Ginger Jeans in Ralph Lauren Denim from Mood
It’s no secret that I love making my own jeans. That and jackets are probably my favorite thing to make because it really makes you feel like you have sewing super powers! [Also, the look on people’s faces when you tell them that you’ve made your jeans is pretty priceless.] I’ve been sprinkling my tips and tricks throughout my blog posts, but I thought it would be helpful to put together a beginners guide to sewing your own jeans that covers everything!
Morgan Jeans in White Brushed Denim from Hart’s Fabric
My Favorite Jeans Patterns:
It’s no secret around here that I’m a big Closet Case Patterns Fan. I am a Ginger Jeans Girl through and through and have recently tried out the Morgan Jeans. Both jeans are such great patterns and I think are beginner jeans friendly. I say beginner jeans friendly because I do think jeans are not a great first project for sewists. But, once you have a couple woven patterns under your belt, you can totally tackle jeans. Nothing with jeans making is terribly challenging, but there are lots of pieces and lots of steps, so having some experience under your belt will help!
There are TONS of other jeans patterns out there. Allie from AllieMJackson.com put together and amazing jeans pattern round up. Make sure to pop over there to see all the different jeans patterns in the indie sewing world!
I really want to give the Safran jeans a go next but in a stretch twill. I think they would make an amazing work pants for me.
Ginger Jeans in Grey Denim from Mood
My Favorite Places Online to Find Denim Fabric:
- Threadbare Fabrics – Katie at Threadbare Fabrics has some of the best denim I’ve worked with! She carries Cone Mills denim in both stretch and non-stretch. I made my second pair of Ginger Jeans from the stretch Cone Mills 12 oz S-Gene Denim. Cone Denim has been a leading supplier of denim fabrics to top denim apparel brands since 1891. While I was writing this post, I did some research on Cone Denim and I thought this article on the S-Gene was so interesting. Did you know that S-Gene is a patented technology? Who knew! I really love this denim, but the only thing I will say is that it bleeds dark blue forever and ever and ever. Just a warning so you aren’t alarmed by Smurf Hands!
- Mood Fabrics – Mood carries a variety of designer denim that I’ve used and really loved too. My first pair was a designer denim (unfortunately I don’t know what designer) and then my third pair was a Ralph Lauren Denim. I usually risk it, but since they have so many different types of denim, it might be helpful to order some swatches from Mood before jumping it. The Ralph Lauren denim I used [now sold out] was so nice because it had some distressing already on the denim so it made for a very RTW look.
Ginger Jeans in S-Gene Dark Blue Cone Mills Denim
So…where do I find that hardware??
The thing that makes jeans so intimidating to people is the hardware. I have to be honest, I don’t put rivets on my jeans [usually because I’m lazy] but also because I like my jeans to be a little bit more dressy. That being said, I rounded up some places to source all the things you need – rivets, jeans buttons, and zippers to make your first pair of jeans! This was posted as part of my Morgan Jeans post, but put it here as well for people!
- Closet Case Patterns has really great kits that have everything that you need and they come in 3 colors. She has both Zipper Fly Front and Button Fly Kits.
- I am a #lazysewist and tend to leave off rivets (not tend to – I’ve never put rivets on). Because of that, I really love Wawak’s Jeans Buttons kit. I used these on the floral jeans, white jeans, Morgan Jeans and my Hampton Jean Jacket.
- I also really am a big sucker for any sort of kits. It takes all the thinking of it for me. Stone Mountain and Daughter Fabrics has a jeans kit that has topstitching thread, jeans needles, double jean needle, rivets, jeans buttons, rivet tool, humper jumper (I’ve never used this, but I think it could be helpful on those bulky seams?) and a fly for the zipper.
Ginger Jeans in White Floral Denim
What else do you need?
- Top Stitching Thread – This is what really makes your jeans stand out! I prefer the Gutterman Top Stitching thread for my top stitching. It comes in a variety of different colors. Color 412 is my favorite for a typical “gold denim” color [and what I used on my Ralph Lauren Gingers] and Color 13 is my favorite for a tone on tone [like I used in my Cone Mills version].
- Needles – Just like any sewing project, you need needles for your project. Obviously, you need a jeans needle to sew denim. Then you’ll need a needle for top stitching if you’d like. Of course, you could just use your jeans needle but there are two other options. I much prefer the double needle top stitching which makes top stitching for new sewists a lot easier. The other option if you want to two two lines of top stitching is a top stitching needle.
- Tools – You need a hammer for hammering in buttons and rivets. It’s also helpful to have an awl for making the holes for the buttons and rivets.
- Extra Sewing Machine – This is TOTALLY not required [and I just wish I had one…] but having a second machine for top stitching is so helpful! When I can sew at Stitch, it is so much easier to have one machine threaded with regular thread and the second machine threaded with top stitching thread. Again, not required at all, but makes it a lot easier.
Hampton Jean Jacket in White Non-Stretch Denim [Jean Jacket making has so many of the same techniques as jean making!]
Best Jeans Making Resources Online:
- Online Workshops – Closet Case Patterns and Indie Sew both have their own jeans workshops. While I’ve only used the Closet Case Patterns workshop, I can say that having video and someone explaining each step is a huge help! Even on my 5th or 6th pair, I pull up the part where you sew the waistband. The Closet Case Patterns workshop comes with the mid-rise Ginger Jeans pattern. The Indie Sew workshop isn’t pattern based but helps you rub off your favorite pair of RTW jeans into a pattern.
- Sew Alongs – Sew Alongs are my favorite part of the indie pattern world. Closet Case Patterns has a really robust sew along for the Ginger Jeans. Even if you’re not making the Ginger Jeans, the sew along would be so helpful to understand the concepts of jeans making.
- Instagram – I love Instagram stories. You all are probably tired of me going on and on on Instagram stories. But I also love how it really starts conversations. Are you making jeans and getting stuck? Reach out on Instagram! Someone will help!
What are my favorite tips and tricks?
- Double Needle Top Stitching – I mentioned it before, but I LOVE double needle top stitching. I’m sure it’s not the most “traditional” way to sew top stitching but it helps so much with my accuracy and speed in jean sewing.
- Fun Pocket Linings and Waistband Facings – I love using a really fun cotton lawn or quilting cotton on the inside of my jeans. It’s such a cool way to personalize your jeans.
- Baste Baste Baste! – In jeans making, basting is your best friend. Anytime that I come across a tricky instruction, I baste it first to make sure it was correct. Basting helps keep things together that will eventually be sewing together (for example, pocket linings to the front of the pants). But the biggest thing to make sure you baste is the side seams. You can check fit at that point and make any adjustments before moving on to the waistband.
I hope that was helpful and I answered all your questions about jean making! I’d love to hear your experiences sewing jeans! Did I miss anything that you love? I put together a Pinterest board of all my favorite jean related notions, fabric and makes!
This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.