Greetings sea turtles! I finally got around to taking pictures of my recently-made jeans and I’m starting my seasonal binge of utilitarian sewing and have a stack of cheap jersey and a New Look t-shirt pattern ready to go. Let’s just jump to the first picture, shall we? Here are the jeans and my first t-shirt from the New Look pattern.

The jeans – Vogue 1034

Sooo….. this is the Vogue 1034 jeans pattern from Sandra Betzina. I already sort of half-reviewed the pattern when I unveiled my riding breeches (let’s call them pony pants, shall we?), but I got a better feel for the pattern this time around. The main differences between the jeans and the pony pants are that I made the jeans leg with the exact flare as drafted in the pattern, I did the back pockets and I did a lot more seam finishing on the inside. There were also a few things I actually did CORRECTLY on this version of the pattern!

To bootcut or not to bootcut

Let’s talk jeans leg styles. The pattern envelope says that the jeans have a bootcut leg and I was very hesitant to make bootcut jeans. As much as I always admire the look of a dark wash jean with a pair of heels (Stacy and Clinton do not steer people wrong, am I right?) I don’t really wear super high heels that often in my day-to-day life. My jeans wearing is generally with over the calf boots or with flats and the cuffs rolled up. As such, straight legged jeans are more my thing. Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to be better about making a pattern at least once as drafted before messing with it, so I went ahead and made bootcut jeans. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I like the legs on these jeans! In my experience, RTW bootcut jeans in my size are much more flared, not a shape of which I like the look OR the feel! Also, much to my pleasure, the jeans work well with boots zippered over them – there’s not too much fabric on the bottom! Of course, I remembered that the pattern was a bit short on me after I had started cutting. I was able to add 1” to the hem and I used about an inch to hem. These are still a bit shorter than I’d like – they’re ok with flats, but even the low heeled shoes in the picture above are a bit too much… anyway – here they are with boots!


The barndoor

Now. More details… the fly and the belt loops. I did an extensive study of RTW jeans (I looked at Dan’s Levis and my favorite Calvin Klein’s) and I copied a lot of my topstitching from those samples. I liked the look of the fly topstitching starting out double and then merging into one line. Also, since I cut an extra belt loop strip, I had double the fabric for loops – I went ahead and made them up and doubled them up on the front and the back. Of course, I’ve never worn a belt with jeans, but I still like funky belt loops. Also, it occurred to me that since these jeans actually fit, I could, conceivably, wear a belt. I don’t know if I’d like the look, but the main reason I haven’t worn a belt is because jeans generally gap quite a bit in the back, so it ends up being a mess back there with the jeans waistband dipping below the belt. One thing I wish I had done differently is edge stitching the edge of the fly – since this is a cut on fly, it’s sort of hard to do the edge stitching in that spot – you can’t do it before joining the center front, and it’s hard to do it well once they’re attached. Ah well, maybe next time!

Here’s the inside of the fly. Can I get an amen for metal zippers?? It was so awesome to be able to press the zipper tape and not worry about melting the coils! Yay! I really like the Sandra Betzina method – and it was AWESOME that it was in the pattern instructions as I’ve used the video quite a few times, and it’s so inconvenient to try to have my laptop on my sewing table! Also, I used the plain old jeans buttons from Joann’s. They don’t seem like they should work – it’s basically just a nail that you stick through the fabric and ram into the button part. You don’t even use a hammer to set it! It’s held so far, though.

Oh – while I ramble on about how great it is ironing zippers, you guys probably were distracted by the completely adorable Anna Maria Horner cotton I used for the pocket lining and for the inner waistband. We’ll talk more about that later!

Pocketses and tummy control

This time around I skipped the double pockets and just did a plain ‘ole jeans pocket setup. I liked the double pockets, but wanted it more simple.

For all of my fear of topstitching prior to starting out, I really enjoyed doing it! I used the ‘jeans’ thread from Guttermann – not the topstitching stuff. The jeans thread worked fine on my machine. I have a newer mid-range Singer and used the jeans  thread in the bobbin and for the top thread. I started out with a size 14 topstitching needle, but that skipped a lot of stitches, so I switched to an el-cheapo universal size 16 that was in my needle stash and eventually switched to a size 16 jeans needle after stopping by a store to get some. The size 16 worked fine. I ran out of the jeans thread toward the end and had to use the topstitching thread to finish topstitching the yoke (there wasn’t anymore gold stuff at the store in the jeans weight, just the topstitching (heavier) weight. The needle handled the topstitching stuff fine, although it was harder to thread because the eye of the needle was smaller and the topstitching thread is really thick. Also, I had to tighten the tension a bit when I was using the topstitching thread, but not the jeans thread. I used a 4mm length stitch. One other thing – there is only 33 yards (or something like that) on the spools of topstitching thread! After just doing the yoke, I was almost out. I’m guessing I would have needed four or five spools to do all the topstitching!

And here’s the inside of the fly. The pattern instructions leave a lot of the fly pieces unfinished. Luckily, I remembered the trick of stitching the fusible interfacing to the fly pieces (right sides together) then turning and fusing, leaving a finished edge with little bulk. I love that trick! I did that on all the fly pieces – you can see a bit of the interfacing on the lower right corner of the fly shield.

Another somewhat cool feature of this pattern is the extended front piece that forms the pockets and is attached to the side seams and then the fly. This provides a bit of extra support (the envelope calls it tummy control, I think.) Somehow when I made my first version of this pattern, I didn’t get both sides attached,  this time I did! And today I poked my head into Lane Bryant (hunting for a thin, red belt) and noticed they have ‘tummy control’ jeans. I snooped and it seems it’s the same basic concept, but instead of pretty Anna Maria fabric, they used some sort of slippery, stretchy stuff – like swimsuit lining, but supercharged!

I love having this fun fabric on the inside of my jeans, but will probably skip it next time around. I used a stretch denim from Joann’s that’s certainly on the lightweight side of things, but not super lightweight. That, plus the cotton and the fusible tricot interfacing isn’t enough to provide enough support and the waistband rolls as soon as I put the jeans on. On the plus side, it was easy to hem the cotton facings to make everything look nice. Also, I finished the bottom of the pockets with a french seam so there aren’t any loose threads anywhere!

I’ll take two pockets and a yoke. Hold the waistband.

Here’s the view from the back. I didn’t like the shape of the pockets in the pattern so I copied from my favorite jeans. The stitching is super simple and is a lot like what’s on the Levis in Dan’s closet. I also did the placement on my own (not following the pattern) and it’s OK. Next time I’ll make the pockets a bit bigger and put them closer together. The one thing I HATE in a lot of my RTW jeans is how the pockets are relatively low set. They seem to accentuate the widest part of my hips AND make everything look super-duper saggy.

Another unique feature of the pattern is that the back waistband and yoke are cut as one piece – there’s no separate waistband! Some of the reviewers on Pattern Review said they liked how this allowed for a super close fit, but I’m not convinced. It’s fine, but I feel a bit like something missing while I’m wearing them! You can also see my slightly wonky belt loops. I think they are bit off kilter as it’s sort of hard to get everything perfect when you’re working with angles! I like ‘em though. I very much like a double back belt loop situation. I bought a stick of glue meant for using with fabric and it was very, very helpful in holding the back pockets and the belt loops in place prior to stitching.

Here’s a shot of the yoke from the inside. You can see I (again) went to town with the decorative stitching on the lower edge. I’d hemmed the bottom edge of the facing with a narrow hem, and edge stitched a bit too close to the edge for comfort – I felt like the seam allowance might flip out. Rather than another line of straight stitching, I went with the vines to hold everything in place!

Final touches

This is a view of the side seam. First, let me draw your attention to the topstitching at the bottom edge of the yoke and the waistband. One odd side effect of the all-in-one yoke piece was that I wasn’t sure how I wanted my topstitching to look. I definitely wanted the bottom edge of the yoke to have a double line of stitches, but I thought the front waistband would look too busy with a double line and as you can see, the bottom yoke and bottom front waistband are one continuous line. I decided to use the side seam as the dividing line and I just did one line of stitching on the front waistband. I don’t think it’s too noticeable when I’m wearing.

Also, I copied the RTW practice of topstitching the inseams and only topstitching the outseams to the bottom of the pocket area.

Here’s a view of that side seam from the inside. Not much to see, except I ended up serging the seam allowances together (like the red thread? too lazy to change it…) I originally sewed the side seams with dark blue thread at home (I used my sewing machines overedge stitch.) I ended up lugging the whole project in to the shop, so I decided to serge the sides to keep everything tidy.

Here’s a shot of the inseam and the hem. I continued with my double topstitching. I spaced most of my topstitching by using my machine foot and just lining up the inside or outside of the foot to whatever guide (fold, stitching, etc) and moving the needle around to get the width different. I took a lot of notes to help me remember what settings I had done for all the different stitches.

This is a close up of the center front and part of the inseam. You can see my interfacing peeking out on that pesky fly piece! I flat felled the center/crotch front and back. I LOVE how finished it looks (although I could certainly use more practice on those darn flat felled seams.) It was much easier than I anticipated. I had to go slow on the front and backs because of all the curviness, and I used a TON of fabric glue stick rather than pins. It worked like a dream!

Fits like a slightly wrinkly second skin.

Ah, nothing like blogging to get you to post awful pictures online! Here’s a close up of the front with my shirt tucked in. I like the fit, except there are some angled/horizontalish folds going from the center of the fly to the very top of the sides – you can see them in the photo below. Also, the pesky hip curve is too bunchy for my taste – I really have a hard time fitting that area, because the underlying body is too bunchy for my taste! It’s hard getting a good balance between too loose/too tight. I noticed some reviewers on Pattern Review remarked that the hip curve in this pattern was too curvy, I think that’s true for me and will flatten that curve a bit on the next version.

A few good photos?

Ah! For a first pair of jeans, I really like ‘em. I have two more pieces of denim ready to go (I’m doing the wash/dry three times and let sit out 24 hours method of fabric prep.) Since I’ve worn them twice already, here’s my Me-Made-March pictures from those days.

Utilitarian sewing – a basic t-shirt

I hesitated to even blog about this, but I’m throwing in a few pictures of my new t-shirt. I used New Look 6735 for the T and I’m very, very happy. It’s a cheap, thin cotton jersey, so it’s a lot more revealing than I’d like! Hello white underoos and bumpy midriff!

For some quick bits of info – I cut a size 22 on the side seams and a size 20 in the arms, neckline and shoulder. I extended the hem by 2” while cutting. I sewed with a .5mm wide zig zag and hemmed by serging, stabilizing with Steam a Seam 2 lite before stitching with a twin needle. Since the shirt is made from such thin material, it was a bit on the clingy side, so I added some ruching to see if that would help on the sides – I think it does! Also, I sewed everything on a serger, but machine basted in the neckline. I have such trouble putting in necklines with the serger if I’m dealing with pins – I always end up with a hole where the edges didn’t get sewn!

Here’s my glamour girl shot (the one for the review gallery picture on Pattern Review). Again, I am partial to the superhero pose. Me and my platypus will fight crime. And hunt tennis balls.

Side view showing the ruching. And slightly gappy neckline. Suggestions on fixing? I can pinch out a wedge, but where do I rotate it to? I probably should have cut a smaller size and done an FBA – I was hoping the negative ease would gloss over the need for that! Isn’t this fabric adorable? I got some in navy and black dots. This shirt cost $2.95!!

And here’s a closeup – I was trying to get a shot of the stitching at the neck. I was very impressed with my super-close edgestitching. Usually my topstitching on stretchy fabrics is a hot mess.

And with that, I’m off to bed. Happy sewing! I have some fun projects almost done to show off soon! And a super ruffly Anna Sui muslin!

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