Hello! Now that I have shown you how I altered the Anita Jeans, I am going to share with you some tips. I must first clarify that I am just a hobby seamstress, and I have made only 2 pair of jeans, a year apart. However, I hope my tips here would be useful for you. SS also has a lot of useful tips from making her jeans.
Top stitch, top stitch, top stitch!!!!
I LOVE top stitching, it is so soothing and therapeutic. No thinking, no swearing, just press the pedal and go. Here is a few reason why you should top stitch:
- it looks nicer and less home made
- it makes your seam stronger — have you ever sat down in a public place and heard that thundering “zeeeeeep “? I have, and it was due to my jeans ripping apart on the butt seam (and it was when my now-fiance was only my 2-week-old-boyfriend, and he was right next to me!). You dont want that happening to YOU!
- it *might* create that ripply effect that store bought jeans has (more on this later)
Make sure you use a heavy duty thread to get that nice definition on your stitches. Use a single strong jean needle and marks on your sewing machine to make sure everything is parallel.
Sew up the in-seam, center seams first with back yoke but no waist band, top-stitch them while it is easy to do so. Topstitching the outer leg seam might be really difficult since we might not have the room to do so. If you are working on a flared leg jeans, and/or if you are really short, you might be able to do top stitching on the outer seam all the way. You will have to kind of stuff it through your machine until there is no room to go, and then try to top stitch from the other direction.
I used twin needle and threaded two different colors on top stitching the waist band and the belt loop. But be aware –the twin needle has a harder time to punch through the fabric than a single needle (surface area of the needle was doubled, therefor pressure was halved).
After you are done with top stitching the center seams, sew up the outer seam of the legs and try it on. Since you havent put on the waist band yet, it will sit very low, but you can at least figure out if the hips are too wide or too narrow and fix it before you try to top stitch over those as well.
Leave some leg room
When hemming the legs, hem it slightly wide so that in the future, if your jeans shrunk some more, you can let more fabric out. In fact, i made it longer to wear with heels, that way when/if it shrinks, I can always wear it with cute flats! (and it did! I kind of wish i washed it again before i hemmed it like selfish seamstress said)
Back pocket symmetry
I didnt think of this tip until i was done with my jeans, so you have to tell me how it all worked out. To get the back pocket top stitching to be symmetrical. take a pocket pattern, draw the pattern you want on that. Cut out those lines, and then trace them using chalk or washable pen onto your pattern pieces, reverse the template for your other pocket! Then top stitch referencing on those lines.
You know how store bought jeans have those ripply effect on their seams? well, when you make your jeans, you wont get those. I was sad about that when i made my first pair of jeans. HOWEVER! I noticed that my last year’s jeans started having that ripply effect around the seam:
It is ripply where there is a thick layer of fabric (3 layers) and is more pronounced if it was top stitched. I think its a combination of not preshrinking my fabric before I made the jeans, and the top-stitching holding the fabric that is shrinking in different directions together, and that I wore the jeans a lot and the thicker part rubbed against seats more rigorously and showed the color of the backing. I did pre-shrink my jean fabric this time (hot wash and hot dryer, twice), so I will send an update a few month later to let you all know if it start to ripple (though after the first wash, it seems promising, i can feel some of the ripples on the top stitched parts).
Wrap those fat around your waist up!
Making the jeans too low would cause fat to pile and spill over the waist band, so make sure that it is not too tight and low. Dont skip on interfacing the waist band, since it will help holding the shape better.
Elastic, or pure cotton?
My first pair was very very elastic, and my second pair is 100% cotton. While the first pair was a little more comfortable for when I am sitting down, the second pair hold its shape for much longer before it is too loose and have to be washed. It also hide my pantie line better and feels much much more pleasant against my skin . If I were to make another pair, i would go with either 100% cotton or 99% with 1% stretchy stuff. However, I tend to sacrifice comfort for looks 😛 so its up to you to decide which is better! note: btoh pair was not heavy weighty — i dont know how many oz though…
To reinforce some of seams, I used a thinner/normal thread and zig zaged with very short length for 1/4 an inch on the tip of the pockets, and ends of the belt loops. I used thinner thread so that it doesnt pile up on top of eachother.
Also used rivets from Ebay. Note while hammering in the rivets — make sure you are hammering it on solid ground, not some soft wood surface. Otherwise the metal end pierce through the surface plate instead of getting squished underneath it!
Suck it In!
When walking around in your jeans, push your chest up and suck your tummy in a little, it makes your jeans look instantly better:
** important clarification: the above is not photoshopped in anyway, and the lines running down my tummy is a result of image compression when i made gif file out of jpeg files, not veins. My tummy is a perfectly smooth mush of fat. oh, and i do suck in my tummy ever so slightly when i walk around 😉
So here it is! Hope its been useful! Leave me a comment with your thoughts or any additional tips!