In Which The Blogger Applies for Sainthood, Pt. 2 (aka A Man and His Jeans)

Okay folks: are you ready for the second portion of my most recent bout of Selfless Sewing? It’s a doozy!

WARNING: much text and many photos ahead.

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JEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Fancy side bits, up close

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Obligatory Mulder Cameo

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Jeans on parade!

What do you guys think?!? They were definitely a labor of love. ^_____^ ❤

I started these in February and just now finished them–it’s MAY, for crying out loud. *facepalm* (There’s something very demotivating for me about sewing an involved garment for someone else!) I talk a big game about making things for Tom (and hoard fabric for all my harebrained Dude Sewing ideas), and even though it can be hard to stay motivated, I really do enjoy it. Tom really appreciates the effort and care that I put into my handmade clothing, and we makers know that isn’t always the case! He also never asks me to use my valuable sewing time to make something for him, and lets me do as I will when it comes to buying ALL THE FABRIC investing in my hobby. (Let it be known that I would not tolerate anything less than that: he’s not the boss of me.) So anyway, I am quite proud of these jeans, not least of all because I learned a lot during their construction. Are they perfect? No–definitely not. But they look great and are better-made than most jeans at our price point, and Tom loves them and knows they are one-of-a-kind (for better or worse).

The red denim I used is Japanese and very high quality. The color did fade a bit in the wash because I punished it with 2 hot washes and 2 high heat dryer cycles–my attempt to avoid post-sewing shrinking. According to my records, this red Japanese denim (which is not selvedge, BTW) is 10.5oz, which is not all that heavy as far as non-stretch high-end denim goes. (I have 13.5oz yardage in my stash, and I am now dreading working with it after this project!!) I think this is a great weight for all-season menswear jeans: not so light that the fibers will wear out easily (is it me, or do guys just seem to kick the crap out of their jeans?), but not so heavy as to feel like you’re wearing cardboard pants in the warmer months.

I bought this denim from Pacific Blue Denims, who I honestly cannot fangurl for enough. They’re an amazing vendor with a mind-boggling selection and an incredible staff. (Not affiliated, just very satisfied.) They’re a wholesaler, but they will sell to individual folks as well. It’s a very different process to retail fabric shopping, but it’s so worth it!

As for the pocketing fabric, I bought that from Mood (it’s a cotton voile that’s labelled specifically as pocketing). It was easy to work with and earned rave reviews from Tom for hand-feel. 🙂

Construction Notes and Blatherings

I used a very typical construction order for these jeans, as follows:

  1. Front pockets
  2. Fly
  3. Yokes
  4. Center back seam
  5. Back pockets
  6. Inseam
  7. Outseam
  8. Waistband, buttonhole, and belt carriers
  9. Hardware
  10. Hem

These bad boys got all the bells and whistles: rivets, contrast bar tacks, and plenty of flat-felled seams. There isn’t a single raw edge in sight in these jeans! 😀

During construction, I made two significant errors, but luckily for me most people wouldn’t even notice. MY MISTAKES, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.

  1. When I added my seam allowances to the pattern, I used different allowances for different areas. All flat-felled seam areas got 3/4″ seam allowance, and anything else got 1/2″. Well, I added the 3/4″ seam allowance to the bottom edge of the yoke pieces, but only 1/2″ to the top of the back legs! So I had to wrap the felled seams down from the yoke toward the legs, which is backwards. (Go ahead, check your own RTW jeans…I’ll wait.) Again, I am sure no one will notice, but ugh.
  2. I totally spaced out and wrapped the felled center back seam the wrong way by accident. It should wrap left over right, but I went right over left. And of course, the nature of flat-felled seams is that you trim the hell out of one side, so there’s no going back and undoing anything. Grr.

But overall, I think the jeans look really good! The topstitching lines all come together at intersections, and my flat-felled seams are really strong and look great, especially considering it was my first time ever trying them.

Among my more minor beefs with my work are the bar tacks; my machine did not care for the combination of topstitching thread + dense zigzag stitching, so I had to use regular thread. As a result, they look a little puny to my eye. My belt loops are decent, but one of them got a little crooked while getting the bottom edge sewn down without me noticing. The bar tacks really show their slightness on the loops, IMO. In retrospect, I probably should have just topstitched them down with the thicker thread. I kept the topstitching tonal (these jeans are already RED, you know?) and used contrasting gray thread for the bar tacks throughout to coordinate with the nickel hardware that Tom wanted. Speaking of hardware, I had some trouble getting the rivets in perfectly straight. Here’s hoping they hold on for a few washes, at least! O_o

The Fly

The fly construction was the most puzzling aspect of this entire project because I’d never done one. Thanks to a patient sewing friend, I got it…in theory. But after crankily ripping out the fly front and topstitching and lower front crotch seam for a third-ish time, I put the jeans in the naughty corner for several weeks. (Hence the 2-month delay in this post–can’t post about jeans that aren’t done yet!) I don’t know if I’ve ever been explicit about this, but I am not allowed to have UFOs: if my current project isn’t finished yet, I DO NOT pass “GO,” DO NOT collect $200, and DO NOT get to start anything else. Either I pitch the project entirely (only if it’s really not working out), or I buckle down and finish it. It’s for the best, believe me! I knew I was going to have to pick these damn pants back up if I ever wanted to move on with my sewing life, and that meant sorting out the fly.

While I pouted, I studied fly construction on Tom’s existing RTW pairs of jeans without disassembling anything, trying to learn their secrets. What did I learn? (Well, besides the fact that staring at the crotch area of a man’s jeans for a few weeks will teach you anything at all?) That I was way over-complicating it. To explain my method would make this post utterly unreadable (moreso than it already is), so I won’t get into it here. I will hopefully share it in detail eventually, though. But I DID IT. Yay!

Luckily, the rest of the sewing was very straightforward apart from the bulky areas and self-created drama! If you are looking for construction help with jeans, I highly recommend a visit to Angela Kane’s website and Youtube channel. I will note that, although I don’t use her fly method, I wholeheartedly recommend hers if you’re looking for help. (I did use her buttonhole method though, and it’s AWESOME!)

Pattern Notes

No commercial pattern here: these jeans are a rub-off of Tom’s favorite, self-proclaimed Best Fitting Pair of RTW jeans. Said jeans met an untimely end when husband had a tiny incident on his motorcycle and tore one pants leg all to shit. (Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt.) He saved the jeans to wear on weekends and for yard work, but since they fit well and were basically ruined, he surrendered them to the great cause of Patternmaking. All I needed to make the pattern was one good leg anyway, so it worked out for everyone. I disassembled the jeans and traced off the pieces, and there you have it: jeans! That fit! I did have to make a couple of very small adjustments to compensate for the stretching out of his well-worn originals in some areas, but those were very simple.

Conclusion

These jeans were a long time coming, but we got there in the end! I have plenty of denim earmarked for Dude Jeans, so this isn’t the last pair I’ll make for Tom. I am thinking of buying Angela Kane’s men’s jeans pattern, which is designed with selvedge denim in mind. I also patterned two other pairs of jeans belonging to someone else (long story), including one selvedge pair, so we have lots of style possibilities now! But Tom has been warned that after this red pair, my sweatshop* is going back to its regularly scheduled programming: All Me, All The Time. I do have some of this denim left, and have promised to see if a pair of shorts can be squeezed out of it…I am sure I will regret that! 😉

Here are some more pics, just for fun.

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Dat Ass

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Birdies!

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Meandering

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Posing

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Fun with lighting in a tunnel

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Possible photo of Bigfoot.

Thanks for tuning in for my (mis)adventures in Sewing For Other People! 🙂 I have some sharks to make for some kids, so I’ll probably share those with you soon! And then I can get back to what’s important: clothes for MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

What’s the most complicated thing you’ve made for someone else? Have you ever made jeans? How long are your average “sewing time-outs” for items that are giving you trouble?

*Term used ironically/self-deprecatingly/for laffs, of course. We here at The “Mads” House do not condone the dehumanizing and exploitative practices of actual sweatshops, which is partly why we do not buy fast fashion RTW anymore. The Sweatshoppe at Fort Kickass (as it is affectionately known), under the careful management of a no-nonsense Feline Supervisor, allows its lone employee ample break time for soda and pizza consumption; video entertainment is also provided, along with many opportunities for feline/human snuggles and naps.

 

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22 thoughts on “In Which The Blogger Applies for Sainthood, Pt. 2 (aka A Man and His Jeans)

  1. Bahahaha – the ass pose is my favourite. I’m sure all the bloggers will be doing it! 😉 Those jeans are lovely, and he’s a lucky man!

  2. Fabulous jeans!!! Honestly, the red denim. I have to get some. Love the shot of the back pockets, Thumbs up to your brave model. I am putting the finishing touches on my first pair of jeans, definitely qualifies as the most difficult project I be ever tried so I know how hard you worked on these. Bar tacks are not easy if you ask me…I actually had to take one out , trust me you do not want to go there, lol!! What a nice gift for your man!!

    • Thank you so much! The denim is really neat, isn’t it?? Tom picked it himself after I ordered a bunch of swatches, so he is especially proud of these. =) And I hope your pair turned out for you–bar tacks are such a pain, and the jeans *need* them to look like proper jeans…it’s not fair!

  3. These are truly a work of art. I am impressed by the pattern and you can now make many more (although at that rate maybe not too many). I agree that it is so hard to sew for others. I have an unfinished jacket for my son that just needs lining. That is all. Why can’t I finish it. Anyway you are inspirational. Thanks alot.

    • Thank you very much, Kate! I am very glad to have a pattern that I can use whenever he needs jeans from now on; with something this involved, I would not get through it if I had to keep tinkering around with the fit. They take me long enough as it is, LOL! =)

    • Hah! I assume that saints receive some sort of nifty hat or a certificate or something; I will await mine eagerly! 😉

      Thank you for your kind words, Graca. Tom selected the fabric himself (I ordered swatches first) and decided he wanted the red for the first pair–I merely obliged him, LOL!

  4. I am IMPRESSED! No pattern? Just a Rub-off? These, my friend, are kick ass! I wouldn’t even know where to begin with copying a complex garment like this.

    Sad to say the most difficult thing I made for DD was pajamas. I think that’s all I’ve made for him that he actually wears…
    I have the Jedediah Pants pattern but still need to get “manly” fabric. One day…

    • It was actually much easier than I had expected to copy–you can do it! Just make sure your recipient is okay with you cutting apart their pants! xD And honestly, I was more interested in doing it that way than trying to fit him in a commercial pattern; this way kind of felt like cheating because the fit was a guarantee!

      And there is nothing wrong with making your dude pajamas: Tom has sweats, too! And how many pajamas or sweatpants have I made for myself? ZERO. PJs totally count. =)

      • You need to get on making pjs/sweatpants for yourself! Mads needs to be comfortable, too!

        I was thinking copying a garment would take more time, but I guess not since I tend to trace my non-Big 4 patterns (ie. the expensive ones) and that takes forever! I guess all that ripping apart had me worried but it sounds like it could be fun. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Genevieve! I found your blog via your review for your Morgan jeans and am so glad I did! =)

      Re: PBD, their pricing per yard is AMAZING unless you’re getting something really heavy (23oz, for ex.) or coated, etc. They’ll send you a detailed pricing list if you ask. But the kicker is in the shipping (which for 20+ yards of denim from CA to OH is PAINFUL) and cutting fees ($25 per every 5 unique item numbers if order is under 100 yards total). For those reasons, I recommend group ordering with fellow sewers if possible, so you can all split those costs.

      To take an example, this red denim (Japanese, 10.5oz non-selvedge) was $6.75/yd and I only needed 2 yards to make these jeans; I may have enough left for dude shorts, too. I think it may be sold out now but they have SO MUCH to choose from there. I even got some stretch selvedge denim for myself, which is super exciting. You should definitely post about what you order, if you do so!

  5. “Dat Ass” LOL. They look great, I’m sure you are just being picky (as we all do to ourselves) about your “mistakes”. I made the hubs a button up, but I tried to do it without him knowing so the fit is shit. Womp womp. I haven’t made jeans but I have a pants pattern for the hubs (and a friend actually) that need to be completed very soon. I guess I started tracing out the pattern like a year ago, so, uh, a year of time out? LOL Not including my mending pile?! I try not to think about it all…… :/

    • LOL He is a bit of a ham when modeling, for sure! (And of course, when he sat down for a few pics on the deck, he sat RIGHT IN SOME DIRT. *sigh*) And hey, 1 year is not that bad, especially if you’re still in the patterning phase–that crap is tedious even when we’re sewing for ourselves, amirite? You can totally make some dude pants! I BELIEVE IN YOU!

  6. Pingback: Top Fives, Part 1: Hits, Misses, and Highlights! | Life in A "Mads" House

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