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10 Tips for Creating Great-Looking Denim Jeans

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Have you been avoiding sewing your own denim jeans because you think it’s too difficult?

Sewing denim jeans does present a number of challenges that sewing ordinary pants does not, which may be why so many classes are geared to jeans-making (in addition to the fact that they’re simply a popular garment).

Identifiable jeans details

All of us are familiar with the way ready-to-wear (RTW) jeans are finished and, as a result, our definition of how they must look is specific. Classic RTW jeans share the following characteristics: They’re sewn from denim (a cotton twill woven to produce a fine diagonal ribbing), which is often indigo blue; decorated with contrasting topstitching in single, double, and even triple parallel rows; front pockets reinforced with metal rivets; metal jeans button closure on the front waistband; and seamed with sturdy flat-felled seams.

It’s not the sewing of the cotton denim that presents a unique challenge, however. It’s creating this authentic appearance that sets jeans making apart.

To approximate the look of ready-to-wear jeans, like these Levi 401s, when I’m sewing my own jeans, I pay close attention to topstitching on the fly front as well as the position of rivets, belt loops, and bar tacks (narrow satin stitches).

Another aspect specific to jeans is their fit. Most of us have a clear idea about where we want our jeans to cling and where we don’t: I like mine to be snug in the rear and loose around my calves and ankles. Being able to customize fit is part of what propels us to sew our own jeans.

10 denim sewing tips

Denim, due to its thickness, can present a challenge to many sewing machines. Most of our jean seams are flat-felled on the outside, meaning they are…

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  1. User avater
    GmaCma | | #1

    Thanks for a great tutorial on making jeans! Excellent pics and instructions. I made a pair of stretch jeans and look forward to making more using your tips. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing with us!

  2. User avater
    Anascana | | #2

    Think you for this very detailed tutorial.

  3. CGinColorado | | #3

    Thanks for this great article with all the tips! I've made a few pair, one for my granddaughter that turned out wonderful, and I'm ready to make more for me. I've used the blue/silver Guterman topstitching thread as I haven't been able to get the gold to work. Time for more experimentations. One correction, though, that little pocket isn't a coin pocket, it's a watch pocket.

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