Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jean-ius Craftsy Class

Dear Readers, I'm finally winding down from a flurry of sewing and traveling. After the SAGA convention I went to Boise for a weekend, then to Los Angeles for a wedding. Now I'm home and can catch my breath.

Very old Ralph Lauren jeans
I just finished sewing my first pair of jeans, from taking the Jean-ius class on Craftsy. The class, taught by Kenneth D King, focuses on copying your favorite pair of well fitting jeans. In the class, Prof King has you draft a pattern from existing jeans by marking grain lines and seams, tracing onto silk organza, then again onto paper. After making a muslin, you transfer corrections to the paper and make the jeans from the corrected pattern. He assumes you are using a well loved and fitted pair, but mine were so old and stretched out, I had trouble with the grain lines. As a result, they are slightly off grain, but more about that later.

I fitted the muslin by taking many photos of myself, making the changes, then taking more photos. This isn't ideal, but as I don't have a fitting partner, it's all I can do. Also, I used cotton twill for the muslin, and a heathery grey stretch denim for the jeans. So I fitted the muslin a bit snug and hoped for the best.

The pocket placement could be just a bit better
I can't figure out how I managed to place these pockets a bit off, as I did use one pattern piece for the back and marked the placement at the same time. But no one will be examining my rear end closely so it's not too bad. The construction details that Prof King uses are nicely detailed.

Self faced pockets
Instead of folding the top edge of the pocket over twice and stitching, as on most jeans, Prof King has you finish the edge, fold one, and topstitch. This give a smoother pocket and looks great. In the class, he demonstrates two finishes, a zig zag and trim, and a serged edge. Several times he assures the viewers that a zig zag edge is a perfectly acceptable finish. Which is good, as I don't have a serger. Here I used one of the edge finish stitches available on my machine.

Front closeup
 No belt loops or rivets on these. I don't intend to ever wear them with a top tucked in, so I didn't bother. I'm pleased with the zipper placket, it was so gratifying to make it and have it come out correctly. I did put the watch pocket in, just for fun. I'm sure I won't ever use it.

Quilting cotton pocket bag
 I used a scrap of quilting cotton for the pocket bag. The class comes with a pdf of instructions to drafting a pocket bag and I wish I would have used it instead of copying the too small bag on the jeans. Lesson learned.

Back seam finishes
On the back center seam and yoke seams, I used the plain zig zag for the finish. And you know what? I think it looks fine.

Nice, tidy hem finish
I love his hem finish, similar to the back pocket. Mark the hem, trim and finish to 1/2 inch (15 cm), then topstitch 3/8 inch (10 cm) from the bottom. Nice and smooth. I love it. This is another of the edge finishes available on my machine.

Hmm, should have pulled them up a bit and stopped moving
Here's the front view.  Sorry for the blur in the photo. I had it on a 3 second timer instead of 10 seconds. On the left front pocket you can see a tiny line of the pocket bag, I'll have to do a better job of turning. 

A little baggy, but so comfortable!
Here is the rear view. There are a couple of bubbles around the yoke that I hope to fix in the next pair. I'll also have to work on the drag lines lower down. These actually fit better than the original jeans, and are more comfortable than the sweat pants I'm wearing now. All in all, I'm very happy with this class and recommend it to anyone who wants to copy a pair of jeans. 

A couple of things to note: Don't use an old stretched out pair as I did. It's impossible to get the graininess straight. The side seams on this pair rotate a bit to the front, a sure sign of being off grain. But I think I will transfer the fit details to a commercial pattern I have and see if that works.  Prof King assumes you know how to hem the jeans and put in button holes, so this isn't a class for a complete newbie. But it is pretty detailed. 

I definitely recommend trying to find some inexpensive stretch fabric if you are making stretch jeans. I have some black stretch and blue non stretch denim to make two more pair, so I'll consider these my wearable muslin for the stretch fabric. If you take a Craftsy class, be sure to read all the questions and answers before sewing. And do this for the entire class. I didn't and missed a great tip about staying the waistband of stretch denim so it doesn't stretch out further with wear. If I lose more weight and have to replace the waistband, I'll definitely stay it. 

I have a lot more to share with you about other projects and hope to post more in the coming weeks.