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May 8, 2011

Jeans Sew-Along 7 -- Finishing up!

Friends, it's time to finish our jeans!

Our goals for today are:

1. Stitch side seams

2. Attach waistband and topstitch

3. Attach belt loops

4. Make button hole and add jeans button


1. Yesterday, as you'll recall, we attached our finished pants back to our finished pants front by stitching up the inseam and making a flat-felled seam.  Now we have to stitch up the outer seams, which we do with a simple line of stitching -- easy, right?

To adjust fit, I try these on and pin.  If you want to taper the leg a bit more, now's the time to do it.  If you need to mark these extensively, do this with the pants inside out.

With my the pants inside out (right sides together), I stitched the sides and....  Ta da!

2.  Now let's add our waistband.  The Kwik Sew instructions have you stitch the waistband to the outside of the pants and turn it in; I have always done the opposite -- I stitch the waistband, folded open, to the inside, RIGHT SIDE OF WAISTBAND TO WRONG SIDE OF PANTS, at 5/8".  I then fold it over and topstitch on the outside.

Here's the waistband stitched to the inside of the pants:

Here it is from the outside:

After you've stitched the waistband, you can clip off the extra bit of zipper up top.

You're going to finish the front center edges of the waistband by folding the waistband in half at the front edge, turning up the bottom edge (to precisely mirror the turned-up inside edge that will be folded over), stitching (parallel to the width of the waistband), clipping, and turning.

This is the same technique we use to attach a collar band or cuff to a shirt, if that helps.  A bamboo point turner can help you push out the top corner.

Turned, it should look like this:

I wanted the width of my waistband to be approximately 1 1/2" wide.  Make sure your waistband is the width you want it to be.  After you've turned your edges right side out, press the waistband, making sure inside and outside are even with one another, and that the folded-under outer edge covers up the earlier stitch line.

When I started topstitching my waistband, the fabric had a tendency to shift, so I used Wonder Tape to hold it in place.  That way, I didn't have to worry about holding the waistband in place as I stitched and could focus on the accuracy of my topstitching.

I topstitched around the edge of the entire waistband.

NOTE: My waistband included the selvage, and my sewing machine had a hard time stitching through it (we're talking two layers of selvage and three additional layers of denim) -- I recommend cutting your waistband parallel to the selvage, but not including it.)

3.  Belt loops are straightforward, and I copied their placement from my RTW jeans.  You'll need five 3" strips.  I made these from one long strip, one edge of which I serged, and then folded in thirds, topstitched, and cut into 3" pieces.

I attached each at the top of the waistband, folded over and stitched them down (with the edge barely folded under) at the bottom:

4.With my buttonhole attachment, I made one simple buttonhole on the left front of the waistband.  My machine wouldn't let me do this with my topstitching thread so I used blue Coats denim thread.  I reinforced my buttonhole with Fray Check and cut it open with a seam ripper.

5. Next, I added my jeans button, placing the pants on a piece of soft wood to absorb shock, and hammering through two layers of terrycloth towel so as not to damage the button.  Pull on the button to make sure it's secure.

And my jeans are done!  I threw them in the laundry (white jeans get grubby even in the sewing) and the dryer.  I'll probably wait for a few more laundry cycles to hem them.

Remember the rivets I bought at Sil thread?  Turned out they were snaps.  (They were labeled in Japanese.)  I hope to try rivets on my second pair of jeans -- but that's next week's headache.

Hope your jeans are coming along well -- can't wait to see them!  The Jeans Sew-Along continues next week, of course.  We have lots more to cover, including button flies!  Don't forget to post pics and questions in our Flickr group.

All the white jeans project pics can be accessed here and here.

Happy Mother's Day!


  1. That last picture is worthy on a Jeans-add by itself!

  2. Those turned out great! I've been sewing vicariously by following along with your pictures ...

  3. Your jeans look great! Thank you for the tutorial. It never occurred to me to sew the waistband to the inside and turn to the outside but I like the idea.

  4. These look great! I'm sad that my schedule hasn't allowed me to sew-along, as planned -- but I'm going to come back to these posts to make some jeans sometime soon. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I also like your idea of turning your waistband to the outside. I think I will try it.

    Question though. It looks as if you did not interface the waistband? Did you not or am I just not seeing it with the denim being white? I've always been taught to interface. Sometimes, I just interface the outside. Is it just not necessary with the heavy denim?

  6. I love your jeans! You make it all look so easy! Jeans and pants in general have always been so hard for me to figure out and that's way I avoid them at all cost, but would love to be able to saw a pair. Maybe I'll try again.

    Thanks for sharing this!!

  7. Am loving the glasses - absolutely. Really, stopped scrolling right in my tracks. Total keeper.

  8. I've had trouble finding jeans buttons and are wondering where you purchased them?

  9. great looking jeans but I think I would have used medium gray topstitching thread with the white denim. Just a personal choice. Watching these steps made me re think how to put together a pair of denim pants for my daughter. Thanks.

  10. You look so HOT in those jeans. Fantastic. Now I want white jeans! Actually, I have white jeans but they're not so much fitting me at the moment. And not cuz they're too big.

  11. I've always done skirt waists the way you've done your jeans waist as it gives a neater finish.
    Lol, those jeans are such a good fit and look so great I bet someone will pat/pinch you on the ass when you wear them in public!

  12. They look great! Hey Peter, can the overalls I'm making this week count? They're gonna be bottomweight with quilters' cotton over the top. I made tractor overalls for my nephew last year and he threw a tantrum when he outgrew them. So I'm doing it again with the Jalie pattern, and they're constructed exactly like jeans. And since his birthday is this week, they take precedence over the jeans I want to make...

  13. You are making this look ridiculously easy and fun. As soon as we get through our big move and I am reunited with my straight stitcher, I am going to try it. Have spent too much money on badly fitting jeans in recent years!

  14. Peter, these instructions have been so helpful to me. I've never made jeans and your pictures and posts about each step have made this such an enjoyable process for me. I'm still about two days behind - having just started my pockets yesterday but your tips on the fly and the pockets have produced a garment that might not be another one of my waddlers (is that what they're called? lol)

    Thank you so much!!

  15. I'm so jealous! I'm still waiting for my fabric to arrive! You made those jeans so fast! Can't wait to see how you do the button fly.

  16. waaaaahhhhh! My serger is not working properly.... I made my husband change the upper knife and now it is not cuting at all. Next stop: serger repair shop......Thanks for all the help, I'll post any progress in flicker.

  17. Superb jeans! I love your topstitching and your buttonhole is awesome!


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