Jean Genie

There’s nothing like sewing the last stitch on a big project. I finished my jeans and immediately laid them out on the floor to gawk over. (I’m a loser.)

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

Where shall I start… this yummy denim is from Birmingham rag market (from that day I went insane and bought ALL THE fabric). It feels very good quality, has a slight sheen with gorgeous orange undertones. The fabric is almost completely orange on the reverse – the magic of a twill weave. The denim might be a touch thin for jeans but I think it works ok. The fit is good enough for me too.

For my topstitching I actually used two spools of regular thread fed into one needle as I had an orange I wanted to use rather than a thicker topstitch weight. I love my pocket arches!

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

This is my (sort of) second pair of jeans. My first pair never made it onto the blog because the denim was awful quality and I never wore them. When I finished this new pair I threw the old pair out.

I used Kenneth D King’s Jean-ius course on Craftsy which is absolutely fantastic and educational. To put it simply, you make a pattern by copying your favourite jeans and get the chance to make fit adjustments and customisations! My original jeans are the Topshop straight leg “Martha” style which they dont make any more. Thanks to KDK I don’t have to stress about that anymore!

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

In case you don’t know, Kenneth is very well mannered with a no nonsense attitude. He points out that sewing shouldn’t be a series of rigid rules you must follow; there are lots of ways to get things done.

So it wouldnt surprise him that I did my own thing a couple of times during the making of the jeans!

1. I changed the construction order so I could topstitch my inseam, NOT my outside leg seam. My RTW pair had this styling and I think it makes them look smarter.

2. I made a larger fly shield compared to the one KDK suggested and I honestly regret not making it even bigger! It’s about 1cm smaller than I would like.

In terms of the course modules, the drafting of the copy was pretty easy, if a little time consuming. I’ve done rub offs with tracing paper before (using Steffani Lincecum’s technique – she’s also a Craftsy instructor but I have her book) but organza is best if you can afford it every time!

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

FACT: KDK’s fly front zipper tutorial is impeccable. Seriously good stuff.

But that said; I would have liked to learn a bit more about topstitching. Namely there’s no mention of topstitching the outer edge of the fly, just the curve and crotch seam (from below the zip). I couldn’t work out at which stage I should be topstitching that part – possibly just after installing the fly facing and stopping where the zip should stop? I think that element being missing sets of a little niggle in your brain that the jeans don’t look 100% right but you can’t put your finger on why. Or is that just me?

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

And I know how to do flatfelled seams from my shirt making, but we didn’t learn them in the Craftsy course!? That’s jean-making 101 in my mind.

Also I’m mad at myself for choosing my zip poorly. The pull is too large so it peeks out a little and also makes the fly bulge. At least I’ll know for next time and it’s easily resolvable.

Oh yes there will be a next time. There is some lovely quality denim online at The Splendid Stitch, with a good dark navy colour and small degree of stretch. I have plans for pockets with flaps this time too. And a cute coin pocket which I do like seeing on jeans though I have NEVER used one haha. Have you ever used yours?

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

I suppose I ought to add that I used two machines for this project. I had my Toyota jeans machine threaded up with black and my Janome SMD4000 threaded with orange. This made things much quicker as I could jump between the two machines without the delay of re-threading.

But I don’t expect everyone out there to have a second machine. I just hung onto my original machine when I upgraded, in the hope I’d one day have space for them both. I do recommend it if you have space. It’s very useful to have a machine threaded up with another colour for random emergency sewing or projects like this.

almond rock jean-ius jeanius craftsy

So who else has tried the Jean-ius course? There’s a good review on Amy’s blog. I know a lot of people have made the Ginger jeans as my feed has been full of great versions and Katie wows me on a regular basis with her jean sewing!

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16 Comments

  1. Nice work, I can’t believe they’re a rub-off! I haven’t gotten round to jeans yet, aside from smart, dark ones (like yours) I think rtw distressing might be hard to achieve. Do your’s have any stretch?

  2. They look fab and the fit is great. I dont see any issues with the fly topstitching to be honest! I definitely see jeans in my future since recently sorting thr stash meant i found 3 pieces of denim i had forgotten about!

  3. They look grand! I love the gold-backed denim, and I’m going to try doubled-up thread instead of topstitch thread next time – I always get tangle issues when I use it.

    I think you’ll like the Gingers – at the least check out the sewalong – lots of tips for flat felling and fly fronts etc. Just made my third pair and am now making more boyfriend Burdas. Slowly replacing all my RTW jeans, yay.

    PS I think stitching and flat-felling the inseam first is more usual, since it gets more stress and needs to be stronger.

  4. Great jeans. I finished the ginger jeans recently and had also kept my janome when upgrading to my pfaff. It made things so much quicker and surprisingly the cheaper machine did better top stitching.

  5. These look great Amy. I love the fabric you used. I’ve made one pair of jeans – Named Patterns famous Jamie’s – and they were much easier than I thought they would be. I find it really hard to get RTW jeans that fit well so I’m definitely tempted by making more. I might give the Gingers a go – although this course sounds really good I don’t actually have a well fitting RTW pair of jeans to rub off from.

  6. Hot damn they are some fierce pocket arches! So. Dang. Cool.
    Check you and your mad skills out- pic work, lovely!

  7. As I said on IG, I have watched a good portion of the course (which I bought several years ago), and really enjoyed it, but have yet to watch the rest, or implement any of it! I did find it rather hilarious that KDK refers to himself with the middle initial!!!

    Anyway, your jeans look amazing. The colour is great and the topstitching looks perfect. I’m not sure about the fly topstitching, although you could look at the Grainline Moss sewalong for some ideas (not jeans, I know, but it does still have a fly…), but it looks really good to me as you’ve done it!

    This is definitely encouraging me to have a go! Just need to find the right denim. And a source for silk organza!

  8. These look fantastic! I love your pocket arches too. I’ll have to check out the tutorial… I completely make it up as I go along and use old clothes as my pattern basics too. Thanks for sharing šŸ˜€

  9. Your jeans are brilliant! I love the arches on the back pockets. I have this Craftsy class, and isn’t Kenneth fantastic?! I love the bit where he says that he labels his pattern pieces as if he’ll be struck by amnesia at any moment! Wise words… I haven’t actually made jeans yet because it’s tricky to find the right fabric, so thanks for the link.

  10. These look great! I love your pocket topstitching! Confession: I started watching this course, but lost steam in the middle of all the tracing of the seamlines. Confession #2: I lost steam because I was copying a pair of Blake’s jeans, not anything for myself. Confession #3: This was three years ago. Am I the world’s worst person???

  11. Wow! Very professional looking jeans! And the fit is spot on! I love the orange undertones and that the fabric is orange on the back. I’ve yet to try jeans, one day maybe??

  12. Superb!!! They look amazing Amy and it sounds like you really enjoyed that course too. Love the topstitching on the back pockets and what a great finish the 2 reels of normal thread instead of topstitching thread gives. Bet you’ll live in these. The mark of a great project.

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