This month’s make is unusually subtle for me—no bright colours or dazzling prints, but instead a pair of classic skinny jeans in this lovely black stretch denim by Lady McElroy.
I used my tried and tested Burda pattern 7138 for this make. I increased the back darts to 2cm and I took in the side seams a little towards the waist as my last pair were a bit loose, but then I increased the leg width below the knee marginally, so that the jeans weren’t super-clingy.
For the first time, I experimented with decorative topstitching on the back pockets. I’m really glad with how they came out, it adds a subtle but interesting detail. If you remember my topstitching woes from the dungarees project, then you’ll know I don’t get on too well with that thick thread. I sidestepped the topstitching thread this time and decided to try out some upholstery thread. Its weight seems to be halfway between normal stitching thread and topstitching thread, and the great thing is that it comes in 100 metre reels! Again, I wanted to keep things understated so opted for this charcoal grey tone which gives only a slight contrast to the fabric.
I love adding little details that no one will ever see…this front pocket lining was cut from my flatmate’s old bedsheets. (He gave me permission, honest!) I extended the depth of the pockets because a constant pet peeve of mine is that menswear trousers and jeans patterns always have such shallow pockets, so I usually add a few inches to make them practical for everyday use.
Another detail I wanted to incorporate was bound edges on the outside leg seams. I went for black satin binding, which gives a beautiful finish and is visible on the turn-ups. I don’t bind the whole length of the seam, mostly it’s overlocked with just the bottom six inches or so bound this way.
I also applied binding to the inside of the waistband (another ‘just for me’ detail). The burgundy binding gives a nice contrast to the otherwise black garment and is a pleasure to see when you’re pulling the jeans on and off.
We did a few ‘stretch tests’ on the denim—jumping and flailing around basically! It has a really good amount of stretch and doesn’t impede movement. I used jeans needles for all the stitching (plural because I did break one but that was actually nothing to do with the thickness of the denim, it came loose and bent then snapped as the needle came down, oops! Note to self: secure needles more firmly in the future.)
To finish off, I used this art-deco inspired jeans button—it’s slightly larger than a usual jeans button and makes for a lovely final detail.
I am getting quicker at making jeans and it’s great to have a pattern that is now tweaked to fit me perfectly. The pattern is so well-used that it’s showing signs of degradation, but I got a really good tip from fellow Sewing Bee Tracy this week: when well-loved patterns are getting tatty, you can iron them onto some fusible interfacing to add strength and longevity. Great tip!
I hope this inspires more people to take on denim—personally it’s one of my favourite fabrics to sew with and it is quite forgiving when unpicking any mistakes. Until next time, happy sewing,
Duncan