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Apr 30, 2011

MPB Jeans Sew-Along -- Down Under's Own DON!

Friends, I never know what to make of Australians.  They look like you and me -- well, OK, they're sexier -- and I can usually understand what they're saying, but they seem to exist in a parallel universe.  It has something to do with being on the wrong side of the planet I think.  They're....different.
Now, I am considered by many to be the Doris Day of sewing bloggers: wholesome and sunny with a latent streak of hysteria.  But there are darker forces lurking in the blogosphere, readers, and some of them make their own jeans.  Meet Don Pezzano!

If you don't already know Australian enfant terrible Don from his popular blog, Urbandon, you're in for a treat -- and some Jeans Sew-Along inspiration!  Don is an awesomely creative sewist (and so much more) who will try anything.

Have a look:

If Thursday's interview with sweet Taylor made your teeth ache, I invite you to taste the bitter pungency of Don Pezzano.

Take it away, Don!


PL: Don, how long have you been sewing pants/jeans? 

DP: What's the time now?  (LOL)  Seriously, I have only made a handful of pants and only just finished my second pair of jeans. But that second pair fit me like a dream, have all the details I like and are made to last.

PL: How do you define your style and where do you find your inspiration?

DP: Deconstructed Gothic. Slouchy, asymmetrical with a strict color pallet of black, gunmetal and blue. I get a lot of inspiration from movies that have worked hard on costume: The Fifth Element, 3:10 To Yuma and The Brothers Bloom being good examples. I also love turn-of-the-century abstract art like Georges Braque and Gothic Revival architecture.

PL:  Do you draft your own pattern when you sew jeans, or do you use a commercial pattern?  If so, which one?

DP: My first jeans I used the Burda 3406 pattern, but the fit was all wrong. Although there is an 80's revival going on, it's not the look I am after. I like a straight leg with a low rise.  Using my tailored pants block as a base, I drafted my own. Before I even started I knew that they were going to fit me perfectly. There were so many details that were different or extra compared to a commercial pattern, that it was just practical to start from scratch. I find half the fun of sewing is drafting patterns. 

PL: What's the hardest part about sewing jeans, in your opinion?   

DP: Making the fronts sit correctly. Jeans or pants are going to look daggy if they don't sit right at the front.  The fly shouldn't be bulky or bulging, and for guy's jeans make sure there is ample room in the crotch -- unless you want that 70's look!

PL: Where do you find your jeans supplies -- denim, rivets, jeans buttons, etc?

DP: Here in Sydney there is The Remnant Warehouse and they have everything. The average chain store just isn't going to have the right supplies.  Go to a quality fabric retailer.   Flimsy, lightweight denim or regular buttons really won't cut it. I bought a variety of of rivets on eBay to try out, but the quality seems variable. Buying fabric online is tough because you really don't know what you are going to get. 

PL: Anything else you want to add about sewing/designing jeans?

DP: Good denim jeans should last many years. If you consider that fact with every step you take, with every seam you sew and every button you put on, you will create an amazing pair of jeans!  Skimp on denim or details and you will get an average pair of jeans. 

Look at your favorite jeans (mine are G-Star). What makes them so special?  The fit?  The denim? The details?  Strive to replicate them.

Zips can be a curse. Go with a button fly. Not only will buttons last longer and look better, they are easier to put in.   Sew slowly.Sewing through 3-4 layers of denim should be done slowly.  My first pair of jeans I snapped two needles. My second pair I didn't snap one because I took it slowly.

PL: Thanks for the great insights, Don!

DP: Thanks, Peter! 


Friends, if you haven't already checked out Don's BurdaStyle studio, please do.  Don is also a steampunk-inspired jewelry maker (this has nothing to do with Punky Brewster, I have learned) and his work -- jewelry, assemblage art, and minimalist handbags -- is available in his Etsy Store.   Don ships internationally too!

What do think, guys -- awesome or what?!!

Happy Saturday, everybody; see you on Monday!


  1. Very awesome!

    Does the cellphone work?

  2. Wow! You do find inspiring people. :)

    Just a little FYI, has gotten in a new batch of stretch denim. If I wasn't trying to be good and sew from my stash, I'd buy some of that striped demim. So cute!

  3. I will live vicariously through your sew-along. I am a new sewer and the one thing that kept me from sewing ever again was a jeans skirt. I tried to sew through the turned up hem (about 3-4 layers) with my beginner machine (Brother LS2125), and I broke 3 needles. I never sew fast, so I don't know what I did wrong. I have since bought one of those jeans thingamajingy -- the things that raise the presser foot to the height of the thick hem -- but have yet to use it. I tried hammering the jeans, but that didn't work for me.

  4. I'm a big fan of Don's site (which I found from this blog, so yay for links)! He's one of the few sewing blogs that inspires me both in skills and content -- I have a darker aesthetic, so while I admire and seek to emulate the skills of many sewists, their projects aren't anything I would make myself. I can only hope to be as cool as Urbandon someday.

  5. Wow, my two "guy blog addictions" all in one post! Yay!. You both inspire and entertain me. Thanks.

  6. delicious daring don. rocking as ever.

    loved this interview!

  7. I loved the interview and his blog is like a magazine or it.
    Peter you are so funny...that pick of the guy in those (I don't want to call them jeans) is too funny, yes we must remember room for the crotch LOL.
    This is my first time joining one of your sew-a-longs, if the format is anything like your blog I expect to have big fun.

  8. Great interview. I love that Don drafts his patterns and that his personal style is evident in his projects. Great work!


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