I’ve finally joined the jean-making revolution! And a mighty fine revolution it is.
These are the Starboard Jeans by Papercut Patterns*. A mid-rise, slim fit jean with ankle and front zip details. I’m loving the way this mid-rise pulls in the tummy and it pairs beautifully with crop tops (still modest, but gives you that cute silhouette).
If you haven’t made jeans before, I know the prospect can seem daunting. I wouldn’t recommend these as a beginner project, but I do think an intermediate sewer could tackle this and an advanced sewer would knock it out of the ball-park.
I wish I could tell you what weight denim I used. Sadly, I bought it at Spotlight and the label only said “assorted denim”. Most unhelpful, Spotlight. But I can tell you it’s a relatively heavy denim with a bit of stretch. My theory was that if I was going to the work of sewing jeans, they’d better last me a few years!
Alteration-wise, I did take a wedge out of the back waistband to accommodate my sway-back, cinch in the side and crotch seams slightly for a snug fit and taper the ankles more. Next time, I’ll take out that back wedge before cutting the pattern pieces, but I think the other changes are best done as you go. It’s easier to cinch a seam in than make one larger.
- I recommend making a test version first. You can skip a lot of the details, just cut the essentials so you can gauge the fit.
- You’ll want to choose denim with some stretch in it.
- These pants are fitted, which means you need to pay attention to sizing. My waist is a size bigger than my hips (which explains why shopping for jeans is such a nightmare), so I graded between sizes and am so pleased I did. Your fit will be better for taking that extra time at the start.
- I opted to cinch in the side seams at the ankle more for a skinny-jean fit rather than the designed slim-fit. Just personal preference and easily done by taking in both outer and inner leg seams in equal amounts. You can do this for any adjustments along the legs, otherwise the seams may twist.
- Have fun with the pocket linings! Lightweight fabric is key though, so they don’t create a visible line through your finished jeans.
- Consider skipping the thread guide above the needle for your topstitching thread. That stuff is thick and your machine might cope better? It worked for me anyway. That and using a Cordonnet needle on my machine whenever I used that thread. It has a longer eye than standard needles and allows the heavy thread to pass through easily.
- It’s probably a good idea, for your first attempt, to skip the topstitching on the inside legs. It’ll make any adjustments that much easier.
Jean construction not as hard as you might think, but very rewarding and strangely addictive. I expected to be thoroughly over sewing jeans after this, but I’m already dreaming of my next pair!
*see the ‘About’ page for my Papercut Patterns disclaimer.