Today we are going to tackle those ever so loved jeans that eventually will rip, tear and we so worn out we have to throw them away. But wait, what if we could ‘preserve’ our perfect pair for as long as we would like?
This is a problem one of my favorite cousins had. Her name is Katja (hence the title). Katja and I grew up together, her mom (my aunt) is my godmother and viceversa. And we’re basically the same age. She is a modest person and creative as hell but still she doesn’t have the urge to sew (actually she refuses to because she thinks her machine has it in for her, haha).
A note on how to sew for others
Anyway she asked me if I could do something about her favorite (but now torn) pair of jeans. She told me that even if they are not “in fashion” they’re her favorite nonetheless with a perfect fit and comfort. I answered her that I could try to copy them but only if she was willing to wait for her birthday.
Why? For a long time the first reaction I got when I told someone that I love to sew was something along the line of “great, you can mend/alter my ‘insert piece of clothing here'”. (Just FYI, Katja was never one of those people). And I am/was struggling to tell people “No”. But then I found some strategies to deal with these issues.
- The cocky way: “I heard you can cook. Great, you can cook me dinner sometime.” You can basically change this line to whatever hobby the other person has.
- The supportive way: “I can teach you how to do it yourself.” Because, let’s be honest, if someone is not willing to put in the effort himself/herself, why bother with it?
- The costly way: “I earn X amount of dollars (in my case francs) in a hour at my dayjob. It takes me Y hours to do what you asked of me. So it will probably cost you around Z dollars. Are you willing to pay me?” Why do people automatically assume you would do it for free?
- The YES: “Yes, but only if you are willing to wait for your birthday/christmas/easter (insert occasion here)”.
Because I adore my cousin and know that she is a very conscious consumer I knew I wanted to do this for her. Plus, she was willing to wait for however long it would take. Her birthday is over now and guess what: She has her old/new jeans again!
How to start copying your jeans
Of course it helps if you already know how to sew trousers. This is probably not a first-timer project. If you’ve never made jeans there are a few patterns out there you could try. I recommend indie brands because (like the Ginger Jeans or the Ash Jeans) the instructions are amazing and there are often sewalongs to go with the pattern.
The first thing you want to do is cut your jeans apart. Start with cutting off the waistband at the seamline. Next cut the crotch area but take care not to damage the zipper (you will be able to reuse it) (in fact you should pretty much cut where the topstitching at the zipper is.
And then you cut apart the jeans leg (the one with the fly extension area) that will leave you with a front and back piece. Cut off (if you have backpockets you should unpick them) your front pocket pieces and remove the facing. Lastly you remove the zipcover from the zip.
These are all the pieces you need. Keep the other pantleg for reference (topstitching etc.). Oh and before I forget take pictures of your jeans before you cut them apart! I say this because (of course) I did NOT do that.
You could take these pieces straight to the new fabric which should be equal in weight and texture but I do not recommend it, because you would need to add in seamallowance “as you go” and this will probably lead to a few mistakes. So lay those pieces onto tracing paper and trace the actual pieces while making notes where you think to add in seamallowances. After this you can draw them in exactly. I used 5/8″ (1.5mm) seamallowance allover. Write on your pieces what piece it is, draw in all the fancy details (in my case it was pleats at the hipline) and write down how many times you have to cut it out etc.
Cut the pieces out of your fabric.
(Re-)Assemble your jeans
Needless to say: Katja was over the moon with them. A day after she got them she sent me a text with a few hearts thanking me again for giving her her favorite jeans back (she was already wearing them again). Definitely worth it!