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Make Your Own Jeans | New Pattern, Helpful Tools & Tips

Jeans are such a wardrobe essential – the weekend uniform &, for many, the daily garment of choice. Yet many people who sew steer clear from making their own pair. Maybe it’s the metal rivets and zipper that are daunting or the idea of all that top-stitching. But making your own jeans is very rewarding if you aren’t afraid to jump in and learn some new skills. I’ll even share some tools and tips to help you get professional results.

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

The last two weeks I’ve been helping pattern designer Lauren Dahl of Baste+Gather test her new pattern, the Birkin Flares. (FYI: Get $2 off this pattern with code ‘birkinrelease’ and 50% off all Baste+Gather Patterns now through December 13th, 2015)

Inspired by 1970s fashion icon Jane Birkin, the Birkin flares are a high-waisted, flare-leg, classic jean. These jeans feature a universally flattering high waist (but not too high) with classic five-pocket styling, a curved yoke and a straight-cut waistband. The Birkin Flares are equally perfect with your comfiest tee or a flowy, silk blouse, and the inseam can be adjusted in multiple ways to lengthen/shorten or create a deeper hem. In waist sizes 24-35, the sizing closely mimics that found in ready-to-wear, designer jeans.” (Pattern Description)

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

The pattern is very well drafted and I was super pleased with the fit with only my usual pattern alterations. This is a PDF pattern so if you’ve never worked with one before, you can click here or here to get some tips on how to download, print and put the pattern together. has several stretch denims available, but I chose the 13 oz Stretch Denim – Very Dark (now limited in quantity) since it fit the perimeters of the pattern’s fabric recommendations.

13 oz. Stretch Denim - Very Dark

I grabbed a new tool for this project, recommended by the Birkin Flares Pattern – a Clapper. I cannot recommend this enough. I didn’t go to fashion design school, but I did study a little bit of clothing construction and I had never encountered a tailor’s clapper before! It’s basically a piece of pine or oak finished on the sides and possibly the top…

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

The grooves in the side help with maneuvering the clapper and putting pressure on your seams…Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

And the bottom (or sometimes both bottom and top) are left bare.Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

The wood absorbs the moisture from fabric after you run a steam iron over it and leaves your seam crisp and flat without having to leave the iron on the fabric too long, risking burning. You can watch the video below to learn more about how a Tailor’s Clapper works. Believe me, they are magical!



Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |


For help with rivets and buttons, Lauren of Baste+Gather has put together a video on how to install them:

A simple & quick tip that helped me tons with the top stiching is SEW SLOWLY. I used the speed control feature on my sewing machine. This is pretty common on new machines and lower and higher ends, but you can always just use a light touch on your foot pedal to go slow and steady.

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

Lastly, when I posted about the jeans earlier this week on facebook, someone asked how I did my pocket design so I thought I’d share my process with you.

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

You certainly do not have to decorate your back pockets when making your own jeans, but it is your big chance to put your signature on them! I started by googling “Jeans Pocket Designs” and found a design inspiration. I don’t trust my freehand drawing skills too much, so I gathered some supplies:

  • My cut pocket
  • My Pattern Piece
  • A copy of my pattern piece on cardstock
  • A choco-liner (any chalk marking tool will work)

Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

To mimic my inspiration pocket, I found the halfway point on the cardstock pocket pattern piece and moved a smidge higher. I drew a line horizontally across and then drew a dip below the line, meeting in the middle and then up above the line landing back at the mid point on the other side. Then I cut on the squiggly line, lined up the cardstock pattern on my denim pocket and marked the line. 
Make Your Own Jeans with MadeByJaime |

Using my machine’s 1/4″ foot, I sewed with topstitching thread on the chalk line, then 1/4″ away from it. I decided that was a little boring, so I did a third line that halfway echoed the lines already stitched, crossed them and met 1/4″ away from the bottom line. You could literally stitch anything, bedazzle them, use different color threads, and more!

I hope these tips have given you some inspiration and encouragement to try making your own jeans. With’s great prices, there’s not much to lose and you may learn a lot in the process! I’ll leave you with a few links to some other Jeans PDF Patterns I’m aware of. And don’t forget – if you make something with our fabrics, share it with us on our facebook page!

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