Saturday, 24 March 2012

Denim Tips 1 - Preparation

Hot Patterns Boyfriend jeans.

Some tips and tricks if you're thinking of making these jeans - or any, for that matter.

Learn from my mistakes!

 Hot Patterns produce their patterns on stiff white paper not tissue. This makes for a durable pattern piece but can be awkward to pin and position. ALL sizes are on one piece and it can be a bit tricky locating your size line especially at corners and curves.

So, trace over your size in coloured pen before you cut. If you have the patience and endurance you could trace your size onto tissue paper too. That way you'll always have the complete original pattern and easier to pin and manipulate pieces. I'm lazy, so I didn't do this.

Do not use your good fabric scissors to cut the paper: nothing blunts scissors quicker than paper and when you come to next cut that delicate chiffon it will tear and snag. Use household scissors.

I know some of you always wash and treat your fabric before making up - I don't usually as I hand wash most hand made items but with denim it's different.

Firstly, it shrinks about 20% so unless you want a really tight fitting pair of jeans - pre-shrink in a relatively hot wash at 40 degrees C.
On the Get Ready page Lynda commented

Hey Ruth... one thing I've learned the hard way is that with denim, I wash on HOT and dry at the hottest temp on the dryer at least 3 times, unless you really like high waters!
Have fun with this!

Secondly, this wash also eliminates extra dye. If you don't want hands like this when you're sewing and a denim dyed ironing board - wash the denim.

Use special jeans needles. There are times when you are sewing your jeans that you will have multiple layers of denim to sew through - top-stitching, attaching belt carriers and so on, maybe 8 layers of denim - so you need a needle that is sharp and tough.

You can see one casualty here - bent and broken - and this was a jeans needle! So buy a new pack you may need all of them.

Next time.....

Changes and alterations to the Hot Patterns pattern to make your life easier and your jeans better.

Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. Another thought. I'm glad you're doing your jeans before I do, as it makes me remember all the tips. In a workshop, I think a Sandra Betzina jeans workshop, she mentioned that if you take a hammer and "beat" your seams, where they intersect and there are so many layers, it will soften the fabric and make it easier to stitch.

    1. Yes - time to raid the tools. I love making clothes that require power tools!

  2. Thanks for the tips - heading into winter in a month or two and jeans are on my hit list. Will be following your progress very closely...

    1. All tips from readers are welcomed - the more the merrier