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Jeans pockets–getting your rear in gear (a brief tutorial)

April 21, 2010

The baby and the cat both wanted to get up at 3 am today. I was happy to oblige, as you can imagine.

The good news is that once they were both settled, I was decidedly not. So I put my hand to my latest pair of Jalie jeans and have declared a 3 day jeans challenge for myself. (Yes, I am obsessed, but if you were still wearing maternity pants when your waistline had long since returned to normal(ish) you might find yourself obsessed too.)

Today was pockets day, tomorrow shall be fly and long seam day, and Friday will bring the waistband, hem, buttonhole, and rivet (Secret message to Julie–JoAnn’s has jeans rivets for half off right now! I don’t know if that is better than buttons for what you’re doing, though).

Topstitching used to be no fun because I was certain to be unhappy with the results. But with my super special tracing paper method, I tend to be much less unhappy–nay, almost satisfied with my results!

STEP ONE & then some:

Make two blank templates from the pattern piece on tracing paper.  Then fold the edges according to how they will be sewn (top 5/8″, sides and bottom 3/8″). Fold in half from top center to the point. Doodle your doodle on one half (you may want to spend some time doodling your doodle elsewhere first until you’re happy with your design). I have found that it is easier to be consistent with straight lines.



Unfold your edges and refold at the center line. Fold other blank template at the center line. Pin these two together, lining up the edges (in the following picture they are not lined up just to show you there are two).



Take the pair of templates to your un-threaded machine and prepare to stitch along your drawn lines. Carefully stitch along lines. I used a long stitch here, but next time I’m going to try using the same size I use for topstitching.



Unfold your two templates. Voila! You now have perfectly matching pockets! Pin to the fabric.


Thread your machine. I use two spools of thread on the top, and a normal bobbin. My machine does fine with this, but you may want to experiment first. Carefully stitch through tissue paper and fabric along your dotted lines.

I do a lot of “ooching”–lifting the presser foot and using the hand crank to shorten the last stitch before I want to turn to make sure I am exactly on my lines. Another tip: be sure that all of your threads are under the presser foot and trailing behind it as you start to avoid an ugly thread snarl.



Using tweezers, tear off the tissue paper. Attach pockets to backs at marks, make the rest of your jeans (it’s all downhill from here, baby).



Try to avoid stopping strangers on the street to ask them to admire your perfectly topstitched tush. *Highly recommended.

So here’s my progress so far! Pockets are done, man. Tomorrow it’s the fly, and were it any other fly front I’d be scared but the Jalie instructions are so good I might just forget to feed the cats again so I can be up & at ’em at 3 am again. Or not.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. julieanne permalink
    April 21, 2010 2:34 pm

    Once I get mine functional, I’ll be sure to send you a pic of my top-stitched tush! I thought you did a great job with it. Also, I have no idea what jeans rivets are. 🙂

  2. April 22, 2010 11:36 am

    impressive. i sew a lot of things, but have shied away from jeans so far, mainly because i feel they’ll never look like “real” jeans. you have me tempted to try it out though.

  3. April 23, 2010 4:12 pm

    Wow! I can barely sew, so I don’t think I will tackle jeans. But they look great. I appreciate the tutorial even if I never use it!

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