Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Disaster turned favorite: jeans shorts

These jeans shorts wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the Jeans in June & July -challenge by Sew Busy Lizzy. My story is the same as everybody else's: would love to make jeans if it weren't for all the stitching and fitting.

I managed to overcome these obstacles though. I took a deep breath, wiped away my tears and finally cut my favorite pair of old jeans to pieces. It just feels so WRONG to cut into a finished garment. My old jeans had pretty much reached the end of their road though, and the fit was great so I didn't want to waste that.

During the making of the Unselfish golf shorts, I realized that I kind of like top stitching and top stitching thread in particular. So you see, I ran out of excuses for not making a pair of jeans.

The intended pair of jeans ended up being shorts for two reasons. For one, the deadline for the challenge was the end of July. As I'm writing this we've had the hottest week of the year here, so I couldn't muster the will power to squeeze into a pair of jeans even for fitting purposes. The second reason was that if the jeans turned out to be a disaster, I wouldn't have wasted nearly as much fabric if I only made shorts. And besides, all the problems occur above the knees anyway, so a pair of shorts are just as tricky and time consuming as a pair of pants.

I googled for some back pocket stitching inspiration, and found the design I used here. I wanted to keep the stitching pretty classic, but added some green stitching to make them feel my own. Obviously I wanted to use purple, but my local fabric store doesn't share my love for all things purple and doesn't stock top stitching thread in that color. I know you are as shocked as I am.

So there I was, happily stitching along, feeling confident in my skills and the marvelous fit of the shorts-to-be - but then disaster struck. I tried them on for the first time - and I could barely get them past my knees. A fitting disaster! I had underestimated the difference between super and ridiculously super stretchy denim!

I had left a little more seam allowance than usual, and was able to squeeze out enough extra width to fit into the shorts. They were still very tight though, and by tight I don't mean 'oh, these are a bit snug' but more along the lines of 'I can't feel my lady parts'. I let out all the seams by 2-3 cm:s, and this is a stretchy denim. I have no idea how much to add when I'm going to attempt these in a regular denim.

 I probably made this face when I tried the shorts on for the first time. You can almost see how I'm contemplating alternative hobbies: stamp collecting, bird watching and other relaxing and fulfilling pastimes. But I persevered. The waist band fits great since I made a muslin for it only after I was happy with the fit of the shorts. I followed Katie's advice and didn't interface the lining. At least it feels great with all the stretch in the denim.

 I really really really like these shorts and I'm hoping that some poor quality lycra and sheer will power will make them stretch out. I can't will my ass to get any smaller, but I can ignore the tingling sensation in my thighs. Right now I have been wearing them all day, and they have stretched out noticeably. I didn't hem them though, since it makes them even tighter around the thighs. Any ideas on that? Can I just leave the hem as is, or can I stitch it with a stretch stitch to keep them from fraying?

These disaster-turned-favorite shorts are also part of the Summer Stashbust, yay!


  1. I like your idea of a stretch stitch along the edge to prevent fraying (although we all know how popular fraying and distressing seems to be!).

    Congratulations on pushing through, I love the topstitching on the pockets!

    1. Thanks! It was worth putting some thought into the topstitching :) I'm just afraid that the stretch stitch will stretch out the edge and show, but I guess I have to try it to find out.

  2. You're so brave for making jean shorts in the first place! I live in Hawaii and have a closet full of great jeans that I will never wear here. I'm thinking about cutting them off into shorts so at least they'll get some wear.

    1. I have to admit, it seemed quite scary at first! Pants fitting is sooo difficult. Maybe you'll need to make a pair too? :)