Minerva Blogging Network: Black skinny jeans (Burda 7863, again)

For my latest Minerva project, I’ve made another pair of Burda 7863 jeans. I am nothing if not predictable.

jeans 2

You can read my Minerva post about these jeans here. I used some silver stretch fabric that sadly lost all of its sparkliness in the wash, but I think this is par for the course with metallic fabrics unless the sparkly thread is woven in.

Luckily the base fabric is pretty dreamy anyway. It’s a very stretchy denim. Oddly, the stretch runs from top to bottom, rather than from selvedge to selvedge, so I turned the fabric 90 degrees when cutting out.

Here’s a close-up of my topstitching and one of the rivets – you can see the fabric looks almost grey in certain lights, which I rather like.

jeans topstitching

How long does it take to make a pair of jeans?

I thought it might be useful to have an estimate of how long it takes me to make a pair of these. My timings are vague, and I sew quite slowly, with many breaks to change podcast/make cups of tea/hunt for snacks. Hopefully someone will find it helpful anyway.

I usually sew jeans in 4 or 5 separate sessions. Here’s the order I use, which is different from the pattern.

  1. Cutting out, interfacing and changing the thread in my sewing machine and overlocker: 2 or 3 hours, including a long and frustrating hunt for my twin topstitching needle.
  2. Sewing the pockets and the front fly, attaching the back yoke and topstitching, sewing the back legs together: About 2 hours.
  3. Attaching the back pockets, sewing the front legs to the back legs, topstitching the seam with a twin needle, basting the side seams to check fit: 1 and a half hours. You can do this a lot quicker without basting the side seams, but every fabric varies so I prefer to check how they fit at this stage.
  4. Attaching the waistband, sewing the side-seams, sewing the waistband facing, topstitching the waistband and side-seams: About 3 hours of sewing, depending on how annoying the topstitching decides to be. NOTE: If you are using a metal zip that you have to shorten with pliers, add an hour on to this. It’s a huge pain.
  5. Sewing on belt-loops, attaching rivets and buttons, hemming: About 1 hour. Making the holes for the rivets is time-consuming.

The only fitting change I made for this pair was this flat seat alteration from the legendary Anne Rowley, star of the GBSB. I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as having a ‘flat seat’, but it does seem to have eliminated some of the wrinkles under the bum. However I think you can never entirely get rid of these, especially with stretch fabric.

jeans back

I’m fairly happy with the fit, except for the legs, which have drag-lines in odd places. I think this might be my last pair from this pattern for a while.  I’m not done with trousers yet, but for my next pair I’m going to go a bit smarter (and skip all of the dreaded topstitching).

jeans 1

If you’d like to make your own version of these jeans, you can buy the kit from Minerva here.

UPDATE – Public service announcement: please be careful with your zips!

After writing this post and sending my project details to Minerva, this happened:

photo (17)

I zipped the slider right off the first time I wore them! This is completely my own fault. I got a bit over-zealous with the pliers and took too many teeth off the zip, leaving room for this catastrophe to occur.

I managed to fix this but it was an enormous pain, involving tiny implements and much fiddling. Don’t be like me – be careful out there!

p.s. apologies for how blurry the photos are in this post. I would sack the photographer but he seems to be a permanent fixture now, and he’s quite good at making cups of tea.

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28 thoughts on “Minerva Blogging Network: Black skinny jeans (Burda 7863, again)

  1. Stephanie October 13, 2013 / 1:44 AM

    Everyone has already said it better than me but I bow down to you for making your own jeans! I have honestly never considered it as it makes my head tired to think of all of the steps. 🙂 Great job – the fit is terrific. Oh and I love your shoes (I might have the same pair :)).

    • yesilikethat October 14, 2013 / 10:16 AM

      Hey thank you! They aren’t perfect but I’m pleased with my progress, it was my number 1 sewing resolution this year. Shoes are from Clarks, I love my brogues! 🙂

  2. tillybuttons October 12, 2013 / 7:27 PM

    Amazing work! I’m so impressed that you make your own jeans. Sorry to hear about the zip – I hate it when that happens!

    • yesilikethat October 14, 2013 / 10:16 AM

      Thanks Tilly! I’m just glad I managed to fix it, the idea of having to take out the zip and put in another one was really not fun.

  3. sewbusylizzy October 11, 2013 / 9:41 PM

    I am suffering from an obsession to make something like this – I tossin gup between these or the new Named Jamie Jeans – which I have a serious case of the hots for…. in the meantime I make shorts, its summer and shorts are the commitment you make to pants when you don’t want to be spending the $$ on making full length fabric for the legs and also I have now had lots of practice at fly fronts and I’m rockin’ that skill now 🙂 jeans here I come…

    • yesilikethat October 14, 2013 / 10:17 AM

      The Named Jamie jeans look great, would love to try those! Am jealous that you are just going into summer, it’s a long time until shorts weather again here… Shorts are such a great project, hardly use any fabric and you get to practise fly zippers! 🙂

    • sewbusylizzy October 14, 2013 / 10:20 AM

      Yes!! Shorts are like a defacto relationship you can have with trouser making. Practice the techniques with little expense & no long seams… hence I made three pairs last week…
      Still going to have a go at jeans. Do these need much stretch?

    • yesilikethat October 14, 2013 / 11:23 AM

      They definitely need stretch fabric but depending on how you adjust the pattern, the fabric might not need to be that stretchy. The legs as drafted are a lot wider than my RTW skinny jeans but I narrowed them quite a lot, if you do that too you’ll definitely need a fabric with quite a bit of Lycra or similar in.

  4. flossiejamieson October 10, 2013 / 3:58 PM

    I still find your jean making skills just unbelievable – it’s the sewing equivalent of being able to perform backward flips 25 times or having a brain like Albert Einstein. I seriously think you should be talking to publishers about writing a book that teaches normal people how to sew jeans, not just those that have been doing it for years. Not all of want to swan about in dresses and flouncy skirts, which is where I’m guessing most people learn their more advanced sewing skills as they go – if I could sew jeans, I would seriously consider never shopping for ready made clothes again!

    • yesilikethat October 10, 2013 / 4:31 PM

      Ah you are too nice. Don’t think I’d be up to writing a book quite yet! Honestly, sewing jeans isn’t that hard, it’s just step by step. It’s the fitting that’s the difficult bit. Plus these are stretch ones which makes everything easier 🙂

      I do get a lot of satisfaction out of making everyday clothes, even though they don’t have the same ‘wow’ factor as beautiful dresses. Although I could do with a few more fancy things too, going to a posh event tonight and I don’t have a thing to wear…

  5. Pootle and Make October 10, 2013 / 10:32 AM

    Your top stitching looks so professional – you wouldn’t think they were home sewn. Great job.

    • yesilikethat October 10, 2013 / 4:32 PM

      Thank you! This fabric was a lot nicer to topstitch than the last pair I made, for some reason, even though it was incredibly stretchy. The blue twill I used last time was not fun to topstitch.

  6. Marie October 9, 2013 / 8:21 PM

    I love how fearlessly you approach trouser/jean making! They look incredible to me!

  7. gingermakes October 9, 2013 / 12:28 PM

    Man, these look so great! You’ve really nailed fitting jeans– every time I see one of your pairs, I can’t get over how perfect they look! Glad you were able to sort out the zipper issue– it sounded horribly annoying.

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:52 PM

      Thanks lady! They are dodgier in real life, I definitely recommend making them from black fabric, it hides a multitude of sins…

  8. Miss Demeanour October 9, 2013 / 10:48 AM

    I concur with everyone. These look so pro! Nice work lady and I too do not think you are flat of seat.

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:52 PM

      Ha ha, me neither! Quite the opposite! Those under-bum jeans wrinkles seem to happen to all shapes of lady, not sure why but the adjustment seems to have helped.

  9. craftylittlebugger October 9, 2013 / 8:06 AM

    These look really professional! This pattern seems to get good results for you. After an unsatisfactory trip to uniqlo for jeans, I’m trying to convince myself to put the work in and get comfortable with sewing my own.

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:51 PM

      Uniqlo ones are okay for me, it’s just that they come up too short on the torso, I was fed up with having builder’s bum. The first pair of this pattern I made were ridiculously high-waisted but I think I’ve got the perfect waist height now.

  10. Chloe October 8, 2013 / 10:18 PM

    Your topstitching looks great – as do your jeans. You’re right, it can get a bit much though! And thanks very much for the flat seat link – I was wondering what to do about that horizontal fish dart under the bum!

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:50 PM

      No problem! I was worried this one would reduce the back slope too much but it seems to be okay, I did have to angle in the back yoke seam a bit more though. There’s another fish eye dart tutorial floating around but I think this one is easier.

  11. Kerry October 8, 2013 / 9:40 PM

    Really nice and so professional looking with the topstitching and rivets. And yes, never anger the tea maker! 🙂

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:50 PM

      Thanks Kerry! I really like using the rivets, they’re super easy to install but they do make it look more professional.

  12. alwhatley October 8, 2013 / 7:22 PM

    These look so good! I’d love to sew some skinny jeans one day because it’s so hard to find good ones. And when Topshop stop selling your tried and tested favourites… well, sometimes you have to take the matter into your own hands! Looking forward to seeing your next trouser project!

    • yesilikethat October 9, 2013 / 12:49 PM

      Thank you! I won’t lie, they’re a pain to get right, if I could find better-fitting jeans in the shop I would probably buy them.. ha ha 🙂

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