Making My Own Jeans: Two For the Price Of One

Just like for mad housewife Lisa, one of my Resewlutions for 2014 was to make my own jeans and I am glad to say it’s mission (partly) accomplished – not just once, but twice!

First up I sewed up my favourite TNT trouser pattern Burdastyle 11/12 #107. But to be honest they have a similar pattern in every other edition, so it was simply a case of which issue I had on hand when I decided to choose a simple trouser pattern.

IMG_6449I put some jeans style topstitching on the pockets.


I must admit would prefer the standard jeans style with a back yoke – somehow that anchors the pockets better. So I will not use this pattern again together with jeans elements such as topstitching.


And the front is plainer. I think I made a mistake is choosing a very stretchy stretch denim for this project, because the trousers really grew after a few hours’ wear, so now I have to rig them up with a belt and really they are too loose for jeans. On the other hand it can’t be that much of a problem, because I have worn and worn and worn these jeans, they are in almost constant rotation 🙂 .

After that I tried my hand on a proper jeans style pattern, Burdastyle 4/2010 #124




This pattern is meant to be for a stretch woven, but I used it with a very stable, very non-stretch corduroy. In order to make up for the lack of stretch I cut a size 42 rather than my normal 40. That kinda worked, but clearly is not an ideal solution. I had to take in the waist by quite a bit, but the top of thigh/saddleback area is still quite tight.



Now, the waist is still looser than I like and because there is a bit of pulling across the thigh, just underneath the zip they never sit as securely as I would like. I’m not so sure about the creases across the crotch: are they a sign of me having done something wrong? Or are they a design feature of jeans? My RTW jeans certainly have the same creases as a feature and so do my daughter’s.

Lessons learnt:

  • To be honest, sewing jeans was half as bad as I thought. In fact the only time I got slightly unnerved was when putting on the belt loops on pair 1. I broke three needles on the last loop. While technically I did not have any problems (apart from said belt loop) I found the fitting more difficult than with “normal” trousers. I think because jeans need to be tighter fitting mistakes show more clearly.
    What I want to try next is to cut my normal size 40 and make some extra room at the upper thigh area in the side and inseam. I also will try to scoop the crotch curve a bit more so I get a little more room in the back. I hope that in this way I will get the waist shape that fits and only add extra room where I need it. Do you think that will work? I have never actually adjusted a trouser pattern, so I am stumbling around in the dark here 😉
  • Also I need to pay closer attention to choosing the right fabric for the pattern. So if the pattern wants stretch fabric, I will use stretch fabric and no questions asked.

So altogether room for improvement, but a positive vibe. I have lots of denim fabrics in my stash, so the jeans sewing fairy has not seen the last of me.


16 thoughts on “Making My Own Jeans: Two For the Price Of One

  1. Gjeometry January 22, 2014 at 9:46 pm Reply

    They look great! I don’t know about those horizontal lines. I think they seem to be present on many tighter fitting trousers, but others will tell you that it is a fitting issue. I think it depends on how they feel and if you like them. I am attempting to make skinny ‘jeans’ (the pattern isn’t really a jeans style, just very plain trousers) in a stretch twill. The fabric seems pretty stretchy to me, so I don’t know how I’m going to avoid that ‘growing’. Obviously with skinny pants, that’s what you don’t want. I’m not sure how ‘small’ to go. Did you make yours several sizes smaller to account for stretch or did you make them right in your size?

    • Chris January 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm Reply

      I made them in my normal size, but next time I want to try going one size down. I thing I find hard with stretch fabric is that it’s so unpredictable how stretchy they are, especially with body warmth etc. I guess, to figure that out one has to make two pairs for each fabric – or be really lucky first time round 😉

  2. […] are on my blog, as […]

  3. Mrs.Smith January 22, 2014 at 10:47 pm Reply

    I like them both but yes, #2 are FANTASTIC. I think some lines are to be expected and are okay?? If they feel good…hey, wear ’em! 🙂

  4. Amanda January 22, 2014 at 10:55 pm Reply

    They are soooo good! Well done!

  5. Steff January 23, 2014 at 12:38 am Reply

    Great job. I too want to try jeans this year. Either the latest or the last issue of threads look at making jeans (great article) and they have a great article on denim. Never knew there were so many types of denim or manufacturers.

    • Chris January 23, 2014 at 10:22 am Reply

      good heavens – I never even knew that there are more things to worry about 😉

  6. Siri Andersen January 23, 2014 at 1:24 am Reply

    They are both great, but your second go ones are fabulous!!

    • Chris January 23, 2014 at 10:23 am Reply

      Thanks! I hope I will get a chance to try a second take of No 2 soon, this time in a real denim.

  7. Emma Jayne January 23, 2014 at 10:23 am Reply

    Good going with both pairs. I can recommend Sewing Pants that Fit to help you with translating fitting issues into pattern alterations and importantly the order in which to tackle them.

    • Chris January 23, 2014 at 10:38 am Reply

      Thanks! I have now ordered this book – it will take a little while since it ships from the US, but then hopefully I should be able to work out my “smarty pants” issues 🙂

  8. Joselina Huber January 24, 2014 at 9:32 am Reply

    I just found your blog. Great job with jeans, looks like both jeans are comfortable on you.
    I will have to read more about your adventure on jeans making. I wear almost the same size European 40-42. In general, man jeans will fit on the waist and crotch( on me). Just a thought.
    Forgive for my poor English writing skills. I speak three other languages.
    Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii

  9. I made it!! January 26, 2014 at 9:05 am Reply

    I have never made my own jeans, but I will take a look at the patterns you mentioned. Thanks!

  10. Gail January 27, 2014 at 5:45 am Reply

    Kenneth King’s Jeanius course on offers some great insights into jeans fitting.

  11. […] Over Christmas I made my first pair of jeans and I had ended up with this: […]

  12. […] February is the months to tackle pants. This gave me the chance to work on version 2 of my jeans (version 1 is here). I tried to tweak the fit, with mixed results. Anyway, today I am wearing version 2 for the first […]

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