I really like the first pair of Megan Nielsen Ash jeans I made last year, but recently I have found myself reaching for my ill-fitting ready-to-wear jeans more and more. When I thought about why, it didn’t take me long to realise that it was down to the colour. My orignal Ash jeans are a lovely bright blue – lovely, but not a colour that fits well with my winter wardrobe. I always planned to make another, darker pair of jeans and I stashed away the perfect indigo stretch denim from Fabworks back in February, so I was ready whenever the mood struck me.
Well the mood didn’t strike me in 10 whole months, but after catching a pin in my ready-to-wear jeans and making a huge, scruffy snag right up the front of them, I accepted that it was time to sew myself a better fitting, smarter pair of jeans, even though I couldn’t really be arsed. I think the main barrier was that I knew I needed to make some adjustments to the pattern to improve the fit (I didn’t feel particularly confident in my ability to do this) and I knew this meant tracing the pattern again (EURGHHHHHH). But with 2020 coming to an end and this one last outstanding project to complete, I also knew I just needed to bloody well get on with it.
So let’s talk sizing. On my first pair of Ash jeans I made the size 28, sewed the side seams betwen the hip and knee at 1cm and took 1″ off the waist. I still feel the thighs are a little too tight, which seems to pull the jeans down when I wear them. I also feel there is excess fabric across the front fly area and the waist is still a bit too big. For my second pair I opted for the following; size 27 waist, grading to a 28 hip and a 29 from the hip down. I also used the size 27 fly pieces instead of the size 28 this time. After basting the side seams I still felt the thighs were tight, so as before I used a 1cm seam allowance there instead of 1.5cm, which solved the problem.
Now I know there will be some sewists that will look at my jeans and see fit issues – maybe some excess fabric in places, a drag line here and there or a bump in the odd seam, but I am not a fitting expert and I do not care. The fit is perfectly suitable for me – they are comfortable to wear, I have room to move, they accomodate my bottom and fit at the waist, which ready-to-wear jeans never do and they look exactly how I wanted them to look. I’m happy that the small changes I made that were within my ability level have improved upon the fit of my first pair and that is a win in my book.
The details of my jeans were very important to me – I had found the perfect denim for my project and I had a specific look in mind for the overall finish. I chose Gutterman extra strong thread in colour ‘brown 968’ for all of my top-stitching and I wanted gold rivets and a jeans button to match – which are harder to find than you think! I bought a jeans hardware pack from Megan Nielsen for my first pair and the rivets were completely unuseable without tools, even though their tutorial said otherwise. I ended up using Prym rivets and Vario pliers which are BRILLIANT, but Prym don’t make rivets in gold, so unfortunately I had to look elsewhere for this project.
I came across the Kylie and the Machine jeans hardware kit, which came in the perfect gold colourway – please skip this paragraph if you are not interested in my thoughts on this product! I only found one sponsored review for the kit which was very positive, but I obviously took this with a pinch of salt. I had a voucher to spend, so thought I’d splash out and buy the kit anyway, which seemed to come with all the tools that I felt the Megan Nielsen kit was missing. The positives are that the instructions are excellent, all the tools you need are provided and are very good quality and the rivets worked brilliantly and look great. The negatives are that the zip teeth are silver, not gold and the jeans buttons were impossible to attach. Now I have attached many a jeans button in my time and this is not difficult, but the nails provided just kept bending and damaging the button instead of securing it. Luckily there is enough hardware for two pairs of jeans in the kit and they give you a spare button – after ruining two of them I resorted to using a nail from a pack of jeans buttons I had leftover from another project. This seems to have worked, but the button does not feel very secure and I think I’ll probably need to replace it at some point. So for £25 I have got some nice tools and the perfect rivets for my jeans, but I have also got 1 danger button, 2 ruined buttons and 2 zips that I haven’t been able to use. Just leaving this here in case anyone finds it useful!
I’m really happy with both the fit and overall appearance of my jeans and I’m so pleased I pushed myself to make them before the end of 2020! I’m sure I will make more jeans in the future and now I have an adjusted pattern I *should* feel much more inclined to sew my next pair. I quite fancy a burgundy or dark green pair in my wardrobe and I have seen some lush stretch denims at The Village Haberdashery that would be perfect – maybe I will use some Christmas money to add some to my stash!