23 October 2011

Making Jeans Isn't That Difficult

Whenever I mention that I've made my own jeans, people usually respond with a comment about the task being really difficult. It actually isn't. The hardest thing about making jeans (or any garment for that matter) is achieving fit. Once you do that, the construction is quite simple.

Having made three pairs of jeans so far, I've streamlined the process down to a point where I can make a pair in a relatively short amount of time. Using multiple machines dedicated to one task is a HUGE time-saver. There is no need to change the thread colours, needles, and settings back and forth for each seam.

  • sewing machine (with a walking foot) to sew the seams
  • second sewing machine for topstitching
  • serger to finish the seams together (after serging)
If you've ever made a pair of pants, you can definitely make jeans. A simple trouser pant with a fly-front has four main pieces: front, back, front waistband, back waistband. A pair of jeans has the same four basic pieces, except the front and back are split into two: (1) back and back yoke, and (2) front and front yoke. The front yoke is constructed along with the front pocket while the back yoke is part of the jeans design. Add to these pieces a back pocket, fly shield, and belt loops and you have a pair of jeans. The process of constructing jeans is laborious since the work involves sewing (almost) every seam three or four times. But, it is certainly not hard.

On my current pair, I've put in about 4 hours (or so) of work. This includes:
  • cutting out the fabric and pocket lining
  • making the back pocket design
  • attaching the back pockets and back yoke
  • assembling the front pocket linings and front yoke
Progress Pictures:

Next I need to:
  • install the zipper
  • topstitch the front zipper area
  • sew & topstitch the inseam
  • sew the side seams
  • attach & topstitch the waistband
  • make the button hole
  • sew the hem
If I plan accordingly and put in a little time each day, these should be ready to wear out this coming weekend! Now, all I need is a top. Hmm...



  1. I agree with you about fit being the hardest part of making any garment. I love making jeans! I have made many pairs for myself and a few for every other member of my family. I also set up 3 machines. I have even tried making 3 pairs at once (not all for the same person) assembly line style. I like your template for pocket stitching. The only thing I can see that I do differently than you is to attach the back pockets after sewing the center back seam so that I can position the pockets in relation to the top stitching at the center back rather than the seamline. Your jeans look great!

  2. Jeans are something I have always wanted to try, now maybe I will. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. "Making Jeans Isn't That Difficult". Why oh why am I so scared about it???

  4. @BeccaA: I've seen your jeans. You do a great job! I can't imagine working on three pairs at once - even though I somehow manage to work on multiple projects at the same time! Hmm...maybe I should try it. =)

    @Nancy & Faye: I think I smell a sew-along!

  5. @Nancy: Thanks for sharing your blog links. I'll check them out!

  6. I love to make my own jeans, especially because I know they'll fit. But the best part is that I can make the pockets long enough to fit my hand inside. I hate RTW jeans because the pockets are just too darn short.

  7. @Sherril: I love making my own jeans, too. Petite-length RTW jeans are usually too long for me and the back crotch length too short! I like being able to customize the pocket lining, back pocket design, and so much more.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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