Well, hello February! This year is FLYING by already 😨✈️
So you guys remember my 2019 Make Nine? I ticked a few things off as ‘made’ but they hadn’t actually hit the blog yet – this is one of those things!
Since I’d tackled jeans for me, it seemed about time that the husbeast got in on the handmade jeans action as well. I thought that the best way to do that (and not forget about it midway through the year as I get distracted with all the shiny new projects 😂) was to put them into my 2019 Make Nine – and that turned out to be a good plan! The jeans got made towards the end of the year, but still within the year so they got a big fat TICK ✅
The pair that I chose for him in the Make Nine were the Thread Theory Quadra Jeans, and they are the pair I ended up making – not that there’s much to choose from in the way of men’s jeans patterns out there, mind you. In the past, I have subbed out patterns from the make nine in favour of a different variation on the theme, but this one stayed put from start to finish. I’ve had quite good success with Thread Theory patterns – I’ve made their Comox Trunks and also their Goldstream Peacoat so was quite excited to see how their jeans turned out.
The fabric for these jeans was given to me for free by Minerva, and I chose a dark indigo Robert Kaufman denim with a composition of 97% cotton and 3% elastane. There are white flecks to the fabric, which would normally (personally) put me off a denim, but they’re not too noticeable. And they’re not for me anyway, so it doesn’t really matter! The pattern recommends up to 3% elastane in your fabric, but they can also work with rigid denim – I chose the stretch because the husbeast prefers his jeans to be ‘comfy’ 😂 The fabric has about 20% stretch, so for me it falls into the category of ‘proper stretchy’, almost like jegging material, but it still very much looks like a proper denim. I just wish they did it in more out there colours, because I’d defo use it for me if they did.
After my musings on the boxer shorts a few months back of saying that I really should make more effort to match my overlocker and bobbin threads to the colours of the fabric, I went ahead and bought four cones of Coats thread (in a proper ‘jeans topstitching’ colour) from Minerva for the overlocked inside seams of this project. I was very happy with the colour, but what surprised me most is that this thread gave a much better seam than the Gutermann Toldilock that I had been using. I think I’ll stick to Coats in future.
I had to wash the denim fabric twice due to the amount of dye that came out – even after the first wash, some blue transferred onto my hands (😨) so back in the machine it went. Hopefully, that’s enough to get most of the loose dye, but I guess we’ll find out when he sits down on a white chair in his new jeans?! Thankfully, there was none of this ‘white line’ business that I’ve had with other denim fabrics (actually, just black ones) and it dried out looking pretty good despite the amount of ink that came out in the water.
With the Quadra jeans, they have you start off with the topstitching on the back pockets – which is more than a little unnerving for someone that has had such a rocky relationship with topstitching in the past. Add that to the fact that I’d chosen a contrast, rusty coloured topstitching thread to go on dark blue denim, and the sweats began.
I’ve had bad experiences with topstitching thread on jeans before. The Gutermann Topstitch thread is the worst – it gives me birds nests, terrible tension, and generally just looks like a shambles. So I tried the Sulky Topstitch thread on my corduroy Dawn Jeans, with a bit more success, but still not particularly outstanding. Then a handful of you lovely readers recommended the Gutermann ‘Extra Strong’ thread instead – It’s just a smidge thinner than their topstitching thread, but it seems to make a world of difference. I can even backstitch at the start and end of seams without it completely tangling – something that was previously unachievable 😱 I’m converted.
Included with the pattern, which I thought was a really nice touch, are some pocket topstitching templates. I’d only had the actual pattern pieces printed though (through Patternsy, as always) and forgot to print the instructions, so I didn’t have the topstitching templates physically in my hands to be able to trace from. I didn’t want to slack off at the first hurdle though with some half-ass curly line, so I decided to replicate one of the templates that were provided.
I marked out some of the main points and then used my curved ruler to fill in the lines. The first attempt was a bit of a state – I’d clearly used the wrong part of the curve. I tried again with the curvier part of the curve – success! I made sure to do the mirror image on the other pocket, rather than the same design twice (and repeated this instruction over and over in my head, until I’d actually completed the task – MIRROR IMAGE MIRROR IMAGE) I then braced myself for the do-or-die moment and threaded up the machine. The extra strong thread in the top, and normal (Gutermann Mara 100 is ‘normal’ thread for me) in the bobbin. For the pockets, I don’t backstitch at the start and end – I just pull the threads to the back and knot them off – so this at least minimised the potential for birds nests.
I used a ‘heavy’ needle (sometimes called a ‘jeans’ needle) and prepared for the first stitch. It went surprisingly smoothly. The tension was good – the stitches looked good – things were going well. And they continued to go well, for the whole garment actually. I’d even go so far as to say that it looked pretty damn good! 💪🏻 I successfully executed my back pocket design without a single hiccup. When it came to stitching the pockets onto the back of the jeans, this also went well – apart from the bar tacks, which I didn’t quite get the stitch length right on the first pocket. It looked a bit more like a zig-zag than it should have done. I got it better for the next pocket, but then one of those two went a bit wobbly… so overall I got one out of four as a good one 🤷🏻♀️ But I’ll take that!
Putting the front pockets together went without a hitch, and you end up with a nice pocket bag that’s French seamed at the bottom – no overlocked edges in sight.
I bought the recommended zip length for the fly, but for some reason, it would have extended beyond the top of the jeans if I’d have lined it up with the marked zipper notch. So, I moved it down a bit because I didn’t really fancy removing teeth from a metal zip… but this meant that when I came to do the fly topstitching, my bar tack was going tight over the zip teeth. Obvs, that’s not gonna happen so I had to sew the tack turning the wheel by hand, making sure that there was no metal in the way each time the needle went down. Not a great approach, I know, but better than removing teeth for sure. Next time I think a 1 inch shorter zip would work – I just need to remember to make a note of that on the instructions so that I don’t forget and buy the same length again 🤦🏻♀️
The flat fell seams on the inseam are constructed differently to how they are on the Dawn Jeans – now I don’t know a lot about flat fells or how they are meant to be, so I’ll do my best to explain 💁🏻♀️ On the Dawns, the folded bulk of the seam is on the inside (wrong side) of the jean, but on the Quadras, it’s on the outside. Unknowingly to me, this meant that thread colour matters, guys. I was using black thread in the top of my machine, but I’ll be totally honest – I couldn’t find the black bobbin so I had been sewing with the nearest dark-coloured one I had to hand: brown. When you do the flat-felled seams on the Quadras, depending on whether the right side or the wrong side of the fabric is on top, you’re gonna see one of those lines of stitching on the outside of the jeans when you press the seam allowance over. The one that you see will be the one that’s on the front of the jeans – so if you sew with the fabric right side down, you’re going to see the bobbin thread. So make sure you’re using a colour that you’re happy with to be exposed!
See that brown thread on the left? Yep, that’s the bobbin thread.
This method is better than the one used on the Dawns though, as you can see exactly where the edge of the folded fabric lip is in order to make sure your topstitching stays on track – when it’s on the inside, you’re sort of relying on your folding being precisely on point – which mine isn’t. So I much prefer this way.
I was slightly confused on the flat fell instructions for the yoke – in some of the diagrams, the topstitching is above the seam between the yoke and the back leg, but the written instructions seem to tell you to topstitch below that seam 🤷🏻♀️ I’ve put mine below the seam (so, on the back leg piece rather than the yoke piece), which I’ve no idea whether it’s actually correct or not but it looks fine so I’m going with it!
**that picture above is the same method of flat-felling as the Dawns – the bulk of the fold is on the inside. See how wonky-donkey that lower row of topstitching is? Yep, that’s pretty much how the entire insides of my Dawns look 👀**
Usually, I would expect the belt loops to have the bottom edge sewn into the waistband (to enclose one of the raw edges) but this isn’t the case with the Quadras – both the top and bottom edges are attached with bartacks. Next time I will sew the bottom raw edge into the waistband seam, to give a neat finish on at least one of the two edges of the loop 😂
Despite it not being suggested in the instructions, I installed rivets – but only on the front pockets, as I thought they would look weird on the back pockets because of the nice topstitching around the edge. BTW, it’s a pain in the arse to make the holes for rivets, and you are FO SHO going to want an awl (sharp pointy stick that you could literally take your eye out with) to help with this.
I knew that I would have to turn up the legs for the husbeast, but I wasn’t sure by how much – so I decided to make the jeans full length as written, and then have him try them on. Once we’d determined how much needed to be chopped off, I’d make the adjustment on the pattern pieces for future makes. I took three inches off the leg in the end – for reference, the husbeast is about 5’5″ and usually wears a 30 inch inside leg.
This was, unexpectedly, a really enjoyable sew. Jeans used to totally scare me but these were awesome! There was one thing that really bothered me about this pattern though: you are instructed to cut and interface two fly extension pieces, but then when you come to sew the fly they tell you to discard one. What a waste of time and interfacing! I’d rather they just told me right at the start that I only needed to cut one. I know it can be easier to cut two if you’ve already got your fabric folded or whatever, but I really don’t mind unfolding it to cut just one. Especially don’t tell me to interface both of them and then throw it away – I’ve wasted not only fabric (which okay, I probably have some spare of) but also interfacing (which I might not have had so much of). Rant over. (A justified rant though, I feel).
But I’ll make a note that I only need to cut one, because I will be making another pair – probably in the size 28 rather than 30 because they’re a little large on the husbeast who cycles 25 miles a day to the office 😆
Even though I cycle as well (though slightly less distance and only half the amount of days, admittedly), I don’t seem to have the problem that my clothes are too big 🤔 The opposite problem, in fact… though this could be down, in part, to my love of pizza 🍕 Maybe. 😂
Enjoy some pictures of the husbeast’s legs 👀
On the blog next week – my trial run of the Wardrobe By Me Amelia Bomber Jacket! 🧥 Subscribe below to have it drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻