Friends, I am happy to report that my Kwik Sew 2123 Men's Jeans are coming together nicely. I'll be revealing them tomorrow but in the meantime I thought I'd talk about how I'm making them.
Before I begin, however, I wanted to tell you I'm running again. No, not for President of the Troy Donahue fan club, running for exercise. Maybe you didn't know that from early October (my high school reunion to be exact) till about three days ago, I've either been sick, getting sick, or recovering and feeling plain worn out. But my health has returned at long last and with it enough energy to get out in the cold and work up a sweat. Exercise makes a big difference in how I feel; of course, here on MPB, I cleverly disguise my crabbiness as wit, but rest assured my mood has improved significantly. Now let's hope my looks come back.
But on to the jeans.
I bought my denim at my little hole-in-the-wall, forever-going-out-of-business fabric dive on 35th St. for $4 a yard. It's dark, stiff, and best of all, NO spandex. The roll was nearly 70" wide, so I bought only a yard and a half, which was more than enough. But after laundering it, I realized it was a bit off grain.
Has this ever happened to you? It's cottons mostly where I've experienced this, and I'm not sure if it has something to do with laundering and drying it (I didn't check before I washed it), or if it's the quality of the denim. Anyway, I took great pains cutting my fabric to line up the pattern to the visible threads running parallel to the selvage. I cut each layer separately. But when I was stitching my pants legs (the outside seam; the inside seams were already flat-felled), I noticed one leg was twisting inward. I ended up ripping the seam out, turning the pants inside out, and draping the front and back pants leg pieces where they wanted to go, making sure the outside seam remained straight as I pinned the leg closed. I didn't care about even seam allowances on front and back. It seems to have worked: the leg hangs much straighter and I don't feel that twisting feeling that -- let's face it -- is the worst feeling in the world when you've nearly finished a pair of pants.
If you've ever made jeans, you know that you're usually using more than one kind of thread: regular thread for stitching seams and topstitching thread, sometimes in more than one color. I can't imagine how one can do this with only one sewing machine. There are many times you need to go back and forth between thread colors and it would be extremely painstaking to change spools each time. Of course, with the number of machines I currently own I could have used ten colors of topstitching thread, but I used only two: denim blue (which I also used for the general seams that aren't visible) in my treadle and gold in my Singer 15-91. Of course, I'll do my buttonhole on my Singer Spartan, though my buttonholer would also work on the Singer 15-91 (my treadle uses attachments that screw in from the back).
For the front and back pockets I used two rows of gold thread; all the flat-felled seams are blue (initial seam -- Wish I'd made that thread length shorter!) and gold (outside topstitched seam).
I still have to add belt loops, a buttonhole, and a jeans button, but I'm nearly done.
Of course there are little things I wish I'd done better; there always are. Let's not talk about those today.
So that's the story of my Kwik Sew jeans, friends. I'm not sure I prefer this pattern to Simplicity 4048. Both patterns require significant narrowing of the leg to fit the way I like them and some lowering of the waist. I've never used a pants pattern that didn't need tweaking.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!