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Week 4: Jeansmaking- What They Made

This is it, the final round! And we certainly did not go easy on our three remaining contestants this time. This round they had to make their own pair of well fitting jeans. I think they all did an absolutely outstanding job!

Take a look what these ladies accomplished & be sure to vote for your favorite! (Link at bottom of post.)

And, don't forget to show us your me-made jeans on Facebook or Instagram. Details at the bottom of this post.

Danesha from Classyfied Life
So first I must say that this entire challenge has been just that...a challenge! Two weeks ago there was hurricane Irma and I was blessed enough to not lose power and then I went out into the aftermath to capture some photos of my submission. Then two weeks ago I had a big trip planned so I had to do EVERYTHING in two days. Then the BIGGEST challenge of all...THIS week! I got the challenge and I was super excited to have an extra few days and then before I could even get started I ended up in the emergency room twice plus an overnight stay. I had originally planned on making my black pair and then a dark blue pair of jeans because I really wanted to the judges to see my detailed topstitching. I am thankful that healing took place and I was able to stay in the competition. I went with what I wanted...a black pair of skinny jeans! I will say this is the BEST piece I have sewn to date! I took GREAT CARE in making these and I think that even though I used black fabric and the topstitching is black it will still wow the judges and everyone else...including myself! The final challenge I faced was getting pictures taken for this post...for the first time during this challenge I had to take pictures in the evening and there was NO SUNLIGHT...I will say I got so anxious and worried...BUT I trust my hard work will still shine through! 

Usually, when I purchase jeans they gape A LOT in the back because my hips are much wider than my waist and therefore when I purchase jeans I have to buy them to fit my hips. Also my skinny jeans usually aren't as fitting on my legs since I am buying for my hip measurement and that is very annoying. Lastly, they are usually too long for my liking and it causes me to have to fold up the bottom of my pants. See the image below! 

The funny thing is I made this same exact pattern before- MimiG S8222 skinny jeans- and I didn't finish them because I was NOT PLEASED! I will now make this pattern over and over because this time I think I almost perfected the pattern! Practice really does make perfect. Mimi G has a sew-along video that you can follow in order to make your own! I did make a few changes for fitting! I cut a size smaller because I learned from my first make that I needed a 12 to get the true skinny jeans fit instead of a 14...which is the designated size based on my measurements. I also adjusted the width of the belt loops twice, which you will see in the picture below. They were too wide for my liking so I ended up shortening the width of the pattern piece by 1/2 inch. I also kept the length of the size 14 and cut the rest of the pattern as a 12. 

I decided to pair my jeans with two different denim tops for two totally different looks because I love black with denim! The off the shoulder shirt was a DIY from an old men's button-up. Keeping with the last three challenges I decided to stick with the black jeans because as you know black is my FAVE and every wardrobe needs a black pair of jeans! I cuffed the hem for the look with the loafers because I wanted to show a little more ankle!! Enjoy the rest of my photos!


My Jazzy Jeans!
Have you ever wanted to try something new and had so much self-doubt that you walked away? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone with no turning back? Have you ever dreamed of making those designer jeans that were the perfect length, no smiles in the front and your butt wasn't showing when you sat down? Have you ever frowned over a challenge that seemed massively intimidating at first, but had the determination inside to do it?

Well, that's exactly me! I always wanted to challenge myself in sewing, but for the past 3 years I feared commercial patterns and making garments other than skirts.  This sewing challenge took me out of my comfort zone using commercial patterns and I am so thankful for this journey! The Jeans Sewing Challenge is like waking up from the perfect dream, creating jeans that fit my sense of style and body type.  I cannot recall the last time I found a close to perfect pair of denim jeans. Ever since giving birth to two amazing kids, I had to settle for any RTW (ready to wear) styles that had a long length that was close to a decent but not perfect fit. Over the last 3 years, these RTW affordable long jeans seemed to be getting shorter as the factories have been skimping on fabric. Moreover, I have had so many bum peekaboo issues, that I had to constantly wear longer tops with my jeans to avoid the humiliation. I really wanted to challenge and empower myself and win from within with my finale, my first denim jeans focusing on 2 key essential areas: fit and length.

Overcoming My Fears:
I was so scared to start the process that I did about 20 hours of research (reading blogs, articles, and watching Youtube videos) to make the most out of the challenge. I swear, the pant making research process seemed like the dreary days of writing the 20-page term paper back in College. My focus shifted from having the perfect top stitch with my Brother Sewing machine even though that it is very important in jeans making. Quite frankly, the fit for my body type based on my weird body measurements (size 8 at waist and 14 at the hips with a huge bum) had me panicking at first! I read every single seat adjustments articles that I could find until I found a blog post on Closet Case “15 Common Fitting Adjustment for jeans and pants.”  I  felt like I won the lottery when an Instagram sewist with the same body type as me confirmed how she truly enjoyed the course and felt that Heather made you feel so comfortable when making your own denim pair of jeans.  I instantly stopped the research and bought the course, “The Ultimate Jean Making Workshop” and began my own amazing journey on jeans making.

Pattern of Choice:
Closet Case Tutorial, guide and pattern can be modified to just about any FIT when it comes to jeans with women of any body type and height. I opted to use a PDF pattern for  more flexibility in the event I had to redo a specific pattern piece as well as create more customized jeans. The pattern I chose was the Ginger View B from Closet Case, as I plan to make more jeans in the future.   My first and most important modification for this project were the back-pattern pieces for the full seat adjustment.  After taking my personal body measurements and comparing it to the original pattern, I knew I had to add length to the back seat curve to accommodate my curvy figure. I did the proper method as outlined in the guide by cutting the pattern and extending it 1/2 inch rotating along a hinge which added length and width throughout the seat area. I opted to size up the measurements around the hip based on the changes to the pattern. After the changes, I measured the pattern to determine if other changes were required.  I also lengthened the pants by 1 inch at the knee based on my height, as I wanted my pants to hit my ankle.  I strategically placed the pattern pieces and ensured the cuts were on grain, and followed the steps in the video.

My scariest moment during this entire process was doing my first fitting after I assembled the jeans with basting stitches.  I was extremely nervous and had just enough to make another pair if need be.  I cried when I tried it on because the modifications were perfect for my taste; no bum issues, no seat issues, and I was floored.   Even though I could have sized up a wee bit (½ inch) more on the hips for a looser fit, I was extremely happy and went full force in completing my jeans tutorial and assembly my very first pair of jeans.

Other modifications to the pattern were required for the pockets and yoke, and I realized a minor error I made.  I used another copy of the pattern pieces to make the changes and cut another additional front pocket piece based on the modifications.     

Personalizing my jeans:
I chose a dark denim stretch fabric to elongate my legs and show off my curves. I  added a bit of leather detail to the front coin pocket and shifted it up slightly to bring a little more attention to the eyes. I also added minimal leather trims to the back pocket to give it a classic rocker feel.  I love details and making a commercial pattern your own.  I wanted to do full leather pockets, but after sleeping on it, I realized that with a stretch denim, the look may not work. I also opted not to hem and to leave a fringe finish.  With my next pair of jeans, which will be the Morgan boyfriend, I will jazz it up with more leather defined details.

I am extremely proud of myself for conquering my fears of cutting and sewing up a pair of jeans and I can honestly say that I am in love!  I had so many “aha” moments during the lessons and did take away so many valuable and memorable life lessons and experiences from this journey.  Your first jeans may not be perfect, the top stitch may be  a bit off, the fit may have to be modified several times to get the right fit, but the goal is to create a pair of jeans to fit. I learned that perfection doesn’t always create growth.  I personally needed the reassurance to let go of being the perfect rookie sewist.  The most valuable lesson is that I conquered and defeated my fear of failure. I will stand tall with grace when I wear these jeans and will proudly say I made my first pair of jeans that will go down in MY history book!

Carmen from See Carmen Sew 

It has been so much fun to be a part of this contest and I am beyond excited to share with you my final entry: Jeans! Jeans are no joke. They're probably one of the hardest things to execute successfully. I know, because I tried last year, and I failed. So, I was apprehensive about this week's challenge, worried that I'd make the same mistakes again. But then I heard Tim Gunn's reassuring voice in the back of my head. I was just going to have to "make it work." 

I returned to the pattern that foiled me last year: Mimi G's Simplicity 8222. Last year, I bombed the front fly and my waistband made zero sense. The jeans fit, but they looked like hell. I had put them in a "to-do" pile, thinking that I'd return to them at some point, but I never did. 

I went to the local fabric store and bought all of my supplies. Everything, including fabric and all notions, came to less than $40. That's pretty good for a hot pair of jeans. If you're new to jeans making, I highly suggest you pick a fabric with at least 3-5% stretch. The stretch in the denim will help you perfect the fit. A little stretch can be very forgiving. 

I already had my pattern pieces cut out from last year, so that helped me to save a little time. I cut the size 16. Tip: remember to transfer all of your fabric markings on the right side of your fabric. You will rely on these markings when it comes to pocket placement, top stitching, etc. 

Everything was going along very smoothly (I love to topstitch) and then I finally made it to the moment of truth! Zipper insertion! This time, I followed an online tutorial by Baste and Gather. And this time, I realized where I had gone wrong before. Last time when I attached the zipper I used up all of the seam allowance on one leg of the jean. So then there was no overlap for the denim to cover up my zipper. Does that make sense? I sure hope so. So when you initially attach your zipper, be careful to take up only half your seam allowance, so that you get that correct overlap for you fly front. It was such an easy mistake to make! But if you don't get the fly front correct, the whole project is pretty much shot. 

The inside of my jeans were finished using my serger. And thankfully, the jeans fit like a glove. They appear a little high-waisted on me, but fortunately I verge toward vintage fashion so I love the look of a pair of hip hugging high-waisted anything.

So after I finished them I still had some time left and I knew I had to come up with that extra "something" to really bring my A-game for this final round. I decided that I wanted to make my own leather patch to attach to the back of my jeans, a la Levi's style. Here's how I did this: I designed the text on the computer using a font software. I picked a font that had a retro-style script to it because I thought that would complement my style and the look of these jeans. My boyfriend is a hobby machineist, so he took my design and programmed it into his CNC machine, which then cut out basically what is a metal stamp. I bought a sheet of plain leather from Michaels. Then I cut the leather into a strip and went to our local Makerspace (my boyfriend and I are each members; a community makerspace grants you access to all of their woodworking, metalworking, and other machinery as part of your membership). There, I used their press to "stamp" my metal piece into the leather. And voila! It worked. Afterwards, I applied some leather oil to the patch to darken it up and make it look a little more vintage-y. Once all of that was finished, I cut my label to size and applied it to my jeans using the leftover rivets I had. 

I am grateful for this challenge because it pushed me to try something again after I had previously failed. ​

Congratulations to all of our amazingly talented contestants & good luck judges!​

Don't forget to get your Reader Participation entries in! They are due Sunday, October 1st. Click HERE for details.


  1. You guys all did an AMAZING job!!! Congratulations!!!!

  2. Your jeans ladies, look better than any RTW ever! Congratulations! I want to vote for all three of you. What a hard decision for sure.

  3. wow you guys did a fantastic job!

  4. Carmen: that leather tag is amazing!

  5. Great job ladies and Carmen you did exactly what I did! Baste & Gather has the best jean zipper install EVER!!!!! I struggled with that zipper install on that pattern as well and I even wathced Mimi do it twice. I had to redeem myself and I did with my second pair, after I thought long and hard I realized what went wrong and you're right you have to have enough fabric for that overlap and you can easily mess it up.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only person who struggled! I love Mimi but I just couldn't figure it out from her video tutorial either. It really helped to read Baste and Gather's tutorial and stare at the pictures until everything finally just clicked. Glad you persevered!

  6. i love how they turned out! all the jeans look amazing.


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