Jamie Jeans Sewalong Pt 1: Gather Your Supplies
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Welcome to the first post in a ten-part Jamie Jeans
sewalong series! We’re so excited you’re joining us in sewing up a pair of your own skinny jeans. This sewalong will lead you through the Jamie Jeans sewing pattern with detailed photos of every step. Plus in the middle of this series, we’ll have a great post all about achieving a great fit!
This sewalong is intended to be a supplement to the Jamie Jeans sewing pattern instructions and by no means a replacement. I'll be showing you ways that I deviated from the pattern to make the process a bit easier for me. And I'll be showing you some unconventional ways to achieve a better fit. Please keep this in mind as you read the sewalong and pattern instructions and decide which methods work best for you.
I want to preface this sewalong by saying that I don't have a fashion design degree, nor do I have extensive tailoring experience. What I do have is several years of garment sewing experience and an intense passion for helping people learn tough techniques.
So today, to kick off this sewalong, we’re talking all about the supplies you’ll need to make your own Jamie Jeans. If you’ve been itching to sew your own jeans, this pattern is a great place to start because the supply investment is minimal. For this pattern, rivets and a rivet press are unnecessary.
First, let’s talk about the most important supply, your fabric. The Jamie Jeans sewing pattern works best with a bottom weight fabric with some significant stretch. After sewing a few pairs, I’ve found that a mid-weight denim with 1-2% lycra or spandex and 15 to 20% crosswise stretch works great. You could also sew these pants in a stretch twill or similar fabric.
The denim I’ll be using for this sewalong is a stretch denim purchased from Colorado Fabrics
. Since they sell overstock fabric, the exact fiber breakdown of this denim is a mystery. But after asking a sales associate, she confirmed that this denim had about 20% crosswise stretch. She also guessed there was likely 2% lycra or spandex in the denim. To find out the stretch percentage of your denim, use this method
If you plan on making a muslin and also an adjusted final version out of the same fabric, I recommend buying at least four yards of 52" to 60” wide denim. If you plan on making just one pair, two to three yards should be plenty to accommodate most fit adjustments you’ll need to make. Check the fabric requirements chart on the pattern and give yourself some wiggle room for mistakes.
Sewing with stretch denim is more forgiving than sewing with a non-stretch fabric. The negative ease in this pattern requires a fabric that will stretch as you pull the jeans over your hips. We’ll talk more about negative ease further along in this sewalong. But the most important takeaway here? Make sure your fabric has at least 15% stretch.
If you’ve never sewn the Jamie Jeans before, I recommend sewing your first pair in some cheap stretch denim. Making a muslin in 100% cotton won’t illustrate the same fit you’ll get from stretch denim. Plus, if your muslin pair fit well, you’ll have another unexpected pair of jeans!
Places to buy denim online are:
- Fashion Fabrics: Huge selection, but I can't speak to their quality. This might be good "muslin" denim to use for your first pair of Jamie Jeans.
- Fancy Tiger: Two lovely stretch denims in stock. Fancy Tigers fabrics are always super high quality, so save this denim for your final fit pair.
- Imagine Gnats: An awesome white stretch denim in stock. Imagine Gnats has great customer service and really speedy shipping.
It seems like every sewist’s favorite part of garment sewing is figuring where to use contrast fabrics. The Jamie Jeans gives you this opportunity with both the pocket bags and the pocket opening panel.
For the pocket bags, I’ve found that using a lightweight, silky material works great under these fitted jeans. For this sewalong I’ll be using a lightweight Art Gallery voile
from my Natalie Top
. It’s soft and thin enough to lay nice and flat under my front panels. A lightweight quilting cotton, lawn, or rayon challis
would work well too.
For my Jamie Jeans, I didn't use a contrast fabric for the pocket opening panel and instead used the wrong side of the denim. I wanted these jeans to be neutral and worried that a funky pocket opening panel might make them unwearable with half my wardrobe. If you want to see a great use of contrast fabric for this pattern piece, check out Lauren's Jamie Jeans
sewn up in green corduroy!
The Jamie Jeans pattern requires two different types of thread. First, you’ll need a coordinating all purpose thread for sewing most of your seams. I’m using a navy blue Güterman polyester thread. Buy the medium or large spool of this project and fill two bobbins with this same thread.
Second, you’ll need a spool of topstitching thread. The Jamie Jeans feature beautiful topstitching
on almost every single seam. You’ll be a topstitching pro when you’re done with this sewing pattern! If you’ve never sewn jeans before, I recommend that your topstitching thread matches your denim. Any small mistakes or less than arrow straight lines will blend right in with your denim.
For this sewalong I’ll be using grey topstitching thread, so that the stitches are more visible. You can also buy yellow topstitching thread made especially for sewing jeans at your local sewing supply store.
I don’t fill a bobbin with my topstitching thread, because my machine gets finicky with thick thread in the bobbin case. I simply keep the navy blue all purpose thread in the bobbin with no problems. Plus, this technique reduces the number of things needed to change between steps. We’ll be switching between sewing regular seams and topstitching quite often during this project, so find what’s easiest for you.
In my experiencing sewing the Jamie Jeans with a universal sewing needle just doesn’t cut it. The fabric is just too heavy for the needle to puncture a clean hole. You may experience the same thing if you hear a popping noise as your needle travels in and out of the fabric.
To avoid this, I recommend using a more heavy duty needle. For this sewalong, I used a topstitching needle for every step of this sewalong. It reduced the number of items I had to change out between steps. And for me, it worked just as well as a denim needle at puncturing a clean hole through the denim.
If you have both denim needles and topstitching needles on hand, play with both on a scrap piece of your denim to find out what you prefer.
The Jamie Jeans mimics ready to wear jeans in that it features a special heavy duty button on the waistband. I had a pack of jeans buttons on hand from a thrifting trip a few years ago that worked well. I loved that they were matte and didn’t have any insignia on the front.
Jeans buttons can be found at your local big box sewing store. Amazon
has a great selection of jeans buttons as well.
The Jamie Jeans sewing pattern calls for a 4” jeans zipper. After sewing two pairs of these jeans, I would say that a 6” jeans zipper would be a bit easier to work with. If you can’t find either of these sizes, any metal zipper longer than 6” works just fine. I’ll show you how to shorten a zipper later on in the sewalong.
I purchased a 7" navy blue jeans zipper from my local big box sewing store.
A tiny bit of interfacing is required for the Jamie Jeans waistband. Like me, you probably have a whole stash of woven interfacing laying around that you think will work for this pattern. But I’d encourage you to maybe think twice about that. I learned this from experience.
Since, the Jamie Jeans waistband has a lot of negative ease (meaning you'll be stretching the waistband so that it lays flat against the jeans), stretch interfacing works best for this pattern. You’ll need about 1/4 yard of this.
Sewing Tools needed
The Jamie Jeans sewing pattern requires minimal investment in fancy new sewing tools. But there are a few items you'll definitely want to have for this sewalong. Those are:
- Trustworthy sewing machine
- Pins (lots of them)
- Steam iron and ironing board
- Fabric scissors
- Seam ripper
- Measuring tape or ruler
- Zipper foot
- Press cloth (for interfacing)
Optional (but nice to have) tools are:
- Seam gauge
- Rotary blade and mat
- Buttonhole foot
So there you have it folks. That’s everything you need to get started on your Jamie Jeans. Go buy some denim, find some unique jeans buttons, and meet back here tomorrow as we prep the pattern for sewing!
If your sewing along with us, tag your social media photos with #jamiejeanssewalong. We'd love to see your progress and answer your questions!
If you’ve already sewn a pair of Jamie Jeans and have suggestions for our sewalong, please leave your feedback in the comments below. Any and all feedback is welcome!
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