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Friday, August 9, 2013

Jeans Sewing: Skirting the Issue

My new amiga Colette,
is a big help when
it comes to creating a fitting muslin/toile
for the M6261 pattern.
Plus I get to use up this poplin for the fit garment.
I wonder what I thought I'd make out
of this when I bought it? :-)
I've blogged and podcasted before about my determination to  learn to sew jeans.

Until i had an actual project to sew, just doing sample sewing didn't motivate me enough, to work on my jeans sewing techniques. I sat down a couple of times this summer, and worked on denim flat-felled seams. Mostly what I learned is that when I stitch a heavy denim (11 oz), it's much more challenging to fell straight lines , than lighter weight cotton such as the ones i felled in my intermediate sewing construction class, or the scraps of 7 oz mid-weight denim, leftover from last summer's shorts and cap project. I fussed around thinking about different things to try,  and wondered if maybe I would even need a heavier duty machine, as was mentioned in a couple of different sewing forums.

I also thought a lot about simply getting straight lines of topstitching. I've located jeans needles and a variety of threads (topstitching and heavy for the seams) . In my sample sewing, I'd already run into tension issues. How could I expect to do the contrasting colored topstitching on pockets, waistband, and hems if I don't work that out?

And have I mentioned learning to install rivets and those special jeans buttons? I want to know how to do those too.

In addition to the challenges of jeans sewing skills, like flat-felling, and special embellishments, there's the whole issue of getting a jeans pattern to fit. Who among us doesn't find that a challenge?

I was determined to be really ready to sew jeans, but I was too intimidated to simply jump in and starting sewing them.

So how about a sewing project where i just sit down and work through some of the jeans techniques and special embellishments, as best as I can, but i don't actually sew jeans?

No I'm not talking about a cute cushion or a fetching tote bag, we're talking a denim jeans-style skirt. This skirt will still require fit-work too, which is a great opportunity to use my new dress form, Colette, whom I brought to life in summer school. Fitting a skirt to Collette, seems like less of a fit challenge than jeans (Colette isn't bi-forcated so I can't fully fit jeans on her, though she can help with some aspects).

M6361 is my idea of a good, basic
jeans-style skirt
I've chosen Palmer and Pletsch M6361, a  skirt and trouser pattern that suits my idea of what a jeans-skirt should look like. Here it is

So far I spent about six hours fitting the skirt in this mid-weight teal blue poplin fabric, and several more hours cutting out the denim and getting going on my actual skirt. I've already realized that I'm not going to make real-true flat-fellled seams, but I'm still hoping I'll get a faux flat-felled look going. I'm relatively happy with the fit at this stage, though I haven't gotten far enough with the real skirt yet to be sure. I've also decided to wait to fit and cut out the curved waistband until I'm farther along with the project. So I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get a look and fit I"m happy with.

I'm really glad I'm getting going with my jeans sewing skills - even though I'm creating a different kind of garment. I'm looking forward to  blogging more about how the project goes.

Getting going with my jeans-sewing skills (and getting a skirt out of the deal!) keeps me enchanted by sewing!