Okay, so I kind of spoiled myself on Instagram a while ago, but I was too excited to hold back – I made jeans! I made them with my hands! And a sewing machine!
Let me back up – I was pretty down and out about my previous sewing failures. So down and out it took me a long time to write about them, and I took a two month break from sewing. Can it be a break if you do something once and then don’t do it any more? Like I talked about here, as fall approached and my natural materialism and desire for new clothing set in, I got bit by the sewing bug again, but resolved to go about it differently this time.
I asked my mommy for help. As an adult, it feels weird to devote this much of my blog to how great my mom is, but whatever, I’m really lucky, and it worked. She’s a very accomplished sewer, and has a lot of wisdom to impart. So one weekend we went through the whole process, from buying patterns and fabric to actually making stuff. She uh, actually wouldn’t let me sew by myself, but it turned out to be a great experience. I not only learned a lot, but I also successfully made something, which is a real high, let me tell you.
These jeans are McCall’s M6610, and they were very rewarding to make, since they look like real jeans you might buy in a store by the time you’re done with them. I actually ended up making two pairs – the second pair, I lowered the waistband, and made them a bit skinnier.
The thing I’m learning about sewing is that while individually the steps seem simple and unimportant, one tiny mistake can snowball into a ruined project. It’s important to take the time to do everything right, especially as a beginner. If you can sew with someone who’s more experienced, especially for the first project or two, it’s incredibly helpful, as they can explain confusing parts of the pattern to you. My mom was even saying that she was really disappointed in the quality of the patterns I’ve used overall – it seemed like they were much more confusing than they needed to be.
A few other helpful things that I learned that are specific to this project:
1. They make jeans buttons. They were located in a different section from the regular buttons, so it took me a minute to find them, but it they make it feel much more legit.
2. It’s important to try things on as you go.
3. Denim needles are helpful when working with thick fabrics.
4. When pressing seams, it’s important to press on both sides of the fabric to get the seam all the way open. The more you know! I think being good at sewing is 90% ironing.
5. If you’re going to break in your denim (I put these through 3 wash cycles with sneakers in an attempt to soften them up) maybe don’t finish hemming until you have – my jeans shrunk a lot, even though I had prewashed the fabric. Luckily I wear a lot of flats, so they are about the perfect length for that.
I’m definitely a sewing convert – and while I’m nervous to attempt a project by myself, I’m also excited to build my abilities – I have a lot of stuff I need to make.
Next up: A blouse! And possibly a new term for that kind of shirt, since I’m not 80, or Nancy Drew!