The web is full of ideas for modifying old, loose, broken, or torn jeans. Just go to Pinterest or type in Google ” how to customize a pair of jeans ” to find lots of fashion ideas to put into practice.
Difficulties encountered in modifying jeans
But beyond the fashion touch-ups, modifying a pair of jeans is not an easy operation (or at least it is not as some video tutorials want us to believe, especially those in which you can see the use of glue instead of needle and thread) ).
Unfortunately, in fact, when I go to modify a pair of jeans I find that:
- the fabric is very thick or elastic and especially in some places it is not easy to sew ;
- visible seams or double seams typical of jeans are not always easy to replicate;
- there are parts – such as pockets, zippers, buttons, side seams – that cannot be eliminated without distorting the style of jeans;
- surprises are always lying in wait (ie the classic ” various and any “).
Transform jeans: 5 sewing tips
Just these days, I had to modify jeans (in my case they were shorts to be tightened on the hips) and while I was working I thought about how many gestures, precautions, and small maneuvers require such a task. Some steps are the same that are put in place for any pair of trousers (like making the hem ), others are simple tricks and attention suitable especially for jeans.
Here are some that I consider important and that I (almost) always put into practice.
1. Look and study jeans well
One of the first things I do when I have to modify jeans is to study them well. In fact, to make the same changes, you can often act in different ways. So based on the characteristics and model of the jeans, I always try to understand what is the most suitable solution to get what I want. As far as possible, for example, I try to avoid making changes in the parts where there are double seams because it is not easy to replicate them, or I look for alternative solutions in order not to disassemble parts that are difficult to sew.
The best thing, therefore, before cutting, is to make some tests perhaps by basing or even with the help of pins or clips. I know, it’s time-consuming, but it’s always worth the effort to get better results.
2. Unstitch edges and open seams well
When it is not possible to do otherwise to make some changes to the jeans, it is necessary to untie the hems, open the seams, remove the zippers and detach the loops. It is a tedious operation, but necessary to do a good job. To speed things up I usually use the seam ripper or buttonhole cutter, a small tool that allows you to quickly cut and unstitch even the most difficult or hidden seams.
3. Iron the sewing parts
Denim fabric is one of the thickest and most resistant but for this reason also one of the most demanding to sew. In the event that you need to sew over-bonded or paired parts of jeans, the iron can prove to be a precious friend. It is mainly used to make folds that were not there before, to sew new hems faster, to squeeze overlapped and too high parts.
4. Look for the suitable thread
Another thing I try to pay attention to is the thread. Even if we often don’t give it weight, using the right thread can make a difference. In fact, to sew jeans it is good to use a sturdy and resistant thread such as a 50 or cotton thread. Better to choose blue shades or colors for denim stitching. If I have to recommend a brand of threads, Gutermann is one of the best and has its own line of threads suitable for jeans.
However, jeans can also be sewn with other threads, at least the important thing is to find the color that is closest to the original one. For example, I use those that my mom left me, which are perfect in color, but are not suitable for jeans because they are too thin. But remedy with a trick …
5. The trick of the double thread
Where the thread is not suitable because it is too thin, I practice the trick of the double thread. My mom had taught me that when you want to get a beautiful evident seam with a thin yarn, you can also sew with 2 threads threaded simultaneously on the needle (just having two spools of thread of the same color), while the thread underneath remains normal. The result is very similar to the original seams of the jeans.
6. Use the right needle
As with the thread, the type of needle is also important for sewing jeans. I, therefore, recommend using the special needles: N ° 90/100/110, medium ballpoint, and reinforced shank. You will see that the seam will certainly be more expeditious: the needle will be more easily inserted into the fabric, no more stitches skipped, needle breaks (and above all of the boxes) will decrease.
Instead, to make the double stitching typical of jeans, remember that the twin needle will be very useful, a double-needle that allows you to make two parallel straight seams at the same time.
7. Set the appropriate point
To make perfect (or almost) jeans seams one must always try to replicate the same type of seam. Generally, I do tests on a sample of jeans. In this way, I have the possibility to check that the thread color, stitch length and stitch type are as similar as possible to the original. The point I set on the sewing machine is the straight one at the maximum length.
Sometimes, however, I must say that I also used the triple elastic stitch that allows you to make thick and thick seams – excellent in stretch jeans – even if you have a thin yarn.
I stop here. I am sure that other precautions and small tricks that I have not listed are used to modify and sew the jeans in the best way around. If you know others, tell us all … even those that make you laugh a little, like one of the hammers to beat on the thicknesses or the wedge to put behind the foot. 😀