. Pretty much every ready to wear garment I have has some mistake or crooked stitch or button that falls off immediately upon getting it home.

    • December 6, 2011 1:37 pm

      Thank, Jen! I truly think most hand made garments are sturdier than their counterparts, especially when you’ve been at it a while.

  9. December 5, 2011 4:08 pm

    You made jeans? I happen to think that’s awesome. I’m currently making my own too, but from a pattern I’ve stolen by cutting up an old favourite pair that died. I’m secretly hoping this means I won’t have any fitting issues… We’ll soon see about that. I think you did a pretty damn good job on these. It’s only improvement from here on out though – the more you make something, the better you get!

    • December 6, 2011 1:38 pm

      Aw, thanks! I have been so close to ripping apart my fav RTW pair so many times, but can’t quite bring myself to do it. Holes and all… maybe I should just take the plunge. Can’t wait to see yours!

  10. December 5, 2011 4:42 pm

    wow they’re great well done!! and for the record my thought on looking at your butt was man her top stitching is so even ;-)

    • December 6, 2011 1:40 pm

      Haha! The wonky seam is slightly out of view, and I swear I didn’t plan it that way :)

  11. December 6, 2011 7:24 am

    they are stunning! congratulations, I’m jealous…

  12. December 6, 2011 2:53 pm

    Wow, those are awesome. I actually love the dark colour. My employer has changed their policy to jeans unless you are seeing a client, so now I’m finding I’m wearing jeans to work 2 days a week. Most of my jeans are more weekend apparel, worn and too snug etc for work, that dark wash would be perfect.

  13. December 6, 2011 5:06 pm

    :D I love your answer on why you sewed them!
    They look wonderful on you. I love the dark denim and the fit looks very good on the photos!

  14. December 12, 2011 1:38 am

    Umm really? Imperfections? Because from here it looks as if those jeans once had a high price tag from a non big-box store. Your bootay looks uh-mazing in these jeans + the top-stitching is magnifique! Jeans are a true sewing milestone in my book. On top of that, you look downright gorgeous and utterly relaxed.

    Also, I regret that I didn’t comment earlier on the post that you had up not long ago. I read it, and I thought it was both appropriate and amazing. (ESPECIALLY since you made a rad mixed tape for the occasion too!!) It’s takes a little bit of faith, guts, and just trusting what you know is best for yourself to make those life moves. I know just a tad about that and I’m constantly trying to figure all that out myself. So I applaud you much + hope for all the best in the world for ya ;)

    Above all else, just keep being you – you’re absolutely wonderful!! xo

  15. Linda permalink
    December 13, 2011 11:01 pm

    I think they are awesome and the butt looks great which is always my problem (not looking good that is.) Awesome job!

  16. Redheadfae permalink
    December 14, 2011 12:53 pm

    Super job.. I haven’t made a pair of jeans since I was in high school and had the patience and time for the fussing I did. Funny thing, that style is perfectly right today… low-riders with flares and a button fly. I was still afraid of a zipfly back then.
    Yours are great. AND your entire ensemble is tres chic.
    WHERE did you get that top? did you make it? WANTWANTWANT. :)

    • December 16, 2011 10:32 am

      Merci! It’s an Anthropologie sweater from a few years ago, and I should really use it to draft my own cowl :)

      • Redheadfae permalink
        December 16, 2011 10:49 am

        Definitely. It’s so hard to find a sweater anymore that hits at jean top without have to be tucked in (ick).
        I search and search for tops like that, they seem to make them all hip length and below now.

  17. December 15, 2011 10:12 am

    Well done on those jeans. After having pushed myself to make my first pair recently I totally agree that it takes a lot of dedication. The fit is perfect if you ask me and your photos are gorgeous.

  18. Julie permalink
    December 31, 2011 5:24 pm

    You made jeans! Awesome. Not easy to do and most machines DO NOT like going through all those layers of denim when you hem and put on belt loops. More power to you! Everest, indeed!

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