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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Dream of Jean(nie), Part One

Today's entry has a soundtrack. It's the theme song from I Dream of Jeannie, an old, old television show about an astronaut who ends up with a sexy genie and her bottle. I’ve been humming it under my breath all day while assembling bits of denim.

Rumour has it that jeans are hard to sew, which is why I’ve never tried before. Let me dispel that myth here and now. They’re not. At least I haven’t found the task difficult so far. (I hope I'm not jinxing myself....)

Perhaps I should amend that: jeans are not hard to sew provided you have a sewing machine that can handle the job. An old-fashion, basic, straight-stitch machine, like Lady Singer (my new-to-me vintage Singer 15-91) is perfect. A modern machine may have the power for the job, or it may not. The only way to find out is stick a wad of denim under the presser foot and see if the machine chokes or chugs through. Be careful, though – you don’t want to break the machine or the needle.

Personally, I think the hard part of sewing jeans is getting a good fit. Most people wear their denim snug, so there’s not a lot of wiggle room for getting it right. <groan, bad pun> Seams can be taken in or let out, provided there’s enough seam allowance. But some fitting issues must be dealt with in the cutting stage, like the baggy bit under my butt shown in an earlier post.

While I was researching sewing jeans, I came across Jennifer Stern’s blog. Jennifer has her own pattern line, J Stern Designs and is a fabulous instructor (Sawyer Brook, PatternReview, and her blog). She believes if you’re between pattern sizes, go with the smaller one because it’s easier to add a little at the side seams than it is to get rid of the excess fabric that comes with a larger size. Interesting point and totally opposite to the go-bigger-just-in-case theory of pattern sizing. Jennifer also suggests taking key measurements (high hip, thigh) from a good-fitting pair of RTW jeans, and comparing them to the pattern. Peggy Sagers, from Silhouette Patterns, also champions taking measurements from clothing you like and comparing the numbers to the pattern’s. (Maybe if I hear it enough, I’ll actually do it.)

Unfortunately, I did not read these excellent bits of fitting advice until after I had made my muslin. Oh well.  

Here’s my progress thus far:
Simple pocket detail for trial pair
Topstitching at 1/8" and 1/4" from seamline

Pocket in, fly finished
More tomorrow!

           - Lady T

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