This post is sponsored by Baby Lock and Chalk and Notch, but all opinions are my own. Fabrics, patterns and supplies were gifted.
Hello!! I’m so excited to work with Baby Lock and Chalk and Notch for this post! When Gabriela from Chalk and Notch reached out to work together it was an instant yes! Chalk and Notch patterns are so well made and written- it was a no brainer.
I had the Isle Jeans on my make nine list for 2023, and I was excited to get started on them! I was curious to see how well my Baby Lock Brilliant sewing machine would hold up to thick mutli-layered denim, and you guys- it was so smooth!! No broken needles, handled top stitching thread perfectly, and sewed over the thick layers like a champ. Once again, my Baby Lock Brilliant sewing machine continues to amaze me. I also used my Baby Lock Celebrate serger to finish my seams and it worked just as well.
Jeans making can be a little intimidating at first, but YOU CAN DO IT!! Gabriela does a really good job of providing excellent step by step instructions from supplies to execution. You got this.
I used a stretch denim from Stash Fabrics. It’s a 10oz medium wash denim. I also used Chalk and Notch’s notion kit for my zipper, buttons, interfacing, needles. This was really handy and so nice to not have to go source all of these items. I purchased some Gutterman Top Stitching thread from my local Joann’s store.
I cut out a size 2 in the waist, and a size 0 everywhere else. I would highly recommend basting the legs together right before sewing your pockets on. I had to take in the side seams quite a bit and the pockets ended up very close to the side seams. The fit could still use some tweaking but I didn’t want to redo my pockets and top stitching so I’m sticking with what I have! I also think one wash/dry and they will fit just right. Other than adjusting the side seams, no other changes were made. I made the crop length pants and the length was perfect for me. I’m 5′ 4″ tall.
I’m wearing a Waterfall Raglan top with my jeans, also from Chalk and Notch. I made the crop long sleeve version, and cut the length at the size 14, and a size 4 everywhere else. I also took in the side seams by about an 1 1/4″ from the bottom tapered all the way up to the underarm corner for a less swingy look. I love how it turned out! Fabric is from Blackbird Fabrics.
Tips for Sewing with Denim Fabric:
- Use a Jean Needle!
When sewing with denim fabric, it’s very helpful to use a jeans needle. It has a sharper point and stronger shank to prevent breakage when sewing through thick denim seams.
2. Use Topstitching Thread
Whether you want a contrasting look or monochromatic look, top stitching thread gives your jeans a professional and polished finish. It’s thicker than your average poly thread. To use it, I suggest threading the top-stitching thread through the needle and use regular thread in the bobbin. I used navy thread in my bobbin so you would see navy on the wrong side and the golden top stitching thread on top. I used the color Bitter Sweet by Gutterman.
3. Adjust the stitch width for top-stitching:
When using top stitching thread, a wider stitch length looks really nice. I adjusted mine up once to 3.0mm. You can test this out on a scrap piece of fabric to get the look you like! Don’t forget to adjust the stitch length in between steps when switching back and forth between regular thread and top stitching thread.
4. Wash Away Wonder Tape:
Wash away wonder tape is a great tool when sewing on patch pockets! To use it, simply apply the sticky side to your prepped pocket edges that will be sewn. Peel off the paper backing, and place on your jeans. Add a few pins in the middle, and sew! The wash away wonder tape will hold your pocket in place, washes away once the garment is washed, and doesn’t gunk up your sewing needle. I love this stuff. Works great for shirt pockets too.
5. Utilize your hand wheel over thick seams.
Certain seams can get really thick and a little scary to sew over. Whenever I get a little nervous about sewing over a thick seam or close to a zipper stop, etc- I use my hand wheel to sew reaaally slow to make sure I don’t break a needle. By turning the hand wheel clock wise you can sew one stitch at a time at your own super slow pace when crossing over a troublesome seam or step.
Hope you find my tips helpful! That’s all I have for you today. Happy jeans sewing!!