Friday, 5 February 2016

Blue Jeans but Twill not Denim

After the success of my previous jeans that had the slimmed down legs I was keen to try out the design on better fabric. I chose a Dark Royal Blue Twill that I had in my stash and the medium weight was just right for this project.

I took more photos of the preparation this time so I could show parts of the process without it being a tutorial as such, just my methods. It all starts with the design for the back pockets. I didn't want anything that would stand out too much, I was after something a little more subtle. After trying a few design ideas I decided to opt for my initials and here is the design printed out on paper. The only downside is that as my initials 'JB' are not symmetrical I couldn't flip the design for a matching pair so the same design has to be used on both pockets. If my initials had been AT, HM or OW it would have worked out better but I didn't think it was worth the effort of changing my name again so JB it stays. This is my embroidery machine stitching out the outline.

This picture shows the finished design just out of the hoop and before the stabilizer is removed from the back together with all the tacking and jump stitches.

When that's done the pocket has the seam allowances pressed under and is then stitched in place on the back pieces. I have already attached the yokes and top stitched them in place.

The belt loops have also been prepared and top stitched ready for when the waistband is attached.

The pockets are positioned accurately and top stitched in place. I will add a bar tack at the top of each edge later.

Next bit is the front pockets. The inside pocket bag is a silky lining fabric that will not add any bulk to the jeans. The edges are overlocked and sewn and the outside edge is top stitched. The very top and side edges have been basted with a long machine stitch to ensure everything stays in place whilst the rest is put together.

Now the fun bit begins, the zip fly. I used to think this was the most difficult part but having done it so many times I now find it easy and it is the most enjoyable.

I start by stitching the crotch at the bottom with a 2.5 stitch length until I get just around the corner then after two back stitches I change to a 5.0 stitch length and continue to the top. This keeps the front seam in place until after the zip has been inserted.

I then lay my zip [Right side down] on to the left side with the right edge of the zipper tape close against the centre seam and pin that edge. Picking up just the fly extension and the zip, I then sew the unpinned other edge close to the zipper teeth. The zip is intentionally longer than I need and I always use zips that are plastic and slightly too long on purpose. They are shortened once the waistband is sewn on and having the pull tab out of the way makes sewing the zip in place so much easier. It also means the zip will close to the very top once the waistband is in place. I used to find adding a zip that was the correct length often ended up stopping just below the top. With my method this never happens.
The next bit is a bit complicated unless you've done it a few times so I've added a video [with no sound] but it basically shows how once the left side has been sewn in place you remove the pins and pick up the free side and pull it across to the right side until it is laying completely flat. Once again just picking up the fly extension and the zip you sew the second side. You must remember to sew only through the extension and not the whole trouser front.
I hope this explains it.

Anyway the next bit is to mark the left side of the fly front with the right side facing about 2.5 cm from the centre seam and curve it round at the bottom to mark your top stitching line. I have used a Frixion pen that will disappear with a warm iron. Once marked I then put a couple of pins along this line and check on the INSIDE that the pins are catching the zipper tape. I have then stitched this with sewing thread NOT the top stitching thread as I didn't want it to be too obvious!!

When finished the basting stitch can be removed to reveal a fabulous zip fly [dressed the female way!!!]

Now the zip fly protection piece is placed under the right side of the zip and top stitched close to the zipper teeth as far down as your presser foot will allow.

I will put another bar tack on the outside where the top stitching starts to add strength to this possible weak point.

So now the two back pieces are finished and the two fronts have their pockets in place and the zip fly is all done. The backs are then joined to the fronts at the outside seams. I stitch them, then overlock them together before top stitching the seam towards the back so it looks like a flat felled seam but is my cheat way of doing it.

I then overlock the inside seams of the legs and across the bottom as well as the back crotch seams. This makes the rest of the process easy as the seams are finished before you even sew them together.

The inside seams are then sewn and the back crotch sewn across the seam from the front for a short way up the back seam. I don't finish the rest of this seam until after the waistband has been attached.


The curved longer outside edge of the waistband is pinned to the top leaving 1.5 cm past the top edge and placing the prepared belt loops at the appropriate places, right sides facing the jeans.

I then stitch the inside pieces of the waistband to the top remembering once again to ensure the belt loops are in place. I sew bias tape to the inside raw edge to clean finish. I close the centre fronts using the Burrito method.

Before stitching the waistband down from the right side
 Before finishing the waistband by stitching in the ditch from the right side making sure the seam allowances are tucked up inside the waistband, the back seam is completed and here I sew some stay tape to add to the strength of this seam.
Important to make the fronts match exactly
Preparing to sew in the ditch and bar tacks
in place at the top of the pockets

After the 'stitch in the ditch' invisible!

So the final finishing is to hem the jeans and make a buttonhole and sew on the button, then put them on!!

 The Raglan T-shirt was a quick make from my stash made completely on the overlocker [serger] in about an hour.

Look out for my new blogs that include a bold Yellow Fleece and a green cardigan.


  1. Jan, they look fabulous! Thanks for sharing and what a great tutorial. I hope you'll post at least your photos in the SFD group so that more can see your wonderful SFD jenans.

  2. Hi Glenda - Thank you for your comments.


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