Jeans, step two. And three. And four.

Posted on March 7, 2024
Tags: madeof:atoms, FreeSoftWear

A woman wearing a regular pair of slim-cut black denim jeans.

I was working on what looked like a good pattern for a pair of jeans-shaped trousers, and I knew I wasn’t happy with 200-ish g/m² cotton-linen for general use outside of deep summer, but I didn’t have a source for proper denim either (I had been low-key looking for it for a long time).

Then one day I looked at an article I had saved about fabric shops that sell technical fabric and while window-shopping on one I found that they had a decent selection of denim in a decent weight.

I decided it was a sign, and decided to buy the two heaviest denim they had: a 100% cotton, 355 g/m² one and a 97% cotton, 3% elastane at 385 g/m² 1; the latter was a bit of compromise as I shouldn’t really be buying fabric adulterated with the Scourge of Humanity, but it was heavier than the plain one, and I may be having a thing for tightly fitting jeans, so this may be one of the very few woven fabric where I’m not morally opposed to its existence.

And, I’d like to add, I resisted buying any of the very nice wools they also seem to carry, other than just a couple of samples.

Since the shop only sold in 1 meter increments, and I needed about 1.5 meters for each pair of jeans, I decided to buy 3 meters per type, and have enough to make a total of four pair of jeans. A bit more than I strictly needed, maybe, but I was completely out of wearable day-to-day trousers.

a cardboard box with neatly folded black denim, covered in
semi-transparent plastic.

The shop sent everything very quickly, the courier took their time (oh, well) but eventually delivered my fabric on a sunny enough day that I could wash it and start as soon as possible on the first pair.

The pattern I did in linen was a bit too fitting, but I was afraid I had widened it a bit too much, so I did the first pair in the 100% cotton denim. Sewing them took me about a week of early mornings and late afternoons, excluding the weekend, and my worries proved false: they were mostly just fine.

The only bit that could have been a bit better is the waistband, which is a tiny bit too wide on the back: it’s designed to be so for comfort, but the next time I should pull the elastic a bit more, so that it stays closer to the body.

The same from the back, showing the applied pockets with a sewn

I wore those jeans daily for the rest of the week, and confirmed that they were indeed comfortable and the pattern was ok, so on the next Monday I started to cut the elastic denim.

I decided to cut and sew two pairs, assembly-line style, using the shaped waistband for one of them and the straight one for the other one.

I started working on them on a Monday, and on that week I had a couple of days when I just couldn’t, plus I completely skipped sewing on the weekend, but on Tuesday the next week one pair was ready and could be worn, and the other one only needed small finishes.

A woman wearing another pair of jeans; the waistband here is
shaped to fit rather than having elastic.

And I have to say, I’m really, really happy with the ones with a shaped waistband in elastic denim, as they fit even better than the ones with a straight waistband gathered with elastic. Cutting it requires more fabric, but I think it’s definitely worth it.

But it will be a problem for a later time: right now three pairs of jeans are a good number to keep in rotation, and I hope I won’t have to sew jeans for myself for quite some time.

A plastic bag with mid-sized offcuts of denim; there is a 30 cm
ruler on top that is just wider than the bag

I think that the leftovers of plain denim will be used for a skirt or something else, and as for the leftovers of elastic denim, well, there aren’t a lot left, but what else I did with them is the topic for another post.

Thanks to the fact that they are all slightly different, I’ve started to keep track of the times when I wash each pair, and hopefully I will be able to see whether the elastic denim is significantly less durable than the regular, or the added weight compensates for it somewhat. I’m not sure I’ll manage to remember about saving the data until they get worn, but if I do it will be interesting to know.

Oh, and I say I’ve finished working on jeans and everything, but I still haven’t sewn the belt loops to the third pair. And I’m currently wearing them. It’s a sewist tradition, or something. :D

  1. The links are to the shop for Italy; you can copy the “Codice prodotto” and look for it on one of the shop version for other countries (where they apply the right vat etc., but sadly they don’t allow to mix and match those settings and the language).↩︎