Hello Internet Friends!
Today I’m bringing you part one of the #fluffyblondemonster’s 2018 Christmas gift, a pair of Quadra Jeans by Thread theory. While these jeans were not ~quite~ ready in time to put under the Christmas tree I did finish the bulk of the sewing on boxing day so I say, close enough!
(Also featured in this post’s pictures is the Jackdaw Sweater that I knit as a belated Christmas gift from 2017, he apparently really likes it as he even wore it for this photoshoot!)
My reasoning for gifting him a pair of hand made jeans was two fold, 1) I love making jeans! once I got past my first pair I’ve never looked back and I really enjoy the entire process! 2) the #fluffyblondemonster is the most picky clothes shopper I know……. he has worn through so many pairs of jeans in our time together simply because he often refuses to buy more than one pair at a time and then just wears those jeans until they resemble Swiss cheese…. (I have attempted to repair some of his jeans in the past but I often don’t get notified that there’s a hole until the hole is MASSIVE! This is probably because he often only has one or two functional pairs of jeans at a time so he doesn’t want them to be out of commission while I find time to repair them). His main reasons for disliking clothing shopping (for jeans in particular) is that he often struggles to find jeans that fit as he has quite athletic thighs from cross country running and he gets frustrated when jeans that may look good are impossible to sit down comfortably in. The rare time he has found a pair of jeans that fits him well I’ve conspired with the sales person to pull as many colours of that style of jean that they have in the off chance that he’ll buy more than one pair to help extend the life of each pair……
I’ve been on the lookout for quite sometime for a good, quality men’s jeans pattern to help with avoid the issue of the #fluffyblondemonster struggling to find jeans that he likes. My thinking is that if I can modify a pattern such that he loves the fit then the next time he needs a new pair all I’ll have to do is whip out the pattern and cut/sew him some new ones :) Luckily for me Thread Theory came out with not one but TWO jeans patterns this fall! I went with the Quadra jeans as they have a more modern, slim fit. For the Jeans fabric I was lucky that Blackbird Fabrics had a lovely selection of durable 100% cotton denim, he selected the black colour way and off I went to sew him some jeans!
When it came to selecting which size of pattern to cut I was really pleased that Thready Theory provided a full post on how to measure and fit men’s jeans. This was super helpful in the selection of which size to cut, just be aware that part of the selection process requires that you have a pair of well fitting RTW jeans to compare to. Since I was already worried about having to do some adjustments to the thigh portion of the jeans, and since this was a new pattern anyway, I was a good sewist and sewed up a quick muslin for him to try on. To both of our surprise the muslin fit really well in the thigh, so no modifications were needed for that area! He did feel that the crotch was a little too high for his liking so I followed Thread Theory’s advice and extended the front and back crotch seam by about 1/4 of an inch, had him re-try the muslin with the modifications and that seamed to work!
In terms of the sewing instructions I found them to be really clear! The only thing I would change for next time is the construction of the fly. I’ve got really used to the method utilized by the ginger jeans in which the fly extension is made part of the front leg pattern, allowing you to sew the entire front seam and front crotch seam with a combination of regular sewing and basting stitches. You then install the zipper and the rest of the fly before removing the basting stitches. I find that this method consistently gives me a perfect fly every time. With the method employed by the Quadra pattern I ended up with the first fly I made being off center and I had to rip it out and start again. This may have been due to an issue with my machine (I had forgotten to increase the foot pressure between this project and another project that required less pressure) which caused the fabric to shift more than usual, but even after fixing this problem and re-sewing the fly the results are not as good as my other fly making attempts. I also think that some of my issues with the fly installation resulted in some ‘bunching’ around the bottom of the fly when he wears the jeans, it’s minimal and I don’t really know if I’m just over thinking things and trying to make the jeans perfect… but I overall I think I’ll go back to the fly installation method described by the ginger jeans pattern as I am super confident in that construction. This is just personal preference, the instructions in the pattern work just as well and you may find that you prefer that method so I reccommend making a ‘tester fly’ to see which method you like best :) To modify the Quadra jean fly to be installed like the ginger jeans one for the next time I make this pattern I’ll have to make the fly extension part of the front of jeans pattern which is an easy fix as I’ll simply remove the seam allowance from each piece and tape them together. :D
Overall I think the #fluffyblondemonster really likes his first pair of custom, handmade jeans! He had fun with the process, I let him choose which top stitching thready he wanted me to use along with the hardware colours. (And I had fun with installing rivets with my new mini anvil! I’ve never had real success installing rivets on my own….it usually takes me a few attempts and a few wasted rivets but the anvil has really helped! I put in all the rivets and the jeans button on my own with no failed rivets! It really makes a difference to have a solid piece of metal to hammer the rivets in on…who knew!?) One of the things that surprised him when he first put the jeans on was the size of the front pockets! I had always assumed that men’s jeans had full pockets while us women were left with the short end of the stick and either the smallest pockets known to man or fake pockets. Turns out that RTW men’s pockets are also on the smaller size, at least compared to the Quadra pattern! He’s been really enjoying the depth of these front pockets so I think that may be a major selling point for him on these jeans in the future!
Speaking of pockets, the back pockets were a bit of a mystery to me in terms of placement at first. I put them on with double sided tape according to the pattern markings but they looked HUGE! I took a few pics of the pocket placement and got some advice from the Vancouver Garment Sewists Facebook group which helped me to straighten out the tops of the pockets so that they aligned with the yoke topstitching, but the group was also wary of the size of the back pocket pieces. To quell my fears that the pockets were too big I placed them on top of his RTW jeans and found that they were the exact same size! I think we were all used to seeing women’s jeans pockets and were using that frame of reference when looking at his jeans pockets. But at least now we know that the pockets for this pattern are exactly right!
That’s it for this post! Will any of you be sewing up a pair of men’s jeans anytime soon?