Two pairs of Morgan Jeans … and a chat about Raw Denim

Hi! I’ve finally got around to writing this post having been bed-ridden for 9 days straight with the worst flu I’ve ever had – I say flu, but I really don’t know – it was the weirdest case of flu ever! But thankfully I’m back to normal now (‘normal’ being a relative term, obvs!)

Sarah Smith v Raw Denim, Round 1

[*EDIT : this post has been amended retrospectively to take into account, lessons learned since initially writing it!]

I’ve sewn a few pairs of skinny jeans in my time (using the Eleanore stretch pants pattern by Jalie – see here) but I really felt my wardrobe was lacking a relaxed pair; my last RTW ones having finally fallen apart! The Morgan ‘boyfriend’ jeans have a traditional coin pocket and button fly and are suited to a roll-up hem – in other words, exactly what I was looking for. PDF duly purchased!

Have you sewn jeans before? If not, are you intimidated by the idea? I’ve got to say from the off, in terms of actual sewing, making jeans is not difficult. And I found the Morgan instructions to be absolutely faultless; which of course helps – in fact, I find sewing jeans a methodical and therefore joyfully therapeutic process. All that lovely topstitching for example!

I will say, having the right notions and tools for the job really makes a difference though; I found my Hump Jumper / Bulky Seam Aid absolutely came into its own with this project, ensuring that my sewing machine foot navigated bulky seams with ease and ensuring that my topstitching didn’t ‘skip’. A seam guide (the 1/4″ mark is particularly useful) and a fabric marker (I used my Clover Chalk Pen) are also incredibly useful for marking your double topstitching lines so you can sew them equidistant.  You will also need good quality jean topstitching thread (choosing your colour is fun in itself!) I used these rivets and these ‘laurel wreath’ jeans buttons. (If you’re unsure how they’re installed; I use the same method as in my Snap tutorial – no hammer required!)

To my mind, the hardest part of sewing jeans is not the construction; it’s not even, technically speaking, the fitting of the jeans – it’s accounting for the particularity of your chosen raw denim. Raw denim, being 100% cotton, tends to relax substantially throughout the day  – so what fitted perfectly in the morning may be a baggy mess by the evening. Conversely, a pair that has marginal breathing room over breakfast fit beautifully come dinner  – or so I’ve found! Which can make ‘seeing’ what fit adjustments you need to make that bit trickier!

Using fabric scraps leftover from my Panda Pajamas for the pockets and waistband

The weight of your denim is really important then. I would say for this particularly pattern, you don’t want to use anything less than 10 oz. Mine for both pairs – was 9.5 oz – I didn’t think that half ounce would make a real difference but it does feel too lightweight for the cut of these pants  – if I sew this pattern again, and I’m sure I will with further mods, I think I’d be looking for something substantially firmer – between 10 – 11 oz, as these are likely to have less ‘give’.

Let me talk you through my experience – I’ve sewn the Morgans twice now with different adjustments – and I’ve washed and worn both pairs loads

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Sewing Myself Comfy – the Linden Sweatshirt / Hudson Pants loungewear combo!

Hi sewing friends!

Long-term readers may well have noticed that I took something of a break from sewing / blogging over the summer (welcome to all of you that continued to sign up over summer, thank you!) There was no onerous reason for taking a break, other than I wanted to dedicate my summer wholly to my family. And it was glorious! I also learnt how to knit socks and finally found the time to write a book of family recipes for the kids. That said, whilst I wasn’t actively sewing, I was planning upcoming makes like crazy…creating a spreadsheet and a Look Book and stocking up on fabric and supplies. It also gave me a good opportunity to really consider how I want to take this blog forward since it’s grown beyond anything I imagined at the start. (I’ll talk about that more in a minute!)

So, once the kids went back to school, my sewing space got a dust off and sewing began again in earnest!  I’ve been pattern testing this last week but thought I’d come back to the blog with my first makes.

Coffee, I need coffee!

As always, my new season sewing has begun with the basics; this for me means loungewear / sleepwear. If I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t get dressed; it’s that simple! What I wanted then was sleepwear I’d be happy to lounge around the house in (and by ‘lounge around the house’ what I really mean is running after the kids and doing seemingly never ending housework!) And I don’t know about you, but I always find after taking a sewing break that I want to come back to something that I know wont be too taxing to sew but will produce something I’ll get lots of wear out of. PJs is always the answer!

I decided on the Linden Sweatshirt / Hudson Pants combo which I’ve seen so many great versions of on my Instagram feed. I’ve sewn the Linden a few times (see here) but the Hudsons, though long in my stash, were a ‘new-to-me’ pattern.

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Easy Pull-On Jeans – the Eleanore Stretch Jeans by Jalie

Hello…I feel like I’ve been mentally writing this post for sooo long, having sewn up four pairs of these Eleanore Jeans by Jalie since the earlier part of this year; a pair for my young daughter and three pairs for myself. If you’re looking for an intro to sewing trousers, or jeans specifically, I think this faux fly pattern is a really good place to start. The pattern has a lot of standard jean details, like the yokes and the finish of the inside leg seam. If you’re simply looking for a quick sew that results in a pair of pants you’ll wear constantly – if you’re anything like me – then you’ll also find this pattern a winner!

topstitching jeans how to

The pattern size range is extensive – starting at a child’s size 2 up to a women’s size W 44″ H 53″ – and calls for a denim or twill with 20% cross stretch. I’m quite sure I will make many more of these just as long as I can get my hands on …

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Blogger Book Tour : Wendy Ward’s ‘Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics’ Book Review and Makes

Hi!

I was delighted to be asked to join the Book Tour, following some of my favourite sewing bloggers, for Wendy Ward’s new tome ‘A Beginners Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabrics’. This was originally scheduled to happen earlier in the year but was delayed whilst the book went to reprint, as the original run sold out within two days!

I made two garments from the book by way of a review… Read More

Pattern Testing the Avery Leggings by Helen’s Closet

Leggings sewing patternHi all! You’ll have, in all likelihood, seen that Helen of Helen’s Closet has just released the brand new Avery leggings pattern? (And yes, these are the leggings I hinted at in my #2018MakeNine plans post!) They have a smoothing doubled waistband, a gusset for mobility and no side seam meaning this pattern would make a great base layer, yoga pants or your everyday leggings. I love pattern testing for Helen (see my Suki Kimono here); her ethos and work methodology rocks – she really does want to produce Patterns for everyday essentials drafted so they’re accessible for all both in terms of sizing and sewing skill set. Plus the other sewists in her pattern testing team are fabulous…I’m guaranteed to learn something from their collective wisdom and feedback in the testing process. So, yes! Spoiler alert : Read More