Copy Your Favorite Jeans!

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Garment #3 complete!  Now, these aren’t perfect, I could use a bit of fixing around the pockets, but I’m pretty stoked about these jeans.  These are copies of my favorite pair of Old Navy Jeans.  The jeans, seen here:
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I loved them.  They were great, but alas, they finally wore out in the seat.  To recreate these, I first had to find a piece of NON-stretch denim.  This was tougher than I thought!  I found some at Gail-K’s, finally, after striking out at both Joanne and Hancock’s.  I took it home, laundered it and started.  First of all, this exercise was a challenge for me because I didn’t have the comfort of instructions.  Yes, I’m one of those people who ALWAYS has to have instructions, recipes, guidelines, etc available to me when I undertake a project, and after 42 years on the planet, I’m probably not stepping out of that comfort zone very often, LOL!  So I began with the pattern pieces.  Since I had recently finished a pair of pants, I remembered that there were notches on each side of the pants legs, so before I ripped any seams, I marked random spots on the pants leg on the inner and outer seam with a permanent marker:
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Next came the unsewing process.  This took almost all day to do, mainly because the blue jeans threads were made of reinforced steel (not really, but dang!)

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You can see on the back pant pattern that the seam allowances are not the same size as the rest of the pattern pieces.  This probably had to do with manufacturing processes; I ended up retracing all the pattern pieces and using a 1 inch seam allowance on all pieces:
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You can’t see in this picture, but I drew lines for back pocket placement and also redrew grainlines for both front and back patterns.  After cutting out the pieces, I started with the backs first, because they are a little easier to construct:
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I learned at this point that I cut out the back yoke pattern pieces wrong.  I had cut the tops at the waistline out on a curve, because the jeans pieces were curved, or so I thought.  I was wrong, they had just stretched into a curve.  Anyone with experience in pattern drafting would probably have known this already.  Yeah, not me. 
Once I had the backs done, I began with the front fly:
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I cut out pieces from patterns taken from the old jeans.  I labled them "Right Fly" and "Left Fly".  I also had another pair of jeans (intact, of course) as a reference.
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Paying attention to my "reference jeans", I sewed the right fly in first, and then the left fly.  I tried to take some notes and make my own instructions for next time, but it might do just as well to keep a pair of jeans on hand for visual help.
Pockets and lining were done the same way, some trial and error, and some more "visual" reference.  This is where some pattern drafting experience would have come in handy, because I had forgotten to add placement markings on my pocket patterns, and I had to eyeball where the pocket facing would go.
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I also added a fun pocket lining:
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Needless to say, there’s a bunch of serging and topstitching.  My trusty mechanical Singer Slant-Needle 301 was a true workhorse for topstitching.  For the seams, I used a "mock fell" stitch.  I serged the seams, pressed to one side and then did two rows of topstitching.  For a finishing touch, I added rivets and a jeans button:
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These rivets have to be hammered on, but before hammering, I used and awl to pre-punch holes into the layers.  Finally, I left off the belt carriers.  Here are a few shots of me wearing these very comfortable jeans!
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I’ll be making these again, of course, especially when all there is in the stores is stretch jeans, which I hate!  Tight in the morning, falling off in the evening!  I’ve saved all the pieces, notes I took, and patterns I drew and put them in a bag, so that it will all be together for next time:
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    • TOS
    • August 6th, 2012

    I was doing a search for copying a pair of pants and came across your post. Great post! The many excellent photos really help illustrate what you did, and the final jeans are very well done. Tks!

    • Ursula
    • December 1st, 2012

    wow you did so well, they really look great! thanks for this post, I have a pair of jeans I need to copy and you’ve given me a little more confidence to do it!

  1. January 2nd, 2011
    Trackback from : 2010 in review « SewEllen

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