Friday, 27 February 2015

mini jeans (jeans techniques class 5) and jeans pattern progress

Tools required today
I didn't manage to put the waistband on before jeans techniques class 5 to get ahead a bit. I actually couldn't find the pieces!  So I had to wait until the class to cut new pieces. The college seemed a little disorganised (OK - like me!) and our tutor , D, was locked out of the rooms we use. Our class was over 20 minutes late in starting by the time a key was eventually procured - and D had been trying to get one for some time before we got there. So it was really only feasible to get the band on, not also start my trousers. Also, a couple of the ladies were behind because they had been on holiday and missed classes. One of those is Linda, whom I like to work with. We can offer each other advice.

I cut out the waistband pieces. We 'pretended' to interface one of the sides, the part of the waistband on the outside. I hadn't taken interfacing with me and there was none in class. We'd done this before, though, so it was less important for teaching purposes.

I successfully stitched my waistband pieces together down the long edges that would form the waistband upper edge. I carefully folded and pressed wrong sides together, making sure the stitching line was right on the edge, rolling the seam in my fingers where necessary. I then carefully topstitched. In fact, in future I would not topstitch until later. The topstitching made the next step difficult.  I advised Linda to wait and D agreed.

I then had to sew the raw edge of the outside waistband piece to the jeans, matching notches - only there weren't any, which became a problem later and emphasised for me the need to carefully transfer any notches or other pattern info from the pattern to the fabric.

Following this, I had to match the right sides of each half of the waistband together at each end of the waistband and finish off exactly level with the part of the jean it was attached to, by sewing across the end. Then the waistband got turned the right way around. This was where my topstitching caused problems - I was unable to get neat corners and had to unpick some of the stitches. Looking at the finished jean, too, I feel that the top is wider than the bottom, so my stitching is not completely vertical, though I did follow the lower part of the jean, I'll have to watch this. We didn't have a fabric edge to follow as there was quite a bit of excess fabric to cut off.
Edge of waistband not perfectly vertical
See where topstitching had to be unpicked and redone


Finished sample with jeans button and rivet. Note wrinkled and distorted waistband.
The underside of the waistband then had to get attached to the jean. This was done by turning under a 1cm seam allowance and matching the folded edge to the stitching. There was then a choice of topstitching to join the under waistband to the jean, or stitching-in-the-ditch.  I chose to topstitch. Had I pinned it thinking of the sewing direction, which I hadn't, I could have joined the waistband to the jean, topstitched the waistband ends and to stitched the top of the waistband (in my case, the bits missing from the ends) ALL IN ONE GO. I couldn't do that. My band is slightly twisted - it seems that I didn't accurately fold so that the back of the band is slightly offset from the front, despite the topstitching. This is where the notches would have been particularly helpful. I decided not to unpick and redo as I understood the idea.

The class was over so quickly I couldn't believe it!  I quickly asked D about the last steps, buttonhole and button so that I could finish these at home.

At home on Thursday, I experimented with some buttonholes and finally chose one I liked. I stitched it onto the end of the waistband. I'd appreciate any tips on making my buttonhole neater!
You can see roughness and fraying inside the buttonhole and point where I had to resew on top edge of waistband. Being able to pivot from top to side then to bottom edges would have been easier and nicer.

The little test sample was very grubby and I couldn't get my old chalk line, marking where I initially sewed, off. There were dirty marks from class, too, as well as the general grubbiness from working with a pale fabric. I decided to wash them. They had not been prewashed as this was a test garment just to practice the techniques. The fabric was a fairly heavy calico compared to the ones I regularly use. I took a limp crushed rag out of the washer and put it in the tumble dryer for a little while, thinking that then it wouldn't look so creased. It came out looking like a floppy piece of seersucker. Not much better after ironing, even though I also used my steam generating iron. I don't know how much shrinkage there was.

After washing

Waistband particularly affected

A couple of thoughts from this
·         DH does not want this calico as a pocket lining. He does want a firm pocket as he carries keys, change, tools etc. He doesn't like his jeans ironed, so pointless to use a fabric that would have to be ironed. I need to investigate possibilities further. Do you have any suggestions for me?
View of inside with pocket stay; fine cotton used for pocket - perhaps remains best option
·         The waistband is particularly affected - lack of interfacing becomes very apparent - and of course the initial twisting didn't help; that looks much worse now.
·         DH also pointed out that the shrinkage had been unequal and the back of the jeans is now lying differently, at a different angle. I'm not going to worry about that as I have washed DH's denim 3 times.
·         I also noticed that the pocket lining is trying to peek out of the left pocket, where I understitched but did not top stitch. The right pocket, where I understitched then also top stitched (same colour so can't see it) lies better. In the jeans for DH, I will be top stitching the pockets. I will need to get quite a bit of practice sewing around a curve and getting two parallel lines that look nice.
The rivets and jeans buttons arrived through the post along with some other things I need for DH's jeans so I decided to use them to get some practice, with DH's help.
Jeans button and pin on left and rivet (7mm) and pin on right
DH inserted the jeans button for me as I couldn't find the hammer. He used a spanner against a decorative anvil!  My buttons came loose in a brown envelope with no instructions so I'm glad it wasn't difficult to work out what to do. I used my awl to create a gap for the rear pin to go through. I marked the position from the right side by pressing the button through the buttonhole against the underlying cloth. A few hefty bangs and hey presto! the button looks nice.

I had much greater difficulty with the rivets or should I say rivet. I used the awl and kept trying to enlarge the gap as I couldn't get the pin through from the wrong side. I did eventually manage, by using the awl to ease the fibres of the front over the pin. By this time, I had found the hammer and a few good clouts and the rivet was fully fixed. I only used one as there aren't that many in the pack and I'd hate to run short in the real thing. While this was difficult with the test garment, I'm rather dreading the prospect of repeating the exercise with several layers of denim.

·         There's no way that these buttons or rivets will pull apart again so everything needs to be put in place accurately first time.
·         The process requires a lot more force and less finesse than I thought it would.
·         The position of my rivet is slightly too high - it encroaches onto the waistband. My RTW jeans don't do that. So I need to measure carefully.
My test mini jeans are finished and I feel I have learned quite a lot from this. I feel ready to tackle the real thing. (For class, though, I need to get a toile of the trousers I will be doing ready for next week)

My next step in jeans making is to alter the self drafted pattern I made for DH's jeans. By making a wedge, I altered the inseam length, so I need to adjust and make a further toile to see if it's working. I'm using the Sure Fit Designs system and have received advice from Glenda Sparling (incredibly quickly) and my pattern cutting tutor.
·         Alter pattern
·         Test fit;  alter as necessary
·         Find suitable fabric for pockets
·         Start making jeans.
I'll blog about this later in the process.
Comments greatly welcomed!
I'm still having problems with pages on my blog - I wanted to group like posts together. I've tried quite a few suggestions but haven't got it right yet. I'm also now having problems getting photos from my phone, which I could do previously. Technology!!



  1. Maybe this tutorial can help:

    1. Thanks, I'll have a look. I've read a few and watched some videos but got no further! I haven't seen that one, though. I've had a look but it doesn't quite cover what I'm after do my search continues! Do you use pages? I see they're actually supposed to be for static info but I'm assured you can use multiple posts...

    2. Yes, I do use pages. I made a page for finished projects. Everytime I write a new post I put a picture of the finished item on that page, and a link to the matching post. So it is possible to use it as a folder and add items later on!

    3. Thank you. I'm away for a few days but will try again when I get back. I think I did manage to link to one post. What I was aiming towards was grouping posts with certain keywords eg jeans techniques under a page - one of the tutorials I was following suggested that then any time I added a post with that keyword it would appear in that page and that any post can be in multiple pages. So the keyword text shoes in the link rather than the post address. I didn't manage although I could link a post so I think I should be able to do what you're doing which is a step in the right direction. Thanks best wishes

    4. Thank you. I'm away for a few days but will try again when I get back. I think I did manage to link to one post. What I was aiming towards was grouping posts with certain keywords eg jeans techniques under a page - one of the tutorials I was following suggested that then any time I added a post with that keyword it would appear in that page and that any post can be in multiple pages. So the keyword text shoes in the link rather than the post address. I didn't manage although I could link a post so I think I should be able to do what you're doing which is a step in the right direction. Thanks best wishes

  2. This class sounds fabulous that you are taking. I have avoided jeans because of the level of things that could potentially go wrong. I'd probably make a pair if I had a class...looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

    1. Yes, it is good. It was originally just 'trousers' but the tutors felt more people would be interested in jeans which cover a lot of topics. Next week we're doing pockets not covered in jeans eg jet pockets, welt/ double welt pockets. I'm not ready to make jeans for me yet. I do like them, though, I've been wearing jeans all day today. Perhaps a little old fashioned - bootleg rather than skinny. Thanks

  3. Anne, your jeans learning is spectacular. As you say, rivets are one shot. I managed them years ago, but now would not as I have a weak right wrist (Mixed Connective Tissue disorder - I don't dwell on it but I don't make my joints do things they shouldnt !). As far as grouping like posts - I'm not sure that Blogger is able to do that, unless you just do links to like posts. Wordpress has that capability. But then I am not sure exactly what you mean - it's hard, when you can't see what someone is trying to say.

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah Liz. I'm going to get DH to insert the rivets and button in his jeans when they're made! I also have a CTD problem. You're correct about what I'm looking for, grouping like posts together. As my blog's primary function is as a learning log, I thought this was important as that's what I do at my live classes - different folders for different subjects. Blogger intends its pages to be static, holding info that doesn't change. However, there are workarounds on line - but I can't get them to work. I'll keep trying periodically.


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