It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in living in St. Louis for almost a year now, isn’t it? A year ago right around now I was frantically packing up my life in Chicago, getting ready to make an enormous change in my life. In the past year, I’ve done so many things that have challenged me, personally and professionally. So what better way to celebrate one year of doing things that scare me than by tackling the project that’s scared me the most? Yes folks, I did it — I made jeans! And no, I didn’t just stop at one. I used the Ash Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen to make THREE!
*this post was sponsored by JOANN. the experience and my words are my own!*
The Ash Jeans
My approach to a lot of things in life is “go big or go home.” So, of course I didn’t make just one pair of jeans: I made three! I used the new Ash Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen, and made the straight view, the slim view, and the flares.
As a general FYI, I added 1” to the rise of each pair of jeans, and 3” to the inseam. The rise was because I absolutely love high waisted jeans (gimme all the mom jeans!). I bought 9” denim zippers and had no problem with the zipper length. The inseam is because of #sewingtall, y’all. My usual inseam length is 36”.
First up were the slim view jeans. All three pairs use this stretch denim from JOANN, which I really enjoyed using. I will admit, I was a little nervous because it seems like the stretch composition of denim fabrics is a HUGE deal for folks. So far, I’ve been really pleased with the bagging (or lack thereof) on this denim. Plus it’s on the thinner side, so it’s super easy to work with, and I had barely any dye transfer to my hands while I sewed!
These jeans were totally knocked off of this Madewell pair. I love the tulip hem, and the raw edge trend is totally growing on me. The hem in this photos is after two washings, so you can see that it frays super easily. I’ll talk more about raw hems and some more DIY destruction in a post next week.
Next up were the straight view jeans, which I envisioned having more of a boyfriend fit. I have to say that overall I loved the fit on these jeans right out of the packet. All of them are a 28, and while they’re a little tight when they’re first on, they quickly stretch out to perfect comfort. These are all without any kind of flat crotch modification, which I’ve needed to make in the past. I think they could definitely stand it, but it’s not a necessity.
That being said, I think my straight jeans need a little more tweaking. I’m not sure what about it bothers me — maybe the fit in the rear here? Or maybe the fit needs to be even more relaxed. Hmmmm. I’ll keep you guys updated on any changes I make.
This pair of jeans will forever make me think of jeans buttons and rivets, because they were the last pair I made and I saved all that scary stuff for last! I was super nervous to install the buttons and rivets. It seemed like something you needed special tools for, and a hard place to hammer all that stuff in. I had intended to bring home a piece of scrap wood from work, but the piece I had in mind turned out to have about seven nails sticking out of it. Yeah, no thanks!
So instead I took a chance and hammered right on my “hard” floor — sorry, downstairs neighbors. Most of my apartment is carpeted. I suspect my dining area is layers of roll-on faux tile over subfloor, though, and that’s where I did the hammering. My cutting mat was a preliminary line of defense, and it all went so well! It was way less scary than I thought it’d be.
I’m so glad it worked out, too, because these flare jeans are the jeans of my DREAMS! I feel very 1970s chic in them, and I totally want a pair in white denim, too. It’s amazing how professional they look. Topstitching was way less work than I thought it would be, although I swear that 40% of your time spent making jeans is switching between threads.
I’m really proud of myself for taking this self-imposed challenge on. It’s so empowering to wear jeans you’ve made, and I love that I can have trendy jeans that actually fit! The Ash jeans pattern was really, really easy to follow, too. I’ll admit I did use the Closet Case Pattern Ginger Jeans fly insertion method on the flares, though. The Ash pattern’s instructions are very back and forth between thread colors and a little confusing. Since I already had a pair of Gingers cut out, I peeked into that pattern to see how Heather explained it. It made much more sense to me!
I’m sure I sound like a broken record at this point, but it really is so cool to wear jeans that you made yourself! At this point, I think I’ve sewn basically everything except a winter coat (and a wedding dress, but that is some specialty stuff!). Knowing that I can sew denim really makes me feel like I’ve kicked all my skills up a notch, and I can’t wait to replace all my RTW jeans with pairs I make.