As I child, I grew up with dogs. I don’t mean I was raised by dogs – but, as a family, we always had a pet dog or two. MrA & I would love to have our own dog/s but we live in a tiny little flat in the heart of Central London… It just wouldn’t be fair… on anyone!
But that doesn’t stop me from being ‘uncle’ to a few choice pooches! And, of course, I can’t help myself from spending the entire train journey (… for example; 6hrs to Cornwall…) on the carriage floor if there’s a dog on board.
So when it came time to make a new pair of jeans, I knew immediately what I wanted to put on the back pockets… you guessed it… Mans Best Friend! I googled a few images until I found a dog that would work in outline – nothing too fiddly – I have no favourites – then sketched it out onto a paper pocket template. Once I was happy with the size and proportions, I traced the shape and cut it out. Next using a grey fabric pencil, I drew around the template onto the pocket, flipping it over for the other one. Then I just had to stitch it.
I used two spools of thread running through the needle and a stitch length of 3 mm. I started with the straight line at the bottom and took it really slowly: pivoting with the needle down at the sharp angles and taking the curves with as much precision as I could.
Then I just had to do another one to match! They’re not completely symmetrical but I think they’re close enough to get away with it. MrA helped me decide that they should be facing inwards, not outwards. Don’t ask how we made the final decision. Just don’t ask…
…Because these jeans come with a different story. A cautionary tale, if you will….
As I’ve already documented how I make my jeans pretty thoroughly, I left my phone on the side as I wouldn’t be taking any progress shots of this project. That’s quite freeing in itself… but be warned – if you change your format anything could happen. It was all going along so well… I was initially worried about the bright red topstitching but it was shaping up nicely. Front pockets went smoothly, back pockets. The fly went in neater than most, the yokes matched up and the double rows of inseam stitching looked like glorious red train tracks! As I was on such a high I barely questioned the extra inch or so I had to ease in to the outer-seams. I stitched them, finished them and pressed them so I could step back and take a good look at my jeans… almost ready… just the waistband and hems to go… except… what’s that weird shape…?
… I had sewn the back yokes on the wrong way round. Completely the wrong way round… probably upside down too, but, crap; they were wider at the waistband, tapering to the centre back (perfect for showing off ‘builders-bum’!) Dammit! … and there I was; thinking I’d almost finished.
As you can imagine, having not photographed these jeans up until this point, I was not particularly moved to photograph them now either! As, in a pretty stinking mood, I unpicked the serging and stitching on the outer leg seams. I unpicked all the stitching down to an inch or so below the yokes on the back seam and picked the yokes completely off. Then I pulled out all the loose threads, ironed my pieces and set about putting my jeans back together – properly this time!
It probably took me about two hours to get back to where (I thought) I was earlier. Thankfully my mood had lifted pretty quickly once I’d realised that the unpicking wasn’t quite as hellish as I thought it would be. And considering what a horror-site it was back there, I think I’ve come away from it all fairly unscathed.
Moving on, I could feel how lumpy everything was at the waistband; where I should put a buttonhole. And truth be told, I’d had enough horrors for one project, so I opted for a heavy duty snap instead… after finishing the waistband very slowly!
Disasters aside, I’m really pleased with how these have come out. The pattern is my adapted chino pattern from the Toshio Kaneko book Men’s Clothes For All Seasons I’ve written about them before here. And the denim is from Crescent Trading. I’ve only recently been reading up on my denims and I think this is what’s called Raw Denim: it’s not been over washed and still had a lot of dye in it. My hands were blue after making these! I read somewhere that I’m now supposed to wear them constantly and not wash them for at least a year, and I’ll get some wonderful bespoke fading and wear-lines appearing. We’ll see!
Just as I’d finally finished, MrA pipes up ‘you should put studs round his neck, like a collar…’ – yes, yes I should… I should have done that before I sewed them on! So, I dutifully set about unpicking the pockets and tried a few options…
So late one night I stitched new collars, applied some shiny studs and carefully sewed the pockets back on. It was a fair bit of extra work, but I think it was totally worth it – now, my new jeans are even newer!
They’re a nice thick denim which I hope will help to keep me warm when I’m in Vermont for Thanksgiving! It’s snowing already there, and the temperatures are low, low, low! (Well, For us Brits it’s low!) and, yes, there will be a short stopover in New York! And, yes, I’m planning a pilgrimage to Mood Fabrics! Until next time…
Notes to self:
- Check your sewing as you go. Actually stand back and look at it!
- Decide on your final design before you sew the pockets on.
- After wading around the Aqua Alta in Venice I think these should indeed have a wash!
Your patience is admirable.. I might have chucked them onto the WIP pile..
I lovelovelove the personalised back pockets, just like you did previously with the needle and thread. I have so many ideas now! If only I was planning jeans..
Thank you! I think I might have left them too except I had nothing to wear! 👍🐕🙏🐩👏🐶
Well it was a lot of work, but definitely worth it. These are very classy! I ❤️🐩
Thank you 🙏 … almost ‘too much’ work at times 😅😂 but that’s all in the past and I can wear them!! 👏🐩👍🐶🙏🐕
I Love them!…I’m a big dog lover and i will be trying to attempt these at some point.I bought my Morgan jean pattern some time ago. I do prefer unusual and unique clothing, Your colour choice of cotton is perfect. The studs just finish it off, i look forward to your next make.
Thank you! Good luck with your Morgans 👍🙏😊
At various points here I was holding my breath! Oh no! All that unpicking! But I’ve got to say these jeans are really something and your skills are becoming legendary. Those dogs! As you were showing the progress I was wondering where the collars were, and you unpicked the pockets to add!! Totally worth it! Now I want jeans with red topstitching and dog pockets. 👏
I’m clearly a glutton for unpicking! But it was worth it! I’m SO happy with them! 😃👍🙏
Oh, I feel your pain with the hours of unpicking. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “As ye sews, so shall ye rip”. Have a great vacation, and do prepare for some cold weather. Some long johns under your amazing new jeans might be in order!
Thank you! We flew in over Maine! I was looking out the window for you! 👏👍🙏😄
I love the pockets. Your top stitching is great. Hope you have a fine time in New England and New York. Mood Fabrics is one of my favorites though I’ve shopped online only.
Thank you! 👍🙏😊
Darn about the mistakes- but WOW! I absolutely love the studs and collars/dogs. No one will believe you if you share those difficulties- they just look to dang good! You and Mr A make a great team designing! So creative! I ask my other half and he says “looks great as is”. :o( He just wants dinner. LOL!
Thank you! They’ve survived the wash too and ready to wear to the airport in the morning! 👍🙏😊
I am always stalking the aisles at Mood so if a crazy lady starts offering you serious cash for those jeans…well they are brilliant.
New England is cold so take your Sherpa lined cardi for sipping drinkies in front of the fire. Happy Thanksgiving
Well, if you see me in those jeans, come say hi!
Yes, I don’t think I’ll be taking the cardi off at all!
Happy Thanksgiving! 👋👍🙏
I make dumb mistakes like this all the time. In fact, for a project of any complexity, I am guaranteed to screw up several things. Good for you for persevering!
Thank you! It’s good to hear I’m not the only one!
After all that effort, I felt like I HAD to go on!! 😅👍🤞🙏
For sure! Your jeans turned out great?
These look good and it is the easiest thing to do as I made the same mistake when following along with the new Thread Theory jeans pattern. No matter with all good intentions to take more care I still make errors at times but perhaps a lot of people do until you get more confident. At least your finished jeans look good and you have not wasted all the time, energy and material. I am trying to learn more about fitting as well how do you find pattern sizes and understanding of pattern alterations? Like the thread colour a nice change from standard.
Hi, thank you! Regarding sizing & alterations, It’s only really through making something that I can see if it needs adjusting next time. I guess I’ve worn ill fitting clothes from the shops for so long that anything is an improvement! I’ll check pattern pieces against a pattern that fits, and measure the pieces if there’s no finished measurements given.
Taking in or out the waist or seat isn’t too tricky, or adjusting the rise; its just remembering to get all the pocket pieces altered too… but I haven’t had to tackle the more advanced alterations yet.
All the best 👍🙏👏