Wednesday, August 08, 2018

slowly sewing jeans

Back in my earlier sewing years, I had this "fast fashion" habit of trying to sew up garments as quickly as possible. Sometimes I'd want a new top to wear going out that night so I'd rush through the process. Perhaps unsurprisingly my workmanship wasn't the best and things did not always fit very well. It no longer makes sense for me to sew 5-6 garments a month at lightning speed simply because I don't need that many clothes. I would be happy to make 1-2 garments a month if they're well-made and will last. This time around I'm trying to make a concerted effort to slow down and do a good job. Unfortunately I have yet to outgrow my natural sense of impatience.

About a month ago, I watched as many Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) classes as I could on sewing jeans and fitting/drafting pants. I was all set to buy a new jeans pattern, but common sense prevailed. I've had Jalie 2908 in my stash for years. Several of the classes suggested that you really only need 1 well-fitting jeans pattern and then you can make as many style variations as you want. I traced off a size Q (which is actually a girls' size but it was the closest to my actual measurements, go figure) and went to work.

At this point I have lost count but I think I've gone through at least 6 muslins. Pants fitting was always really hard for me and it appears that it hasn't gotten any easier. I'm hoping to post more about this later but I've really learned a lot about my body shape, namely that I am curvier than my measurements (and the eye test) might suggest. I finally gave up and cut out my fabric not because I had the fit perfect but more because I ran out of random stretchy bottomweights that I could use for practice.

I bought some remnant Cone Mills Denim from Threadbare Fabrics on sale. I am aware that my first pair of jeans will probably not turn out that great, so though it was still on the pricey side, certainly it's not the end of the world if they end up in the trash.

A post shared by Sara (@knottygnome) on

I've been following the Sewing Designer Jeans class. It's a good class for the most part but it's one of those things that makes the process look fairly easy when in my experience it hasn't been. For example, I like doing the distressing because I don't like super dark denim and that worn-in look makes the fabric softer. But although the teacher does give instructions for how to distress it takes practice to get it right. so instead of having those perfect horizontal whiskers on the front hips, i have weird random creases. i also made the mistake of trying to distress the knees while i was wearing the jeans so i have super obvious light blotches right at my knee bones, which is not a great look. but again, i knew going in that these jeans wouldn't be perfect and I'm willing to accept that.

Another thing that is driving me batty is my choice of Gutterman topstitching thread. firstly it only comes on like 33 yd spools (at least at joanns) which is kind of obnoxious. but mostly what is maddening is that the thread will skip a stitch or shred right before I'm finished with my topstitching, so I have to rip it out when I'm like 1" from the end. I also don't like how thick and shiny it is, and I made a poor color choice. I know that bright gold is traditional but I prefer more subtle topstitching.

A post shared by Sara (@knottygnome) on

I am taking my time and basically following the lessons from the class, one day = one lesson. it helps keep my sewing to manageable chunks but man, it's taking forever. i'm already pretty sick of this project and I just want to sew something else. plus there's the very likely takeaway that I won't even wear these jeans when they're done so it feels like it's just a waste of time.

hopefully i'll get through this, file away a bunch of new knowledge for later, and eventually i'll be ready to try again. but for now it's definitely a struggle.

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