21 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 7 - belt loops)

Hmm...no intro here.  Let's just get to it. =)

Belt Loops (29 minutes)
1.  The belt loops raveled something awful the first time around, so now I always finish the edges.
2.  Fold one long edge to the inside and press.  Fold the remaining long edge on top of the first and press.

3.  Using the blindhem foot, topstitch each long edge.

4.  Cut each 12-inch strip into three 4-inch pieces.  Pin each belt loop to the jeans front & back, right sides together.  I use the recommended placements provided by the instructions.  At each place, I make sure that the folded edge of the belt loop faces outward.

The instructions say to stitch 3/8" from the edge and then again at 3/4" from the edge. I think 3/4" is too big, so I use 5/8" instead.

I've attached the waistband and need to topstitch it in place.  I have to take a small break from the jeans for a moment to do some end-of-semester stuff and make another quick project.  I'll share the details about that soon.  I'd like to wear my jeans on Friday and have the quick project sewn before Wednesday.  

Until next time, peace!


20 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 6 - in/out seams)

I must be set on slow-mode or something.  Once again, another sewing process has taken me longer than normal to complete.  Honestly, how much time should it really take to sew four seams?  Apparently adding an hour to the most conservative estimate should suffice.  Yikes.

Okay, okay.  Perhaps I'm being a little harsh.  After all, I ceased sewing to try on the pants for fit.  I also played around with the settings for the serpentine stitch to get the curve I wanted.  But should this really have taken an hour?  

In/out seams (80 minutes)

1.  Since the front and back crotch seams are already sewn, the inseams can be sewn in one complete line from hem to hem.

2.  The jeans are topstitched the same manner.  

3.  Once the inseams are topstitched, pin and sew the outseams.  Press the side seams toward the back and topstitch to just below the front pocket.  Since I can't see the front pocket, I use the back pocket as my guide.  I think this line helps to add security to what can be a high-stress area.  I don't know if this is true or not, though.  Some RTW jeans have a straight line of topstitching while others have interesting designs.  I opted to end the straight stitch with a serpentine stitch.  On my last pair, I added a small lightning bolt to mimic the design on the back.

I've attached the belt loops and will post that part next.


13 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 5 - fly front)

Constructing the fly this time around took longer than usual.  I had to pick out stitches on the fly a few times.  This isn't my best work, but I'm ready to move on.

I can't emphasize enough how clear and thorough the instructions and drawings are in Jalie patterns!  Jeanne and Emilie (mother and daughter co-owners) take care to ensure that the instructions are easy to read and adequately match the drawings.  For those who are used to sewing from the American pattern companies, the only thing to remember is the color scheme for right and wrong sides is reversed in Jalie.  In American pattern companies, the right side is dark/shaded and the wrong side is white; in Jalie, it is the opposite.  The instructions and drawings are so good, I've not had a problem adjusting.

Fly (1 hour 27 minutes)

1.  Interface the zipper fly area.  If you made an alteration to the waist, don't forget to adjust the fly interfacing pattern piece as well.  Yes, you read correctly!  The pattern includes a separate piece just for the fly interfacing.  How nice is that?  This piece becomes useful again later in the construction of the fly.  Baste along the edge of the fly (as shown).  Switch to a regular stitch length at the dot, backstitch to lock the stitches at this point, and continue sewing along the crotch seam (at 3/8").

2.  Clip diagonally toward the dot beneath the fly and press the seam open above the clip.  The crotch seam is pressed to the left side.

3.  The instructions for the next step read as follows:

"On right side of front, topstitch 3 mm (1/8’’) right of center front [emphasis mine] (fig. 24a – view from right side of front, fig. 24b – view from wrong side of front)."

When I first read this, I thought I was to topstitch to my right of center front so that the stitching appears on the opposite side of the ink pen (as shown below).  The drawing clearly shows that the stitching goes on the same side as the ink pen (which when worn will be on your left).  If you stitch the other side, then the stitching will appear on the wrong side of the fly, thus creating the possibility for the fly to lap right over left (standard in means jeans/pants) instead of left over right which is the norm for women's jeans/pants.  So to stitch "right of center front" means to sew the line on the right side of the center front as viewed in the photo, not as how it will be worn on the body.  I hope this makes sense!

Once the front side is topstitched, the inside should look like this.  The center front crotch seam should be stitched in place toward the left (as shown in the diagram).  I forgot to serge the crotch seam before stitching - so be sure to do so before basting the center front!

4. Wrong sides up, take the right half of the front and fold it under the left so that the right fly extension is shown.

Pin the zipper face down onto the right fly extension with the zipper teeth along the center front.  This method of inserting a fly front is very similar to Sandra Betzina's method - except that I think she doesn't put the zipper teeth as close to the center front.  I haven't watched her video in a while, so I don't remember exactly.

Use a zipper foot to sew the zipper, stitching close to the teeth.

5.  Grab the un-stitched  side of the zipper and flip it, along with the right fly extension, so that the right side of the zipper is face up.

Stitch along the folded edge through all layers (taking the fold and zipper tape and keeping the front of the jeans free).  This fold should be relatively even.  If mine is off by a lot, I normally unpick the zipper and start over.  In this photo, the fold is slightly off at the top.  I let it go. =)

6.  Lay the jeans front wrong sides up.  Grab the left fly extension and flip the left front under the right front.  Stitch along the zipper tape catching the left front fly only.  Jalie recommends sewing close to the zipper teeth.  I stitch somewhere in the center of the zipper tape and haven't had a problem.  

Notice that my zipper is longer than the center front.  I don't cut the zipper until I am ready to attach the waistband.  I've pulled the zipper tab off enough times to be patient with the scissors!

7.  On the inside, pin through all layers  below the zipper stop.  You should be able to see the pin from the front side.

Use the fly interfacing piece to trace a line for topstitching on the jeans front.  I don't like a wide topstitching area around my fly front, so I place the straight edge slightly past the center front and trace from there. 

Betzina recommends sewing from the curve to the waist.  While this does provide better control, it takes some practice to master.  I had to re-do the topstitching a couple of times and it's still not as straight as I'd like it to be.

8.  Add a second row of topstitching from the bottom of the fly front along the front crotch seam.  Open the center front by cutting the basting stitches only.

9.  Fold the fly shield wrong sides together along the long edge.  I use my serger to finish all of the raw edges.  (Even though I serged the waist edge, it's needed because this edge will be encased in the waistband.)

Pin the fly shield to the right zipper extension (keeping jeans right front free) and stitch.  Jalie recommends trimming the right zipper extension before sewing, but I found it very difficult to catch the edge if I trimmed it first.  Instead, I attached the fly shield and trimmed afterwards.  Then, I sewed a zigzag stitch along the newly sewn edge for more security.

10.  Sew bar tacks in two places to secure the fly shield.  To make the bar tacks, I use a zigzag stitch with a width of 2.0 and length of 0.5.  Normally this isn't a problem with topstitching thread, but I had trouble making the bar tacks on this pair.  I had to pick each bar tack twice and the end result still isn't as nice as I'd like it to be.  The placement of the bar tacks is up to you.  I've seen them placed on both the inside and outside topstitching lines.  Originally I had mine on the outside lines, but the fabric was weakened in this area from all of the unpicking.

Next up:  sew and fit the inseams and side seams, attach the belt loops, attach the waistband, hem, and work/attach buttonhole and tack.  I hope to have this finished soon.  I am ready to move on to the next project!

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes
5.  fly - 87 minutes

Total time:  5 hours, 2 minutes

Until next time, peace & be well!

07 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Part 4 - front pockets)

I was surprised to see how long it took me to sew and attached the front pockets.  The instructions for this part are short and quite simple.  Even though I had to wind a bobbin and remove some serging, both of those activities took maybe five minutes total.  Still, I counted about an hour for this part.

Front Pockets (61 minutes)
I like to use cotton fat quarters for my pocket linings.  There are lots of interesting prints and designs from which to choose and are relatively inexpensive.  Before cutting out the pieces, I pre-wash the fabric so that it doesn't shrink and cause any pulling on the front.

1.  Before attaching the front yoke to the  front pocket facing, I serged the bottom edge to prevent raveling.  The front yoke faces the inside of the pocket and is prone to wear and tear if you use this pocket a lot. 

2.  Pin the wrong side of the front yoke to the right side of the front pocket lining.  Edgestitch about 1/4" around all sides.

3.  Right sides together, pin the front pocket facing to the yoke/lining unit.

Sew along the un-notched edge (on the seamline) from the top (waist) around to the bottom.  Again to prevent raveling or fraying, I serged the edges.

Some people like having the printed part facing outside so that when the jeans are turned inside out, you can see the right side of the pocket fabric.  I like to have the right side facing in so that when I look into the pocket, I can see the print.  If you'd like the printed side out, just flip the pieces accordingly.

4.  Right sides together,  pin the pocket unit to the jeans front.  When I first made this pattern, I didn't quite understand how this was supposed to look.  The illustration in the instructions seem to suggest that the pocket unit will lie flat.  This is impossible if you stitch the un-notched side first.  As you can see in the photo on the left, the yoke/facing unit is sort of bunched up beneath the seam that is to be sewn next.  It's not hard to maneuver around this area - just be careful not to stitch over the bulk.  Stitch on the seamline from the corner (before the orange pin the picture) to the side seam.

Clip the curve.

5. Turn the pocket unit to the inside and press.  At this point, the notches on the pocket unit side seam should match the notches on the jeans side seam.  Press the entire front-pocket unit.

6.  Keeping the pocket unit free of the front pocket edge, topstitch or add decorative stitching.  Next, pin the pocket unit and front together at the notches.  Stitch through all layers just in the area of the pins, inside the seamline. 

Give the front and good press.

Up next is the zipper.  I have a lot of work work to do over the next couple of days and really want to contribute to Faye's Essential Top Sew Along before it ends.  I should be able to put some time into completing the front of the jeans this week.  At least, that's what I'm hoping for!

Time recap:

1.  prep - 33 minutes
2.  back pockets - 91 minutes
3.  back - 30 minutes
4.  front pockets - 61 minutes

Total time:  3 hours, 35 minutes

Until next time, peace!


05 April 2013

Jeans #9 (Brief Intermission)

I'm still working on the jeans, but I had to break to handle some mechanical failures around the house.  In the meantime, I'd like to share some resources for sewing jeans.  I am by no means a guru and pick up ideas from the vast amount of information that's available online.  

  • For a good collection of general sewing tips, visit the first page of the Jeans Tips and Tricks thread on Pattern Review.  The link provides information about types of denim fabric, patterns, notions, and construction.  You can find a list of jeans sew alongs that were hosted on Pattern Review by searching "jeans sew along" on the message boards. 
  • There are a couple of pairs of PR members whose jeans I simply adore.  I love the details added to make their jeans unique.
    • Elizabeth made this:  Check out the button placket on the leg!  Elizabeth's review is very well written and has lots of good information.
    • Raye Anne:  The piping around the pockets is SO cute!  The shaped back pocket flap is something I definitely want to try.
    • Margaret:  Margaret always writes the most informative and helpful reviews.  She has a great eye for fit and documents the process very clearly.  Her clothes are impeccably made and fit her well.
    • Scheryka:  I like how Scheryka mixed mediums to create an interesting back pocket design.
  • When thinking of designing pockets, I do a Google search on "jeans pockets" and look through the photos that pop up.  Sometimes I search for simple geometric designs and improvise from there.
  •  I buy a lot of my sewing supplies from Cleaner's Supply.  The prices can't be beat and the customer service is great.  I order by mail since I find their online store to be a bit cumbersome.   Shipping is only $3.83 for orders under $100.  They sell a wide ranges of zippers, Gutterman thread, buttons, needles, industrial sewing machine feet, seam rippers, etc.  If you buy in bulk, the price per item is less. 
    • For jeans, I like to use the 4.5" metal pant zipper, though I have used the 5" metal jeans zipper.  The 5" zipper is a little wider and heavier than the 4.5".  The pull tab is slightly bigger too.  I've not had a problem with either zipper, though I tend to favor the 4.5".
    • Both of Gutterman's regular and topstitching threads are reasonably priced and quite strong.  
    • I use mostly MaxiLock serger thread and find the prices and availability of colors quite reasonable here.  
Hmm...the hazard of writing a blog post and not publishing it on the same day it is written is the tendency to forget what to say!  So this is all all for now.  The front pockets are almost finished and I hope to have a new update soon.

Until next time, peace.



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