The joys of experience…

More little jeans

The thing about making something over and over again—especially in rapid succession—is that you should, really, be getting better at it each time, right?

Well, that’s the theory, anyway.

After finishing the littlest jeans ever last weekend, I figured I had a good couple of weeks to poke around at the next pair, for my older niece Fyon, and still have them in the post in time for Fyon’s birthday at the end of the month.

Did I mention that I suck at mailing stuff? This is why I make patterns that can be shared via download, rather than hosting giveaways, when the guilt at how much I get from the online sewing vs. how much I contribute gets too bad.

ANYWAY, when I realized that my MIL and her husband would be in town for a couple of days this week, it suddenly became imperative to get Fyon’s pair done so I could send both presents back with her. And while it’s easy enough (at this point, for me) to whip up a pair of jeans over the course of a weekend, it’s another thing entirely to cram it into a couple of evenings. Nonetheless, I dove in, and they are done and currently winging their way back to Saskatchewan.

Fyon’s pair was a straight size 4—unlike her little sister, she’s tall for her age and well-proportioned (i.e. slightly chunky). She’ll be five in a few weeks, but the measurements I took of her last summer suggested that the size 4 (H) would be just fine, even allowing for four months of growth. Here’s hoping. In case you haven’t been following along, the pattern is Jalie 2908, which is far and away my most-used pattern of all time. Cost per make is in the pennies, at this point.

Rear view

Given the time-frame, I dropped all hope of originality and opted for the same detailing in slightly different fabric. This is probably just as well—despite their size differences, my nieces are only 18 months apart in age, and much jealousy often arises if they don’t get more-or-less exactly the same gifts. I decided to make my piping a little narrower this time, in the effort to get a more “piped” look—I think I was successful, although the wider look of the first pair is a bit more whimsical and cute. This pair is positively sedate. I also plum forgot (as I usually do) to add a teensy change pocket, and I’m surprised at how much more boring this makes the front view. Subtle, but true. I also forgot to do any embroidery on the front. Oopsie. Tyo suggested stars, rather than hearts this time, which I went with happily on the back pockets, as they’re super-easy to stitch.

Labels---best laid plans.

Aside from glitches like that, I had some good ideas that didn’t quite pan out, and some technical difficulties. I remembered to attach a label with my kids’-brand name, Bookemon & Ebichu (as I found the sheet of iron-on transfers again, finally! ;) ), and this time figured I’d do it BEFORE the waistband was attached, saving me from doing it after, by hand, like I did last time. It seemed like a great idea, no? Except that when I topstitched along the waistband, the stitching went over the label. Not awful, but not really the look I was going for. (I do like how the swan-stitch turned out! It’s one of the cams that came with the White, and while each individual bird isn’t particularly lovely, the overall effect is a cute detail, I think.

On to the technical difficulties. I’ve mentioned before that the new Pfaff, lovely as it is, has some tension issues. Something is gummed up in the the tension disks, to the point where a) the tension doesn’t release when the presser foot is raised, and b) when the tension is high (as it needs to be for stitching with thick topstitching thread) it seems to feed a bit unevenly or something—two or three stitches will be fine and then one will pull a loop of the top thread to the back. Again, not catastrophic, but not perfect. The topstitching thread I used on the pair of jeans for Waif was a different brand and not quite as thick, and it worked well, but the Guterman topstitching thread was definitely more challenging. And it got even worse for zig-zagging (which you generally use a lower tension for). You can see how attractive the insides of my bar-tacks are. /sigh. So while the overall jeans are fine, and cute, the construction has some lumps and bumps that I wish it didn’t. I did a better job on the fly this time, I think, anyway.

At least it’s out of the way.

Interior waistband

There’s the usual buttonhole elastic in the waistband, and again I used a snap. It seems, in the random way of snaps, to be a little sturdier than the one that I put in on the Waif’s pair. Which probably has everything to do with how things get bent in the hammering, but I haven’t managed to really improve on that with the tools I have available.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “The joys of experience…

  1. Gutermann topstitching thread is EEEEEVIL. Mine always either looks like it’s been chewed by hamsters or it’s a loopy mess. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck using other threads for topstitching either.

    These jeans are so cute. I would totally wear these colors and LOVE the star pockets and swan stitch!

  2. Amy

    They’re so tiny! The last picture really put them into scale. And, you really have gotten your moneys worth out of this pattern!

  3. Isabel's Daughter

    Have you tried using a topstitching needle? The eye is larger to allow for the thicker thread and the tip is pointier. It would make a big difference in your results.

  4. OMG so cute. I can’t get over how ridiculously CUTE these are! Man, I’m trying to gear myself up to jeans, and here you go and slap together a pair in days. I’d be grumpy and jealous, but it’s my own fault I’m too chicken to make a pair myself. EXCEPT IT’S TOTALLY YOURS FOR BEING SO GOOD AT IT SO THERE.

    Love the stars. *grump*

    • Kids’ jeans are totally the way to start (if you’re unselfish and have some handy kids around who’d appreciate it)—lets you just practice the techniques and get over that fear before you have to tackle fit for yourself.

      And this is a pretty darn good pattern to start with (except for the waistband. Swap it out for a contour waistband you like.)

  5. You are truly queen jeans. Every pair you make amazes me. And these diddy pairs are so cute. I think you’re very clever as all your jeans look so professional ( I don’t care what you say about the inside bar tacks!) and I also love your customisation ( labels, embroidery, pocket design). And we all know just how tough sewing layers of denim is – looks easy by you :-)

    • Well, it’s certainly easier wrangling the denim on my old metal machines than it was on my plastic modern one. :) None of this is particularly heavy denim, either—which drives me nuts on my own pairs but works well for little pairs like this.

  6. Amy

    These are adorable. They’re so teensy teensy! That’d be the hardest part for me, angling such a small but thick garment around the machine.

    • I don’t find it too bad for these—the angles of the pockets and stuff aren’t really any different than on the adult versions. The seams are just shorter ;). And like I said to Scruffy, the denim is fairly thin—annoying if they were for me, but perfect for little kids. Using the pocket fabric for the waistband lining helps, too, as it’s less bulky.

  7. holy crap those are tiny — I didn’t really get a good sense of scale until the last picture — which means the other pair must just about fit a doll. Both are adorable, but holy crap, they are TINY.

    • I don’t know if they’re quite as tiny as they look in the last photo… my hand is covering part of the waistband. These ones have about a 21″ waist and an 18″ inseam. The other tiny pair has about a 19″ waist.

  8. Try putting some rubbing alcohol on a piece of non linty fabric and rub it between the tension discs. Some thread has a coating on it that can gum up the tension discs. I bet it clears up your problem. Great little jeans btw! So cute!

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