Sewing My First Pair of Jeans - Takeaways, Tips, Adjustments, and Supply Recommendations

I made my first pair of jeans. DIY sewing pattern denim jeans
If you follow my Instagram, you have probably seen my journey sewing my first pair of jeans on my story! It has been such a learning process and I am so excited with the result! 

The sewing pattern I used for this project is the Megan Nielsen Patterns Dawn Jeans. I thought the pattern and instructions were extremely well thought out and easy to follow especially for such a detailed sewing project. I 100% recommend this pattern and will be making many more Dawn Jeans in the future. I did have to make a few adjustments which I will share below.

The Dawn Jeans pattern comes with 4 styles and multiple lengths: tapered leg jean, straight leg jean, wide leg jean, all in tall, regular and cropped length plus a jean short option. Since this was my first time sewing jeans, I chose the shorts so that if I completely messed up, there was less fabric wasted (fortunately, that didn't happen).

Sewing denim shorts from scratch - DIY denim shorts

Total time to complete this project: Roughly around 10-12 hours (I imagine my next few times will be much quicker though!)

My measurements for reference:

Height: 5'6"

Weight: 130lb

Waist: 26"

Hips: 39"

The size I chose to cut out based on the measurements/sizing chart provided in the pattern was a size 6.

The sizing chart said that a size 6 was for 38" hips and since my hips are 39", I did just slightly taper out at the hips when I was cutting out my pattern so that I fit at the widest part of my body. The reason I did this instead of opting for a size 8 is because my waist is an inch smaller than recommended for the size 6 so I didn't want the shorts to be too large in other areas and need greater adjustments later on.

Adjustments made to the pattern:

-As mentioned, I added an inch total to the hips by tapering out a half inch on each side of the hips when cutting my pattern

-I had to take in the waist a total of 3 inches so I tapered in from the top of the shorts 1.5 inches on each side which turned out perfect

-I accidentally cut the waistband fabric piece too small originally but even so, I thought the waistband in the correct size seemed like it wouldn't fully make it around (note: I even took 3 inches off the shorts waistline so I was surprised the size 6 waistband piece seemed too short). I decided to cut out the size 6 waistband but extend the ends 2 inches on each side. This way, I could wrap the waistband all the way around and just trim the excess at the desired length. I will do this again in the future as well.

Sewing DIY Jeans denim shorts pocket detail
-You are typically supposed to tuck the pockets in all the way so that you can't see them from the outside but I decided I loved the piping look so I left mine slightly visible.

Adjustments I will make next time:

-I will do all of the above adjustments again/wouldn't change anything there

-Although I love a high waist, I thought that these were about 1 to 1.5 inch too high waisted for me. From collar bone to crotch, I am 25 inches if that helps for your reference.

Materials I used: *All images in this section are clickable and link to the products.

Fabric: 12 oz Denim Fabric from Joann

Topstitch/ Regular Thread: Since it was my first time, I did the topstitching with matching denim colored fabric so any mistakes were less noticeable. I'm very happy I did this, it made the topstitching much less of a stressful task. 

Serger Thread: My serger thread was white which is fine because the serger seams are all internal on the garment

Sewing Machines: I did use both my regular sewing machine and serger. I think you could do this project with just a sewing machine, however I think that the jeans will be much more durable if you can use a serger for some of the seams.

Needle: For my regular sewing machine, I used Singer's Heavy Duty Needles pack which has denim specific needles in it. I did not change the needles in my serger and that worked great because you don't need to sew any thicker areas with the serger.

Buttons for button fly: I found these cute off-white buttons with stars on them on Amazon and I'm obsessed with them! 

Rivets: I know I will be making many more jeans in the future so bought a large pack of rivets that came with a variety of colors and styles.

 Buttonhole cutter: This was the item I got the most DMs about and I recommend everyone to get one if you sew buttonholes on your garments! They help easily cut a nice and clean buttonhole. 

Hump Jumper: This was recommended to me by Candice from @sewbakemake and it helped a lot when sewing on the belt loops where the fabric layers are very thick. I never even knew this gadget existed but I'm so happy I do now! It is essentially just a piece of plastic that you wedge under the back of the presser foot. When you are sewing over humps in the fabric, you can put the hump jumper under the back of the presser foot to make it flat so your seams sew normally.

Interfacing: I used the interfacing below and thought it worked out perfectly for these jeans.

 

 Mistakes I made:

Button Fly jean denim shorts sewing tip

1. I accidentally didn't sew my button fly button holes through both layers of fabric on the fly (see above picture). I'm not sure if it was my fault or the instructions (most likely me haha). Be sure to sew your buttonholes through 2 layers of fabric on the fly.

DIY jeans how to sew denim shorts

 2. When I wore my shorts, some of the rivets came out. I need to do some research and see if I need longer rivet posts or to just hammer them in harder. Sharing this part just to show even the imperfect parts of my projects!

Takeaways:

  • Take your time & enjoy the process!
  • Double check everything before sewing.
  • I was very intimidated to sew jeans but after this project, I realized they aren't as scary as they seem. So if you're intimidated to try, just jump right in and learn as you go!

Overall, I loved this project and will definitely be making another pair of Dawn jeans! I think my next pair will be a wide leg pair of jeans in white denim material. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found my tips/info helpful! Comment if you have any questions.

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