• Abi

I'm sewing a Pair of Jeans ! Getting Prepped for the Task

Hi and welcome to my Jean blog! It's great to see you over here, and maybe you already know, I don't blog often so I thought I would write about the Jeans I've decided to throw together. I'm actually following a pattern this time rather than making my own draft. Partly because I wanted to review the pattern too.

The Pattern I'm following is Simplicity's Amazing Fit 1696. It's been sitting on the shelf for I would think 5 years, and really, I was only going to use it in class to help students learn how to follow a pattern.

Nevertheless, here I am, creating.

I'm using stretch denim. Please don't ask me the weight. It's maybe the old-fashioned person in me, I like to go into a shop and feel the fabric. I've had really bad experiences buying online (it's cut badly, it's marked, wrong colour, wrong texture) so it's just something I would prefer to avoid. It's nice to have an excuse to go out once in a while too.

Now I want to use a good brand of thread, so having reviewed threads on my embroidery machine way back in 2018, I've decided to use New Brothread throughout this project, for the sewing, overlocking, and embroidery!

I haven't decided where I will add the embroidery (or the design) at this point, but let's go.

My first tip for this session is - Measure yourself in the morning and measure again later in the day. This is important to make sure you get the right measurement for your pattern. The pattern I'm using is made in the US. Their patterns are 2 sizes out of ours. I typically wear a size 14 in UK Marks and Spencers wear. However, I measure my waist and hips, for this pattern, and I find that I will need to follow the Size 18 template.

If my hips were 18, but my waist 16, then I would cut the waist to a 16 and cut 18 at the hips so then I'm not following the official template lines, and just drawing my own in using a french curve.

Take your time to cut. It takes a day - it really does. You can get very tired from all the leaning over, the ironing, measuring the grain line, and making sure you have the right number of pieces. I have been caught out a couple of times when I'm not concentrating and end up without enough waistband pieces. One time, I had to be creative and the inside waistband pieces had to be cut out of contrast fabric because I had already used up the leftover fabric for something else.

Use a GOOD QUALITY interfacing - a poor quality interfacing will shrink. That will make your fabric bubble up. Sometimes the glue turns yellow, so if you've chosen a light coloured fabric, you will see a tinge of buttery yellow through your hard work. Here I'll be using New Brothread's interfacing. I typically use Vilene but I always buy too much, it comes in very wide. Small widths of interfacing are perfect. It's sold for machine embroidery as a stabiliser, but essentially, it's the same thing.

The Right needle - again, I don't go cheap because you will find needles just keep breaking or going dull (skipping stitches) or bend and damage your needle plate, or even worse, your bobbin case. Typically, a good needle costs less than 50p. I use Schmetz, size 90 (that's a 0.9mm width needle - sold as size 14). I find Organ needle bend easily as do the Singer needles. These are popular and mistaken as a good brand but actually, they're just popular because they are cheap to supply by sewing machine manufacturers with new machines and people tend to stick with what they know.

You might want to prewash fabric too, I personally don't. I really should but I choose not to. I've only ever bought what I’ve felt is good fabric.

{a bit of why you should prewash - when I made scrubs for the NHS alongside hundreds of others, a local GP insisted her brother sold only the best fabric. I knew there was something dodgy about the fabric (and how she was so pushy in a time when we were suffering a fabric drought) so I prewashed it to test it. I had red dye everywhere, the fabric just dripped a blood curdling colour all over my floor and my machine looked a mess. I had to rinse my machine through a couple of times after while the fabric still bled out after 3 washes. People sewing the scrubs with me complained their machines were discoloured from using cheap fabric. So! Always test the fabric, wash a little in the sink. If it's not good, send it back. You do have 14 days to return anything you buy online, including fabric (and 28 days if the seller actually tells you that they don't accept returns just because they have misinformed you. Check the facts on ). I spoke with Citizens Advice just a little too late, scrubs had been made and weeks had passed.}

Iron the pieces once they have been cut and MARK them. While I press the pieces, I go through the marking process then. This is so important to make sure you get the right fit.

Cut into the notches and draw in the darts using wax paper and a tracing wheel. (I've highlighted the marking in the image - they don't show up well on the photo - but take a closer look and you can see the other markings)

Tip 3 - Use a Magnetic Seam Guide - I think when you're sewing curves and corners, then a seam guide can become your best friend. Use it to help you sew a consistently good line along the seam allowance, especially if you like to sew fast, or as fast as your machine allows. Some machines sew at an incredible 1100 stitches per minute, and if you use a semi-industrial machine, you could be hitting 1300spm. Power and accuracy together! What a thrill!

Sewing is much easier than cutting, once you have all the pieces cut, putting them together is the easy part. Sometimes we do have funny instructions. I have had to call on the SImplicity Pattern ambassador in the past to help me with written instruction. (contact them through She wasn't sure what the instructions meant either, so I hashed it the way I would do it if I wasn't using instructions. Remembering that these are written in American lingo and I'm a UK northerner, it's hardly surprising that they will be open to some misinterpretation.

Now we begin to sew. Grab the pattern instructions and go.

I’ll let you know how I get in but I hope my tips so far helped and I will be uploading snips of the sewing onto YouTube

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