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making your own western jeans

sew-sneezweedz | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all, I’m a newby, I need help and figured that this would be the place to post.

I am interested in making my own western style jeans, like the Rocky Mountain style. I have never made jeans first off, second I have been told to take apart one of my older jeans and use it as a pattern. These jeans run at least $50. a pair and I take very careful care of them as I am a hardworking stiff that lives paycheck to paycheck. Does anyone have suggestions as to where I might find this type pattern or have any ideas what I might be able to do to construct my own. Thanks

Replies

  1. woodruff | | #1

    Wow, out here in California, I've never seen "Rocky Mountain Jeans." I googled the term, and what came up was a high-waisted, narrow-legged jean described as being right for curvy women. Does this sound correct? I assume you are a woman?

    Anyhow, jeans can be made by a home sewist. There's a lot of fiddly stiching involved, but the hardest part of the whole thing is getting a good fit. Myself, I would recommend starting with a Burda or Neue Mode pattern, because their European crotch curves are more like those of real women, IMHO, than those of the Big Four American pattern companies.

    Burda, Neue Mode, Vogue, and McCalls all have jeans patterns, and all the pattern companies have online catalogues now. To flip through them, just type the pattern company's name in the google search box, and you should be able to get where you want to go.

    If you want to know what people thought of a jeans pattern as they made it, and how it looked when done, with photos, (not to "push" a different sewing site, you know), you can type jeans in the search box at http://www.patternreview.com

  2. Bel Argent | | #2

    I pretty much second what Woodruff said, except to add that the second hardest part about making your own jeans is finding good denim! 

    I have worked out a method over the years that allows me to sew all the hard bits on the flat, which makes things much easier and faster.  As Woodruff said, its fiddly sewing, particularly the endless topstitching.  But if you are a somewhat experienced sew-ist, then its quite doable.

    1. sew-sneezweedz | | #3

      Would it be worth using a Bonfit patterner? I have looked at the pattern companies that you recommended and none have a current jeans pattern that is similar to what I want to make. Any other suggestions?

  3. JennyNZ | | #4

    Hi,

    I have just made a master block for a jeans pattern. 

    I had a fav. trousers that fitted perfectly (to old to wear out of the house!) which I cut up for the pattern and an old pair of Calvin Kleins to get the yolk, fly, procket etc dimensions and to follow the construction process of.  But I agree Burda pants work best for the rise, when I've made other trousers.

    The first pair was made from easy to get hold of blue denim (slight stretch), with red top stitching.  I had to give it a wider waistband as I need a bit of modesty when bending over on construction sites! Therefore the pockets and yolks became too low.

    So I have made some tweeks for the final pair I am nearly finished sewing in hard to get (moderate stretch) black denim with silver topstiching and painted pocket motifs.

    The most important thing was the sewing order as this made lovely flat seams.

    I hand sewed the buttonholes as the machine hated doing this, but it was OK to do extensive topstiching...go figure?

    Use 1cm seams.

    When you go to hem them work out what hem you want and then add 1.5", as I found although they were perfect when first tried on, with wear they creeped up!

    If you need any more pointers drop me an email, as I have written down the construction process, but its at home.

    Regards,

    Jenny


    Edited 7/25/2006 9:22 pm ET by JennyNZ



    Edited 7/25/2006 9:23 pm ET by JennyNZ

    1. sew-sneezweedz | | #5

      I would love to know more about your block. Please feel free to send me any information that you are willing to share. I own a Quilt Shop in New Mexico, I'm a decent seamstress, but have never even attempted to make a pair of pants and it just seems to scare me to death to even try. Thanks Cindy

      1. MarshaK | | #6

        I have been sewing jeans for myself for quite a few years, the only patterns I use are from Kwik-Sew. Right now I think they have two versions, one for woven fabrics and one for stretch. Once you have the first pair sewn, and the fit is right I think you'll be hesitant about buying ready made jeans. Yeah, all the topstitching of the seams takes a lot of time, but just think of the unique personality you can put into your jeans with any of the fantastic threads that are out there, fancy stitching you can do on the back pockets, or as I like to do, stitch something along the curve of the front pockets. (before the jeans are sewn together) Several of the 'other' sewing magazines have articles on embellishing jeans with machine embroidered motifs, I've just used decorative stitches that are on the machine (Pfaff Creative 1472) like a string of hearts.

        MarshaK.

        1. sew-sneezweedz | | #7

          Is it important to sew the initial pair out of a comperable weight denim that I would like to construct them out of once I have the fit right? I feel like such a novice, I've sewn for years but this just intimidates me something awful.
          I ride a motorcycle and decide a couple of years ago that I would make my own leathers. Well I purchase a whole leather hide and laid it out on the cutting table, told myself that nothing else would cross the cutting table until I had cut the leather. A good 3 weeks later I finally cut it. Whew, the extreme anxioty I had for the whole 3 weeks. The chaps and jacket came out fine and I wear them to this day.
          Sorry for babbling on, and thanks for listening.
          Cindy

          1. MarshaK | | #8

            Hi Cindy, if you've sewn a jacket and chaps from leather, I don't think you have any reason to be intimidated by sewing denim jeans! I say just go for it. And unless the denim you'll be using has cost mega bucks, plan to sew those jeans for wearing after they are finished. As for getting the fit right, you could make a muslin, without all the topstitching of course, but there is a difference in the weights of denims and other fabrics that are used for pants. I have sewn the same jeans pattern in several other fabrics, they feel different when being worn.  I didn't have to make a muslin, somehow the Kwik-Sew pattern was the right length in the crotch area for me, which I feel is one of the most important areas to have fit right, I just had to add to the legs, as I'm 5'11" tall. The multi-sized patterns are a great boon as once you have the measurements you need, you can add or subtract from the size you've chosen right on the pattern paper, and not have to draft a whole new pattern. I'm sure the advanced, experts who have taken classes in dressmaking are shuddering at my suggestion, but, I don't believe in making life more difficult than it needs be. Marsha.

      2. Teaf5 | | #9

        By any chance is your quilt shop in Raton?  If so, it was a great delight on our road trip last year!

        As for jeans, I agree with all the previous posters that they require extra work but are well worth the time and effort.  Vogue's Calvin Klein jeans pattern (don't know if it's still in print) fit my daughter exactly the way CK jeans off the shelf fit her, only better, as I was able to add the extra 4" she needs in the inseam.  (As another poster noted, always make jeans at least 2" longer than you expect, as the creasing at the knee and lap area draw up a lot of fabric!)

        I used the same pattern with twill fabric and suiting fabric, and my daughter loved the fit and feel of them--the comfort of jeans with the appearance of slacks.  You could make your trial pairs out of twill and then use the perfected pattern on denim (which you need to pre-wash several times).

        1. sew-sneezweedz | | #11

          Nope my Quilt shop is in Silver City, a considerable ways from Raton. Cindy

      3. JennyNZ | | #12

        Cindy,

        Sorry for the long time it has taken to get back to you.

        I agree with another person who responded, in that you don't have to cut up an item to copy. 

        I would typically copy by pinning to non-fusible interfacing, which is what I trace Burda patterns onto.  I use this interfacing as tracing all the time as I often pin the entire pattern together and slip it on my form or me to test.  The benefits of using this is I can iron it flat (by patting the iron), and if I want to modify the pattern I can simply tape it together again with the non-woven tape that you get in the dressing section of a chemist.  Doesn't rip like paper either.

        But in this instance the pants were well past their best before, seams fraying and covered in paint, sealant and grass stains.  But at their best they were my fav., and got good comments.

        Making master block

        I made the master block by (1st making sure they were clean! after my description of them I felt it was best to mention that!).  Line dried not dryer.

        Ironed the pants flat, being careful not to stretch them as they had some stretch. 

        Then ironed all the seams flat - as if you had just sewn the seam, not having ironed the seam open or to the side.

        Cut them apart carefully along the stitch line, so they fall apart (no time to unpick seams).

        Identify grainline of pants.

        I then pined them to the non-fusible interfacing and traced around them, marking grainlines.

        Mark out the yoke lines, pockets, zip etc on this block.

        Using non-fusible interfacing trace each pattern piece of the block and then add seam allowances 1cm, except at hem always allow way too much.

        Now you have a master block, any fitting adjustments need to be transfered back to this master block.

        Seam order

        (Topstitching as you go) My intrepretation based on the jeans I was copying.

        Pocket top hem.

        Pocket to trouser backs.

        Trouser backs to yoke.

        Centre back seam.

        Front underflap, zip and (in my case) right front sew together.

        Left front flap to zip.

        Left front flap to left front.

        Centre front seam as far as you can go.

        Topstitch fly etc.

        Join back & front inner seams.

        Join side seams.

        Attach wasit band - in my case it was left front, back and right front as it was shaped.

        Button & button hole.

        Hem.

        In case you are wondering where the front pockets are, I don't like them so don't put them in after all these are your jeans and you can alter them as you see fit :) 

        (I would do them just before the zips, so it was flat pieces I was working with).

        I hope this helps, all the best.

        Jenny.

         

         

  4. mygaley | | #10

    I just wanted to be sure you are aware there are several ways of copying garment pieces without disassembling the garment.  The one that works for me is to stick pins in brown paper.  Threads archives may show several of these.  God bless you as you sew.  Galey

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