I made my jeans! After practicing my skills with numerous pairs of the Jedediah Pants/Shorts this summer, I decided to take the plunge and dive into jeans!
There’s an intimidation factor that often comes up when people start talking about sewing their own jeans. I think a big part of it comes from the knowledge that classic denim jeans have an instantly recognizably set of characteristics: specific topstitching, specific seams, and specific hard wear that combine to create a distinct article of clothing.
While I can modify and change a shirt pattern or a pair of shorts to my liking, modifying Jeans too much makes them no longer recognizable as ‘jeans’ and they become more like denim pants-that-are-not-quite-jeans.
Quadra Jeans by Thread Theory Designs
Size: 34” Waist
Fabric: Stretch Cone Denim (98% cotton, 2% spandex)
Modifications: Added a 1” section to the Left Fly front for easier attachment of zipper
But luckily, the Quadra Jeans is a fantastic pattern that lays out making the jeans in logical and straightforward way. By now I’m comfortable with the way Thread Theory writes their instructions and I understand their process of construction. For sizing, I followed the pattern suggestion and dropped down a size from my normal pant size because I had chosen a Stretch Cone Denim that had just a little bit of spandex (2%) that would get me a little bit of a closer fit. I was aiming for a bit of a skinnier fit, and the moderate-low rise was appealing when I looked at examples online.
The only modification I made was in adding a 1” piece of fabric to the center front on the left front. After talking to a few different people who had made the Quadra jeans, they mentioned that the seam allowance on the Left front fly, where the zipper attaches, was a bit small, and made that final fly attachment a bit difficult. Working out that adjustment was a bit tricky, but after conversation with others who had sewn Jeans, I added that fly extension and it made the fly attachment much easier.
As for the distinct components that make Jeans unique, they’re not really that difficult when tackled one at a time. Topstitching doesn’t have to be perfect, and slowing down my sewing machine and practicing on some scrap denim helped me know the look I wanted before sewing on my garment.
The specific seams, in particular the flat felled seams that are present in classic denim, just require practice. After making multiple garments with flat-felled seams, it was just a matter of adjusting my techniques to deal with the slightly heavier denim fabric, but in the end it wasn’t that much different.
And the hard wear, specifically the rivets and classic jean button, were more the fun finishing touch than anything intimidating. There’s something very satisfying about hammering a rivet home to finish off a garment!
At the end of the process, I have a pair of jeans I am very happy with. They fit well, and have the fun details that make them Jeans, and not just pants. And I can’t wait to make another pair!